Friday, May 22, 2015

Finally a Friday Finish!

I've been on an extended trip to Texas, so the Friday Finishes have been thin on the ground.

Here's the May Jelly Roll Party sample:

The pattern is "True North" by Peta Peace of She Quilts Alot. The fabric is Daysail from Bonnie & Camille. I love the "waves" that Vivian quilted on it!

I used my Folded Corner Clipper to make the folded triangles in each block. I noticed Ruth's Stitchery has re-stocked this favorite tool. If you're planning a quilt with these triangles, do yourself a favor and order one!

Tomorrow is a trunk show by Jen Kingwell at Mama Said Sew in Ft. Collins. I can't wait to see her gorgeous quilts in person!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thursdays are for Knitting (or starting!)

Summer travel plans are underway.  Hats for Sailors are the perfect knitting to take along!

I don't know about you, but the only part of knitting hats I really need to pay attention to is the cast-on. After that, it's mostly mindless. So I cast on multiple hats and put each in a project bag with the pattern and a second size of needles, if needed.

I do have a few finished hats to share. First, the non-HFS hats.

This one is a "Big Chunky Comfy Hat," a free pattern on Ravelry. The yarn is Sheep Shop Yarn Company Sheep 2 that I picked up years ago at Knit Knack in Arvada, Colorado. This is a super-speedy knit, perfect for a last-minute gift.

Next is the Skeppa hat, pattern by Sarah Jo Burch Designs and also available on Ravelry. The yarn is Elsbeth Lavold's Silky Wool. 

I'm up to 25 Hats for Sailors, almost halfway to my goal! All three of these were made using the April HFS knit-along pattern, "Cobblestones" by Susie Gourlay. It's also free on Ravelry. The yarn is Cascade 220 Superwash paints and Superwash solid. 

Now for the Works in Progress!

HFS #26 is "Barley," from tincanknits. The yarn is ewe ewe Wooly Worsted, color Aquamarine, which I confess has given me fits. Ever have a yarn that just doesn't like you? This is the third or fourth project started with this yarn, prior attempts just haven't worked out. So far, the Barley hat is coming along fine!

HFS #27 is made from a 100% wool sock yarn (thelabelismissing) and the Runner's Watchcap pattern from Chiagu. I'm 99.9% sure this is a machine-washable yarn, but if I can't find the label to be sure, it will go in the "someone will need a hat" bin. 

HFS #28 is the yet-to-be-cast-on Round and Round hat by Jennifer Vancalar. I searched and searched for Holiday Yarns, ordered it online, then found it all over in Texas! The pattern requires two colors, a solid and a space-dyed yarn. I have three skeins so I'll probably make two hats from this pattern. 

HFS #29 deserves a post all on its own! This yarn from The Tinsmith's Wife in Comfort, TX, is yummy! It's High Wire 3-ply, hand-dyed by Yarn Carnival in Austin. This colorway is "Big Bad Wolf," and myohmy, it's a good thing I didn't find it before I bought the yarn for my Featherweight Cardigan! I might decide to make a second cardi using this yummy yarn! BTW, The Tinsmith's Wife is absolutely worth going out of your way to visit! (The pattern is Spralini by Jane Tanner, free on Ravelry and the May HFS KAL.)

My "home" LYS in San Antonio is Inskein Yarns. Shannon and all the knitters at the Tuesday morning knitting group went out of their way to make me feel at home. HFS #30 is being knit with a 100% superwash merino hand-dyed by Jennifer Caswell. The colorway is "Pooh Bear" and the pattern I'm using is "Willow Hat" by Melissa LeBarre (pattern on Ravelry). 

#31 is a yarn that's been in the stash for quite some time. The yarn is Gobelin from Biscotte & Cie, colorway Poisson Tang. I'm using a favorite pattern, "Striped Beanie" by Donny Guercio (another free pattern on Ravelry).

HFS #32 is another yarn from The Tinsmith's Wife. This is Pebble Worsted from Black Trillium Fibers, colorway "10th Doctor" (because who can resist David Tennant?) I using the Rib-A-Roni pattern by Jane Tanner (another freebie on Ravelry).

