Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Seeing Stars - Finished Top

Early in January, I showed you the 3" stars I was making for Aurora, a quilt pattern  from Laundry Basket Quilts.   A few 3-day holiday weekends later and I have the quilt top finished. 

I used a tiny beige dot on ivory fabric for the background and approximately 10 different blue prints for the stars.  I took the first photo when I was laying out the pieces on the design bed. 

Coming together...

I've seen this quilt made two ways.  One uses the background fabric for the setting triangles and the other uses a different fabric for the setting triangles, usually something a little darker in color and larger in scale.  I decided to go with a second fabric and chose this paisley print I had in my stash.  

The star blocks form sashing that frames the solid squares.  This is all set on point with the setting triangles framing it all ; no border, though you could add one if you want a larger size. 

This top is off to the quilter and I'm off to cut out my next project.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Let's Talk About Hand Lotion

I experience two downsides to quilting. Loose threads all over my clothes and rugs.  And dry hands because fondling handling fabric frequently strips the skin of natural oils. 

To compensate, I've become a frequent user of hand lotion.  Pictured below are my current favorites.

My absolute favorite is on the left, Nuxe Reve de Miel (dream of honey).  It is very effective without feeling greasy and the honey scent is wonderfully uplifting.  I also like the size, small enough to carry around but big enough to last (it is not a sample size).  Nuxe is a European company that unfortunately stopped selling in the US about two years ago.  I still find some of their products on Amazon but at high prices.  I'm left with one of two tubes I bought in Germany last summer.

The product in the middle is the one I find most effective when my hands are very dry, Aveeno Skin Relief Hand Cream.  It is deeply moisturizing without feeling at all greasy, and lasts a long time.  But it is unscented/fragrance free and I prefer the little sensorial boost I get from a nicely scented product. 

The product on the right, Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hand Gel Cream, has a different feel from most hand lotions.  It is more of a gel and absorbs very fast, without any residue feeling at all but leaves skin with a very smooth feel.  If you don't like the feel of hand lotion, you might enjoy this product.  It contains hyaluronic acid, which attracts then holds in moisture, so it really hydrates dry skin.  (Don't be scared by the word "acid;"  hyaluronic acid is kind to skin.)  It has a light, barely perceptible scent. 

(Full disclosure:  I am employed by Johnson & Johnson, the company that markets the Aveeno and Neutrogena brands.  But nobody asked me to write this.  I don't think my co-workers are even aware I have this blog.) 

How do you take care of dry hands?  Oh, and to cope with loose threads, I have lint brushes stashed around the house.  Mine are old and nameless but I've heard this one is very good, as are the adhesive rollers. 

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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

My Stars, the Creative Grids Flying Geese Ruler

Wow, I see it has been five months since my last post.  Having a full time job, quilting, and blogging about it are really not compatible.  I think the job might have to go.

New Year, New Project!   I'm making Aurora by Laundry Basket Quilts, and I need about a bajillion 4" sawtooth stars (well, okay, I need 127).  I have 75 made.

Edyta Sitar demonstrates how to make this quilt in a YouTube video.

But I used a new-to-me method to make the flying geese units.  This method starts with two squares so is very handy if you are using charm squares, it is a little odd, but the units get trimmed to the correct size and this helps a lot with accuracy so I gave it a try.  It has worked well for me; the directions are here.

I wanted a 1" by 2" Bloc Loc ruler but couldn't find one, even online (they may have been out of stock on this size at the time because I think they do make it).  Instead, I got the Creative Grids Ultimate Flying Geese Template and Quilt Ruler.  I like it, it the best ruler for flying geese blocks in multiple sizes that I've found yet.  And Creative Grids has a video to explain how to use it.

So I'm in business, just 52 more stars to make!

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Basting Hexies

I got the rest of my hexies basted, with help from a 4-episode Netflix show called Collateral.  It is pretty entertaining, with great performances from the actors, though the mystery relies on a few too many coincidences. 

I knew this box from last year's Christmas cards would come in handy for something.  It is perfect for holding my basted hexies in color order. 

This is not a traditional English Paper Piecing project.  Rather, I am making a wall hanging using the method that Modern Handcraft uses.  You've probably seen photos of her work on the internet; I have some on my Pinterest boards.  So my next step is to figure out what to use as the background fabric.  Modern Handcraft usually uses a solid white background, which is what I initially thought I'd use. 

