Friday, July 22, 2016

Joining in: Summer Solstice QAL

Happy summer! Happy 100 degrees from Utah, USA. Truly, I'm melting in a puddle of sweat.

Are you Row x Row shop hopping and swapping like I am? Are you having fun? As if we all needed more projects to Ooh and Ahh over!

I also decided to join in Happy Quilting Melissa Corry's "Summer Solstice" Quilt Along. Seriously, I just love Melissa's designs and QALs. She is so organized, has done all the math, her charts are amazing, and her tutorials are thorough and easy to follow.

Ok, so I haven't done a lot of curved piecing, and certainly haven't done any Drunkard's Path since my very first quilt, but I'm confident this will be easy-peasy. You can't help but be confident with Melissa guiding you!

I'm going to be making the 2x2 layout in the 24" blocks (see above).

I found the awesome fabric I'll be using. Remember that Super Bowl 2014 giveaway that I won from Island Batik ?
The one that totally surprised me, because I had a newborn ? Yeah, in my sleep-deprived state, trolling Facebook and dreaming of quilting while I breastfed, I guessed that the Seattle Seahawks would win the Super Bowl with a certain score, and I won the bundle of Seahawks-inspired batiks! 1/2 yd lime Green, and 1 yd each of Sugar cream, Blue Burst, and grey swirls.

I am using this bundle for my Solstice QAL. Only 2 problems: 1--I needed more cream for background, and it's out-of-print. 2-I needed another print.

I pulled a deep purple piece from the Sweethearts Bundle of Island Batiks that I won for Valentines Day 2014 (geez, apparently, having a newborn is good luck for giveaways). My story is that my quilt will be a Seattle sports dream quilt: pro-football Seahawks and University of Washington Purple Huskies. Ha ha!

I finally found a Kona solid that I was happy with, matching the creamy Sugar batik--Kona Ivory. 

I decided to use the Sugar for DP (Drunkards Path) and FG (Flying Geese), and some of the Squares.

And here are all my piles, cut, marked, and ready to sew! I'm a little behind, but I can catch up!

Yummy, yummy! So far, my experience with Island Batiks is great. The fabrics cut like butter but with a crisp finish, and there is very little raveling along the cut edges. They're soft, but feel sturdy. I'm in love with batiks already, and I haven't even started sewing yet!

Look to my sidebar, and you can see the linky to the Summer Solstice QAL at It's totally free with no pattern to purchase! Come join in!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

HMQS wrap up


I know that HMQS (Home Machine Quilting Show) was over a week ago. Life is busy life!

Again, I took my best friend Maggie with me. It's so wonderful to spend time with her. The only things that she knows about quilting, is what I share with her during our trip to the show, or when we spend time together. But she's never impatient as I go off on exclamations of ecstasy at different quilts or patterns or techniques that we see.

Maggie and I have another friend, Katie, who we knew at the same time. All three of us were neighbors in the same apartment building and church congregation during our college years. We've known each other at least 14 years! And we each got married to our husbands during the same summer!

Katie ended up attending the quilt show the same day that we did, and we found her! It was a lot of fun to spend time with my girlfriends, who share the love of hobbies, faith, and family (and similar tastes in art.) 

Katie only has her domestic machine to piece and quilt with, like me. While we browsed the quilts and vendors, I shared my thoughts on machines that I've test-driven, and which ones that I'd like to use/purchase, if I could. One of the fun things this year, that I hope they continue, is the Quilter's Playland or Playground. Several new Bernina long arms, new Bernina sit-downs, and several other brands on different long-arm table sets, were all set up in one area. They had sample quilt sandwiches ready for use. Katie and I got excited and had to sit down and play at various machines. We even convinced Maggie to try a Bernina sit-down. We had a hard-time leaving! Now I know what my children feel like, when I tell them it's time to go home from the playground. ;-)

This is one of my favorites from the Patriotic Challenge/Quilts of Valor section.

This is a gorgeous hand-embroidered peacock quilt. Then the maker heavily quilted the backgrounds to echo and enhance the peacocks and peacock theme.

They had a Judy Niemeyer section, and these are two of my favorites. I'm such a huge fan of paper-piecing, stars, and flowers, and Judy's designs are spectacular. I've definitely got to try one someday.  I love the purple Hosta!

This one, I'm not sure who designed it, but I fell in love. Log cabins, with circles of flying geese, inserted New York Beauty-style inside the log cabins set in Diamond patterns. Just amazing. And the variety of fabrics that are in the quilt are amazing.

