Monday, February 25, 2013

My First Mug Rug

I told myself I would cut back on swaps this year and devote myself to working on my own endeavors.  However, I could not resist this mug rug swap organized by Michele from the Quilting Gallery.  I think I was one of the first to sign up...Yikes!!!!  I have no willpower.  Amanda from the Patchsmith made the patterns for us and they were simply irresistible to me.  One is called Winter Birdhouse and I still need to complete the second one entitled Two Owls.  I figured since I am suppose to be devoting myself to working on stuff for me, I might as well make two of each pattern. One for my partner and one for me.  I have been wanting to make a mug rug for myself for a long time and since I may not get the one from my partner till April, I couldn't wait and made myself one to keep and start using ASAP.   My morning coffee will be as happy as me each morning with such a special place to sit on. This way I will have four mug rugs when I receive the two from my partner and yes I am thrilled I took the plunge on this swap.

I know the picture makes one house look taller than the other but they are identical.  They are due to be shipped by the 18th of March so I had best get going on the Owls.  I have them started and hope to finish them by the end of this coming weekend  if not sooner.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

New Starts

Here I go again...

I am constantly starting new projects before finishing my WIP's.  This week I got started on a project for my daughter that we started picking up fabrics for last November.  After visiting the King Tut exhibit, we found a line of fabrics that she just fell in love with so we started buying the fat quarters and looking for just the right pattern to use them in.  Although some are Eygptian related, some also have a taste of the Orient feel to them and we thought this pattern from the October issue of Quilter's World would showcase them well.  We wanted to be able to have some large blocks thrown in there to allow the fabrics to show at their best.  We also both loved the black grid of this pattern.  This is a picture of the magazine's quilt designed by Sue Harvey and Sandy Boobar of Pine Tree Country Quilts. 

Here is a sneak peek of what I got put together today.  There are 12 blocks measuring 15 1/2 inches square.  I would have shared all twelve blocks but this is the best picture I got so I will try to get a better one soon.

Meanwhile, My daughter now has three blocks done on her bookcase project.  She has been doing a great job.  
Here is block one:

Block two:

Block three:

This is a BOM pattern from 2011 that Fandom Stitches put together and you can still print off the pattern to all thirty blocks.  They can be found at The Project of DoomIt is a Harry Potter Bookcase and I am not surprised that my daughter would find a choose this as her first sewing experience!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Skillbuilder Progress

 I've been teaching my daughter how to quilt the last few days and she's been doing great.  She picked out a paper piece quilt of the month project from the past from Sew Hooked that is a Harry Potter bookcase.  She is just finishing block two and I will try to share them this week.  I am proud of her progress and believe me if she can learn to quilt and paper piece at the same time, I am sure paper piecing is something everyone can do.  Of course, if I say so myself she has a great teacher...he hee.
I myself have been making progress on my Skillbuilder BOM blocks.  I have been hesistant to commit to fmq--ing my January blocks.  For me this is the norm.  I am seriously hoping that in doing the FMQ on twenty blocks over the next 10 months that I will grow much more skilled and confident and not so fearful of doing the free motion quilting involved in completing projects. 

Here is what I have so far done on my January blocks for the FMQ. 


This is the view from the back.  I can see why Alyssa says this is where it works good to have a busy pattern as the backing so it can be much forgiving with the stitches and the thread color changes would blend in better with the proper backing choice.  I think I may stick it out with the gray though just for the sake of maintaining the learning curve. I bought a few new threads for doing the FMQ.Not what she recommended. I couldn't find the aurifil Alyssa recommended so I just bought some nice thread but it wasn't the 40 or 50 wt she suggested either.  What I could find was 30 wt.  I forgot that I have been zooming thru so many white thread spools lately that I needed to buy more so I thought I would wait to do those areas till I bought more thread.  This weekend my daughter and I drove to the coast and stopped at three quilt stores.  The had sticker shock at the price of aurifil.  Yikes...$13.50 at the first store...$11.99 at the second and I didn't bother looking at the third.  I really am going to have to try and win some of this even harder than I have so far.  I am going to have to be convinced that it is worth the price.  I bought some Isacord 40 wt polyester thread instead for $5.89 .  Price was much more to my liking.  Alyssa said she likes to use cotton thread but I figured hey I know the Isacord is suppose to be a great product too so why not give it a shot.  Especially since this is all new to me to select different threads or weights of threads.  I usually just use whatever is cheap, usually Coats and Clark (fancy to me is Guttermann).  I bought a spool of Superior King Tut thread almost a year ago and still have not taken the wrapper off it because it is a blended lime green.  Not the wisest choice on my part.

Here is the second block:

I hope you can see it.  I swear it showed up much better when I viewed the picture.  Oh, well the back shows much better.  Still have a long ways to go but am gaining confidence.

Here is my  first Skillbuilder February Block ' EM DASH '

and  February's second block ' The Mood Block '

I love how these blocks turn out.  Alyssa has us use starch and they look so crisp when they are completed.  Very nice to work with.  I hope you are enjoying your day.
Keep stitchin'

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Quilt U Be Mine Show n' Tell

 When Michele from Quilts from My Crayon Box announced her Quilt U Be Mine Swap,  I knew that I would want in on this action.  I had so much fun with the Halloween See Saw Swap that I knew I would love a Valentine project to treasure and proudly display each year.   I surf the net a lot and love pinterest, so when I saw these free patterns from Sonja at Artisania , I knew they would be perfect for this project.  Dang, Sonja is wickedly talented and I love Gnomes so I decided to use her free patterns for the gnome and his gnome home and since it was Valentine themed I figured my gnome needed a love interest so I gave him a lady love and had them hold hands. Wah--la...Gnome-O and Juliet...they were to be dubbed.  Here is what I created with her free patterns to be my center block.

I sent them off into the world, literally, to England and back.  They arrived back here surrounded by a huge heart and I think they are very happy with their new surroundings!!!  Check out what my group built for the gnomes.  I think it turned out very nicely.  Here is a close up of the center of the quilt after the first couple of rounds. Love what they did here echoing the colors I started with!!!


Then Diane cut loose and had some fun with my block and it shows!!! My hats off to you for creating a giant gnome heart to frame Gnome-O and Juliet. 
Check out what she did ........

It all looks so good together. I haven't finished it yet as I am still pondering what to do next.  I put a border around it and thought I would just finish them off and call it done...but it is calling out for something.  I seriously think I am going to embroider something all the way around the large heart but what.  I was thinking of I Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
I don't know that might be a little heavy for the gnomes and very wordy for me.  I will have to search for just the right quote to surround my gnomes. Any suggestions???
It was a huge pleasure working on these ladies blocks in my group.  Diane sent a card back after working on mine that said that the day my block arrived in the UK was a very cold and frosty day but from the moment she saw my block and the whole time she was working on it, it put a smile on her face and she was happy to be working on such a fun project.  That was what I tried to put into each of these ladies blocks.  I had so much fun creating something unique for each person in my group.
First up was Julianne's block.  I wasn't sure how to get started. The rules were different with this swap, each time we were to add two seperate borders (as if two different people made them) each totaling 8 inches or less when the sides were added together, huh???
Ok, well Julianne seemed to love cats, with just a quick visit to her blog I set a plan in motion.  First up,  I would paper piece four cats onto her block.  Next, since I was making this a tribute to her blog I added the name of her blog in heart blocks, After all this was a loved themed project and who doesn't love their blog. Check out what I did to get her block rolling.  I can't wait to see how it turned out.  If you are as curious as me check out her blog at Quilting With Calicos.
If you are wondering where I found the alphabet heart pattern it was created by Kathleen Potvin 2003 and can be downloaded for free for your personal use from Paper Panache here  


Once that was sent off and on it's way, I had the pleasure of working on Rachelle's block.  I expected it to arrive with a clear idea of what it needed next but it too was a blank canvas...alright let the fun begin.  Rachelle shared she was a newlywed and wanted us to write love advice in the center block.  She called her block 'Contrary Wife'.  Well even though she hadn't meant 'Mary, Mary Quite Contrary how does your garden grow' that is were my creative juices lead me.  Diane only added one border to the block before it got to me and so Michele said I could add three if I would like...Yippee!!!  I am so glad I got to do that.  I hope Rachelle shares my enthusiasm.  With three borders you can really influence what a project will become and I certainly went with it. Fun, fun fun!!!  

My advice was to nuture your love with acts of kindness and treat each other with respect.  I thought a garden that needs nuturing in order to bloom and grow and thrive.  Thus I added 'Love Blooms' as my first border.  Although we were told to use pink and red as the main colors I thought that the garden needed a few extra lovely colors.  Since I added the Mary Engelbreit fabric snippet between the words,  I added those colors into the row of heart blocks.  I hope Rachelle agrees that the color helped.  I finished my addition with a tall flower bloom with love as it's center and hope that Rachelle and her husband keep love at the center of their marriage and nuture it, while sharing a very happy and loving life together!!! To see how the group finished it off, you can check it out on Rachelle's blog at geeky notebooks.  By the way if you love these letters in the Love Blooms you can find the patterns for free at The quilter community
Last but not least, I finished up the quilt you be mine challenge with Diane's block.  Diane's block by the time it got to me was stunning!!!  I love how the group worked together on her block.  It followed the rules to a tee.  It stayed in the red, pink and white theme entirely and took my breathe away.  I had to add some pink and red hearts to it right away.  The pink hearts are another free paper piece pattern that you can find here from Apple Avenue Quilts.

Next, I decided to add a ribbon border to the outside and this I hate to say involved some very naughty words and I had to pull out my seam ripper more than I would have liked to...I will not be adding this math intensive border again any time soon.  I had to rework the top right corner and although not totally thrilled with the end result, I will have to say it does really set it off.  I can't wait to see what Diane has been doing to it this last month, she gave a sneak peek the other day and can't wait to see what she has been up to.  You can check it out on her blog at The Cheshire Quilter
I had a great time working on each of these blocks and it was a great learning experience letting my creative juices flow each month as to what to add next to your blocks.  Thanks for letting me work on your projects and a special thanks for all you did to give the gnomes a great place to live.  I know they will be very happy and yes this project puts a smile on heart when I look at it and I will treasure it forever. 

Many, many thanks to each of you!!! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Feb Quiet Play BOM Block

My Friend 'The Seam Ripper'

I believe I have a love-hate relationship with my seam ripper.  Love that it can fix my mistakes and save me from myself, but hate how long it takes to rip out all those tiny stitches, especially at the beginning and end where I backtrack and lock the stitches inYikes!!!
Well this month Kristi over at Quiet Play has a pattern for her And Sew On BOM featuring our friend the seam ripper.
Here is how mine turned out:

She offers prizes each month for those who link up to her linky party so head on over their and check out the details.  I am looking forward to having 12 blocks dedicated to a sewing theme by the end of this year.  Kristi is a very talented paper piece pattern designer and offers great tutorials on getting started.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Bom progress and oopsx2

February Castles and more...

I was busy piecing the castles together last week and went to post my progress when much to my surprise look what I caught on the picture.

First castle looking good:

Here is what I spotted when I went to post the second castle.  I thought it was really looking good...

until I noticed that the first window had no wall to the left of it.  The second window has way too much extra wall.  A few choice words and out came the seam ripper.  I HATE taking a paper piece block apart.  Due to the fact that you sew it together with small stitches it is a nightmare to undo.  In this instance, I had to rip out something like four different sections in order to make it right.  After much frustration it now looks like this...

I must say it was worth re-doing as I really like how this one is coming along.

So with that fixed it was back to work on my words for the baby quilt I am working on here is what I have so far:


and then here we go again...another I have to figure out if I should fix it.  This time I would just make a whole new letter and replace the one with the boo boo.

