Thursday, November 8, 2012

WIP - Thursday?

I'm sure there was a Wednesday this week -- but I missed it!  I've been working hard on quilting some of the 51 tops I've pieced so far in 2012.  My professional long-arm quilter and friend, Ann, teased me into committing to quilting 30 of my quilt tops by the end of the year.  My plan is to quilt on odd-numbered days and bind on even-numbered days.  If I get a quilt bound, as a reward, I get to piece the rest of that day!

So far, I'm right on schedule:

Here are the quilts I've quilted so far:

#1 is a mystery quilt I pieced early in the year.  It went to a friend who hooked up the new TV/DVD in my sewing room.  Phillip's daughter sent me a really cute photo of him sleeping under this quilt!

My Little Sailor (MLS) was the quilt-holder for this photo, and he persuaded Oliver to pose also!

#2 is a baby quilt for a friend of MLS.  She recently became a Grandma, and MLS did some of the quilting. This is our first attempt at quilting spirals!

Quilt #3 is for my neighbor who retired from teaching foreign languages at the nearby middle school.  I had fun deciding on the quilt design for the triangle blocks -- but when I got almost to the bottom, OOPS!

That red and white stripe is the leader on Meggie -- not the backing of the quilt.  The batting is too short!  I quilted as far as I could, then took the quilt off the longarm and added batting.  I quilted the border on my Juki.  It doesn't look as good as the rest of the quilting, but cotton batting and a good machine wash hide a multitude of quilterly mistakes!

Here is a closeup of my quilting design.  I need to learn how to quilt the sashing and the blocks without starting and stopping at each block --

Yesterday's quilt is one I test-sewed for the designer.  I experimented with Denyse Schmidt's signature quilting pattern, but it made the sashing curve unevenly.  Next time I will be more careful about keeping the edges taut while I'm quilting.

This pattern is not as easy to quilt as it looks!

Ann says the only way to get better at quilting on the long-arm is to quilt on the long arm!

Have you commented on my most recent giveaway post?  Go here to comment for a chance to win a copy of Quiltmaker 100 Blocks vol. 6 and one of my sample blocks!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Updates to the Blog

Hello everyone!

It's me again, the Younger Son. I'm home on leave from the South Pacific (Hey, anything is better than watching an ammo offload for 18 hours a day) and I'm helping out by making some much-needed improvements to both the front-end and back-end of the blog.

Here are the new features:

1. Links at the top to blog sections.

Find links to your favorite posts at the top

As you can see here, we've added links across the top to the different types of posts your Aunt Marti writes for the blog. You can easily click on any of these to see all the posts with those tags. (These are still being updated to make them look a bit more readable, so expect to see the formatting, but not the content, change.)

2. Changed the layout

New 52 Quilts Layout with one sidebar

We've changed the layout so all the widgets and tools are over on the right side of the blog. This should give you more room to see what you care about -- the posts, and helps to clean things up a bit. For those of you using Google's Chrome Browser, this should also have fixed the formatting errors you've been reporting.

3. 52 Quilts on Facebook

New Facebook Page for 52 Quilts

There's now a new Facebook Page just for 52 Quilts. You can find it here. The content on the pages are the same, however, we know that it can be a lot more convenient to view when you're already on your Facebook. (Note; Please be aware that Giveaways will only be conducted through the blog, so you still need to be a follower here and leave a comment.)

The address is:

4. 'About Me' Page

I've finally convinced your Aunt Marti to update her About Me page. You can find it linked on the side or here. (Along with some new portraits courtesy of Yours Truly.)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Vol. 6

I had a fun time this summer testing blocks for the newest edition of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks magazine.

Look, my name is even listed as a block tester!


I joined the "tester team" late in the game when another block tester had to drop out.  So I only test-sewed seven blocks:

I was a little aghast when the first block I was asked to test was a applique block using silk fabrics and embroidery.  Block #503, "Bird of Happiness" was designed by Gretchen Gibbons of Celebration of Life Designs.

Isn't this one cute?  Block #511,"Happy Puppy" was designed by Rob Stanphill of Willow Bay Designs. 

Block #525, "Peaks and Valleys" is a gorgeous paper-pieced design by Carolyn Cullinan McCormick of CM Designs.  Carolyn is the inventor of the "add-a-quarter" ruler so important to paper piecing.

I really like this block.  Is it just because it's pieced in batiks?  Block #570, "Shortcut" was designed by Jane Dudley, Editor-in-Chief of Quiltmaker magazine. 

The next block, #588, "Petit Fours" gave me fits.  But it's worth the "y" seams and picky-picky cutting necessary.  Designed by Marian Mapes, this one is sewn in batiks also.

 Here is the block I'm most likely to make again and again, #590, "Little Rescued Scraps."  It would lend itself beautifully to a Leaders and Enders project, don't you think?  Designed by Arlene Neely of Rabbits Haven Quilt Designs.

The last block I tested is an excellent choice to show off a large-print fabric.  Block #595, "Night Blooms" was designed by Joli Sayasane.

Quiltmaker magazine is hosting a 100 Blocks Blog Tour if you'd like to see the rest of the blocks in this issue.  Go here to visit many of the blogs written by block designers.

Quiltmaker graciously sent me two copies of the 100 Blocks magazine.  Would you like my extra copy?  And one of my test blocks?  Just make a comment on this post and tell me which block you would like to have for your own, along with the 100 Blocks vol. 6 magazine.

Giveaway will end Sunday, November 11 at noon.  International entries welcome, but be sure your contact information is attached to your comment!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Stash: Road Trip Report

Yes, the blog posts have been a little scarce the past two weeks.  But I think today's will make up for it.  Before I got to quilt retreat there came a family emergency which resulted in My Little Sailor coming home from the Philippines on emergency leave.  Even in the midst of sadness, there is joy.

That said, let's go on to the road trip report!

I took a different route to Idaho this time (it's an Idaho thing.  We hate to travel the same route both directions).  First stop, home of the inspiration for Sweetwaters "Mama Said Sew," in Ft. Collins, Colorado.

Because I had to fill out my "Mama Said Sew" collection:

I saw Quilt Moment's "Tilt a Whirl" pattern in Clotilde's catalog made up in these fabrics and just "had to have it!"  When I was growing up in Idaho, my BFF's favorite carnival ride was the Tilt a Whirl.

Then on to Cheyenne, Wyoming and the Sierra Trading Post outlet store.  No fabric, but if you like to wear Smartwool socks, they are half price at the outlet!  BTW, if you want to expand your Starbucks mug collection with one for Wyoming, you can't.  Apparently there aren't enough Starbucks in Wyoming to justify making a Wyoming mug.

Next stop, Laramie.  Now, who would think that two of the best shops for modern fabric would be in Laramie, Wyoming?  Snowy River Quilts has a wonderful collection of batiks, plus is one of the best places to buy Edyta Sitar's triangle papers.   It was early in the trip, so I only bought some triangle papers and one pattern:

Triangle Swirl uses 2" half-square triangles and looks to be an excellent choice for a Sunday Scraps of batiks.

I added to my Sweetwater Sunkissed collection at Quilt Essentials.   Plus, I bought the cutest little travel iron.  Which is buried somewhere in the as-yet-unpacked quilt camp supply bin, so photo to follow.

Why oh why didn't I fall in love with Sunkissed when it first came out?  I guess so I would have the thrill of the hunt to complete the collection!

When I left Little America the next morning, it had snowed overnight and my poor car was covered.  Signe is not accustomed to spending the night outside.  However, she is Swedish (a Saab), so she was ready to hit the road for Logan, Utah and "My Girlfriends Quilt Shoppe."  Although the staff complained that their best decorations had gone to Quilt Market, I was delighted with the selection of fabrics and uber-friendly staff.  Pat even went downstairs to see if they had more of a particular pattern!

I delighted in their sample quilt made from Annela Hoey's "Breezy."  Rather than use the panel, I chose this cute reindeer fabric by Maude Asbury, "Tinsel" for blend fabrics:

I love it when a shop has a fabric I haven't seen anywhere else.  And when I haven't seen it, you know it's unique!

I completed the required fabric at my new favorite shop, "Suppose," in Preston, Idaho.   Most of these fabrics are from "Cherry Christmas" by Aneela Hoey for Moda fabrics.

"Suppose" also has one of the best selections of quilt kits you'll find anywhere.  I've wanted to make this striped quilt, but hadn't found all the stripe-y fabrics elsewhere:

The host shop at quilt retreat, Cindy's always has a pop-up shop and brings their best new fabrics.  Plus some great bargains -- I scored this "Blitzen" kit for 30% less than it was at other quilt shops:

Hmm, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas quilts!

I don't remember where I found the Moda "candy" in the new Marmalade by Bonnie and Camille.  But won't it be perfect for the November Schnibbles?

I read on another blog this morning the idea that quilters could make themselves a quilt every year for their own birthday.  What a great idea!  This fabric will make my quilt for the next birthday:

Pretty wild, huh?  My friend and table-mate at quilt retreat made a One Block Wonder from this fabric, and it is stunning.  So when I raced down to Boise to the airport to pick up My Little Sailor, I "happened" by Quilt Essentials and scored the last of the bolt!

My Little Sailor and blog co-author is helping me update the blog design.  Come back later in the week to test out our new links and widgets!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature