Making Connections; Quilting Book Review & Bloghop

About two weeks ago, I was contacted by C&T Publishing asking if I would provide a review of one of their newest quilting books. Always up for learning something new or reading pretty much anything about quilting, I was happy to help.

The author, Dorie Hruska, is a long arm quilter, mom, and blogger.  She has her website,  Forever Quilting, set up as both her blog and her professional site for her long arm business. I really enjoyed looking at her gallery to see the work she has done for others. Her quilting style is lovely with many intricate patterns.

The book, Making Connections, is all about free motion and long arm quilting. The goalof the book is to help the quilter choose a motif or pattern for the quilt and then to set a travel path up for moving around the quilt in the most efficient manner, with the least amount of starts and stops possible.  This is really appealing to me. Like many of you, I struggle with how  to quilt something once that quilt top is done.

Reading this book through, I noticed two things that I really liked.  It is written as a workbook with very clear illustrations and directions. The practice builds in complexity as the reader learns the steps.  Also, there are lots of grids printed in the book to draw on.  The grids are bigger than graph paper but not quite big enough. When I practiced, I copied the page and enlarged it on our printer.  Finally, the book is printed in landscape orientation, not portrait. This makes it much easier to use as you don’t have the binding on the left side making it awkward to draw.

I took away a few really helpful ideas from Dorie’s book:

  1. Doodle the design before quilting.  I know this, we all know this, but it helps so much! There is such muscle memory in free motion quilting and by drawing it several times over, that routine settles into our brain before we begin quilting.
  2. While doodling the design and then while quilting, think, or say, the pattern you are moving in to keep you on track.  For example, Up, Down, Over, Up, Down, Over – or whatever works.  When Dorie maps out a path in the book, she sets this up for the quilter. As a beginner quilter at best, this was pretty helpful.  Seems so simple, but that little mantra was kinda cool. 🙂
  3. Don’t try to quilt the whole design in one pass.  Dorie layers the design so you might do one pass, the come back and add a layer to add another detail.  I get this and think, eventually, it will be helpful to me.  I am not quite there yet.  Some of the designs she illustrates for the reader are quite complex. She does use different colors so you know which pass you are working on each time. Also, she numbers the path so you can see what direction she is taking you in. This is quite helpful.

Note the complexity of the design, stitched in several passes.

The method used in this book is based on grids.  The perfect example is basic patchwork, or nine patch blocks, where there is an obvious grid.  The more experienced quilter would be able to apply it to more complicated blocks.

I didn’t have a quilt top on hand that would work for this so I didn’t actually quilt anything.  I did do some drawing to get that path ingrained into my brain though.  After drawing a bit, I made a quilt sandwich with some scraps of fabric and batting.  I drew a 3″ grid on it to practice.  Once I got going, my sewing machine gave me fits.   So, I had to quit and I took the machine in for service.  I have been putting it off and now it was sending me very clear messages that it wasn’t going to perform well! But ugly as the stitching was, the idea worked – I knew how to move along the design without getting stuck in a corner somewhere.  This methodology requires planning though.  It isn’t one where you move freely around on the quilt top, filling in sections as you go along.

If I were asked, I would tell the readers this is probably a book for an intermediate quilter. I think I could follow it for the basic design and travel flow but I don’t think, as a beginner, I could layer the designs and achieve a nice result.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and think it is a valuable resource for my library.  As I continue to practice, this will be very helpful.  Dorie and C& T Publishing have generously provided a book for me to giveaway to a lucky reader.  If the winner lives in the US, a hard copy will be sent.  For winners outside of the US, an Ebook will be provided. For those of you that want to go ahead and purchase the book, it is available through C&T Pubs or directly from Dorie’s website (she will send an autographed copy!)

To enter to win, please leave a comment on this post.  If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you are welcome to leave a 2nd comment for another entry.  Sign up for my newsletter (which is sent out every month) for another entry.  (Sign up form is at the top of the page on the right side.)  That is three possible chances to win!!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

For even more chances, please visit the other bloggers involved in this hop.  Lots of gorgeous quilting has been done to display all this book offers. Go check it out!  Here is the schedule:

BLOG HOP SCHEDULE

Friday September 1st

C&T Publishing Blog@ctpublishing on Instagram

Monday September 4th

Holly Anne Knight Blog@stringandstory on Instagram

Susan Arnold Blog@quiltfabrication on Instagram

Tuesday September 5th

Becca Fenstermaker Blog@prettypiney on Instagram

Teri Lucas Blog@genqmag on Instagram

Wednesday September 6th

Sherry Shish Blog@poweredbyquilting on Instagram

Pam Morgan Blog@sweetlittlestitches on Instagram

Thursday September 7th

Katy S Blog@katyquilts on Instagram

Laura Piland Blog@sliceofpiquilts on Instagram

Friday September 8th

Suzy Webster Blog@websterquilt on Instagram

Bernie Kringel Blog@needleandfoot on Instagram  — You’re here!!!

