Monday, May 30, 2016

DWM 5-30-16: Lots of little stuff... and a big dilemma

My design wall is a hodge-podge of blocks today. Lots of projects but nothing is far enough along to be anything yet.
Miscellaneous stuff on my wall

From left to right:
Blocks for a fund raiser quilt. This quilt will be raffled off to help support The Quintessential Quilt 2017 quilt show in University City MO. Members of CSQ guild are all making blocks - several types - and sashing units for this quilt. Blocks are due at the July meeting.
Raffle quilt blocks

A Bee block in greens. She asked us to raid our green scraps, and I had a lot of greens.
Scrappy green bee block

Purple test blocks for a new project. I'll work on piecing more of these Log Cabin Triangle blocks at a sew-in and a retreat later in June. 
LC Triangle test blocks

A priority on the schedule for June: quilting Dancing Plus. Here's part of it, pinned and basted. (You can see the whole top in yesterday's post; scroll down.)
Dancing Plus pinned & basted for quilting

For budget reasons I need to quilt it myself, not send it to a long armer, but it will be the largest I've ever attempted. My quilting skills are limited to the walking foot and free motion meandering. I've considered several design possibilities, including wavy organic lines a la Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts, an allover meander, and a modified meander. 

I'm considering a modified meander with circles in each of the pluses. You can see some of the markings above. I tried a small test, placing the circles the same distance apart they would be in the actual quilt top. Here's the back side of my test swatch:
Quilting test

The circles measure a little less than 3" across. With the stitch regulator on my new Bernina I can manage to sew around them on the markings, although they're by no means perfect circles. I thought about trying to meander the background and FMQ in the ditch around the plus shapes, but it's a lot of sharp turns. The circles may be easier. 

Or not. This quilt is 60 x 75" and that's a lot of weight to wrestle with. I'm very apprehensive about quilting this one. Maybe I should go back to the organic wavy lines concept after all. 

Input and suggestions are welcome; please leave a comment. 

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times

Sunday, May 29, 2016

May Stash Report and Goals Update

OK, technically we have a couple more days in May, but with no finishes or purchases planned, I can go ahead and post my monthly update today.

Stash Report:
May IN: 2 yards (Aussie print)
May OUT: 2-5/8 yards (2 for backing & 3/8 for binding for F9P; 1/4 yd for doll dress)
Month change: 5/8 yards out

YTD IN: 56-1/8 yards
YTD OUT: 52-7/8
YTD Net change: 3-1/4 yards added to stash

Not too bad; I can certainly recover to break even for the year if I have some finishes as planned.

Aussie print acquired in May for new version of 
Positivity from Cut and Shuffle Quilts

Goals update:

May recap:
1. Layer & baste at least one existing top. DONE; basted Dancing Plus and also marked it for quilting. 
2. Prep backing for Maple Leaf Star top and take top, backing, etc. to long arm quilter.  DONE
3. Plan a project to piece during Sew-In in June.  DONE - LC Triangles
4. Make one outfit or accessory set for doll.  DONE - Made both accessories and a dress
5. Keep up with Bee blocks.  DONE
Other: Layered, basted, quilted and bound Framed 9 Patch tutorial sample. 
Framed Nine Patch tutorial sample

June Goals:
1. Quilt Dancing Plus
2. Piece one new top at Sew-in and GS camp
3. Finish collecting fabrics for PAussietivity and cut out
4. Plan and organize Christmas In July blog hop project & post
5. Make one doll outfit
6. Keep up with bee blocks
7. If returned from the long armer, finish SID quilting on Maple Leaf Star

That's a lot to keep me busy, and some of those projects have deadlines! I guess I'll have to stay focused.
Dancing Plus top to be quilted

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hands2Help: A special chemo quilt

Back in February & March when I was working on this quilt, I said it was for Hands2Help Happy Chemo.
Positively Radiant, 2016, 62 x 62"

Then a local need arose, so I talked to Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, who organizes the Hands2Help challenge. I asked her if I could give this quilt to a local chemo patient, a member of my Modern bee, instead of sending it away to Happy Chemo.  Sarah said sure, and reminded me to link up to Hands2Help.

