Sunday, December 30, 2012

Building a spider quilt in miniature

After being inspired by fellow Rebels, I decided I wanted to make a spider quilt.  Unfortunately, I didn't ask enough questions to figure out how to build a big one like the ones Patty and LeeAnn made. One thing I knew for sure was I didn't have the right tool and the Joanne sale isn't until next week.  So, I decided to have a go at a mini.  At first, I was going to make it into an AAQI quilt, but figured out that I didn't want to work that small.  I decided to start with 3" squares cut on the diagonal.  After some playing around, I decided on 3/4" strings that finish at 1/4".  This is how far I have progressed after about ten hours.  This will probably finish a bit less than 15" square.  It will be the center medallion for a larger quilt done intuition style.  What was I thinking!
Happy New Year and joyful quilting in 2013.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Finally, some Christmas quilt tops!

This is another challenge from Victoria at 15 Minutes Play.  It is 22" x 24".  To read more about how I made it, head to this page. If you scroll through the site, you will see some other very wonderful pieces made in this challenge.
This is a start from another 15 Minute challenge from a year ago.  I pulled it out again and changed out the center.  I am loving the Santa.  He looks like he is thinking hard, so I may have to add some embroidered thoughts in the green space.  I will be adding more made fabric to the top and the bottom.  It will be a wall hanging when done.
This is my favorite piece.  I saw this wall hanging on a blog a long while ago.  I fell in love with it, so I asked about the pattern.  I was told it was an old pattern by Betty Alderman Designs called Old St. Nick.  I collect Santa's, so I went on a quest to find it.  I was able to purchase it on Ebay, and finally found the right fabrics for it this year.  In the original pattern, the bag is made of patchwork.  I had this paisley I just had to use. The original pattern also has stars in the borders and on the Santa.  I am not sure I will add those.  I haven't quilted it yet, or done the machine applique stitches, but I am so excited about getting it this far, I just had to share.
To all of you who celebrate holidays this season, I wish you all the best and joyous of days.
Joyful quilting, everyone.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My sister's quilt

The quilt on the left was made by my sister, and the one on the right by me.  I love the colors and fabrics my sister used, and putting ther stars over the mountains makes so much more sense.  I don't know what I was thinking.  Her trees turned out much better than mine because she actually paid attention to the directions.  Hmmm.  Great job, Kim!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

First Sunday inDecember

I added the applique pieces to this piece and I like it a little better.  I am hoping that I will be inspired to do a great job quilting it.  It needs feathers or something.  It will be a great practice piece.  It is a good thing I have some of this challenge fabric left to try again.
As part of our Univera team, our group does charity stockings each December.  In addition to the fancy soaps and hand lotions I have collected this year, I decided to make some small pouches to be included.  I used fabric I had on hand.  These are fun and easy to make, just time consuming.  I do wish I would get faster at these things, but I guess I need more practice.
My most recent project is this Christmas small quilt.  I started with my scraps in my Christmas fabric bin and created these nine patches.
Then I cut them to create a disappearing nine patch, one of my favorite patterns.
Finally, I searched for and found this wonderful angel pattern by Erin Russek.  I changed it up a little, but not too much.  I am still deciding whether or not to add eyes.  I always worry that I will do it wrong and ruin the overall effect.  I am very happy with how this came out.  I really like the fabrics I found to use in the background, and I think the angel is so sweet.  I found this pattern a long time ago, and almost forgot about it.  If you love it, you can still find it at
That is pretty much what I have been up to this week in the studio.  I hope you all have been enjoying your week.  Joyful quilting, everyone.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Playing with Piet Mondrian

