Friday, August 31, 2012

A Different Friday Finish

Well, something was finished this week, but it's not a quilt.  It's our trip to Seattle to visit family and the Pacific West Quilt Show -- and a few quilt shops, of course.

I'll report on the Seattle-Tacoma-Peninsula quilt shops tomorrow, but today, it's all about the quilts!

I only took photos of the quilts I thought I would like to make myself.  So I guess this post reveals my "quilty personality."

The first quilt really must be seen in person to appreciate.  Except for the blue background, it is made up entirely of selvages!

"Blue Zinger Selvage Quilt" was made by Virginia Anderson of Shoreline, WA.  She reports she saved selvages "for several years" to make this quilt.   I've never wanted to make a selvage quilt before, but looking at this one, I've decided to start saving my selvages instead of crocheting them into rag rugs.

"Hypnotic" was made by Melody Crust of Kent, WA.  She says she "makes quilts that celebrate life."    This one features my favorite color, orange.  DH was disappointed to see that the blue and white squares were printed fabric, not pieced.  But the effect is the same!

This quilt reminds me of Idaho, because it represents Larch trees.  In Idaho, we call this deciduous conifer a "Tamarack."  In spring, it is a lovely soft chartreuse.  Come Fall, it turns golden and loses its needles.  "Larch in Spring" was made by Heather Waldron of Mt. Vernon, WA.

This quilt made my fingers itch to get into my large collection of Kona cotton solids!  Don't you just love the variety of greens, sparked by red and orange?  Dorothy LaBouef of Edmonds, WA cut the leaf shapes freeform to make the blocks of "Leaf Quilt."

This is the quilt I really want to make.  Katie Kennedy of Bonney Lake, WA and Pam Seaburg of Bothell joined forces to piece "Mt. Rainier."  I love the way they added splashes of red "wildflowers" in the green triangles.

I confess, the last quilt isn't one I really want to make.  I photographed it because I am planning a quilt using the Easy Dresden ruler.  All the Dresdens in this quilt are made of various polka dots. Ann Rindge of Vashon, WA added appliques of flowers, leaves and bees to "Miss Dottie Dresden."

The show was held at the Tacoma Convention Center in downtown Tacoma.  Tacoma has really changed since we left there in the early 90s .  Downtown is now chockablock with cool little shops, museums and restaurants.  The view from the convention center is incredible -- and the Mountain was out!  Can you believe I took this photo from inside the convention center using my little Fuji point-and-shoot camera?

When Elder Son was little, he spent his days at University Childcare at Pacific Lutheran University.  For some (stupid) reason, they showed a movie of the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption to the preschool class.  The next time the "Mountain was out," he panicked, crying "it will explode and throw hot rocks on us and we'll all die!"  Now the towns in the path of the Mountain have evacuation plans in case the Mt. Rainier erupts, but I hope it doesn't for another million years!

Come back tomorrow for the shopping report on Saturday Stash.

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Monday, August 27, 2012

Another Mystery Monday

Funny that I don't really like to read mysteries, but I love to sew mystery quilts!

The next one, hosted by Ruth's Stitchery, started a couple of months ago.  I am seriously behind.  I have step one cut out, and my fabrics selected, and that's it.

I'm doing this one "scrappy," because, you know, "why use three fabrics when you can use thirty?"

As with most mystery quilts, this one requires lights, mediums and darks (although it also requires a medium-light and a medium-dark).

Here are my lights:

Here are my mediums:

Here are my darks:

Really, the background color on all these fabrics is black.  It seemed no matter what lighting I chose, they photographed brown.  You'll just have to take my word for it, they are darks.

And here is step one cut out:

I'm excited to get sewing on this  mystery.  Needless to say, this is not my usual style of fabric -- it's all Civil War Reproductions left over from my Farmer's Wife blocks.  I know just who will receive this quilt as a birthday gift next May (hint hint)!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday is for Scrap Vomit

In an ongoing (probably vain) attempt to reduce the scrap collection, I have decided my "Leaders and Enders" project for the rest of this year will be a "Scrap Vomit" quilt.

Now I know that sounds awful, but the SV quilts I've seen look beautiful!

The original design and QAL is from Katy of "monkey do."  Katy is probably the most fun blogger you'll ever read -- she is from the North of England and has lots of tattoos.  Here is a photo of her original "Scrap Vomit" quilt:

scrap vomit mock up - bigger version

and here is the link to the QAL.  Even though the QAL is two years old, people are still making this quilt!

I love the color of Katy's "B" block, so I copied her.  I used my June Tailor "Shape Cut" ruler to cut all my blue, black and red squares.  I love this ruler, it is absolutely the fastest way to cut a lot of 2 1/2" squares.  My blue fabric is Kona "Peacock," the red is Kona "Red" and the black is my favorite Michael Miller blacker-than-black "Jet Black.

Here is a quick mini-tutorial on using the Shape Cut ruler (or you can click here to view the YouTube video).

Fold your fabric lengthwise twice, so it is about 11" wide and four layers deep.  Place the shape cut ruler on the fabric so that the "0" line is on top of the fold, and the vertical "0" line is just to the right of the left end. 

