Monday, May 23, 2011

Let's Get Ready to Pinwheel ( also an OPAM finish for May)

Saturday the make and take project at the quilt shop was fabric pinwheels. Easy, quick and fun. I've made these out of
paper before, as you may have, but the fabric ones are fun and longer lasting. And hey, we're fabric people, right? I've had a few people ask me how to make them, so here you go.

I started with 1 yard of Heat n Bond Ultra Hold and four fat quarters, which I cut in half. I cut the fusible into 4 pieces and ironed it to one piece of each fat quarter.

Then I peeled back the paper and fused a coordinated piece of fat quarter to one that had been fused.

 Now I've got 4 pieces of double sided fabric.

Which I then cut into various sized squares. For each pinwheel you need two squares of the same double-sided fabric. I wound up with 19 pairs of squares ranging in size from 6" down to 2.5". Anything over 6" is going to be rather 'floppy', so I'd suggest you stay under that. In fact, I think 5" was an ideal size (as was 2.5").

Before you go any further, take a minute to check the fusing on your squares. If youv'e got any edges or sides that you can peel back, hit them with the iron for 2 seconds to fuse them.

At this time, sort out all you squares by size, keeping the pairs of matching squares together. Grab your pencil and ruler and measure the width of the square, divide it in half and add 1/8". Take a ruler corner to corner and draw a line from the corner to the center as long as the measurement you calculated above. For instance, if you're using a 4" square, you would measure in 2-1/8" from the corner and draw a pencil line from the corner to this point. Do this for each corner. Then carefully cut on each of those lines. (Use your scissors, it's a simple one-snip process). You can snip a couple at a time, but be sure you adjust between cuts to line those corners up. The bottom one will tend to slip during cutting.)

Lay two matching squares side by side and flip one over. Starting with the upper right hand corner,  apply a small dab of hot glue from your glue gun and fold the corner to the center of the square and hold for a second until it sticks. Note: it is very important that you are turning in the same corners of each piece.

Do the same with every other corner, bringing it to the center and gluing it down.

Now you've got two contrasting pinwheels. 

Place one on top of the other, arranging so the blades of the top wheel are placed over the spaces on the bottom wheel. Use a bead of hot glue in the center of the bottom wheel to stick them both together. If it's a bit off, as long as you're quick, and the glue hasn't dried, you can simply give one of the wheels a twist to line them up properly.

Once I had them lined up how I wanted, I just folded down the top one and applied the glue, holding the two firmly together with my thumb and forefinger.

I like to work 'production line' style, so I did all my cuts at one time, and made all my pinwheel tops before moving on.

You can use lollopop sticks, straws, or bamboo skewers, which you can usually find in the grocery store.  Apply a generous line of hot glue to the back of the pinwheel and hold the non-pointed end of the skewer in it until the glue is set.  

I saved the scraps I had left from cutting squares and cut them into appropriately sized strips to use them to cover the stick (apply a little hot glue to the edges and place it over the stick and smooth it down). Don't worry about lining up your fabric pattern, it's not critical--it's the back, and really, we aren't trying to win any contests with these, it just looks nicer to have the stick and glue covered should someone happen to inspect your backside :).

To finish them off, hot glue a button or two (stacked) to the center of the pinwheel, and you're done.

In a couple hours, you too can have a pile of fabric pinwheels. Stick them in plants, fill a vase, use the little ones on cupcakes. Make them in Christmas fabrics and use them as ornaments (omit the stick), decorate packages with them, glue one to your straw hat, glue one to a hair clip....yada, yada, get the point.

 Have fun!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saturday's Finds

You might remember these neat little stamped metal charms I found a couple weeks ago in a shop near Jinny Beyer's?  Well, yesterday I took my neighbor to a quilt shop in Frederick and she in turn took me to this neat little once a month antique/shabby chic kind of flea market place in a barn in Buckeystown called Chartreuse and Co.