Monday September 11th

Jamie Mueller Blog@sunflower_quilt on Instagram

Nancy Scott Blog@masterpiecequilting on Instagram

Tuesday September 12th

Sherri Noel Blog@rebeccamaedesigns on Instagram

Anorina Morris Blog@sameliasmum on Instagram

Wednesday September 13th

Yvonne Fuchs Blog@quiltingjetgirl on Instagram

Barbie Mills Blog@thequiltingmill on Instagram

Thursday September 14th

Afton Warrick Blog@quiltingmod on Instagram

Kathy Bruckman Blog@kathyskwiltsandmore on Instagram

Friday September 15th

Susan Arnold Blog@quiltfabrication on Instagram

Dorie Hruska Blog@foreverquilting on Instagram

Sunshine and Inspiration

Sunshine has been all to strong in my part of the world. We have had such an intensely hot summer this year. Craving fall, I decided to make something with this cute panel from the Red Rooster fabric line called Shine. This was designed by Jackie Paton and it is adorable. Autumnal colors, inspirational phrases, sunshine, kitties, owls — so much cuteness wrapped up into one fabric line! I have had it in the shop for a short while now and it has sold really well. Because I have a quilt show I am working later this month, I wanted to make up a sample with this fabric. It will decorate the booth a bit and maybe inspire shoppers to take a look at this sweet fabric.

The panel consists of six different items that can be used individually or in one project. I decided to use the four small blocks from the panel as well as some strips of the border print. I also used a bit of each of the three accent fabrics I have available. It was so fun to sew something with these colors. C’mon fall!!

The piecing was quick – just some sashing of the four rectangles and then a few borders to add color and whimsy. The best part was choosing how to quilt it. I took some time and stitched around the perimeter of each rectangle to anchor things. Next I followed the print of the blue and green border and echoed circles around the print.

The panels are really sweet and I spent just a little time thread sketching some of the bits of the scenes such as the clouds, the sun, that sweet kitty and the wise owl.

 

The outermost border was made with flying geese and rectangles. I love the way it came out.  (Shout out to Mari of Academic Quilter who helped me when I got stuck figuring out what size blocks would work best. Thank you Mari!) I like the deep rust color of this fabric. So much so that I also used it as the binding.

A quick modeling session before school this morning!

Lady really wanted to be included in this photo shoot.  She is also concerned that there are no dogs, only cats, featured in this fabric line. Why would I use such fabric?? Well, for one reason,  I like the little inspirational words – Learn, Shine, Explore and Grow. The fall colors make me happy and I could totally see this project of mine hanging in a classroom, library, kid’s playroom – or maybe even downstairs in my shop! It will be a fun one to hang in my booth at the next show. I will be a vendor in Sacramento over the weekend of September 15-17th. This little quilt will surely add some fun to the booth.

Measures about 14″ x 21″

Measures about 10″ x 15″.

Since I only used a part of the panel, I would love to share the two pieces that are left. I also have some of the border print that I cut into but didn’t use up.  I will divide the border fabric and the two pieces into two bundles and give it to two lucky quilters who would like to use it. One bundle will have the larger piece with the tree.  The other bundle will have the piece featuring the sun.  I would love to see what you make with these!!

 

If you would like to throw your name in the hat, please leave a comment and tell me what recipe is your go-to fall food. I am all about muffins – apple, pumpkin, cinnamon & sugar – Yum.  Should you want the other accent fabrics you can find them here.

Sam’s Jersey Quilt

A while back, my sister asked if I would make a quilt with some of the jerseys her son, Sam, had worn over the years.  My sister’s family is quite the opposite of mine.  They are all about sports – football, skiing, running, baseball, lacrosse – they all play something!  The family also follows pro sports, both football and baseball.  My family? Um, not so much. In fact, one year when a dance Julia attended (in junior high) was sports themed and the kids were supposed to wear a shirt from their favorite team, we had nothing. No favorite team, no t shirts or pennants – nothing!  She ended up borrowing a t-shirt from her cousin to wear for the dance, making her a Giants baseball fan for those three hours.

Sam pitching for Varsity baseball at Cherry Creek High School in Colorado.

Sam just graduated high school and is off to college in Colorado where he will pitch for their baseball team.  He has played baseball for years and also played football in high school and with all of that, he has amassed quite the stack of jerseys.  It was fun to look through the jerseys he sent me, but wow, I was so hesitant to start his quilt. I have had the jerseys sitting in the sewing room since April. I would look and think about it but then fold them up and put them away. That slick jersey material and the rubbery numbers and logos made me nervous.

Love the intensity of Sam’s expression in this shot.

I asked around for suggestions and ideas and lots of people came to my rescue.  Namely, Sarah Craig, of Confessions of a Fabric Addict, who has made loads of memory quilts.  She and I emailed a few times and she gave me a few tips and also recommended a fusible interfacing by June Tailor that she likes.

My first step was to cut the front from the back of each shirt at the side seams.  I also saved any smaller logos from the sleeves.