 You probably can't see the mistake but it screams at me and taunts me with very unkind words.  Can't let that go...The 'd' above is suppose to look more like the 'b' in baby above.  It is missing a piece of fabric and because of that it actually has a couple unsewn areas in the pointy area of the inside of the d. More bad words on my part. Drats and double drats.
I won't have much time to work on this tomorrow as we are celebrating our grand-daughter, Kiara's, fifth birthday tomorrow but hopefully I will have time to share my February BOM that I made for Kristi's Sew On BOM and start working on my post for sharing my QuiltUBeMine project.  The group will be sharing them on Valentine's Day and I am so excited to see how my group's blocks all turned out.  I sure had fun working on them and can't wait to see how they all turned out and to share mine. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Crafsy 2013 BOM Blocks

 Craftsy Blocks

Funny but somehow I completely forgot to post about my Craftsy BOM that I started in January.  I love how they are also offering the BOM for free.  It also has a very nice video with it each month and although it struck me last month as too long of a video, I have been surprised at the little hints and things that I am picking up from this series. You can find out how to sign up for it hereThe class is being taught by Laura Nownes and her quilt is done in bright colors featuring polka dots.  For me the polka dots are just too overwhelming.  The whole quilt looks like one big polka dot.  I am going to be making the quilt in a whole different colorway and very scrappy.  Here is my January block.  It is actually four blocks:

 February's block is a series of three of the same blocks :

I think Laura calls these Spring flowers but in my colors they are definitely Fall flowers.  I think they resemble sunflowers.  They are put together with a method I hadn't done before called partial seams.  The first and last additions are sewn using a partial seam.
Here is how it is put together.  In Laura's block she made three blocks that looked the same.  I want my quilt to be more scrappy so I made each of my flowers using different fabrics.  So for each flower I used 1-1/2 inch by at least 15 inch strips.  If you wanted three exact flowers you would use WOF x 1-1/2 inch strips.  You need 5 strips of these sewn together.  Once sewn together you cut them apart every 3-1/2".  This will give you 3-1/2" x 5-1/2" inch strip pieces.  The center block is a 2-1/2" by 2-1/2" block.  
You will lay them out as follows:

 You sew that 2-1/2" block to a 5-1/2" side but you sew it only half way.  This picture is how you put them together.

Can you see on the 2-1/2" block I only sewed about 1-1/4 inches at most maybe a little less.  This is the partial seam.  Then you iron the seam open and add the next side to the 5-1/2 inch side this created.

You keep doing this to the next couple of sides, each time adding your strip section to the 5-1/2 inch side you just created.

When you get to the next section you will just fold the fabric back out of the way to add the third side. Like this:

And sew it to that 5-1/2 inch piece that is available then.

And lastly you will be able to go back and complete the seam you started with at the beginning.  Which will complete the block.  


voilĂ  ... you have a finished flower block.  You can see by putting the different color values in different places it sure changes how the flower ends up  looking. 

***Just ignore the bold 'the' above no matter how hard I try or how many times ... the computer has decided to drive me crazy and refuses to get rid of it.  Someone must have given the gremlins water after midnight.  Shame on them!!! ***
Enjoy your day,

Saturday, February 2, 2013

   February Doodle Block BOM

I've been busy working on BOM blocks today. I'll share the first with you now.  I love the Quilt Doodle February block.  I am loving how the red and aqua looks so striking in them.  This block called for a yo-yo center.  This is the first one I've made and I am sure it could have been done better but I am happy with it.

I finished two of the three castle bom blocks but when I went to edit the pictures, I see I put one of the windows on in the wrong order so I will have to fix it.  I sure hate fixing paper pieced work.  The stitches are so small to rip out.  I just put them in the wrong order but I didn't reset my stitch size when I put the block together so the stitches are going to fight me.  Not sure I will get much sewing done before the big game tomorrow.
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