Here's a link to photos of the  merchandise offered this weekend:

Of course, she went Friday morning and noted that by the time we got there on Saturday afternoon, a lot of good stuff was long gone, but I did find these:

which will be adorning something of mine as soon as I can figure out what. And I'll likely ask my daughter's jewelry making friend, Scarlet Robin (be sure to check out that link...her stuff is fab-o) to stamp me some sterling so I can add it to my jewelry collection.

I also picked up a couple of cute gift items (guess who they're for :) )

This one's a magnet. Love it! :

Looks like I'm going to have to take off June 17th so I can be at Chartreuse and Co. on opening day. Thanks Ann, for the enablement.

I'll be back later today to share my afternoon making fabric pinwheels. Enjoy yours!

Monday, May 16, 2011

This Weekend's Shopping...A Giveaway for May

The fabric above is the reason I went back to the shop on Saturday. I saw it while I was in my one on one Smith Street Designs lecture  and I didn't buy it. It was not a case of out of sight, out of mind, and I decided that since I was out that way on Saturday for the wedding 'tasting' that I'd swing by and satisfy my craving. I tried to find some other fabrics to go with it and in the end just decided that it was time to up my stash building from half yards to full yards (I know, I know, I fully expect to one day be buying 3-4 yards, baby steps...) and purchased this with no specific project in mind. (Oh the horror!).

So the very helpful cutting lady gives me a sly glance and says..."did you happen to notice that we have those prints in blue as well"?

Put me down for 2 more yards.

And I had picked the print on the bottom to go with the red/butter prints above, but then I saw the maroon/gold and decided that this also had to join us (but only half yards of these...they'll more than likely be something other than a quilt.

My daughter mentioned liking paisley, so when I saw a few that went together well, the quest was on to find every paisley in the shop that might work together (fortunately, this is a rather small shop). A couple of them were half price, so I got full yards. I've now got 4 yards of paisley, so I think I can put it together somehow to make a suitable TV quilt.

I'm going to try to stay away from the fabric shops until G Street's Memorial Day sale.

When I stopped in Michaels to pick up the last of the drawer dividers, I found  a bunch of these cute, bright fabric flowers in little pots on display inside the front door. Just the happy type of display to catch your eye.

Being the quiltaholic that I am, I skipped right over most of them and my eyes locked on one that was was a stuffed flower. Light bulb moment.... PINCUSHIONS!

Don't you just love them? I do, and for that very reason, this is what is going to be May's Follower Appreciation Giveaway prize.  As always,  as long as you're a follower of this blog (and you are listed in the sidebar as one), you'll get one entry into the drawing for each comment you post during the month of May.  Good idea? Does anyone out there collect pincushions? What's your favorite?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Thread Storage Obsession - Mission Complete

There's no rest for the compulsive (or obsessive, or wicked....I've got it all covered).

The other day while I was in Michaels buying more lovely storage cubes (two 4-drawer units this time), I came across drawer dividers in the clearance aisle. They're made out of the same wood material the storage cubes are and they were marked down to $2.99. I came home with two.

My daughter stopped by on her way to drop off Ricky and picked up 4 more for me. By Friday night I had all my cotton threads compartmentalized.

And on my way home yesterday, I stopped in and picked up the last 3 in the store and now all my polyester sewing thread no longer has to feel jealous of the quilting threads.

OCD anyone?

Since the hubs hasn't been very proactive in picking flannel for his rag quilt, I've decided to pick up half yard cuts of what I think he might like to use when I run across flannel in the quilt shops. What he doesn't use can be used to back 2 preemie quilts for our guild charity, and what he does like I can pick up another yard of when I'm back at that shop.  Moda has some fabulous flannel releasing at the end of the summer, and I've dragged him on the online slide show, but he's not going there and wants to use more bright, non-coordinated stripes/plaids/dots. Whatever. It's his quilt.

This is the quilt. It looks like a lot of fun. It's two sided and it's constructed and quilted block by block. One side is the pattern, the other a solid square. If you're interested the pattern is Crazy Rag Time by Sandy Brawner and you can probably get it at

And this is what the hubs has started his collection of 8 prints needed with.

