Sunday, April 10, 2016

Baseball and Hand Sewing!

I'm so glad that baseball is back.  Thanks to a few Grapefruit League games in March and now for the next 160 games, I'm set.  Part of this past time is hand sewing.  Most of my quilts made over the last 13 years have been hand quilted.  While I'm not doing the hand quilting as much, appliqué and a few smaller projects might be in order.

The table runner shown is a kit from Connecting Threads.  From the picture in the catalog, I thought it was's all appliquéd!.  It was really fun to figure out and put together.  The ends that resemble a citrus slice will make great placemats!  The stars in at the main part required going to an office supply store and enlarge the star 200 times!  Yes, that is huge.  It may not look like it finished, but  200x is big.  The fabric on the back is just fun!  It doesn't have any teal in it, but it really goes well.

Making another set in a completely different scheme will be fun for the summer while watching my Tigers!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Bee in the Attic is coming....

My friend Caroll D and I are starting a contemporary bee at the Attic Window.  We've been busy testing patterns as we've had to break them down to a block rather a whole quilt pattern.  We had fun at the Modern Bee at Stitched Studio this past year.  We will doing a completely different book and a bit differently.  Caroll posted this flyer on her blog earlier and at the store.

Come and join us for a fun hour or more on the fourth Wednesday of the month.

Here are some of the pictures from our last meeting in March and prior.  At our Bee in the Attic the queens will choose the pattern and give us instructions on color, fabric, seams or whatever.  She will pass on the decisions to the worker bees that she would normally make making the blocks.

Can you believe the top quilt and the lower example are the exact same pattern!  That's how the Bee in the Attic will work.  The queens for these months chose the schemes for us.

 This queen gave us the teal with metallic fabric as well as the graphic fabric that looks like a wrist watch face.  We were also instructed to use white-white for the background.
 Queen Kelly gave us the squiggle, connecting squares and the grays.  The block goes from gray corner to corner.  Again, the upper and lower quilts are the same pattern, but the queens had different goals.

Friday, April 8, 2016

It's Done!

While the time between the time I ordered the pattern and made this quilt is quite short, less than a year, it was quilt a challenge and for some reason exciting.  It measures 80" square and it's quite  striking.  Several weeks ago I previewed it on Instagram.  My tease is to show a few blocks at a time just to talk about the process.

Hint #1:  It's very modern

This block is comprised of four paper pieced squares that measure 9 1/2" each.  While the picture makes the dark strips look black, they're really navy blue.  At first my reaction questioned  why paper piece such large stripes, it really is a good idea.  What the instructions lacked in cutting one set of block-fabric placements, the uniformity of the stripes calls to PP.  The pattern also suggested that stitching around the inside edge about 1/4" to prevent stretching.  Yes, definitely do this aide when paper piecing, but 1/8th of an inch is much better in case the joining seams drift, as mine did.  I had to pick black thread out of the beige stripes.

Hint #2:  The Honorees in the quilt name have West Michigan connections.

Hint #3:  They set out in the 1940's to impact lives and they certainly have through their architecture, textiles, furniture, books and films.
This block is four very large Drunkard's Path blocks.  Each quarter section is a 9 1/2" block.  In the picture below you can see the other sections used.  Also, the picture below highlights the striped Drunkard's Path.  Again very large, each quarter  again measures 9 1/2" .  As many of you may already know I'm not quite obsessed, but close,  in wanting to conquer sewing curves.  My state of mind was very relaxed when I did most of these curves, all from freezer paper templates.  I held my breath during the sewing and thought pleasant thoughts.  All in all, these blocks came together fairly well -  for me.
The flying geese, the black with beige above, is resultant of 12" half square triangles.  HTS's and FG drive me nuts!  Making these huge samples were actually fun, but the same bad habits can still follow.  Once making several navy/beige striped squares a few of them had to be sliced diagonally....oh another breath holding event to prevent stretching.
Above are two FG's or four HST's - pick your pleasure.

Mix and match any and all patterns define this pattern.  By now I'm sure you've guessed the impact of  Ray and Charles Eames on design.  Yes, this quilt is named the Eames.

Apparently this pattern was the give-away gift to those quilters who attended the Modern Quilt Guild convention last year.  After thinking I ordered it and never receiving it I began looking on-line for it.  Luckily, the guild sells it.  You can buy it here for $10.  While checking the links for this post I was struck again by the quilt and how it changes by how close or how far away it's viewed.

If you should decide to purchase or do the pattern watch out for a couple things.  The pattern calls for  beige binding.  I did not have enough after cutting all the curved pieces and stripes.  Not wanting to buy more material the black on hand was a perfect match and doesn't yellow the white on the back.  I like the black.
If you've never done curves, these large blocks might be a way to start.  Stretching will always be an careful!  The pressing of the seams on curves can be tricky, but becomes really tricky with solids and light colors.  I found myself re-pressing the blue/beige combinations into the blue after the initial pressing. The seams leaned towards the beige.  When assembled, the seam on the beige darkened more than anticipated.

Another hint was mentioned above during the paper piecing discussion - only sew an 1/8th of an inch from the edges.

Again, I devised a QAYG method to work with this pattern.

Several years ago I began purchasing batting on the roll.  My previous roll was light weight, a bit too light weight.  In November I re-ordered a heavier batting - way too heavy for this quilt - it weighs about 5 pounds!  It will be warm!  If we don't spring soon, it'll be on my bed!

Oh, by the way, these clips were wonderful for this quilt!  It's a very thick quilt, even if lighter weight batting is used.  Pins wouldn't work as well holding seams together during the QAYG process or while attaching the binding.  I'm so sold on these little jobs...wasn't poked once!  😃

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Homework is Done!

January is a slow time for my quilting and sewing.  It must be the let down after all the holiday work and events.  It also a time to catch up and start new projects as the pressure is less.  For about the fourth consecutive year I'm doing two blocks of the month (BOM).  Below is my March block for Amy Gibson's Sugar Block Club.  Part of quilting and piecing blocks is the anticipation of the quilt top.  Enduring the half-square tries and those darn geese in the air often lead to beautiful and quilt innovative squares/tops.  Never can I remember having a block that was actually FUN!  While Amy offers a machine appliqué tutorial, I hand appliquéd the petals.  It was so fun to make and EASY!   
Stitchery Dickory Dock is the blog and please visit it and see the quilt layout using only this block, but in various color schemes - it's adorable!  It is also ideal for those of you who are scrappy quilters.    With baseball season starting, I was able to hand sew the petals during a Tiger spring training game with three innings left!

Pat Sloan offers many block of the month clubs each year.  Below is the March block for The Secret Garden.  Pat sure does love those HST's and FG's!

Below is the last block that the Modern Bee hosted by Stitched Studio.  We were instructed to make a block for Lisa's 16 year old daughter who likes blues and purples.  Those of us who have done this bee are anxious to learn of the new group!

As for homework, today was the monthly meeting for the Vintage Farm Girl quilt group hosted by The Attic Window.  I already have the two  6" blocks made for next month----yeah!  For the Easter season we made the chicken and Easter basket.  The picture shows the blocks made by our instructors: Marilyn and Sue.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Top of the Mornin'

Thinking that I still had several St. Patrick's Day cards, I didn't take time to purchase any for my friends with whom  I exchange each year.  So, two days before the big day for some of us, no cards to mail and have arrive on March 17th!  Egads, what to do?!

Never dreaming I'd ever take time to make a fabric post card let alone a greeting card, I found myself using scraps of shamrock material and scrapbooking card stock leftover from Girl Scout leading days to make cards at 4 p.m. to make the mailbox pickup downtown by 6 p.m.!  Yep, I made it, hope the cards did.  It was really quite easy, of course, for some reason the shamrock template I made several years ago popped out at in my appliqué pattern drawer.  One card was wasted as the rainbow I designed with markers didn't show at all!  Maybe next year I'll plan more ahead as I have a good collection of dull needles for such a project.  

If you are a fan of Celtic designs Quilt Inspiration has several beautiful quilts and wall hangings.  I'm not into fairy items but as you scroll down the blog the quilt with the Celtic Crosses is beautiful, worth the electronic trip without all the expense of a trans-Atlantic trip!

Erin Go Bragh!


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Cleaning scraps....