It all started with this challenge fabric from Patty at Rebels.  I got quite a nice piece of it and have been looking at it for a while now.  I really like all the colors, but I didn't know what to create with it.
Then, I started thinking about rectangles, which reminded me of Piet Mondrian.  I drew a sketch and then started pulling fabric.
I found these in the solids bin and the one batik was on the table from another project.  I decided to use it as well.
The first thing I did was to cut some motifs from the challenge fabric, cut them up, and put them back together again with small strips, a la Mondrian.
Then I got busy cutting more pieces and sewing more blocks together.  I forgot to take more photos, so you will just have to imagine some of the steps in the process.
After moving things around quite a bit, I finally got it all put together.  I have a couple of small pieces I am going to applique on the top to make the colors work better and balance the design, but this is what I have so far.  Unfortunately, I cannot seem to get the colors right on the screen.  It is not as clashy as it looks here.  The green is darker and the orange is redder and duller.  This is about 24" x 30" right now.  I don't think I will do borders.  This is a bright wall hanging for a dark corner.
Another piece I worked on over the weekend was this Amish Bars mini for a doll quilt exchange.  I have never done the cable stitch before and it was interesting creating a pattern that fit my design.  I am very happy with how it turned out.
It even looks okay on the back.  As most of you know, I am not the world's greatest quilter, but I am practicing something other than an all over meander once in a while.
Tomorrow, we will have a small family gathering to share Indian food since all by my son-in-law are vegetarians, and we love dal and palak paneer.  On Friday, I am going to try my hand at glass blowing with my professional woman's group.  On Saturday, Rebels is hosting Victoria for a tea.  On Sunday, I am going to a home party for Parklane Jewelry.  I sincerely hope you are all going to have as much fun this holiday weekend as I am.
Happy Thanksgiving to my friends who celebrate, and joyful quilting.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Catching up

My intuition quilt that I made when I first started quilting again has been published in Victoria's new book!
Victoria Findley Wolfe of 15 Minutes Play and Victoria Findley Wolfe Quilts has a fantastic new book published by C & T Publishers.  It is filled with really wonderful quilts made in an improvisational manner.  There are beautiful photos and how-to pages on making fabric and using made fabric to make some more traditional style blocks.  I am thrilled to have one of my quilts in the company of so many other stunning works of art. 
I spent some time today finishing the last section of "America the Beautiful."
I have to say that this was very time consuming.  I am glad I did it, but I am not sure I would do it again.  I think that diagonal strings would have had just a good an effect at representing "sea to shining sea."
Now, all have left is borders.  The pattern calls for two, but I may have three.  I have to see what I have in my stash.  I am very pleased with this quilt.  The pattern left a bit to be desired, but I have heard that happens with lots of patterns.  Of course, I like to do my own thing sometimes, so that may have been part of the problem.  My sister is finished down to the bottom motif.  I haven't seen it in a while, but I am sure it is quite beautiful.  She is using really pretty fabrics.
Finally, I decided to play catch-up with the Grandmother's Choice blocks.
This is the batik version of Week 10 New York block.  I think I may have done the light and dark stripes in the wrong order in both of them, but they work for me.
Here is the paisley version.  I decided to put the sawtooth star in the corner rather than use the star fabric or the star they recommended.  This just worked easier for me.
It is getting cooler around here, and the leaves are thicker on the ground than in the trees in some places.  The backyard squirrels are fluffier and lighter gray than in the summer.  Bella is already making Christmas decorations and the people across the street have holiday wreaths up across the front of their house.  I guess winter is right around the corner, and I am ready for it.
Enjoy these last days of fall.  Joyful quilting, everyone.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Another row, and exciting backyard events

First for the exciting backyard news!  As some of you know, we have backyard chickens.  We had a rooster and three hens.  The rooster has found a new home because he was a total bully and kept Tom awake much of the night.  The hens have been much happier.  We put up a tarp to protect them from the rain, and a heat lamp in the coop so they will be warm and cozy at night.  This afternoon, we heard them squawk up a storm, which is very unusual, so we looked out and saw a large hawk sitting on top of the coop, eyeing the hens to select an easy dinner.  Tom ran outside and I started yelling out the window.  The hawk flew up into the tree over the chicken yard, but not far enough away.  Tom quickly put the girls into the coop where they will be safe and warm.  Disaster averted for now. And on to quilting.
Today, I tackled the row of trees.  I sure thought I was on the right track.  I measured carefully, cut and sewed, making sure I had quarter inch seams.  I don't have any idea where I went wrong, but I was off by three inches in the end.
I ended up adding a couple of strips of sky to make the row wide enough.  I didn't want to do the row over again, and I think this works just find.
I still have to come up with a sashing strip between the amber waves of grain and the trees.  I have sewn the rest of the rows together, and I am very happy with it so far.
Remember when I talked about the way the directions had us make the friendship stars that left me with a bunch of extra triangles?  Well, I couldn't throw them away, so I played around with them today, and this is what I put together.
My sister and I found the background fabric during the Stash Dash, and I fell in love with the subtle colors.  When I put the quarter square triangles together from the extra trianges, I knew I wanted to build an AAQI quilt with them and this fabric.  I am particularly happy with this piece because I was able to translate an idea in my head into reality with fabric.  I only wish I was a better quilter so I could continue to carry out the vision.  I think this one will get facing instead of binding.
I hope you are all doing okay with the unpredictable natural events going on all around us.
Joyful quilting, everyone.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Is it Saturday already?