Notice the little orange tabs at 0, 2.5, 5, 7.5 and 10?  That's so I don't accidentally cut one strip 2" wide -- this would be the voice of experience! 

Continue across the length of your fabric, or until you have as many strips as you need.  Then unfold the strips once (so they are two layers deep) and stack them three high (now you will have six layers of fabric).  Place them on the cutting board horizontally and cross-cut across the full length of the fabric.  Here you can see that I have four stacks of three strips each:

Et voila!  A whole pile of 2 1/2" squares!  I counted them out in stack of 8 each (each block needs 8 solid blue squares).
If you read Katy's tutorial, you will see she has a clever way to put together the blocks so the blue, black and red solids are in the right place.  Since I'm doing mine as "Leaders and Enders," I will have to lay them out next to the sewing machine as I get pieces sewn together.

I did make a sample of each block, Block "A" and Block "B," just to hang above my machine to motivate myself!

Each "A" block takes 49 2 1/2"squares, each "B" block takes 28 -- wonder how long it will take to make a dent in the 2 1/2" square scrap drawer?

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Where I Sew

OK, I missed out on the "Where I Sew" linky party because I was knitting Hats for Sailors.  But I cleaned up my sewing room and took all these photos, so I am going to have my own "Where I Sew" party!

After 20+ years in military base housing, when the DH and I bought a house for our "first retirement," the main thing I wanted was a really nice sewing room.

At roughly 600 square feet, I think I got it!

The top of this photo hints at what the original purpose of this room was!  It had 18 bar stools and racks for wine glasses (and martini glasses!) when we moved in.  We're not big entertainers, but that bar worked well for Cub Scout and 4-H craft classes.  Under the bar is "floor storage" -- bolts of quilt backing fabric and more bolts of Kona cotton solids.

Here is my cutting station -- the three laundry baskets hold quilt tops waiting their turn to be quilted.  At last count, there were 54 tops.  The red stacking bins under the cutting table are for scraps -- even spending an hour every Sunday cutting up scraps, I can't keep ahead of them.  (Notice the timer?  I work in 23-minute increments.  Cut for 23 minutes, sew for 23 minutes, do something else for 23 minutes.  It really works!  And the hand lotion -- we're in Colorado, after all!  Yes, that is a yarn winder on the cutting table.  I  miss having my little fiberisto at home to wind yarn for me.)

There's one of the few remaining bar stools -- I use it to reach the lights when the bulbs burn out.  To the right of the bar stool is a genuine typewriter table -- perfect for my serger.

My long-arm quilting machine, Meggie, sits where the pool table used to be.  Who needs a pool table when you can have your own long arm machine?  Under that blue sheet is My Little Sailor's 60" LeClerc floor loom, waiting for him to get a shore billet.

Here is my "sewing station."  That's Zippy, my Juki 2010 commercial machine under the white cover.  I have a little TV with DVD player that is usually playing an old movie while I stitch away.  All those plastic drawers under the table hold strips and squares of scrap fabric.  If it looks like everything is covered in plastic, it is -- we don't have much trouble with mildew in Colorado, but the dust (and smoke!) is a constant headache.  It's easier to just keep everything covered than it is to clean off the dust.

This is my Viking Rose and machine-side pressing/cutting station.  When I'm making strip quilts (like the Summer Block-a-Day quilt) it is quicker to have the little iron right next to my machine.

Here is the main fabric "collection."  Again, in Colorado we don't have to worry about storing our fabric in plastic bins -- it won't mildew, and my sewing room gets no direct sunlight. The little applique' quilt to the left was brought home to me from Hawai'i by the DH.

I keep most of my fabric sorted by color, except for the fabric by my most favorite designers -- they get their own bins.  On top of the fabric shelves are smaller bins for ongoing projects, i.e., Blocks of the Month, Strip Club and Fat Quarter Fun.

And here is the main pressing station -- with more fabric strip drawers!  (And a pretty good collection of interfacing, wouldn't you say?  Buy it while it's half-price, I say!)  I have a "big board" pressing table, but it desperately needs a new cover, so I didn't photograph it.

This is my favorite part of my sewing room.  Those shelves are backed by mirrors, behind the giant bar.  There is a sink there, and cupboards underneath (storage for projects-in-progress!).  I use the shelves to display my collection of tins and quilt kits and the occasional prize jelly roll or fabric collection.  I try to keep only the most current project on this counter top -- like my niece's wedding quilt, half cut out and overdue!

When I see the photos of quilter's studios with no clutter and beautiful white, clear spaces -- I just remember, I'd rather have my extensive fabric collection than a well-ordered sewing room!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WIP Wednesday - A Return to Knitting

It's baaaaacccckkk!  -- The Knitting, that is!

Because DH and I are taking off to Seattle this week to visit the kidlins, I HAD to start a "travel knitting" project!

Probably the most popular project since "Clapotis," I cast on for a "Color Affection" shawl.  I am using a gorgeous, fall-color-and-it's-orange silk and wool yarn from "Fleece Artist," color name "Sangria."  This particular color is no longer available, but no matter -- ALL their colors are absolutely lovely!

Here is what the finished shawl looks like (obviously not in my colors!).  If you want to make your own (and really, it is the easiest thing, all garter stitch!), you can order a kit from The Plucky Knitter here.

(photo from The Plucky Knitter)

Here are some photos of my first colorway.

 All my travel wardrobe is orange, including the Tumi bag I borrowed from DH.

So even my knitting (and my toenails!) match.  Think it's too much?

My next two colors are orange and (wait for it) purple!  Tune in this weekend to see how the colors unfold.

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday is for (Addictive) Scraps

While cleaning up the sewing room for the "Where I Sew" post, I came across a drawer full of 30s reproduction "strings."  Then I saw this gorgeous quilt on Karen's blog, Selvage Blog.

New String Quilt Pattern!''

Then I was in trouble.

The "Diamond Dish" quilt starts with a solid color rectangle (in Karen's quilt, and in mine, orange.)  Then you add strips of varying widths and a jumble of fabrics.  And you wind up with this:

Oh dear.  I'm never going to get my niece's wedding quilt done, now -- all I want to do is sew diamonds!

Karen has written a very good pattern, with excellent "how to" photos and links to "how to sew set-in seams."  It's available in PDF format, so you can get started on your own Diamond Dish quilt right away!  Go here to order the pattern.

When I ordered the Diamond Dish pattern, I realized I have another of Karen's patterns:

New String Quilt Pattern, pdf Tutorial, Upcycle, Recycle, Free Shipping, "Tracks, Combs and Ladders"

 Maybe next year I should make 52 scrap quilts?

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Saturday, August 18, 2012

We have a winner (or two!)

This is just too funny.  Look who the Random Number Generator chose as the winner of the Anna Maria Horner Multi-Tasker tote pattern and fabric:

And who do you think that is?

Susan, who won the last drawing!  Seriously, is this not a study in random numbers?  Since Susan said not to include her in the drawing, let's try again.

And the winner is:


Who is Rhonda, who said:

Rhonda, I'm sending you an email. This is what will be on its way to you as soon as I get your postal address:

Congratulations, Rhonda!

The next giveaway will be when the blog hits 200 followers -- not far off!  I already have some goodies picked out for it.

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Friday, August 17, 2012


Notice anything new?  Or rather, old?

Yep, the header is back on the blog.  Celebrate!  My Little Sailor (aka Younger Son) is back in port and repaired the header.

In further celebration, I present the August "Another Year of Schnibbles" entry, "Dimestore."

Quilt #40 for 2012 -- I only need to sew three quilts per month for the rest of the year to meet my goal.  Yeah, I'm all about the numbers.

I didn't use charm squares on my Schnibbles, because I had this excellent Liberty Lifestyle Bloomsbury Garden yardage:

I bought my Liberty Lifestyle from Purl Soho.  The orange cornerstones are Kona cotton "School Bus."  I didn't have enough different prints to make all 16 blocks, so mine is only 12 blocks and will finish at 25" X 33" -- perfect to hang above the bathtub.

To celebrate, I'm linking up to "Can I Get a Whoop Whoop" at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Remember to enter the giveaway for this personally autographed copy of Anna Maria Horner's "Multi-tasker Tote" pattern and enough fabric to make your very own tote:

Be sure to go here to comment.

Thank you, MC3 Allison.  Smooth seas and following winds on the rest of your summer cruise.

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WIP Wednesday

It feels so good to be back at the sewing machine after 16 days knitting knitting knitting!

I've made 20+ more string blocks for my "block a day" challenge from Anna Lenas:

AND I've got a good start on my August Schnibbles, Dimestore:

I'm using my Liberty of London Lifestyle prints from Purl Soho in New York.   Remember how I complained that some of the quarter-yard cuts were short?  Well, I sent them a (polite) email, and wow -- they replaced all five short cuts and told me to keep the ones I already had!  Purl Soho was on one of the shops I visited last summer in Manhattan.  They were so nice in person, I should have known they would be just as responsive for online sales.

At this point, I'm not completely sure about my Dimestore.  Not enough contrast?  I used the orange (School Bus) Kona for the cornerstones in an attempt to bring in a color besides blue.  Here are the photos I used as my inspiration:

Really, in person, the rocks are just as orange as that Kona cotton!

This particular day the sky was a perfect Colorado cerulean-blue, and the sun was shining intensely against the rocks.  I am so sorry I only had the little "point and shoot" camera with me!
Oh -- for those of you not from Colorado, the photos are of Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.  The middle photos is the "Kissing Camels."  See them?  This area was threatened by the Waldo Canyon wildfire in late June, but luckily was spared.

Have you commented on my giveaway yet?  You could win an autographed copy of Anna Maria Horner's pattern, "The Multi-Tasker Tote" and enough AMH fabric to make your own tote!  Go here to comment.

Speaking of links, I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, hosted this week by Cindy of Live a Colorful Life:  selvaging my sanity one stitch at a time.  I guess only a quilter would get the "selvaging" joke, huh?

From the desk of your auntmartisignature