Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Slicing And Dicing

I started a project using my homemade jelly roll.  I made strip sets, using one "light" and one "dark" strip.

Then the slicing and dicing, and more sewing. 

The finished blocks are in the photo below.  Looking at that block on the left, I am concerned that I may not have enough contrast between the "light" and the "dark."  I will get 40 blocks out of my 20 strip sets but need just 36 for the quilt top so I can weed a few out if necessary.

The pattern I'm using is Jelly and Jam by Fig Tree Quilts.  It is very easy so far.  The seams line up beautifully if you press according to the directions.  This is a design I can work on a little bit at a time in the evenings after work.

Now for the giveaway!  When I cut my homemade jelly roll, it was easy to cut a second strip of each fabric.  So I have a second jelly roll to give away - 34 strips of fabric cut from my stash of pastel florals.  (For my project, I augmented with a few strips left from a Moda Sanctuary jelly roll.)

To be entered in the drawing, leave a comment here telling me about your favorite jelly roll pattern or book.  I'll do a post on all the submissions and draw a winner from those commenting on Monday night (Labor Day). 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cutting A Jelly Roll

After a lot of sorting and ironing, I started cutting.  And I turned this...

into this...

and this.

Yes, I cut my own jelly roll.  I keep seeing all these great quilts and other projects to make with jelly rolls but I have so much fabric already, fabric I love.  So I broke out my extensive stash of pastel florals:  lots of Paris Flea Market by 3 Sisters (possibly my favorite fabric collection ever), Hannah Bella from Robyn Pandolph, Mary Rose, and others.  I chose those that looked like they would work well together, then cut a 2.5" strip of each.  It was a lot of cutting; there is a definite advantage to buying "pre-cuts."  But now I have my own unique roll to work with in a project.  And cutting it barely made a dent in my stash, though it did make a good opportunity for straightening up the stash piles in the closet.  They look much neater now.

Come back tomorrow because I'm having a giveaway!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Playing With Fabric

I have a large part of my stash dumped on the bed here.

I've been sorting it, folding and fondling. 

I know there's a quilt in here somewhere, waiting to come out!

Decisions, decisions!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Australian Homespun Magazine - My Last Issue

I decided not to renew my subscription to Australian Homespun magazine.  It is pricy (about $90 per year), and while I enjoy it as eye candy, I haven't made any of the projects.  Also, I noticed that Barnes & Noble is stocking it at least some months.

Then my last issue arrived, and I fell in love again!

This is Volume 11, Number 4.  The quilt on the cover was designed by Barbara Jones of QuiltSoup and I like it a lot.  It is called Whisper Soft.  I have loads of pastel floral prints.  Some variation of this quilt is going on my "list."

Then a few pages later, there is this beauty called Galette.  It was made with the Patisserie line by Fig Tree Quilts for Moda (yes, I bought that line) and uses two honey buns plus yardage.  This quilt was designed by Shontelle Stanyer of Sugarplum Quilts

I'll be playing with my fabric stash this weekend!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ready To Go

Over the weekend, I pieced the backs for Christmas Day and Cider Mill.  In both cases, I had yardage for the backs but not quite enough.  So I had to do some creative piecing to get to the required size.  In the case of Cider Mill, it allowed me to use up some leftovers from piecing the top, and I pieced the label right into the back too.  Christmas Day has a band of contrast fabric running between two pieces of the dark green floral print.  In both cases, I think the backs look modern, and thrifty, and nifty!

You'll see these two again, when they are all finished!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Aging Gracefully

Back from the quilter, bound, and labeled - Aging Gracefully

I was using a different name when this one was a work in progress.  The fabrics have an antique look, like they have aged, and I wanted to get that into the name.  Suddenly, it came to me, and Aging Gracefully it is.  I used a Bonnie Blue Quilts pattern called Second Hand Clothes.  Bonnie Blue Quilts showed this design in their booth at one of the quilt shows I went to last year and I admired it so much.  I did not want to buy the kit because I already had the Legacy layer cake and some yardage.  So I bought a small fat quarter bundle of complementary fabrics that BBQ was selling, along with the pattern, then ordered the solid khaki and aqua fabrics to finish it off.    This will go nicely on our tan couch in the family room.

That's Miss Main Street holding up the quilt.  She had to stand on a chair and stretch her arms out as far as they would go.  Although she is 15, she's still my little girl at only 5'2".

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Amy Butler's Style Stitches

When I ordered Miss Main Street's fall semester text books, I put a little something in the order for me.  It arrived today from Amazon.com.

Amy Butler's Style Stitches:  12 easy ways to 26 wonderful bags!  I bought it for the bag on the front cover, epectiing there would be more good things inside.  Here is a photo of the same design in different fabric.

There are some other wonderful ideas in here.  I especially like this more structured purse.