Julia helped me with this and we sort of folded the shirt fronts and backs into similar size squares and laid them out on the floor. Once I got to that point, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do.  So, I did what any sane quilter would do and put it back in the bag and set it aside. 🙂

Finally, I did a little more research and found this book, Terrific T-Shirt Quilts, by Karen Burns.   It has been very helpful.  Somehow, I couldn’t picture what I wanted this quilt to look like. It definitely needed to be masculine and with red, blue and dark blue jersey and logos, there was no question it was a guy’s quilt. But it needed some sort of structure or organization.  When I saw this quilt, it gave me just what I wanted. This pattern calls for the shirts to be cut to 12″ x 14″ and stabilized with fusible interfacing.  The June Tailor interfacing recommended by Sarah worked really well. It is a woven fabric and adhered to the slick jersey fabric without any problem. Getting the logos to work within the 12″ x 14″ block was tricky.  Some of the logos were too wide, others were featured up at the top of the fabric (just below the seam line across the shoulders in the jersey). Because of this, the designs are not centered well within the blocks. This doesn’t bother me a whole lot though.

I love this block with his last name on it but I barely fit it within the 12″ width requirement.

After getting the jerseys prepped and cut, I started to work on the sashing and border pieces.  After checking in with Juanita (my sister and Sam’s mother) I decided on gray and red for the fabrics. As luck would have it, I had a great gray and white polka dot in my shop. It is actually a wide back fabric by Red Rooster (and it just happens to be available here!!) In addition to the gray and white polka dot, I chose a cherry red textured solid by PB Textiles. (Why yes, thank you for asking, I do happen to carry it in my shop.  Click here!)

Doesn’t it look great??  I am so happy with it and hopefully Sam will like it as well!  I added a fourth row of blocks so I could use more of the jerseys. Plus it needed the extra length – Sam is a tall guy.  With the fourth row, the length grew to 72″. I have some ideas about using the little logos from the sleeves, as well as some of the wider logos that wouldn’t fit in the quilt top design, to make a pieced backing. For now though, I need to set this project aside once again.

Before I can finish Sam’s quilt, I need to finish a different project I am working on.  I am reviewing a new book by Dorie Hruska, called Making Connections. It is a great tool for free motion quilting or long arm quilting with a continuous flow, thereby avoiding starts and stops.  Remember my post about my entries at the fair when the judge commented she could see too many starts and stops?  Well, this is helping me correct that!! There will be a fun blog hop which begins on Monday (but my post won’t come up until September 8th. ) I will be hosting a giveaway of one copy of the book so be sure to come back and check it out!

Have a great weekend everyone!  It is going to be insanely hot so I will be inside taking advantage of the A/C and sewing.  How about you?

Linking to my favorites – check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

(This is an affiliate post, meaning if you click through and purchase Dorie’s book, I will receive a small commission.)

 

 

Quilt Exhibit Recap

Last week I posted a little catch up on the fair, Julia’s pig Ella, and the purse I made for her.  In the comments, Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl, reminded me I hadn’t said anything about the quilts I entered in the local fair.  I had originally planned to enter three quilts and that is what I technically signed up for.  As I got the quilts out to add the hanging sleeves, I noticed that I had machine stitched the binding to the Positively Floating plus quilt. In all honesty, I can’t remember why I machine stitched that one. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood to stitch the binding down? Usually I kind of enjoy that last bit of stitching on a project.  At any rate, it didn’t make sense to enter that quilt because I was fairly sure the judge wouldn’t appreciate a machine stitched binding. Additionally, I had procrastinated on making the sleeves, it was the night before I had to bring them over to the fairgrounds, and I was running short on time. So I didn’t enter the plus quilt.

I did enter the relief quilted THREAD project and the Sweet Tweets baby quilt. I got a second place ribbon on the Sweet Tweets baby quilt.

Third place, the quilt below mine was 2nd place.

I received a third place ribbon on the THREAD project. Now before we all get excited, I will tell you the rest.  I am nothing, if not honest, right?  This is a very small show – all contained within one room and may 150 entries at most (including all garments, stitchery, knitting and quilts)  In the baby quilt category, there were two entries.  In the mini quilts of this size, there were three.  As my sister Patti wisely told me, the glass is half full – you got a 2nd and a 3rd place.  But my logical side says, meh, I got last out of three and 2nd out of two.  Either way, I am happy. I think I got over my fear of having someone look at my project and pick it apart (no pun intended!)  It was interesting to read the comments.  Here is a bit of what the judge wrote:

On the baby quilt:  She liked the fabric selection and the fussy cut blocks. She found the quilting design appropriate and noted my stitches were not all the same length. Binding was well done but quilt does not lie flat.

On the relief quilt:  Thread play noted and appreciated. Starts and stops should not be visible, addition of quilted thread spools noted and appreciated. Binding needs improvement.

So – it was an interesting experience.  I am not a terribly competitive person so usually, I don’t feel compelled to think of the judge’s perspective as I make projects.  I suppose if I decide to enter things again, I need to pay more attention to the details.

