Monday, October 31, 2016

Seasonal table runners & Halloween

I made over a dozen yards of binding today to use on some seasonal table runners. These are both done with the 60 degree technique.  Another 60 degree Thanksgiving runner is only half quilted so far, but there is enough brown binding for that one too when I get it quilted.
Working on the hand stitching will be a good activity tonight while handing out candy to the trick or treaters. We usually see 80-100 kids between about 5:00 pm (right about now) and 8:30.  There is a street about 2 blocks from us that get about 1500 kids every year - mostly due to the fact that street is decorated and lit up to look spectacular.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

October status of the stash

My mailman delivered my October Sew Sampler box this week and I had to open it up immediately when I got home from Las Vegas to see what goodies came. The Fat Quarter Shop has a subscription for a sampler box each month which kept tempting me online. In late September I couldn't resist any longer and subscribed.

Interesting contents: a fat eighth pack of Handmade (Bonnie & Camille) fabric line, a block pattern, pins and needles, and some embroidery floss (with a pattern). How ironic that I've just started getting back into doing a bit of embroidery. Also there is a zippered mesh project bag and a very cute pattern from Cotton Way to make project bags.  The fabric and floss coordinate so they could be used together to make the little bags.

October wasn't a big month for purchases or finishes.  The finishes were small projects and fun but of course they don't take much out of the stash. There was a mini quilt, 2 mug rugs, a pillowcase, and a small bag.  But there was also a whole week of vacation away from home - with no shopping or sewing!

In this month:  6 yards
In this year:  133.75 yards

Out this month: 4 yards
Out this year:  135.5 yards

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Mystery quilt colors

First of all, I want to thank the Facebook post that recommended using this smart phone app from Sherwin Williams. Very clever! 
Bonnie Hunter released her colors yesterday for the next mystery quilt (En Provence). I watched her mysteries online for a couple of years before making last year's mystery quilt (Allietare). Last year her colors were inspired by a trip to Italy.
This year's mystery is inspired by a visit to France and the colors really made me think spring.  She posted some gorgeous photos of lavender fields and you can really see where this color palette originates.
I haven't decided yet if I will make the mystery full sized or make a smaller version.  It might depend on what I find in my stash. I know already without looking that the yellow won't be found hiding in my sewing room. It just isn't a color I think to buy when enhancing the stash.  Same with the lavender. I probably have the green, the pink and the darker purple. But we'll see what I find. And since the first clue won't be posted until Black Friday in November I have plenty of time.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Binding waiting for me

After being gone a whole week, we arrived home last night about 10 PM. Today I have to work, so no sewing yet. But some binding is waiting for me . . . a kid quilt and 2 table runners.

Got the call while in Las Vegas that my quilting was done, so my husband picked these up for me this morning. I'm hoping that I get some quality sewing time this weekend. I want to shop my stash to see what I might have for the next Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt and I have 2 blocks to make for Farm Girl Vintage. And lots of binding.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Vacation stitching

This cross stitch piece is an OLD project. The pattern has a 1989 date on it. I put it away when I got my first bifocals because I found the pattern too difficult to read. 

Pulled it out again last week and enlarged the pattern so it is easier to read. Not sure why it took me nearly 30 years to think of such a simple solution. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Taking a few days off

Yesterday we played golf at Angel Park in Las Vegas. Then had supper at Delmonicos with 3 other couples. Good way to start my vacation while the hubbie works. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Playing with Dresden plates

Another example of bringing a UFO forward a step - the Dresden plate pieces were all cut from a charm pack, and then tucked into a zipper bag and put into a drawer. No idea why I did that.  I was organizing my rulers and stencils over the weekend, and couldn't find the Dresden ruler. Eventually I found it in a drawer, in the bag with the pieces.
So I've sewn them together and appliqued them onto a background square.  And there are enough pieces cut for another one.  I think with a little quilting this will make a good pillow.  Does this make the project a WIP now instead of a UFO?  Only if it doesn't end up back in the drawer I suppose.

Using stencils

Another mug rug from an orphan block.

This one has a quilted Christmas Tree in the center that I made as an experiment with machine quilting using stencils designed for hand quilting.  I have a lot of stencils collected over many years and this one seemed to be easily adapted to make it a continuous line, so it worked with my machine just fine.

I went through and sorted my stencils last weekend and found several that I should be able to use with the machine as well as hand quilting.  In fact, one of them might work perfectly on a crib sized quilt that I want to try doing myself on my machine. But that may be a winter project.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Fall foliage

This is one of my favorite times of the year - warm days and crisp, cool nights. And fall foliage that changes every day. We usually have a narrow window of time when our foliage here is really beautiful because the wind tends to blow the leaves off too fast.
On Saturday our back yard looked like this from the deck.  We have mountain ash and pine trees up close to the house. The ash turn gold early and drop their leaves right away. Today the yard has a carpet of gold.

We do have a couple of red maples in the back as well, and those usually start turning just as the ash trees are dropping leaves. This glorious tree is in the far back yard but we can see the top from the kitchen window. And for some reason they turn red from the top down.  While walking around out there I noticed that one of them is still green but has just a couple of red branches half way down. Mother Nature is an artist.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Design Wall Monday - Layout options

I'm torn between setting the Crown of Thorns blocks on-point or straight, but right now I'm leaning toward the on-point layout.  Or I could split the blocks and make 2 baby quilts on-point.

No matter which layout I choose, I'll need a few more blocks.  These blocks are my RSC16 (rainbow scrap challenge) project this year. Orange and yellow are the colors for this month and each month has had a main color and an accent. I think I'm all caught up, but I definitely need a few more blocks for size and layout purposes.

Check out what others are doing at

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Spooky pillowcase

I have 5 grandchildren, all ages 1 to 5. Since the oldest was a toddler, I've been making fun, colorful pillowcases for them.

Jack is the youngest and he turned 1 in early June. I remembered this week that I haven't made him any pillowcases yet, so that was all the motivation I needed. Here is a Halloween pillowcase just for him to use. It's going in the mail tomorrow. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Saturday morning sewing

Two more Crown of Thorn blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC16). I have 14 of these blocks now and am starting to visual a layout for them.

Saturday Sampler block and an autumn version for the bonus block to enter in the drawing. I wouldn't mind winning a bunch of fall themed blocks. Love this particular block pattern, although the shadow on the purple, blue, burgundy version doesn't do justice to how pretty it actually is.

Plus I cut out and pinned a Halloween pillowcase for youngest grandson Jack. Pictures to come later on that. Hopefully I can finish it on Sunday and have it ready to mail on Monday.

Friday, October 14, 2016

In From the Cold

This block was a free download from the Moda website last winter. It's called In From the Cold, designed by Kate Spain.  There are actually 9 variations of the cup in the pattern. I made this block last winter but just didn't know if I wanted to make more or not.  While straightening up in the sewing room, I found this orphan block again this week. And it told me it was all grown up and wanted to become a mug rug.  Done!

The color of my photo is off a bit because the cup really sits in a snow white background and the print on the right is aqua on white.  I machine quilted this with straight lines about 1/2" apart, except for above the cup where I added "curls" of steam.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sew-Along bag

This bag is finished and ready to mail to my cousin this week. I even added a cute little label that says "hugs and kisses".  That label adds a little classy touch in my opinion. Loving these French General prints. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Another Sew-Along bag

Not the best photo this gloomy morning, but this is the newest Sew-Along bag that I'm making.  Yesterday was a day off of work so I got this cut out and started. Now I just need to add the top zipper and handle section to finish it.  Maybe after work this afternoon. 
The fabrics are French General and so elegant. The purple and red combo is really pretty.  My cousin picked out the fabrics during our New Ulm trip so I could make this bag for one of her best friends as a gift. I have the zippers and fabric all set aside to make a couple more of these addictive bags. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Traveling Stars is finished

I keep forgetting to post a photo of the Traveling Stars quilt since I've finished it. This photo is not the best, but the wind is blowing and it kept shifting on the grass.
Our guild has a tradition called a traveling square - a 6" square of fabric shared with each member when you get a chance to shop for fabric while traveling.  There are squares in this quilt from lots of different states, plus Israel, South Africa, and Taiwan.  I used my 6" squares from the past few years to make star blocks. This is a bright, happy quilt and it's going onto the bed in our basement guest bedroom because that room definitely needs some color.

