Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Quilt Square Quilt Along

Here is my February block for Jo's Quilt Square Quilt AlongI plan to use up the leftover scraps (most of which are from the Sweetwater Pure fabric line) from this quilt for all my Quilt Along blocks.
I made some "creative revisions" (a.k.a. errors!) but managed to get the block to end up looking similar to the pattern. 
There were quite a few HST's to sew! Initially I rebelled against squaring them up and after trying to get them to fit together unsuccessfully, I gave in and did the required trimming. I really do "know better"! LOL
I just love the inner border fabric and tried to fussy cut my favorite words from the print. Makes me smile and think about my recent quilt retreat!
To see more of the Quilt Square Quilt Along blocks, hop over to Jo's blog and see all the inspiration. I was the lucky winner of the fabric prize for last month's draw, and received it on Valentine's Day...what a lovely treat! Thanks again to Jo for all the fun we are having with this Quilt Along, and for the generous gift!
Now I can't wait to get started on my March block!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Free Motion Challenge - February's Tutorial

This is my February Free Motion Challenge block. I hesitate to post my block because I love feather quilting, and consider this to be my worst feather quilting block E V E R!
The teacher for this month's tutorial is Diane Gaudynski. It is a wonderful tutorial and I wanted to follow everything the way she does it, and I tried to do each part of the technique as she instructed.
I learned two things:
1) I cannot get the shape I like by feathering from the bottom to the top. I have always feathered from top to bottom, and maybe you can't teach an old dog new tricks?!?
2) I don't like the space between each plume. I like to retrace the edge of the previous plume. I like how it looks and I like how it feels to quilt. But I really tried to do it Diane's way just to see what it was like.
I had some issues with the tension also. Here is one of the feathers from the back...see the clumps of thread?!? And it seems like there are bits of batting poking through?  Maybe that is because I am using my hand painted fabric?
I wasn't even happy with my paper practising in my notebook...yuck! 
To show you (and remind myself!) that I do know how to quilt feathers, you can visit this old blog post from 2 years ago about a quilt that I feathered for a friend. Oh well, I know that I love feathering and it did make me want to get out a quilt and start feather quilting, so that's a good thing!
If you scroll to the end of Diane's tutorial, you can visit some of the more than 200 blog links of quilters who tried feather quilting this month and see how they made out.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Design Wall Monday #9

This is the New Year's Eve mystery from Fabricaholics Anonymous
I don't like my version at all and am disappointed in my fabric choices. It's way too "blah" to make me happy, and there is not enough contrast in the 9 patch blocks to show the design well. But as my friend Maria says "not every project is going to be a masterpiece"!

I loved Amy's version of this quilt and she inspired me to use up the baby HST's in a border. Believe me, that is one heck of a lot of block trimming, which I did at quilt retreat. But it was worth it, as the HST border did help me to like the quilt a little bit more.
Here is a photo of the only corner that came together well in that border. For the other borders, I just cut them at the correct length and didn't worry about how the blocks lined up, so they don't look as nice.
And look here....I have already finished preparing the binding so I will be motivated to finish this quilt and get it out of my sewing room!
To see more design wall blogposts, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Green

I have enjoyed working with my green scraps this month and remembering that spring will indeed return one day!
At retreat I finished my "Lucky Shamrock" mini quilt, which is about 12" square . I did some stitch in the ditch quilting, and a 1/4" line inside the white fabric seams. Then I couldn't resist quilting some hearts in the shamrock petals. It is a cute little project that will hang on my front door for St. Patrick's Day next month.
I also made a few more bright green crumb blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Together with the ones I made last year, I now have a total of 11 green crumb blocks.
I didn't make any more progress on my green bowtie quilt  and have put them away for "another day". 
I look forward to seeing what colour scraps we will work with for March. To see the last green postings for the rainbow scrap quilters this month, hop over to the SoScrappy blog.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Quilt Retreat 2012