But I trialed some alternatives from my stash.  I like green better than the white option, though I am thinking of going with a solid rather than tone-on-tone and maybe just a little darker. 

But I like this blue denim option too.  What do you think?

In other news, this little guy joined our household two weeks ago.  His name is Trevor and he is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, just like Dillie (his half-sister, they have the same dad).  So we are back to being a two-Corgi family, with puppy in training.  Fortunately, Trevor is learning fast and he loves to be cuddled.   

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

What I Did On My Vacation

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a photo or two from my trip.  Mr. Main Street and I went on a river cruise on the Danube, from Nuremberg (Germany) to Budapest (Hungary).  It was wonderful and may have spoiled us for other means of travel!  AMAWaterways was the river cruise company for our trip and I can't say enough good things about the experience. 

We flew to Munich and spent two nights there, taking in the major sites and adjusting to the time difference, then went by train to Nuremberg, where the cruise was supposed to start.  But water levels were low in the canal and river, so to avoid running aground, our boat, the AMASonata, was moored east of Nuremberg and the cruise company took us to the boat by bus. 


We very slowly made our way downriver, stopping each morning in another town where we could have a leisurely tour of the sights and then spend some free time.  All of our meals were on the boat; the food and service were both excellent. 


Melk Abbey

along the Danube in Austria

Hofburg Palace in Vienna

One day in Vienna was not enough, I'd like to see more, but that gives me a reason to go back!  Budapest was more impressive than I expected, a lot of beautiful buildings along both sides of the river (one side is Buda and the other side is Pest, joined into one city in the 19th century).  It became even more impressive at night when the major buildings are lit up.  

Parliament building in Budapest at night

I took along a hand work project, about a zillion hexies I cut out that need to be basted to the paper.  I only got a few done, had too much else to occupy me, lol.  I met a woman on board who was working on her own epp project, the Lucy Boston quilt.  Pretty surprising considering I almost never encounter another quilter outside of my LQS (or the internet) and there were only 168 passengers on the cruise. 

I'm back to my regular schedule now and a whole lot more basting.  Good thing I have a long list of shows to watch on Netflix.  The weather forecast calls for rain this weekend so I may make some real progress. 

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Sunday, June 3, 2018

Back, and Quilting Again

Wow, I never intended to be away from the blog so long.  Full time jobs take too much time away from quilting in the first place, then various circumstances at my place of work resulted in me working even more than usual for the past few months.  Weekends have been for catching up on household tasks like laundry.  I was not seeing much of the inside of my sewing room, just catching snatches of quilting inspiration via Instagram and blogs at odd moments or at the end of the day when I lacked the energy for anything else.

But I was sorely missing my creative outlet so over Memorial Day weekend, I got back to a project I started in Oct. 2017 (you can see the start here).  I got my Wildflowers blocks sewn into rows then put the rows together this past weekend. 

The pattern is Wildflowers, by Kim Brackett, and is in her book Scrap Basket Strips and Squares.  My next step is to applique the centers to each flower then I am actually thinking of machine quilting it myself.  Ever since I got the book Walk, by Jacquie Gering, I've been wanting to give machine quilting another try.  I have an idea for a quilting design for this top, plus it is small (so easy to manage) and the busy-ness will make it more forgiving of any hitches in the quilting. 

I promise to be back soon, in less than three months anyway.

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Friday, February 23, 2018

Roughly What It Will Look Like

2018 Winter Olympic Games = lots of time for hand sewing in my view.  I got a little project together.  It is called the mandolin quilt block, from Tales of Cloth.  I stumbled across the block on Instagram, where you can see this block (#mandolinquilt) in every color combination and type of fabric you can think of.  It is an English paper piecing design.

The photo below shows my fabric choices, cut and laid out to test the combination.  Actually, this is where I ended up, not where I started, but I neglected to take photos of the false starts.  

I glue-basted during the first night of coverage and have been sewing during figure skating, skiing, and snowboarding.

The design so far; two more rounds to go.  I'm making just one block and my plan is to applique it to background fabric, quilt it, and frame it using a large embroidery or quilting hoop. 

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