Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Doll Swap from Humble Quilts

Lori over at Humble Quilts posted about a doll swap and I just couldn't resist.  I've done two of these and have been so thrilled with what I have received that I didn't want to miss out on this round. 

I'm so glad I participated.  My squishy arrived on Monday.

My partner nailed it. I absolutely love what I received. I showed it to my guy and he thought I made it. I told him it came in the mail and he was so confused. That's a good thing, it means my swap partner hit a home run when she designed this piece for me.

It's like Debra, from My Life is a Stitch, came to my sewing room, took a look around, snuck a few pieces of fabric from my scrap bag into her pocket and then went home and made this piece for me.  And she included some chocolate with peanut butter.  It doesn't get any better than this!

Thanks Lori for hosting this swap and for partnering me up with Debra

Lucky me,

Monday, April 11, 2016

Star Tutorial - APQ Cover Quilt

Warning - Photo heavy post.

Here is a step by step photo tutorial for making the pieced star block shown on the cover of June 2016 American Patchwork and Quilting magazine. Seriously, once you make the first one, the rest go together so easily. There is time involved in the pinning process at certain stages, but the results are worth taking a few extra minutes at these stages.

After cutting all your pieces, lay out the star points on top of the background wedges.  This will keep you from stitching the star point to the wrong side of the wedge.  Trust me, I learned the hard way!

When you made your templates, it showed where to mark the dots, these will line up and you will stitch right off the edge.  Sew all the star points to the wedge section and press towards the star point.

Sew the sections together and your stitching will cross over the first seam.  This is how it goes together and it will lay flat when finished.

Press again towards the star point and this is what the outside will look like.  The 1/4" is there for setting this into the background.

Take the background sections and finger press it in half.  This will give you a crease to line up to the pieced star section.

Here is where you need your pins.  Using the best quality sharp thin pins, (I like IBC silk pins) start by pinning to the star points.  You can see how the seams line up to the points and the crease will line up to the point in the center.

Now start filling in the sections by pinning in the middle of each section.........

 and continue to pin in the middle of each section ....... 

And keep pinning..........

And pinning.......

Until it looks like this.  Yes, seriously, using all these pins will ensure an excellent result.

Now slowly start stitching the curved seam you have just pinned. 

And you will end up with this.  Press to the outside.

Now it's time to inset the center circle.  You could take the quick way and applique the center. Or you could insert it by using, yes, a lot of pins.

Again, fold the center to get creases to line up with piecing, and start placing pins.

Pin each section.....

And don't worry about using too many pins.  Yes, this really is how I do this piecing. 

S-L-O-W-L-Y stitch around this seam ......

Target the dots you have a the seam sections.

And press to the center. 

There you have it.  A beautiful 20 1/2" unfinished star block.

 I hope you "Give it a Whirl"

Any questions, just ask. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

I'm a Cover Girl for APQ

My project is featured on the cover of June 2016 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine! See my project, as well as other featured projects from this issue.  Wow, do they ever make my quilt look good.  Just pinch me!!!

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2016 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. 

It's currently hanging up at a LQS in my area,  Fabric Etc, in Bellingham, WA

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2016 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. 

Here is the quilt when it was just a top.  I love pinning them to my old weathered fence for photo shoots.  This top was finished in July, what a surprise.  I always seem to be inspired by holidays or events and feel the urge to start something new.

I'd purchased the templates for this star block in late June and after making one star, I made another and another, varying the prints and color placements.  Just like potato chips, I couldn't stop after one!

Then came the secondary block. I originally thought these pieced star blocks would be set on point, but after playing around, I liked the idea of adding some appliques to lighten up the whole piece.  The background fabric is Primitive Muslin - color 22 by Primitive Gatherings for Moda.

Plus it was a great way to use up the scraps that were left over from the piecing.  I used every patriotic print that I had, and I think this one was from the very first quilted piece I made.  A red, white, and blue table runner for my mom, and I even hand quilted it with red thread.  What was I thinking?  But I digress........I love using the blanket stitch for my machine applique, and you can enlarge all these pictures.

Here is the piece on my long arm while I did the quilting.  Batting is Hobbs wool, one layer. A lot of ruler action going on.

The back looks pretty good too.  Solid light backing makes for a great secondary pattern on this piece.  I love running my hand over the backing to feel the texture.  Using wool really enhances the quilting. 

Hot off the machine, not even trimmed or bound at this point.  My quilts get washed and blocked out before sending them off for photo shoots, it just makes them look that much better.
It has been such a great experience working with Elizabeth at American Patchwork and Quilting.  She keeps me in the loop, gives me plenty of time to get the quilting and binding done and has been so professional with all my dealings with her.  They send me proofs of the layout so I can double check things, they pattern test and truly do a fabulous job.  Hats off to them.

So if you haven't got this delivered to your door, please take a look at it when you see it at your LQS or on the news stand. There are great quilts in this issue, and the secondary color choices might surprise you. We gravitate to our favorite colors and sometimess it's the "other" option that sings to us.

I will be posting a detailed, step by step tutorial on the star block, Give it a Whirl, so stay tuned.

Keep stitching,

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Why I Buy Magazines

I will admit that I have cancelled all my magazine subscriptions. What this doesn't mean is that I don't buy any magazines. I do, and probably too many, but that's another story. This magazine, Primitive Quilts,  was purchased in 2013 and here it is, late March of 2016 and I'm working on the project that piqued my interest almost 3 years ago.

After flipping through the pages of this issue, I knew I had to make this wall hanging. I just didn't know when that would happen. Since I love doing back basting, this was a perfect piece to take on vacation. I just didn't think it would go on two trips.

This is also the first time I've worked with wool. I continue to stay away from all the 'new' things that come my way in regards to quilting. I've got a bit of an addictive personality and if I started working with wool, then I'd need all those threads and with that comes all the new needles, books, workshops....... well, some of you know what slippery slope I've tried to avoid.

Grunge is such a fabulous group of fabrics.  I have used many of their colors and they just lend a really good look to the finished piece.  The designer, Laurie Simpson, of Minick and Simpson used the grey grunge and I loved the look so I copied it.  I did needle turn and used regular cottons for the candy canes. 
Since my collection of wool contained zero pieces, seriously, I had to shop for each color.  I was originally going to use green cottons, but after putting piece after piece onto the layout, there was just something lovely about the wool.  I went with 4 different greens, and since I'm an ex  X stitcher, I have boxes of DMC floss to pick from.

The wool was fused down with a very light product and then I did the blind hem stitch around each leaf.  It was tedious at first, and not what I thought was a good look.  So I did a little section of whip stitching and thought, "yes, that's faster and easier" and went back to finishing that leaf with the blanket stitch.  I started the next leaf with the whip stitch, and quickly went back to the blanket stitch.  It's true, the more you do the better your stitches look, and the wool definitely looked better with the blanket stitch.

Here is everything stitched down, the last bit is the red berries.  25 are on the pattern along with a stem stitch for the berry branches.  I have everything with me to make this a 'finish' with the exception of scissors good enough to cut the circles out with a nice crisp edge. I doubt this will see another vacation, as it's just a few berries.

I've loved this piece since I first saw it, and now, three years later, I'll be able to hang it up at Christmas.  In fact, it's such a good piece there might be a second one at some point, as I think this would make a lovely gift. 

Keep your eyes open for the newest American Patchwork and Quilting June issue, coming to your mailbox or newsstand very soon.  If you don't subscribe, I hope you will purchase this issue as it's packed with great color ideas.  I'm excited to share that one of the reasons my blog has been a bit quiet this past year will be presented to everyone in this next issue.   It's got a wow factor to it, and it was very fun to make. 

Aloha and keep stitching, (yes, I get to say Aloha for one more day)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Group Stitching

The 3rd Saturday of the month has been The Applique Society meeting at my LQS. With changes and uncertainty, we decided to roll over into a Hand Stitching group that is open to anyone. We always do a show and tell around the table and here are a few things that I saw last Saturday.

Margo is an amazing knitter, but also loves to piece & quilt and also to cross stitching. She does not have idle hands.

Here are two table runners she has been working on, both are lovely. It's such a great way to brighten up a small corner of a room, and it doesn't take a lot of fabric or time to make these happen.

Jan B has been keeping busy with a Sarah Fielke BOM  This block is part of a border and it looks really cute.  She has a few of them stitched up and says that Sarah's program is excellent.  Jan also recommends Sarah's books, so go check her out.

Karen has been cleaning and tidying her studio space and has a few pieces that just need finishing up.  She brought this one to have me quilt it.  Upon closer inspection, we found she had already done all the stitch in the ditch and all that was needed was something in the center of the blocks.  We thought about buttons, yo yo's, some big stitch X's.  I can't wait to see how she finishes this one.

My, my, this group of stitchers sure know how to keep their hands busy.  Look at all the soft colored hexi's, I'd dare to say, "better than a box of chocolates!". Well, she does travel to Hawaii twice a year for a month each time, so that's a lot of airtime to fill.

Soon to be a king sized baby quilt for a future generation in her family.  Simply so sweet, boy or girl.

Keep stitching and Happy Spring!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Gwen Marston - Small Studies

Wow, three days of 15+ quilters / artists in the house and the ideas just started flowing.  Gwen was under the weather the first day.  She did her intro, pinned up her Small Studies samples and then went back to her room.  And we got busy.  

These first 4 pieces are some of my favorites of Gwen's work. 

I just love the shot of turquoise that jumped into this piece.

Here is the collective work of our class.  WOW.  I watched people share their ideas, their formulas, their methods.  It was a room that was busting with ideas and creativity.  You can see my pieces on the bottom left.  First piece as too much print in it, the second one got a shot of pink and the small piece on the bottom left is the beginning of ??????

These two are made by the same quilter, in fact, she had 3 pieces finished by the end of day 3.  It wasn't' a race or a competition, and I have to tell you, I learned SO MUCH watching KM work.  I have already starting thinking in a different manner about piecing and quilting design in general after these three days.

Close up of KM's third piece.

This picture is twisted, but see next picture. Great work by this quilter.

Here is the second piece right side up. I love the curve in the top right corner and how it plays with the straight outside edge of the borders.

I had the pleasure of having Tom at my table. It was fabulous to watch him work. He's spent his career surrounded by line and design and has recently started playing with textiles. Unfortunately, I did not capture his first piece that was superb. In this picture, he re created the piece on the left side, which is a chenille creation of his.  The upper left was his 3rd piece of the workshop. 

My goal was to test every technique Gwen had to offer.  I came home with  a stitched sample of each method she uses and I can now refer back to these pieces for reference.  That was my goal, I achieved it and am very pleased with my pieces and my ability to move forward onto a second and third piece.

And if you've stayed with me, here is the info on Gwen's new book.  I can't wait, and I'm positive it will be one that becomes dog eared and coffee stained in my studio. 

Thank you Gwen, for a life time of creating and sharing and teaching. I've learned so much from you!