I have just returned from my annual quilt retreat and am exhausted from all the fun we had. We did a little sleeping, a little drinking, a little crying, and a whole lot of talking, eating, laughing, and sewing! I believe that I truly am a very lucky person to have met such wonderful women and have had the privilege of retreating with them for many years. To be in their company is as healing as salve on open wounds (a very old saying but it expresses how I feel), and I can't wait until next year's retreat to be together with them again. 
At retreat I worked on 8 different projects and will post them on my blog over the next few days.
This is my February UFO project a scrappy version of the pattern called "Hip  Baby". The quilt top is now sewn together,and there was enough fabric to make one border and a binding, which is all ready to go. 
I just need to get the quilting and binding done in the next 6 days to meet my February UFO goal. 
Here is a photo of me machine quilting the border of my Dr. Seuss quilt and I hope to finish this quilt by the end of the month also.
We are anticipating perfect quilting weather tomorrow, with a major snow storm coming. Too bad I didn't get snowed in at retreat!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thimble Party

Bonnie Hunter over at Quiltville hosted a Thimble Party on Monday. I'm a little late to the party! 
I've been busy with a few of my are their favorite thimbles. It is amazing the variety of thimbles that are available! I have a few thimbles that I like, and because I am allergic to most metals, my favorites are plastic or leather thimbles.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Design Wall Monday #8

On my design wall this morning was the same as the last two weeks. I think that is a personal record for me (in a negative, not making any progress, kind of way)! 
The pattern is called "Hip Baby".  I changed some of the blocks to use up the smaller scraps. This is my February UFO, so I have 10 more days to finish the quilt. 
I have finally gathered up the blocks and hope to have them sewn together in a finished top before the day is ended. There is just enough fabric left for a binding and a backing, so this quilt probably won't be getting a border.
To see other design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Friday Night Sew-In and Rainbow Challenge - Green

A very exciting Friday Night Sew-In went on at my place last night. "What happens at FNSI stays at FNSI", so I can't really divulge much about it, but will tell you that my friend Barb attended, which means fun will ensue! 
I can also tell you that Barb brought along Ronnie the duck, a "prairie point stegasaurus", and a "Frisky Zebra". I cannot explain why the photo is mirror image or figure out how to fix it! Everything was a little crazy at FNSI! To see what other quilters worked on last night, pop over to Heidi's blog and check out the 180+ links.
Some sewing did get done at FNSI, and I finished my "February Knot". The pattern is from the Quiltmaker magazine (Vol. 3) and has 56 green 1 1/2" squares. I don't like it as much as my January Knot, because the colours seem so drab to me, but it sure is a fun block to sew.
To see what other quilters are making with their green scraps, visit Angela's Rainbow Challenge blog.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quilting Dr. Seuss

Every spare quilting moment this week has been spent machine quilting my Dr. Seuss quilt. 
The supervisor is keeping a close watch on the quilter and ensuring a high quality product! LOL
My blog surfing has been frustrating recently since I enjoy leaving encouraging comments on my favorite blogs, but the new comment verification process is too much for me.  When I want to comment, if the blog has this verification, I just won't take that extra time to try to decipher and type out weird codes which I can never seem to get correct. Makes me feel sad, but my computer time is so limited that I just can't waste time on that. Anyone else having the same frustration??

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope you are enjoying a love filled Valentine's Day!  I have received many unexpected gifts and feel very thankful for each loving and generous person in my life.
These are my beautiful roses, with the wallhanging that I made last year for the Rainbow Challenge. 

I even received a little tin full of tiny scraps from my friend cute is that?!?

And another little gift from a quilting friend!

Just look at what was in my mailbox! I was the lucky winner of Jo's Quilt Square Quilt Along giveaway and it arrived today!
These fabrics are so beautiful I will have to find something special to make with them!
Hop over to Pat Sloan's blog to get in on the Valentine Link party.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Design Wall Monday #7

It has been a pathetic sewing week for me this week. I haven't had much time to sew, and the time I did have was spent doing "grunt" work, like pin basting, joining batting scraps, cleaning up the cutting table, and sewing together backings. Necessary tasks, but I am really tired of them. 
On my design wall is exactly the same project as last week, with a few added blocks. I am definitely leaving in the dark blue, since the feedback from last week's post was unanimous to leave it in. 
I have also been creating a memory book from last year's quilt retreat. I make a Blurb book each year full of photos and highlights of our annual retreat. I highly recommend Blurb if you are interested in making a blog book. You can transfer all your blog posts over to their program with the push of a button, and design your own book. Their program is easy to use, compatible with Macs, their customer service is great and I have always been happy with my books. No affiliation, just a happy customer for 5 years. 
So now I'm back to sewing and hope to make some progress this week!
If you want some design wall inspiration, hop over to Patchwork Times

