Welcome to my blog, we're talking about quilting and other good stuff. I'm glad you stopped by ... look around, add a comment, become a follower if you feel inclined, tell your friends about me, and come back soon!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Doing the happy dance!

Three things to be happy about:
(1) your favorite socks
(2) a sense of humor
(3) turning off the TV

... til the elections are over, anyway!

You gotta love doing a happy dance, even if no one can see you.  In fact those are the best ones because as long as you don't hurt yourself, NOTHING you do is wrong!  Yesterday I was doing a happy dance for two reasons:  I picked up my second quilt from the quilter's and when I got home I had an unexpected squishy in the mail!

Don't you just love unexpected squishies?  Sandra, one of my guild friends, read my blog post about my long-delayed and overdue Christmas quilt.  To help speed the process she sent me some Christmas fabric from her stash, but it's no ordinary fabric -  it's Black santas! 
Isn't this pretty?  I've never been able to find any, and this will have a super-duper home in my quilt - thanks Sandy!!

And here's my string quilt, Stars and Stripes, that I picked up from Bernerdett yesterday:
The photo doesn't do it justice, she did a great job!

And take a closer look at this gorgeous quilting:
Bern did this all free-hand, she says she loves to just doodle.  She spends hours and hours with pencil and sketchpad, just doodling - I love it!

I'm deciding on a binding fabric for this one now, perhaps something in a dark blue.  Stars and Stripes is 82x73 and doesn't have a border; with so much scrappiness in the quilt, anything I use will be perfect.  I not only have another quilt done, I also got rid of some of those pesky strings ... which promptly multiplied!

Loving my quilt!  Sew forth and sew on...

Friday, October 26, 2012

A sham and a shazam!

Here's the sham:
I wanted to make pillow shams to go along with my Christmas quilt, using regular sized bed pillows rather than the small ones I toss on the sofa.  I found a very very  easy pattern on You Tube that I made with a piece of batik-y fabric, that I can use now.  It turned out really pretty!

Next I'll make a couple using Christmas fabrics, inserting a small ruffle around the edges.

And now for the shazam!

I picked up my Black, White and a Shot of Red quilt from the LA yesterday - I love it love it!   I started piecing this one just over a month ago when my sister was visiting, and it was a real pleasure to make.  I blogged about it here.  Unfortunately the reds look a bit orange-y, but they really are red.
Bernerdette did a great job as usual, and she likes the quilt enough to make one of her own.

I don't usually piece my backs but this time I used odd pieces of black and white fabric (with a shot of red!) and it really added some zing to the quilt! 

I sewed the binding on yesterday; I just have to finish sewing it down on the back, and she's ready to roll out!

As an extra bonus for the weekend, today I go to pick up my Stars and Stripes quilt, Bern finished it a couple days ahead of schedule because she wants to get out of town ahead of Sandy.  I look forward to seeing that one finished, I still remember how the bright stars sparkled among the string blocks!  I've pieced other tops using string blocks, but this will be the first one that I've had long-arm quilted.

Well have a great Friday, sew forth and sew on!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's in the bag

Three things to be happy about:
(1) springwater
(2) homemade fudge
(3) toddlers just learning to talk

My neighbors across the street have an 17 month old that's cute as a button!  It used to be when saw Isaiah and said "hi Isaiah!" he'd go "Blib bub oomp".  Lately when I say "hey Isaiah!" he goes "Blib bub oomp dap blup blop fwoop mlyap muuwp bliff maap fwip" while pointing his finger.  Coming right along... that boy will be a high school grad before you know it!

This one's mine!
 At guild meeting Saturday Nadine showed us a pretty fat quarter bag that Debbra made, to hold quilts.  When Nadine said how many quilts she was able to get in there, I was intrigued - there's nothing like a guild meeting to get your juices going!  I found the pattern online at AllFreeSewing.com and thought I'd give it a whirl.

All I can say is - Easy!

From my batik stash yesterday I cut six pieces for the outside, and one large piece for the inside and straps.  I didn't think to take pictures while I was working on it, but it would have just been filler anyway  ;o)

The bag is humongous all put together, the lining is cut at a generous 38-1/2 x 51-1/2 so it's a pretty roomy bag.  I put a few quilts in it to see what I see....

I was able to get five (5) quilts in my bag, and there was room for more!  The largest one was a full size measuring something like 82 x 95 ... for some strange reason I never put a label on that big ole quilt???  I definitely remember writing "A Star is Borne" someplace, I thought it was on an entry form... but I digress.

These were all in the bag!

The instructions call for 40" straps which are okay, but when I do it again I'll make the straps a bit longer. I'd tell you the most difficult part about making this bag, but there really is no difficult part - unless you want to consider turning those straps difficult... a 2 x 40" tube is bit fiddly to turn!  (I've always wanted to use that word! I know a lady from England who says fiddly and pest:  "That beltway is a bit of a pest at rush hour!"  She also makes delicious scones with some kind of lemon curd sauce!)

Anyway, I like the bag and will probably make another one... but do I need two of em???  Of course I do!!

Well, today I'm having lunch with Josie, my neighbor 4 doors down; then its back home for some serious sewing.  She's never been to Wegman's and I could use a quick run by Costco, so it's all good ... they're in the same shopping center.  Have a great Tuesday!

Sew forth and sew on

Monday, October 22, 2012

This and that

Three things to be happy about:
(1) the statue in a fountain
(2) brick-oven pizza
(3) removing clutter

For years and years I've been promising myself a Christmas quilt for my bed, but for years and years I've looked up and it's the end of November and I haven't started my quilt.  Well this is it, this is the year!  As you can see, I have quite a collection of Christmas/holiday/winter fabrics to choose from, some of it has been languishing in a special part of my stash for ... years.

And this is just the tip of the stash-berg! 

To make it quickly I'm going with my Three-Six-Twelve pattern layout - I've cut a few pieces just to get things moving.  "Traditional" Christmas fabrics can be a bit "too too and not enough" used by itself, sometimes downright muddy looking.  For this quilt I'm using reds, greens, beiges, whites, and to shake it up a bit I'll throw in some "reads as solid" non-Christmas prints in red, green and gold...

I cut fabric into 6-1/2 x 12-1/2 rectangles, 6-1/2 square, 2-1/2 x 6-1/2 strips, and 3-1/2 x 12-1/2" strips. 

After cutting enough for variety I made three blocks just to make sure I'll like what I see... I think I do so far!

I also plan to throw in a few blocks with appliqued words and/or pictures to break it up a bit.  Isn't it great that when you're doing a "just for me" quilt, you can design and redesign as you go along?  I'll do this and that, then step back and see what else will go with it.  And the even greater thing is there's no deadline pushing me so hard that I stumble over my own foot pedal.  I'd like to have the quilt to use this year but if I don't, I'll have it next year!  I know the top will be pieced for sure.

 Last Friday the senior center sponsored a trip to the African art museum at the Smithsonian.  It was sooo rainy but at the time the bus left it cleared up. 

It's been many years since I've been to the museum so I took advantage of the opportunity - I mean, I could take the Metro down there and walk across the Mall at any time, but if the bus is going, nothing beats door to door service with someone else driving!
The picture below is of the "castle" at the Smithsonian; I can't tell you what all's in there but I seem to remember some antique dental instruments last time I was there around 10 years ago.  I could google it and find out, but whatever...

I was a bit disappointed at how the photos I took inside the museum came out, so I don't have any to share.  We weren't allowed to use flash and the lighting over the exhibits was sort of yellowish so the pictures aren't worth showing.  We saw ceremonial masks and a really intricate ceremonial robe with many layers of fabric.  This picture's not too-too bad, I think...

I couldn't get the shot I wanted because you can only get so close.  This exhibit in on a platform with an audible alarm, and when I moved my camera to a certain point the alarm would go off.  The long shot didn't come out for me.

I did see this little sewing machine, though...

made from wire!  It was inside a glass container but you can still see what it is.

Well, that's what I've been up to - sew forth and sew on!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's almost magic

Three things to be happy about:
(1) stew fixings
(2) anticipation
(3) going to bed content

Hello everybody, hi new followers!!  *big wave*

You'll probably notice some changes on my layout:  I moved my labels to the very bottom of the page, they were taking up too much real estate!  So if you're looking for a particular subject, just scroll all the way to the bottom and click on it, or use the Google search area at the top of the blog.  Also, I changed it so that that are no more than 3 blogs per page; sometimes I'm sorta heavy on the pictures!

Part of my big furniture swap is done, thank goodness!  Yesterday morning my neighbor across the street came over to help me disassemble my bed... at 8 o'clock, sheesh!  But this was good timing because Macy's was due to deliver my new bed and table between 11:15 and 1:15.  The bed was easy to disassemble and we did it in about 10 minutes, but it needed two people because the pieces were so heavy.  When Macy's came (at 12:50) I was tickled at the "red carpet" treatment I got.

I also got "blue overshoe" treatment!  They put these blue covers over their shoes before they came into the house.  If I had known ahead of time I'd of sprayed Endust on the floor so they could pull double duty with those footies!

So, my new bed is ready to roll... they squeezed it in there, didn't they?
This quilt is one I made for my sister Ruby in 1997; when she passed away in '08 I asked my BIL for it and he was nice enough to send it along. Notice the little elephant block? Ruby was a Delta, which as you know has the elephant as their mascot. But actually she was collecting elephants long before she bacame a Delta.

Long story short, I got my new stuff delivered; Salvation Army is due today to pick up the old bed and chest.

I haven't done too much sewing the last couple of days.  I put the last two borders on my latest Three-Six-Twelve quilt (made with African fabrics), so now the top is all ready for quilting, yesss!!

I had picked up (again) the quilting on this little modified drunkard's path quilt but I felt too distracted to work on it with everything else going on, so I pieced a few crumb blocks while waiting for the delivery people. 

modified Drunkard's Path

crumb blocks

These will probably be cut into regular sized blocks and used in some unspecified project later on... I think it's always good to have a ready supply of crumb blocks!

That's it for now, have a great Wednesday... sew forth and sew on

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

21 years

This amazing video sequence opens gradually—frame after frame captures a tiny baby from the first day he entered the world at Harrogate General Hospital in Yorkshire, England. Then it races forward and literally becomes a life flashing before our eyes through pictures that Ian McCleod took of his son, Cory, essentially every day of his 21 years.

Sew forth and sew on

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lancaster 2012

It's been a long time between blogs, I know!  I haven't had much of anything to post and I've been busy behind the scenes, including moving furniture (and stash!) around in one of my bedrooms so I can get a new bedroom set delivered.  Salvation Army will pick up the old one but they won't disassemble the bed, and it has to be moved out of the way before my new bedroom set can be moved in.  BUT the new stuff is coming the day BEFORE the old stuff gets hauled away... try and figure that one out!  Sheesh, a girl needs a break!

That's where the happy part comes in...

Yesterday was the annual shopping trip to Lancaster and the Kitchen Kettle area with the Faithful Circle Quilters (hi MaryBeth!!!  I've been doing the Lancaster trip with MaryBeth Little for a long time and just yesterday discovered she's  the MaryBeth who's one of my followers!)  Anyway, at the crack of dawn I scooted down 16th Street and picked up Emily from my Bee, and we headed out to Columbia, Maryland to catch the bus.

Sauder's, our first stop, had rearranged their shop a bit since last time - I don't have too many photos to share but I wish I'd gotten a couple inside the shop, it looks neater and there's a lot more light.   And... they got rid of their outdoor toilet!

I've been on a serious fabric diet for awhile and I haven't been buying a lot of fabric... in fact I haven't bought any  for a long time!  But on this annual trip I allowed myself some freedom - if you're like me your stash is traditionally low on neutrals.  Since I'll be cruising with Bonnie Hunter to Alaska in August, my mission on this trip was neutrals and more neutrals!

I have no idea what her quilt design will be, but since I need more neutrals and the design will probably include neutrals - I can't lose!

I fell in love with these cute prints from Marshall Dry Goods' Storybook Collection.  I only got six quarter-yard cuts at $2.99 a yard, so it didn't expand my stash too much or dent my wallet.  I feel pretty good about staying on my fabric diet!

I couldn't resist getting a half yard of this cute Peanuts print from Zook's in the Kettle area; if I made an impulse purchase, this would have been it...

I like words!  These just had to come home with me...
the one on top supports breast cancer research; there are two Christmas fabrics and another with quilt-related phrases.

In the Kettle area I bought a bag of eleven bean soup mix that I've been wanting to try.  Charlene says it's pretty good, so I'm looking forward to making it when the snow flies!  They always have such cute decorations and novelties in the Kettle area.  I thought this spider pumpkin holder was so halloween-y...

The weather couldn't have been better yesterday, I loved it!  And so, after a great day of shopping and the excellent smorgasbord lunch at Shady Maple, Terri the bus driver delivered us safely home and we bid each other a fond farewell til next year...

Sew forth and sew on...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Looking good

Three things to be happy about:
(1) a magazine worth reading
(2) cold-weather cooking
(3) lightweight down comforters

This is certainly the weather for lightweight down comforters!  Yesterday was downright chilly, and rainy to boot.

Once again, yesterday I had the lead role in  June Cleaver Does Quilting ... I finished piecing the blocks for my new Three-Six-Twelve quilt with African fabrics, and put the top together.  I even put the borders on two sides... take a look!

I arranged the blocks the way I wanted them, but when I used Bonnie's tip for webbing the top, part of the first two rows got twisted around; some of the layout is off, but who can tell?

Miki, I wish I'd seen your comment sooner about using solids, it's a great idea!  All the African fabrics sorta moosh together but it's still pretty.

Thanks everyone for your comments, have a great Monday!

Sew forth and sew on

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Too easy not to share

I wanted to share this Missouri Star Quilting Co. tut on making your own ironing board surface - super easy!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Starting a bigger quilt

Three things to be happy about:
(1) a movie worth seeing again
(2) Andy Griffith Show reruns
(3) glossy photos

I like the Three Six Twelve pattern so much that I started another one, this time it will be throw size and made using African fabrics. 
I started cutting some pieces yesterday, this is a great time to use up some of the fabrics I've had in my stash awhile.  It's not that I don't like them, I just haven't used them yet.

This quilt will be set four blocks across and five down, with borders added to make up the size I want it to be.  Or maybe I'll put half-blocks along the sides... we'll see.

I had a half dozen sweet potatoes that I got from the "veggie truck" but they're rather large - too large to bake, I think.  I decided to slice and freeze some in a single layer so they wouldn't stick together, then I put them in a baggie.  They froze nicely, now to cut up the other ones....

Frozen sliced sweet potatoes
When I'm ready to eat some I'll fry them (what's the opposite of "deep fry"?) in a skillet with just a little olive oil and butter, just enough to keep them from sticking.  They're good if you add a sprinkle of brown sugar as they cook, but you have to watch closely so they don't scorch.

That's it for now, have a great Friday... sew forth and sew on!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Easy as Three-Six-Twelve!

An easy tutorial using large blocks!

Sometimes you need something that's quick, easy, and fun to make - this little quilt is all that, and can be pieced in a day.  In this pattern anything goes - large prints, small prints, geometrics, flowers - use those scraps!  Gather up your brightest scraps and let them shine!

The idea behind this quilt is to make blocks that finish at 12-1/2"; I've named it Three Six Twelve simply because of the size strips I used.  This pattern can be adapted to any size from wall hanging to baby quilt to full size - just increase the number of blocks!

To get started you'll need to cut strips in widths of  2-1/2, 3-1/2 and 6-1/2 inches ... if you normally cut your scraps into strips, and you already have 2-1/2" strips - you're that much farther ahead!  To make a 36 x 36 quilt (before borders), I cut my strips in these quantities:
2-1/2 x 6-1/2 (24 pieces)  and  6-1/2 x 6-1/2 (8 pieces)

3-1/2 x 12-1/2 (10 pieces)  and  6-1/2 x 12-1/2 (5 pieces)
Here's how to combine the individual "parts" that can be put together to make the finished blocks:

combine two 3-1/2  x  6-1/2" strips (should finish at 6-1/2 x 12-1/2) to pair with another 6-1/2 x 12-1/2" piece:

combine three 2-1/2  x  6-1/2" strips (should finish at 6-1/2 x 6-1/2) to combine with another 6-1/2 x 6-1/2 piece:

combine six 2-1/2  x  6-1/2" strips (should finish at 6-1/2 x 12-1/2) to pair with another 6-1/2 x 12-1/2" strip:

You can also join two 6-1/2" squares (not shown) to get a 6-1/2 x 12-1/2" piece, to pair with another of the same size.

These part combinations can be joined together in different ways to make a 12-1/2" finished block.  There are literally hundreds (dozens?) of ways to combine these pieces!  Feel free to use different combinations to get the result you want, two blocks are shown below.  Also, study my quilt above to see how I combined the blocks. 

When you have the blocks assembled, rotate them clockwise and/or counter-clockwise to get a pleasing layout...
and sew together in rows.  Add a border if desired - I used a 2" finished border on the sides and 4" finished at top and bottom.

Quilt as desired, bind, and you're done!  See how quick and easy that was??

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial!  If you need clarification on any of the steps, please email me or leave a comment.  Sometimes I'm guilty of thinking faster than I type - just call me Maxine Headroom!

Sew forth and sew on!