Sunday, October 30, 2011

I had to leave the house this morning at 9 to drive to Great Falls, VA to meet someone (who never showed up), so since I was in the neighborhood.....

Let's see what she bought that got her that bonus shopper bag...

Oooh.....aaahhh.....I couldn't resist her new line, Kashmir. I bought enough of one fabric from the line to back something, but I may wind up using it in a One Block Wonder/Kaleidoscope.  I almost bought it in shades of turquoise, but that's kind of my summer go-to colorway, so I opted for the more winterish fuschia, orange, red.

This is the main snag...this week's 'Web Special'....I just love it when someone figures out all the colors you need and you can pick up the project fabric in 5 seconds instead of obsessing over dozens of bolts for an hour (or two).

And this is what the end result will look like. This is a project for after the holidays.

Since I was in Virginia, and it was snowing back in Maryland, and there wasn't any heat back home, I decided to visit one of the Virginia G Street Fabrics. I have vouchers burning a hole in my wallet.

Well, no impressive fabric that I had to have...not even wool, but I did find a nifty gadget.

It shows you that you can get this

From this.

Or, you can piece together this

 From this. (Makes you wanna run out and pick up a Kaleidoscope book now, doesn't it?)

 It's just two little mirrors taped together, and they're plastic, so you can carry them around when fabric shopping and not worry about breaking them. Pretty cool.

By the time I got home from my Virginia excursion, it was snowing pretty steady so I went rooting in my workroom closet for some kind of Christmas project to work on. Look what I found. It's actually a pretty decent tinsel tree on a metal base. Lots of branches, definitely full. Don't know when I bought it or for what, it just sort of fell off a shelf while I was looking for something to do. I've fluffed it out and set it on the sewing desk in the studio to think about what the heck to do with it.

This is the craft project for tomorrow. Can you guess what it's going to be? I can tell you, the Hubs was not thrilled when he called while he was out (he called from Walmart to ask if we needed any goat's milk, and to inform me that it would be a shame if we did, because they were sold out ??!! I think his point was that they even sell goats' milk in Walmart is a bit unbelievable) anyway, I sent him into the Nether Region of the craft department at Wally World in search of a 4" styrofoam ball.He whined, but he did bring one home (good boy), so this will turn into something tomorrow (after I make a mess of the packed away Barbie stuff in the basement rooting around  for a plastic Barbie hairbrush to use on this yarn). Stay tuned.

And since it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...what is this? Hmmm....4 squares of blue, 4 squares of red, 8 different white on white prints, 4 tan prints and 4 green prints. This one is going to be an applique project...fusible with some blanket stitching. It's from an Art to Heart book (I love their projects). Let's see if I can knock this out tomorrow and show you a finish.

After that, I've got a Jinny Beyer table runner I started last year and didn't finish (gasp!----I got blindsided by mitered borders I decided to add to me Ms. Miterklutz). But as a vote of confidence and a shot of incentive, I picked up a 12 wt. Sulky variegated cotton thread to do some decorative stitching on it.

I'm going to need to replace those fall and Halloween quilts in the family room and still do not have a Christmas quilt, so I'm going to knock out a flannel rag quilt for the hubs. I was going to make a quilt for a gift, but I'm no longer feeling the love for this idea, so this will likely not happen.  So many quilts, so little time. Sigh.

Speaking of time...9 days until I'm soaking up the sun and surf in Florida. Tick tock.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Fall 2011

Updated to add some photos on 10/29.
I saw this quilt in the August/September issue of The Quilter magazine, and for some reason, it just grabbed me. I'm not normally a Halloween decorating kind of person...I kind of prefer Fall decorating because you can put it out in September and leave it out for 3 months before you have to start putting up 15 Christmas trees, assembling an army of gingerbread, and baking 47 dozen Christmas cookies, so I didn't quite understand my fascination and drive to make a quilt that I could display/use for a couple of weeks. Not to mention, I'm not really a 'panel' kind of gal.

Nonetheless, I had this unexplainably, almost rabid urge to make this quilt, so I set about finding all the necessary fabrics, and a coordinating back (we all know I'm a bit OCD when it comes to things matching...I'm just now starting to get over that need to have every fabric used come from the same line/manufacturer). I had to order from three separate shops...a valuable lesson learned....

Lesson 1: By the time you see the quilt in the magazine, the fabric has already been out for months (if not longer), so good luck wrangling it up...AND...Most online quilt shops do not carry the full line of fact most brick and mortar shops do not carry full lines...they pick and choose from within the line and colorways, so never think that putting together a project like this will be a one-stop shop.

