I’ve been sick all week, so I’m finally posting last week’s block. Barbara calls this one Mother’s Delight.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Just wanted to share this photo as a way to illustrate how any color can be used to do your stitch-in-the-ditch. On this piece I used a purple thread because it blended so well with all of the colors in the blocks. The thread is So Fine! #438 by Superior Threads. The dark, kind of dusty purple, really goes with the black, the bright purple, the brown, etc. in the backgrounds of these leaf blocks.
And as a shocker, the quilting was all done in RED, can you believe it? I can’t. If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be doing some of my quilting in RED, I would NOT have believed you for one second!
*These leaves were part of a block swap that a group of us did in November.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Look what came in the mail today!
I’m so thrilled! Three of the blocks that I did appear in Barbara’s book …
Catch Me If You Can
and Barbara Frietchie Star
It is so neat to see this book finished! And what a special gift to receive right before Christmas!
Monday, December 10, 2012
Over the last few days I’ve been following emails from three different quilt shops as they do their own version of a “stuff my stocking” promotion for Christmas. First I have to say that I did one of these last year, and it was fabulous fun. I took advantage of about half of the 12 deals that they offered, and had some neat things in my stocking on Christmas morning! So I was looking forward to the same this year. Well, things have not been so exciting this year … and I’ve got emails coming in from THREE DIFFERENT shops!
So far NONE of the deals have been very interesting. One shop offered note cards, another one offered coffee mugs … not exactly the kind of quilting stuff I was looking to add to my stocking.
But what really baffles me are the shops offering rotary cutters and blades, cutting mats, etc. These are things that you can get at JoAnn Fabrics with a 40%, 50% or even the occasional 60% coupon! And even if you don’t have a JoAnn’s locally, you can buy it on-line and still get it for less than the quilt shop price even with the shipping cost!
I check in at my local JoAnn Fabrics frequently to see what’s there … and I generally never buy anything there without at least a 40% coupon. Between the ones they send me in the mail, the ones in the Sunday paper, and the ones that come through on the JoAnn’s app for my iPad, I can usually get about 3-4 items per trip. And if there’s something else that just happens to jump in my cart as I walk through the store, I can use my Quilter’s Club discount card to get 10%. I never buy fabric there – once you’ve used the quilt shop stuff, you just can’t switch over to the JoAnn’s stuff. But all of the notions, batting, pillow forms, zippers, storage bins, magazines (ones that I don’t already subscribe to), etc., all come from JoAnn’s.
If I can save $$ in certain areas of my quilting obsession, I’ll have more $$$ to spend on things at the quilt shops!
P.S. While I do buy all of my cutting items at JoAnn’s, I switched over to Creative Grids rulers a few years ago and use those now exclusively. Those are only available at quilt shops. I put my original (yellow) rulers in my travel bag so they are still being used occasionally.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Monday, December 3, 2012
Yesterday was my birthday!
We actually had my main birthday celebration on Saturday night with the family – since that day was easier for my sister and her family to come for the party. Mom made me a red velvet cake this year!
I received lots of great quilting stuff from my husband and my Mom. I got the Blockbase software, 2 quilt design books, some notions like blue wash-out markers and Wonder Clips, etc., four ½-yard cuts of Civil War repros, some 8” fabric squares by Judie Rothermel, and some circle templates.
Of course I got a lot of neat non-quilting presents too … some pajamas and a robe, four Pandora beads, a gift card for some clothes, some cash and candy, an iTunes card, my favorite shampoo and conditioner (the type you have to get from the salon), etc. etc.
That night we all went to Kentucky Fried Chicken for supper – since it was a decent price to feed 6 adults and two little ones – and it’s fairly close to Mom’s house. The chicken wasn’t as good as it could have been unfortunately. On Sunday night hubby drove up to Outback to get us take-out (which is fairly common for us) and they messed up soooooo many parts of the meal! It really kind of put a damper on the rest of Sunday evening.
So it was a very up and down kind of birthday weekend.
Friday, November 30, 2012
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
I needed something nice to happen today … and this really nice mention, and picture, of my recently completed Basket Case quilt was terrific. As I write this, 2 people have commented and it has 28 likes.
Today was one of those days … I didn’t really want to go out --- but because of the schedule, I had to do the grocery shopping today. I really, really didn’t want to go. But I did my CVS and Meijer shopping trips. I twisted my bad knee not once, but TWICE today – and I’m in horrible pain because of it!
