Friday, October 24, 2014

A Million Little Pieces (Scrappy Kaffe Fassett)

Welcome to the Fall 2014 Bloggers Quilt Festival. I do enjoy spending the wee hours of the morning winding down and blog hopping to see everyone's entries in the Festival--so many beautiful quilts, and so much talent to be wowed by.  Major thanks to Amy Ellis for coordinating this quilt fest. It's a lot of work, and we all appreciate her efforts, as well as the generosity of all that provide the prizes for the winners. (Cheers and applause).

Here's my entry in the Scrappy quilt category. I hope you enjoy it.

I call this quilt 'A Million Little Pieces'.
I could call it worse having cut and pieced all those little scraps, but since I was entering it in the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair, it's name needed to be suitable for General Audiences.

To my surprise, it finished in 5th place. Had I named it 'A Million Little Perfectly Aligned Pieces  Meticulously Quilted on a Regular Size Home Machine with 1200 Yards of Thread With Added Flange' it might have fared better. (Next time.)


This quilt began in a workshop with Joan Ford (of Scrap Therapy fame). The pattern is 'Bloomin' Steps' from her book 'Cut the Scraps'. The quilt measures 75x87 and is made using Kaffe Fassett scraps from my stash (aka 'hoard') of Kaffe that I've been collecting since I began quilting 6 years ago. The contrast is Kona Bleach White, and it's been pieced and quilted with my all-time favorite Aurifil thread....white....50 wt for piecing/60 wt in the bobbin and 40 wt for quilting/50 wt in the bobbin.

Once it was together it hung in the studio for quite a while before I could muster the energy to begin quilting this on my trusty Bernina 440.


This has been the largest quilt I've had to wrangle, and let me tell you that not a quilting session went by where I didn't think  "Note to self: Don't forget to buy a lottery ticket...I really need a longarm".

Aside from all of those nicely aligned, crisp points, I'm most proud that of those 1000 1-1/2" squares in the border, no two alike are side by side. (A testament to my undiagnosed OCD)

It hasn't really been used yet, not sure I want to wash it before hanging it in our Guild quilt show this Spring.It came back from the Fair with a couple of black marks on it (literally) .....hopefully they'll wash out.

I hope you enjoyed my Festival entry and that you'll check back often and follow along as I try to finish Jingle (pictured below) in time for the holidays--2 years after starting it.  It's just about ready for wrangling (and it's a 'tad' bigger than Pieces). Can't wait. Fun times. (double not)

Note to self:  pick up a Mega Millions ticket next time you're out.

Enjoy the Festival!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Online Fabric Shops (and a review of two)

Since I'm not quite working on any projects yet, but prepping, I thought I'd give shout outs to a couple of fabric shops I just patronized.

When I was looking around for a reasonably priced yellow print that I could purchase to use in the upcoming mystery--in case the fabric I had purchased at my local quilt shop turned out to be too 'directional', I checked out the sale fabrics at Stash Fabrics. Stash is a purveyor of modern fabric, and they've got a great selection of bright, clean and crisp prints.  As expected, I bought a little more than the yellow I was on a quest for, but they're only half yard pieces (she says as a point of justification).

I just love these orange and yellow prints. I've got a stash of like prints that these will fit right in with.


This is the new 'non-directional' yellow (the directional yellow is on the bottom).

I think it will work and play nicely with the other prints I've lined up for the Bonnie Hunter Mystery.

What I liked about my Stash Fabrics shopping experience was that the selection was amazing, the prices were excellent, the shipping reasonable, and the fabric got to me lickety in 2 days, lickety split.. I'll definitely shop with them again...I give them 4 out of 4 stars.  

So.....If you like fabrics like this:

you'll love what you'll find at Check them out, you won't be sorry.

The second store I want to give props to was a totally new discovery for me. I found them through a very persistent web search for an old Hoffman Christmas fabric that my sister and I were on the prowl for. Their store didn't show up until about the 6th page of search results, and I am so glad I had the patience and persistence to find

Order placed Tuesday morning. Order arrives in my mailbox Thursday afternoon. Honest. What I loved is that I opened the package and found my fabric bagged and sealed with a big gold seal. (I just love it when a seller displays a little TLC in their packaging.)

Inside the bag was an envelope that not only contained my packing list with a nice little thank you note inked on it, but it also held a totally unexpected, free fat quarter.

I think we can all agree that free fabric is nice--even nicer when it is an unexpected surprise. And  super fast, inexpensive shipping is also high on our list of things that make an online store stand out above the pack. Oh, and the prices at quiltedchristmas were very good (this particular fabric was $1-$3 less a yard than from the other sites I found it at).

I don't know about you, but I've been known to spend well over an hour perusing fabric on a site and filling out an order form, only to get through the check-out process to find out they want to charge me $12 to ship my $25 purchase to me. When that happens, I mouse up to that little red x at the top of my screen and say 'buh bye'.

