Saturday, January 24, 2015

Grow Your Blog 2015

It's that time again -- time to meet new bloggers and visit new blogs. If you're new to "52 Quilts in 52 Weeks," welcome! If you're a current follower, welcome back!

Note: I am receiving so many "no reply commenter" comments today! Please, if you think you might be a "no reply commenter," include your contact info in your comment -- if I can't find you, I can't reply to your comment!

Grow Your Blog is the brainchild of Vicki at 2 Bags Full. Visit her blog to view the list of more than 400 blogs, all celebrating today!

About 52 Quilts

"52 Quilts in 52 Weeks" came about when I bragged in July of 2011 that I had made 35 quilt tops so far that year. Elder Son said "hey, that's almost one quilt per week!" And the challenge was on! Could I really make 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks?  Well, yes!  Younger Son insisted "52 quilts in 52 weeks is a great idea for a blog," so Thanksgiving weekend I dipped my toe in the blogging water.

The Younger Son (aka My Little Sailor, currently assigned to the American Forces Network in Yokosuka, Japan) is my tech editor. He updates the blog header each year, and wrote a really touching blog post last Mother's Day. Best of all, he is a professional photographer, so my profile photo makes me look 10 years younger (and 20 pounds lighter!)

UFO Challenge

My favorite posts are the monthly "UFO Parades." Each month, on the first, I post a "parade" of finishes by 52 Quilt's followers. Last year we finished nearly 200 projects! Go here for details, and remember: You are the boss of your quilting!

UFO Challenge

I make a quilt for each of my Mother's great- and great-great grandchildren when they turn 12 (next one will be posted Friday!). Last Summer, I finished my Farmer's Wife quilt for for my brother and his wife to celebrate their 50th Anniversary.

Hats for Sailors

My other "big project" is Hats for Sailors. This group knits hats for US Navy Sailors, and each year we select one or more ships to receive the hats we've knit that year. In 2014, we knit more than 500 hats! My goal for 2015 is to knit 52 Hats for Sailors (nine so far!)

Hats for

There's a Giveaway!

I think the most fun thing about "Grow Your Blog" week is the giveaway. I love sending goodies all over the world -- I've made friends in Australia (Hi! Susan!), Israel (Hi! Debbie!) and England (Hi! Gill!).  This year, I have seven of Miss Rosie's "Schnibbles" patterns plus two charm packs of Bonnie & Camille's Vintage Modern to give away. 

Want to win? All you have to do is:
  1. Comment on this blog post. Tell me if you're a quilter or if your craftiness takes another form.
  2. If you're a no-reply blogger, please include contact info. If I can't find you, I can't send you the prize.
  3. My blog is set not to allow anonymous comments so that the robots cannot find me. If you do not have an ID, you can still enter by email at the address listed under "About Aunt Marti" in the right-hand column of this page and I will post your comment for you so you have a chance to win. 
  4. International entries welcome, of course!
  5. Giveaway ends Valentines Day, February 14 at noon Mountain Standard Time. The winner will be announced on Sunday, February 15.

I didn't quite make 52 quilts in 2014 -- and I probably won't in 2015, either. But it's lots of fun to try, right? Thanks for dropping by!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Friday, January 16, 2015

TGIF: A New Look and a New Skill

Like the new "look" for 52 Quilts? Thank you to Younger Son, 52 Quilts' tech editor!

Look what I learned to do this week! Yes, believe it or not, I hand-applique'd four blocks for the First Thursday Mystery at Ruth's Stitchery.

This isn't  the best close-up, but I'm quite pleased with my first applique project.

Sonya taught the "starch and press" method. It involves the "mini iron of doom" but I managed not to burn myself. She posted a tutorial on the Ruth's Stitchery You Tube channel. Go here to watch. It's actually much easier than I thought!

Do you applique'? What's your favorite method?

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thursdays are for Knitting

I've set myself the goal of knitting 52 Hats for Sailors this year. Having completed five, I'm well on my way!

Here are the five I've finished so far. Details are on my project page on Ravelry.

In order to support this goal, I found it necessary to do some serious stash enhancement! I was able to aid a fellow Raveler in Utah who is attempting to offload some of her stash. I scored some real bargains in 100% wool superwash.

I can't claim all my yarn purchases this month have been for Sailors. The Christmas sweater I made for Younger Son was a hit with Elder Son -- so I ordered some more Malabrigo Mecha to make a sweater for him:

My eldest great-nephew sent a spectacular Christmas basket. One item was a gift card to my favorite shop,  the Loopy Ewe. I determined to buy something just for fun -- isn't it gorgeous? This is their Christmas special colorway from Dream in Color:

And this beauty  is washable, but the color repeat is so long I'm not sure it will work for a hat. Any ideas?

