Sunday, March 18, 2018

Another Month Gone by in a Flash!

I can't believe a month has gone by so fast. I've been busy sorting things in my old house. I have accepted that a move back to Connecticut from New Hampshire is not going to happen this year. There is too much to do still, and I haven't decided to build or go house hunting. I have blueprints that I bought in the mid 90's when I was thinking of buying land from my grandmother's estate and building. It never happened but I still love the house plans. There is no rush, in any case.

I would like to say I've been sewing up a storm this month but I just don't know where the time goes. I did finish a top that was supposed to be shown at the February Seabreeze Quilt Guild meeting. I wasn't able to go due to illness. And the March meeting was cancelled for snow.  I'll be showing it on Wednesday when it's my day for the Quilt Qwazy Queens Blog Hop.

We've been having weekly snow storms on Tuesdays, usually 20 inches or so. There was another coming this week but the forecast seems to have changed and it's looking clear for the week. My sister and I are headed to Lancaster, PA for the AQS Show. We've got 3 nights in the hotel where the show is, so as long as we get there, it can snow as much as it wants!

Gloaming Fat Quarter Bundle

I don't remember how I stumbled across this but I purchased the fat quarter bundle of Gloaming from Cora's Quilts. Oh boy, do I love the colors. I don't have a plan for it yet but I'm sure I'll find something.

I also found a monthly pattern subscription website called Pattern Drop. I saw a photo of the February quilt pattern and had to have it! So for a very reasonable fee I will get a new pattern every month. I've got stash of Island Batik's Fresh Pick'ins that will work wonderfully for this.

Hope to see you on Wednesday. I've pulled out several UFOs for my day on the blog hop.  I also saw on Facebook that Barb Vedder has mailed back our blocks from the Churn Dash block swap. Can't wait to see them all!


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Churn Dash Block Swap

Sorry I disappeared for a bit. I went to bed with a splitting headache on Saturday, February 3rd, and have been sick ever since. This is an odd cold of some kind. After the headache came several days of sore throat and hoarseness, then crazy congestion and coughing. I spent at least a week dozing in my recliner. Laying flat was not an option if I wanted to breath. Oh well, I'm better, not completely over it yet, but better.

I signed up for a block swap with a new friend I met at the American Quilt Study Guild annual Seminar in Manchester, NH, last October. Some of you may know Barb Vedder and her blog, Fun With Barb. In January she announced a Churn Dash block swap. You were to choose reproduction or modern as a theme for your blocks. By the time I emailed the only opening was for modern. I signed on, and meant to have the blocks done right away. But as always, time flies by and I'm working on them now. The guidelines for the modern swap was to use jewel tone solids with low volume background prints. Weeks go by in my recliner, and I finally pull fabric. Unfortunately, I remembered modern, but not necessarily jewel tones. I used my new Accuquilt Go Big electric cutter to cut squares, half squares and strips (I'm so in love with this machine!). I then sewed a set of blocks that I shared to Facebook. Not jewel tone! While this brown is a nice fit in a "modern" quilt, it doesn't meet the guidelines for the swap. It's ok, I'll save these 9 blocks and perhaps use them in the top I end up making.

Continuing on, I checked my other color choices with Barb, and have now made 36 blocks, and have 18 to go. I'll get to cutting more this afternoon, and have these done and in the mail in time for the March 1st deadline.

As a side issue, the cutting of blocks with the Accuquilt dies requires some calculations. I need 54 blocks total and need to make at minimum two color combinations. So, with the four colors I'm using that means 13 or 14 blocks of each color. The dies include squares (middle block) and half squares (corner blocks) so that was ok. The half square die cuts two with one pass, and up to six layers with one pass, so I had them cut in no time. The middle side piece, with a background and a colored rectangle, wasn't quite as straight forward. I used a 1-1/2" strip die to make strips of the fabric, then sewed pairs and cross cut with my rotary cutter. I could have sewn the strips and tried doing the crosscut with the 2-1/2" strip but didn't want crooked cuts.

I've got my next little project lined up already. It came in the February Quilty Box I received recently. The box always includes fabric, a pattern, usually a spool of Aurifil thread, and another item or two. This month features Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts. I love the geometric designs she makes with her Sidekick and Hex'nMore Rulers. I've made her Gravity quilt and it is out to be quilted. I didn't discover Julie's patterns till 2016, but back in 2014 she asked for people to make blocks for her wedding quilt. You can read about the final quilt - I just love it!

Anyway, included in this Quilty Box is a package of fabric, a Sidekick Ruler, the Rock Candy pattern, Aurifil thread, and the Quilty booklet that has another table topper pattern. The fabric is enough to make one of each topper, or two of either. I will be making one of each as soon as I finish my churn dash blocks.

