Friday, August 31, 2012

Blog fun

So excited this week. I feel special.
I've been following Quilters Newsletter 12 Days of Christmas Quilts blog tour. It's been so much fun seeing a that gorgeous Christmas fabric and quilts. And entering for prizes is awesome!

Then I made a comment on Quiltmaker's blog last week, about "Why Quilts Matter!" and this week, they posted part of my comment! Not only do I love entering to win beautiful Quilty stuff, but I learn so much about myself, as a person, as a quilter, my style, as I answer questions in blogs. Its a perfect opportunity to get into words what i feel every day as i create, and to save those words for myself to remember. Then I get new inspiration from other wonderful quilters. I love sharing.

Here's my entire post on Quiltmaker:

August 23, 2012
Q: Why do quilts matter to you?
A: Wow--complicated and fun question!

My first experience with quilting was in college and took a class for Home Ec. credit. I fell in love with quilting, and I had a special teacher who shared her love, her knowledge, some history, along with skills. I had an English paper course that quarter and needed a topic--I chose quilting history in America, and why it is important. Eventually, I submitted that paper to my honor society and won--and got it published!
I found that quarter that quilting is fun, relaxing, creative for me, and designing is fun! I got to know my grandmother better by interviewing her for my paper, and seeing her collection of quilts. She shared scraps of her fabric stash with me, that I put into my quilt for class. Fabrics that were used for my mother's dresses while she grew up, and things like that. I was working on my quilt, my Madison House block, when I found my dad lost his job...I remember that! Now, quilting is about serving others, sharing joy and skills and creativity. A creative outlet for me, being a mom, but also because of being a mom and wife--I picked up quilting again because of baby quilts for my children. And now I want to make quilts for others! And now I have my own blog to document my own journey. I feel like more of a member of community because I have been following blogs and asking questions...I don't feel so lonely as a mom now.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Challenge Quilt finished!

I just finished the last stitch on my EZ Dresden Challenge quilt! I got the binding and hanging sleeve done, plus embroidered my name, date and location on the back. I'm very proud of my design and the work I put into this little mini-wonder. For me, it's wonderful, at least, because I've been trying to figure out this design for so long. And hopefully, I'll be able to make more as gifts for family and friends!
Tomorrow, I plan on taking pictures, so send good wishes my way for good light!
I plan on posting pictures here on my blog after I've posted my quilt on the challenge site. Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Binding and serving

Tonight a neighbor came to my door saying "help! I borrowed a quilt frame to tie my two daughters' jeans quilts; they've finished the tops, but I don't know how to set up the frame with a quilt!" I said "I've tied quilts but they've already been set up when I get there, so I don't know, either!" We called another neighbor, and she met us back at the house, and we all worked together as she showed us how to set it up. It's a great feeling to help someone else with quilting techniques, and learning something yourself in the process! The neighbor who needed help also said she didn't know how to bind quilts, so I said that once the quilts were tied, I could help her with that, too!

I've come down with a sore throat this weekend, and haven't felt well today. Between taking a nap and taking it easy, it's been nice to have an excuse to sit down and do handwork for awhile. Though I don't like feeling sick, it really is fun to spread out a quilt on my lap and cuddle on the recliner or couch with my hubbie and kids, while I hand-finish the binding. My challenge quilt is almost done!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

List update

Hi! I made a list earlier; time for an update!
Whew! Just got the quilting done on my mini-quilt for the Dresden Challenge! I didn't think I'd get it all done tonight!

Second, during the grocery trip today, I was able to get another plastic drawer cart. It's for my sewing patterns. After lunch, I set it up and organized my other two carts and shared between all three. In the process, I discovered a few UFO's I forgot I had! Bonus! Anyway, now I have more room for notions and such (and more patterns)!

Tomorrow's agenda: trim excess batting/binding/square up, and make the binding. (challenge quilt)
Ok, off to bed; I'm tired!


Not much going on around here.
My son started kindergarten yesterday.....6 hours of school and 2 hours of bus ride back and forth. Gonna take some getting used to for all of us; not to mention that I have to get to bed earlier to get up earlier!
My main project right now: trying to get my EZ Dresden Challenge mini-quilt done. Nothing else sewing or quilting is going on until that gets done, since I've got a week and a half before submissions are due. I'm about halfway done machine quilting. And yes, the freemotion stuff is coming last. Quilting flames....yikes! But I've got to get over my fears because I've got two other quilts that I want to do background flames for, that aren't going in a maybe I should practice with those before doing my challenge quilt ?

