Wednesday, February 25, 2015

EQ7 Block Design Challenge

Here is a great opportunity for those of you who do not already have EQ7!  They are having two winners, and if you don't already have the program, you can win a copy!

I'm going to get working on my block design now!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Taming My Quilt Stash

I finally found a source for all the plastic baskets I needed so I could work on organizing my fabric closet!  I've wanted to do this for some time, but didn't really want to have stacking baskets.  Once I got used to the idea, the next problem was finding enough of them!  I had to make a couple trips, but I finally gathered enough to get most of my closet done.  I still need a few more to do the Christmas fabric, but the rest is sorted, culled and basketed!

Here is the before picture:


This little closet is really great for storing my fabric, but storing it in piles just was not working.  The piles were always falling over and getting disorganized, resulting in a huge mess.  Now I have the colors sorted into baskets.  I allowed two baskets for my favorite blue fabrics, and everything else has one.  (Orange and Yellow share a basket)  Any fabric I had in excess of the basket allotted had to go into the donate bin.  I sorted out one banker's box of fabric to get rid of.  Most of which was fabric that I always pass over anyway!  I had to keep telling myself that it was silly to be emotionally attached to fabric and I could let someone else have it that will USE it and not just pet it!

Here is the after:



Much nicer, right!

We drove up to see our daughter in Eugene today and give her some encouragement.  It was a lovely day for a drive and I got the rest of my Dresden Plate blocks appliqued on the way home - I'll add the centers soon and give you a peek.  I'm excited to get this top done by the end of the week!  This one will be hand quilted with the queen size wool batt I bought this summer, I think.  I might give my husband the choice - I have three quilts in the same pattern and plan to keep one for myself.

 I hope to finish the pattern up this week as well.  It's a great beginners sampler quilt that teaches a variety of techniques...I just have to come up with a name.  Sometimes that is the hardest part!  Maybe I'll put a picture up on Instagram and Facebook and see if I get any good ideas.

In fact, here is the EQ7 version of the quilt design in brights.  What do you think would be a good name for this pattern?


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Announcement!

I got an e-mail that made me very happy yesterday!  I was accepted as an Embassador for Island Batiks!  Yay!  That will mean some very fun stuff here on my blog as I get to work with their beautiful fabrics.  I can't wait!  My Quiltsy friend MaryEllen was part of the group last year and I was a bit envious to tell you the truth, so when I saw they were accepting applicants for 2015 I decided to apply.  I've been snooping on the other Embassador's blogs, and will be sharing them with you as well - good stuff!  I think it is so awesome that even though I live pretty much out in the middle of nowhere I get to be involved with something so incredible - I just can't stop smiling!


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What I Do on Stormy Days?

Sew my heart out of course!  I had a couple project I've been wanting to do, so I spent Monday working on them.  The first project was a cover for my serger.  It's been a real pain to get it in and out of the soft case I bought for it and I seem to be using it at least twice a week, so I decided that it needs to have a cover and stay out on my table.  I had seen a tutorial on the Sew4Home blog earlier, so looked it up and got started.  The first decision I had to make was fabric.  I had thought of using some of my Paris fabric stash, but at the last minute remembered the pretty blue and yellow toille I've been saving for something fun! Perfect!

After going through the instructions and measuring my machine I realized that I needed to make a few adjustments.  It still ended up being a little bigger than it really needs to be, but it isn't too bad!
I had almost 4 yards of that blue and white check piping made from another project - it was about 1 inch short of being enough to go all the way around the bottom, so I had to improvise!
I used a strip of the accent strip fabric to cover the last little bit!  It came out really nicely and as a bonus I didn't have to join my piping anywhere.  Here is the tutorial for the Serger Cover  if you would like to make one of your own!  I used fusible batting in mine and it came out great!

The second project I worked on was a laundry bag for my husband.  When we go on trips he always ends up using mine!  Now he has a nice blue one to match his bag.  No pictures of this one, it wasn't that exciting.

The third project was a quilted journal cover with a monogram on it.  Bright and fun, the perfect project for a rainy afternoon. It is now on it's way to Florida!

It'll be back to sewing a big order of Roman Blinds for the rest of the week, so I was really glad to have a play day in my sewing room!  What do you do when you have a day to play?

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Giraffes, Elephants and Hippos are finished!

Thanks for this finish has to go to Project Quilting!  This weeks challenge was to finish a UFO - the hardest thing about that for me, was deciding which one.  Since this was the quilt I intended to finish for my UFO challenge in December and I did not get it done, I thought it was a good idea to work on it.

The first thing I had to do was to piece my back.  I had a nice chunk left from the original yardage of the fabric in the borders (Michael Miller's Zoology in black) that I wanted to use, plus another largish size orange stripe that I thought would work, plus a strip of the fabric I used in the narrow borders.  Since the Zoology piece wasn't quite long enough I cut it in two pieces and inserted the strip of the border fabric.
Since the stripe was about 27 inches by the width of fabric I cut it in half and sewed the two pieces together to make a large enough piece to add to the side of this.  It was the perfect size at that point for the back!

At this point I had to dig through my batting box, and ended up having to piece this as well!  I was glad I found a strip that was just big enough to add to the piece that was not quite large enough.  I got the layers pinned andstarted quilting.  I though t about using a fun lime green thread, but ended up going with the slate gray, and think that it was a great choice!  I just quilted this in a large meander since I just wanted to get it finished up.  I think part of the reason this has been a UFO for so long is the fact that I just could not figure out how I wanted to quilt it.  The allover design looks just fine on it!
 It was a rainy day today, so a bit hard to get the right lighting....
 When I finished the quilting I realized I had managed to get the backing on upside down.  Whoops!
 Here is a close-up so you can see how all the animals are blanket stitched down.  They were fused first with fusible web.
Hurray for a finished UFO...A month and a week late, but I got it done!  I am still working on my November quilt (hand-quilting), and it should be finished up as well before long.   Still thinking about my goal for this year, but I have something in mind.  

This quilt is available in my Etsy Shop - here!

Friday, January 30, 2015

On Track

I've been working hard all week at catching up and I think I am finally back on track!  Whew!  I've felt behind on so many projects for so long that I don't quite know what to do with myself.  Well, that's not true - I have a lot of things I am itching to get to work on, as well as projects that are coming up.  It's just that I'm not behind schedule on anything right now.  At any rate, I sandwiched this to get quilted this weekend:

It is going to get loop the loops and butterflies in light orange thread.  Shouldn't take too long to get this one done!  I also want to get the quilt I am hand-quilting bound.  I decided I want to put a scalloped border on, so I need to figure that out.  It's been a while and I'm afraid I've forgotten how to figure out the math for the scallops.

And I saw this picture on Facebook
and realized it would be perfect to use my overflowing green stash on!  I have been thinking of making a triangle quilt in greens, so this one is perfect.  I think I could figure this out on my own, but the magazine looks like it will have lots of great patterns, so I may have to add it to my collection when I see it!  Is there anything as fun as deciding on a new quilting project? I just love the feeling of knowing I want to make something special and new!

And I am going to try to finish piecing the border for my Grand Illusion Mystery.  I need to get on the hunt for the perfect backing for it, too.  I'm thinking of quilting it with a medium loft poly batting.  I like my cotton quilts, but a nice fluffy quilt can be a fun change of pace sometimes.  I probably won't be quilting it for a while, so I have time to think about it.



What are you sewing this weekend?  Will you watch the superbowl or sew?  (I plan to do my binding while I watch the game!)

Making a difference with cupcakes!

Every quilt I make has some kind of a story.  Some of the stories are simple - I loved the fabric and wanted to make something out of it.  Some of the stories are more intricate, and reach beyond my sewing room into another person's story.  This is one of those quilts.  It's not a complicated quilt, but it is a quilt that is a masterpiece to those that it touches.  It is a happy and colorful quilt that was created by a community - my skills were simply those that brought it all together in the end.  All the beauty of this quilt is from the people who contributed their love.

I started on the path to making this quilt earlier this summer.  I got a custom request in my Etsy shop from a mom who wanted a quilt and a couple of pillowcases made for her daughter.  It would be used on a hospital bed for her little girl who was on hospice care.  
My heart hurt when I read that and I just had to take on the request - Maria (the mom) had some cute fabric picked out with cupcakes, so I ordered it and got the project finished for her as quickly as I could.  I didn't want to be nosy and ask for the whole story about her daughter, so I just made the quilt as requested, and when she asked if I could donate a baby quilt for the fundraiser she was planning I was happy to use the leftover fabric to do that for her.


Then Maria came up with the idea of sending fabric squares to be colored, then sewn together for another quilt.  It sounded like a great idea, so I jumped on board with the plan and cut out 100 squares to be used for the project.  I still didn't really know the whole story about Maria's daughter, but I know I was doing something to help and it felt really good to be a part of that.

After the fundraiser, the colored squares came back to me to be sewn together.  Her friend Julia also sent me the logo for their foundations and asked if I could add that to the quilt.  This whas when I I learned about the Calliope Joy Foundation.  I read about a family that has seen more heartbreak than I can fathom.  About a sweet little girl that is so loved by her family and community.  About a mom that is dealing with something that most of us cannot imagine and is finding the strength to not only go on each day, but is also determined to do something to help other families and children.


As I cut all the sashing and sewed the squares together I smiled as I saw each block.  How carefully the children colored and printed their names.  The bright and colorful colors are so happy, this quilt cannot help but make you smile when you look at it.  I added a few pictures of Cal and her beautiful smile as well - because this quilt really is all about her!

Taken separately, each square is lovely in itself.  But all together it is more.  It speaks of joy, of love, of community.  Read here to see what 
5000 cupcakes, 1000 people and One Cause look like.  And read here to see What Cupcakes Can Do.  You can see that every small donation matters, because it all adds up to something more.  We can help.  I hope that some of you will choose to make a donation to this cause, because it can make such a big difference in what the future holds for children with these neurological diseases.  

I am so glad I had the opportunity to work with Maria, to help bring some joy and beauty into her family's life.  Quilts can be such a comfort, and that's just one of the reasons that I love creating them!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Time Out!

My husband and I took a little time out yesterday for a drive up the coast and lunch out.  It was such a lovely day!  70 degrees out and sunny.  We enjoyed a yummy lunch at a Chinese restaurant, then explored Reedsport a bit.  We've driven through numerous times on our way up north, but haven't really checked any of the local sights.  We found the Umpqua Discovery Center which was a lovely place to walk around and enjoy the view of the river.  We went into the gift shop looking for a small gift for a friend and bought a handmade soap bar, and I found a pretty Christmas ornament to remind us of our lovely day out.

One of the highlights of our visit was seeing the Album quilt that is on display there - I wish I had a better picture, but this is the only one I could find.  It was really beautiful with 15 different applique panels.  Several of my friends worked on this quilt and it was delightful to see in person.  What a special work of art this is, indeed and a treasure for the community.

We came home and I did some machine quilting on the cupcake quilt.  I got about half way done, but had to take a break and watch a movie with my husband.  Swiss Family Robinson.  Not too bad for a movie made in 1960!  I think we will have to watch it with the grandsons someday, I think they would really enjoy seeing it!

Today I finished up the cupcake quilt.  I wanted to mail it, but I really needed to take some pictures first, so it will go to the post office tomorrow morning.  I am so pleased with how it came out!

I hope your weekend was good - my best to all of you in the snowy weather, especially our daughter!  Stay warm!