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Spent a little time this morning working on this week’s BOW from the Grandmother's Choice block-of-the-week. The name for this block is Little Boy’s Breeches. The blocks for this BOW have definitely been more challenging than the ones for the Civil War BOW that Barbara Brackman did last year. I’ve enjoyed pushing myself each week to get each block done.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Got to take this quilt, along with a few others, to my quilting day with Sunda and Janet yesterday. It’s always fun to show them the stuff I’ve been working on. While there I took advantage of the table space to take a photo of the quilt. After finishing the binding on Wednesday night, when hubby got home from work I had him hold up the quilt for me to look at from across the room. And oddly enough, I think we’re going to end up hanging this strangely colored quilt in the family room.
For the last few years I’ve been trying to decide what quilt to hang in the family room – where we have a lot of Earth tones. This quilt top had been hanging on a hanger downstairs waiting to be quilted for a loooonnnngggg time (about as long as I’ve had my longarm) … probably about 6 years. Never thought in a million years that THIS might be a good candidate to hang in there. But I guess sometimes it’s good to go with the unexpected – and the colors really will go with what’s in there! I want to use three wooden quilt hangers that we bought at a quilt shop in Ostrander, Ohio, which at this point may or may not be in business. (we were only there once for a shop hop and never saw them mentioned again)
Anyway … my quilt day with Sunda and Janet was fun, we hadn’t gotten together in over a month – so it took us awhile to catch up!
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Worked on this quilt again this afternoon. Finished quilting the final three blocks, the remaining sashing sections, and the bottom border. I took the quilt off of the frame, rotated it 90 degrees, and attached it to the frame again so that I could finish the remaining two borders.
And here’s how it looks at this point draped over the frame.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Had two opportunities to work on my quilt down at the longarm today. Got six more blocks quilted … with stitch-in-the-ditch and the feather motif that I used in the first three blocks.
I’m using a diamond pattern in both the vertical and horizontal sashing strips … stitched in the variegated thread that I mentioned in yesterday’s post.
And I’m doing a small circular design at the intersections of the sashing strips – also in the variegated thread.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Okay this block-of-the-month was started back in 2006. It was run by a really nice (now closed) quilt store in Medina, Ohio. It was in an old church. Once a month I would drive up there (about an hour’s drive) to pick up my block kit. And they were probably the strictest BOM I’ve ever been involved with. I HAD to bring my previous month’s block (completed of course) to show them in order to get my next month’s block. And I HAD to pick up the block kit on a CERTAIN Saturday of the month. There were NO EXCEPTIONS, NO SPECIAL CONSIDERATION, NO EARLY PICK-UPS. I made it all the way through most of the year until around October when they announced that the store was going to be going out of business. Then we had only a couple of weeks go into the store and get the remainder of the block kits for the quilt.
Ironically a couple of years later my sister decided to move to Medina after becoming involved with a gentleman from there, and getting a job in a similar field to what she was doing locally. Had she lived there when I was driving up there monthly, it would have made for a neat excuse to get together for fun sister’s lunch once a month!
I’m using one of Superior Threads LAVA threads (absolute favorite!) for the borders, and a 50-weight So Fine! (also by Superior Threads) for the feather motif in the blocks and for the stitch-in-the-ditch quilting in a soft beige, almost pale yellow, color. After this quilt top was put together, I really didn’t like it all that much … but it’s been growing on me lately. Maybe it’s just calling out to me, trying to get me to finish it!
Since the border fabric is SO BUSY there was no point in really doing any kind of intricate quilting – so I’m just doing a basic meandering stipple design in the variegated LAVA thread. I’m also using the LAVA for a diamond pattern in the vertical and horizontal sashing strips. I might choose another design to kind of create cornerstones at the intersections – not sure yet. Again, with the busy fabric, you really wouldn’t see it anyway. I’m stitching-in-the-ditch around the inside of the blocks and using a feather design on my Pro-Stitcher to quilt across the entire block – a first for me! I’m hoping to work on it some more tomorrow! (9 more blocks to go!)
I also used the Pro-Stitcher to do the stitch-in-the-ditch. The newer Pro-Stitcher has this feature, but I had yet to try it on one of my quilts. Guess I didn’t really trust it. But I found out this afternoon that it indeed works!
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Finished up the One-Patch Doll Quilt this evening. This is another one of the great little quilts from Kathy Tracy’s book, The Civil War Sewing Circle. It’s about 25” square. Not sure where I’ll be hanging this one yet! I got the kit from my favorite shop, Good Wives Co. in Marion, Ohio.
And here’s a closer look at the three borders.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
I ordered my gallon jug of Best Press the other day, and it arrived a few days later. Spent a little time refilling my spray bottles yesterday afternoon.
