Sunday, May 27, 2012

Blogger's BOM #9 May

This month's Blogger's BOM was featured by Cathy over at Cabbage Quilts. It is a jewel box block which something I'm familiar with since the mystery quilt I've been working on is also made up of jewel box blocks! This one was a bit different. It's very small! The block is only 8 1/2 inches square. I really like how it came out and I think the colors are very close to jewel tones! It was fun to work on.

Here are all the blocks so far. I really love all the Kaffe Fassett fabrics together. I'm excited to see how this quilt top will come out. I think there are 5 blocks left to make. I'll keep posting every month!

This was a very busy weekend for me and my family. My daughter graduated from college with a degree in English Literature. I was so emotional! Happy and sad at the same time! The graduation was lovely and only took about 3 hours. We expected it to take much longer since there were 2900 graduates. My daughter is spending one more year at the same school. She's working on a master's degree in education so she can teach high school English. She actually started classes last week! She's back to doing homework but at least her bachelor's is all done.

 That's my son and daughter right after the ceremony! We were all starving and couldn't wait to go eat somewhere!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May Free Motion Quilting Challenge


This month's Free Motion Quilting Challenge was taught to us by Leah Day. Her tutorial was just wonderful! I really enjoy her blog and method of teaching. The top sample was made by sewing a large meander and then sewing a smaller meander over it. Leah called it a foundational design. This stitch is Double Stippling. The sample below is started the same way but railroad tracks are sewn over the foundation. She calls this one Railroad Tracks. Very appropriate!

I realize I don't quilt as large as Leah. She filled the entire area with stitching. She did mention that everyone's sample would be different. Also, what works for some quilters doesn't necessarily work for everyone. I felt uncomfortable making huge stipples. Maybe I should practice getting over that! I enjoyed her lesson and felt I learned a lot. 

If anyone is interested, go to SewCalGal and check out the great tutorials we've had so far. It's a really nice way of learning and practicing free motion quilting.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival Spring 2012

I think Prairie compass is the quilt I'm most proud of making. It was a Block of the Month offered by Quilter's Newsletter Magazine. It was designed by Nancy Rink. I started this rather late and never actually kept up with each month's directions. I hand appliqued and machine pieced it. The Mariner's Compass was done using paper piecing. I decided to hand quilt the entire thing. You can't see it in this picture but I hand quilted 1/4 inch parallel lines throughout the entire body of the quilt. I used a stencil and hand quilted feathers throughout the borders. It took me close to 5 years to complete this quilt from start to finish.

Here's a close up of the hand quilting. I was so used to watching TV while hand quilting that it actually took me awhile to get used to not having it around anymore! My cat would sit under it whenever I took it out and have a nice warm nap. I bet he misses it too!

Friday, May 18, 2012


This is the finished mystery quilt top without borders. It looks okay but it was simply awful to sew the rows together. There were 17 seams to match up per row. (Yup, I counted them!) The seams were not ironed so they would be going in opposite directions for easy sewing. You had to finger press to one side as you went along each row. So frustrating! I'm sort of surprised it came out looking this good. If you look real close, some of the seams just don't line up. I did the best I could. It calls for 6 inch borders but I'm thinking of framing it with a 2 inch dark border and then adding the 6 inch border. Any opinions??

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New Twister

I started a new Twister quilt! I am using the Lil' Twister. The fabric is Kate Spain's Good Fortune collection. Since I wanted a larger quilt, I am alternating a very pale blue solid in between each block of the Good Fortune. I wasn't sure how large it was going to be so I still have to buy border fabric. I could have used the same pale blue but I want the solid blocks to look just as "twisted" as the featured fabric. Using a border made from a different fabric should frame them and not let the light blue blocks look as though they fade into the border. At least, that's the effect I'm striving for! We'll see what happens.

This is the latest block I've machine quilted. It's pretty hard to see in this picture. I quilted hearts in the 4 corners as well as the 4 set in triangles. I also sewed a little meandering loop around each heart.

I sort of quilted 4 overlapping leaves in the center. I don't like that clump of thread in the middle but I'm not sure what else to do.

I have 4 blocks done but 8 to go! So slow but I remind myself I'm learning!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Some New Stuff

I told you all the other day that I was going to Nashua, NH to A Quilter's Sampler. There were no quilts to see. There were vendors and classes to take. My friend, Mary Rose, and I decided it would be fun to visit the vendors. We both got the day off from work and decided to leave mid-morning. We got there around 11AM. There was one room set up for the vendors. It wasn't very big at all. There were only about 7 or 8 vendors set up and 2 of them sold sewing machines. Neither one of us is interested in buying a sewing machine right now. One vendor sold fancy handled seam rippers and awls. Interesting, but we wanted fabric! I ended up buying a scrap pattern and a book from a store I go to very frequently! The owner actually knows me and we chatted for awhile.
The book has some great patterns to use with either sized twister ruler. I love the twister! I'm actually working on a pattern I sort of came up with. I'll show you when the top is done. This pattern seemed like another great way of using up various sizes of scraps in our stash. The pattern reminds me of a log cabin.

Mary Rose and I wanted to do more shopping so we found a shop near the show and I bought this fabric.
I bought this fabric so I can make more tote bags. The tote bags I make look so good with a striped bottom and the other fabrics coordinate so well. I just couldn't resist!

I'm working tomorrow but I actually have everything all set for my mom for Mother's Day. I took her shopping yesterday and I bought her a new pair of shoes. I've also bought her a couple of books and made her a mug rug.

My mom loves quilts but usually isn't too excited about quilted accessories. I thought this would be so cute to have next to her in the family room. She and my dad practically live in that room. It would look adorable in there and she'd have a nice place to put her tea mug on. I hope she likes it!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Giveaway received!

I won a giveaway from Mary at Made With Love by Mary a few weeks ago and I received my lovely gifts today! I got these beautiful autumn strips from Connecting Threads. Don't they just remind you of fall?? They're 2 1/2 inch strips and there are 24 of them. I'm not sure this picture really captures their rich colors. Mary was kind enough to send me instructions on how to make a Jelly Roll Race quilt using these strips. I have never bought a jelly roll. If any of you know of any great links or patterns, please share them with me!! I've just started to take a look around the internet for ideas.

Mary also sent me some thread that matches the strips perfectly! I've never used this thread before but have always wanted to try it. I love the products from Connecting Threads. They are well made and have great prices. I'll let you know what I think.

I am almost done machine quilting another block on my sampler quilt. I've worked the last two days and haven't done much. Also, my daughter is graduating from college in a couple of weeks and the English Honor Society had a little ceremony where they presented seniors with cords they will wear at graduation. It was a nice ceremony complete with a buffet. Can't believe she's graduating already! Seems like she just started college!!

I plan on sewing tomorrow but Friday I'm going to A Quilter's Sampler in Nashua, NH. It's not a quilt show. You can take classes and shop the vendors but there are no quilts to see. I plan on hitting the vendors.  There's always something I can find to buy!

Hope you all visit Mary's blog. She's always working on some gorgeous quilts. I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I do!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

More Machine Quilting!!

This is the second block I machine quilted from my sampler quilt. I think you can see the quilting pretty clearly in this picture. I quilted a leaf in each corner of the square within a square. I just made a larger version in the center. The remaining squares have a variation of the same motif.

I tackled this block next. I also quilted leaves over the 4-patches. I think my leaf shape is getting a bitter smoother looking and I'm also not marking the block at all. I just sort of keep an idea of what I'm doing.

Here's a close up of the previous block.

It's nice to machine quilt and finish the quilt myself. However, it's a bit difficult maneuvering the quilt. I've become used to making my leaves without moving the entire quilt. I can sew towards me and away from me and then I re-position the quilt. It cuts my "moving" time in half! The other hard part is that each block is different so I can't quilt each block the same. It takes a little bit of decision making before I can start the quilting process. I feel like I'm really getting used to machine quilting a good sized quilt. I think quilting on a small sample is great to learn the pattern but nothing really prepares you for the real thing. You just have to dive in and do it!

I have 3 blocks done so 9 to go! Then, the borders! Too much to think about. I'll do one block at a time!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Two Finishes

I just finished this tote bag for a friend's daughter's graduation. She likes purple and is going away to school. Her mom thought she would like it. She'll be a theater/drama major and has to take dance classes. We're hoping she can use it to tote her dance stuff around. It's a great bag to make. I have one for myself. The directions are very clear and easy to follow. I actually sewed the binding down by machine. It's the first time I tried it. It was so fast! I loved it! Here's another view of the bag:
 The binding is easily accessible by the sewing machine since it's at the very top. The pocket on the front comes in very handy. It's tilted but nothing falls out of it. There are no pockets inside but it is very roomy. I hope she likes it!!

These are the socks I've been working on for my son. Not sure if you remember but my son's college apartment had a fire this past December. He lost a pair of socks I had knit him years ago. He asked me if I could make them again for him. Luckily, I found the same yarn I had used to knit the original pair of socks. Just put them through the wash today. I'll give them to him this weekend but it may be too warm to wear them. I bet he'll be happy just to have them back!

Old and New!

I made this quilt about 15 years ago. It's called Starry Night. I signed up for a Block of the Month. I would receive directions as...