As you might have noticed from the photos, the book uses a spiral spine within a hard binding.  I like this because it makes it easy to keep the book open to a page with directions while you work.  The pattern pieces are in a sturdy envelope in the back of the book (none of that "enlarge by 400%" business).  And the instructions seem quite detailed.  I think this will be good for making a few Christmas gifts. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Stashing Philosophy

One of the blogs I read periodically, I can't remember which one, used the term stashing philosopy.  Well, this got me thinking, "Do I have a stashing philosophy?"  I certainly have a stash!

When I began quilting, I wasn't even familiar with the term stash.  The selection of quilting cottons was much more restricted than today.  I bought what I needed for individual projects and sometimes had "leftovers."  I was not yet into the scrappy look, so though I saved my leftovers, it was not with any real use in mind.

As I got more "into" quilting, I visited more quilting fabric stores.  Any trip we made was sure to have a quilt shop or 4 or 5 along the way, near our destination, or a short detour away.  Quilt Sampler magazine and online resources were a great way to find and locate shops to visit.  And I began buying fabric just because I liked it, without a plan for its immediate use.  A fat quarter here, half a yard there, maybe even a 3 yard piece if I thought it would make a good border.  My stash was born. 

In the late 90's, a knitting/needlpoint/quilt shop in Princeton (NJ) closed their fabric department to better focus and devote more space to the knitting business.  They had a sale on their fabric, $4 per yard (a good deal around here, even back then).  I went nuts made a sizeable investment.  That was when I bought a lot of my Robyn Pandolph collection, recently used in my Christmas Day quilt top.  By this time, the closet in our guest room was devoted to my quilting hobby.  You can see the shelves in the picture above.  I also began to have a growing collection of large Rubbermaid containers that were perfect for storing folded fabric, sorted by color.  (They don't look very well sorted in the photo below.)

Whenever I start a project, I pull from stash what I can and augment with newly purchased fabric.  Sometimes, it is really newly purchased fabric, augmented with stash.  And occasionally, a quilt is near totally made from stash (like Christmas Day).  Lately, with the stash outgrowing the available space, I've tried to rein myself in some, buying more for specific projects or because I absolutely love a fabric or collection.  Remember my 30 day rule?  It has saved me from some impulse purchases and given me time to think about how I might use something before I buy it. 

But I think it is important for a quilter (or at least important for this quilter) to have a stash.  My stash allows me to work when the mood strikes.  And even when I make a quilt using primarily one fabric collectiion, my stash permits me to augment that collection in a way that makes a quilt uniquely my own, even if based on a commercial pattern.  For example, I might substitute a darker pink for the pink in the fabric collection, or add some bright green for punch and contrast.  And when the lights in the jelly roll are too light, I am sure to have something in my stash that will coordinate with the remaining fabrics and help ensure I have the required number of strips.

Keep on stashing!  If anyone grumbles, tell them Cathy on Main Street said you could do it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

American Quilter

I discovered a new-to-me quilting magazine on the stand at Barnes & Noble:  American Quilter.  Do you know it?  I bought a copy (September 2010 edition) specifically for the article "Floating Edge Finish" by Karolyn "Nubin" Jensen. 

It is a design in which a scalloped edge appears superimposed on (or floating over) a regular, sqaured edge.  It is very impactful, especially with the block setting shown.  Something with this edge finish is going on my "list."

I did a Google search on the author, hoping she would have a blog or website where I could see more of her work, but didn't find anything like that.  I did find a few mentions of her name on other blogs though, and apparently she is a longarm quilter.  The quilting on the quilt in the article looks exquisite.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Busy With Binding

I'm back to the business of binding this quilt.  I replaced the spool of thread (will be keeping this one out of Reggie's reach!) and I believe there is some DVD watching in my future.  Right after I help Mr. Main Street rehang the shades and curtain rods in our newly repainted bedroom!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Spool of Thread + Corgi =

...No progress on binding tonight!

But let me back up.  There hasn't been much of a quilty nature happening here the past few days.  Instead, we've been in get-ready-for-camp mode.  Today (Sunday), Mr. Main Street and I drove Miss Main Street to her fourth year at Ranch Camp, a YMCA camp where she rides for half the day and spends the rest of the time in the usual camp activities. 

Reggie (the corgi) gets very excited when he sees luggage.  He does not like being left behind!  And this time, he let us know it.  While we were gone, he managed to find a spool of thread I'd left on an end table in our family room.  He gave it a good chew; the "after" picture is above.  I'm glad he did not swallow it but now I need to get another spool of the same color so I can continue to hand stitch a binding down.  I might manage to fit that errand in after work tomorrow.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Timeless Treasures Patterns

I found some free patterns at the Timeless Treasures Fabrics site that I think are great, especially for stash or scrap projects. 

This is called Sugarplum Stars.  Have I gone star-crazy?  Pattern is available free here.  I think it would be  great scrap quilt.  I can see it (in my mind of course!) made in leftovers from various other projects. 

This is called Blue Moon.  The blue and white combination and simple graphic design is so crisp.  It would be a good two-color design for scraps.  You can find the free download for the pattern here.

