Wednesday, December 29, 2021

What I've Been Up To - Part 2

And just like that, I went on another trip!

A vacation to European Christmas markets has long been on my travel bucket list.  I've been following a small travel company called A Girls' Guide to Paris and Beyond on social media so when I received a promotional email in the late summer about their upcoming trips, I visited the website to see what was up.  One of the Christmas market trips got my attention so after thinking it over, I signed up.  This was not a destination that interests Mr. Main Street (too much shopping for him) and he was supportive about me going on my own.  But with A Girls' Guide to Paris trips, you are not on your own; rather, you have an experienced guide and the company of others on a small, women only trip.  

I landed in Paris on Thanksgiving Day and spent a few days there on my own, visiting museums, shopping, and walking, walking, walking (setting new personal records on my Fitbit with as much as 11 miles a day!).  And I ate really well.  

Christmas lights on the Chanel store on Rue St. Honore, near my hotel.

Ferris wheel in the Tuileries Gardens

Notre Dame, undergoing reconstruction after the fire damage

On Nov. 30, I took the train to Strasbourg where I joined the travel group.  We visited the Christmas markets in Strasbourg, Obernai, Mulhouse, Eguishem, and Colmar, with walking tours of Strasbourg and Colmar, cathedrals, a castle, an outdoor museum, wine tastings, and a cooking class.  Lots of Christmas shopping and great food to eat!

The group of ladies I traveled with in Mulhouse (that's me on the far left)

Strasbourg Cathedral rose window

Christmas market 


I had a fabulous time and would do this kind of trip again.  If you'd like to know more about the Christmas markets in Strasbourg, watch this video from YouTube.

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Thursday, December 23, 2021

APQ Quiltalong Square Dance Quilt Finished

Last March, I joined a quilt along led by American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, making the quilt Square Dance, designed by Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life.  The blocks didn't take long to make but I dawdled over finishing.  Finally, the quilt is finished.

Dillie, one of our corgis, saw the camera and immediately began posing.  My fabric choices were inspired by the print on the left, from Laundry Basket Quilts for Andover Fabrics.  I pulled the fabrics for the blocks from a fat eighth bundle of assorted Laundry Basket Quilts fabrics and intended to use the floral print for the borders.  

But once I had the blocks finished and sewn together, in rainbow-ish order, I found the large floral too busy for the borders.  I ended up using a simple tone-on-tone print in light navy (from another Laundry Basket line called Olive Branch) and though you can't really see it, I used a kiwi green tone-on-tone for the binding.  The background is Kona Cream, with a simple beige floral for the sashing posts.

The quilting is a large, curvy floral pantograph.  

This quilt is easy enough for a beginner and the blocks go together quickly.  The blocks are 9" square so it is easy to make the quilt larger or smaller to suit your needs.

This is my last post before Christmas.  We're having a small family celebration at home and I am looking forward to a few days of relaxation.  I hope your celebration is a merry one!

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Monday, December 20, 2021

What I've Been Up To

Wow, I last posted on Sept. 8.  All good here but quilting was taking a back seat to other activities for a time.  

First, #finallyavacation!  Mr. Main Street and I were scheduled to go on a Mediterranean cruise to various Greek ports in April 2020 but of course, it was cancelled when travel shut down at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The cruise was rescheduled several times until finally, in late September, we were able to go.  We flew to Athens where we stayed a few days prior to joining our cruise ship.  It felt as safe as possible as all on the ship were vaccinated, we had a test just prior to embarking, then a couple of tests along the way.  We never experienced any problems and had a very good time.  My favorite parts of the trip were Athens, the port of Katakolon where we toured the site of the ancient Olympic Games, and hiking just above Amalfi, Italy.  

The Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens

Our ship, Azamara Quest, seen from Santorini

Site of the ancient Olympic Games

View of Amalfi, Italy, (and our ship), taken while hiking.

We enjoyed this cruise so much that we are already signed up for another one next fall!

Once back home, I got back to work on Flowers for Emma, a quilt project with hexie flowers I had been working on for a couple of years as my portable project.  (Pattern by Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life.)  My flowers were finished a while back but I had more applique work to do then sewing the blocks together with the sashing.  

I enlarged the quilt to 48 blocks, which is generous throw size (quilt holder husband is stretching to hold it up).  I marked the edges for a scalloped border, just need to get it quilted.

The hexie flowers are appliqued to four-patch blocks made up of low volume, mostly white fabrics.  Fabrics for the hexies are all from various Fig Tree Quilts lines for Moda, mostly from a fat quarter bundle of Chantilly that I won as a door prize at my LQS, Pennington Quilt Works.

