Monday, March 27, 2017

Operation Happy Place: Smells Like...

My 2017 is dedicated to improving my messy sewing room and helping it become My Happy Place.

I have made things easier to see in here.

I have upgraded how I listen to media while I quilt.

This week, I decided to make my sewing room smell delightful.  I didn't want anything that would make my fabric smell, so I went with something subtle:


I put one of these candles on the mantle in my sewing room:


Space on my mantle is dedicated to my favorite things, and chocolate cake definitely qualifies!

Do you have any favorite scents for your sewing room?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Living With Quilts: Mondo Bag

My dear quilting friend knows that I carry my unbound quilts with me to stitch in hotel rooms when I travel.  She made me a Mondo Bag:


She made it from green Kaffe Fassett fabrics because she knows my love for green and Kaffe.

This bag has been to scores of hotel rooms with me and helped me put the final stitches onto many quilts.  I think of her every day I'm on the road!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Weekly summary: BOM quilts

I spent another week mostly at home and have made more progress on my Block of the Month quilts.

I'm working on blocks for my Marti Michell Quilts for a Cure sampler:







After 10+ weeks of my 2017 commitment to finish my UFOs, I have completed my first block-of-the-month quilt top!


I'm waiting to find the perfect backing and then I'll quilt it.

I am current on Pat Sloan's 182 Day Solstice Challenge.  This week's block was Honey Bee:


I'm leaving soon for two back-to-back quilt shows so I'm not sure I'll be able to keep current on my Block of the Month quilts... but I'll try.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Quilt Finish: Scrap Quilt

Once upon a time, I bought a fat quarter pack of Pat Sloan's lovely, lovely fabrics.  I made a star quilt for my bed and many other quilts but still had some triangle trimmings leftover.  I decided to stitch those triangles into a little baby quilt:


I'm at the stage of life where I'm getting regular birth announcements, so I try to keep a supply of baby quilts on hand.  This little bright yellow quilt will be perfect for a wee one:


I had backing bits left from other quilts so I stitched them together for a fun little backing:


II am currently using Quilter's Dream Angel batting for my baby quilts.  They are flat and soft and flame retardant.  What is your favorite batting for baby quilts?


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Did You Know?

I'm working on Pat Sloan's 182 Day Solstice Challenge and this Honey Bee block requires some machine applique.  My large, feature-rich machine is packed and ready for me to use it for teaching on Saturday.  Did you know that my little Handi Quilter Stitch 210 machine has a beautiful blanket stitch for applique?


This is the machine that I use for my hotel room sewing adventures.  Now I know those adventures can include machine applique!

Hmmm.... what projects should I bring to Quilt Week in Lancaster, PA next week?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What Do You Do, Dear?

When you find a barely started project in your sewing room that you aren't as fond of now as when you started it many moons ago, what do you do dear?*

I just found this quilt in my sewing room:



I started making a much larger version of my Petal Power tablerunner pattern and appliqued several leaves but then set it aside.

It's decision time.  Do I:

1.  Finish the applique and then quilt this 60"x72" quilt, wholecloth style
or
2.  Discard the applique and put these four yards of happy green fabrics with my other happy fabrics to be used in a happy project at a later date

I know what I'm probably going to do.  What would you do?
_____
*One of my favorite books from my childhood is What Do You Do, Dear? by Maurice Sendak

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Cutie Quilt: Irresistible Baby Quilt

I have fallen in love with this oh-so-simple Cutie Pattern.  I named it Irresistible because... well... I couldn't resist and had to make another!


These are scraps of Pat Sloan fabrics left from these quilts.  It blows my mind how far this one fat quarter pack has stretched!

I wanted the quilting to show, so I used my Mellow Yellows FabuLux thread.

This quilt has candy corn fabric hiding on the back.  It thought it would be a 'sweet' baby quilt!

Which fabric should I use for my next Irresistible quilt?  Decisions, decisions!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy Place: There's Money Hiding in My Sewing Room!

I spent some of the last week stuck at home in a blizzard and finding the money hiding in my sewing room.


Is there cash tied inside the charm packs?  Nope.

Are there gold bars in between the fat quarter bundles?  Nope.

Are diamonds sprinkled inside each jelly roll?  Nope.

The money is hiding inside of my overflowing scrap bin(s):


It doesn't look like much when it's all jumbled together, but when I take the time to cut each piece into usable chunks it looks more like this:


I pay money for fat quarters, fat eights, jellyrolls, charm packs, and honey buns.  I can find those cuts of fabric in my scrap bin and gather them in pretty collections, I can use them in quilts just like the precut fabric packs that I purchase.

I don't have the emotional strength to cut through all of the scraps in my bin(s) at once, but I have promised myself that I won't add to them.  Every time I finish a quilt, I cut up the leftovers and a few pieces from my bin.  Eventually, by the year 2094, I should have all of my scraps cut up, empty bins, and some spare change leftover!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Living With Quilts: Vintage Bedspread

I love living with quilts!  I recently changed my bedspread to my new Cutie quilt made with the Ella Blue fabrics I bought in Australia.  I finally pieced those pillowcase cuffs and am in love with the whole set!


This quilt is a Cutie Pattern (made from 16 fat eighths) and it is called Vintage.  I quilted it with my In The Pinks FabuLux thread.  I used wool batting so it would show the quilting and be comfy for sleeping!

It has been pointed out to me that this quilt is pink Pink PINK! and that my husband might not be terribly fond of a pink bedroom.  Please remember that I rotate my quilts often so he won't sleep under it for more than  6-8 weeks each year.  And as he said, "My eyes are closed when I'm sleeping, so I don't really care what the quilt looks like so long as it's warm!"  This is reason #4893 that I'm keeping this man.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Weekly Summary: BOMquilts and More

I have spent most of this week in my sewing room and have been able to keep up my "BOM block a day" commitment!

I dug up one of my oldest UFOs.  I started this for my daughter nearly 20 years ago and have no idea if she even still wants the quilt.  I'll finish it and let her decide:




Pat Sloan's Globetrotting BOM from 2014 is on my "to finish" list this year.  I filmed videos about how to quilt this block:



I'm totally in love with Pat Sloan's 182 Day Solstice Challenge.  This week's block was called Studio Time:


I'm close to finishing a 2013 BOM from my local quilt shop.  All of the blocks were named after animals -- how fun!


Bigger news than chiseling away at some BOM quilts was why I was home for 24 hours a day this week -- a blizzard!


Tuesday's blizzard was named Stella and she dumped over two feet of snow on us.  Some schools were closed for the rest of the week as our area is struggling to recover.

My recovery looked a lot like quilting!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Quilt Finish: Daisy Placemats

A long time ago in a quilting room far, far away* I made a quilt with some darling Gerbera Daisy fabric and hinted that I was going to do something creative with the fabric.

Well...

I finally did:

  
I made six of these beauties for my mom.

I have been having fun playing with Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Machine Quilt book and finally stitched out her walking-foot spiral using WonderFil Konfetti cotton thread with a DecoBob bobbin:


I will DEFINITELY use this spiral on more projects.  It was So.  Stinking.  Fun!!!

Quick question:  Do you have any idea how much binding is around six placemats?  Answer:  Eleventy-thousand miles!**  Anyone who knows me knows how much I despise binding, so I thought these would be the perfect project to practice Pat Sloan's machine binding technique:


I think, after sliced bread, quilt binding clips are my favorite invention ever.  

I had some fun with my thread choice for the binding.  I used my FabuLux Wisteria thread with a DecoBob bobbin.  It didn't blend in but instead added a touch of jazz to the  binding.

For Christmas of 2015, I promised my mom 12 months of placemats, but I never said that all of the months would be in the same year!

Enjoy your placemats, Mom!
_____
*It was actually my sewing room where I'm sitting to write this post.  It's called "creative license."
**About 400 inches, which is bad enough.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tempted: Scrap Quilt

The internet is conspiring against me.  I am trying to finish the quilts I've already started, but I keep seeing new quilts that I have to make.

Quilts like THIS ONE

Quilts like this are hard for me to resist because they use 'scraps' and are therefore 'helping' me clean out my sewing room.

I'm not planning on starting this quilt or anything, but here are the fabrics I've chosen:


I also think this would be fun in red/white/blue as a Quilt of Valor.

1.  I will not start any new quilts
2.  I will not start any new quilts
3.  I will not start any new quilts
4.  I will not start any new quilts
5.  I will not start any new quilts
6.  I will not start any new quilts
7.  I will not start any new quilts
8.  I will not start any new quilts
9.  I will not start any new quilts
10.  I will not start any new quilts
11.  I will not start....

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wonderfil Long Arm Quilt Along 2017

I was tickled to be invited to participate in WonderFil's 2017 Long Arm Quilt Along.

My task is to make a small quilt sample using various types of thread throughout the year.  Oh, the possibilities!

This month's thread was Master Quilter.  I chose pink, because... Pink!  I used a pre-wound DecoBob soft pink bobbin so the back will be subtle and gorgeous.

What fabric should I use?
I pulled out several fabrics from my stash:


The brown is the backing.  That decision was easy.  The three choices I had for the front were a heavily dyed olive green solid, a very light green with a white polka dot, or a solid white.  I decided not to use a solid so the mint with the dot won!

What batting(s) should I use?
Since this quilt is all about the quilting I decided to use two battings -- Quilter's Dream Cotton as a bottom layer and Fairfield wool as the top layer -- to make the quilting POP!

Which machine should I quilt on?
I have several longarms, but since I adore Hazel, my Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen, I decided to use that machine.  Oh what fun Hazel and I shall have this year!

