Saturday, April 26, 2014

We Have a Winner!

It's always so fun to read the comments on 52 Quilts. And best when one of them wins a prize!

The winner of the "Prairie Windmill" pattern, chosen by the Random Number Generator, is:

Which is Brenda, who wrote:

I'll be mailing Brenda a copy of "Prairie Windmill" quilts from August Wind Quilt Designs. Sorry not everyone could win, but you can buy your own copy at Kathleen's website, here.


And oh yeah. I can't resist showing this photo of the original pattern cover.

Notice anything about the quarter-square triangles? I don't know if Kathy did that on purpose, or if she had the same problem I did keeping the block in order!

Congratulations, Brenda! I'm sending you an email asking for your postal address so I can mail you the pattern (and a few fat quarters for your stash!).

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Saturday Stash Report

Hey, guess what. A draft post won't publish if you don't click "publish" when you schedule it. So here is the entire month's worth of Stash Reports!

Pueblo Quilt and Stitch Expo

Pueblo, Colorado is known as the "Home of Heroes" because four Pueblo residents have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. According to Wikipedia, only Weymouth, Massachusetts has more Medal of Honor winners.

Pueblo also hosts the Quilt and Stitch Expo each April. It's my favorite quilt show, because most of the vendors are Colorado shops dedicated to quilters.

As I look at my "stash bag" for this trip, I realize I didn't really buy a lot. Must be slipping, huh?

Here is Moda's new "Dottie" jelly roll. I love dots!

Here's another view -- the fabrics range from tiny little polka dots to medium dots:

This jelly roll is designated for my August Jelly Roll Party sample for Ruth's Stitchery.  The pattern is "Kissing Booth" from Freckled Whimsy.  I always try to have something that reminds me of the county fair for August. Our county fair doesn't have a kissing booth, more's the pity.

I scored a real deal on these Kaffe Fassett fat quarters from a shop in Westcliffe, Colorado, "Grammie Tammies." I'm starting to have quite a collection of Kaffee stripes, this might have to be the "quilt of the month" for May.

I picked up some fat quarters of Moda's "Hearty Good Wishes" at Cotton Candy Sewing Shop in Loveland a few weeks ago. When I saw the jelly roll of this line of fabric at the expo, I hatched a great idea for a "jelly roll race" quilt. Make the jelly roll quilt, then use the dark blue to applique an anchor in the center. Now I just have to find a big anchor to trace around for a pattern!

Not from the quilt expo, but from my all-time favorite etsy shop, FreshSqueezedFabrics (in Colorado)! This is the Pantone Spring colors collection of Kona cottons:

Randi always includes a cute pin with orders. I love this one!

Here are the Pantone Spring 2014 fashion colors, so you can see how well the Kona cottons match!

Psst, FreshSqueezedFabrics is having a big big sale on all precuts right now!

Springtime in the Rockies 

The next weekend was the "Springtime in the Rockies" quilt shop hop. This shop hop used to be an ordinary shop how\p, where you drive to every shop on the list. Elder Son and I did the hop one year, 500 miles in one day. And that was before he learned to drive!

Now the hop is held at the Larimer County Fair Grounds in Loveland, and all the shops have a booth inside the commercial building.  More convenient, but I don't think it's as much fun. I did get to have lunch with friend Susan, from Cheyenne, so it was worth the drive.

Did you see the episode of "Sewing With Nancy" where she demonstrated these patterns? You know how I love to have the "complete collection." All I need is BQ2 to have all of the Maple Island "Big Quilts" patterns.

Too late for this year, but I think "Confetti" would be great for a High School rodeo team raffle quilt! And "Courthouse Curve" is a possibility for Jelly Roll Party 2015.

Rather than having one "shop hop" quilt where each shop designs a block, this year several shops designed a complete quilt for the hop. This is "Old Maid's Puzzle," designed by Barb Boyer of Around the Block Quilt Shop in Cheyenne. Not only my favorite shop on the hop, but my favorite quilt -- I bought the kit!

At the Downton Abbey retreat, my friend Susan showed me this cool "pointer" tool.  I'll demo the Sew E-Z Fingerthing in a future "Tuesday Tool"  post.

You've already seen the two new Bloc_Loc tools I bought at the shop hop. 

Really, for an entire month's shopping, this isn't a lot! Right? Tune in tomorrow to see my progress on Bonnie Hunter's "Celtic Solstice" quilt.

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Friday, April 25, 2014

Thank Goodness it's (Barely) Finished Friday!

I can't believe I had so much trouble getting this quilt top together! But it's finished now, and I really like it.

I started this quilt last summer at quilt Wyoming, in a class with Kathleen Moorhead Johnson. We had such a good time, and Kathy is such a great teacher. But I only got one block finished in class.

So I pulled it out to be my April UFO finish last weekend. I whipped all the blocks together in one day, then put them on the design wall.

And sewed them together wrong.  Even using the Barb Shie Method, I managed to have the first two blocks in the first three rows turned the wrong way.

I tried to convince myself no one would notice. But I would notice, so I ripped them out and corrected my mistake.

Then sewed the middle two rows together wrong. Again!

See how the middle two rows both start with the dark quarter-square triangle in the upper right?  Sigh.

One more try -- third time's the charm, right?

Thanks DH for being my quilt holder on this breezy day. It took about six shots to get one where the edges weren't flipped up.

Just a few more hours to comment on Monday's post for a chance to win the pattern for this quilt!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursdays are for Knitting

I've knit the 12 Hats for Sailors that was my goal for this year. So I'm working on some knitting WIPs this week.

This is my favorite sweater, the "Daily Sweater" from Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines.

It's knit with Rowan Calmer yarn (sadly discontinued). I love the feel of this yarn so much, I've knit the same sweater in two different colors. The only problem is the neckline -- it "scrunches" up in the front. Now, if I had a long, swan-like neck a la Audrey Hepburn, that wouldn't be a problem. But I don't.

So for my third sweater with the same yarn, I am knitting from this classic (read: old) Raglans Unlimited book. Virtually (maybe even literally) every sweater my mother knit used this pattern book.

Look at the price -- if that doesn't indicate the age of this book, nothing does!

The best part of this pattern book is that it includes designs for every size sweater in every weight of yarn!

I am trying out the "scoop neck" pullover.

Here is my in-process sweater on top of my Daily Sweater. The size seems comparable, except to get the armscye long enough I had to increase a lot more stitches. I'm afraid the sleeves will be bulky under the arm.

I need to go back to my Mason-Dixon knitting book and read their trick for increasing the sleeves without making them too big. The nice thing about top-down sweaters is, you can put the stitches on a "lifeline" thread and try it on at any point.

Here is my "Year in Temperatures" scarf to date. Notice anything exciting? The temperature in Colorado finally got well into the 70s Fahrenheit, so I got to use a new color, orange!

Here are the rows for earlier in the year -- mostly pinks and purples, indicating cold days!

Have I shown you the notebook I'm using to record the daily low-average-and-high temps? It was made by my friend, Mary, for a Front Range Modern Quilt Guild exchange. I love that she included a ribbon to mark the page!

If I want to get this:

finished by tomorrow, I'd better put down the knitting and get back to the sewing machine!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Love Letters Baby Quilt

My friend Mellie designed and published this adorable "mod alphabet" quilt pattern. I decided it would be perfect for a quilt for baby Aubrey!

I had a hard time getting all the letters in one photo. The background is Kona Cotton "Thistle." If you have a Kona color card, you know it's actually a very nice light lavender, not the "meh" grey it looks in my photo.

Here's a photo of the entire alphabet, lifted from WeShallSew on etsy:

Isn't it just the cleverest idea? The letters go together so quickly, making them is addictive! The pattern includes a good tutorial on curved piecing, and I also have a curved piecing tute here.

I'm planning to add a Bloc_Loc "Cogwheels" block to the quilt also. Tutorial next Tuesday!

Here's a photo of a cogwheels quilt, store sample from Cotton Candy Sewing Shop in Loveland. Aren't the blocks fun?

When the quilt is finished, I'll be offering a copy of "Love Letters" as a giveaway. But if you can't wait, you can get your own copy from Melissa's etsy shop, here.

