Sunday, July 31, 2011

Amish house update

I have 5 of my House blocks completed and all 7 of the other blocks are ready for the miniature Amish quilt section. 6 of the finished blocks will be grey houses and the other 6 will be brown houses.

These tiny quilts are 6" square finished size. That means the pieces are really tiny. They are difficult to hold straight as I feed them through the sewing machine. Some are pretty easy, but some are looking kind of scary. And I've reached one of the scariest of the set.

My next house block's mini quilt section is kind of a pineapple block with tiny little corner sections. I refuse to allow myself to skip it and just leave it for last because I am afraid it could become a UFO if I do that. So it may take me all week to actually cut and sew that one, but I'm determined to have it done.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Attempt at organization

What do you do when your sewing room begins to look like the scrap bin has exploded? I decided it was time to do something about the messy collection of scraps that is threatening to take over my space. I really hate throwing away fabric scraps so unfortunately it was either do something now or buy a much larger bin.

So I pulled some of the bigger pieces from my scrap bin this morning and cut some 5" charm squares, some 3.5" squares, and some 2.5" squares. For a few months I've been cutting 1.5" postage stamp squares from the ends of binding strips and other little scraps. And I've been collecting narrow strips (2" or less) to use in some string blocks. I've made a small dent in that scrap bin and it feels good to tackle the mess even if it is small

These squares are going into labeled plastic shoeboxes and when I have enough to use in a scrappy quilt they will find a home. I'm making no promises about those postage stamps however.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

2 more houses

Sunday afternoon was pretty quiet around here because my husband was playing in a golf tournament today. So I spent some quality time sewing while the cat napped on the window sill.

These 2 house blocks join the first one of my design wall. And I have a lot of the rest of the house and sky pieces cut out. The tiny little quilts (6" square) are the most time consuming part. As I mentioned in a previous post, there are 12 blocks and each one has a different mini quilt.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pink charm squares

Here is my 2nd cutting project from Friday morning - charm squares. I'm in a Rainbow Charm Pack Swap hosted by Ellison Lane Quilts.

Each participant (56 if us) is assigned a color and we cut 56 charm squares (5") from each of two fabrics in that color. There are 7 people assigned to each of 8 colors. The group shares and everyone ends up with a RAINBOW of charm squares.

My two sets of 56 are ready to mail off to the swap host. She asks that everyone use high quality fabrics. I chose both from Robert Kaufman lines: Fusion and Patina Handpaints (by Lunn Studios).

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fast and Easy Dresden Plates

Took the day off and I spent the morning with my rotary cutter and cutting mat - having some fun. This is the first project I worked on. They are Dresden Plate slices that I cut from a set of 6" blocks I got in a swap a couple of years ago. As you can see there are 26 different purples already cut and I have a few more on my ironing board waiting.

From each 6" block I can get 2 of these slices. Smaller blocks make smaller Dresden Plates. I only had 1 of some of these blocks, but had 2 or more of some others. Most of the blocks were from the swap, but a couple of the fabrics were from some purple fat quarters I had as well. Depending on what I decide to make with these, I may trim some down to make some smaller plates as well for variety.

I believe that the correct ruler can save so much time. For this project I used the Easy Dresden ruler. It has very clear markings to allow you to select any size of slice you want. I chose the 6" slice. I folded each block in half so I could cut 2 at once. Once the slices are cut, then you sew across the wide end, set the stitches briefly with a hot iron. Then you turn that point right-side-out, center the seam and press the point into the piece. And as quickly as that you are ready to put the Dresden slices into the plate shape by sewing up the long sides to make pairs, then makes "4-z's", etc until you have the complete circle. Applique this unit onto your background and add an appliqued circle over the center if you want.

My second cutting project this morning will have to wait for another post.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Free quilt patterns at Riley Blake

I just love FREE things, don't you? I saw this on another blog last night and couldn't resist passing along a great tip. Riley Blake is featuring free quilt patterns on their website - ready to download and enjoy. These patterns are in PDF format, so they are easy to print.

There is a whole page of patterns, along with a suggested fabric line. I really like this "Wrapped Up In You" pattern. And I also like "Forest Friends".

And the "Spooky Squares" might be just the pattern to use up some of the Halloween fat quarters I've collected.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July block swap

My swap block for July is in the mail to my partner. Her color request was for blues in any block pattern. So I used the same pattern we did for this month's Saturday Sampler because I really liked the pinwheel center, and used 4 different blue fabrics.

Hope she likes it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Charm Pack swap

I signed up for a charm pack swap over the weekend over at Ellison Lane Quilts and can't wait to get started. Each participant will buy 1 yard each of 2 different fabrics in an assigned color. We cut 56 charm squares from each and send them back to the swap host. Then we receive a RAINBOW charm pack in return with selections from each color. Sounds like lots of fun doesn't it?

I went to the Pin Cushion this morning and bought my pink fabrics. One of them is this yummy Patina Handpaint called Petal. The other one I selected is a Robert Kaufman Fusions with a soft butterfly design on it. I did pick a third one too, just in case I had duplicated someone else's. We have to upload a photo for the group on Flickr so we can see what everyone else has selected.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Family time today

Baby Mason was baptized this morning in Sioux Falls. It was so nice to spend time with family! And thank goodness the church was air conditioned because it was about 100 degrees with very high humidity outside.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

1 down, 11 to go!

Last night I made the first house block from the new pattern I bought. The pattern is Ryokan from Thimblecreek Quilts. It looked complicated, but really went together fairly quickly.

The miniature quilt part took the longest of course, since the pieces are so small. I decided on batiks for the house and sky. And solids for the quilts sections. Each quilt is different.

No progress yet today however. Our power was off for about 2 hours - on the hottest most humid day of the year so far!!! Anyway, it put me way behind on more important chores like laundry. Sewing again later this afternoon I hope.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Black & white & bright . . .

I decided right away that I was going to make a second version of this year's Saturday Sampler blocks each month. That way at the end of the year I will have TWO quilt tops made.

Well, so far we've done 6 blocks and my secondary color choice has been black and white with bright accents. Here are the first 6 blocks up on my design wall. Can't wait for the next block each month.

I also have been making the bonus block each month so that I have a chance at winning blocks. This month's block above is the one with red in the lower left corner. And this month's bonus block is supposed to be done in red and white. I think it would be lots of fun to win a whole bunch of these red and white blocks in August.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

More hot and humid weather

One more day of work and then it will finally be the weekend so that I can take the time to do something just for me. Just heard that the heat index may be as high as 110 this weekend. That is just ridiculous!!

So - I may not leave the house at all on Saturday; my sewing room will be the coolest place in the house anyway. Guess I'll have to venture out on Sunday to go to my grandson's baptism. Sure hope that church is air conditioned!

Maybe I'll have something accomplished in the sewing/quilting category to share over the weekend. I'm looking forward to relaxing at my sewing machine!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Binding progress

I've shown this quilt top a couple of months ago - before it was quilted. Now it's quilted (by Carli at the Pin Cushion) with a warm fuzzy backing. And I'm plugging away on the binding for it. There is a deadline since it's a wedding gift for the end of the month, so I need to move a little faster!

The fabric line was Frolic and it was made from "turnovers" - a triangular precut. Very fun to use precuts.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Too hot for quilting

It has been really hot and humid here the past few days. Other than my Saturday Sampler block #6, the only other sewing I've been doing is putting the binding on a wedding gift quilt. But even with the air conditioning it gets too hot with a heavy quilt and a big heavy cat all occupying my lap while I do the hand stitching.

My 19 pound cat assumes the quilt is spread out just for him to lay on - even when it's in my lap. Gotta love the way their minds work!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Block #6

Block #6 for Saturday Sampler is done. I really like pinwheels, so this block was especially fun. A soft dusty aqua seems to be a common color emerging from these blocks so far. I need to keep that in mind when I choose sashing and binding fabrics.

I still need to make my own black/white/bright variation and the bonus block this month is red/white. Those will have to be an evening project this week.

The weekend was pretty much taken up with family events: a baby shower and a bridal shower. Fun times!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Twister is completed

My Twister placemat is completely finished. I handquilted this in random circles in 2 different sizes. And then I bound it in another batik.

I think I'm going to do another of these but with a different layout, maybe putting the background in between the colored squares. This afternoon I stopped in at the Pin Cushion and Cindy showed me one done in a wreath shape. That would be really pretty done in Christmas fabrics.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Swap block received

Look what the mailman brought me on Saturday! I joined a block swap recently and this was my first month to be involved. My partner was Jen from Pennsylvania. Thanks Jen - I love this block!

The rules with this swap include being able to specify a preference. Jen wanted a log cabin type block in batiks. I sent her one in blue and green.

I specified black and white with a bright accent since I've been having some fun with that colorway lately. Jen did a great job meeting my expectations. This block will fit perfectly into a black/white/red quilt top that I recently pulled from my UFOs to work on again. It is a sampler, but set in a very non-traditional setting. The blocks are random sizes and shapes, with a narrow black sashing. I had been making practice blocks for various Saturday Samplers and other projects a couple of years ago. These practice blocks were then being added into this quilt top - and this new one is perfect to jump start this project again.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Quilting my Frenchbraid

Friday afternoon I didn't work, and finally got a chance to take this quilt top over to my friend Sylvia's to get it quilted. Love her Qbot machine! The top is my Frenchbraid and it's going to be a wedding gift. Can't keep every quilt I make even though I'm tempted with this one!

I have a dark green back on this and am quilting it with a gold thread in a large leaf design. It's turning out very nicely. However - there is about 10 inches left to quilt and we ran out of time. So I plan to go over again in the next couple of days to finish up.

Friday, July 1, 2011

June accomplishments were modest

Good thing I didn't really set any goals for the month of June. I knew with the arrival of our first grandchild that I would be a bit distracted from my sewing room. So the accomplishments listed below are small and pretty modest.

  1. Saturday Sampler block + black/white/bright version for me (Jacob's Ladder this month)

  2. bonus block for Saturday Sampler

  3. July appliqued mini quilt from Count On It

  4. swap block (batik log cabin variation)

  5. 36 pinwheel blocks for a charity quilt project

  6. applique "seeds" onto my watermelon table runner (halfway on hand quilting)

  7. loaded my French Braid quilt on Sylvia's quilting frame to quilt TODAY

  8. hand quilting and binding on Twister placemat

Yesterday evening I went down to my sewing room in the basement to sort through my batiks for the upcoming house blocks. However - unkown to me, my husband had decided to open all of the basement windows to get some fresh air. Then he went to work in the morning and played golf at the end of the day. We had a 95 degree day with 95% humidity!!!!! Needless to say my sewing room felt like a sauna. The fabric even felt wet. Guess it was an example of a good idea gone wrong!