I can't remember where I bought this Manos del Uruguay yarn, "Clara," for HFS #33. The pattern is Violet Waffles by Halldora J, free (of course!) on Ravelry.  This photo doesn't do justice to the gorgeous blue shades of the "Black Forest" colorway. Oh! I bet I bought it at Table Rock Llamas, intending to knit the Black Forest Fire charity infinity scarf!

Cast-on HFS #34 is my own creation, based on this Hudson's Bay Co. bag I bought in Victoria, BC 10 years ago. I'm using five colors of Cascade 220 Superwash to mimic the stripes of the iconic Hudson's Bay Blanket.

That should keep me busy for a month or so!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tuesday Tutorial: The Scrap Bin

With the rising cost of quilt fabric, I'm reluctant to toss even small bits of scraps. Which means my scrap storage method is quickly becoming inadequate!

There has been an explosion of "1 Hour Basket" finishes on blogs, Facebook, and Instagram. While I love Kelby's design, it isn't quite the right size to fit my new "scrap shelf." So I made some measurements, and came up with a fabric basket that finishes at a 10" cube.

Here's how I made mine!

What you'll need:

I used Soft and Stable for my first sample. It's kind of spendy, so I changed to fusible fleece for subsequent bins. The Soft and Stable bin stands upright when empty better than the fusible fleece bin. But when they're filled with fabric (and they are!) either works fine.

  • (5) 10" squares of Soft and Stable, or fusible fleece

  • (10) 10" squares of fabric -- perfect for leftover layer cake squares

You may choose to use decorator weight fabric or even canvas. If so, I would line the bin with quilting-weight cotton.

 And here's how to make it!

1. If using fusible fleece, follow the package directions to fuse the fleece to the wrong side of five of the ten squares. If using Soft and Stable, either glue base or sew baste at 1/8"  to wrong side of the squares.

2. Place two squares right sides together. Sew along one side, beginning and ending the stitching at 1/4" from the end.
Start with the lining. This way, you'll get practice stitching on the part that doesn't show in the finished bin!
I always use a red pin as a "flag" when I want to begin and end at a specific point in the stitching. 

3. Important!  On one side of the bottom square, leave an opening about 6-8" to turn the finished bag.

If you forget to leave an opening, you can pick out the seam later!
4. Continue adding squares to each side of the bottom square until it looks like this:

5. To sew the side seams, fold the bottom square to form a 45-degree angle. This keeps it from getting caught in the side seam. Line up the sides and pin in place.

6. Begin stitching at the bottom seam, back tack, and continue stitching to the top of the side pieces. Back tack again.
The back-tacking keeps the seam from coming apart when you turn the bin right-side out.

I used a red pin to show exactly where to begin stitching. It's not at the edges of the fabric -- this is like stitching a "Y" seam in a quilt block, you start sewing 1/4" from the edge of the pieces.
 7. After the lining pieces are sewn together, sew the outside box the same way.

8. Here is my finished "box."

9. Turn the lining right-side out and place inside the outside.  Pin all around the top:

I turned the seams in opposite directions so they would "nestle" when stitched.
10. and stitch all the way round:

11. Remember that opening you left on one bottom seam of the lining?

 If you press the seam allowance open, it will be easier to line up to stitch the opening closed.
Stitch the opening closed as close to the folded edges as you can. 

This will be covered with scraps of fabric, so don't panic if it isn't perfect! 
12. Press the top edge, using plenty of steam to encourage the edges to press flush. Then fold the top inch or two wrong sides together and stitch through all layers for about 1.5-2".

This helps the box hold its shape when upright. 
13. Top stitch about 1/2" from the top, all the way around.

14. Et voila! Your finished scrap bin, ready to fill with scraps, or squares, or strips!

It took me less than one hour to make the second and third bins. As you can see, I need six more!

I thought about making the bins match the color of scraps. But then, I would have had to buy (gasp!) fabric to make bins to hold scrap fabric. That just seemed silly!

