Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WIP Wednesday

How's this for a Work in Progress?  That's Elder Son assembling my new Mega Quilter.

A lead cashier at the orange store, he is one handy dude to have around.  Not least because he is tall and can easily reach the top shelf of the pantry.  That is a 60" LeClerc floor loom behind him -- yes, it's for sale.  Interested?

I chose the Viking Mega Quilter because one of the employees at my LQS, Vivian, owns the same machine.  My thinking is, if I have a problem, I can just call Vivian!

Of course, my machine will be named Meggie!

The worry corgi, Oliver, is supervising.

Oh -- and I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Simply Charming

Lucky for me:

My poor free-motion quilting is not visible in this photo!

This mini quilt is the February Charm School project.  It's a miniature version of the Lil' Twister quilt designed by Marsha Bergren of The Country Schoolhouse quilt shop in Superior, Wisconsin.  Carole Charles of Primitive Gatherings received permission from Marsha to make a tiny twister tool.  It uses 3 1/2" squares and makes a 11" by 12 1/2" finished mini quilt.  The tool is included with the pattern.

I added a 2 1/2" border to make my mini the right size to cover the top of my sewing machine cabinet.  This is a really fun, quick project.  And I'm counting it toward my 52 quilts because I did the quilting myself!

Can you pick out the 4-H fabric?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

She knits, too!

I don't knit much these days, too hard on the wrist.  But my younger son (The Little Sailor) is the only person who loves my handknit sweaters.  He always wore one of the sweaters I made him when he worked at the Pikes Peak Library District.  And he says it's cold in Japan, so I cast on a pullover for him February 1.

Yes.  February 1.

And yesterday I finished it!  As soon as the snow stops, I'll take off for the post office to put it in the mail.

This is an Ann Budd pattern, Guston.  The recommended yarn is Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter, but I used a wonderful Aran Weight from Ram Wools in Canada, "Selkirk."  The color is a true Navy blue, darker that it looks in the photos.  I had one or two problems with the pattern -- particularly where instructed to bind off at the end of the row.  Huh?  Wouldn't that leave your yarn dangling at the end of the row, three stitches away from the live stitches?  It was a quick and easy knit, but NOT for the blind follower.  There is a lot of  "read your stitches" involved, so I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner.

 I wish the photo of my personalized label showed up better.  I also sewed in a tiny silver heart that reads "made with love" that my friend D'awn bought me.  I put one in every garment, hidden away for a surprise.

Older son thinks it is too big, but he wears his clothes pretty tight.  DH thinks the sleeves are too long, but they are according to the measurement of a previously worn sweater.  Keeping my fingers crossed!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Finish It Up Friday

For such an easy quilt, this one has taken awhile to finish!

Quilt #15 for 2012, "American Valor" is the cover quilt of the January/February 2012 issue of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting.  It took longer to collect all the fabrics from various etsy and eBay shops than it did to piece the quilt. 

I made this quilt for a sailor on my son's ship, the USS George Washington.  When I sent My Little Sailor his "Jacob's Ladder" quilt, he said "Everyone likes it, they want you to make one for them."  Well -- there are more than 5000 people on the ship.  SO I made one quilt for them to raffle, and I hope they will use proceeds from the raffle to support one of their community relations projects on their summer cruise.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Quilt #14 - Spiked Punch

Here it is, the sample for the March Strip Club:

Details are on yesterday's post.  If you're in Colorado, come on down to High Country Quilts the last Friday of the month and join the High Country Strippers -- Stripping With a Purpose.  There is no fee for this class, just buy the pattern.  We've been stripping for more than five years, and we always laugh and laugh at Strip Club!  I love wearing my "High Country Strippers" t-shirt; someone always approaches and asks hesitantly, "Can I ask about your t-shirt?"  What?  You don't think middle-aged housewives should be strippers?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

At Last -- a new WIP, and a Honey Badger

There was a Honey Badger (warning bad language) in my sewing room last night:

The completed stealth knitting project which was drying on the blocking board?  Covered in cat hair, several snags and jumbled around.

The charm pack waiting on the wet bar for today's project?  Torn apart and wet from the overturned water bottle.

Box of pins foolishly left open on the sewing machine?  Well, you can imagine.

Chocolate Mousse' (aka Honey Badger)?  Resting on the high shelf and looking completely innocent.

However:  There is joy in all the land.  The stealth knitting project is complete (photos tomorrow) and the quilting can recommence!  Today's  WIP Wednesday is underway.

Here is the March Strip Club project.  It is a Tula Pink pattern I picked up at Tula's Mom's shop in Stewartsville, Missouri on my home from Ohio last September.  The jelly roll is Half Moon Modern by Moda (I got mine at High Country Quilts) and the background is the ubiquitous Kona Ash.