I've also knit a "ponytail" hat for my runner niece. The yarn is Deborah Norville's Everyday Soft Worsted -- 100% acrylic, so I made the cuff triple folded. Can you pick out the "ponytail hole?"

The orange is leftover from the Halloween beard I made for Elder Son. It's also acrylic, so not suited for Hats for Sailors. My niece's husband is also a runner, so I decided to use up the bright orange in a hat for him.

One last addition, two special colorways of Lorna's Laces from Ewe & Me

The top colorway is Air Force blue; the bottom is Denver Broncos orange. I'm sure there's a Broncos fan on whatever ship we knit for this year!

Are you a knitter? What are you knitting this year?

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tuesday Tool: Scrap Crazy Template

Do you find precuts, such as layer cakes and 6" strips, almost irresistible? I sure do! But I never know what to make with them!

Clever Beth, at Ruth's Stitchery, demonstrated this template set. It works with layer cakes, 6" strips, or even scraps. Here is what the finished block looks like:

The Scrap Crazy template set comes in to sizes. The larger size makes an 8" block, and the smaller makes a 6" block. I'm using the larger size to make a super-fast baby quilt.

I'm using twenty 10" squares, cutting five layers at a time. The templates come with excellent instructions, so I'll just give you a quick overview of the cutting.

The first cut is on the diagonal, to establish the angled line.

Then cut one "C" template and one "B" template.

Next, cut another "C" template, one "D" template and one "A" template. As you can see, there is very little waste with a 10" square.

Here are my five pieces.

I shuffled the stack to there are five different fabrics in each block.

The templates with angled sides also have a cut-off "nub," which is used to line up the pieces perfectly.

Here's another shot of my finished block:

And here is the first quilt I made using the Scrap Crazy Templates. For this one, I used an entire layer cake stack, forty 10" squares. Using all the different fabrics really makes a "busy" quilt. (OK, one of my friends said it would make her throw up. She didn't mean that to be rude, but it IS kind of hard to find a place for your eye to rest!)

That's why I decided to use only ten different fabrics for my second scrap crazy quilt!

I can't wait to see how the pink and red quilt turns out!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Monday, January 12, 2015

What's on the Design Wall? BOM-day

It's block of the month -- BOM -- day!

And today, I am determined to make good progress on my first UFO for 2015. It's Ryokan, a block party at Ruth's Stitchery in 2013. That means this is the third year I've been working on this quilt!

Here's what the pattern illustration looks like:

 "Ryokan" by Joe Wood for ThimbleCreek Quilts.

This quilt will be a gift for the Younger Son, who lives in Japan. When he saw the quilt while home on leave last September, he pointed out that he now has a "full-size" bed, not the narrow, short "rack" he had on the ship. So I biggie-sized the quilt, adding eight more blocks to make a total of twenty.

You'll notice there is one block missing. That is the last block, not yet finished. It's called "One More Block" from Judy Hopkins' 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks. Appropriate for the last one, don't you think?

501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks

Here is a close-up of some of the blocks. The 1" frames are around all the blocks now, and more than half of the cobblestone sashing is pieced. 

Linking up to What a Hoot Quilts for BOMs Away Monday.

I'm hoping that my DVDs of Season 5 of Downton Abbey will arrive today. That will give me a good excuse to hibernate in the sewing room with the TV on!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Stash

New year, new stash -- right?

I'm so glad I didn't announce a resolution to not join any new block parties at Ruth's Stitchery.

Because then I would have had to pass on this upcoming mystery: Border Creek Station. The theme is "Quilters Retreat" and it features the "Atelier" fabric collection from 3 Sisters for moda. The mystery includes an exclusive print only available with this quilt club. 

I'm a sucker for 3 Sisters designs. I love that red!

These are the fabrics Mary, Ann, and Yvonne helped me pull for the March Jelly Roll Party. Most of them are from a new Timeless Treasures Tonga batik collection:

Image of SOLAR ECLIPSE pdf quilt pattern
(photo from Elizabeth Hartman)

I've become so addicted to "low volume" fabrics, I couldn't resist Sew-Lux Fabrics' "Low Volume Fat Quarter Club."  Six new low volume fat quarters every month! Here is the first shipment:

This doesn't look like fabric, does it? It's two new hardwood cutting boards. No, I'm not taking up cooking. It's to flatten quilt blocks as they are pressed, a la Sally Collins. The best quilting advice I ever received was to place a heavy cutting board on top of the blocks after they are pressed, then let them cool. It really makes them nice and flat!

I've mostly stashed yarn this month, so if you're a knitter, come back on Thursday to view that stash! 

From the desk of your auntmartisignature