I'm continuing to focus on unfinished and near-UFO projects cluttering up my sewing space.  I have another near finish so I will be back here soon.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2021

What I've Been Working On Lately

After time spent cleaning up and re-organizing in my sewing space (you can see my destash sale fabric here), I was ready to get back to a quilting project.  Flowers for Emma was starting to take on UFO status.  I began this project about two years ago as my portable project but have not had much need for portability over the past 18 months and have focused on machine sewn quilts instead.  But only the hexie flowers are sewn by hand in this project and with them completed, it morphs into a machine project.  

I made the flowers above while watching The Flight Attendant on HBO Max and The Pursuit of Love on Amazon Prime. (Both are fairly entertaining; of the two, I preferred The Pursuit of Love.)  All of the fabric for the flowers, except the yellow centers, are from various Fig Tree Designs for Moda fabric lines.  Then it's over to the sewing machine where I use a blind stitch or tiny zigzag to applique the flowers to the pieced background.  I've been trying both stitches and think they work equally well.  You have to look very closely to see the stitches and I think they will become even less visible after quilting.

The original pattern calls for 35 blocks, set in five columns of seven blocks each.  I'd like to enlarge it but not sure yet if it will be six by eight (48 blocks) or seven by nine (63 blocks).  In the meantime, I plod along.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Cleaning Up My Sewing Room - Destash Sale - Robyn Pandolph for Moda Fabric

I started cleaning up my sewing room today and whoa!  There's a lot to do!  One problem is that I have more fabric than I have storage capacity.  I'm letting some of it find a new home in a destash sale.  Today, it is all fabric designed by Robyn Pandolph and produced for Moda Fabrics.  

I made my quilt Christmas Day (above) with Robyn Pandolph designed fabrics.  (I think the pattern is called Brand New Day; it is by Carrie Nelson/Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.)  I really loved these fabric collections, I still do, but I don't think I will use them any time soon, so they need a new home.

I'm selling the fabric in nine lots, listed below.  If you would like anything shown, use the comment box to let me know which lot and indicate your zip code and your method of payment:  Zelle, Venmo, or Paypal.  I'll send you an invoice and put the package in the mail once paid.  

Lot A - 4 yards, from the Morning Glory collection by Robyn Pandolph for Moda.  The green background color came out most accurately in the picture in Lot C, below.  $30 plus shipping.

Lot B - 2 yards from the Sugar House line by Thimbleberries.  This is not a Robyn Pandolph design but coordinates perfectly.  The green background color came out most accurately in Lot C, below.  $16 plus postage.

Lot C - 4 yards in total; 1 yard of each fabric shown (top to bottom) from the Morning Glory line, cream with rose buds, green with rose buds, green floral tone-on-tone, green floral.  $30 plus shipping.

Lot D - 4 pieces from the Morning Glory and Aubrey Rose lines, including (left to right) 1.25 yards of red roses on cream, 1 yard of red and cream flowers on green, 1 yard of the same print on cream, and 4 yards by 24 inches wide (perfect for borders) of red flowers on green tonal stripe background.  $40 plus postage.

Lot E - Mostly from Folk Art Christmas II line - from top, 1.75 yards by 26: wide red roses on cream (plus some extra scraps of this print), 1 yard of red flowers on green background, 3/4 yard of green leaves on red background, and 3/4 yard of red on cream tiny floral print.  $27 plus postage

Lot F - 5 pieces ranging from just over 1/4 yard to 3/4 yard in size, almost 3 yards total.  From the Aubrey Rose, Rosehill Manor and Folk Art Christmas II lines.  $27 plus postage.

Lot G - 2.5 yards of the small floral on the left, 1.12 yards of the green check, 1/2 yard of the red check, 1/2 yard of the red tonal on the right.  $35 plus postage.

Lot H - 3 yards of the dark red floral tone-on-tone and 1.75 yards of the ecru floral tone-on-tone, both from the Morning Glory Line.  $37 plus postage.

Lot I - Lots of pieces, not all shown, ranging in size from 1/2 yard to pieces roughly the size of a layer cake square.  2 lbs. of fabric in total and perfect for a scrappy look project.  $35 plus postage.  

Keep in mind that mailing fabric can get pricey because of the weight.  Figure $7 to $22, depending on your location (I am in New Jersey).  

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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Rainbow Connection #LittleBlocks365 Quilt

The quilt I made with my Little Blocks 365 is back from the quilter and I bound it - not a big job given if is only 43" square.  

I'm calling it Rainbow Connection.  I started with a fat quarter bundle of solids and made the blocks gradually, selecting from the blocks released each week in the Little Blocks 365 program.  Because my setting used only 56 blocks, I did not need all 365 blocks in the program and could finish before the end of the year.  Note, I adapted my setting from a quilt made by Brigette Heitland of Zen Chic.

I had it longarm quilted by the folks at Olde City Quilts in Burlington, NJ.   The quilting pattern is a panto or edge-to-edge design of large paisley-like feathers in white thread.

The quilting pattern is not too much on the blocks and shows up really well in the white borders.  