Brick Pavement is this week's Grandmother's Choice block.  I elected not to make last week's block because it was so much like an earlier one I really didn't care for.  This one was relatively easy to put together.  I didn't pay much attention to the cutting, but it looks like I fussy cut two squares.  Maybe I should have paid more attention so they were all fussy cut.
I like the batik one as well.  I am glad I am doing two versions.  It is helping me use fabrics from my stash that I am enjoying working with.
The next row on the row quilt, America the Beautiful, calls for the "amber waves of grain."  When Tom and I drove across the country in the summer of 2008, we saw fields of grains, veggies, and flowers stretching for miles in all directions.  The colors varied from lavenders to dark greens with lots of browns and golds in between.  I decided to use all these colors for these blocks.  There are six 6.5" blocks in this row.
This is what it looks like on the design wall so far.  The sawtooth star row and the waves of grain blocks are not sewn together yet.  The next row is made up of trees.  I hope to get that started tomorrow.  I may even get a chance to sew these last two rows together and add them to the top.  I think I am going to use a light blue for the background for the trees.  I am feeling that the middle section is getting a little dark.  The bottom section, "from sea to shining sea" is also pretty dark, so I want to introduce some lights before I get there.  I am really enjoying making this quilt.  We have already picked out a place for it to hang once it is done.
We are having a rainy weekend here.  I am concerned about my friends and family on the East coast, and hope you all stay warm and dry the next few days.
Joyful quilting, everyone.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Progress on the row quilt

The row below the eagles has three 9.5" x 12.5" mountains with two suns and one moon.  This is the first one.  I think it is meant to be a sunrise.  The background is pieced on a muslin background.
The middle block is a mid-day sun.  I chose a lighter blue batik with a pattern because during the day, you can see more details in the hills.  This one is also done on a muslin background similar to foundation paper piecing.  If I was to do it again, I think I would cut my radiating strips a little wider and use a lighter yellow for the sun.  Since I am using only what I have, this was the best I could come up with.
The last one is a moonlit sky.  I have used this background fabric for night skies before and I really think it is effective.  The french braid style mountain was fun to make.  Each block in this row uses strips in a different method.  That has made this row very interesting to make.
Here is how it looked on the wall.
The next row is six sawtooth stars.  I wanted to introduce some purple to the quilt, so found a light and a couple of dark purples in my stash.  It was really fun selecting the fabrics for these stars.  The points are all still there, but they don't all show in the photo.
This is how it all looks on the wall.  I haven't sewn the bottom stars together or the mountain row to the top piece yet.  I have been measuring very carefully, but my rows are not all coming out the same width.  I am going to have to do some adjusting before I sew these rows together.
I went to Bremerton to quilt with my sister last Thursday.  She is making great progress on her quilt, as well.  When we are both finished, I hope to post photos of both quilts.  They are very different from each other because of the colors we have both chosen.  I love her colors almost as much as I do mine, but I am glad we are using different colors because it is much more fun.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring in the studio.  Until next time, joyful quilting, everyone.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Row of Friendship Stars

Today, I put together this row of friendship stars that will be the top row for the America the Beautiful quilt from the Stash Dash.  This was another challenging block because of the lack of cutting instructions.  These stars are also made so that each one has a Y seam, always my favorite.  By the end, I felt pretty confident in my Y seam abilities - until next time. 
I have so many projects I want to work on, and I keep thinking I should get more done in the time I have in the studio.  Does anyone else have this problem?  I am just glad it is not a race and as long as I stay healthy, I may live long enough to get the list done.  Of course, that means not adding anything else to the list.  This, I think, is not possible.
Enjoy your evening.
Joyful quilting, everyone.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Making stars