One final item for this post is I've joined the Quilt Qwazy Queens Blog Hop that will take place March 15 - 21. We will be sharing our UFOs (unfinished quilty objects) on this hop. And a few are going to swap UFOs with someone else! My trouble will be deciding which UFOs to share. I have the individual units made for the Quiltville Mystery that started at Thanksgiving. They just need to be assembled into blocks. Maybe a deadline to show it would motivate me to get it assembled! My day on the hop is Wednesday, March 21st.

Thanks for visiting,

Friday, February 2, 2018

Back from Retreat... to a couple problems

I had a very nice time in Plymouth, Mass last weekend at the Red Barn Sewing and Yarn Center retreat. They have been in business 40 years this year, and this is the 20th year they've run this retreat, to this same hotel. I think it's changed ownership several times, but it is now the 1620 Hotel. We had a nice large room with 3 or 4 people at a grouping of 4 tables each. We each had a 6 foot table to ourselves, so there was plenty of room to spread out your projects. I spent several days prior to the retreat cutting fabric with my new Accuquilt Go Big cutter. I was all ready to sew!

I have had subscriptions to Quilty Box and the Fat Quarter Shop's Sew Sampler since last spring. I've been making the projects, with a couple exceptions, as I receive them. I just happened to get a Quilty Box last week with a nice line of winter themed batiks by Kathy Engle for Jackie Kunkel of Canton Village Quiltworks. I cut everything and brought it along. And I completed the top while in Plymouth. The fabric is called Blue Moon and the pattern is by Jackie Kunkel. The fabrics are snowflakes, tree branches and pine branches. Very pretty colors, too!

The only Quilty Box I haven't finished recently was the October box with 2, 1 yard cuts of a panel from Leah Day. They are meant for you to practice free motion quilting with Leah's lessons. I guess now I should get them out and give it a try. The Blue Moon quilt is about 40" square so I out to be able to quilt it myself. There is a nice example of what you can do with these panels on Leah's website. Here is a photo of the blue:

I found it very tiring spending all day sewing for 3 days. I took a couple days to rest and read. Then on Wednesday I lost the hot water. I've had plumbers in and out of the house for a couple days. One did something on Wednesday that seemed to work for a while. Then Thursday 2 guys came in the morning, and another 1 late in the day. The last was after the serial number for a warranted repair. Now, I should mention that my old house has a dirt cellar with stone walls, so it's not very nice down there. I haven't gone down in years. The last guy came back up and wanted to know why I set the water heater to vacation mode. Well, I didn't. I can't explain it. Gremlins? Oh well. I don't know when it will be fixed because they had to order a part. But I have half hot water. I showered with the knob all the way to hot. But at least I could shower.

I also managed to crack a filling in the last few days. It started to hurt on Wednesday and I saw my dentist today. I hope that's then end of trouble for a while. Now if the computer support scammer will just stop calling, things will be good!

I found, although probably saw it before but didn't remember, Finished or Not Friday on the Busy Hands Quilts blog. She does a linkup on Fridays for anyone to share an unfinished quilt project, so I've linked my unfinished Blue Moon project. It's fun looking at what others are working on. Have a visit when you can take a few minutes to read about other's projects.

Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

Hope you find time to work on one of your unfinished projects!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Sew Sampler Box

I've been getting the Sew Sampler monthly box from the Fat Quarter Shop since June of last year. Every month I mean to share it and every month I forget. So it's a new year, and when I got my box this month I finally remembered!

This is the box that comes in the mail. I was talking to a friend recently and she says she waits a couple days to build anticipation for what's inside. Not me, I open it asap.

When you open the box, there is a cover telling what the theme of the box is.

When you remove the cover, you can see the jumble of items included. This month's box is from Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet.

This Cute Cuts ruler was right on top. It is 1-1/2" x 6-1/2". The half inch margin in pink is textured and helps keep the ruler from slipping. This is handy size to keep by my machine. I am working on a paper-pieced project right now with lots of small cuts, so this is perfect.

The fabric is a 21 piece, 10" Stacker from the Butterflies & Berries collection from Riley Blake Fabrics. I love all of Lori Holt's fabric lines - they are modern but I think they have a retro feel.

The Flitter lap quilt an be made with the addition of background fabric using the 10" stacker. I think this is so cute! I'm a fan of 30's era fabric and quilts and butterflies were hugely popular. The pattern has a twin version that requires a second stacker and more background fabric. I've already ordered this because I have a twin bed.

Also included in the box are Bee in My Bonnet Bandages by Lori Holt. These are average size bandages in four sewing themed prints. There is a package of Just Pins with three cute tops. Finally, there is a needle carry card by Emma Creations. It has six slots to hold needles and would be perfect in your traveling sewing box.

There is also a monthly block pattern from Lori Holt. Since April 2017 the pattern is a basket block. I had every intention of making the block each month but there are just too many things I want to sew and not enough hours in the day!

Visit Lori Holt at Bee in My Bonnet and see her fabric lines at Riley Blake Designs.

I am heading out for two retreats over the next couple weeks. I hope to get lots of sewing done, and relax with friends. It's so nice to be able to focus on your sewing and let someone else do the cooking and make the bed. Hope you get some sewing time!


PS. I've waited a couple days since I received my box so as not to spoil the surprise for anyone.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

New Toy

I signed up for a Saturday Sampler block of the month today. Each month, you bring the previous block completed and you get the next one free. I've participated in this program at Knight's Quilt Shop in Cape Neddick, ME, since I closed my shop in 2011, with the exception of last year. This is the quilt we will be making this year.

I bought a new Accuquilt Go Big Cutter the beginning of January. There was a package deal with the electronic cutter and 6", 8", 9" and 12" basic block die sets. Plus it came with 2-1/2" strip cutter, a 6" flying geese cutter and some Edyta Sitar applique shapes. It just arrived on Friday so this was the first time I used it.

The block to be made for January is all half square triangle units. I pulled the die for that shape and size from the block set. It was very easy to use because the kit had strips of fabric already cut. 

I folded the strip till it was the correct number of layers needed. The die has two triangles on it so I needed half the number of fabric layers as pieces needed.

Place the cutting mat on top of the fabric. (not the same fabric but you get the idea.)

Then run it through the machine. I love that you don't need to crank it through. You just push it against the rollers and it pulls it through.

Remove the cutting mat and you have your pieces. So quick and easy. And my arm won't hurt from rotary cutting any more!

The pieces are notched, making them super easy to sew together.

My block was made in no time. I'm very happy with the cutter so far. It hasn't really been put to the test yet, but it was easy to use and worked great.

Stay warm!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

I'm taking a class!

I want to share one thing I've been sewing in addition to the Quiltville Mystery. I saw this quilt, Enchanting Stars, in an email from a local quilt shop, Compass Point Quilts in East Kingston, NH. I've known Lisa for a number of years, having met at a quilt guild meeting. I finally stopped by her shop one day last fall. Wow, I've never seen so many batiks in one place. Heaven! There was a quilt hanging on the wall that I fell in love with. It was the sample for this pattern.

It is being offered as a 6 month class meeting once a month. I missed the first class while at a nephew's wedding, and the most recent class due to illness. So I'm going for an open sew day on Saturday, and I wanted to make some progress before I get there. I'm able to piece the sections; it's the assembly that's tough. 

This is the first section assembled. I had completed everything except putting the center star into the block at the last class. It's sort of like inserting a sleeve into a shirt. Not too bad with a lot of pins and patience.

This quilt has me hooked, and I've enjoyed the process so much, that I've signed up for a retreat with the author of these patterns in April. Take a look at the new kits and patterns coming here. I can't wait to tackle the next one!

Thanks for visiting,

Monday, January 8, 2018

Happy 2018!

Just a short post to show my first Quiltville mystery block. I'm still working on the steps but jumped ahead to see how it would look. I'm happy with how the colors go together and can't wait to assemble the whole top. It will definitely be bright and cheerful.

I have been sick since Christmas with a cold. Just when I think I may be getting better, I get worse again. And then there's the weather. We've had weeks of frigid temps, going way below zero with the wind chill. And we have a lot of snow piled up outside. More than I remember in several years. I managed to find someone to plow my driveway, but no one wants to shovel. So whatever has to be done is up to me.

Since I am retired, and I've been sick, I haven't been going out. Till Friday when I had a doctor's appointment and had to go out. Snow had blown in around my back door. Well, after prying it open it wouldn't shut. I have a locking screen door but I wasn't thrilled about leaving the back door open. I texted my nephew two states away for guidance. He ended up driving up Friday night and changing the door on Saturday. He thought the old one was probably original which dates it to 1900. I'm very thankful he would drive three hours up and back to do this for me. I never even got to the point of calling around to find a handyman.

Forgive me for the poor lighting on this bag but I just finished it and wanted to share. It is from Sue O'Very Designs and is made with your embroidery machine. The blue top and corners are cork fabric. This zippered bag was so easy to make. It took me a couple hours between choosing fabric and ironing it, then cutting everything. Sewing was a simple step by step process with very detailed photo instructions. The next one will go faster now that I know the process. Love it!