See that basket with the yellow paper bow on top of the shelf? It was a "welcome baby" gift from my boss at Pacific Lutheran University when the younger son was born. Now it holds ironing supplies, but I think of Dean Moe every time I see it!

I hope you'll experiment with making your own scrap bins. Like the 1 Hour Basket, they're addictive!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Monday, May 11, 2015

Design Wall Monday

When one rainy/snowy day follows another, the thing to do is: Stay inside and sew!

And that's just what I've been doing all weekend. I was seriously behind on my "A Quilt Block a Day" blocks. OK, I confess. I had the black and grey fabrics cut out, and that was it. So I sat down Saturday and Sunday and made 51 Attic Window blocks.

I'm using a jelly roll of Kona's new 2014 colors. Rather than try to make a rainbow of the colors, I'm placing them in the order they come off the jelly roll.

I love the way the colors look in the shaded blocks! If you want to join the "A Quilt Block a Day" Facebook group, go here to follow. And the tutorial, by guest teacher Sue, of Sue's Quilty Bits and Bobs, is here. The Folded Corner Clipper makes the blocks go together super fast, go here to see the tutorial.

Saturday was the 50th day of Spring -- so if you've been keeping up, you have more than half the quilt top finished!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Friday, May 1, 2015

Mayday UFO Parade

Did you ever make flower baskets and hang them on the neighbor's doors on May day? The little boys and I used to do that -- as Gretchen Rubin says, "The days are long, but the years are short."

First things first, the UFO number for May is:


I'm writing today's post on an Apple computer, so if things look a bit different, blame that!

We have a special guest  "finisher" this month. It's my courtesy niece, Faith. I'm having so much fun sewing and painting our nails together!

Faith made this quilt for her teacher using a V Christensen "Color Theory" charm pack and a Villa Rosa Designs pattern, "La France."  Cute and super easy!

Sandi finished "Checkered Past," a free pattern from Barbara Brackman. She calls it "Kuriosity," of course -- must have a "K" name! Details and a link to the pattern are on Sandi's blog, KwiltnKats, here.

Debra B. made some cutie-patooty baby quilts this month! (Panels from Cozy Quilts in El Cajon, CA, in case you want some!).

And a last-minute finish with a funny story from Debra:

Walled Garden by Sheila Sinclair Snyder was done Patriotic-style - at least an attempt was made. I thought I had all of the diagramming done correctly and from the looks of it - that wasn't the case. I am a little disappointed, but I learned one thing in making this quilt - a designer I am not.
I still like it, Debra!

Kerry's April finish is from Bonnie Hunter's "Adventures With Leaders and Enders." It's "Sister's Nine Patch," and you can read all about it on Kerry's Quilting blog, here.

Heather has two finishes this month. First up is "Ye Olde Schoolhouse," a Prairie Women Sewing Circle project by Pam Buda:

Her second finish is "Lozenges," Bonnie Hunter's 2014-15 leader/ender project. BTW, Bonnie's new "Leaders and Enders" project will be announced next month!

More details on Heather's quilts are at her blog, Peachy Pages, here.

Nancy's blog post is titled "Work Gets in the Way." Which is why she has the blocks finished for her Vintage Modern quilt, but they aren't sewn together. That's OK, Nancy, finishing the blocks was your goal and you reached it!

Here's Donna's UFO for this month. She writes, "Someone (I can't remember who) gave me a fat quarter of the yellow print and I fell in love with it. I have looked everywhere and can't find any more so I used most of it in as large a block as I could so that it would definitely be noticed. It is such a cute print!"

I have to agree, Donna!

Mary says the UFO Parade was just the "little push" she needed to finish this Fairies quilt she has had "for years." So cute, Mary!

I hope I haven't missed anyone's UFO this month. I'm away from home and using a friend's computer, so I'm never sure I'm getting everything right! Please let me know if I missed you, and I'll edit the post!

Texas quilt/yarn shop report next Sunday, May 10!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature