Thursday, July 30, 2015

Triangling Up

A few posts back I showed you my attempt at making a block made of triangles:

I had been at the Mod Squad thinking it couldn't take all that long especially since I have the super 60 degree ruler.  The bottom triangle looks lopsided, but figured it was all part of the process.  In the past I have whined how hard it is for me to work with scraps.  This project is no exception.  About a week has past and since I'm caught up on my monthly regular blocks the challenge to conquer this triangle block persists.

 I have two 12" x12 "x 3" cases full of the scraps I save for Mod Squad.  They are now sorted and spread out over my cutting table, super large ironing table. design wall and  a wherever spot.  Each spot has several layers of similar colors.

Even though it was approaching 80 degrees upstairs with the A/C on I ironed each piece, hoping for new inspiration.  So, I cut more triangles, only smaller.  See the small examples on the design wall.
The new inspiration came with resignation to AGAIN read the instructions:  triangle-up the triangles to 12"  My two large ones were in excess of this measure and wanting to grow, but missing that right piece of scrap.   I do not want to tear apart my stash for that magic piece.  The resulting square of triangles may not be pretty but it will be square.....will keep you informed.  Oh, by the way, I have at least 5 hours total invested in this "block".

What are you all working on this summer....this new mess is keeping me from finishing my swirling star started last in line.

Here's a recipe to make your own celery salt, which I  understands perks up the fresh tomatoes and oher veggies now arriving at our local produce stands. The celery salt that's been in your cupboard for a while (years?) is probably stale.

"Celery Salt fresh: Or better yet, for maximum freshness, you can make your own celery salt in small batches.
It's easy to do. Start with a tablespoon of whole celery seed. Grind it up in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle. Then add two tablespoons of Kosher salt, mix thoroughly and use. Keep it sealed tightly and it'll stay fresh for a month.
For that matter, you don't need to grind the seeds. It's just that some people don't care to bite into whole seeds. If you leave the seeds whole, your blend will stay fresh longer."by Celery Salt fresh: Or better yet, for maximum freshness, you can make your own celery salt in small batches.
It's easy to do. Start with a tablespoon of whole celery seed. Grind it up in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle. Then add two tablespoons of Kosher salt, mix thoroughly and use. Keep it sealed tightly and it'll stay fresh for a month.
For that matter, you don't need to grind the seeds. It's just that some people don't care to bite into whole seeds. If you leave the seeds whole, your blend will stay fresh longer."  From Danilo Alfaro.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Buzzing from the Beehive

We met Monday evening.  The gray, white on black and one red snowball block will be interesting to see assembled!  Here are Linda's blocks:

Kelly is the Queen Bee for August.  She made some samples and gave us the fabric she wanted included to connect the blocks.  The plan is for a bedspread quilt of approximately 120"  I believe the blocks we make for her are 18", same as for Polly, our first queen.

Isn't this fabric the best!  I went and bought a half yard just to have!  This fabric as well as the gray corners connect the blocks, we can do pretty much what we want to make it all work.


Meeting Time Again....

Here are the minutes from our July meeting:

July 7, 2015
GRMQ Meeting Minutes

Meeting called to order at 7 PM by Kathy Nelson, VP
16 persons were in attendance. We each introduced ourselves as we had 3 new persons attending.
Old business:
Fall Retreat: there are 2 spaces for overnight guests. There are 5 spots for day quilters at 10$ per day. Let Kathy know if you are interested in either option.
Legwork continues on getting the GRMQ logo on promotional items. 
New Business:
Linda Plowman is planning a Spring Retreat April 22-24 at Lake Ann Camp (near Interlochen) Cost is $132 and includes accommodations, meals, and work station. Ten persons expressed interest at this time.
Great Lakes Modern Quilt Guild has sent an open invitation to us to join them for their July meeting. July 25 at 10:30 AM at Wood Hall at WMU campus they are having special guest speaker Angela Pingel. Her blog is She is a published quilter, her new book is A Quilters Mixology. She is also featured on Moda Bakeshop. Cost is only $5. Bring a friend and attend!
Lindsey Weidner will organize a mini quilt swap for the Fall
Lindsey won the Lotta Blocks. Cathy Mueller brought her completed Lotta Blocks quilt to show and share.
August Lotta Blocks pattern is posted on Face Book page.
Skill School was given by Carol Drudy—how to make pressing strip bars using ¼ round shoe moulding and batting and muslin. They work great to press open seams.
Show and Share
Meeting adjourned at 8:09 PM

I made my block and thought that maybe some of you may want to know of the Quilt in A Day squaring up tool.