#7 Alice's Star
This is the new Grandmother's Choice block for the week.  This is the paisley version.  I used the same three light batiks for the backgrounds in both blocks this week, just for fun.  I was going to machine applique the star, but allowed myself to feel pressured into hand applique because everyone else seemed to be.  One of these days I am going to get over that.  Next time, I am sticking with machine applique.  I am officially over my desire to master needle turn applique.
Here is the batik version.  I love the butterfly in this batik, even though I am not usually a fan of the multicolored hand dyed.  This one got included in the collection for the butterflies.
This is the block for this month's Comfort Quilt bee.  This is our last month for this bee.  It has been fun, and I have enjoyed all the blocks I have learned to make.  I joined this bee because each quilt was made for someone in need of special comfort for one reason or another.  I love that quilts can provide that kind of comfort.
Lastly, I made this sawtooth star for the Stash Dash quilt project my sister and I are each making.  One of the frustrating things about this project is that several of the elements have no measurements given, and we have to try and figure them out.  Fortunately, I have made tons of this star, so had a fairly easy time of it.  I guess there was an assumption that everyone who participated would be a veteran quilter. 
I hoped to get more done today, but was waylaid by a pesky headache.  Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day.  I have so many things I want to do.  It seems there is never enough time for it all.
Until tomorrow then.  Joyful quilting, everyone.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Eagles and Aunt Eliza's Star

I do really enjoy foundation paper piecing.  You can create the most amazing things.  I am very impressed with the people who are able to create these patterns. 

These eagles will soar near the top of the America the Beautiful quilt I will be building over the next several weeks from the pattern pieces I collected on the shop hop.  Hooray!  Another project to use my batiks!
Speaking of batiks.  Here is the batik version of this week's Grandmother's Choice block.  This one is Aunt Eliza's Star.  It seems that many of the blocks we have done so far are made to be set on point.  Perhaps this will be my first on point quilt.  Whoohoo!  Another challenge.
Here is the paisley version.  Red was my theme today, I guess.
I am going to spend the rest of the afternoon working on some marketing research for our health and wellness business.  Have to make some money so I can buy some thread and backing fabric for the quilts that are stacking up and need quilting.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.  Joyful quilting, everyone.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Stash Dash Day Two

We started day two at a much more reasonable hour.  After missing our turn to Poulsbo, and finding a beautiful back road that ran through a valley with big fields, great trees, and lovely old buildings and barns, we finally arrived at our first destination, Heirloom Quilts and Fabrics in Poulsbo, WA.  This is a very nice shop in the old part of town near the waterfront.  I always see fabrics there I love, but it is one of the higher priced shops in the area, so I am careful what I buy,  I did find a pattern there for a wall hanging that I couldn't resist.  It will be a gift, so can't show it here.  You will see it eventually.
Our last stop was Material Girls Quilt Shop in Silverdale.  I have been in this shop a few times before, and I am always so impressed with all the great quilts on the walls.
You can't really tell in this photo, but all the walls have quilts in every size.  They are all so beautiful and well made.  They also have good prices on fat quarters.  Since I needed some for this quilt project for this dash, I took advantage of the buy ten get one free special.
I accidentally put the light one in another photo.
Look at this adorable quilt that was on the wall in the classroom!  If I lived closer, you can bet I would be taking this class.  They didn't have the patterns for sale, unfortunately.
This is one of the fabrics I bought along the way.  It is Misaki by Melissa White for Rowen.  I couldn't resist the colors.  I don't know what I will do with it yet, but I have a half yard piece.
I have a half yard of each of these Marcia Derse pieces to add to my collection now.  So beautiful!
These are the fat quarters that I selected along the way.  Each shop gave one for free to each participant.  Each shop had a different group of fabrics to choose from.  My sister got more blue fabrics than I did, and we are each very happy with these new additions to our stash.
I had a great time going to these shops.  After a great lunch with Kim and her husband today, I gave Kim a short lesson on foundation paper piecing to create the eagles in the quilt.  Her eagle came out really cool.  After an even shorter demonstration on half square triangles, I packed my car and headed for the ferry for my journey back home.  It has been a wonderful couple of days, but it is nice to be back home to Tom, the vegetable garden and the chickens.
Tomorrow, I will work on the new Grandmother's Choice blocks and maybe piece an eagle or two of my own.  Until tomorrow, joyful quilting, everyone.