This year also had a special exhibit and guest: Jenny Doan from Missouri Star Quilt Company. We loved her booth, but missed her there and at the Corton Shop's booth. But just as we were heading toward Jenny's exhibit's aisle, she and her hubby suddenly appeared! I cried out, and asked if we could meet her and get a picture. She was so kind to oblige, and give us big hugs, and her hubby was kind to snap pictures of us and crack jokes.

And we were both star struck! I introduced Katie, but forgot to introduce myself. This year, I was prepared to grab a celebrity and get a picture! Apparently, we weren't the only ones that Jenny was kind to, because when I got home and posted pictures to Facebook, several other quilty ladies posted their pictures with Jenny, too, from HMQS.

And yes, it was super-fun to see on display:  the quilts that Jenny made during her video tutorials.

 Maggie even won a FQ bundle of silly girlfriend-prints from H&W Fabrics, which she passed on to me, to make something fun. Maybe I will make us matching FQ tote bags. :-)
Katie and I both bought Labyrinth patterns by Debby Maddie at H&W Fabrics, and I bought a Stonehenge eagle panel and a couple of teal-aqua half-yards. Hey, it was the day before Mother's Day!

Maggie and I got caught in a torrential Spring hail-and-rain thunderstorm on the freeway on the way home. Wow, was that a lot of wind and water!

It was a great day with my best friends and my favorite hobby. My goal is to one day submit a quilt to the show myself, and not just be an attendee.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Craftsy's birthday!

Oh my goodness! is already 5 years old!

My quilting skills just wouldn't be what they are today, without Craftsy classes.

And I've used supplies bought from Craftsy in several of my projects.

Craftsy is having a very special sale to celebrate their 5th birthday! It's got me drooling over precuts from my favorite designers, and kits and patterns that are on my wish list!

Just think; You didn't even have to blow out any candles to make this wish come true!

Here's an easy link, from me to you, to go check out the sale:

Being a Craftsy affiliate is easy and fun. Almost as fun as taking all the great classes.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Vacation Time 2015 topper finished

Happy May!
What? May? Already? Time flies!

I managed to finish my topper for 2015 Pat Sloan's Mystery BOM: Vacation Time !

Ok, I have no idea what I'm using for a backing. Ha-ha, that sounds like a familiar saying for me!

I think it still looks a little mixed up in the middle, because of pieced seashell sashing. I guess that I really like balanced, even rows, and someplace for my eyes to rest with a little order.

However, I love all my fabrics, and I'm super happy with the color scheme.

I love the color scheme so much, that if I can get going, I'll do this year's Pat Sloan "My Secret Garden" in the same colors. Or what I have left of them, anyway. This year's colors call for green, red, aqua, cream and navy. Last year, I substituted the red with purple, and green with aqua. Do you think it needs extra something? Maybe the navy? Or some golden yellow?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

EZ Dresden Challenge Quilt

Since I am still getting requests based from this post, for a pattern, here is a link to my blog post in January 2014, with the tutorial !

Here is my EZ Dresden Challenge Quilt!
"Maltese Dresden"

It is 24" x 24" square quilt.
I call it my "Maltese Dresden" because it is the Maltese Cross, the symbol of American firefighters.
I used Robert Kaufman's "Marbleous" in Red for the main cross and fans and border, Robert Kaufman's "American Heroes" dalmation/firefighter print for the borders and backing, and random fat quarters for the fans.
Yes, I did use the EZ Dresden ruler to cut the Dresden blades!
I used Sue Pelland's "Leaves Galore" template ruler to help me cut those beautiful curves on the Dresden Plate blade units. I just left one blade out per quarter unit of the plate (16 total instead of 20).
I hand-embroidered the "scramble" in the center circle of the cross. The "scramble" consists of the helmet, axe, Halligan bar, ladder, and bugle. 
This is my husband's fire helmet; I thought it was very appropriate to stage it with the quilt because it is a quilt for my husband, the firefighter and paramedic.
I'm so very grateful I found this challenge, because it enabled me to dream up and design a quilt block with the Maltese Cross, which I have been struggling to do for quite a while.
I really felt like this deserved to be in the "Innovative" category. But by the time the design came together in my head, and I started with the mini quilt for the experimental phase and got that finished, I didn't have enough time or enough red Marbleous to do the required 50" size for Innovative.

