Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hashtag Blocks for Sydney Round Up

Joshua at MolliSparkles put out a call for blocks so he can complete quilts for the families of those most severely affected by the Sydney siege.

It looks like he is getting great response - hopefully he will meet his goal, AND find some help putting all the quilts together!

I love quilts made with many hands involved, so my heartstrings were easily tugged when I read his plea, and I went right to work selecting some bright fabrics. The tutorial for the Hashtag blocks he requested is pretty easy, & there's an FAQ page if you're interested in donating blocks!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Winners Announced & Aurifil SALE at Fat Quarter Shop!

Oh,-what-fun-it-is-to-hop from one blog to the next - with dreams of winning lovely giveaways!

I did not get a count on how many giveaway links were linked up with SewMamaSew's Giveaway.
There were a LOT this time around, and very generous!!

Winners selected this morning by Mr. Randomizer are:

Figgy Pudding (shy)Fat Quarter Bundle: lauraluvsloons "It is sew much fun reading these blogs, almost as much fun as winning a prize."

Loralie Harris Coordinates: Sewgreen  "Both of those bundles are gorgeous!! There is just SO much pretty fabric! I want it all!!" 

Congratulations ladies, emails are coming your way!

Thanks again for all the warm comments, I wish everyone the best of Holiday Seasons!

BTW, Fat Quarter Shop has tons of thread (going fast!) in their DAILY DEALs! (no, I am not associated or sponsored!)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day (WEEK!)

It is Giveaway Day over at SewMamaSew!
Giveaway is closed and winners will be announced shortly! OMGosh, I am so happy with all the traffic and nice comments left this week. I started the week intent to reply to each and every one and was not able to keep up!
I have truly enjoyed each and every one, thank you so much for visiting!

Thank you so much for visiting! I enjoy blogging as a hobby and write posts once or twice a week. I love sharing current projects and swapping advice with other quilters and artisans. Lately time has limited my projects to a few blocks and quiltalongs I find irresistible. I just finished the final Aurifil Block for 2014, 'Not Afraid of Flying' by Designer of the Month, Carrie Nelson.
Find Carrie's interview with Pat Sloan, and block pattern here.
Each month, participants who link their block to the Aurifil Flickr Group are eligible to win a large pack of Aurifil Thread. That is all the incentive I needed and I did not miss a month! My blocks are pictured in an album at my Flickr site. Hopefully I will be able to design a setting soon!

Business has picked up lately in my Etsy shop, Red Letter Fabrics! I'll be posting some recently acquired fabrics over the next couple weeks that I am pretty excited about. I try to post a good mix of modern fabrics as well as unique vintage fabrics, novelty prints, and many popular OOP Cottons. Currently, blogger's receive a 10% discount with the code BLOGGERDISCOUNT.

I have put together winning bundles for two lucky reader's!
The first winner will receive a remnant bundle of five prints from the Figgy Pudding line by BasicGray for Moda. These are approx. 16" x 21" each.
The first quilt I sold was made with this line!
Finished in 2012, I named it Figgy Swirl. I had a lot of this fabric and cut into it without any plans. I began by fussy cutting the border fabric for the center hexagons and played with the 60 degree triangles from there. After the six big hexies were complete, I played with setting ideas and the diamonds just evolved. I have never patterned a quilt, but I love this setting and I wish I had more of a pattern than the tissue paper templates I used at the time (!). 
Perhaps I will do this design again in the future..
Yep, Figgy and I had a good thing going on,
I miss him more than I thought I would. sigh.
The next lucky winner will receive a bundle with more out-of-print fabrics.
This bundle includes 1/2 yard each of Button Dots and Sewing Stuff by Loralie Harris.
If you are willing to leave me a comment prior to midnight on Friday, December 12th, and you have an email address to reply with, you are eligible!  The drawing will be held by my husband, The Randomizer, and winners notified by email on Saturday the 13th.
One more big share for you! 
Just look at this lovely floral clip I received as a Thank You from an Etsy customer!
 I am still quite stunned and genuinely impressed with the quality of work she does.
Her new Etsy Shop just opened this week, FlapperFancies.
This is heirloom work folks, and it is stunning! Only the finest materials are used and the use of antique lace is prevalent in her work. In fact, her favorite charge is using the client's own ribbon or lace to create lasting keepsakes. Hairpieces, pins, hats and custom trims seem to be her focus, and she is offering free shipping with the coupon code 'grandopening'.
 The clip slides out of it's own velvet pocket for versatility. Genius!
I know that there is no time to waste online during Giveaway Week!
I appreciate this opportunity to share with reader's and to explore blogs that are new to me as well!