 In the bottom picture the uneveness of making HST's shows.  With the ruler placed on the size, above, on the seam line, 4", I was able to trim the HST equally.  This method is very accurate since the HST isn't being opened with the likely chance of getting stretched and made wonky during pressing.  Experts stress not to iron HST's since stretching occurs.
 Below is the trimmed and square half-square triangle square.

 The above block is the month's challenge.  Below is the block I made with the trimmings from the above block.  No HST's in the featured block, only trimmings.

I could have matched the feature block, but opted to turn the top rows 90 degrees. 

See you August 4th with the social starting at 6:30.  Check our Facebook page for the details.....need to sign off I have a dog staring at me and one scrunched on my left....

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Lower Wings, Raise Flaps and keep the rudder steady....

Yes, I'm practicing my free motion quilting again.  My sampler from 2014 has been assembled for a while but not quilted.  While hand quilting would have been ok, it is after all called a "sampler".   First, I started with the walking foot.  A couple of my blocks look really neat.  However, doing straight lines can only hold one's attention for so long.  Thus, the FM journey began again!  This quilt is only 48" square - just a nice size.  After doing several Civil War commemorative quilts that range in 98" to 104", smaller quilts are now my favorite.  So how do these flight terms fit motion quilting rules number 1-100 all have to do with "relax", after that the remaining rules get quite technical.  When my wings(elbows)were out - bobbin thread showed; wings in but flaps slumping - bobbin thread showed and finally keeping the rudder(foot pedal) going at a reasonably rate (slow) gave the  stitching process better stitches.  After reminding myself of these rules, my mantra, the free motion looked pretty good....for me!
 I chose only 9 of the 12 blocks - keeping the size down.
 This center block ended being a grid design just by going with how the block angled.  I love the color and now I'm even impressed with  the quilting on this block.
 Well, then the FMQ!  The more I did it, over several days and many, many hours, my squiggles stretched and stretched!  Towards the end of this exercise hand quilting was appealing once again!

I may have shown this quilt earlier in the year as I used used dryer sheets as the base for the border rectangles.  At the first stage of FMQ, I was matching colors, well that got to be tedious with the scrappy rectangles!  So I just chose a color and went with it.  I'm showing the back as this is my missionary fabric.  I bought it because I liked the colors and it helped a school in Africa.  So what to do with a small quilt?  

 In the spring of 2003 I took my first quilting class, hand quilting.  The above quilt is my class project.  Everything was completed by hand....boy have I come a long way!
This quilt has been my lap quilt since completed in 2003!  My stitches are huge and oh my, the colors chosen.  The binding has been coming off for a long time now.  I put it on my lap even in the summer.    When my helpers come in from outside their wet paws go on it and my me.  It's time for it to retire, just like the owner.

My patient helpers! Is she done yet?  Dog days of's only 81 degrees up here!
Lemon Quilts has a great tutorial on how to sew Y seams!  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mod Squad....alone

Every fourth Wednesday of the month a group of us meet at the Attic Window to practice modern block piecing.  Well, our friend Caroll is unavailable due to a family illness, so I sent out the emails to remind everyone.  Well, I was the only person to show....everyone is away or missing Caroll's presence.  She is definitely missed.  Chris, the stores owner, was busy getting ready for the Grand Haven Quilt show this weekend and for AQS and her big move down the street.  Even though alone, it was nice to sew there, not so many distractions as when I sew at home.  I even remembered to pack  a lunch - which I rarely remember.

My project this month was to try making a large block from all triangles.Kitchen Table Quilting has a tutorial that I've been wanting to try.  Scrap quilting is very difficult for me.  She did say in the instructions that I should map or grid out my block, since it is triangles of various shapes.  Nope, no me, I'm going to sit down and do this!  After two hours of sorting, trimming, pressing and whatever, here's is what I can show for my efforts:

Choosing fabrics is so challenging!  My friends at AW just pull strips out and sew.  Well, some more trimming and using my 60 degree ruler might will help finish it for  my orphan block collection.

Recently 24 Blocks posted a three-dimensional dresden block.  Check this site out, especially if you want a new way to jazz up prairie points.

Information about the Grand Haven Lighthouse Quilt Guild's quilt show can be found here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Shania's Inspiration......

Shania Twain was in Grand Rapids for a concert recently.  Several weeks prior, however, I was instructed it was my motherly duty and attend the concert with my older daughter, Anna.  Well, I like Shania's music, so what the heck!  Oh my goodness.....I like concerts, but I'm not near deaf yet.  Anna also told me my hearing was still too good....growing up is so much fun to witness!  I was also informed that EVERYONE would be wearing western boots.  Well, I'll spare you the picture of me in my new boots and western hat (borrowed from friend Robin).  Robin said I still needed a bull whip....too much fun.  At last minute her friend from grade school wanted to come.  Here's a picture of her best of friends, Kari.
Please note, no western wear on these girls....just Mom!  So, you ask how does one get inspired for a quilt at a very LOUD, an MRI type loud, concert?

Don't those lights just sing cut and slash!  The concert's use of holograms and lights was wonderful.  The inspiration for anyone wanting to use color or not is everywhere. The concert was great, but Anna said it best, "Mom, you're more of an acoustic concert fan."  Yep, pardner, I am, but it was fun to be inlcuded.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Neighbor Judy....

Years ago my daughters and I were so lucky to have neighbor Judy and her husband, Dave, move next door.  They attended so many grade school, middle school and high school events for both girls.  As a single parent it was often times difficult to make both girls' events, but they were there if I wasn't. Jeny, my youngest daughter, was about 8 years old when they moved next door.  Here they are with her at her Ferris State University graduation in 2009.  My other daughter was graduating the same day in  South Orange, NJ....the date conflicts just never end, just get less and less. 

 Judy re-entered the world of quilting about the same time I started, the high school graduation of my now 30 year old.  Judy and I have done quilt hops and bus trips and our own designed quilt hops for several years now.  A trip to Shipshewana was always on the agenda with a stop at the cheese factory.  A couple days ago she stopped over to show me her new block experimentation.While she was at the Attic Window for the seasonal sample block of the month she picked up a copy of the new Block book from Missouri Star Quilt.
Above, Judy is showing me how she made these large half-square triangles (HST), from two large squares sewn together along the outside edges, made the pinwheel shown then get......
this new block by cutting and slashing.....The Block also explains several more blocks from making HST's.   I think it's called the Disappearing Half-Square Triangles.  She's promised to send it over but she's having so much fun I haven't seen it yet.  These books are the best deal in quilt world....$5.99!  Besides the patterns simple and concise instructions are the mainstay for each pattern.  Judy is what I call a production quilter.  She must complete at least two or three full sized tops a month!  When we both started we insisted on only hand quilting our projects; I've played with machine quilting since I'm obsessed with finishing projects (even though I have several in the queue).  Judy loves to shop at the Goodwill's and Salvation Army for deals, unfinished quilt projects.  Someday she's going to open all her large pizza boxes used to store her blocks and quilts and count how many need completion.  Without her experimentation I'd have little inspiration though!  With the upcoming presidential season and on going sports TV, I'm confident she will get a few more done...certain presidential hopefuls get the quilting needle going faster!

Have fun and stayed tuned for an update on our last meeting at GRMQ and our really cool retreat plans.  I am so excited for the fall retreat weekend at a camp on Lake Michigan! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

15 and still counting.....

What a great meeting GRMQ had last Tuesday!  We're growing as word gets around.  We had three guests who want to join.  A hearty welcome to Lindsey, Holly and Cathy!  Already our group has learned from your participation.  Lindsey was the winner of  our purple, yellow, green and white blocks!  Anxious to see how she puts them together.  While we have around 30 members, we need more interested quilters curious about modern quilting.