Today's plan is to sandwich and quilt DD's table quilt, and I need a dessert for Happy Hour with the ladies tonight (I know, it's Sunday, so we're calling it Happy 'Hour' tonight).

I'll be back tomorrow with the finished table quilt photos (fingers crossed), and pics of yesterday's exercise in stash building.

I hope you get a chance to visit some more of the Bloggers Quilt Festival posts throughout Blogland. I'm enjoying my tour. I've got Amy's site bookmarked and I'm working my way through the posts from the beginning as I have some time. Just be sure you write down the number of the next stop before you walk away from the computer.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Spring 2011 - My Mexican Star

This is my Mexican Star. It's an experiment in curves and color. My second quilt using batiks and contrast.

I like that the curves are formed after it's pieced, so there's a dimensional quality to the piece.  

I used a combination of very square and very circular freemotion quilting patterns on the circular background, which was relatively painless and left little room for disappointment.

This quilt was one of those 'outside my comfort zone' projects that I'm glad I went for. It was a challenge picking the fabrics that went together (based on an instruction to choose 'light', 'medium' and 'dark"), and finding a background that worked. Especially since I'm generally one of those quilters who just picks a line of fabric and uses the various prints from within that line.

And what I really like about this little quilt is the back

When I saw this fabric in the quilt shop, I knew I had to have it. This was my introduction to Jinny Beyer, and because of this fabric, I've made a couple of trips to her shop in Great Falls, VA. You'll see her fabric turn up as inspiration fabric in a couple of my upcoming projects.

I'd like to thank Amy at Amy's Creative Side for once again hosting the Blogger's Quilt Festival. There's a link on my sidebar that I hope you'll use to view the many beautiful quilts and their stories from this Spring's participants. No need to rush through, they'll be available for a while and you can hop from one to the other through links posted by the participants. Enjoy the beauty, and I hope you find inspiration.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Winding Ways is Now a Quilt Top

(Note: If you click on the photos, you can see the color better. The Winding Ways colors were hard to photograph. I think I'm going to wish for a new camera for my birthday...someone tell the hubs :) )

This is one of the Jinny Beyer fabrics I bought that I didn't show you.

Last night I decided I needed to take down the design wall, it's starting to look like 'clutter', so I set to finishing the Winding Ways table quilt.

If you remember, this was definitely not my best use of the fabric patterns and colors...any other pattern would have worked, but I was anxious to use the GO!.  Live and learn and most importantly--add some solids to the stash. (Counting the days to G Street Fabric's Memorial Day Sale....I've got a voucher to use)

I arranged the blocks on the wall in a few patterns. This was the first try and the one I was going with last night

Sort of a checkerboard,  there are four different block patterns from 4 fabrics. I thought about sashing, but I really just want to get this little quilt over with, though, in hindsight, sashing might have been a way to add some definition and break up the monotony...too late now.

Before I would commit to stitching, I thought I should try a couple other this center/corners layout


Hmmm...I'm kind of liking this...what if we pair up those outside middle blocks to be the same blocks side by side. Yeah, that's the ticket! This, my friends, is why we need design walls. It's always good to be able to easily shuffle blocks around and view the results from a distance. It's also a good idea to take photos and view them. For some reason, they add another perspective..

It almost looks as if it we knew what we were doing with that fabric choice...(hush! I said 'almost'). Let's get a little border action going....

Maybe one more.  But it can't be too wide because we don't want to run out of backing material and have to piece something to fit. I think we can swing a 2-1/2 inch border all around.



And I used this as an opportunity to practice mitering my corners. (Someone really needs to invent a painless way to do this as mindlessly as possible.,,,, I know, I know, do it enough times and it will become mindless...I hear ya)

Let's slide the design wall and get into the closet and see if we have any packaged binding that will work. (I tell ya, I want this puppy done and out of here.)

Tomorrow night I've got to drive up to Frederick for a 3-hour lecture/demonstration on making one of the Smith Street Designs machine embroidered quilts (I've got the pattern for 'Parlor Charm'). I am going to force myself to learn to use all the embroidery stuff I got with my Bernina. The hubs refers to this quilt as 'his quilt'. He picked the fabric and he's patiently waiting for me to make it. Actually, he's waiting (not so patiently)  for me to learn how to use EQ7 so I can scan his fabrics in and he can decide how he wants to use them. Honestly? I think he's got a better chance of winning the lottery this year than seeing this quilt done.