It didn't take long to piece this together. I was quite proud of my perfect points and alignment in the star blocks. The little cornerstones were fussy cut so that a spider appeared on each one...tedious, but necessary to the design. The problem came when I got to the backing and discovered that....horrors....I hadn't ordered enough fabric. Great. So, I pieced together border fabric, extra panels, and what I had purchased and with a little 'cut this strip off the border fabric and add it to this piece' magic, I wound up with just enough to leave an inch all around.

Lesson 2: An inch overhang on a backing is not enough to allow your quilt to be long-armed, when it occurs to you that you should send it out because you're going crazy with the October 8th wedding details and worried that this quilt won't see Halloween 2012.

Sucking it up, I decided to lock myself in the studio one weekend and machine quilt this baby on the Bernina. My current fascination is teeny, tiny stippling (thank you Sharon Schamber!), so that's what I did around the star blocks...well actually, teeny, tiny switched to just plain small after the first block when I realized how much time that was going to take, but it's all good.

 The pieced blocks were stippled around the points.

The center of the stars got a spiderweb pattern quilted in.

Not the greatest stippling, but it it is small....the area pictured above is just about 2.5". MQP have a field day.

Then I had this great idea to pull out a metallic thread (which I have NEVER quilted with) to use on the spiderwebs that I was quilting over. Thankfully, my metallic thread was Superior thread, so I never had an issue with a thread break, or tension, though it didn't seem to quilt as smoothly and evenly as I had wanted it to. Fits and starts, a bit of ripping, and it really bothered me that I only used it on the 2 blocks with spiderwebs. Even after the quilt was bound I considered ripping it out again and going over it with cotton thread, but's a Halloween quilt, it's for me, it'll be out 2 weeks a year and repeat after me....."FINISHED IS WAY BETTER THAN PERFECT".


Not sure you can tell there's metallic thread along the web lines.

They aren't the straightest or the greatest or the most even stitches. But it was my first experience with metallic, so I'll need to practice. Maybe I'll pull it out and use it on the Christmas quilt.

Lesson 3: Test out quilting with metallic thread BEFORE you put a needle-full into your real quilt project.

In the end my quilting isn't perfect...there's some microscopic stitching going on that would resonate like fingernails on a chalkboard with the MPQ (Machine Quilting Police)--I just didn't feel like using my stitch regulator on this one, it gets in the way when stippling. I'm not thrilled with the corner blocks, though they are what the pattern called for. I did play with some other ideas, but in the end I was lazy and just said screw it, go with the pattern. But I do have a colorful, fun Halloween quilt to snuggle under in the family room for the next week or so, so I'm happy!

Thanks for looking, and be sure to check out the other quilts in the Festival. You can link to the Festival page and navigate the entries by clicking on the icon on my sidebar, or you can click the title of this blog entry. Big thanks to Amy's Creative Side for hosting this Festival twice a year. Love you Amy!


Please Vote For Me!!

I've entered "Witch Way" in a Halloween Quilt Contest over at the Quilting Gallery. (It's also going to be my Blogger's Quilt Festival entry, so you'll see it again in another post with a close up of all it's quilted glory).

I'd love it if you'd hit the link in my sidebar (or use this one:

to hop over to the contest site and vote for me, if you think I'm worthy. If you tell your friends, I'd much appreciate it, and they'd get to look at some darn cute Halloween Quilts that are in the contest. You can vote one time from an IP address (but you can vote twice if you use your smartphone and your home computer...three times if you're at work :)), and you can vote through Sunday night.

The winner receives the ultimate triple threat dream prize.......Moda/Fat Quarters/Batik.....a 40 pack of fat quarters from Moda's Paradise Batik line, generously donated by JoJo's Quilt Shop, who just happens to be having a pretty great sale right now, so you might want to check that out too.

Paradise Batik

My quilt is called Witch Way, and it's the third listing up from the bottom. Check it out.

Thanks a bunch, and have a fabulous Friday!!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Moving Right Along

My attempt to regain some sense of normalcy after the wedding resulted in laying myself flat with the flu (I knew I forgot freakin' flu shot!!!). But by Friday, I was feeling well enough to sit at the sewing machine for a couple hours, and I've been at it for a few hours today. Only two blocks left to quilt on the Halloween quilt and it's on to binding. Happily I will have a couple of OPAM finishes for October. Not too shabby.

My big score this month was adding this book to my collection. Long out of print, and selling for $95, I posted an ISO ad on the 'Sew Its For Sale' Yahoo Group, and a lovely woman in California sold me a mint, hard cover, first edition that doesn't even look like it was read for what she paid for the book  15 years ago.  I'm so excited to have this book because it's the handbook for putting together a free-form Gee's Bend kind of quilt, which is on my quilt bucket list. And I'm especially happy that there are quilters out there who are happy to share resources without taking advantage.