If you want some more history of the Maltese Cross, and how it became the symbol of the firefighter, check out these links:

Now that I'm done with the challenge quilt, I'm going to use my design to create a twin-sized version, medallion-style, for my husband to take to the fire station with him, for his bed there. After all, he sleeps two nights a week there! I'm going to need a lot more of the "Marbleous!" in red to make it, though, so I need help finding some. :-)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Better binding with presser foot

I tried something new for binding the star sampler. I used the #71 foot, the Bernina Flat-Fell Foot.

I haven't been very happy with the results of doing the binding by machine. Yes, it's quicker, but there's too much of a flap left over on the back when stitching in the ditch, and the binding doesn't finish at a nice, even width on the back. I enjoy sewing the binding to the back by hand, but it's slower than it used to be for me, and sometimes torturous, with my tendinitis now.

I searched for any more ideas. And I found an awesome tutorial by A Woman a Day, using her Bernina Flat-Fell Foot. She used the #71, which is the wider foot (like 8 mm wide), and cut her binding strips 2" wide.

Even better--almost no pinning or clipping!

I'm very happy with the results ! It's a little hard to tell with the black binding and the matching black thread, but the binding width is even all the way around the quilt, and perfectly centered width-wise on front and back.

A few things I learned, on top of the advice from Lisa's tutorial:

1--It's slower than using a walking foot, and without the walking capabilities, I had to increase the stitch length a bit more than the preset, and also work a bit harder to help all the layers move through the feed dogs.

2--Have a matching thread to the quilt when working on the front. However, it's important to have a thread matching the binding while on the back.

3-- When working on the back, while securing the binding to the back, corners get a bit tricky. When you are approaching the corners, get as close as you can--less than an inch. Then fold up the miter, and pin the mitered binding in place on the adjacent side that you're approaching. Then lower your needle into the quilt and binding, and remove the binding from the foot. Use a stiletto or fingers, and lower the foot on top of all the layers, and sew the binding to the corner. Back stitch to the edge of the adjacent side, and pivot 90 degrees to meet it. Back stitch again and sew forward a few stitches. Then lift the foot, place the binding back over the foot and into the foot roll, and continue the binding.
Repeat for each corner.

Look at that, even-width binding on the front and back. It's so pretty!

If you can tell, I also used the flat-fell foot to piece together the hanging sleeve. That way, a curtain rod or dowel won't get caught up in the seams of the sleeve, and will slide through the sleeve easily.

I love my Bernina and the high-quality presser feet. There are a lot of feet to help you do just about any sewing technique easier!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Finish--Star Sampler

Hi !
I'm embarrassed by how long it's been since I posted. I'm not even going to peek to see how long! I guess it's been easier to post quick updates on my Facebook page.

Here we go: my baby's star sampler is finished! Although he is a toddler and in a toddler bed, the bed still uses a crib mattress, so crib-sized is great. I like crib sizes to be about 44x60", slightly rectangular. (I also happen to think 45x60 is a great adult lap size.) My older boys still use their crib star samplers on their beds and are very attached to them.

Don't you just love how the light illuminates through the yellows and silvers and the star patterns, almost like stained glass?!!

Connor's Winter Stars or Connor's Winter Starflakes. (Please vote!)
44 x 60"
12-12" star blocks with 2" sashing in a 3x4 layout.
Fabrics: Michael Miller Fair Frost in Gold, Black Diamonds, Silver, pale yellow; medium yellow blender from Cranston Village.
Backing: a strip of "made fabric" or "crumbs" leftover from paper-piecing the blocks. Snowflakes print from: "S'Noel" by Dana Brooks of Lazy Daisy Cottage for Henry Glass.
Blocks top L to Rt: Little Lone Star, Crossed Diamonds from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks collection, Starshine from, Star in the Window, Turning Star by Quilterscache, Dogtooth Violet by Jennifer Chiaverini, Folded Star from QuiltersCache, Amish Star, Mariners Compass by Jennifer Chiaverini, Silver and Gold, Morning Star, and Liberty Star from Jennifer Chiaverini.

I love using the Amish Star for an album or label block. This time, I decided to try embroidering the baby's name with my new embroidery machine.

I used several techniques for quilting. I like to mix it up. Whatever it takes to create my vision!
--The dreaming man in the moon, and the snowflakes, I copied by hand on tracing paper. Then I stitched FMQ through the paper.
--I used mostly dot-to-dot geometric filler shapes.
--I used my embroidery machine to quilt some of the snowflakes in corner squares and centers. And to embroider my son's name.
--used the walking foot quite a bit, and not just for stabilizing and SID (Stitch in Ditch).

And it still needs a label! I'm trying to figure out my embroidery machine's editing software.