So many projects, so little time....

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hello, It's Me

 Isn't it fun to name your posts with song titles and then you can listen to the song while you read the post? (Yes, if you've got speakers or headphones, my blog does have musical accompaniment).

Today's been one of those melancholy days. A little feeling sorry for myself, a little tired, a little pissed off, a little unmotivated all rolled into one kind of day. I'm sure it will pass in a day or two. Too bad it's not a weekend or I could go work it off in the garden. Sigh.

The highlight of the weekend was the trip to Jinny Beyer with my sister. Jinny Beyer's shop is not the type of shop I'd visit more than a couple times a year. Don't get me wrong, it's a fabulous shop and she has lovely fabrics, but the shop only carries Jinny's line of fabrics, probably no more than a hundred bolts to choose from. I love her border prints, and her color palette, and the quilts she designs, but I can't imagine having a stash without a healthy dose of Kaffe Fassett, or anything Moda, or batiks, 1930s reproductions, strips, POLKA DOTS!!!

I went on a mission to  find a sophisticated inspiration/border print for a second Baltimore Album quilt. And I did...6 yards of this came home with me...borders, sashing and setting HSTs for an on-point 13-block quilt. I thought I'd need 3, but the woman cutting suggested that I might be a little 'off' in my calculations, and since this particular print isn't being reprinted, I might want to take that into consideration. (I did)

please excuse the colors...I have apparently transferred my current crankiness to my camera so it is not applying itself to it's best ability this evening. All of these colors are much, much more vibrant than you see.

I also found some hand dyed wool in lovely sherbet colors as well as  the perfect match border print  to use for an upcoming wool applique wall hanging which I'll be starting soon from Gretchen Gibbons Pennies from Heaven book (love it!)

And this is another print I had to have, but I only picked up a fat quarter for now. There's a third fabric, but it will not photograph in this light. Both that and this FQ will be used for papercut blocks in the quilts, where a big print is an advantageous print.

I did get a tiny bit of sewing in over the weekend....for my sister. I quilted a quick and cute little table runner she had pieced as a gift for someone. Got to use my new stitch in the ditch sole on the walking foot for the piano key border and I pulled out the BSR and quilted starfish all over the center panel and the corners. It's perfect practice, and I'm finally over the horror of 'practicing' on someone else's work, as they seem to wind up liking what I've done (though it is FAR from perfect).

Today I spent a good amount of time perusing all of my applique books looking for patterns to use for the Album quilts. I had out my trusty proportion wheel, my ruler, my calculator, and I painstakingly copied patterns I wanted from each book and calculated their enlargement/reduction values to work on my 14" finished blocks (I'm looking to have the actual design span 10.5" so I'll have room to quilt them on a diagonal grid and you'll be able to see the grid stitching all around.) I've pretty much decided that baskets are out, though I could change my mind. I'm just afraid if I commit to 4 basket blocks per quilt I'll be making little bias strips to weave into baskets for the rest of the summer and won't get anything else done.

I also picked up another fun item at JoAnn on the return from Jinny Beyer......iron on glossy vinyl to laminate fabric. I just bought this Fossil purse that seems to be made from a laminated canvas print, and I was thinking what fun it might be to laminate some of my Indigo or the Australian prints and turn them into functional accessories. I'll keep you posted on how that turns out. I'm leery.....somehow the words 'iron on' and 'vinyl' don't exactly spell success to me.

Have a lovely day tomorrow. I'm sure you'll all be in better moods than I. Maybe I'll shake it off and get some stitching done after work. That might help..

Friday, May 6, 2011

Crawling from the Wreckage

First off, let's congratulate QUILT SUE in the UK who is the winner of the April Follower Giveaway. The Little Bits Think Spring paper piecing pattern and papers will be winging their way to her tomorrow, and we'll give her until next Spring to make the 4 little quilts, at which time we shall expect her to post photos. Congrats Sue!