When you're home sick and you just don't feel like making messes, you tend to read, and I dove into a stack of books I borrowed from the Guild library about One Block Wonders. I guess they're kind of related to Kaleidoscopes. You take one fabric and hack it up and rearrange the pieces so the pattern is unrecognizable but artistically pleasing. Then you include a piece of what the real fabric looks like on the back and everyone oohs and ahs and goes, "OMG! That's freakin' amazing!". I want to do that. (I want to do everything, why wouldn't I want to do that?) had a killer sale earlier this week (another advantage of being time in bed), so I grabbed some Alexander Henry fabric that just might work for this. I will say that I have a gut feeling that this is going to be one of those projects I'll be sorry I started, but we shall see. Quilting techniques are kind of like've got to try it once--you might love it.

And since there was a sale, and since I am expanding my horizons, I thought I'd play around with a little 'ombre'...I just like saying that word.....'ahhm-bray'.  And this is going to be my 'ahhm-bray poochie' project, whatever it turns out to be.

While I'm adding projects to the heap, why not a black and yellow quilt?  Here's the first two half yards to start that collection. Now I've got something to look for on the Florida trip. (As if I needed a mission to visit quilt shops).

That was a quick catch-up, and now I'm off to finish these last two blocks so I can bind these babies (yep, the pumpkin table quilt is still raggedy).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Watch This Space! Entertaining Wedding Story To Come

I'm baackk!!!! And it feels good. Well, okay, I'm almost back. The MIL leaves tomorrow--don't get me wrong, it's okay that she's here, she's invited, she's not an imposition....but sometimes you just want your houseguests gone so you can not worry about being 'on' all the time. Also, I'm dealing with one last little wedding clean up issue and then I can work on running around planning our trip to Florida next month (and hopefully another one in January).

You know how it seems that every wedding has a story...and most of those stories involve something that happened the night before the wedding? Like at my SIL's wedding the guys went out after the rehearsal dinner, across from the hotel (which, come to think of it was a Hilton), and one of the groomsmen was a Cincinnati Bengal and people just wanted to pick a fight because he was a Cincinnati Bengal in Bethesda, MD, and the next day there was a lot of jockeying around with bottles of Maybelline trying to cover black eyes and such.....

Well, we got us one humdinger of a wedding story, also involving a Hilton Hotel (Hampton Inn), also involving groomsmen, also after the rehearsal dinner, though instead of rated R for violence, this one's rated X for sex (Hell-o!! Got your attention now, didn't I?). Seriously. But, before I can regale you with some hilariously entertaining prose, I'm going extend a courtesy to Hilton and allow them to submit an alternate ending, so hang tight.

Not to worry, there will be a story, and I promise, you will be amused (most certainly grossed out, but definitely amused) ,

The wedding was beautiful, the breakfast was great, the cake stunning, and I'm glad I've only got the one daughter. Onward and upward.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Good Class Today

I woke up this morning and thought that I am one lucky quilter. How many quilters get up on Sunday morning and have to decide whether they're going to their class with Mimi Dietrich ( Renowned author and Baltimore Album Quilter) or whether they'll instead go to their class with Sharon Schamber (World Renowned Free Motion Quilter, 3 time winner at Houston  (last year's best of show)/2 time winner at Paducah)? I live in a great city with great resources.

I went to Sharon's class, and while I felt bad skipping Mimi's class...that one's monthly, so I can catch up with Mimi next month. It was quite interesting, and a bit different from any other class I've taken.

Sharon has a rather unique way of teaching you to think about the process and develop 'body memory' (which, amazingly, the hubs knew what that was). Basically, the thought process is that you need to do something 12-40 times in order to remember it. (That explains why I seem to know the words to EVERY song I heard on the radio between the ages of 12-15---what else did I have to do, but listen to music and sing along...I couldn't drive!).

It was fun, she was entertaining, and most importantly, I learned a few things. Not only do I have a good start at quilting feathers, but I now know how to use two 3" wide by 1/2" (various length) boards to baste a pins, perfect sandwich. in just a little more time than it would take to insert safety pins. There's some videos on this on YouTube, check them out

I wouldn't have believed  that using a needle and thread to baste a quilt wouldn't take a week, and I'm looking forward to trying this out on a future quilt. I learned the herringbone stitch is the go to hand stitch for this, and I also learned that there are 'basting' needles. (who knew?!).

With the basting and the lectures, there was little time to stitch, but I did get in a little bit of feathering:

Not great, but not bad. There'll be plenty of time for practice after the wedding. (T minus 6 days and counting!)