Yesterday I was having fun making a few bandana bibs for my little grand baby.  My son, his wife and the baby got to California yesterday after a few flight delays and weather issues. They are spending time in the Bay Area, about 150 miles from here and will come up here Wednesday.  The baby will be working on teething soon which means all of that drooling that comes with it. I thought bandana bibs might be nice for this. The first one is made with a Cotton & Steel print, Panda Bebe, a white flannel backing and a tiny velcro closure. After I made it, I decided it might be a tad bit on the small side.

I took the template and cut it to be a couple of inches longer. The second bib was made with a cute flannel scrap I had and a pink lining.  I suspect this one is long enough. They were fun to make and such a quick project. The template I used was from Grey House Harbor, a DIY website with lots of tutorials. It will be fun to see if these fit baby girl when she gets here.

Finally, today Needle and Foot is the sponsor of this week’s podcast at While She Naps. The host and author at this site, Abby Glassenberg, is someone I have long admired. So much so, I wrote a review of her newsletter and podcast a while back. When the opportunity came about to sponsor a podcast, I was more than happy to do so.  Abby’s strength lies in the breadth of subjects she covers both in her blog, newsletter and podcast. I hope you will click through and listen to today’s interview with Jamie Chalmers, otherwise known as Mr. X Stitch. His site boldly claims to be the world’s best contemporary needle crafts and embroidery site. You may have noticed that embroidery and cross stitch, among other styles of needle crafts, are trending these days.  Jamie’s hugely popular site features “Cute ThingsArty Things, and Rude Things as well as all other sorts of stitchy goodness“. I am looking forward to hearing the podcast today and getting to know more about Chalmers. As added incentive, Needle and Foot will be offering a discount to Abby’s and Jamie’s fans – you’ll need to go over and listen to find out the details though!

 

Time for School

Hi Everyone — Today is the first day of school for Julia. Summer absolutely flew by. I posted a few pictures on Instagram last week about the county fair but I thought it would be fun to share some of the details with you.  Julia did a great job taking care of and showing Ella. When you show a pig at the fair, there are two places in which the kids compete. One is called Market Class which is where the judge assesses the quality of the pig, with regard to structure and muscle vs fat. Because the kid’s select their animal when it is very young based on it’s structure and then feed it out over the next six months, they have an impact on these things. If an animal is over weight or too lean, the owner adjusts feed accordingly. Julia had many challenges with Ella and her food intake so this was not easy.

Julia showing Ella off to the judge.

The other is showmanship which is where they judge the owner’s ability to work with their animal.  Out of about 20 kids in her group, Julia came in 6th in both Market Class and Showmanship. For her first year, this was so great.

Job well done Julia!

Better than that is when Ella was auctioned, she was purchased by the CEO of Telestream, the company I used to work at and where my husband currently works.  Each year the company buys one or two animals to support the local youth and then donates the meat to our local food bank.  Our family has been involved with Interfaith Food Ministry for many years so Julia is very familiar with the organization. Before Fair came, she wrote to the CEO and explained she would be so happy knowing Ella went to such a good cause, feeding the hungry in our town. In a month or so, Julia and I will pick the meat up and take it to the Food Ministry for disbursement.

I think 4-H is a wonderful organization as they have impact in many areas of a child’s growth and maturity. It was required that each of the kids (and one parent) work a shift in the Pasty Booth as this is a major fundraiser for the club.  Julia did great and the time flew by because the booth was very busy. Luckily the booth is air conditioned with those ovens going constantly.

Preparing Pastys to bake in the oven.

Saying good bye to Ella was sad for Julia but she knew this was the way it was supposed to play out.  She worked really hard and I am incredibly proud of her.

The last couple of days of summer were spent catching up after the busy week we had.  Yesterday Julia and I had lunch together and saw a movie to celebrate summer’s end.  It was lots of fun and she was ready to go back today and see all of the friends she missed over the summer.

Before fair, Julia asked if I would make her a new purse. She is learning to drive and for the first time, has to carry a purse with her. Of course I agreed and we hopped on Pinterest to look at my board of Purses, Bags and Totes.    Julia chose a basic bag from Very Purple Person, called the Reversible Bag.  We made a few changes so hers is not reversible.  More on that in a minute though.

First she had to select her fabric.  She had fun looking at all of the bolts in the shop and selected a batik for the outside.  Then we pulled choices for the lining.

So many choices!

It didn’t take very long for her to settle on this Island Batik floral and the deep orange solid, Art Gallery’s Pure Element Tiger Lily.

It is a great combination and that orange works perfectly!

This bag is super simple. It prints as a PDF and you just need to tape a few pieces together to get the full template.  We did lengthen the strap.  Julia is 5′ 8″ and she wanted it to hang to her hip. I also added two pockets with Velcro closures to the interior and a little clip to hang her keys from.  (I still can’t believe she is old enough to need keys.  It seems like she should still be filling her purse with stuffed animals and markers.)

I didn’t put a closure at the top of the bag but I think I may add one.  It seems like it needs it so it isn’t always gaping open.  Julia doesn’t mind either way. Just trying to think of a closure that can be added now that the lining is all sewn in. I am sure I will think of something.

Sitting up like a big girl.