New month, new giveaway. All you've got to do is post comments during the month and each comment gives you a chance to win in the drawing at the end of the month. I'll pick a prize for May shortly. But for now, here's what's up with me.

I'm in a bit less pain than a week ago, so I'm trying to catch up. My studio is a mess, honestly, it's a train wreck (horrified gasps all around).

 But that hasn't stopped me from adding to the madness.

I started off the week at Michaels. I love my thread chest so when I realized I would need some type of storage for sorting fabric scraps, and figured the little rolling drawer cart in my closet was perfect, I now needed a place for the contents of that cart (zippers, snaps, dressmaking notions, etc.), and since Michaels was having a sale, I grabbed another pair of stacking drawers.

 Bonus...more surface space.

On Sunday, I began a year long monthly workshop with the fabulous Mimi Dietrich. It's all about making a Baltimore Album quilt, which, hopefully, will be completed  (at least the top will), by next May. I'm thinking about doing double blocks each month and making two. (always the over-achiever)

Mimi likes you to use washed fabric. I've never pre-washed, so this was something new for me.

 Oh, did I pink all those fat quarters? You bet I did. (And do I have little threads all over the clothes I threw in the washer with them? You bet I do!!!)

And then I had to iron them all.

After pressing I cut a 2" square from each fat quarter.

Folded over the corner and cut a little hole.

And then I thread them on a binder ring.

And when I'm done, I've got a little swatch ring of all the fabrics I have for applique. I can carry this with me to stores and see at a glance what colors I'm short on, what patterns and color values I'm using.....and it's darn fun to pull out of your purse and play with.

This started out as my inspiration fabric, but I need more, and the shop didn't have enough available. It's a Windham Brick House pattern, so it's a couple years old and likely not going to be found anywhere, so the plan is to make a trip to Jinny Beyer's Saturday to replace it. (Which is a shame because I really, really, like this fabric). And, I've got to order 6 more yards of the Kona Bay Rain white on white.

Unable to resist the lure of a quilt shop, I caved Wednesday afternoon and popped into Capital Quilts on my lunch hour and found a new inspiration fabric.

And this one happens to go pretty well with the taupy Kona Bay Rain Cream fabric I bought by mistake, and will now need to order 6 more yards of. It came from Hawaii, and she's currently out of that color, so hopefully she'll have it in in the next week or two.

Hmmm....two different backings, two different inspiration fabrics, why not two Baltimore Album quilts?

Another root through my stash for compatible fat quarters for applique.

Another hour of ironing (and a half bottle of Mary Ellen's Best Press later)

And I've got an enviable stash divided by quilt, laid out in a little suitcase. And the leftovers will be perfect for the Dear Jane I hope to someday make.

And we needed to add those to the swatch ring as well.

There are 65 fabrics on that ring...30 for one quilt, 35 to choose from for the other.  I think I'm soon as I get the 12 yards of background and the 6 yards of inspiration (which is used for sashing and border applique (think swag, fleur de lis...)

I've made a little take to class kit (another find in Michael's scrapbook department...40%+10% off)...lots of little compartments, the inside center will hold a couple dozen spools of silk thread (you'll likely find me at the Superior Thread booth at the Quilters Unlimited Show this June in Dulles, VA...yes, I've got a list of colors in my iPhone)

All that is left is to pick 14 block patterns and size them appropriately. Next class is June 12 .

 I am such a goober for this stuff....I even colored in my handout from the teacher to use on my class binder.

Well, since I'm not supposed to be drinking, I guess my water bottle and I will be spending some quality time cleaning up the studio tomorrow night, and I think I'll be flying solo to Jinny Beyer's on Saturday. I'd drag the hubs, under the guise of humoring me for Mother's Day, but he's already got a tee time. To be honest, Jinny Beyer's shop is one shop I'd rather he not tag along (more like drag along) to....what happens at Jinny Beyer's stays at Jinny Beyer's :)

Have a good one!