In no particular order: ongoing projects:
1--skirt for sister-in-law
2--quilting and finishing the two mini firetruck quilts (does this count as two projects?)
3--Patriotic sampler quilt: 25 blocks done out of 42.

Organizing wants and needs:
1-a plastic drawer cart for overflowing sewing patterns
2--a plastic file drawer cart for overflowing files and quilting stencils
3--stackable drawers for fat quarters or small pieces
4--more mini-bolt-like organizers I got mine at Clotilde, just to see if I like them. I do! I just need more. My problem with my stash is that it's mostly pieces, and mostly clothing-type fabric, not quilting fabric.
5--bobbin storage...need to keep quilting thread bobbins separate from everyday thread. I'm trying to transition from Coats and Clark to Gutermann and Metrosene.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fabric line for Autism

I'm tearing up with joy and love and oohs and ahhs right now, upon viewing a new fabric line:
"Pieces of Hope Cottons" by Riley Blake Designs. I just found a post on my Facebook from Fat Quarter Shop and I had to find the Riley Blake website to find the story behind the fabric line. Because, if anything, stories are what bring our quilts to life. This fabric line was inspired by the family of a Riley Blake employee. Imagine my surprise when Riley Blake Designs is from Utah, too!
And this beautiful fabric line is featured on their front page slide show!
I think this is a beautiful collection. It's bright, cheerful, and colorful, without being overwhelming or too loud. People with Autism have difficulty processing all sorts of sensory things that typical children can handle....including visual, auditory (what they hear), and textures (food, touch, motor skills), and social cues. People with Autism get overwhelmed easily because their brains cannot process fast enough nor make connections well. So I think this fabric could make such a beautiful quilt or pillow, similar to those pictured on the Riley Blake website, for an autistic child. Heck, I've got some ideas already!

For those of you who don't know, the puzzle piece (especially in blue) is the logo of Autism Speaks, the organization for Autism Awareness and research. Because so much of autism is a puzzle, and autism itself is so varied, just as every child is varied and unique. We still don't know what causes Autism or much about it. And "hope" is appropriate, to me, because as parents, we all have so much hope and so many dreams for our children, and we're struggling to hold onto hope with Autism. We wonder if our children will ever have a normal, functional and happy life, that so many other people take for granted.

How do I know all this about Autism? My child, who is really just a little guy, has undiagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder. He's been in Special Education Preschool since he was barely three years old ! Imagine it: so tiny, and getting on a school bus! His bus drivers, technicians, teachers and technicians, have all been so wonderful, and he has come a long way. He wasn't even speaking when he started preschool.

A portion of the sale of this fabric line will benefit Autism Speaks. Awesome!
So this is really wonderful that I can tie my love of quilting more tightly into my personal life. As if it wasn't already!  *sniff* Anyone have a tissue?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rulers Old and New--and a Sneak Peak

Trying new techniques often calls for new gadgets or tools, including rulers. Or just learning how to use the ones you already have.
My favorite ruler is my 3x18 ruler, because I can do just about everything: cut strips, trim seam allowances, mark seam allowances on foundations. My toddler used it for a surfboard or train tracks on the carpet and broke the tip off at the hanging hole, so I recently added a 6.5x24" ruler. Love it too-- longer reach! I also love my set of Olfa square-up rulers: a 4.5", a 6.5", a 9.5" and a 12.5".
But I'll talk about three in particular today: 45 degree ruler, EZ Dresden, and Leaves Galore.
1--45 degree: it's an Olipfa, and the very first of two rulers I owned. My mother bought me that one, plus a rotary cutter, 12x18 mat, plus a triangle ruler, when I was taking my first quilting class at Snow College. (What a great care package in the mail at my dorm away from home!) I've never used the 45 degree angle on the ruler before. I decided that I wanted to try the Love in a Mist and Blazing Star from Sylvia's Bridal Sampler for my quilt. They both call for strip-piecing two sets of two strips in pairs, then cutting 45 degree angles into the strips to make paired diamonds.

Ok, the illustration from the book looked simple, but how was I going to get the 45 degree angle in the first place? Ah, my ruler! I cut the angle, then rotated the ruler to parallel the cut I made, to measure and cut the width of the diamond specified.