I have over a dozen squares left to start a new quilt. I haven't decided for sure yet how I plan to use them in the next project but figuring that out will be half the fun.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Decorating with quilts

It probably goes without saying that most quilters love to decorate with their projects.  I love to display some of my favorite seasonal mini quilts around the house. And right now our big living room fireplace hearth is holding 3 little quilts. 

Harvest Stars is draped by the flower pot of fall flowers where the cheddar is really picked up by the gold in the flowers. On the other side is my little Halloween "boo" mini hanging in the metal stand and sitting on a leaf shaped mini.

On the front door is a quilted witches hat, and scattered about the house are a just a few more fall quilts. Luckily my husband hasn't complained about the decor being too "quilty" - yet. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Babysitting and stitching

Babysitting Sophia today while she heals up from hernia repair surgery. Mommy left a craft activity for us - a beaded Halloween necklace. She did a good job.

And while she has played, and colored I've finished the hand quilting on Harvest Stars.  This weekend when I'm home again I can bind it. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Hand quilting tools

I really enjoy hand quilting small projects and that is what I'm doing for the Harvest Stars mini quilt. It's only 14" square so it won't need a ton of stitching to look great.
Notice the white tool laying on the piece. It is a Clover powder stick and is working perfectly for marking the quilting lines on this dark fabric. On light fabrics I use a disappearing purple pen which vanishes in air after a couple of hours.
But the purple wouldn't show up on the black or burgundy, so I am trying this tool that I bought recently.  It has a narrow end with teeny tiny holes so you can draw right in the slots in the design stencil, just like using a pencil. The powder comes out of the holes and leaves a clean line on the fabric.  When done, it brushes away quite nicely. 

I'm marking one small section at a time so that I'm less likely to smudge the lines off.  My quilting frame is a plastic PVC type that is about 10" square.  It's perfect for holding small projects. And it's a good travel size, so I'm planning to take this with me tomorrow when I go to babysit granddaughter Sophia for the day.  She had an umbilical hernia repaired yesterday and can't go back to day care or pre-school until Monday.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Harvest Stars progress

Just a little progress on Harvest Stars, but I did get the center section done and start on the outer borders. Those borders are completely made with flying geese that are 1.5" x 2.5". The colors in this photo are terrible - done under my cutting table lamp on a dark rainy evening. In reality these are very rich cheddar and burgundy with a black.
I also dug through my quilting stencils and found one that might work for this small project. Right now I'm thinking that I might hand quilt this one, but we'll see how it goes. I do enjoy some hand quilting, in particular on small projects.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Design Wall Monday - Harvest Stars

On my design wall this morning is the first Kim Diehl project for the current year, called Harvest Stars.  It will finish at about 14", so these red stars are 4" finished.  I haven't done any of these before but have admired the small projects as others finished them. This fall I'm taking the plunge.
Our instructor Gwen lead the class about a week ago and gave us some helpful hints for working on this one. And Brenda (owner of The Pin Cushion) gave each of us enough fabric for the back of this project. So generous of her! I love attending classes!
Check out what others are working on at:

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Heartland Guild and my September stash report

The Heartland Guild met yesterday. I always enjoy guild, but this one was extra fun.  First, our guild presented 41 fabric microwave hotpad bowls to a local organization that has a soup luncheon as a fund raiser. The soup luncheon features hand made bowls made by students. The diners purchase the bowl with their soup. This year they will also be able to purchase a hotpad bowl.
And then we had a wonderful trunk show by Catherine Erickson, a certified Judy Neimeyer instructor. She showed us some amazing quilts - each more beautiful than the last - and talked about her business, Canton Quilt Retreat. I think we have more than a few guild members interested in doing a class/retreat with her in the future.  Catherine had patterns for sale and I bought 2 that I've been admiring for quite some time online. And then - I won a third pattern as a door prize. How lucky is that?

And now for my stash report. I must make a confession - September was definitely a month for fabric shopping. And I've enjoyed every bit of it. Just over 39 yards were added to the stash this month, with more than half of that backing for some current quilts. The rest was just for fun!!
I've finished some things this month too. Two large quilts are finished and 2 more smaller quilt tops are ready to quilt. And there were a couple of smaller projects finished too. Plus - even with the large purchases I'm still slightly ahead of the stash!!
In this month: 39.5 yds
In this year: 127.75yds
Out this month: 31 yds
Out this year: 131.5 yds