Which design(s) should I quilt?
I adore quilting with rulers, so I decided that I would start with some straight lines:


I love the Handi Quilter Mini Scallop ruler for straight lines.  I use Handi Grip to make sure that the ruler doesn't slip while I'm quilting.

If one line is good, two lines are better.  Four lines, however, make me absolutely giddy!


If you want more information about quilting with rulers on a sit-down longarm, check out my DVD.

I needed to quilt in that 1 1/2" channel and since ribbon candy is the most perfect quilting design ever, I stitched a double-loop ribbon candy in the channel:


I teach how to stitch this pattern in one of my Craftsy classes (link is for $20 off retail price).

I use various tools to help me grip my fabric and the Steady Betty bands are great during these cold arthritis months when I can't stand to have gloves on my fingers but also can't grip a hoop.

I don't really have a plan for this entire quilt; it will evolve month by month.  For now, I have one long diagonal stripe of ribbon candy quilted and two large sections of unquilted possibility:


I can't wait to see what next month's assignment will be!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Serviettes

Today, I am stuck at home during a late-season blizzard.  While I was preparing to possibly live without power for a few days (doing laundry, baking bread, etc.), I decided to do a little stitching:


These are Christmas napkins made from my Serviettes pattern.  I know it's not Christmas, but the weather doesn't really know that.

I'm now prepared for the storm, and also prepared for Christmas dinner.

It's good to be prepared.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Happy Place: A Delight to My Ears

Last week, I improved the lighting in my sewing room as a treat to my eyes; this week, I'm delighting my ears!

One of my greatest joys in life is listening to books while quilting.


I get a lot of books on CD from my library, but I also download audiobooks from my library's website.  I have an Audible account, too, that I use when I want to listen to a book that the library doesn't have.  Sometimes, when I can't concentrate on a book, I listen to a TV show or a movie on Netflix.

I love my wireless headphones.  They link via bluetooth to my laptop computer which plays CDs on an external disc drive.  I actually have a spare pair of these headphones purchased when the sale was too good to pass up, just in case these die.   I even carry all of these parts with me in my carry-on luggage when I travel and plan to quilt in my hotel room!

My entire media setup is on a sitting/standing laptop stand/desk, so it doesn't take up room that could be better used for storing fabric (more likely UFOs).

Do you watch TV or listen to music/books while quilting?  What technology do you have in place to make this work for you?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Living With Quilts: Couch Blankie

We bought our living room set for our new home just as soon as we were able to stop eating ramen noodles for every meal (Note:  real estate in New York is somewhat
spendy and it took a while for our checkbook to recover from the closing).  Heating fuel in New York is also somewhat spendy, so we keep our house cold.  Like "my glasses fog up when I exhale" cold, and we've been known to wear gloves indoors.

Obviously, I needed a quilt for my sofa.

I walked into my local quilt shop and headed directly for their sale rack.  Unbelievably, they had several bolts of fabric that worked well together that also matched my living room furniture!


If you read last week's explanation of why we can't have nice things (hint: because we have a geriatric cat), you'll understand why my sofa is so disgusting and well past the point of replacement.

The pattern is from Beginner's Luck, one of my favorite Thimbleberries' pattern books ever.  I've made many quilts from that book several times each!

Hmmm... I'll have to dig through my fabric stash and flip through that book again to see what quilts are begging me to make them!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Summary: BOMs and other quilting goodness this week

It's been a busy week, quilting at home and leaving for a teaching trip.

I am current on my 182 Day Solstice Quilting Challenge:


I finished another block on my Bloom quilt:


I'm making progress on an old block of the month from my local quilt shop:



I'm nearly done with another BOM from my local quilt shop:





This weekend I'm teaching at Bits N Pieces in Pelham NH.  We're having a ball!


Friday, March 10, 2017

Quilt Finish: Chai Tea Latte

Two weeks ago, Pat Sloan posted The Coffee Shop block in her 182 Day Solstice Quilting challenge.  I was at a quilt show, so I had to wait 6 entire days to start stitching her block into this quilt:


I looked at her pattern and screamed (to myself, since I was in an airport*) "Ribbon Candy!"  I thought that the ribbon candy would add great texture to this quilt, and I think it did!

I added two borders to Pat's pattern (The Coffee Shop) and my Chai Tea Latte quilt is approximately 53"x53"


I'm in a neutral fabric phase right now, so expect to see a lot more quilts from me with little contrast:


I'm enjoying letting the quilting provide the contrast in my quilts.  I am using an oatmeal-colored thread so that it contrasts ever-so-slightly with the cream fabrics but still blends with the caramel loosely-woven fabric, too.

I've never been accused of being subtle, but I'm so enjoying playing with subtle contrasts in my quilts!

___________
*Can you imagine the reaction if I suddenly screamed "Ribbon Candy!" out loud in an airport?  I don't even want to think about it!