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Green

I meant to accomplish a lot more this week, but I got caught up in organizational tasks in the sewing room...yuck :(
I did finish up this little quilt top that used up a few green scraps. I made this quilt 3 years ago, and at the time I had cut out extra pieces to make a second one.  I found them when I was cleaning this week. I used a green ribbon for the stem of the shamrock. I hope it will be ready in time for this year's St. Patrick's Day celebrations!
To see other green projects, hop over to Angela's blog.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Mystery quilt basted

I know I should be working on my February UFO project, and that would be fun too, but I really want to finish my Dr. Seuss quilt. It has been calling out for attention and my quilting design ideas are all ready to go in my mind, so I'm itching to get at it. It is now pin basted and the Cat in the Hat has chosen the thread. And all I need is some time to quilt!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Design Wall Monday #6

I am getting an early start on this month's UFO challenge project. I already have most of the blocks on the design wall.
This project started about a year ago with a bag of donated scraps, and the pattern is called Hip Baby. I have enough fabric to make this quilt 8 blocks by 10 blocks, and this is the first layout attempt. I see many changes that need to be made, but mostly I am wondering about taking out the dark blue blocks. They really seem to stand out and I don't know if it gives it a punch or is too much of a distraction! What is your recommendation - should the blue stay or go?
To see more design walls, hop over to Patchwork Times and enjoy the inspiration.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Green Month

The colour of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is green. I wasn't sure what I'd have to work on in greens, but while I was trying to fall asleep this past week I came up with quite a list...funny how that happens!
*First I thought of my apple core project that I worked on a little last year - click here to see that. I would like to finish that into something.
*My fun project will be sewing my "Knot" block using 1 1/2" scrap squares - click here to see my red block from last month.
*I will also make some green blocks for my scrappy crumb quilt - click here to see some of the blocks. I only have 4 green blocks, so I'll work on making more.
*I taught a class in different methods of sewing bowtie blocks last semester and was using green scraps to demo the techniques. I would like to make a few more and sew them into a quilt top.
Here are 2 block using each technique - 3D construction on the left, set-in seams in the middle (no one liked that technique!) and connecting corners on the right. It was a fun class and the variety of layouts possible with bowtie blocks made for an amazing variety of finished projects. Here are a few of the students...great quilts, eh?!?

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Batting Scraps and Pink Lemonade Show

Nothing exciting is going on in my sewing room these days. I am doing functional tasks, like cleaning up and vacuuming... things that are boring but necessary. My goals this week are:
1) to clear off the cutting table (I'm sure you know how that goes...the mountain just grows and grows until there is no room left to cut!) and 
2) to piece together small batting scraps in order to make a batting that is large enough to use in my mystery quilt. I am using the Heat Press Batting Together product, which I quite like and wrote about on this blog entry.
For some quilty inspiration, hop over to Lori's blog. She has a Pink Lemonade Quilt Show going on, and the variety of quilts made from the same pattern is amazing! In honour of the pink lemonade show, I put a photo on my blog header of my version of "Pink Lemonade".

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

January UFO Report

My January UFO "Batik Cats" is finished - woohoo!
It is great to start off the year being able to meet a quilting goal. This quilt top was pieced maybe 12 years ago and the borders were sewn on this month.  The pin basting was done last week and the machine quilting finished this week.
I tried a new (to me) quilting design called "Railroad Tracks" that I saw on Annie's blog, and she saw the idea on Leah's blog. Aren't quilting blogs such an amazing source of inspiration?!?!   
I always practice sketching the design on paper first, then practiced on a quilt sandwich to make sure the thread was going to work with my fabrics, and then started on the quilt. 
The quilt backing is an orange/rust colour which was hard to photograph...can you see the railroad tracks??
It was a fun design to try and quick to quilt. This quilt will be donated to my guild's community outreach program.
To see the other UFO's that were finished in January, hop over to Patchwork Times.