Saturday, December 9, 2017

Christmas Sewing

Somewhere along the line, I found a nice blog called JenDalyQuilts.  Jen has some very sweet designs and has offered a mystery quilt-along the last 3 Christmases.  Her latest one just started this past week.  The good news is they are relatively simple, small and easy to fit into a busy holiday schedule.  I am making last year's mystery quilt right now, although it is not such a mystery to me as I have seen the finished quilt and I Love It.  Here are some of the pieces I have finished.
 A Little Forest

 Some fun ornaments
 Some pretty packages to put under the tree
And lovely pinwheels!

I have one more bunch of blocks to make this weekend and then it is time to assemble.  Much of this is done with paper piecing and goes very quickly.  Jen has  provided all the cutting instructions and made the pieces that are paper pieced slightly oversized so there are no mistakes and the whole thing goes together easily.  I am loving it.  It is fun to work with Christmas fabrics once a year.  

Lots more to do to get ready for the holiday, but we are enjoying the season so much.  Our first snowfall of the winter happened last night.  So we may just have a white Christmas.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Quilt Retreat and other stuff

Our local shops recently had a shop hop.  I only hopped to one shop to buy fabric for an upcoming quilt retreat.  The shop gave out a free pattern for an apple potholder.  I couldn't wait to make one and   even woke up in the middle of the night thinking blue and yellow.  So the next morning I got busy and made this fun little apple.  Cute Christmas presents, I think.

It is paper pieced and oh, so easy.

This past weekend I spent 2 ½ days with 63 of our guild members at a resort about 15 - 20 miles from my house.  We sew our own projects and also have a donation project we work on.  This time we made pillowcases for the pediatrics ward at one of the local hospitals.  We managed to complete 197 plus many more that were donated by members who were not at the guild.  I used some Cat in the Hat fabric and some Mario Brothers.  This is the only scrap I had left and I forgot to take a picture of the finished cases.  Oh well.  I got 5 done and was happy to move onto my next project.

I also  made a Soldier Quilt.  We make these for a group in Plymouth, WI that distributes them to returning service members once they have completed their service to the armed forces.  I saw a photo on Pinterest of a quilt similar to this.  I constructed the center like a jelly roll race quilt.  This was my first time to try it and it was really fun.  I cut 2 ½" strips instead of using a jelly roll, because I needed only 17 stripes.  I think it turned out great and got lots of positive remarks.

Close up of this cute fabric.  I thought when I pulled it out of my stash that it said things like America the Beautiful, etc.  I was a little surprised when I actually saw the words.  I hope it is well received.

The organizers of the retreat always like to make up some little fun gifts for everyone who attends.  This time it was a coin purse and a holder for a rotary cutter.  Both cute and needed.  

There are also door prizes on Saturday night that are donated from the local quilt shops.  I received this charm pack of Kansas Troubles fabric -- always a favorite.  The shop owner was sitting at my table for dinner when the gifts were handed out.  It was so nice to be able to give her a big thank you immediately as she has always done so much for our guild.

I am getting ready now for a great opportunity in January.  We leave for Florida after Christmas and this year I am taking my sewing machine for the first time.  Why?  Because Bonnie Hunter is coming to a quilt guild near me and I am all signed up for her class.  I am so excited and have already been organizing in my head all the things I need to take with me.  We will be making the Talkin' Turkey quilt which I think I will do in RW&B to donate.  Right now I am making a million 1 ½" blocks and strips to finish a Bonnie quilt I started last year.  I want to take at least the finished top with me for show & tell.

Lots going on in my corner of the world right now.  How about you?

Monday, October 2, 2017

More Banner Work

I spent quite a bit of time working on church banners in the last week or so.  We changed over to fall decor at church last Wednesday night.  That gave me a week to get busy and get the banners completed.  One of our ladies made the banners last year.  They have a fall leaf design on one side..
and solid fabric on the reverse. 

She asked me to do something to the plain side.  So I made ginormous leaves - one for each banner.I started by printing off simple leaf shapes from the Internet.  I like using coloring book designs for easy applique and they are free.  Then I copied the shapes onto transparencies, enlarged them with an overhead projector at church and traced them onto large pieces of paper.  These were my patterns. 

I decided to make the leaves as stiff as I could so they would hang well.  So I traced the patterns onto Tear Away stabilizer which was the stiffest interfacing I could find.  From there I stitched veins onto the fabric

 and glued the edges of the fabric over the stabilizer so I could applique them to the banners.  The process was pretty simple, but I did all the applique by hand, so that I could sew only onto one side of the banner and not have the stitches show on the backside.  That was the time consuming part.  I managed to come up with 5 different designs and fabrics and got them done in the week's time.

They are now hanging in the church and look pretty good.

I made one sunflower to have something a little different.  

I crosshatched a portion of the center and then dabbed on gold paint so it didn't look like a giant brown spot staring at you.

I also finished my mystery quilt from Kathleen Tracy's blog.  It finished at 30 x 30, so I am thinking I will hang it on the guest room wall.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Quilt Expo time again

I spent yesterday in Madison at Quilt Expo.  This is the show that is put on by Nancy Zieman and the Sewing  with Nancy show as a fundraiser for Wisconsin Public Television.  At the entry there was a table full of post-its available to write a note to Nancy.  What a nice idea!  She has been the driver behind this show since its inception and she is usually buzzing around and often stops to talk with people and sign autographs or take photos.  She was missed yesterday.

The quilts as usual were very beautiful and varied from some simple to the very complex.   The best of show was won by Claudia Clark Meyers and Marilyn Badger.  They are such a phenomenal duo.  Two quilters from the guild in Green Bay had quilts in the show.  One even won a red ribbon and cash prize.

I took a few photos to share.  I also found a few things that made their way home with me.  I had 3 friends with me and my ears were ringing when I got home from all the constant chatter.  What a fun day!

I saw at least 4 Dear Jane quilts.  This was the most unique having the blocks on point and all in B&W with red accents.

The name of this one is One Cake, Two Cake, Red Cake, Blue Cake.  The edges are colorful loops.

 Laurie Ceesay is a hairdresser and all of her quilts are about the hair.

This quilt is a game that quizzes you on the states.  It includes the capitals, flags, birds, mottos, flowers, and other factoids.  It is quilted as a maze with the start point at the tip of Washington.  The border has all the state flowers, flags and birds.  All the answers to the quiz are printed upside down below the map.  So fun and such a great teaching tool.  

 Wisconsin features Cheese, the Badgers, Frank Lloyd Wright, Harry Houdini and water slides.   Wisconsin Dells claims to be the water park capital of the world.
 Indiana shows the Indy 500, Larry Bird, and Dr. Seuss.  
I could have looked at this quilt all day.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Designing Monday

I have not posted in over a month.  No posting means no work done by me.  I wish I had a good excuse, but I keep telling myself I need to get back to sewing.  I finished this little piece yesterday.  I took a class from Linda Poole to learn how to use Inktense pencils and we made this bird picture.  Sort of like coloring in a coloring book.  The class was in Feb of 2016.  That was a long time ago.  I finished the coloring after the class in March of 2016.  I got it layered and quilted in April or May of 2016 and then it sat while I looked for a binding material.  I finally found this batik last week and now it is done.  Yea!

I completed piecing and assembling the mystery quilt from Kathleen Tracy's Small Quilts group.  It was fun, but ended up being 30+" square.  That's bigger than most of my small quilts and I will have to find a place to display it.  I marked it to quilt with a Frixion pen and hope it will come out when I am done.

Hope you are more motivated than I am.  I want to finish more projects and move on.

A friend brought me a bag of beets.  Four beets to be exact.

 Each was bigger than a softball.  I had to parboil them for an hour in two batches as my biggest pot would only hold two at a time.  Then into the freezer they went.  It took me about 3 hours to accomplish all this.  Good thing I love beets.

I am linking to Small Quilts and Doll Quilts today.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Fun Class Day

I had the good fortune to take a class last week with Lorraine Torrence.  She was the guest speaker at our guild and then followed up with a class using her patterns.  She brought 4 different patterns for us to choose from and kits that we could purchase if we wanted.

Here is the pattern that I chose.  

First we copied this large paper pattern onto freezer paper and then onto muslin.  All the pattern pieces were labeled alphabetically as well as all the pieces of fabric in the kit so we couldn't mess it up.  She really put a lot of effort into making it as easy as possible.

Then we cut the freezer paper pieces apart and ironed them onto the fabric and then cut out the fabric and laid it onto the muslin.  There were some paper piecing parts on each pattern which were fun to do.  She has a different technique for paper piecing that I enjoyed learning.  Unfortunately her technique does not really translate to other paper piecing patterns.

Once all the pieces are laid out on the muslin and pinned down, we zigzagged all the overlapping pieces right on top.  No fusing or glue required.

The next step is to make bias tape or bias strips that will be used to cover all the zigzag up.  The strips are sewn down with a top stitch along the edges (or you can use a decorative stitch.)  This is done after sandwiching the batting, the backing, and the top.  So when you top stitch the bias tape, you are actually quilting.  You can add other quilting in the open areas as well.

Here I am auditioning the different colors of bias tape.

I have sandwiched my little quilt and am ready to apply the bias tape.  We made our own bias tape from bias strips she provided in the kit.  Her method is to put a pin in the ironing board cover with a gap as wide as the finished tape.

You push the pointed end of the bias strip under the pin and then pull the strip to the left gently manipulating it before it goes under the pin.  It folds automatically.
I didn't think to take a photo before I made the tape, so this is already folded and ironed, but I tried to open it up to illustrate the point.

She taught us to set the iron flat on the tape as it comes out of the pin and Voila! you have bias tape.  I thought I would not be able to do it, so I bought a bias tape maker for that size at Joann and found it was more putzy than using the pin method.

Our guild had its summer picnic/ party in June and we brought a bright summery Fat quarter to swap.   I took home this piece of lime green with flip flops.  

We were asked to make at least one block and bring it back later in the year.  We can only add white as a background color.  

I made 3 blocks.  These will be combined with others to make some quilts for kids at the local hospital.  A fun project!