This quilt, originally referred to as the "busy pink plus quilt" was christened "Positively Radiant" by a blog reader. I think the name is so fitting!

"Positively Radiant" was given to my local friend, along with a care package from all of us in the bee. Our friend is incredibly strong, and we're all hoping for a good outcome for her. Meanwhile, she was very touched by our gifts, including this quilt.

Linking up with Hands2Help at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Confessions Of A Fabric Addict 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hands2Help, Happy Chemo Quilt #2

This quilt was made a few months ago so I could practice spiral quilting on my brand-new Bernina, to become familiar with the new machine and improve my quilting. I'm sending it to Happy Chemo for Hands2Help. Hands2Help is a comfort quilt donation drive organized by Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

At 44" x 58" it's a small lap size, but maybe it will bring comfort to a young girl or teen who's going through a tough time. I knew when I made this quilt that it would be a donation quilt. I'm very fortunate to be able to make quilts to give to others.

Sarah has at least 125 participants in Hands2Help this year. Check out what everyone's been making in her link up over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Experimental Blocks - Log Cabin Triangles

I've been experimenting with some simple blocks. These are HSTs partially surrounded with logs, and they'll finish at 9". I'm using some of that purple from Paducah, plus lots of low volume neutrals.
LC Triangle Blocks

One of my goals for this month is to kit up a project to piece at an all day sew-in in June, so this is the beginning of that project. Like any log cabin design, there are lots of layout possibilities for playing with the light/dark placement. But since these are not exactly half light and half dark, the resulting patterns will be wonkier or more interesting.
LC Triangles, Layout Possibility

So far so good. I have some periwinkle (blue-violet) that harmonizes well with this red-violet. I think I'll kit up some of both colors and lots of neutral logs, piece the blocks at my sew-in, and play with the layout when I have lots of blocks to work with.

Since I missed the stash report yesterday, here's the update: No fabric in, 1/4 yard out for doll dress.

Linking up with Patchwork Times

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Hands2Help: Happy Chemo

Each year Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict organizes a drive for comfort quilts called Hands2Help. Last year was my first time to participate, and this year I jumped in again because it's such a worthwhile endeavor.

This masculine quilt that I finished in April is destined for Happy Chemo. I specifically chose manly colors and prints, but I actually love this black & tan combo myself.

At 58" x 58", this is a good lap size, and I hope it brings comfort to someone. It was a pleasure to make and I'm glad to have a place to send it to. Much better than just taking up space in my closet!

You can see more Hands2Help quilts over at Sarah's blog. She has 125 participants this year. Check out all the inspiration at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Stephanie's Cut and Shuffle Plus Quilt

My friend Stephanie Palmer of Late Night Quilter and The Quilter's Planner fame has made a quilt using the block construction method in my book Cut and Shuffle Quilts.

Stephanie kindly agreed to make blocks and post a book review of Cut and Shuffle Quilts. She went way above and beyond! She made several of my Plus blocks using the Block Mama method of making a parent block, cutting it up, and shuffling the parts. Her quilt is awesome! She totally made it her own using a modern layout with lots of negative space. And her quilting is spectacular.
Row by Row Plus by Stephanie Palmer of Late Night Quilter wm

Stephanie used her Cut and Shuffle Plus quilt as a teaching sample at a retreat in Fredericksburg, Texas. Check out her post here for more about her classes and the retreat center. It looks so inviting!

Stephanie's layout and quilting really enhance the Plus block in the quilt above. Below is my original version as featured in Cut and Shuffle Quilts.

If you're interested, you can purchase Cut and Shuffle Quilts from or AQS. If you'd like a signed copy you can order directly from me ($24.95 includes shipping) by leaving a comment; US only please.

Gracie's Party Dress

OK, I fully admit I'm obsessed with making doll stuff. I said I'd make one outfit or accessory set a month from now 'til Christmas. This month I made accessories and an outfit.  Here's Gracie in her new party dress; my niece wore a dress just like this for Easter.

OK, so It's just a little finish this week, and next week I'll get back to quilting. Linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Friday Finish at Crazy Mon Quilts.

Monday, May 16, 2016

My Latest Obsession

Since I finished up the Framed Nine Patch, my design wall is currently empty. I have an idea for a new project, but it will have to wait. I seem to have developed a new obsession.

You may remember earlier this spring I mentioned that I found an 18" doll in excellent condition at a local thrift store, and for $4 I couldn't resist. Just the doll, no clothing or anything. My excuse is that I can spend the rest of this year making clothes for her, then gift her to my 7-year old great niece for Christmas. Here she is in her dress from April:

I've named her Gracie, but my little niece can name her whatever she likes later.

I may have gotten a little carried away with making things for her. I picked up some baby things at the thrift store thinking I could modify them or use the fabric. I also found a commercial pattern that has basic pieces - shirt, pants, shoes - that I can modify as needed to make pretty much anything.

So Gracie now has tights, a nightie (made from an infant onesie), a purse, and shoes. And a cami with lace trim.

I planned to make one outfit or accessory set a month from April to Christmas. I'll definitely end up with more than that - I've become obsessed with making things for this doll. Pattern-making in 3D is different than pattern design for quilts, and I'm using skills I haven't used in years. I'm having fun with it. Maybe in my retirement I've entered my second childhood???!

Anyway, that's what I'm working on while I figure out what quilting project to work on next. Check out the quilting projects on everyone's design walls over at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Stash Report 5/15/16

A finish this week means I get to count the backing and binding out. And no new fabric in this week - yay!
Framed Nine Patch, 44" x 44"

I cobbled together the backing, and I'm estimating that it used about 2 yards. The binding used 3/8 yard.

This Framed Nine Patch was made entirely from stash, front, backing, and binding. If you're interested in the tutorial for the Framed Nine Patch, Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here. I'll try to get better photos later; the wind was helping too much when I took this one.

So, stash update:
IN this week - 0
OUT this week - 2-3/8
Monthly and YTD totals to come at the end of the month.

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times

Friday, May 13, 2016

F9P Finished!

I've had a lot going on lately and haven't been able to spend much time in the sewing room, but I managed to get my Framed Nine Patch quilted and bound.

I quilted it with an allover stipple but left the "frames" in each block unquilted to emphasize them.

I'll be able to count out the backing and binding on my next stash report. After Paducah, I need all the finishes I can get to use up stash!

Linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Monday, May 9, 2016

What I'm Working On

I didn't spend much time in the sewing room last week. Last Monday my design wall looked like this, where I'm piecing the backing for my orange Framed Nine Patch:
Backing for F9P in progress

Today the only change is that the rows are sewn together. Maybe I can get this layered and basted this week. 

Today I'm getting together with my friend and long arm quilter Sandy to pass this quilt and its backing to her. Sandy does beautiful custom work, but she has a very long waiting list. I'll put my name on the bottom of her list again even though I don't have a quilt in mind for it today, because by the time she's ready for me in 9-10 months I'll have something for her. 
Maple Leaf Star top, going to the quilter today

I'm excited to be planning a new version of Positivity, one of the quilts in my book Cut and Shuffle Quilts. I found this really cool Australian print at my LQS. I'll use it for the focus print and use Grunge for the accent colors. I need to get some more colors of Grunge, but here's the Aussie print and the ones I have so far: 
Australian print and Grunge

Here's an EQ mock-up of what it will look like. 
EQ mock up of PAussietivity

I just love how changing up the fabrics & colors can make a design look so totally different! I always think of my pink Positivity as a great quilt for a breast cancer patient, but the Aussie version doesn't have that connotation at all. 
Original Positivity

Linking up with Patchwork Times

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Stash Report 5/8/16 - Aussie Acquisition

You would think that after bringing home over 40 yards of fabric from Paducah last month, the last thing I should be doing is buying more fabric. Not so! I have a plan for this:
Australian print with Grunge

I purchased two yards of the Aussie print at my LQS yesterday. I'm planning to make another version of Positivity from my book, Cut and Shuffle Quilts, and this will be the focus print. I acquired the Grunge prints in Paducah, but I need some more colors, which I'll look for locally. I'm planning for this to be a shop sample for another Cut and Shuffle class later in the year.