Linking up to Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.

And WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Modern Quilts.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

As well as WIP Wednesdays with Tami's Amis.

I have some exciting progress on my "Year in Temperatures" scarf to show you tomorrow. Come back to see!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day: Make a Recyclable Bag

According to WikipediaEarth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.

Quilters have been recycling since the first person put layers of cloth together to make a warm covering. And quilters were stitching fabric bags to carry things way before it was "cool!"

In honor of Earth Day 2014, here is a tutorial to make a basic tote, or "market" bag. The fabric is from Timeless Treasures and is part of a line of "save the Earth" fabrics. The lining is recycled quilt backing.

1. Cut out the pieces

I used fat quarters for the outside of my bag, so that determined the size. I squared up the fat quarter to the largest possible size, which turns out to be about 21" X 23" -- you can make your bag any size you like!

Cut the lining to the same size.

The size of the bag handles was determined by the amount of fabric I had left. So they were cut 4.5" by about 15" -- again, you are the boss of your bag, make them the length you like! I don't like shoulder bags, so if you do, you may want to make your handles a bit longer.

2. Make the handles.

 Press each handle in half lengthwise. I made a white chalk mark just so you could see where the center pressing line is -- you don't need to do that.

Fold each lengthwise side to the center line and press.

Like this:

Then press the handle in half lengthwise again. Your handle will be four layers of fabric thick, plenty for light use. If you want a stronger handle, interline it with batting, interfacing, or fusible fleece.

Topstitch each long edge of both handles, stitching as close to the edge as you are comfortable sewing. 

Mark the center of the top of the bag with chalk, or a pin. Then pin the handles in place on the lining pieces with the raw edges flush and the handle toward the bottom of the bag.

See how I have them lined up on my cutting mat so the edges of  the handles are the same distance apart on the front and back of the bag lining?

Baste the handles in place. 

3. Stitch the bag pieces.

Next, pin the front and back of the lining right-sides together. Stitch down each side seam and partway across the bottom. Leave an opening about 6" wide in the bottom seam.

I use red pins to signal "stop stitching here" so I remember to leave an opening in the bottom seam. This will be where I turn the bag right-side-out when the lining and the outside is sewn together.

Repeat for the outer layers -- but this time, stitch down each side and all the way across the bottom.

Turn the outside of the bag right-side-out and tuck it inside the lining. Right sides of the bag and the lining will be facing each other. Pin all the way around the top.

I like to push the seam allowances in opposing directions to reduce bulk along the top seam:

Be sure you don't catch the handles in your stitching.

 4. Make the "box corners"

This is another decision point. How wide do you want the bottom of your bag? I measured an existing market bag and determined that each box corner should be about 3" deep.

Draw a square 3" from the bottom outside corner seams. Repeat on each side of each bottom corner of the outer bag and the lining -- you'll be drawing 8 squares.

To form the "box," pull the layers apart and match the vertical seams as best you can. Stab a pin through the box at the seam line:

And flip to the back side to see that the layers are matched up.

Once you have the vertical seams lined up, pin across the box marking:

And stitch along that line. Back-tack the stitching at the beginning and end of the stitching line.

Trim the seam to about 1/4" to 1/2" inch -- use a scissors or a ruler and rotary cutter.

5. Turn the bag!

Now you're ready to turn your bag right-side out. Remember that opening we left in the bottom of the lining? Reach through it and grab the outside layers of the bag. Pull them through and use your fingers to push out the corners of the bag and lining.

Press the top edge, making the edges as flush with each other as you can. Edgestitch along the top edge, then again about 1/4" down from that stitching line.

The last step is to close the opening in the bottom seam of the lining. Press the seam allowance to the wrong side:

And edge stitch along the opening:

I like to press along the front and back bottom between the "box corners." I just think it makes the bag look more "finished!"

Here is my dress form, Esmerelda, modeling my Earth Day market bag, front:

and back!

Updating post to link up to Show and Tell Tuesday at i have to say.

Now that I've made this super-simple tote, I'm ready to try a really nice one. The tutorial I'll be using is on The Inspired Wren blog, here. Come back next week to see how it turns out!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature