Catching Up

This is going to be a pretty long post since it has been a while (almost half a year) since my last one. It doesn’t seem to me that I’ve gotten much done quilt-wise, but it may look like it once everything is bundled together in one place.

Frist of all, I have been making a Quilt of Valor every month and sending them up to my dear friends, the Georgia Belles, to be quilted and gifted to an appreciated veteran.  There is a double benefit for me from making Quilts for veterans. The best thing of course, is having the opportunity to show my appreciation for those who served in the armed forces and helped to keep America safe.  Secondly, it is a practical way to experiment with different quilt patterns and techniques.  I enjoy trying new things and am learning so much with each one I make.

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Falling Stars

This is the QOV for July. The pattern is called ‘Falling Stars’ and is in the Spring issue of Easy Quilts.

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Summertime Stars

I made this one for August from a pattern called ‘Summertime Stars” in Quaint Quilts to Love by Joanna Figueroa & Lisa Quan.

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This is the one I made for September. At the moment, I can’t remember what magazine I saw this one in, but I remember it was an old one — from the 90s.

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And this is for October. I made it up using my favorite block, Mary’s Triangles from Sally Schnider’s book, Triangle Tricks. I’ve made several quilts with this block and it is so versatile.

A couple of months ago, the Community Service group of my local guild, Seaside Piecemakers, asked for patriotic lap quilts for a local hospice organization. Since I had a few patriotic panels on hand, I decided to make them up into lap quilts. Here they are.

2015-10-01 qov lap quilts

I turned these three in and was gifted with four more little panels to make into even more lap quilts.  Here they are (before the quilting and binding. Apparently, I didn’t take a picture of them finished):

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These were fun to make and fast – corner blocks and side borders around the panel and the quilt is all done. These were small enough that I could quilt them myself on my little Vikiing. Notice the Mary’s Triangles in the corners. I sure like adding them to quilts.

2015-07-26 fabric folded stars

Folded Fabric Stars

These are my folded fabric stars. I learned this technique from Diana Whitson at a Sunstitchers meeting in June. I liked it so much that when we went back to Chattanooga to get the last of our stored stuff, I showed Karen D. and Sharon G. how to make them and they shared the technique with the Chattanooga Quilt Guild. I thought I would make one or two, but I keep getting ideas for different color combinations and decide to do ‘just one more.’ Thus this fifth one:

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One more star

(and I am considering a few more color ways, so I don’t think I am done yet.)

Over the last few months, I also managed to get some knitting done. I finally finished the teal pair and two more pairs after that.  I have been knitting in the evenings while watching TV.

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Teal Sox

2015-10-08 red sox

Red & Purple Sox

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Blue Sox

This makes 24 pairs of socks that I have knitted. I think I am ready for winter now — LOL!

Twin baby quilts

Twin baby quilts

I made these baby quit tops for my sister. She has a co-worker who recently had twin granddaughters, and I happened to have a couple ABC panels on hand that seemed girly, so I pieced the tops for her. She will take care of the quilting and finishing.

 

Well, I believe that has us all caught up. I left out any pictures of the studio although it has changed a lot since the last update on that. I am hoping to get the room all neatened up for fresh pictures, but I am having so much fun sewing in here that there seems to always be a mess of one sort or another.

Happy Day!

 

 

 

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A Little Retreat

Sharon and Karen, a couple of my Chattanooga friends, came to visit over the second weekend in April. They stayed in a really nice hotel on the beach and we had a wonderful time.

This little quilt was such a big surprise to me — it was made for me by my dear friends in the Chattanooga Quilt Guild. And everyone signed the label. I absolutely love this quilt and especially the sentiment behind it.  It is such a lovely reminder of all the good times we had in Tennessee.

2015-04-13 gift from chatt guild

2015-04-13 gift from chatt guild label

Here we are on the beach. The weather was perfect that day.

2015-04-09 at the beach

These are some shots of the room and how it was set up for quiltmaking.  In the first picture you can see the cutting table.

2015-04-11 03 cutting station Here you can see Sharon and Karen at their sewing tables and the portable design wall cleverly created with a flannel backed table cloth and a few push pins.

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Another view of the design wall. Sharon was working on the wonky star quilt and Karen is making a double wedding ring quilt for her sister.

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They made pretty good progress on their projects and still had time to go out to eat and to visit several quilt shops including: The Florida Key Lime Pie Company, Brano’s Italian Grill, Sew Central, The Quilt Place, and Fabric, Fabric, Fabric.

I didn’t actually work on anything. Well, I took some knitting and got a couple more rounds on the pair of socks I have been working on for about a year, but I concentrated on just hanging out and visiting with the gals. It was such great fun.

Here is the ironing station.

2015-04-11 04 pressing stationThey came by to see the house on their way back up north and became the very first visitors to my little sewing studio.

2015-04-12 sharon & karen

It was so nice to see my northern friends again. I look forward to seeing them again soon. Hopefully next time I will have my guest room ready for company.

Catching up with June

It has been a busy few weeks, and the coming weeks promise to be even busier, so I am glad to have a little time this morning to update Towanda.

First, is the nearly finished Quilt of Valor that I have been working on for quite a while. Gosh, it took a long time to get all those strips sewn together, and I love the way the star blocks bring some order to the chaos.

2014-05-28 QOV

 

Next is the ginormous tote bag I made for my sister. She loves paisley and this was the biggest paisley print that I could get my hands on.

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This is a ladybug zippy bag that I made for Tracey, a gal who worked in the quilt shop my sister goes to in Virginia. I learned how to use my Viking sewing machine fonts to quilt her name onto the bag. That was fun.

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This is another sewing vest that I made for Ms. Audre who owns the fabric shop. The fabric on the pockets looks like bolts of fabric stacked up. Cute.

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Sandi, Sharon, Karen and I decided to start a row robin. Here is my contribution to Sandi’s block. I did the two side borders adapted from an Improv Herringbone block that I found online. Here is the link to the tutorial:

http://www.13spools.com/2013/05/improv-herringbone-tutorial.html

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The May ATC cards were all about Aces and Jokers. This was a challenging one for me.

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Here is the finished hexie spiral quilt that I have been showing you bits of. All done now.

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The last set of lotto blocks that I won were these plus sign blocks. I added some wonky log cabin borders around them and finally got them arranged into a quilt top. Pretty interesting, I think. I am curious to see what the quilting will do.

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From the leftover bits from the plus sign quilt, I made this little block. Not sure what will become of it, but I am thinking it might just make an interesting boxy tote bag (like the one you will see when you scroll down a bit).

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Here is my first boxy tote bag. It was fun and easy to make after I audited the Modern guild sew-in where Vanessa showed how.  As you might suspect, this went to my sister too — the paisley is the clue. This bag is a nice size for carrying around a sewing project or to use as a travel bag to hold all those little things you need in one place. I suspect there will be a lot of them in my future.

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That concludes the quilting portion of June. Please tune in again for the continuing adventures of this crazy quilter.  In the last week of June, I went to visit my sister and ended up staying for almost two weeks. We had a great time, but that is another post.  Happy Day!

In The Merry Month Of May

Seems like each month finds me busier than the last with little to show as far as finishes. Well, here is what I have been up to:

Sewing Vest

I made this sewing vest for my Chattanooga Quilter’s guild exchange gift. It is based on a pattern called the “Mae West Bomber Vest” and has a bunch of pockets on the inside and outside to hold all your tools and even a pocket for scraps. I altered the pin cushion from a plain square pillow of fabric to the little hexie flower, but the rest is just like the pattern.

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I was so happy that I had this button in my stash — it looks like a rolled up measuring tape and goes with the sewing fabric perfectly.

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My friend Vicky got the vest and I think she liked it.

Paper Pieced Place Mats

I have been enjoying taking a paper piecing class taught by my friend Denise. We met once a week for eight weeks ending last Thursday.

Here are my second set of place mats — winter of course.  I had trouble with the nine patches in the one and decided to skip them in the other.  The trees were a little tricky, but I got them done. The snowflakes are fused applique on a paper pieced snowball block. These place mats are not quilted yet.

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are not quite assembled, but the paper piecing is done. I decided that rather than make two of each of these that I could make one of each and they would serve as our spring and summer set. That little flower block seemed to take forever, so one is enough.

Birds and bees — a fine combination.  I will probably take one of the bees and one of the cardinals and make them into coasters.

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Spiced Pumpkin

I started a new hand applique project – a kit by Jan Patek called “Spiced Pumpkin.” The picture shows the center block. When completed it will be about 40″ square.  Civil War reproduction fabric is a different style than I usually use, but I think  this wall hanging will be a great addition to the autumn decor. I have the leaves and one of the vines stitched down already.

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Sweet Hearts

I made these heart pot holders for my friend, Vicky’s, birthday gift and managed to get them to her only about a week late.

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More Hexies

Here is a new hexie experiment in progress. I had a bundle of fat quarters of the same print in different colors and thought they might work for this with a solid grey thrown in for balance. Not sure what I think about it yet.

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Quilt of Valor

I sewed a bunch of strips together in this red white and blue lasagna quilt. It needs nice solid borders, probably navy blue which I hope will calm down all the action of the fabrics and make a quilt that will comfort a veteran.

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Well, that pretty much catches me up for now. I hope your spring is full of love and creativity.

 

Still Marching Along

Ginormous Tote

At the March meeting of the Chattanooga Modern Quilt guild we had a sew- in and learned to make this ginormous bag. I love mine. It is so big I can carry a couple of big quilts in it or a lot of different projects.  I used a ‘cheater’ fabric that was printed to look like hexagons sewn together for the body and the straps are some really old fabric that I found in my stash that almost perfectly matches one of the hexies in the print. I thought that was very cool. I tried something new with this bag — I used a satin fabric for the lining. I think that will make it a lot easier to put things in and take them out because it will cut down on the friction. ??????????

Janet found this idea at

http://studioloblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/tutorial-ginormous-quilters-tote/

so if you want to see how to make one just click (or cut and paste if the clicky thing doesn’t work).

Pizza Box Blocks

After the Chattanooga Quilters guild missed two meetings because of winter weather, we finally got together in March and got to finish up the Pizza Box Challenge that we had been working on throughout 2013.  Everyone got their pizza boxes back and we got to see the blocks all together.  Here are the ones that were in my box:

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Aren’t they wonderful!

And here they are with the extra ones I made during the year. I wanted to be sure the pattern worked before using someone elses fabrics. That gives me twice as many blocks to play with and this way, I can remember everyone who made blocks for me as well as what blocks I made for others.  This picture shows them lined up the usual way.

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This one shows them arranged on-point. Either way will look very good with a little sashing and a border or two. Right now though I think I like the on point version better. It will take a while to decide on placement of the blocks, but that will be fun when I get to it.

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This was such a fun project. I love my new blocks and am pretty amazed at how much care was put into each one.  They will become a treasured quilt that I will enjoy sleeping under.

I probably mentioned when this round robin began that Lauren wrote a cute murder mystery story to go with the block exchange. Each month she told us about a different potential killer and his or her motive for committing the crime.  It added an extra dimension that kept us interested.  This month the mystery was solved and the culprit was taken into custody. Great job Lauren!

Studio Changes

I had an idea to move things around in the studio and after a couple of days of trying to ignore it I gave in.  Maybe it is that spring cleaning urge.  I switched the cutting table, the design wall, some plastic drawer and ironing board around.   I think it is nice to change things up every now and again, and I am always trying to find that perfect arrangement.  Here are some pictures of the new look.

The ironing board and design wall where here where then cutting table is now.

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The design wall is where some plastic drawers were.

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The ironing board and plastic drawers are where the cutting table and its pegboard of tools were.

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One more look, this time from the door looking in.

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 I think this will work out pretty well for a while — at least until my next idea comes along.

March Forth / Lotto Blocks / Dresden Plates

LOL. I  am starting this blog entry on 3/4, which validates the title, but probably won’t finish it till later in the month.

I won lotto blocks at Chattanooga Modern Guild. The theme was to turn in modern versions of the classic Dresden plate blocks.  I turned in this one:

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Then I won these:

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According to the rules, if I managed to put these blocks in a quilt top, I could enter blocks and maybe win again at the March drawing.  These blocks are quite varied in style and fabric, but I embraced the challenge.

After some pondering, I decided that the three fan type blocks would be easier to work with if they were combined and ended up with this:

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Then I tried putting the blocks together in different ways hoping for something pleasing.

This one was too tall.

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This was a maybe, but seemed too ordinary — an irregular nine patch.

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So I tried a few variations:

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This one seemed to be the winner:

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Now to fiddle around with background fabrics. dark and light?

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All light? Since I didn’t have enough solid black for all the background fabric, the white won.

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Maybe add some colored bits with the hope that they would connect the various blocks. This is starting to grow on me.

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Perhaps a few leaves would balance the empty spaces:

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Well, that is what I took to show. The more I looked at it the more I liked it.  I decided it would be a great quilt to lay over the back of a sofa as a conversation starter.  I got a lot of positive feedback at the guild meeting, which was so encouraging.

The March lotto blocks were suppose to be some kind of plus sign block. Any size, any fabric. I made these three pink ones.

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You can bet I was as surprised as anyone when I won a set of blocks again! And to top that off, one gal gave me two more Dresden plate blocks that she hadn’t turned in last month.  Here are all my new blocks:

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I thought about putting the two Dresden blocks  and the plus sign blocks together in one little quilt top, but as much as I tried, I couldn’t come up with a plan I liked.

Then I started getting one of my BIG ideas — you know the kind that start out as a little whisper in your head and gets louder and louder till you pay attention to it?  This idea was to take the Dresden block quilt apart a little and fit the new blocks into it. It took a few days for me to work up the courage to give it a try, but finally I did. here is the new little quilt so far:

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I still like it.  I am thinking about taking the leaves off now because they look a little too busy with the new blocks, but I haven’t decided.

The plus sign blocks are in a neglected pile, but have not gotten any inspiration for them yet.  Don’t you love challenges!

 

 

Happy March!

Here are the things left over from last month that I couldn’t mention till after the guild meeting so I wouldn’t spoil the surprise.

More mug rugs! I know, one would think I had enough of mug rugs, but here I am making more.  These were inspired by that heart ruler that my sister gave me, a panel of quilting sayings and of course the proximity of Valentine’s day.

I thought it would be fun to make Valentines to hand out at the Chattanooga quilt guild in February  like we use to in grade school. The sayings in the center of the hearts say:

The hand that guides the needle rules the world

Quilting is my passion – chocolate comes in second

Common threads make uncommon quilts

Excess upon occasion is exhilarating

Quilters have loose ends to tie up

Lead me not into temptation except quilt shops

Rx for a healthy stash: daily feedings

Great quilts from little fabrics grow, Quilts – hugs that last a lifetime

With each new project – back to square one

Quilting . . . it’s not a hobby – it’s a lifestyle, Quilter’s budget

Live simply – quilt, Enjoy a trip around the world without leaving home

The whole nine yards

If quilting were a crime I’d be doing time

Quilting measures up

Fabric sale stampede today

Sew and your friends sew with you; rip and you rip alone

Fabric fondlers anonymous acquisition committee

I’ve never met a fabric I didn’t like

A quilter and her money are soon parted

How to invite your friends to a quilters’ day out: textile messaging

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Next is   finish.  Keep in mind that we missed both the January and the February guild meetings because of bad weather. This means I had to have three UFO’s done for the March meeting.  This is my third one, so I am caught up.

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I started this quilt in a workshop at Crazy Quilter’s guild a few years ago that Dawn taught. It is from the book  One-derful 1 Fabric Quilts by Kay Nikols. It was the third quilt I made from this workshop and technically this one doesn’t qualify because of that narrow red border I added. That makes it a two fabric quit, but I just had to add it. It goes perfectly with the red in the flowers and I think it frames up the blocks in a pleasing manner.  The first one fabric quilt that I made is still awaiting quilting and the second one, being smaller,  went to Project Linus. I don’t know if I even got a picture of it. I will have to dig around and see. This one is queen sized, probably the largest quilt I have quilted to date, and I could not have done it at all without my generous friend, Karen who let me use her Sweet 16 quilting machine.

Here is the back. I think I could have used a different green, but technically it matches. Once it is on the bed, though no one will notice.

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Next up is a block of the month that I started making kind of by accident. We were still in Florida then, and one of my neighbors, a sweet lady named Therese, invited me to go with her to Hancock Fabrics to see a demo of their block of the month (BOM)  for that year (I think it started in September of 2003). Mostly, I think she wanted company on the ride all the way to Merritt Island, but I went and got the free instructions.

Usually when you start a block of the month at Hancock Fabrics (at least this is how I understand it), you buy the fabric kit for the first block for $5.  They demo how to make the block and you go home and make it. When you bring back your finished block the next month, you get the kit for the next block free. And so it goes on till the end, when you find you need to buy fabric for sashing, borders and what not.

This time though, the official fabric for the BOM was delayed for two or three months so they couldn’t make up the kits.  As an incentive to keep the group of gals who usually participated coming in to the store, the woman who did the demos offered to demo an additional BOM in the meantime, and designed another 12 block quilt just for that. I thought that was very generous of her.  For this one you just got the free instructions and used your own fabric.  Well, Therese and I liked the idea of the free instructions and we showed up every month to get the new block information.  After a couple of months, the regular BOM got started and the instructor would demo a block from each of the two quilts. Therese joined the regular BOM too, but I just went for the free one.

This is the first quilt that I actually went out and bought fabric for. It required four fabrics: a light, a dark and two mediums. Oh how I agonized over those choices.  I settled on greens because I knew Raymond liked that color and splurged on $2/yard flat folds from a store in Viera called The Rag Shop. It seemed like such an extravagant purchase as I was pretty sure I would get bored with quiltmaking and never finish the quilt.

As it turned out I did pretty well at keeping up with the monthly blocks, but after they were done they went into storage.  After we moved here and I put up a design wall, I dug the blocks out, arranged them and sewed them into a quilt top. Back in the box they went till this year when I decided to try quilting it.  Here it is.

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The original layout had the blocks on point and setting triangles and corners making it queen sized. As my fabric was limited, I decided to go with a smaller version resulting in a smaller, but still useful quilt.

Here is a picture of how I use a folding table to add length to my ironing board for large pieces.  I used the bed risers to lift the table up and just throw a small quilt over it to protect the plastic top from the heat and steam. So far it has been enough.

I like to use fusible batting in my quilts so I layer the back, batting and top on the ironing board. Then starting across the middle, I steam the layers so the fusible stuff sticks. I do the middle section first, then carefully slide the layers so I can get to the sides and keep moving back and forth till it’s all secure. Then I flip it over to make sure no wrinkles got fused in the backing.  Finally, I roll up the raw edges and pin them with quilting pins to keep them from getting in the way and the sandwich is all ready to quilt.

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 Finally, here is another quilt I am working on. It is even bigger than the One-derful one fabric quilt pictured above.  This is a quick but interesting pattern.

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