The January Mighty Lucky Quilting Club lesson taught us about making and using bias tape.  We were to make several arches and corners with bias tape we make.  While fun and interesting I did one of those "oh well" that's interesting.  On one of the vacation recovery days I felt like doing something not requiring too much thought.  Since the Mod Squad at The Attic Window disbanded the travel box needed cleaning.  Throwing scraps out can be a relief and/or a guilt trip.  I focused on throwing out itty bitty pieces.  Also buried in the mess was strips.  

January's bias tape project.

Guilt in dissing perfectly good strips prevailed.  The bias tape makers were still on my work table (I'm not real strict on putting things away).  Without cutting to correct size I just started feeding strips into the BT makers.  Some tapes were two toned and some really wrinkled....must be good for some decoration....This mindless activity was perfect while dealing with the cloudy cold days following  five days in the Bahamas. 
I've hung the several strips on my lamp as reminders to include in future projects.  The scrap box really can be a source of inspiration!  Please remember, though, some scraps can be trashed without guilt!  Go for it!

Monday, February 29, 2016

My February Homework is done....

Now I'm waiting for March work load.
The Mighty Lucky Sewing Club's lesson for February was using negative space and focusing on one particular fabric.  I hope you are attracted to the purple spirals....if not...oh well!  Many of the participants are doing more piecing and making several blocks.  I need small wall hangings, so while not knowing what the future blocks will bring, I'm hoping for 12 interesting wall decorations.

This block is part of Pat Sloan's Mystery Garden.  I'm hoping to use white/back fabrics for the backgrounds.  

 Stitchery Dickory Dock's BOM February block is shown here.  I'm using yards of dark purple as background for all the blocks with hopes of using it all.

These blocks are from a kit taking up room in my cupboard.  There are at the first stage of completion.  The instructions require this blocks to be paired and made into contrasting half-square triangles.  I've decided to take it one more step and make hour glass blocks.  The batiks are beautiful and fun to work with, but I'm not keen on the recommended pattern.

What have you been working on?  Post pictures in comments, especially if you're doing the same on-line BOM's!

These two blocks are for our Modern Bee that meets at Stitched Studio.  We're almost to the end of the first year.  The snow storms in December and January kept us from meeting so we have two blocks due on the 29th.  

Stitched Studio is continuing the Modern Bee with more times and days.  The book will be changing for some of us, since we've done 10 or more of the blocks.  Vintage Modern Blocks will be our new book incorporating piecing and paper piecing.  Should be fun!  

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Back On the Farm....

Last  Wednesday was Vintage Farm Block of the Month meeting at Attic Window.  Linda, Pauline and Sue have met on the third Wednesday of the month for 6 1/2 years now.  The group has really grown from our Civil War quilt BOM's.  I have the darnedest time with these blocks.  They're not hard but do required reading the instructions.  The block designer makes flying geese and half-square triangles in a variety of methods.

I'm always impressed with Pauline's productivity between meetings.

 Pauline, shown above, shows her Attic Window Quilt.

 She knitted the above sweater for her new grandson.  The baseball button is adorable.
 Pauline paraticipated in El's Kitchen last year.  She now has all the applique and borders on, getting ready for the long arm quilter.  I wish I had done this BOM.  :(

She loves this block the most!

 Several months ago she showed us the sports quilt for another baby grandson.  She made all the logos and balls from scratch.  Below is the back.
A post last year highlighted her family quilt with the old photographs.  She had framed the photos in 30"s fabric.  Quilting has introduced me to such interesting and talented people.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Back in Town.....

While I've been back for more than a week, motivation to do a whole lot must have been left on Paradise Island, Bahamas.  The girls, with their men, and I enjoyed five days without snow and cold.  While the weather was cooler than desired, it was great for walking around and even pool swimming.  My lap swimming is gone for good....I did several laps but it was worse than when I was doing laps all the time.  Back then I described my swimming as keeping up with dead fish, now it's not even that fast.

 Anna was excellent in organizing a trek across the bridges connecting Paradise Island to Nassau on New Providence Island.  Reluctantly I joined in and was glad I did.  Over the years, starting 30 years ago, the girls and I have done the bridges many, many times, even loaded with groceries in our back packs.  Anna decided we were eating lunch at one of the local food booths under the bridges.  I'm so glad I went.  The fried red snapper, very, very fresh, was wonderful; Anna ate the eyes just to gross out her sister!  The kids enjoyed conch salads and fritters.  Daphney's had by far the best fritters.