I do have a hint for our strippers:  The method for this quilt is unusual.  When you sew your cross-cut  "blocks," don't add a short piece to a long piece.  You want more back and forth "motion" in the colored strips.  I haven't sewn any rows together yet, so I'm hoping I can move things around so the prints don't line up quite as much.

But now I have to go rescue a sweater . . .

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Oh! My! Goodness!

You know when you make a comment on someone's blog and you have to type in some nonsense word to verify that "you're not a robot?"

It doesn't have to be that way!

Thanks to the wonderful Claire Jain of  Sewing over PinsI have turned OFF "Comment Word Verification."  And I am SO sorry I didn't know before that my blog even HAD Comment Word Verification, let alone that I could turn it off!

So now, comment away and I believe in you, and I believe you are not a robot!  P.S. click on "Sewing over Pins" above to learn how to turn this annoying big-brother setting OFF on your own blog!

And:  I only have 10 more decreases on the sweater sleeves (why, yes, I do knit sleeves two-at-a-time, so they wind up the same length) and I will be back to the sewing machine and my 52 quilts!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pezzy Print Pinwheels

How fun is this?  My half-square pinwheels out of Pezzy Print (get yours here) with a Michael Miller border print from High Country Quilts.  I'm re-stocking my stash of baby quilts, someone will love this one!

I think next time I will make the center row of pinwheels "spin" the opposite way.

Won't this make a darling backing? It's kind of hard to see in the photo, but I will piece in one row of border print.

Quilt #13 for 2012! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WIP Wednesday -- All Pinwheels all the Time

Today's WIP is the beginning of a pattern test.  This cute little quilt features two sizes of pinwheels, made with two different techniques.  Both sizes are made from half-square triangles (HSTs), and start with two 5" squares, one from print and one from background fabric.

The larger HST is the classic "draw a line from corner to corner on the wrong side of the background fabric.  Sew 1/4" away from each side of the line and cut on the line."  I like to use this nifty tool, the Quick Quarter ruler.  It comes in two sizes,  8" long or 12" long.  Just slap this puppy on your right-sides-together squares diagonally and draw a line along each side of the ruler:

Sew right on each line:
 I place the 1/4" mark of my regular 12 1/2" ruler on one of the pencil/sewn lines and cut the block in half corner to corner:

The smaller pinwheels are made by sewing all the way around two 5" squares placed right sides together with a 1/4" seam.  Then cut corner-to-corner one direction:

And the other direction:

Four HSTs at once!

To make a pinwheel block, first press the HSTs carefully toward the darker fabric.  This is a bias seam, so don't be over-energetic or you'll mis-shape your HST.  Lay them out in the pinwheel -- notice that since I am using a directional print, I have the opposite HSTs going in the same direction:

Sew the top two HSTs, then the bottom two. Because the HSTs are pressed toward the dark fabric, the diagonal seams will snuggle nicely together.

Then flip the left two HSTs up and the right two down, like this:

Finger-press the seam on the left down, and the one on the right up.  Then when you sew them together, the top seam will face toward your presser foot.  This will make the seams snuggle up nice and tight:


When you press,  if you open the last two or three stitches on the crossing seam, it will make a mini pinwheel, like this:

Which will result in a nice, flat center to your pinwheel!

 When you join multiple pinwheels together, make the seams between the blocks also "spin" and all your blocks will lay nice and flat:


Of course, if I had read the directions first, I would have realized there was supposed to be sashing between the large pinwheels -- oops.

I'm posting to Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday -- go look at some other great Works In Progress!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mystery Monday

No post since Wednesday?  I've been knitting, not sewing.  And no, I can't show you what I'm making because it's a surprise.  I'm almost done, so I will be back to the sewing room full-time soon.

I did cut the pieces for Step 2 of the BOM for my Wednesday Block Party.  Because there are a lot of strips in the step, I used Debbie Caffrey's Power Cutting technique.

The trick is to cut as many strips as your ruler will fit.  In this case, I am using my favorite 8 1/2" X 12 1/2" Creative Grids ruler.  I can cut three 2 1/2" strips by placing the ruler at 7 1/2" and cutting one strip.  Then sub-cut at 5" and 2 1/2".  This is faster and more accurate than cutting each 2 1/2" strip individually.

I like the Creative Grids rulers because the lines are very thin, but easy to see.  Some rules have lines thick enough that your cuts can be almost 1/4" off  if you cut multiple strips at once.

Here are the pieces for Step 2:

And here is what they look like sewn together.  Notice that orange square sewn to the background triangle?  The dog-ears are 3/8" -- now that's a mystery!

And here is what they look like pressed and trimmed.

My friend Mary and I have a bet that the strange-looking quarter-square triangle is going to result in a three-quarters square triangle.  But we have to wait to find out!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I've finished three quilt tops this month, a pair of socks and a pair of mittens.  But when I look at my WIP list for February, it doesn't feel like I've made much progress!

 The next "must finish" on my WIP list is the American Valor quilt for the sailors of the USS George Washington.

Just needs two more borders!

