Monday, October 24, 2016

American Patchwork & Quilting December 2016

I broke one of my rules, don't buy magazines encased on plastic bags, to get the new edition of American Patchwork & Quilting.

First, did you notice the updated design of the cover?  I like it, clean and modern without being unrecognizable.  There are several projects I like inside, most notably, this moss wreath (yes, not even a quilt!).  I could see using this in my home.  The shade of green is one I favor because it goes with the green in our home's interior decor.  

And this quilt, called Catch a Chickadee, is a great design to showcase a little motif like the bird used here.

Here's a close-up, as well as a closer look at the appliqued and embroidered pillow companion to the quilt.

If you were wavering on this issue because you couldn't see what's inside (those dang plastic bags!), I hope this glimpse has convinced you to go for it.  I am glad I did.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A New Book In My Library: Mini Marvels

Over the past few years, I've been more selective about adding books to my quilting library because I have a large collection already plus get so much inspiration on the internet.  No more buying books on a whim!  But I had a few glimpses of Mini Marvels on social media and started thinking it was worth a look.  So when I saw it in stock at my local quilt shop I browsed through it and ended up buying it.

Mini Marvels is a compilation of small quilts (small wall hangings, table mats, and the like) designed by 15 Moda fabric designers.  If you ever thought it would be cool to have a wall of mini quilts in your sewing space, this book will get you started.  First up for me will be this foundation paper pieced star quilt designed by Laurie Simpson.  

I'm also smitten with the Mini Medallion design by Betsy Chutchian.  A medallion quilt is on my l-o-n-g bucket list of quilts to make and mini may be the best way to get it made.

Then A Pink Christmas, an applique design by Anne Sutton, is just darling (though I might replace the sheep in the foreground with a dog).

So many quilts to make, so little time!  But minis are a good way to try something new:  a new technique, a new color combination, a new size.  2017 might be my year of making it mini.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Pieceful Update

Thank you for your kind notes about Reggie.  We miss him but are adjusting.  Working on my current quilting project has been a great comfort.  Quilts in general are comforting of course, and having this hobby to occupy me has been a help.

So I made more progress on my super scrappy Fig Tree project, code named Pieceful.  When I last posted about this project, I had finished a few blocks like this, Block 1.

For the design to come together, Block 1 gets combined with Block 2 (below).  I'm nearly done with all the Block 2s.  I need 25 of each block.  (Actually, I need 49 blocks in total, 25 of one and 24 of the other.  But I'm not sure which block I want to go in the corners so I'm making 25 of each one so I can test out both layouts and go with the one I prefer.)

Block 2 has allowed me to use all the cream colored prints, the backgrounds and "neutrals" that I did not use in my other Fig Tree Harvest quilts.  In my prior projects, I used just one background or neutral, usually a solid white or tone-on-tone.  But Pieceful is super-scrappy, with even the background block being pieced from lots of different fabrics.  

I laid out a few blocks to see how they look and I like the way they come together for the Irish Chain effect.  I think this might be a quintuple Irish Chain.  

By the way, in case you are wondering, I cut each piece 2 inches square (1.5 inches finished) so each block is 11 inches square (10.5 inches finished).  The finished quilt will be about 72 inches square.

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Monday, October 3, 2016

A Hard Week

It has been a tough week for us.  The older of our two Corgis, our beloved dog Reggie, passed away last Thursday.

Reggie, 2004-2016

Reggie was always willing to be the canine prop in a quilt shot... 

...and happy to test out the finished product for the cuddle factor.

An affectionate and well-behaved dog, all he asked for was the occasional "cookie" and cuddle.

We will miss you Reggie!

I'll be back with regular content as soon as I have my sewing mojo back.

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

First Block

I have one finished block for my scrappy Fig Tree Harvest far.

This quilt design is made up of two different blocks.  The overall design becomes visible when the two blocks alternate.  I have lots of blocks in a state of partial completeness and wanted to finish one to see how it would look.

The pressing directions in Red Pepper Quilts' tutorial make assembly much easier because all my seam junctions nest and that makes sewing the pieces for the block together easy.  As I assemble the blocks, I'm trying hard not to obsess over what color is next to what color or whether two similar prints wind up next to each other.  This is my tendency but I keep telling myself to let the scraps fall as they may!

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Summer 2016 has been the summer of not-quilting-very-much for me.  I started a new job mid-summer.  The job is great but it has taken a few weeks to get used to commuting to the office (I used to work from home two or three days a week) and learning the ropes of the new position.  Here we are at the end of the summer and it's time to take Miss Main Street back to college for her senior year.

I have made some progress on my current piecing project, using Fig Tree Quilts fabric leftovers and scraps.  I cut lots of strips from the remainders of fat quarters and fat eighths....

...and sewed them into strip sets.  After further cutting, they look like this.  

I cut the pieces that were too small for strips into squares.  I'm even using the leftover 2" squares from Globe Trotting, a quilt I made in 2013.

This latest project was inspired by two quilts I saw in blogs, Red Pepper Quilts Irish Chain Scrap Buster, and Seven Letters Quilt as made up by Holly Hill Quilt Shoppe.  My version will be a mashup of the two, with a bit of my own twist.  I'm following Red Pepper Quilts' directions except I downsized my squares to 2".  I really appreciate the pressing instructions in her tutorial because it will help a lot as I put the blocks together.  I have my fingers crossed that as it comes together, it matches my vision!

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

More Thoughts On Starch

For my next project, I'm reaching into the magic basket of Fig Tree Quilts fabric.  Yes, another Fig Tree Harvest quilt!

I've made six major quilts, a baby quilt, and a wall hanging in this series to date.  As a result, though I'm not exactly down to scraps, it would be hard to put a quilt together out of five to eight coordinating fabrics.  But I got an idea for something that is scrappy, where I can use the leftovers from my other projects.  I have lots of partial fat quarters from which I am cutting 2" strips.  These will go into strip sets, which I will augment with 2" squares cut from the real scraps.

Being a convert to starch, I starched the fabric before cutting.  I started with aerosol cans of Niagara but the two cans I had on hand did not go very far.  I had quite a bit of Best Press on hand so I used that but when I ran out, I still had fabric left to starch.  So next I tried concentrated starch (comes in a big bottle), mixed in a 1:4 ratio with water in a trigger spray bottle (I used the empty Best Press bottle).  Here are my thoughts on these different starches.

Niagara Non-Aerosol Trigger Spray - This is my favorite but it is not readily available to me. None of the stores around me carry it and it is ridiculously pricey on  It is easy to spray and get the right amount of saturation in your fabric so it dries stiff without being too stiff.

Niagara Original Aerosol Spray Starch - The price is right, less than $2 a can at stores around me, but one can does not cover much fabric (around 2 yards) so I've been going through a lot of it and feel guilty about the environmental impact of all those aerosol cans.  But it gives the right amount of stiffness and the finish is great.

Best Press - This is billed as a starch alternative and while it gives fabric a crisp finish, it does not get it as stiff as I'd like.  And a bottle does not go far so it is too pricey to use for this purpose.  On the positive side, it comes in some great scents that add that your ironing pleasure.  I'm saving it to use more as a finishing spray.

Starch Concentrate - One bottle goes far when mixed with water in a 1:4 for 1:3 ratio, making it both economical and perfect for getting the exact degree of starchiness you want.  I'm going to stick with it for now, unless I find Niagara in a trigger spray bottle again.

More on my new project next week.

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