Friday, July 30, 2010

Quilt Contest

I entered a contest at quiltinggallery.com.  Go over, see all the quilts in the contest, and please vote for my quilt - it is the one called WatermelonYou will find the quilts on "display" here.

Weekly Themed Quilt Contests

I'll be back this weekend with the grand finale of Christmas in July.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Christmas Fabrics/Christmas Quilts

Can  you ever have too many Christmas quilts?  Well, probably, but I'm not there yet.  It seems like there is a new collection (or two, or three) every year that are "must haves" for me. For several years, it was the Robyn Pandolph designs and then the 3 Sisters collections from Moda.  This year, I'm smitten with Moda's Woodland Holiday.

 
I bought some so you will be seeing it in a project soon, though not this month. 

I like the fresh, bright colors in 12 Days of Christmas by Kate Spain.



And my LQS has a very cute line called Be Merry, in both cotton and flannel.  I think it would make cute pajama pants for the winter months.



Of course, Christmas quilts don't have to be made out of a Christmas line of fabrics.  I made this very scrappy Christmas Stars quilt, using lots of general reds and greens.  The off-white I used for the stars is a snowflake print. 


And this log cabin was not based on any particular fabric collection, though many of the fabrics I used do have a Christmas motif, such as holly.



Are you working on any Christmas projects yet?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Making Geese

I've been working on my second Christmas in July project this weekend, making flying geese units for the border.  I like to make my flying geese a little big then trim them to size.  So, break out the tools!


I use the Fit to be Geese ruler from Open Gate, along with Deb Tucker's Wing Clipper ruler.  The Fit to be Geese ruler is shown in the photo above.  These flying geese blocks finish at 2" by 4" so are trimmed to 2.5" by 4.5" - easy with the special rulers.  I cut my fabric and constuct the block using the directions for Fit to be Geese.  I also use this ruler for the first cuts to the top and bottom of the block.  Then I trim the sides using the Wing Clipper ruler.  Over time, I've found this method works best for me and I have both rulers.  But if you want just one ruler, I recommend the Wing Clipper.  Use is more intuitive and it works for a broader range of sizes than the Fit to be Geese ruler.

Either way, you end up with nice even flying geese, ready for the next step in quilt making.



I'm ready for some easy chain piecing that can be done in stolen minutes during the evenings this coming week.  But tonight, Mad Men is on my agenda!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Patchwork Fabric Headboard

I saw this idea in Better Homes & Gardens emailed newsletter and thought it was pretty cool.


Directions for making the headboard are here.  It seems pretty easy, and a relatively inexpensive way to change the look of a bedroom.  I'd be interested except I already have a headboard...and a footboard.  But I'm filing this away for possible future use.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Snowballs

I've got a second project going here for Christmas in July.  This one is more of a winter theme than strictly Christmas and is going to become a wall hanging to use in January, after the strictly-Christmas decorations have been put away. 


I just finished 12 snowball blocks.  My Angler tool got another workout, as the corners are formed using squares instead of triangles and the sew-diagonally-and-flip method.  Next up are 64 flying geese blocks but I am not satisfied with the fabric I was planning to use for the "sky" and can't find anything in my stash that will work well.  Oh no, does this mean I have to make a trip to the local quilt shop?





Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Decisions, Decisions



With some help from Lynne, I chose one of the dark green floral prints for both the unpieced blocks and the setting triangles.  The main body of the quilt is finished and I am really liking it.  I especially like the star blocks, which are a variation on Ohio star.  Now it needs both borders.  I did some more auditioning on the design bed and made another decision.  But cutting and sewing the borders will have to wait until the coming weekend.  That job is too big for my short evenings after work.

What is amazing is how much of the Aubrey Rose and Folk Art Christmas fabric I still have!  More than enough to make another quilt (maybe not the back) and I already have an IDEA!  But it will probably have to wait until next year's Christmas in July.

So much fabric, so little time to quilt!






Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Find - Christmas Fabric on Sale!

Have I inspired you to start a Christmas or winter project yet?  If so, and you need quilting fabric, check out what's available at Shabby Fabrics.  They are having a Christmas in July sale, with 20% off Christmas fabric and 15% off kits.  They have Glace, 12 Days of Christmas, plus the collection that I think is my new favorite, Woodland Holiday.  Plus many more! 