This is the original Positivity, and I'll use the Aussie print where the speckled print is in the original.

So, on to the Stash Report: 
IN this month: 2 yards
OUT this month: 0
Moving in the wrong direction; I'll calculate the totals at the end of the month. 

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Backing in progress

It's been awhile since I've been able to post a work-in-progress post. Last month I posted tutorials for my Framed Nine Patch (Part 1 and Part 2), and completed a new top. Now it's time to cobble together a backing for it.
Framed Nine Patch with Border

To plan the backing, I put the top on my design wall, and I'm building wide strips of fabric from stash that will be big enough to cover the top. Here are the strips (rows) but they're not sewn together yet. The fabrics are whatever I found in my stash in the orange and yellow bins that would work, that I could use up.
Backing for F9P in Progress

Hopefully I can get this little quilt finished up this month.
Linking up with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, May 2, 2016

Goals Update

Usually I post my goals update along with my month-end stash report, but I ran out of time yesterday, so the goals update had to wait 'til today. May is going to be like that - I have some family stuff etc. going on so sewing time will be limited. April was a very productive month, though.
 Black & Tan Quilt for Hands2Help

Framed Nine Patch top (without borders)

April Goals Recap:
1. Layer, baste, quilt and bind black & tan quilt for Hands2Help. DONE
2. Write tutorial for Framed Nine Patch
     a. Make new sample, with in-process photos. DONE
     b. Post part 1 on Apr. 6. DONE
     c. Post part 2 on Apr. 13. DONE    (If you're interested, you can find the Framed Nine Patch tutorial in the tutorial tab above, then click on the link.)
3. Make new demo samples for AQS Author Demo Booth, Paducah. DONE. Also made pillowcase-style bag to carry the small foam core boards in. 
4. Make one doll outfit. DONE
5. Keep up with bee blocks. DONE
6. Have fun in Paducah. DONE!!! Oh, yeah, so much fun. 

Me, demonstrating blocks from Cut and Shuffle Quilts 
at AQS Quilt Week, Paducah

May Goals: 
1. Layer & baste at least one existing top. (If time permits, start quilting).
2. Prep backing for Maple Leaf Star top, and take top & backing to long arm quilter.
3. Plan a project to piece during Sew-In in June.
4. Make one outfit or accessory set for doll.
5. Keep up with bee blocks.

This is the Maple Leaf Star top that's going to the quilter this month. I don't know if she'll get it done this month, but at least it's percolating to the top of her list. Her list is usually several months out, and in early April she told me she'd be able to get to it soon but not until after Paducah. This quilt is destined to be a Christmas gift.
Maple Leaf Star, going to the quilter in May

So although I don't actually have anything on my design wall today, I certainly have plenty to keep me busy in May, so I'm linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

April Stash Report

Okay, time to account for my splurge in Paducah. DH says I'm no longer measuring fabric by the fat quarter (he's so tickled by that phrase!). He says I'm measuring it by the cubic foot. He may be close to the truth....
My 2016 Paducah Haul

So, the accounting:

IN this month: 40-3/4 yards  (FQ from STLMQG;  40-1/2 yds from Paducah)
OUT this month: 9 yards  (3 yds for F9P with borders;  3-1/2 yds backing & 5/8 yds binding for Black & Tan H2H quilt;  1 yd for Cut & Shuffle Demo blocks;  1/2 yd for Bag for C&S Demo boards;  3/8 yd for doll dress) 
Month change: 31-3/4 yards added

YTD IN: 54-1/8 yards
YTD OUT: 50-1/4 yards
YTD Net Change: 3-7/8 yards added

Not too bad. My goal for the year is to break even, and I'm pretty confident I can manage enough finishes to make up four yards over the rest of the year.

Usually I combine my month-end stash report and my goals update, but today I'm pressed for time so the goals update will have to wait for tomorrow.

Linking up with Patchwork Times; check out everyone else's stash management efforts over there.