Wednesday is the next "Crazy for Wool" class at High Country Quilts.  All those tiny little half-square triangles need to be put together into 2 1/2" pinwheels.  Eeep!

I had a little trouble with my January Strip Club project.  My background is a lovely, verrrry soft ivory.  With a right and a wrong side. Yep, you got it.  I put half the blocks together with some of the background pieces wrong side up.  I tried to convince myself no one would notice, but finally decided I need to remake those blocks.  Luckily I have lots of both background fabric and leftover jelly roll strips!

I'm teaching Strip Club for March, which means I need to have the sample completed by the February 24 class.  It's my chance to break into my Moda Half Moon Modern jelly roll!  The background is Kona ash (of which I cleverly bought an entire bolt, so I don't have to frantically shop around for this hard-to-find color!).

I bought the Tula Pink pattern at Tula's Mom's shop in Stewartsville, MO.  EVERY one of Tula Pink's fabrics in one place.  Heaven!

Finally, when those are done, I can start on my February UFOs.  First draw is a 30s repro quilt:

I'm pretty sure I got to looking at the applique' and decided this would be a long-term UFO.  Maybe I'll just put a couple of the applique' flowers in the border and call it done!

Next up is a quick-and-easy one, Livin' Large:

The 10" squares a leftovers from my 2011 "Celebrate Spring" wall hanging.

The Front Range Modern Quilt Guild is hosting our first Guild retreat later this month.  As a treat (if I get all my WIPs done), I am taking my first "Another Year of Schnibbles" quilt.

The project is "ISTH," (insert snappy title here):

 And I think it will be a perfect excuse to cut into my extensive collection of Heather Bailey's "Nicey Jane."

AND, last but not least, a new challenge,  the Modern Triangles QAL:

 I scored this beautiful collection of A Stitch in Color Collection by Malka Dubrawsky for Moda Fabrics at my favorite etsy shop, fresh squeezed fabrics.  The Kona solids are from the stash.

Good thing there are more than two weeks left in February, huh?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2012 #12 - Flower Patch

The 12th quilt top of 2012 is a Sunday is for Scraps project from January.  The pattern is "Flower Patch," the August feature quilt in the 2011 "Quilts" calendar from Current.  The designers of the quilts in the calendar are Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson -- that's right, "Me and My Sister Designs!"

Most of these floral prints are from a collection of "state flowers," and from Hoffman's "A Year in the Meadow."  The background is my favorite Kona lightest blue.

I didn't make the pieced border because I am in a hurry to deliver this to a friend who is temporarily living in a nursing home.  Now if I can just persuade one of my long-arm quilters that I should be at the top of the list!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Another Mystery Monday

Here's an oldie but goodie. This mystery was a class at Quilt Colorado 2010, taught by my favorite mystery writer, Debbie Caffrey.  It's the first mystery I made with scrappy fabrics, and I was chagrined when I found out the quarter-square triangles that form the opposite sides of the "star" were supposed to be the same fabric.

My friend and classmate, Barb Shie, convinced me no one would know that if I didn't tell (and now I've told!).  But I agree, with my floral fabrics, there is no need for the fabrics to be the same within each block!

Here is another view:

The 1 1/2" sashing with cornerstones was kinds of a pain, but I really like the pieced border.  This quilt went to Washington where it will be a fund-raiser donation for my DG's preschool.

And even though I finished piecing this quilt in 2011, I didn't include it in my "count" (I forgot all about it as it was buried in the "needs binding" pile). So I'm thinking it's OK to count it as #11 for 2012?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

January Color Palette Challenge

Last year I followed a blog that assigned a "monochrome quilt" challenge each month, a single color with a background color.  This year a real colorist, Vicki Welsh of Field Trips in Fiber will create a color palette for quilters (or painters, knitters, crafters!) each month.

Her January inspiration, some antique English tiles:

Vicki writes, "This is a photo that I took in the V&A Museum in September. These are tiles from an English ship made in 1882 by Architectural Pottery Company, Poole, UK."

Aren't they lovely?  My own interpretation of this color palette is inspired by a favorite Vera Bradley handbag:

I was surprised how close the colors on my bag were to the antique tiles.

I used my colors for the February Fat Quarter Fun group at Ruth's Stitchery.  Our pattern this month is by Cheryl Witt of sew-be-it in Billings, Montana.

"On the Slant" is a really fun design and it was interesting to see what colors my classmates chose.  Here is my finished top:

And a closeup.  The solids are all Kona cottons ranging from lightest blue to navy.  The border is "Japanese Chrysanthemum" by Philip Jacobs for Rowan, Westminster Fibers.

I'm amazed how well the border fabric goes with the solids. Usually I would choose the print first, then select other fabrics to go with it.  This time the border came after the top was mostly pieced.  The only thing I would do differently (always second-guessing) is to put the light yellow in the very center, so there would be less of it.

By the way, this is quilt top #10 for 2012!