I could be so tempted by this table runner or this cute snowman advent calendar if I did not already have so many projects "in the works."  I'm looking forward to lots of time in the studio this weekend.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Making Snow

For my next trick, I will be making snow - out of fabric.


It has been unusually warm here (90's, even 100+) for over a week but just looking at these cool blues and whites with silver accents makes be feel cooler.  I am getting ready to start my next Christmas in July project!




Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Christmas Gifts for Teachers

Yes, I know it is summer vacation, and a little early to be thinking about gifts for your kids' teachers, but in keeping with my Christmas in July theme this month, I thought I'd tell you about a great idea for teacher gifts. 






The BookJournals people take old books and repurpose them as journals, replacing the spine with a spiral binding and most of the book pages with blank paper.  There are all kinds of old books to choose from and part of the fun is selecting old book covers that are meaningful to your recipient.  Last December, I bought several for Miss Main Street to give to her teachers:  French Teacher received a journal made from an old French-English dictionary, Algebra Teacher received one that used a math text book, Chemistry Teacher received a journal made from a children's "fun science experiments" book, and so on.

If you would rather make your own, Just Something I Made has a tutorial for making a planner out of an old book and you easily adapt this tutorial to make a journal.  You can get interesting old books cheap at library book sales and yard sales.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Quilted, Bound, and Labeled

I started this quilt in January, using a Glace jelly roll.  My objective was to have it finished in time for Christmas 2010.  Well, I beat that deadline!  It is quilted, bound, and labeled!





If you want to know more, I blogged about making this quilt here and here and here.  I even made some matching pillowcases, shown here.  The pattern is called Sweet Menagerie Nine Patch Quilt and is a freebie from the Moda Bakeshop.  You can find it here.  It is very easy to make using a jelly roll and some yardage.  Even the pieced border is much easier than it looks.


If you are looking for a pattern that uses a jelly roll, or just need a quilt that works up in a jiffy, I highly recommend this one.




Saturday, July 10, 2010

I Need Advice On Fabric Selection

I've been working on my version of Brand New Day, tentatively called Christmas Day, and I need your help on my final fabric selection for the unpieced blocks, setting triangles, and border. 
 
 
I am making my version out of my hoarded stash of Robyn Pandolph Folk Art and Aubrey Rose fabrics; purchased long ago and unlikely I could get more.  My original plan was to use the floral pirnt on off-white for the unpieced blocks and border, the floral print on green for the setting triangles, and deep red for the narrow inner border.  I tested that out:
 
 
The blocks look a bit lost on this print.  How about the green for the unpieced blocks?
 
 
I like that much better.  But then what do I do for the setting triangles?  And border?  And here's an alternative green floral print.
 


I've come up with several alternatives.  Please leave a comment letting me know what you think works best!

  1. Use the green floral for the unpieced blocks, the setting triangles, and the border, with a red narrow inner border and binding.
  2. Use the green floral for the unpieced blocks and border, the white floral for the setting triangles, and red narrow inner border and binding.
  3. Use the green floral for the unpieced blocks and border, find a red that works for the setting triangles.
  4. Put a narrow (1/2") red border around the star blocks, then use the white floral for the unpieced blocks, with green for setting triangles and border, with narrow red inner border.
  5. Something else?
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Photo Software

I've been using Kodak Easyshare to edit and store my photographs.  I think I'm ready to upgrade.  Easyshare is easy to use but slow and the editing features are very limited. 

Besides the photographs I use in my blog, my pictures are from vacations and family events.  I don't do major editing; mostly cropping and a little color "fixing."  I'm not a scrapbooker but I like to make photo books to memorialize major vacations and events.  And I'm planning to scan lots of old (pre-digital) family photos for future use.

I've heard of Photoshop but if sounds like a lot more than I need.  Do you have any recommendations? What do you use? Please comment.

Friday, July 9, 2010

TGIF!

What a week!  100 degree heat, jungle-like humidity, internet outage that lasted three days because a piece of equipment "fried" (Comcast technician's technical term), and to top it all off, a flat tire this morning!  Thank goodness we have central air conditioning in our house; it is saving me from being cranky. 

I did get some of the Ohio star blocks finished for Christmas Day


I plan on finishing the star blocks and cutting the fabric for the plain blocks tomorrow. 

How about some Corgi cuteness?  Reggie thinks it might thunder so he wants to get in bed and cuddle.