I highly encourage people to order the gallon jugs of Best Press. I get them through Joann.com. It is NOT available in the JoAnn Fabric stores, but it IS available through their website .. and you can use the 40% or 50% coupons. I wait for the 50% coupon and order it. Even with the tax and shipping, it is still FAR cheaper in the long run to order it. In the quilt stores around here they sell a spray bottle for anywhere from $7.29 to $7.95. You can see from the picture above that I was able to fill 9 BOTTLES from the jug that I got. That would have cost $71.91 + tax. I paid $21.99 plus tax & shipping.
*I checked today and they do have it on sale for $30.79/gallon at the JoAnn’s website for those that might be interested – and who might want to save their coupon for some other cool item. They do have it all of the different scents. I don’t like floral scents – so I stick to either the Citrus (green) or the Clear.
OH … and if you’re going to order it – best to do it BEFORE winter truly sets in. I ordered a gallon jug last year in January or February and it arrived partially frozen! I had to give it a few hours to thaw out in the guest bathroom tub! (I put it in there just in case it decided to leak – but thankfully it didn’t)
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
A couple of different companies are selling a product that will adhere two pieces of quilt batting together. The batting tape, as they’re calling it, comes on a 10 yard roll, and the tape itself is 1½” wide. They sell the Dritz Quilting brand at Joann Fabrics. I’ve seen the same tape, in different packaging, sold under a different name at independent quilt stores. But somewhere along the way I heard that this was just basic fusible tricot, a product available at most fabric stores sold as an interfacing or underlining. Usually it’s kept behind the counter or with the other interfacings. You can buy it by the yard (and of course that means using a 40% coupon if you’re at JoAnns). The product that I purchased is a Pellon product, item “Ek130 Easy-Knit”.
The tricot can be cut with your regular rotary cutter. I cut a strip to use in this photo, and used it to adhere two pieces of scrap fabric together. Works great! As with all fusible products, be sure which side has the adhesive on it before you touch it with your iron, or you will have a sticky mess) Cut your own strips and roll them around an empty paper towel roll for quick access.
I tend not to use batting tape on larger quilts – like lap quilts or bed quilts since I do those on my longarm. But I do like it when I’m working on wall hangings, quilted pillows, quilted purses, etc. when trying to put together pieces of batting.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Finished up the binding on this month’s challenge quilt … another one of Kathy Tracy’s fun little challenge quilts from her Yahoo! group, SmallQuiltTalk. It’s a little quilt, only about 17” square. The original pattern was in her American Doll Quilts book.
This is the first quilt that was loaded onto my HQ-16 with the magnets that I had hubby get me Saturday at Harbor Freight. I do NOT KNOW WHY ON EARTH I WAITED SO LONG TO DO THIS!!!! With the magnets, I had this little quilt loaded in under 5 minutes. It would have been a shorter time if I hadn’t dropped the backing fabric on the floor and had to figure out how to bend down to get it without hurting my knee! If you have a longarm machine, and are unfamiliar with using the 18” long magnets from Harbor Freight, check out a couple of YouTube videos … http://youtu.be/28pS90e2-jI shows how to load the quilt using small round magnets. And this link, http://youtu.be/E9h3_PpIskk, shows the longer 18” magnets used to float a top (although they can be used to load the backing, quilt top, etc.) I had hubby purchase 9 magnets for me. They were on sale for $4.99/each (regularly $9.99/each). Yes it was $45 for the magnets (plus tax of course), but I’ll tell you … loading that quilt so quickly today was one of the best experiences that I’ve had since owning that machine. So the $45 was WELL worth it!
Another “gadget” that changed my quilting life with my longarm was the TOWA Bobbin Tension gauge. It’s a pricey little gadget, but like I just said – it TOTALLY CHANGED my quilting life. I had already owned my HQ-16 for a couple of years before getting the TOWA, opting to spend that money on fabric, thread, etc. etc. But boy did I suffer through lots of frustration in the meantime … what a waste. Superior Threads (a very reputable company) now sells them (check out https://www.superiorthreads.com/shop/category/?q=towa). They make them for regular machines and longarms … be sure to order the right one!
Monday, November 5, 2012
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Tried out one of the new rulers that I had gotten within the last few weeks. This one does quarter square and half square triangles from strips of fabric. The great part is NO MATH required. The numbers on the ruler show you the size of the block when you’re done. So if you want a 4” finished block, you cut your pieces by lining up the ruler on the fabric at the 4 mark. If you want a 2” finished half square triangle, you use the 2 mark on the ruler to line up the ruler on the fabric. It will make blocks up to 5” which really is great considering these are parts of larger blocks. So realistically you could be doing a 14” Ohio Star block using the quarter square triangles made from this tool. This is another fantabulous ruler by Creative Grids … I love their rulers! (The item number is CGRMS4590 if you’re looking for it on-line)