Our monthly skill demo was done by Caroll D.  The knowledge she has to share - oh boy!  A new tool is available in quilt stores, the exact name I am unsure, but it's an ironing device to assist in opening seams in quilt blocks.  Simply, a DYI project that requires a piece of scrap batting, a double layered piece of cotton and a piece of molding used around floor edges.  Glue the batting edge to the bottom of the molding, wrap the batting around and then glue again at the top edge.  The cotton cover is wrapped with a large "flap" to enable you to sew it as close as possible to the molding on all three edges.  Trimming the excess batting is a good idea before sewing.(No pictures because you just had to be there to enjoy we all are members)!

However please enjoy the work of our members:

 Linda shows us her circles quilt - all hand done.   I love the blanket stitch but have yet to conquer it.  Notice how she finished the edge......

 Nancy, above, must love's so cool to look at.....
 Becky shows us a pattern from Jay Bird quilts, Northern Lights.  How timely with the summer solstice and northern lights showing just a few days prior!

 Becky is keeping her Curve It Up ruler skills honed.  The square is so neat, at first the curves are not visible.  Her use of colors is quite fascinating.
 Lindsey, one of our three guests, shows us her quilt with an Alice in Wonderland theme:  We're All Mad.  Minky fabric was used for the back and consequently no batting was needed.
 Lindsey also showed us her crazy quilt square she's working on....
 Roni's baby quilt is adorable....this grandchild to so blessed.
 Adrienne showed us her quilt that was displayed last October at the West Michigan Quilt Guild show.  The judges thought it needed more quilting, it's still gorgeous!  Thought for the day:  when does a quilt have too much or not enough quilting in it?
 Roni had her Modern Amish block of the month squares to show.

One of the cutest quilts shown was from Minion Rose.  My friend Caroll D took a picture so I opted not to, but I haven't seen it on her blog yet, so here is a picture of the quilt from Google Images.  So sorry Rose, but what a great quilt.....
 Several kits were available on-line, but I'm not going to promote other sources.  Just in case you can't quite place Rose's handle, she writes the newsletter for Queen Bee Quilt Shop on Division near 60th Street, maybe they have the pattern.....hint, hint!

Piece N Quilt has a cute modern block called Confetti.....try it and send me a message......

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Beehive Work.....

The Stitched Studio Modern Beehive met recently.  Annie had her turn at being the Queen.  Her choice of quilt involved a zillion half-square triangles.  Her twist was to make the block in white and another solid.  I chose blue knowing that many of the worker bees had already chosen the cool brights.  Below is how the quilt will eventually look, Annie will make several of the gray/white blocks to insert between the bee blocks.

Linda U is August's Queen.  She has chosen this block for us to complete is grays on a white with black background and one square of red.

This block should be fun - no HST's. The bees didn't like my inset circle, but I see HST's and flying geese in my nightmares....getting those points....ugh!  Pretty but ugh!

Craftsy has many, many free patterns.  Enjoy using your scrappy solids for this block Pineapple block

Monday, July 6, 2015

Too hot to sew? Well, look at this important tool....

I love my sewing room, it's large and spacious even though I've managed to fill it and make it a tricky place to maneuver!  However, it is on the second floor of my home facing due west.  While the forever shedding sycamores shade this side of the house, my sewing room can get beastly hot.  My good friend Lisa H, a non-sewist, recently showed me her cooling device for "those" moments.  Lisa is a bit younger than m and carries this fan with her everywhere.

 Annie is pretty old but still enjoys a cool breeze!
I was in a driven mood the other day needing to finish some work when I pulled this necklace fan from my travel goodies.  I bought it for the hot days on my hiking trip but never used it.  The neck rope comes apart to shorten, which I needed in order to keep the fan from getting buried by the quilt.  It cost all of  $5.99 at Meijer, in the fan section, AND uses AA batteries.  Enjoy, as the hot weather has finally arrived.

Grand Rapids Modern Quilters is meeting tomorrow night, July 7th at Kuyper Colledge.  Social time begins at 6:30.  The demos include open vs closed seams and how to make the tool to help iron seams open.