I find that most online shops take advantage of the free packing materials that the USPS provides them to use their service. The USPS flat rate priority envelope costs $5.75 to mail and will hold about 6 yards of fabric. I feel taken advantage of when a seller wants to charge me twice to three times that amount for shipping and handling. There's a lot of fishes in that online sea of fabric, so I don't hesitate to cut the line and cast a new one.

I'm pleased to say that Stash charged $5.75 to ship my order (4.5 yards) and quiltedchristmas charged $5.95 (4 yards plus the free fat quarter). Yet another reason I will be making further purchases from both of these shops.

Do you have any favorite online shops that you'd recommend?

Now, before I invoke the wrath of the shop local purists,  I'd like to say that what makes our craft such a desirable one is that there are so many resources available to quilters. We've got our local quilt shops for the camaraderie, classes and instant gratification, and we've got a vast array of online purveyors of fine fabric where we can find anything our hearts desire (and fabrics that are long discontinued :) ).

There is an infinite variety of fabric out there, and no one shop (LQS or cyber) can carry it all. While I do condone supporting your local quilt shop (as well as the brick and mortar shops you may run across when you're traveling for business or pleasure, as I so often do), I am also a proponent of spreading  the wealth to include the online fabric shops--how can we not take advantage of the tens of thousands of fabric choices that are available to us through the variety of shops we have access to?

Imagine how our Guild quilt shows would look like if we all shopped at the same local shop and we all used the same dozen Kaffe Fassett prints,  the same 20 solid colors, the same 10 selections from  the latest Timeless Treasures release.....  Thankfully we don't have to worry about this because we now have an endless supply and constantly updating selection of fabric choices available to us between our local shops and our online shops.

Hang ten, baby!

Thursday, October 16, 2014


On the plus side, I finished daughter's Halloween table runner....all 83 inches of it. Of course it's not labeled, if I had to wait for me to get around to making a label, Halloween would be over. I'll get it back after the holiday. It was a simple project, I just cut out a bunch of random width strips from half yards of fabrics (you could use FQs, as I wound up with a FQ leftover from each, since I cut my WOF in half). I sewed them together narrow in the center out to widest. When finished, I cut three 2"  strips off of the sides of my 72" long strip set. I added the black border and then I sewed the strips I had cut to that, being careful not to match them up to the center. I call this my FAUX BINDING. (Genius move on my part). Once I had the top together I just laid the back down right sides together,  laid the batting on top, sewed it together, leaving an opening for turning, and wah-lah...DONE! (Except for quilting). 'What?! No binding?!' say the quilt police.  It's a table runner, get over it--I did.

After a spendy little jaunt to the local quilt shop,  I was able to cut out everything I need to make a Dresden tree skirt for my daughter. Not that she asked for one, mind you, but there's a few ladies that would like to make one this year, so I'm having them over for a little quilt-in, Since someone needs to lead by example, I needed to make another skirt.

Here's the one I made last year, in a photo from the County Fair. (yes, that would be a Grand Champion ribbon, I'm flaunting....thanks for asking. )

And because one can never make enough trips to the local quilt shop, I'll probably be back there later today to fill in the fabrics I need for the upcoming Bonnie Hunter Grand Illusion Mystery that starts the Friday after Thanksgiving that a couple of my Facebook friends sucked me into.

I'm not a big fan of mystery quilts, but I researched the ones that Bonnie has done over the years and they are simply stunning, and appear to require major work (and obviously a lot of fabric....if you add up her numbers, for the 88" square quilt top alone she's asking you to gather 12-3/4 yards of various fabrics). Because this is a mystery, and I still have trouble committing to something sight unseen, for purposes of cost control, I'm using mostly fabric from my stash, I need to replace the yellow (the one in the photo is for the Jingle flange) and I may replace one of the green and turquoise prints, and add in a black or two.

I changed out Bonnie's suggested pink for a couple of oranges and a salmon-y color. I'm not a fan of bright pink, have none in my stash, and preferred the orange with the green and the turquoise (that top orange fabric will probably be eliminated, but for now it kind of works)

Then, last night,  I took a break from the quilt studio to move into the art studio...not my workroom, but someone else's real art studio--trading fabric for paper. The idea was to create 'pop art' (remember that?)

At the hubs' request, Tucker became the subject matter for this endeavor.  Let's just say that while not quite an epic fail, the results are definitely not 'frame-worthy'.

But, on the bright side, I learned a new technique that I could recreate in my own workroom without having to buy a single supply for. (Thanks to the acetate transparency sheets discarded by the hubs' office--which is what I traced onto, using a Sharpie, from the photograph--that I held on to a few of when I gave boxes of them to my quilt guild to use as templates). I might try this at home with some 'people' photographs. A trip to Ikea for some frames, and I could have some pretty cool one of a kind Christmas gifts.  Sure, let me add that to my to-do list.