Now that fair is finished and school has started, it is time to catch up on housework and get ready for my son and his family.  Then come next week and we are all beyond excited!  Look at this girl — I can’t wait to play with her! She is sitting up and trying to crawl.  Just adorable.  🙂

Reno Show Recap & Summer Break

Last weekend was the Truckee Meadows Quilt Guild annual show in Reno, Nevada. Needle & Foot was a vendor there – this was the second show I have done.  The first one was our local guild’s show in May. As with most things, I did a few things different this time and learned a bit more with the Reno experience.

Before we  go into all of that, I want to talk a bit about my ‘silent’ partner.  It was about February of last year when I got the idea to vend at the Grass Valley quilt show in May.  But I was really hesitant to commit and to pay the $200 booth fee.  I have mentioned now and then that I have difficulties with migraines. But if I were to be honest, I would describe my migraine issue with stronger language – I have a chronic illness and it really wreaks havoc with my daily life. I get about two or three migraines each week. This has been on-going since 2009. For whatever reason my body shifted (probably something to do with peri-menopause and then menopause) and the migraines kicked in with force.  (I am not explaining all of this to gather your sympathies, more to show why I make some of the decisions I do.)

People with chronic migraine have a really difficult time committing to anything with a defined date or time. I rarely know how my week will go,wait –  not rarely, scratch that.  I never know how it will go.  So it makes it hard for me to join committees, or volunteer groups, promise to take Julia somewhere, etc.  I cancel out of many, many commitments. All. The. Time.  When I wanted to try a quilt show, I knew I had to have back-up. I couldn’t take the chance on doing this without someone else there to run the booth if I got sick.

My five sisters – at a surprise party for Cathy (the one in the red t-shirt

Knowing this, I called Patti and asked her if she would work the show with me (or without me, as the case may be.) She immediately agreed. I mean without hesitation, without knowing exactly where it was, how long it lasted, or what it entailed. That is how she is. That is how all of my sisters are. Having her work it with me gave me the confidence to go ahead with it. We did the Grass Valley show and it was great fun.

Because of the success of the first show, we signed up for a few more. Now we were planning as a team. Patti is an incredible seamstress.  She has made two quilts – her first one was queen size as a gift and the other was for her daughter, Laura. But for the most part, she sews garments. She decided to make a few things and bring them to the show in Reno to gauge reactions to her work and the pricing.  In the space of about six weeks, Patti planned fabric and color, pattern and detail work, to make a selection of girl’s dresses and little coordinating messenger bags.

I was thrilled with her plan because it added a whole new dimension to the booth. As you know, many quilters do not enjoy garment sewing. However almost all quilters do recognize highly skilled workmanship. I knew these dresses would be appreciated and valued by the quilters shopping at the show.  More importantly, it meant Patti and I had something to work on together. Patti lives about 150 miles from me but we called and texted constantly as she developed her plan and made these gorgeous dresses.

OK – let’s talk about the show. It was a great experience. The show was smaller than the first show we did and was a non-juried show. This made for lower attendance. However, the people that were there were so friendly. They shopped our booth and made purchases – enough so I would say it was worth our time. The venue wasn’t without issues though. You can probably tell from the photos, the lighting was just awful. (These photos have been edited, lightened and brightened.) It felt like the power was out in our corner. Everything was so dark! That was quite a problem. We were carrying bolts into the light to see true colors whenever a customer was trying to make a decision. It added a layer of frustration for each of the vendors. Also, there wasn’t any wifi available. In this day of using technology for everything, lack of wifi is pretty ridiculous. We had to use cell service for our phones, had to use our phones as hot-spots for the iPads, and we were constantly charging devices to keep things going. (Because of these two issues, I will probably pass on this show next year, unless changes are made.)

We tried a few new things with this show. We arranged the bolts in more of a thematic groupings and tried to make the colors flow better (hard to illustrate with the lousy light) . I think this made the booth flow much better. I ordered black tablecloths which added uniformity to the look too.  I folded the fat quarters in a different way so the pattern of the fabric was displayed better and I grouped them by colorways in the basket.  It was interesting to see the difference in our sales. We sold a lot of fat quarters and lots of the little kits and notions we brought; at the last show we hardly sold any of those items. The yardage we sold was also interesting. For one thing,many of the guild members were collecting floral prints for a class that was scheduled for October. They wanted large scale prints for fussy cutting. Luckily I had a selection of Art Gallery fabrics (Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland’s prints) that worked for this and those sold well.

For lots of reasons, I would call the show a success. It wasn’t hugely profitable but Patti and I gained exposure, learned another thing or two about booth set-up and tear down, sold fabric and dresses, and most of all, had a great time together. The next show isn’t until mid-September. It is about 50 miles from home so a bit more convenient than the Reno show. (Even though we did stay overnight in Reno for two nights, we had the luxury of staying in my in-law’s second home. They generously gave us access to the house which was sooo much nicer than staying in a hotel – and, of course, more economical too.)

Patti has decided to go for it and she will be opening an Etsy shop with her handmade items. As this progresses, I will keep you posted – I think her work is nothing short of amazing and these dresses will be fun gifts at holiday time or for birthday gifts.