 Above:  Justin and Anna
 Jeny and Ryan


All in all, the five days did us all well.  Even though the weather could have been  warmer we were able to play games and enjoy each other's company.  I taught everyone Canasta.  They seemed to enjoy it as they always liked playing Rummy.  I forgot my iPad and our phone service doesn't serve Bahamas.  Consequently, I knocked off three books.  Yeah!

The sisters enjoying the walk back after a fun walk for lunch!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Boxes to Bags....

Over the years the Valentine Days' gifts for my two daughters has changed as they have changed.  A day trip of shopping in Holland, MI resulted in some earrings in a specially chosen box.  Boxes were a simple souvenir I began collecting in my twenties.  A box was usually small and easy to pack.  One of my favorites I purchased in Vancouver, BC.  It had been hand carved with the raised carving painted in an off white and the background a subtle orange in Russia.  The Apothecary Shop in Holland was my place to go for a nice but not expensive reminder of Valentine's Day.  This year they're getting the medium sized Stand 'n Stow bag from Atkinson Designs.  It uses a ,new to me, Pellon called Peltex.  Peltex is stiffer and stands the bag up but with this pattern, packs away nicely.  We will be in the Bahamas for this week and it will be good for shopping, but easily packs away in their carry-ons for the journey home.

The bicycle material was purchased probably two years ago for a satchel bag.  The 18" frames are no longer available, so now it's a Stand 'n Store!.  The fabric was tricky.  While it doesn't have a nap to deal with, the pattern was tricky.  My first cut had the bicycles sideways.  Luckily the satchel bag required more than a yard.  To make it work, the fabric was opened and cut on the straight.  The next trick it presented involved the pattern not matching across the fabric.  I chose the front shown, but the other side either has upside writing or upside bikes.....

 The fabric above has been hanging on a closet door for a year or so.  I hung it there to remind me to make a quilt with it:  the colors are WONDERFUL!  The quilt thing wasn't happening - then it came to me.....but did I have enough?  Just enough.  I am so glad it is this bag now....

My friend Caroll D passed along a helpful hint she learned from Carol H, a long arm quilter used by many of us who sew at the Attic Window.  Caroll's hints are pretty good - my seam ripper sails along seams now - with only an occasional blup.

The pin showing on the left side of the presser foot is inserted at a junction with cross stitching.  Many, many times a pucker will occur at this point.  Carol H's HH (helpful hint) places the pin at the junction to set the fabric so when sewn it won't pucker.  I tried it several times and it worked beautifully.  So many times when I'm using my walking foot for quilting a pucker appears - now I'm optimistic that one more problem has been solved.  Thank you to Caroll D and Carol H.

The above bag pattern was purchased at the Attic Window, but I'm sure other stores will carry it once word travels how easy and fast this bag is to make.  BTW, I made both bags at the same time over two afternoons.  One long day would easily provide for making more than one bag at a session.

Fat Sack is a free pattern offered by Atkinson Designs.  I would most definitely try another of her patterns.  This fat sack would make a great a grocery bag, as would the large version of the Stand 'n Stow.

A Happy Valentine's Day to you all......

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Heading West to Oakland or San Franciso?

This morning's New York Times has this article about Oakland's quilting guild comprised mostly of African Americans.  Please read and be amazed by the beautiful art wish I could envision just a spec of what these quilters see.....

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Favorite Tools

Many quilt stores offer special sales during the holiday season, often titled:  The 12 Days of Christmas.  Unusual gadgets or specialty items are offered.  This year my friend Robin surprised me with the ruler shown below by Clover.  The Press Perfect hot ruler measures 2 1/2" x 9'.  It's purpose provides a ruler to measure an edge of fabric and press as the same time.  Other rulers will melt or warp and are too thick for a nice crisp fold.  The pictures illustrate that many gradations, as small as 1/4" are printed on the ruler.    I have been using mine for the past several days as I finished my last QAYG quilt.  

This quilt, showing back on left, has 40 strips, many of which required a 1/4" fold to finish attaching the blocks.  This new ruler was wonderful!  Reminder though....turn off the steam on your iron!

I have no idea where or how I acquired the snippers shown, but they are so handy.  Note the hooked blade on one side.  It's great for taking stitches out...  It's a one piece device!

If you're interested in weaving, here's a pattern from.Kaufman here.