Friday, March 31, 2017

A Happy Accident or Not?

Hello Everyone,
In between getting everything ready for the show this weekend, I've been trying to spend some time in my sewing room making my addictive, Dresden blocks.
In class on Tuesday, I stole some of Paula's triangles from her Lil' Orphan Scrappy quilt, turned my blocks on point, and started playing on the design wall.  All of us looked at the result in amazement at this happy accident.  We liked it!

Over the last couple of days, between printing patterns and packaging them, and doing countless other things to get ready for the show, I came up with this idea.  I have to be different.  I have to add special details to make my quilts unique, and yes, it is time consuming.  Mr. Joe stopped by my sewing room to see what I was up to, and his personal opinion was not good on this arrangement.  He thought the Dresden plates got lost in the mix.  Most of the time he has good input, and I do listen to him.  (I may at times exercise selective listening!)

I had to leave my sewing room and pick up a print order across town.  While driving across town, I started to think about this idea.  If I made the center block lighter, then the Dresden plates wouldn't get lost.  I could then fill the lighter area with a machine quilted floral wreath.  Mr. Joe loved this layout better than the first one.

Now I'm at the point where I have to set this aside and finish the preparations for the show.  Maybe it's a good thing to step away from the design wall.  What are your thoughts?  Dark, light, or bag the entire idea?

We head off to Concord this afternoon to set up for the Guild of Quilters of Contra Costa County Quilt Show.  It's an unusual set up time from 3pm to 7pm sharp!  It takes me a good four hours of intensive work to get my booth pulled together.  My sister Gail is meeting us there with her vehicle already loaded with patterns, books, and props, Mr. Joe will be involved driving, hauling and arranging everything to make my booth perfect in every way.

Well, the clock is ticking and it's time for me to start my day and pull the last few items together on my show, and to-do list.  I would love to see some of you this weekend at the show.  I've heard that it's a good one with a high level of talented quilters.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sew'n Wild Oaks Was In Session

Hello Everyone,
It was a fun day in the classroom at In Between Stitches yesterday.  Again, the girls decorated the walls with their creativity.
Paula is working on Lil' Orphan Scrappy.  This was a BOM at the shop, and Paula smartly incorporated some of her own scraps into this quilt.

She has a pile of blocks ready and waiting for their corner squares.

Paula put the cut triangles into two bags.  One labeled dark and one labeled lights and mediums.

Then it becomes a potluck.  Grab a triangle, and sew it on the block.  Decision made.  Easy, peasey.

Laurie got all of her HST sewn onto her wonderful, Primitive Gatherings quilt while she was at a retreat earlier this month.  Now she's working on the borders.

Wendy is adding to her black and white blocks for the "wedding" quilt.  She bought the sashing fabrics yesterday and is going to start working on that next.

Cindy is working on this adorable quilt from a book called Happy Flower Quilts.  Every other block in the quilt is going to contain applique.  This was sooooo cute!

You will be seeing more of Rose's quilt soon from a class she took during Quilting in the Garden at Alden Lane Nursery.  She has a wonderful combination of fabrics.

Karen and Irene are moving right along on their Journey's End quilts by Kim Diehl. 

Both of them are also pulling additional fabrics from their stashes.

Lynette is working on her Kim Diehl table topper.

Many of the girls organize their little pieces on an cardboard fabric bolt holder.  It makes it easy to see all of your colors at a glance and keeps you organized.

Wendy brought in her Crabapple Hill quilt to show us.

What a labor of love!  So much embroidery and coloring.  Pictures just cannot capture the amount of detail in this quilt.

Here's the fun back!

Last night after we returned home from Little League, I received an email from Paula, one of my long-time Sew'n Wild Oaks attendees.  Paula said,
"In reality, it's not a class - it's a therapy session of sharing, support, laughter, and unbelievable creativity."
I agree 100%!   My Sew'n Wild Oaks girls are an incredible group of women, who by the way love to quilt.  I feel that if anyone of us ever needed anything, we could pick up the phone, text or email, and someone from this group would be there in a flash.  I love you girls!  I love our time spent together.  You keep me inspired during the times when I loose my quilting mojo.  It's b-a-c-k!


Saturday, March 25, 2017

And Then There Were Two

Hello Everyone,
I felt like working on Huckleberry Hill yesterday, so that's what I did. I specifically left some room inside the basket which I'm going to fill with machine quilting.

I embroidered a little outline stitch around the birds so they would show up a little bit more.

Here's basket #1.

Here they are together.  Now it's time to design blocks #3 and #4.  I would love to have this finished and hanging by July 4th to show my patriotic spirit.

The fabric line is called Star-Spangled Liberty by Pam Buda for Marcus Fabrics. I added in the yellow since I thought it needed a little pop.  Cloth and Quilts in Turlock has most of this line.  So swing on down to Turlock and get some while it is still available.  This quilt is going to be very fat quarter friendly.

I'm afraid I've succumbed to Mr. Joe's cold.  I'm not as sick as he was/is.....but I'm carrying a box of Kleenex around the house with me. I'm afraid I'm going to have to miss all of the Little League games today, and our oldest son's birthday brunch......bummer.  I have a busy week ahead, so I'm going to have to lay low and let this bug run its course.  Gives me a good excuse to sit and applique my day away.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Spoken For

Hello Everyone,
Not a lot of quilting going on at Sew'n Wild Oaks this week.  When I have the time, I've been working on another version of Spoken For.

Here are some blocks all appliqued down to the background.  I'm not sure yet if I'm going to add sashing to this version.  I may just quilt a floral wreath in the space between the blocks. I do know this quilt is going to have every color of the spectrum in it as I'm pulling from my stash. I can just picture this quilt on the guest room bed.  This is also going to be a long term project.  A block here and a block there will eventually add up to a finished quilt.

I've been stitching the blocks to the background at night.  During the day, I've been writing pattern directions for Prairie Flower, and running all of the errands since Mr. Joe is still down for the count.  He is getting better, but he's not his normal perky self.  I didn't realize how much he does for me during the day.  It takes forever to stand in line at the post office and the bank.  Not to mention trips to the office supply store, grocery store, and all points north.

I'm also preparing for the quilt show next weekend in Concord sponsored by the Contra Costa Quilt Guild. For information click HERE.  I will be setting up my booth a week from today.  I can't get sick!  I don't have time to be sick!  Here is their hand-quilted opportunity quilt.  I saw it in person and it's gorgeous!

I went to the optometrist yesterday and found out that I'm blind in one eye and can't see out of the other.  I'm using one eye for up close, and one eye for distance.  After paying a small fortune for two pairs of glasses, I realized that I just need a piece of tape to tape down one eyelid while I sew, and tape down the other one when I'm driving.  Sounds like a good plan to me. Maybe it will be a new fashion statement that will start trending on social media.

It's going to be another rainy day here in California.  I'll be at the computer working on Prairie Flower directions.  The quilt is still back East for the photo shoot, and I'm not sure if I will get it back in time for the show.  I'm experiencing separation anxiety.

I'll be enjoying the rain today along with a nice bowl of Minestrone soup with Mr. Joe. Soup has been his meal of choice for days......


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spoken For Class Was In Session

Hello Everyone,
I was at Cloth and Quilts in Turlock on Monday teaching Spoken For.

The girls created some beautiful, and sweet beginnings for their quilts.

The blocks look larger before they are sewn together.  They "shrink" down considerably once those 20 seams are finished.

They were all involved in fussy cutting the blade and fans.  The extra effort will pay off in the end.

Linda brought in her Brown Sugar Sampler designed by Brandywine Designs.  So pretty!

Jerrilee brought her Lucy Boston blocks to show me. She took the class last year from me.  She was very creative in the use and placement of her fabrics.

Linda took a workshop from David Taylor, and brought her bird quilt in to share with us.  I would say she received an "A" in this class!  Look at the detail that brings this bird to life.

I wanted to take a picture of Linda with her quilt so you could get a better idea of scale.  This is an amazing work of art.