It is August now and that means school starts in two weeks for Julia. With the end of summer approaching, I want to take a bit of time off and focus on family.  Today I am taking Julia and her BFF to the mall and out for lunch. Fair is next week which means we will be super busy with Julia and her 4-H project, Ella. I will turn in my quilts for exhibit later today too. There is lots going on!

Grammy’s sweet girl is coming soon!!!t

As if that isn’t enough, my son and his wife and this little chunk are coming for five days at the end of the month. As I thought about all I have going on and how busy things have been, I decided to take a vacation from blogging and social media.  I really want the break and look forward to shifting my focus to home and family for a few weeks.  While I am away from the blog and my social media platforms, I will still be shipping orders. If you need anything in particular, you can always email me via the Etsy shop or at my email address. I am happy to help you. But I won’t be looking at Facebook or Instagram for a couple of weeks. It is important (to me anyway) to get away from all of the chatter that is social media. As much as I love the on-line community, it can be quite a distraction from daily life and eats away at my time in the sewing room too. Hopefully this makes sense to you. Enjoy this last bit of summer — I look forward to catching up with everyone the first week of September!!  When I return I will share the book selection for the Autumn round of Fabric & Fiction. I also have a few other fun things planned. I’ll be back soon!!  🙂

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County Fair and Quilt Show Prep

I just returned from spending a couple of days up in Downieville.  We had the flooring replaced in the kitchen. Even though the kitchen is very small, this was a two day job for the installer.  The house is very old and not at all square or level.  It was a bit of a trick for him to create a relatively level surface on which to lay the flooring.

Before and after, bye bye green and gold!

We did things in reverse order with this room. We haven’t painted or updated the cabinets yet and Ray plans to put up some bead board in the little eating area but the two tone gold and green floors were awful so we had the new vinyl installed and we will just have to tarp it when the other projects are done. It will be a while before we tackle them and we were tired of looking at that flooring. I am happy to check this off the list as we make progress on this little house of ours.

As you know, Julia is raising pigs to show and auction at the county fair.  She will be there each day and it will be time consuming for her.  Since she isn’t yet driving, I will also be there quite a bit.  I decided to volunteer some time at the quilt exhibit and also to…. Yikes! ….. enter a few quilts. I have never done this. It just creates this vulnerable feeling to have someone judge my work. But I am going to do this. Here are the three projects I chose to enter and why I chose them.

Positively Floating; September 2016

I finished this quilt last fall. I love the design of it and the quilting.  This was the second time I quilted on a long arm and looking at it makes me want to do that again.  It was a lot of fun and so different from quilting with my home machine.

It needs a sleeve and label to be ready for the show.

I will also enter my THREAD quilt.

I made this quilt when I was writing the tutorial for relief quilting. I love this little quilt.

The relief quilting was great and the improv border was so much fun to create. I think the little spools of thread add whimsy to the piece. Luckily I have a sleeve on this quilt but it needs to be labeled.

Finally I chose to enter the Sweet Tweets baby quilt.

This is a bright, colorful piece will hopefully catch the eye of visitors to the show. I am happy with the quilting I did on it. It still needs a sleeve and label.

 

Hopefully the visitors coming through the exhibit will like it as well!

For the next couple of days I will be in prep mode. I am vending at a quilt show for the Truckee Meadows Quilt Guild.  It will be held in Reno, Nevada this weekend. It is about two hours from home but luckily my in-laws have a second home in Reno and they are graciously letting me stay there in the evenings. It would be too much to drive back and forth each night. I need to cut more fat quarter bundles and get a few other things ready so I doubt I will get any sewing done this week. If you are in the area, please come to the show and find my booth. I would love to say hi.  🙂  I will keep you posted on the show via Instagram and Facebook. I hope you will follow along with this this weekend!

Today is my husband’s birthday so I need to be baking a cake and he requested enchiladas for  his birthday dinner.  I am going to get the cake in the oven now before it gets too hot.  Have a nice day and keep cool with this crazy heat!

 

 

Small Finishes for This Week

This week sure buzzed by quickly. There was not a whole lot of time spent in the sewing room.  I have been spending quite a bit of time working on the shop; especially on the process of moving patterns from the first shop to the new shop. I think it is worth the time it takes.  I have had a number of sales from the new shop so I know people are finding it. I like managing the patterns separately from the fabrics. But it has taken a lot of time!

As far as sewing, I made two little projects for my sweet grand baby. My daughter in law asked me if I would make strap covers for their infant carrier. She even found the right pattern to use for the straps that fit her model carrier. I think this is a pretty smart move- the strap covers add some cushion if baby girl falls asleep with her face on those straps.  They also catch the drool that come along with baby. It is much easier to take the covers off and toss them in the wash then to wash the pack.
The pattern was a breeze to follow. I did have to make a quick trip to find some green fabric (it actually is green, but leaning to teal blue) for the covers. I had plenty of batting scraps for the filling and velcro for the closures.
These are entirely reversible which would have been fun if I had used two different fabrics but I didn’t.  The pack is a print of green and blue and it didn’t need another fabric in the mix. Baby also needs a little hood that will attach to the pack but I haven’t tackled that yet. I did buy plenty of the fabric though. Hopefully I will get to that in another week or so.

