Friday, November 30, 2012

A Great Swap

I'm sure many of you can relate, someone wants a quilt and wants to make a trade.
 They have no idea of the hours or money that goes into a quilt. I've swapped out piecing for longarm quilting when I needed a stack of tops for quilting samples.  I'm very hesitant to enter into a trade with quilting but my co worker/neighbor has been making some amazing bird houses and I really wanted one.  And then their first Great Grandson came along and I thought I'd offer a trade.

The mom wanted brights, race cars or motorcycles, she mentioned blue, orange, purple as colors.
 This fabric was perfect for the quilt.  I love Churn Dash blocks, especially for baby quilts.  I make 12 blocks with bright solids and then found this great stripe for the binding.  I used up all the print fabric for the back and added a strip of the orange in the center of the back.
And this was my trade!  Annie's Ale House.  The bird house has two levels for nests, holes in the front and the sides, and a big back door to clean out the birdhouse at the end of the season. It's about 2 feet high and is fabulous.  My friend has made many of these with a western theme.  They have Maxwell's  Dry Goods and The Franklin Inn. 

Yes, they have two dogs, Franklin and Maxwell, and my dog is Annie. I'd say this was a very fair trade.
Annie's Ale House

I've got it stored in my garage until February and then they are going to help me build a perch for this in my back yard.


Pattern for Header Photo

The piece that is in my header is from 'Tis The Season and it's probably available at your LQS.  If not, there is always Amazon, the store that never closes. I'm going into my memory bank and I think I made this banner from a section of a quilt in the book.  I used the fusible, machine appliqued method and hand quilted the grid lines.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fingers Crossed

Today was the big day.  I put my Beyond the Cherry Tree into a box and handed it over to the USPS.  Now that's living on the edge, right?  I've sent it to Bellwether Dry Goods to do the marking.  This baby is way too big for me to tackle that job.  After pondering many ideas, I've gone with 3/4" x hatching through the blocks and then angle lines in the borders.  I stuck with very traditional quilting for this one.

I've made headway with customer quilts, I'm on the last one that needs to be returned before Christmas. The quilting has been started, the binding is made and I'm confident I'll have these last two in the mail Dec. 3.

My Sandy quilts are still "in progress". One has been returned from my friend who did the quilting on it, I've got it trimmed and have started pinning the binding. This one needs quilting and I will have these in the mail before Christmas.

My blog has been a bit dull lately, doing quilts for others, prepping for hand applique, and doing hand quilting makes for a boring blog. Once I start doing the applique, I'll have some pretty blocks to post.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Tutorial on Odd Sized Star Blocks

This post is long overdue.  I was away in August and was asked to explain how I make these Liberated Stars.  I know there are lots of online tutorials and of course, all of Gwen Marston's books, but my friend wanted more about the measurements vs the method.  I hope this helps and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask in the comment section.
This block needs to be finished at 5 1/2" so unfinished at 6".  This is a lousy size for a 9 patch block as the numbers are not easily divisible by 3. SO......I start with 2 1/2 " strips, cut them down into 2 1/2 " squares and then make my star.
I used 8 background squares and one star colored square for the center.  Scraps made up the star points and now my block measures approx 6 1/2" and as you can see, I've not been super careful and it's a bit wonky around the edges.

No worries, as we are going to trim up this block to 6" unfinished.  Notice how I have the ruler lined up to the center block and there is overhang on both sides of the block.  I've got the horizontal and vertical lines on my ruler lined up to make this block straight and square.  See how the center blue square lines up as a 2" square.

I trim one side.
And here both sides have now been trimmed.  Rotate the block .........
and line up the ruler in the same manner.  Now you can trim the other 2 sides and have a perfect 6" unfinished block.
See, it measures up to the exact size I want.  Because the tips of the stars don't extend to the outside, I've still got all my star points.  The beauty of this block is that some star points are fat, some are skinny, some are tall and some are short. If you have to cut off a point when you trim down, so what, it just adds to the liberated look of the block.  If you don't like that look, just make your star points a bit smaller and you should be fine.

This block finishes at 12" so for the big star, the 9 patches I start with need to be 4 1/2".  To make the center star, this is a weird size for the 9 patch. Finished, the center block 9 patch would be 1.33".  Not the easiest measurements to make.  For this block I started with squares that were 2" so my center block was 5" unfinished and I trimmed it down to 4 1/2", using the same steps as above.
The best way to work with these blocks is to play.  You will see how your star points turn out by how you sew your seams. The best part of this block is that when you have a bunch of them, they all look good and it's very forgiving.  It's not for every quilter, or for every quilt, but be careful, they can be addicting!

Have fun

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Joy of Life Applique

Here is my new project.  Merry M so kindly gave me this project in Oct 2011.  I promised I would make it and not let it sit in the bottom of a drawer and now that I've got BTCT finished, it's time to open this up and get started. I believe I'm addicted to having a hand project at all times. It just feels weird not having an applique block to pick up when I sit down. Coming off the 25 block with appliqued borders, BTCT, this one, at 9 blocks, seems like it will be a snap.
The prep work and block piecing is my focus right now. I've made the "pages" of an applique travel book, one where I can put my blocks while they are in process. I've made the 'pages' out of felted wool and that's as far as I've gotten. I need some corrugated plastic board to put inside the cover sleeve, and of course, I'll want an appliqued block on the cover. I may have one already, I'll have to see if it will work with the measurements.
 Joy of Life is available here, here, or here.

Here is the first of two quilts for M.  This has a brushed flannel back and will be super cosy this winter.
M wanted feathers, her favorite motif on quilts.  I did each half of the block with a curved feather and then feathered the border.  With all the plaids, I chose burgundy thread and it worked out terrific.
One more to go for M, it's about 1/3 quilted and it's super cute.  Since I'm still dealing with a sore shoulder/neck at the chiro and massage therapist, I'm only able to quilt for 45 -75 minutes at a time.

Night shiff ended at midnight last night, but a co worker called in sick so I was back at work at 7:30 a.m. It has been a very long day, and now there is no power at home.  Tomorrow I'm off to the dentist, for the 4th time, for the same tooth.  2 dentists and $1900 later, my tooth and face hurts more than it did before I knew I had a sore tooth!  Keep your fingers crossed for an easy fix tomorrow!


Friday, November 16, 2012


This worker bee is so glad it's Friday.  For some reason this month has just ran away from me.  There have been Dr and dentist appointments, schedule changes at work, a gazillion leaves to rake up and who knows what else.  I've gotten a hand quilted piece finished and now I'm working on the binding, I've got a hanger that needs put up as I have the perfect wall to hang this piece and I'll post photos once it's washed, dried, and hung up.

 I've been working on a Sandy quilt and have 4 corner blocks and 2 borders left to do.  I've started prepping an applique project to take with me at Christmas. Other than that, November has been a blur.

Next week has me working 7 pm to 7 am for a few days, I'm saving the binding for those shifts!

I hope your life has had more quilty moments than mine has lately!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Waaaay Behind JT2

For those of you doing the Just Takes Two much is what our group up in the NW is doing.  These first three photos are from last month, V is doing hers all in different black/whites and it's amazing.
Carol is doing hers in pink and brown solids.  She has been doing a lot of embroidery on her blocks and she has also reversed the values on her quilt.  Where the pattern calls for white, she is using brown, and pink for the red. 
This photo shows how one pattern made in the reverse values can look so totally different.  I love this block, I could see a whole quilt made out of it.
I was doing the walk of shame today, my only movement from last month to this month was four checker board strips.  Here is K's blocks, scrappy reds with embroidery.  Both K and M used the same red for the Celtic Knot appliqued block and it's perfect for this piece.  The top right block is K's addition to the pattern, she is using this block instead of one of the sail boats. I'm thrilled to see everyone putting their own stamp on this pattern.
C arrived saying, "I haven't got the wedding ring block done"  I replied, "I haven't even seen the wedding ring pattern!"  She is ticking right along, staying on task and will have all the blocks done when the last pattern is released.  What a difference the embroidery makes on her blocks.
I love the embroidery on the lone star block, it's perfect!
M has also gotten busy, she told me she was back at this after taking the summer off, but I didn't realize how much she had gotten done.  I'm impressed AND I'm a lot smarter now because of her blocks. 
Look at how she addressed these blocks.  This was done with fusible applique, but the biggest thing is that she cut the red out all in one piece.  What a smart cookie, talk about thinking outside the box.
Another one piece applique.....
and another.  This one M reversed as she did not want the shadowing of the red showing through the white.
and another one piece applique.  I was so thrilled to learn this from M today.  I know exactly how I'll be cutting out my blocks.  That's the beauty of quilting with a group, someone always steps up to the plate with a new idea or technique or tool or trick.
And since I did the walk of shame, I got busy tonight when I got home.  My lone star is put together along with my strip of bow ties.  I pulled out my applique supplies and I will be doing M's method on my blocks and hope to get a few more done tomorrow.
What have you learned lately?  Any new tool you wouldn't want to give up!

Staying focused will result in finishes.  Our group is going to skip December and January meetings.  All the patterns should be published by Dec 15.  We shall meet again in February to share any issues or ideas and will wrap up this group in March.  I hope to see everyone either finished or very close to finished on their top.  It's been a great journey with this group and the monthly meetings have definitely been an asset in keeping me on task.  Hmmmmm, what can we start in April on the first Sat of each month?


Thursday, November 1, 2012

One Year Anniversary

Wow, I can't believe it's been a year today since I became a US Citizen. 11-01-11 was a big day for me. One of the driving forces for switching my status from Permanent Resident to Citizen was to have the right to vote. I work here, pay taxes, own a home. I want to be part of the process. I was shocked when I heard how few women vote. I'm a big believer in the privilege of voting.
So I poured a glass of wine, pulled out my booklet for reference and made my choices. I hope each and everyone of you make your choice, it's an amazing thing, the right to vote!