2--Next, the EZ Dresden Ruler. I followed the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild's EZ Dresden Challenge kickoff Blog Hop, and got really inspired. I wanted to join the challenge but had no ideas for a quilt or design. Meanwhile, I've been wondering for quite some time how to make a certain block, whether paper-piecing or templates or whatever, and getting stumped because the design is very curvy and stylized and nothing I looked at was working. One afternoon in July, I was trying to take a nap, but thinking about the blog hop and my block puzzle, when suddenly the two ideas merged and I had a way to do both! I use the EZ Dresden Ruler and go from there. Here is the first sneak peak:

Then I cut and pieced together my Dresden quarters and was stumped again: how was I going to cut the curves I needed, to look even, balanced, and pretty?

3--Enter the Leaves Galore Template Ruler by Sue Pelland ( Practically the day I got stumped, I was tidying my cutting table and stopped to flip through my new August/September 1012 Quilter's Newsletter. I saw the article spotlighting this new ruler, and my idea clicked again! I immediately went on Sue's website, and also found the rulers at Clotilde. I bought the largest, Grande, because I didn't know which size I needed. The Grande can cut 8" curves and 4" curves, the Norme can cut 6" and 3" curves, and the Petite can cut 5" and 2.5" curves. It worked great! Sue sells them separately, or all 3 in a set, on her website. I'm very excited. Tips for that I learned from QN Magazine for this template ruler: it's designed to use with a 28 mm cutter, and cut slowly and hug the ruler with the rotary cutter.

Wow! Learning new things every day!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I entered a giveaway today for Jaybird Quilts and Martingale Publishing, for her new book "Skip the Borders". It looks like a neat book with good ideas. The question they asked for the giveaway is Have you broken any quiltmaking “rules”? Or do you take a more tried-and-true approach to your quilts? Tell us your quilt story.
My answer was nothing specific, but I told my story:
"When I think of rules, I giggle and paraphrase "Pirates of the Caribbean": "Stick to the code! The code? They’re not rules, more like guidelines, really!"
I started quilting with a class and a book. Its important to learn the basics. Since then, I’m self-taught with more books and websites. I bought QuiltPro software to help me draw and design and color blocks that i find and love from other places, like magazines. I spend a lot of time thinking and planning before I actually "do". Even when I think I have a "final" design, I often change another color arrangement or add another block. I think it’s important to challenge yourself and continue to learn and grow as you go along. One reason I love a lot of samplers is because you can learn new techniques and construction orders. Sometimes you don’t feel comfortable with a new technique, or you absolutely love doing the new thing! It’s a journey!
Thanks for a giveaway! This would be great to have and use."
I enjoy entering giveaways, not just because of a chance at cool stuff, but because I learn about myself and my quilting journey by answering the questions.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Block sizes, Hot Pads and Wedding Gifts

Since I recently remembered I could hand-piece, I've been cutting out 6-inch versions of my blocks to hand piece--blocks that I want to try and maybe "didn't have time to sew" or try otherwise. I used to somewhat stick up my nose at 6" blocks in samplers. I learned quilting with 12" blocks, the math is pretty simple in 12" blocks, and you need to make fewer blocks to get the size quilt you need, especially bigger quilts. And besides, I don't do well with smaller pieces, or small anything, because I get all fumble-fingered with small stuff--and after cutting some 6" blocks, there are some small pieces! But I've realized that hand-piecing is great for 6" blocks and small pieces! Love the greater control. I don't like marking my seamlines, but oh well--I don't do estimating or freehand well.
My Patriotic Sampler started with "Sylvia's Bridal Sampler" by Jennifer Chiaverini. There are 142 6" blocks in the book. I chose 42 blocks and enlarged them up to 12" for my king-sized quilt, but there's still some I'd like to try. I chose the Winding Ways and Bridal Bouquet to try 6" and hand-piece.
Then I thought, "what am I going to do with two little 6" blocks?" oh, yeah, we're heading to a wedding in a week and we need to take a gift! Hot pads!
I'm not going to do a tutorial on hot pads, since I did a search and found some helps, so you can, too. I found in particular:

Hand-pieced with border machine-stitched.

Same, with Winding Ways.

Both layered, pinned, and ready for quilting.

Quilted and binding's sewn to pad. I like Sew Mama Sew's tutorial because she shows you how to make the hanging loop as a continuation of the binding. I was a bit confused, though, and thought it just needed a bit better picture of how to end the stitching.

And here they are! Aren't they so adorable!
I included a note with the card for the bride and groom, stating they were hand-pieced and they could use them as wall art or hot pads or both! (I personally put nails in the walls under my cabinets to display my hot pads and my darling Pampered Chef trivet, mostly because I have only one drawer in my whole kitchen. Really! Whoever designed the house plan wasn't that smart about what a functional kitchen needs!)
I hope the bride and groom adore them!