Monday, July 5, 2010

The Tools Are Getting A Workout

I finished something over the long weekend, but it wasn't a quilt.  It was this book:


I highly recommend this series for those who like to read.  The books are not "great literature" but they are a thrilling read.  The plots are fantastic, really riveting, and the two main characters are interesting.  Unfortunately, the author, Stieg Larsson, died shortly after turning in the manuscripts, so the third book is the last.  I couldn't wait to finish in order to find out what happens, but am a bit sad now that there won't be any more for me to read.  If want to read them, start with the first book, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

I did work on my Christmas Day quilt.  This project is a good opportunity to use some of my specialty tools.  The Angler has been the perfect helper for making the quarter triangle squares.  The Angler is a clear sheet of plastic that attaches to your sewing machine or table (the photo shows it taped to my sew steady table and my Bernina arm).  It has lines that you use to guide your fabric pieces, allowing you to sew straight lines on the diagonal across squares, without having to mark the lines. 



If you are not familiar with this item, you can see (and buy) it here.  It saves a lot of the tedium of marking.  There is a similar tool called Clearly Perfect Angles that clings to acrylic sewing tables, so you don't need masking tape. 

Next up was trimming.   The quarter triangle squares are made a little large, then trimmed to size for greater accuracy.  I'm not fond of the trimming step but the accuracy is worth it.  My Fussy Cut ruler came in handy here, again.


I have all the component pieces of the star blocks made.  The next step is sewing the pieces into the star blocks; the pieces come together like a nine-patch block.  I've got the blocks laid out for fast piecing.  I figure this step will be easy to do in the evenings this week after work, even if I have only 20 or 30 minutes at a time to devote to it.


At the rate I'm going, I could actually finish the top and move on to Christmas Project #2 before the end of July!




Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day


We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to celebrate another holiday, Independence Day, also know by the date, The Fourth of July.

Because the 4th fell on Sunday this year, my clients are taking Monday off work.  That means I get the day off too!  Perfect for working on my quilting projects. 

How about some thematic DVDs to view while sewing?  Here are some of my favorites.

1776 - a musical about the whole Declaration of Indepence set of events

John Adams, the miniseries from HBO about our 2nd President

Gettysburg - a movie about the Civil War battle (took place July 1-3, 1863)

Have a fun celebration with your family!



Friday, July 2, 2010

Brand New Day or Christmas Day?

Not sure what I'll be calling this quilt but I've made a good start.  I have the pieces cut for the star blocks.



Some of the larger floral prints I'm using are perfect for fussy cutting.  And I have just the tool - my Quilt in a Day Fussy Cut Trio Rulers.  You know, one of those tools I bought at a quilt show, seemed like a "must have" at the time, but has not seen the light of day since it went into the quilting paraphernalia drawer in the studio.  Well, I've discovered it is a very useful tool and am putting two sizes to to use on this project.

The set has three rulers:  3.5 inches square, 4.5 inches square, and 6.5 inches square.  Each is clear, heavy plastic, with the quarter inch seam allowances marked.  There are lines marked diagonally from corner to corner and they help you center any motif on your block.  If you look closely, you can just make out the diagonal lines in the photo below, which shows the ruler positioned on top of the fabric piece after cutting. 


I used the ruller here to center the flowers on what will be the center square of a star block. 

Now that I've cut out the star blocks, I need to get sewing.




Thursday, July 1, 2010

Christmas In July Quilt-Along Begins

It is July 1 and the official start of my Christmas In July Quilt-Along.  I will spend the month working on Christmas and Winter quilting projects, with hopes of actually completing them before the holiday season is upon us.

Are you interested in joining me? Not a lot of rules or structure - you can make anything you want to, as long as it has a winter or Christmas theme. Bed quilt, throw, wall hanging, tree skirt - whatever you choose to do. All you have to do is work on it during the month of July and periodically post something on your blog showing your progress. No blog - not a problem - send me pictures and I'll post them here for you.

If you want to join me, let me know via comment here or email message and I'll post a link to your blog on my sidebar so readers can check out your progress.


For my first project, I'll be making Brand New Day, a Miss Rosie pattern, using Robyn Pandolph fabrics I've had in my stash for a long time.  The focus fabrics are below.  I think they are from Folk Art Christmas IV and Aubrey Rose.


And here are the fabrics I pulled from my stash for the star blocks.


Time to get started!


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