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I Love December!

Only one post made here in November!
Time spent sewing was in short periods. It is easier for me to work on blocks when my time is limited, and the bonus is that they are pretty gratifying :-)
I finished up Sew Sweet Simplicity Block Two:
Of course, November did have a NewFO. I've been following the Cascadia Quiltalong Mystery over at Humble Quilts. The big reveal was last week and Lori shared a photograph of the little antique doll quilt that she based the QAL on.
Unfortunately, I selected a background fabric with too little contrast for the patchwork.
I thought there would be more background used in the setting, but not knowing is the challenge of a mystery QAL.  
At this point I sure wished I had used a different color!
For the save, I divided the center panel up and added a bit more negative space all around. Then I brought it in the dining room for brighter lighting:
 It looks very Easter-ish, eh? 
I used every last bit of that green. The backing will be pieced with some of this lovely rose print that I was gifted with last week. This finish will be my final goal finish for ALYOF, December 2014!

Another fly-by month whizzed by and my projects are uncharacteristically scattered about. I do tend to work on several things at a time, but this is out of hand! Even amidst unfinished projects, I have new piles evolving as I consider new projects I want to make.
Like the placemats for Mom.
Yes, on the floor.

As much as I love to make new blocks and small projects, a strict diet is in store for 2015. My plans are to finish a dozen or so of my projects, simultaneously foregoing all NewFO's (Is it true that Barbara is no longer condoning new projects every month ?).

To help me focus a bit, I'm thinking of participating in the 2015 Finish-Along.
Yes, I need all the help I can get ;-)

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Adrianne will be hosting from On the Windy Side!
I have seen some progress lists from participants in the last couple years, and some of them are so long they'll make your head spin! I will need to come up with a simple way to set some goals.
For now, I will try to prepare for the holidays, and ENJOY them!
After all, 2014 ain't over yet!
Linking up this Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.
Thank you for reading today!
Please enjoy a 10% discount at RedLetterFabrics, good thru December with the coupon code: BLOGGERDISCOUNT

Monday, December 1, 2014

Cyber Week, a coupon, and a couple vintage stitchery's to share!

Did anyone see how fast the goodies went at Fat Quarter Shop this morning?
Man, I didn't stand a chance!
I have made a few great fabric scores here recently though!
Twice in November I landed at garage sales at the home of a quilter, and a couple of those are items I still haven't posted from the big parking lot sale at Quiltique a couple months ago...
I've posted a fair bit of new stock at my Etsy shop over the past few weeks, and pictured here are some pretties that will go up in December. Lots of goodies are queued up in the basket; Laurel Burch prints, Mary Engelbreit, Beatrix Potter, all ready for inspection, measurements, and photography.

Did you know you can follow shops on Etsy? Well, not shops exactly but members. If you click on the shop, it is not obvious (how to follow) and you will only see an option to click the heart and 'favorite' the shop. If you click on the shop owner, you can find the option to follow that person. A few times I have scored favorite, out of print fabrics by being the first to see it listed.

If you do check out my shop, I appreciate it! Hang on to this coupon code through the year, good for 10% off your purchase at checkout: BloggerDiscount

These lovely embroideries were at an estate sale recently:
 I bundled them with other purchases and did not unroll them until I got home:
 And these sweet little prayers:
My mother told me that 'should I die' is now a 'less accepted' version of this prayer. hmm.
She had never heard the other prayer, and neither had I. Isn't it sweet?

Regarding online fabric shopping, I don't usually turn to eBay for it, since I have been disappointed in the past, however, last week I won a .99 auction online for a couple yards of older Amy Butler that I thought would coordinate with FQ's in my stash (sometime down the road - ha!). The shipping was $6.00, but what a surprise when I received a heavy flat rate mailer with this inside:
Of course I don't.
Good fortune ought naught be mine alone.
I am working on a beautiful bundle for the big giveaway week coming up hosted by SewMamaSew
I hope to post a few project updates tomorrow, something to wake this blog from it's wee slumber! It has been a bit slow in the studio, which reflects in the blog.
BTW, I finished the entire 31 disks of Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth without doing any FMQing. Sooo bad...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tossed Salad, Cascadia, and Sew Simplicity Blocks

Even though I have too many flimsy's in queue and ought to be quilting, I spent some time over the weekend piecing a few blocks.
First up, I had a lot of fun choosing fabrics for the November Aurifil BOM, Tossed Salad:
Visit Pat Sloan's Blog to read her interview with Scott Hansen, Aurifil's November Designer of the Month, and to download the pattern.

It was through Scott's blog, Blue Nickel Studios , that I first learned of the Aurifil BOM. Scott has an interesting and artsy aesthetic, which first attracted me to follow his blog. He embraces color, and has that genuine, down-to-earth quality I gravitate toward. Even though I follow Blue Nickel, I had not realized Scott & his wife live in the Pacific Northwest, near the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. At this point, it would be easy for me to start drawling out the homesick blues, so I will move on...
Then, last week I happened upon the Cascadia Quiltalong Mystery, led by Lori of Humble Quilts. Impulsively, I dove in and finished two of the four strips needed for this week's assignment and have the others queued up to piece as leaders and enders. Pieced with 1.5" squares, this will be a doll-size quilt. I just happened to have a lot of squares this size, so it is a win-win and I could not resist!

Last up, I finished the first block for the Sew Sweet Simplicity QAL.
I knew right away I wanted to used this hand-dyed blue from my stash. The other fabrics took me awhile to select. I am trying to cut down my decision making time lately, but it is soo hard!

I must begin FMQing again! Such a procrastinator! I rented Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett) Audio book from the library to entertain me when I sit back down with Mr. Juki. At 31 disks, it ought to help me persevere!

Linking up with BOM's Away, Building Blocks Tuesday, and Monday Makers

Friday, October 31, 2014

Eco-Friendly Ingeo Fibers

I have a finish to share, I promise!
First, look what I recently bumped in to on the Las Vegas Strip!
I've never seen this many different Singers! Unfortunately I could not stay to admire these more closely since I busy with family - I will have to return one day soon!
This is the collection of All Saints, inside the Cosmopolitan Hotel. I will be sure to take something other than my cell phone camera next time...
Well, glare or no, I thought someone may appreciate seeing these :-) Now, on to my new batting...

When I selected a quilt to finish for my goal this month, I referred to this quilt as Primarily Gingham.
As I photographed it this afternoon, it brought to mind watching cartoons on Saturday mornings. 
Tweety & Sylvester, Tasmanian Devil, Mickey Mouse, Roadrunner, & Donald Duck seem to be enjoying a fun picnic together.

Saturday Morning Cartoons, 42" square

Recently, I scored four new battings made of  100% PLA Fiber. I had not heard of it for quilting and looked it up online. Apparently it is a new type of polyester derived entirely from plants (primarily corn and potatoes). I found good reviews on Amazon for PLA comforters that are described as 'down-alternative' and decided to give it a whirl..
Basting and quilting was smooth enough. I love the result for this quilt - much more than I anticipated I would! The product I am working with is made by Eco-Craft, I am not sure if it is still available. It is not as stiff a batting as polyester, and quite low-loft.  
The result is a very light and cuddly baby quilt. The drape feels like a hand-quilted cotton. I think it is perfectly suitable batting for a warm-weather bed quilt, summer throw, or a year-round baby quilt (since they seem to layer and double-fold).
The disadvantage to this batting is the recommended care: cold water gentle wash, flat dry (no dryer or iron). It is nice to be able to beat up a baby blanket with hot water and quickdry, but avoiding the heat does make a quilt last twice as long, and I reckon a good habit for any quilt.

I have not had the chance to use Quilter's Dream Green, and now I wonder if it has a softer drape like this, or the stiff, poly-type? I will have to look into this, and hmm, maybe it is machine washable too..

It has been awhile since I linked a Friday finish! And just in the nick of time, I achieved my Lovely Year of Finishes Goal! I wish now that I had planned a spookier one. Instead, I will share one of my favorite pictures of our late cat, Mister Cat. His picture is not too spooky either, but cool anyway.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Aurifil Designer of the Month

Aurifil's October Designer of the Month is Natalia Bonner! Natalia blogs at Piece N Quilt, a site filled with modern inspiration and admirable quilting. In fact, she will be quilting the final Aurifil quilt top for their gallery!

Natalia's block is Circle of Love.
My version started with a little log cabin apple.

Read Natalia's interview and download the free pattern here. If you do stitch this up, be sure and post it to the Aurifil Flickr Group for your chance to win the monthly thread drawing!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sew STAUNCH Blogger's Quilt Festival Entry
Time again for Amy's brilliant quilt show!
The Blogger's Quilt Festival is the brainchild of Amy Ellis, from Amy's Creative Side. This show is a serious must-see for those who, like me, are interested in inspiration, and a serious must-do for those, like me, who simply like to share their quilty accomplishments!
Today I am pleased to share my entry for the Mini Quilts category:
Sew Staunch was named for and inspired by Kathreen Ricketson, the late (and great) author and blogger from Down Under. This is a mini-version from her book, 'Brave New Quilts'. (Amazon link)
A cheery and bright finish, yet making this quilt put me in a very reflective mood. I thought much of the women of our past who've helped pave the way toward equality and expression. Kathreen included her family in her own creative ambitions and endeavor's. I thought of her, and the children she and her husband left behind, and so it was a bit sad in the making at times. Online, we have this whole new group of pioneering women and this is how I think of Kathreen. 
I selected favored scraps to work into each circle.
I was listening to Sue Monk Kidd's, 'The Invention of Wings' while quilting. Fuel to the (reflective)fire, that one...

I chose a bright and windy day to photograph!
I hope you have enjoyed reading about Sew Staunch!
SEW STAUNCH, 20" X 20"

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My Vintage MIX for Le Challenge!

My vintage lightweights have attracted me lately. Many of them I have hoarded for some time now without purpose. I find them so cute.  This month I decided to MIX the new with the old to create fresh, yet traditional patchwork.
I have a few of these in my kitchen. One serves as a dish mat on the counter, but they're also fun under a fruit bowl.
Or, perhaps under a bowl of Trick-or-Treat candy.
This one mixes a couple of my favorite vintage pieces, plus a bit of oop Flea Market Fancy and the Spoons are Lizzy Dish by Andover. Can you see the squirrels and foxes in the white print?
A fun Fall set for my shop, right?

Living in a hot climate, I appreciate quilts made with lightweight fabric!
And light batting too! Prior to desert life, I wondered who would bother making a quilt without ANY batting? Just nutty, right? My current sofa quilt has no batting. I love all the old 'yucky' fabrics in it, and it is backed with a sheet and tied. Ha! I did not make it, but I just might make an empty sandwich of my own someday. Probably won't back it with a sheet, but who's to say...

I do LOVE to use vintage fabrics, however I am quite particular about the projects for which they are suited. Who wants to spend time on intricate patchwork for a quilt that will not last well?

I hope you enjoyed my Patchwork MIX! Check out Le Challenge Linkup, and consider making something for the November X-Challenge!

Linking as well with Leanne's Scraptastic Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

September Goal ALYoF

Working on one thing at a time has become a far-fetched dream lately!
Sometimes my fantasies include a studio design space separate from the construction area(s!). All 'other' projects kept out of sight and out of mind! And the fabric especially distracts me, I try not to look at it, but it ropes me in on a daily basis.
Almost like a dream, I have to wake myself up, set aside yet another little pile of fabrics I have been pulling together, and get back to work.
A recent pull mixing vintage, linen, solid, modern and oop cottons. If only we could make them as fast as envisioning them!

My goal finish this month is to finish a flimsy that is currently hanging on the back of my sewing room door. I whipped it together last week while 'thinning' fabrics. Often the fabric I pull to de-stash is just not what I want to sell online, and somehow I rope myself into 'saving' it! In this case, I envisioned a fun, lightweight baby quilt with traditional patchwork and primary colors.
Primarily Gingham Baby Quilt!

I will choose a backing, thin batting and have this quilted by the end of the month! If I am real good, and stay focused, I may even have a binding attached!

Linking up with Fiber of all Sorts ALYoF October Goal Setting Party (73)!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

One Goal Met in September

I finished this top just in time to catch a picture before nightfall tonight. I have had quilting hiccups this month, and right now I am just thrilled to have met my AYOLF goal (44) in the nick of time.

I have mixed feelings about the quilt itself. Sometimes improv-style designing works really well for me, but I still have some sort of idea of what I am making and how it will all tie together. In this case however, I chose to follow a pattern in order to save time and make a quick Christmas quilt. I finished the blocks and wasn't really feelin the results...

I spent oodles of time arranging the blocks in different ways.
In the end I starched them all up and cut them on the diagonal. This 'quick' project was becoming an improv project, taking up my time, and really getting on my nerves!

Aiming to avoid spending any money on this quilt, I shopped my stash looking for background fabric. I wanted a bit of a vintage vibe. I liked the gray with it (DS on the right), but did not have enough and thought how cool this would have been with a newsprint fabric. Then I envisioned a bubble-gum ticking, but my pinks weren't right. I almost broke down and went to my LQS. I have a lot of fabric though, and it seemed silly to spend money on a project that I was not loving. I settled with the red stripe after calculating that I had just about EXACTLY the amount needed. (Actually, I ran out and a couple areas are patched in with the stripes the wrong direction).

Hopefully quilting will go more smoothly, and will help with it's contrast issues. For now, this is shelved for a bit while I pick up something else!

So that is my big share, my NewFO Project for September, as well as a goal achieved!

Without A Year of Lovely Finishes Monthly Link up, it is unlikely this top would have come to be!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Stars of My Life

This month's Aurifil designer of the month is Pat Wys.
I have such admiration for Pat! She named her beautiful (4Star Friendship) block 'Stars of My Life'.
Here's the pattern and her interview with Pat Sloan! She describes four of the women who have been inspirational to her, and thus, to this block design. It is one of my favorites of the year, sooo..

 I enlarged it to 18", making it the largest block in the group so far!
Should be fun to fit these all together. Only a few more month's now..

More and more blocks are showing up in various color ways on the Aurifil Flickr site. If you make Stars of My Life, be sure and link it up for a chance to win a generous thread bundle!

Linking up with Lyn for BOM's Away! and with Jen at Building Blocks Tuesday.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

It's a Sister Swap REVEAL Linkup!

Sister Swap 2014 is all wrapped up and it is time now for all the reveals! Michele, our Big Sis, TaskMaster, and LeadSwapGuru, has provided a linkup where we can share our creations as well as those we received. Please visit Quilts from My Crayon Box to view all the sisterly gifts!

Quilts From My Crayon Box

I was pretty darn excited when I received the package of lovelies sent to me by Heather! Right off, I began taking pictures so I could showoff the pretties ASAP and let Heather know how much this meant to me. These were all in the package I received:
Simply stunning, right? Heather referred to the quilt as a mugrug, but it is pretty big! It is hung in my sewing room now as a mini. I filled the jar with buttons, but just read on Heather's blog that this mason jar makes a great drinking glass, and I do see now how wonderfully lemonade would taste from it! I saw that she provided a tutorial link so we can make Mason Jar Cozies too :-) 

And now for my handmade reveal!
For my assigned sister, I spent several weeks in stalking mode, learning about Kathy from Kwilty Pleasures. I was pleased to find that Kathy is a very active blogger, which made things easier:-) At first, I was torn between something for her Irish Bar or something fun for her Green Thumb. Both ideas soon lost out though when I realized she would receive her gift at the beginning of football season, an important time of year in Kathy's home...

The Buckeye's Fan Carryall commenced!

My idea for the bag was inspired by a picture/link from Kathy's awesome Pinterest Board: 
Lightening Zigzags Tutorial by Jenn of all Trades !

For quicker piecing, I joined 1 3/8" strips with 2 1/2" background strips. (I later made note that a 27" strip unit made approx. 10 blocks). I made the first angle cut after lining the strip set up on the mat, and aligning my ruler 1" apart diagonally.
If that does not quite make sense, looky here at these studio-at-night-shots:
Angle established with 1" incline
Units cut 2.5" apart, on parallel line
Cut to square off small patch first, a perpendicular cut starting 1/2" to the right of the top seam
2.5" squares, in stacks on the right. I think I was taking these to watch TV in the LR
I pieced together two panels, then attached the bottom sections so I could machine quilt those before I big-stitch quilted the patchwork. (yes, more TV time!)
The bottom section has stiffer interfacings, and channel quilting.
At this point I kind of wished I'd used a lighter background gray for better contrast since my big-stitching was not standing out real well, but the color does seem very Buckeye to me still. I pulled from my stash for the lining and the bottom: Pen & Ink by P&B Textiles.
Added a few pockets and a simple cardboard bottom...
Then I made sure to test it's ability to tote a quilt!
Ty's Z Quilt fit easily, with room for another ;-) 
I super-enjoyed this swap and plan to participate again next year!
Thank you Michele, you are the best!

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