As always, I love teaching in Turlock.  The classroom is spacious, there is a great selection of fabrics, and it's always fun for me to spend the day with the girls.

When I came home after class, I arrived to a very ill Mr. Joe.  The flu has completely knocked him off his feet, even though he faithfully got his flu shot last Fall.  Our house smells like Lysol as I'm trying not to get sick.  He seemed to have a more restful night......we'll see how he is this morning. I will play the roll of Nurse Ratchet today and try to get him to eat some of my homemade Minestrone soup which he requested. Neither one of us get sick very often.......but when we do, we get really sick.

It's going to be a quiet day of sewing for me.  Sounds heavenly!


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Spoken For Tutorial

Hello Everyone,

I've taught Spoken For a couple of times, and I've noticed how the blocks seem to be all over the spectrum when it comes to the final size, so I put a tutorial together to walk you through the process.

Begin with the end in mind.

Select three fabrics that play well together.  I always begin with the "Blade" fabric.  The blade is the pointy piece in the block.  The fans are the rounded sections.  Key off your blade fabric, by selecting fabrics that work with it, and you can't go wrong.

I put a piece of template plastic over the template page of the pattern and made my templates. I used a ruler and an ultra fine permanent marking pen and traced the templates on the plastic.  Template plastic comes in a blue or red gridded form or plain.  I prefer the gridded template plastic. Cut the template out directly on the line.

 I love using the plastic so I can place it over the fabric and be able to fussy cut the blade.

Trace around the template and cut out directly on the line. You will need to make 4 blades.

Fold the blade in half and pin.

Stitch 1/4" from the raw edge of the blade to the folded edge.

 Backtrack at the end and clip off the inside, folded corner.

Press the seam open.

Use a little pointy thingy to make a nice sharp point, and press. Now you are finished with the blades.

Now use your fan template and cut out your fans.  Since I wasn't fussy cutting them, I traced around the fan template on the back of the fabric.  I carefully cut out each fan directly on the line.

I then made my freezer paper template.  I ironed three pieces of freezer paper together and made a stiff freezer paper template.
Iron the freezer paper template to the back of the fans.

 Clip to the freezer paper right here.

 Gather your applique tools together. Apply a bit of starch to the end of the fan.

Use an iron and stiletto and press the fabric over the freezer paper.

Prepare 16 fans for your block.

Carefully peel the freezer paper away from the fans.  It helps to briefly press the back of the fan to help release the freezer paper.

Place right sides together, and begin stitching at the opening in the center of the block and stitch to the outside.  Backtrack at the beginning and the end.
****IMPORTANT***** There are 20 seams around the block.  Make sure your seam is 1/4".

This is what the back will look like on both sides of the sections.

You can press the seams open if you don't plan of stitching in the ditch.  If you do plan on stitching in the ditch, then press the seams to one side. I experimented to see if there was any difference in the size of the block if the seams were pressed open or to one side.  The conclusion of my unscientific experiment showed the blocks were a smidge larger if the seams were pressed open. My only explanation is the block can stretch a bit more if the seams are pressed open.

Continue sewing, and PRESS after each addition to the block.

If the block is a little wonky or wavy when it is all sewn together, (especially in the middle around the "pie hole"),  give it a good shot of heavy duty spray starch, let it dry, then iron it into submission. I admit I had to do this step on more than one occasion. 

Make your hexagon templates from the template plastic.  First cut out the fabric hexagon.  Make a freezer paper template, and iron on to the back of the hexagon.

 Use starch, an iron, fold and press the fabric over the template.

Carefully remove the freezer paper template and place on top of the block.  The block is now ready to hand applique to the background fabric.  You can also think about machine appliqueing the block to the background. 

From tip of blade to tip of blade, the block should measure between 7-1/2" to 7-5/8".  The "pie hole" in the center should measure between 2" to 2-1/8". 

I can't give away the farm here, so continue making the quilt by following the directions on the pattern which is available HERE.  Once you refine your process, the blocks become very addicting.  Maybe that's why I'm making another Spoken For!