After making the little strap covers, I was in the mood to make something else for her. A few months ago, I purchased a collection of the older Cotton and Steel prints during a #destash on Instagram. I had not used any of them yet but as I poked through the bag, I found two prints that were perfect for a little sun hat.

Isn’t that the cutest thing? I had an old pattern from who knows what, so I can’t recommend it because you probably couldn’t find it anyway. There are many patterns like this though and a simple google search should be fruitful. It came together easily and I am hopeful it will fit. Her mama sent me the measurement of her head so if anything, it might be a little big.  I love the back side with a little bow.  Adorable.

I look forward to seeing it on her little head.  Finally, I started the memory quilt I am making for my nephew Sam.  He picked out an assortment of his football and baseball jerseys. He even sent a small one that he must have worn as a little boy. As suggested by several readers in the comments of an earlier post, I emailed Sarah from Confessions of a Fabric Addict to get her input.  She suggested a particular brand of fusible interfacing she likes for backing these projects. I ordered that and it is already here, ready and waiting for me.

My ever helpful daughter and I cut the jerseys up.

I was really nervous to cut into these. Before we started cutting, Julia and I folded them into little blocks and laid them out to get an idea of how I would make this. Then we cut the fronts from the backs leaving everything intact and as large as possible.  I think I will make a lot of 14″ squares with the majority of the jerseys.  Then I will cut miscellaneous bits and pieces that aren’t going to measure up as big but should be included (mascots, American Flags, etc).  Those will be bordered in red and fit into the puzzle where I can. I think it shouldn’t be terribly difficult. The next step is to stabilize this slippery jersey fabric. Sam is off to college in the fall so maybe, just maybe, I will have it done in time?  Well, at least during autumn? Ok, ok, definitely before he graduates college?  We will have to see!

This week is once again my week to sponsor the giveaway for the Sewcial Bee Sampler. I had a lot of fun hosting the giveaway at the end of June too.  If you are participating in the sew along, hop over to Maureen Cracknell’s or Sharon Holland’s blog to find out how to enter and win! It could be your lucky week! There is also a discount code for the Sewcial Bee quilters. Go check it out!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!  I am linking up to a few favorites. Find them at the top of the page under Link Ups.

Have you signed up for the Needle and Foot News yet? Published monthly, this newsletter provides an update on the latest fabrics to arrive at the shop, as well as any promotions or events happening at Needle & Foot. Click here or use the sign up form at the right side of the page, toward the top!

 

Dog Days of Summer

It is so hot outside, really just too hot. As I write, the thermometer on the deck reads 95 degrees, in the shade. This means it is about 100 billion degrees in the sun. Hence the reason I am inside playing on the computer! When it is like this, I try to go out early in the morning to do any chores that need to be done. Yesterday I was out early, dropping Julia off at the high school.  (She is volunteering as a teacher’s assistant for a class taught by her English teacher to a group of exchange students from France.) After dropping her off, I worked in the garden, dead heading roses. We have a nice selection of roses which we have to keep inside the fenced area to protect them from the ever hungry deer that wander our property.

The roses are slowing down a bit due to the heat but we still have some really pretty ones.

I spent about an hour working in the yard and while I trimmed and clipped, I listened to a recent podcast from While She Naps by Abby Glassenberg.  Episode 100 was an interview with Alissa Carlton of the Modern Quilt Guild. Even though I was familiar with much of the origin of the MQG, it was interesting to hear Alissa’s perspective as one of the founders of this ever growing organization. The podcast was made even more interesting when Alissa talked about her other job as a casting director for the reality TV show, Project Runway. I recommend this episode (and really, all of Abby’s podcasts) as it covered a lot of interesting topics.

This girl’s been working. Check out these boots.

Because Julia was working at the high school for the day, I helped her out by feeding and cooling off her girls, Ella and Daisy. Ella and Daisy are two market hogs Julia is raising as a project for 4-H.

Measuring Ella to monitor her growth.

This has been a great experience and I think she enjoys it for the most part. As with any animal project, she has had a few issues to deal with.  Ella, the show hog that Julia has been training to show at our county fair, is oddly uninterested in eating.  She isn’t gaining near the weight she needs to gain to qualify for showing at the fair and for selling at the auction at the end of the fair. This is baffling but Julia is treating it as a science project and trying her darnedest to get Ella to gain weight. She is mixing raw cow’s milk with her feed three times a day to entice Ella to eat more. (She gets the raw milk from her very kind 4-H leader who has a dairy cow.) She also makes tons of scrambled eggs to mix into Ella’s feed to make it more desirable.  So far, Ella isn’t having any of it. She snacks a bit and then gives the rest to her roommate, Daisy.  You can see where this is going. Daisy is gaining all kinds of weight!

Ella and Daisy keeping cool in the mud.