The back is solid white because I was afraid any print or darker color might show through to the front in the white borders.  Did you know that Kona comes in wide widths (60" and 108") in a variety of colors?  The 60" wide version was perfect for the back of this wall hanging size quilt.

I really enjoyed making these blocks and am tempted to start another set using a different color combination.  But that will probably wait until late this year as there are some other projects I need to finish.  And first I need to clean and declutter my sewing room - it looks like a cyclone blew through!

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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

A Scrapbook of Quilts #pillowalong

Yes, I'm still here!  And working on this and that, but not doing quite as much sewing as I was doing this time last year.  I do have a little finish though.

It's this decorative pillow I made using the directions in the "Pirouette" chapter in the book A Scrapbook of Quilts by Joanna Figueroa and Carrie Nelson.  I went totally scrappy and used my stash of leftover 3 Sisters fabrics from various quilts I've made.  It goes with many of the quilts I use on our bed and looks great IMO.  The finished quilt is 16 by 20 inches.

And you need to add A Scrapbook of Quilts to your quilt book collection if you have not done so already.  It is really a marvelous book, not just for the projects in the book but also for all the tips and tricks sprinkled throughout and the writing style.  The day it arrived, I spent the evening reading it and was well entertained.  If your LQS doesn't have this book, you can buy it directly from The Fat Quarter shop, here.

But back to the pillow.  The central panel is half-square triangles sewn together then banded top and bottom with another fabric.  I quilted it using my walking foot, in the ditch on the pieced section then straight out into the borders.

I quilted the back in parallel horizontal lines, using the width of the presser foot to space them apart.  

I washed the pillow after I finished it because I'd used a chalk marker to mark the first line and it was being stubborn about not brushing out.  The washing machine took care of that though, and gave the pillow that soft, crinkled look.

I put a zipper in the bottom seam so I can wash the cover easily.  I basted that seam first (before sewing the other sides together) and inserted the zipper centered, like you would do for a zipper in the back of a dress.  It is easy to do (as long as you have a zipper foot for your sewing machine) and the instructions come with the zipper.  Carrie Nelson inserts zippers the same way she does for a zipper bag and it looks pretty easy.  She has a video with directions on YouTube; you can find it here.

I think I'll be making more pillows.  But I am so tempted to make the quilt version of the "Pirouette" design using my Fig Tree scraps.  And I have two hand sewing projects in the works, plus I have three quilts to bind.  But Thelma told me binding is winter work so...

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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Little Blocks 365 Wall Hanging

I have a finished flimsy.  It's the wall hanging I've been making from the Little Blocks 365 sew along.  In this sew along, the organizer releases seven blocks each week; keep up and you will have 365 blocks at the end of the year.  But as my chosen setting requires only 56 blocks, I've been selectively sewing from the blocks released so far and have enough for my finish.  

I started with a charm pack of solid colors from Michael Miller, quickly saw it would not be enough fabric, and added a fat quarter bundle.  

A few weeks ago, I was here:

And now I have this finished top.  

It was hard to get a good picture as no one was available to hold it up so it is stuck to my design boards but they are not quite big enough for this 42 inch square top.  (Ignore those gray-ish smudges, it is just water from when I steam pressed the top right before taking the photos and they've since disappeared.)

The block layout is from Zen Chic; you can see her original quilt here.  Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic participated in the Moda Blockheads 3 sew along and this is the setting she used for her finished blocks.  However, her blocks were 6 inches and made a quilt 81 inches square.  My blocks are 3 inches and the top is 42 inches square.  

I'm very happy with my top, I just need to get it quilted.  Given that the sew along has more than six months to go, with more than 180 blocks yet to be released, I am thinking of making more for a second wall hanging.  I just need another creative setting suitable for these eclectic blocks.  I am thinking of using this selection of solid color fabrics that Kona put together in a color combination they call "Dublin."

But I need a rectangular setting that will work in my kitchen space, ideal for quilts that are 35-40 inches wide and 50-60 inches long.  Any suggestions?

I think these tiny 3 inch blocks are perfect for solids and blenders because you don't lose any of the fabric design when you cut them into tiny pieces (many of the pieces in these blocks are smaller than my finger nails).  I found another fat quarter set in my stash, this collection is called "Speckled."

If you are interested in doing something similar, the Fat Quarter Shop has a broad selection of fat quarter bundles of solids.  They have bundles that match the colors in fabric lines by various designers, like this "Me & My Sister" bundle, as well as other themes like "pinks" and "birds of paradise" (I particularly like this one).  In case you are interested, I used 11 fat quarters in my top (though did not completely use up any of them), as well as a few pieces from the charm pack for contrast.  And the blocks that include white use Kona white (which I also used for the border) and some scraps of a small text print.

There is not enough time to take advantage of the all great fabric available now!

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