This one is called Desert Nine-Patch; you can find the pattern here.  It is made with Tonga batiks and two alternative background fabrics, which is what makes it special for me.  I think you could make it with a Bali Pop, jelly roll, or strips from your stash.  The key is to use the two backgrounds in alternatting blocks.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Quilting To-Do List Re-Visited

 Before I decide which project to focus on next, I thought I would re-visit the To-Do List I put together at the beginning of the year.  Here it is, with annotations added today.

  1. Good Tidings, from Miss Rosie. Directions are in an issue of Australian Homespun that I just happen to have.  I'm just not feeling the love for this any longer.  All those pinwheel blocks look a bit tedious.  I think I will move on.  
  2. Brand New Day, another pattern from Miss Rosie. This is a WIP I blogged about in December. I am making it with my hoarded Folkart Christmas fabrics designed by Robyn Pandolph back in days when she designed for Moda. The flimsy is finished; just needs quilting.
  3. Another applique quilt - I am thinking of a design from the Quilting with My Sister book that would make a nice wall hanging for my sewing room.  Still want to do this; five months to go.
  4. School Spirit - a gold and blue quilt for the Parents Association auction at my daughter's school.  Finished and sold at auction.  I plan to make one for the 2011 auction but don't need to start yet.
  5. Finish my Dresden plate UFO - this is my portable project. I knew it would be a long-term endeavor when I started it (in 2007 I think) - long-term, not life-time.  Still working on it; a nice, portable project for when I get together with my quilting friends.
  6. Make something that is atypical for me. I think this will use my turquoise and aqua fabrics, the fat quarters I've been collecting for a couple of years. Simmering on back burner, waiting for inspiration.  I have a couple of ideas; one of them needs to reach out and grab me.
  7. Skill expander quilt - My skill expander in 2009 was Shasta Daisy, my first machine applique quilt. I have a WIP based on a variation on the kaleidoscope block. I have not worked with an isosceles triangle before, and a block with 8 pieces coming together in the center is a challenge for me too. Started, then my attention was diverted by Christmas in July.  I think it is time to resume work on this one.
I've done two of seven projects and struck one off the list.  At the moment, I 'm most excited about the last project on the list so I'll get back to work on that.  I'll have some binding to do over the next few months, as well as the quilting and embellishing of my snowman wall hanging.  And I'm sure to dream up a few more must-do's. 

So many quilts, so little time!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Design Wall For The Rest Of Us

I'm sure many of you, like me, don't have room for a design wall.  My sewing room doubles as our guest room so I can't see making a design wall a permanent feature.  Instead, I have a large piece of flannel that I put on my bed.  I can lay the blocks on the flannel, where they "stick' so I can even fold it up when with the blocks in place if necessary. 

But the latest issue of American Patchwork & Quilting has a photo (page 12) of a new tool for quilters called The Vanishing Design Wall.  I think it could be a good alternative to the design bed.  It works similar to a movie screen.  Here is a short video demo.

This might be going on my Christmas list!  But I still have to figure out where to put it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Christmas In July - Grand Finale, Part 2

Ta-da!  My Christmas Day top is finished!

I really love this.  It was worth saving the Robyn Pandolph Folk Art Christmas and Aubrey Rose fabric until I found just the right design to show them off.  I especially like this star block.  It is a variation on Ohio Star.  I will probably use it in another quilt sometime.

This quilt is based on the Brand New Day pattern from Miss Rosie's Quilt Co., but I made an adjustment and used a different print for the border.  The pattern uses the same fabric for the unpieced setting blocks and the outer border.  My original intention was to follow the pattern exactly but I found I needed to modify the plan to make the star blocks pop; they were getting lost against the floral with the light background so I ended up using that for the border only.  

I still have to piece the back but it is not going to the longarm quilter until next month so I have a little time.  I'll make the binding using the same red tone-on-tone that I used for the narrow inner border. 

Do you ever suspect that the fabric in your stash is reproducing when you aren't looking?  I thought this quilt would use up almost all of my hoarded Robyn Pandolph collection.  It did make a bit more than a dent in it, mostly because of the large pieces needed for the border and backing, but I still have plenty left.  I have an idea for using it but I think I will move on to something else and come back to this another time. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Christmas In July - Grand Finale

It is the last day of my Christmas in July Quilt Along.  What have I done? 

My second project was my version of Let It Snow.  I received this pattern several months ago from Thelma of Cupcakes & Daisies.  I purchased fabric and embellishments to use for this project at a quilt show last winter.

Here is my finished top, being held up by Miss Main Street.  I traded the red and green prints for blues with snowy white and silver.  And I enlarged the block from 6" to 8" because I wanted the finished quilt to be a little bit bigger to fit the wall in my kitchen but did not want to add blocks to the design. 

I am going to hand quilt this then embellish the snowmen's faces with wool, buttons, and snaps, just like on the pattern cover photo.  My plan is to hang it on the quilt hanger in my kitchen in January.  It will be a nice complement to my Christmas snowman collection.

There is another act in this Grand Finale but first we'll have a brief intermission.