Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Southwest Summer Quilt Block Tutorial

Summer in the Southwest is HOT, inspiring me to pull my deepest orange for this project!
I love the way it plays with this Echino NiCo Scooter Fabric!

Finished block = 13.5" x 17"
Although there are bias edges to be careful with, this is an easy block and a fun method...

1. Select three fabrics with good contrast.

2. Cutting:
     Fabric One: Cut your center fabric 6.5" Square.

     Fabric Two: Cut four pieces of the contrast fabric, (to be sewn next to the center):
          2 - 3.5" x 6.5"
          2 - 3.5" x 12.5"

     Fabric Three: Cut two squares of the outer fabric, 9 3/8" , then cut them diagonally in half.

3. Starch and press your pieces for best results when working with bias edges.
4. Lay your pieces out:
5. Sew one 3.5" x 6.5" rectangle to each side of your center square and press seams outward.
Sew one 3.5" x 12.5"rectangle to the other side of your center square and press those seams outward.
Sew one triangle to each side of your pieced square, and press those seams outward as well, toward the triangles.
6. Cut the block down the center first. Make three more cuts, 2" apart on each side of the center cut:
7. Invert the strips. This is the traditional layout, with the outer strips inverted to match the others:
This is the layout I selected:
8. Sew the strips together, preferably with a walking foot.
9. P ress the center seam open, and the other seams outward to complete the block.
Someday, this will be a fun tote bag!
Soon, I hope!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Giveaway Winner & Happy Mail!

Swapping fabric and making friends are definitely fun benefits of blogging! This morning I filled the Zippy Pouch I made for my 200th Blogpost Giveaway, and posted it to the winner!
I follow Kathy's blog, Running With Rocket, so I was pretty excited when Ty drew her name! Straight away, I went about looking for fabric bits she might enjoy. I only found one airplane print, but added a few others I hope she likes.

My mailman had been missing for three weeks and Ty and I were beginning to worry. We finally wrote a little note on the box, but then we heard the truck & raced out. We were happy and relieved that Mel is back and has only been away on vacation! Whew!

Then, he handed me a package! It is Blog-lovin of the best kind! This is the bundle of goodness I won last week from the lovely Mary of Quiltin' Grandma's Blog!
Lara, do you see the little bees on the pear? *Squish!*
I am in LOVE with the black & White Batik bundle! The blue batik has been added to a beautiful stack I am collecting for my mother's quilt, which I hope to get around to in the next year. Mary also included the sweet pincushion pattern. It is written to be used with wools and I do have some wool plaids hoarded, but they are not felted. I wonder if I can use them as they are for this hand-stitching project, since I don't have time this week to attempt felting... hmm..

Which brings me to the exciting week ahead! I am preparing some hand-stitching projects I can tote along to Alaska. Yes, ALASKA! I will be there for a month and pretty darn excited about it!
This means however, all my projects and plans for September are on HOLD!

I have all these little projects packed for the trip:
And now, hopefully, I can find materials to work on making pear-pincushions as well!
The EPP/UFO in the baggy is a Jinny Beyer Patchwork Ball, and this will be my September Goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes!
All of my blog posts will be drafted this week and posted from Alaska in September!
OMGosh, I hope I can stay warm in El Norte Grande!
Thank you for all the kind comments left on my giveaway post! I wish I could make a bag for each of you:) There were a few no-reply bloggers and if you did not receive a reply from me, you may be one of them! Many of you are aware of this status and leave email addresses for the drawing..
Another Bugger: As of recent, I no longer receive an email notification when readers with Yahoo email leave a comment. I find this frustrating and don't know how to fix it!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

WIP Wednesday, Checking in with Donna's Stars

I am making progress on Donna's Star Quilt! I took this shadowy-shot late last night. I actually wish I had not used bubbles in these squares - I thought they would go well since my swirl pattern elsewhere on the quilt also has bubbles. But now the littlest star points are a bit lost.
Too late now.
Live and learn;)

Not sure I will meet the finish goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes, but I did finish all four of the large, center squares! I think there are three more little squares, then all around the border yet to do.
Oh, and a binding.
FMQ is very slow-goings...
Oh, and a ton of bobbins - I wish I had kept count. Each large square took one full bobbin. That means a lot of time cleaning the machine.

With both of my machines, I stop and clean after each and every bobbin. The Juki has an additional door/access underneath that my old Bernina does not have. I don't clean that part every time, but did last night. You have to tip the whole machine forward and open the door, then all kinds of lint can be found. What surprised me though, was the oil that had run down the right-hand foot, quite a messy little puddle of it. The Bernina does not require as much oil the Juki does - I drop at each spot with just about every bobbin change on Mr. Juki. It seems excessive compared to the recommendations of the Bernina. Now I am a bit curious about maintenance of other machines...

Monday, August 17, 2015

200th Post Giveaway - Zippy Pencil Pouch!

Woo-hoo, this it my 200th post!
My Bloglovin stats also indicate I have recently surpassed 300 followers! To celebrate, I am offering this wide-open Zippy Pencil Case as a giveaway to one lucky follower!
It has room inside for goodies to surprise you with.
Cotton goodies, of course!
I was inspired to use this fabric by this month's Le Challenge theme, which is Wilderness. It has the cutest little trees, and the text reads, "Companions in the forest".
As well, it has weekend salutations;
I actually whipped up two: One for you, and one for me!
I was led to the tutorial by the Aurifil Newsletter - it is a well-written tute by Joanne at Craft Passion. To say I "whipped these up" is actually pretty misleading though! I had one problem after another, beginning with a violent lightening storm that swept through and knocked our power out for the night. I went for a walk a few hours after it went out, just before sunset. The temperature had dropped 30degrees, and the storm had mostly passed the valley. Humid, but it was so good to be comfortable outside for a change! The LV Strip was back in view..
Hard to make out, but it is there,
This shot was taken near a trail access.
It looked as though another rainy bout was approaching my hood, so I began the hike home..
I wasn't able to pick up on the pouches again until Saturday. I thought I would miss the Le Challenge linkup, checked the site, then realized that we are given the month of August off. Now I have a month to come up with another wilderness project, haha!
That was only my first brainfart...
Ever the one to save money, I had not printed the tutorial. I cut the pattern pieces and went about sewing them together. The body pattern had me cut one lining piece, one batting piece, and one main fabric piece. I went ahead and quilted them together. I made the piping and attached it to my sandwich, then made the center band with the zipper. All without incident.
About that time, I checked the tutorial instructions on my phone, and the next step had me attaching the lining. Huh? Um, my lining was already attached, as in super-matchstick-quilted attached. I scrolled up and realized I was supposed to use muslin for the sandwich. Unfortunately, I had used FQs for both linings and then had to select fabrics that matched my bags as close as possible. I was a bit bummed that I could not match the lining fabric for the sage calico lining I was using for my own..
I wonder now, Did you notice the strange, mismatched lining in the photo?
My next flub was forgetting the little tabs. Oops, but at least I remembered it for yours, dear readers...
My biggest mistake of all resulted in unpicking the stitching after attaching the lining right to the sandwich, completely forgetting the zipper band. Yikes. I was fairly upset with myself by this point, but trooped on and eventually came up with two pouches, neither are perfect, but both cute!
OK, on to the Giveaway!
This is exclusive to & only for followers of the blog!
You make blogging FUN and REWARDING!
I will enjoy filling the pouch with large-scrap fabrics from my stash, based upon the winners preference! Once a winner's name is drawn, I will email and ask you what your favorite fabrics are? Color, Style, Vintage/Modern/Stripes/Dots/Batiks, etc... perhaps you are collecting for a specific project? I will do my best to make you smile! The pouch has plenty of room for at least one yard, maybe you prefer a one-yard cut, FQ's, or would you rather enjoy a scrappy sampling? Fun, right?
To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment here prior to Friday, August 21st at Midnight PST. Let me know how you follow - by email or with Bloglovin?
International followers are welcome to participate too!

As a bonus, I am running a rare sale in each of my Etsy shops!

Receive 20% off any purchases, now through August 21st!

Red Letter Fabrics - In addition to fabric, I have recently posted a lot of patterns and quilting books! I plan to make some more additions throughout the week!

Red Letter Quilts, where I sell handmade quilts, needle books, kitchen chenille towels, as well as some vintage stitcheries/linens.

 Enter 'blogpost200' at checkout to receive the discount!

Thank you dear readers, quilty friends, and fellow bloggers - I hope you have a great week!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Selvage Along - Selvedge Slippers Tutorial, Using a Memory Foam Bath Mat!

Motivated by the current Selvage Along, co-hosted by Jess of Quilty Habit, and Renee of Quilts of a Feather, I recently pulled out my collection of selvedges and whipped up a pair of house slippers!

Rather than starting from scratch, I wanted to use up some bias binding I made in the past, so my colors are selected based on that strange batik, haha!

I snapped photos along the way so I can share in informal, "How I Did It!"

I began at my local .99 Cent Store, where I scored a memory foam bath mat for $1.99!

1. Trace the soles of an old pair of slippers onto the back of the mat.
2. With the bottom still up, stitch around the line using a SZ 100 needle. I also stitched a square around the soles so that the mat would not unravel/make a mess when I cut them out. Here is how it looked from the top:

3. Cut them out very close to the stitching. This is the pair my husband requested after I finished mine (my WIP!.. and again I am using old-stash bias binding!).
4. Piece and quilt a simple strip set with selvedges, layered with batting and the backing of your choice. I used muslin - the bottom sandwich pictured show the backside.

5. Attach BIAS binding to the bottom side of the soles, just as you would a quilt - with the raw edges lined up on the edge of the soles. I used a shy 1/4" seam. (I did not bother to seam the ends, just folded the ends in and sewed it!).
(Oops, no picture here, I will need to add one when I sew up the Big Reds!)
Photo added 8/21 - I added some old leather to Ty's as I know he will wear his to the postbox! Switched to a leather needle and used my open toe foot to stich the binding on at about 1/8 - 3/16".
6. Next, I cut one side-edge of a quilted sandwich, matching to one edge of the slipper. Roll the binding over the top and pin that edge together.

7. Before cutting the other edge, I put my foot in there to be certain it was going to fit, then cut the second side to match any curve. and pinned that side in place...

8. Because of the rubber, no-skid underside, I slipped tracing paper under the slipper before sewing the final seam. Using a stiletto and a FMQ foot, slowly sew the top binding down, making sure to catch the quilt sandwich within your seam. I actually double-rolled the binding as it seemed too wide to me..

9. Stitch all the way around the sole, rolling the binding over $ easing in the curves with your stiletto.
10. Tear off the tracing paper that is now attached to your new slipper!

This made a sweet, yet lightweight slipper that is perfect around the house in summertime! One mat turned out to be enough for four pair - three in my size and one for DH. I plan to complete another pair for travel, and perhaps the other will be for houseguests!

Thanks for visiting, I hope you enjoyed my most recent make!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Cozy Afternoon Block Four - The Joyful Christmas Mouse!

I have been looking forward to sharing this joyful little Mouse!
My 'Christmas' version of Block #4!
This month's pattern includes the cutest little birdie and it was just released today! Check out the other blog hop participants to see the bird - some are appliqued and some are embroidered:

Kahryn @ Kathy's Quilts

'Cozy Afternoon' is a free Block of the Month Quilt, designed and led by Jacquelynne Steves. The sweet little mouse is her artwork as well - I copied it from the theme fabric I will be using in the borders, from her line, "Joy, Love, Peace, Noel".

Here are all my 'Cozy Christmas' blocks so far:

I am having fun with these critters!

Only one more block to go and then we get an additional month for the setting! Yep, that means there is still time to receive the patterns! Visit Jacquelynne's blog, The Art of Home to sign up.

Jacquelynne has generously offered an electronic 'pattern bundle' giveaway -
This bundle will be awarded to one lucky reader at each stop in the blog hop!

To enter the giveaway:
Please leave a comment on this post prior to Sunday August 16th, at midnight.
I am interested to know of your favorite authors and/or books! A short, yet heartwarming book I recommend - a favorite since I was young, "That Quail, Robert" by Margaret Stanger.  
Have you read any of the books (to the right) I have conquered this year?
BTW, I am a 'hands free' reader! 80% of the books I read are on CD, often with headphones!
Followers of my blog may leave a second comment for another entry! I know, I know, shameless right? But followers should be rewarded, yes!! And I am coming up on my 300th post so this is good timing - hint hint;)
The winners will be contacted by email on Wednesday, the 19th!
Remember to leave your email address if you are a no-reply blogger!
Thank you so much for visiting! Please know how much I appreciate your comments even though I may not be able to reply to everyone during a giveaway!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Choosing Patterns to Free Motion Quilt

My goal for August is to complete Donna's Stars, a Work in Process for well over a year now. The stars were quilted early this year, and it has been waiting patiently since. I often stumble when it comes to making up my mind with quilting patterns, so it feels good to have finally made a decision about how to quilt the negative space! I'm learning the Seafoam Swirls, as coined by Angela Walters.

This weekend, I did maybe 10% of the total area and feel pretty comfortable with them now. Here is one of the smaller squares - definitely not perfect, but getting better...
I plan to use the seamlines to quilt patterns in the four central, larger squares, and will work on those next as I want to quilt the inner areas before the outer parts 'stiffen' up. Not sure this quilt will be complete by the end of the month, but I am shootin for the Stars!

Blocks on design wall, prior to assembly and borders

Linking up this week with:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced,
WIP's Be Gone at A Quilting Reader's Garden,
and with other goal-setter's at A Lovely Year of Finishes (#28)!
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