Besides concocting these meals for Ella three times daily (which Daisy eats for the most part!) Julia also has to keep them cool during these dog days of summer. Pigs do not tolerate heat well as they have no ability to sweat.  When Julia and Ray built the pen for the girls, they put misters in which is a great help. Julia also goes out multiple times throughout the day to hose both pigs down.  They LOVE this and it is adorable to watch how the play in the spray of the hose and try to drink the water.

If Ella’s slow weight gain continues, Julia will end up showing Daisy at the fair and auctioning her off instead of Ella.  Daisy is bred as a feeder pig, to be raised for meat.  She will not do well when shown at the fair but whomever is kind enough to purchase her at the auction will have a freezer full of great quality pork. Ella will be fed out until she is large enough and has put on enough fat to be butchered. It isn’t what Julia expected but this is life, right?

Even with all that has been going on around here, I had a bit of time to sew this week. I wanted to catch up on my blocks for the Sewcial Bee Sampler. Hosted by Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland, this has been such a fun project. They created it to increase the connection amongst the on-line quilters and it has been really successful. Check out the #sewcialbeesampler on Instagram – there are more than 6,400 photos posted to it.

I have fallen behind on my blocks but I did get a few made this week. I tried to combine solids with fabrics by Maureen Cracknell, both her Garden Dreamer fabric line as well as the earlier line, Fleet & Flourish. But I was running dangerously low and still have several blocks to complete.  I had a funky size scrap of 1/2 of one Ex Libris panel by Alison Glass that I have been hoarding. I knew I would find the right thing to use it for and this is it. The colors work perfectly and I can fussy cut the bits of the panel to use just the parts I need.

Here is another block with a bit of Ex Libris in the center.

Sewcial Bee Sampler, 20 of 25 blocks

I had all of the blocks thus far completed arranged on the floor to look at the flow of color. I need to make sure the last five blocks are made with colors that balance well with what I already have. I think I want to frame one more with the light green and another with the mustard yellow.  As I looked at these, one block jumped out at me – How come I didn’t see the mistake??

I need to spend a few minutes taking apart the upper left corner. Oops!! There is one more block to be released this week and I have four that I still need to make. Then we will sash the blocks and start assembling the quilt top. I really love the blocks I have made thus far – this one is a keeper. It should finish at 72″ square.

Linking up with Oh Scrap and a few others.  Please check out the links at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Have you signed up for the Needle and Foot News yet? Published monthly, this newsletter provides an update on the latest fabrics to arrive at the shop, as well as any promotions or events happening at Needle & Foot. Click here or use the sign up form at the right side of the page, toward the top!

 

Fiesta Fun – A Whole Cloth Baby Quilt

I have such a bright, cheerful quilt to share with you!  This is the second time I have made a whole cloth baby quilt for a customer. The first time was last fall, when I did the elephant quilt.  Check it out here for the details. I very much enjoy making these. This quilt was a simple project because there is no piecing involved. My customer really loved the Mexican Dress fabric from Art Gallery Fabric’s Fiesta Fun line. This is actually the second time I have used this fabric line in a baby quilt.  The first time was when I made the Knock Knock quilt while pattern testing for Sarah Goer. The colors in this line are a fantastic mix of brights and pastels against a pure white background. It is a lot of fun for a baby quilt. There is much for baby to look at!

My customer and I emailed back and forth numerous times one night as she selected the backing and binding fabric. After having two boys, she is expecting a girl.  She wanted bold and bright colors so she went with a Ta Dot polka dot fabric from Michael Miller.  The polka dots were used for both backing and binding. I really think this was an excellent choice.

Rather than put the dots right up against the floral fabric, I suggested using a flange in a solid deep orange (Pure Elements in Tiger Lily from Art Gallery also).

 I think it is good to have a break between the bold orange dots and the busy floral fabric.

Quilting this was a lot of fun. For the most part, I outlined bits and pieces of the floral design. As I moved from one part to the next, I would add a loop or two.  Having this busy print was like having a stencil for the quilting. I didn’t outline everything though. For a baby quilt, I like to have some space between the quilting to keep the quilt soft.

The quilt finished at 40″ x 40″ and I gave it one trip through the wash before packaging it up to send to Texas. Hopefully Baby Camille will get lots of use out of this quilt for a long time to come!

Just in case you are in need of some gorgeous color in your sewing room, I do have all of these fabrics in stock in the shop.  🙂  I will be linking up this week with a few of my favorites. Check the tab at the top of the page for links!

Also, I want to let everyone know I drew two names for the giveaway of Carrie Bloomston’s book!  Congrats to Susan S. and Nancy H.  Here are their comments:

Susan S. said: “I would like to design a house that perfectly fits my life style and compliments it’s surroundings.”

Nancy H. said: “Great interview, Bernie. At one time, and not too long ago at that, I would have said that my one wish was owning a cozy, welcoming quilt shop where people felt as though they were home. Now, it’s a tough choice. The simple answer would be to finish my quilt in time for the show in two weeks! But I think it should be more substantial than that. You’ve really stumped me!”

It was so interesting to read the responses to my question, ” what would you try if you were guaranteed success?” There were lots of interesting ideas put forth.  Thank you for joining in!