Thursday, February 18, 2016

Thursdays are for Knitting: A Christmas Goodie

Wheee! Guess what came in the mail yesterday!

I normally feel strongly about opening mail addressed to other people. And this package was addressed to the Elder Son. But it was suspiciously squishy -- and I was pretty sure the customs form read "Yarn," although it was in Russian!

So I opened it. 

And just look what was inside!

Elder Son ordered this yarn before Christmas-- but after all, it came all the way from Russia! I wonder what my postal carrier thought of this squishy envelop? Probably knew it was yarn, it's not like this is the first squishy envelop I've ever received!

Now to decide, what to make with it?  I've decided on a lacy shawl, and Jen Lucas Designs are some of my favorites.

Maybe Beddington? Several of my Texas friends at Inskein Yarns knit this one, and they all turned out gorgeous!

But here's another, Milton, designed especially for small-skein yarn kits.

Aacckk! You KNOW I have trouble making decisions! Which do you think?

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Little House on the Prairie QAL

I'm a bit behind on my Little House mystery quilt. Blame it on the weather -- one of the AccuQuilt Go! dies I needed was in a truck stuck in a snowstorm in Wyoming!

The customer service lady at AccuQuilt was great, though. She "released" the remainder of my order, so I could finish this block.

My "birds in flight" blocks aren't quilt 6½" square, so I'm not sewing the big block together until I figure out where I went wrong!

What's in process in your sewing room?

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tuesday Tutorial: A Tragic Tale

This may well be the saddest quilting story ever told. 

Can you see what this is? Maybe a closeup would help:

This is a beautifully pieced jelly roll quilt, which was washed before it was quilted and bound.

Now before you laugh, and say "Why would anyone wash an un-quilted quilt top?" listen to the reasoning behind this trauma.

You bring home new clothes from the store, and wash them before you wear them, right? So shouldn't you wash your quilt top before it is quilted?

Oh, the humanity.

But you know what? When I read the class instructions for my Jelly Roll Party at Ruth's Stitchery, it included the instructions to bring "wash and pressed fabric."


Some quilters prewash, some don't (I don't!). But precuts should not be pre-washed -- especially strips! Because the manufacturer is cutting many, many layers of fabric in one swipe, precuts are rarely "on grain." So they tend to fray -- sometimes, a lot!

So please, don't prewash your precuts!

Here are two of my favorite strip pointers. 

First, have you ever opened a roll of 2½" strips and immediately been covered in tiny bits of fabric lint? Try this: before removing the rubber band or ribbon that holds the strips in place, roll the cut sides with a lint roller.

You'll be surprised at how much "lint" comes off on the roller! If you can't find your lint roller (hint: it's on the shelf above the clothes dryer), try using the nozzle of your vacuum cleaner.

Second, have you ever carefully pieced a block using 2½" strips and had it come out too small? It could be your seam allowance -- or it could be that the strip isn't a true 2½" wide. Especially with strips that have "pinked" edges, measure them before you sew!

Sometimes the 2½" width is at the "outside" of the pinked edge, sometimes it's at the "inside" of the pinking.

And sometimes, the strip isn't a complete 2½" wide at all!

Sometimes, the strips are 2½" wide at one end, but narrower at the opposite end. Measure before you sew!

Today is "Do a Grouch a Favor" Day.
Do a Grouch a Favor today. Do it and make the world a better place.
Everyone has been a grouch at one time or another. Some people are seemingly grouches all of the time. It's in their nature. Others are occasional grouches, influenced by events in their lives, lack of sleep, the weather, etc. A few people are good at disguising their grouchy mood. But, they still need cheering up.
 Look around for someone who is in a grouchy mood today. Then, do him or her a favor that will cheer up their day. There's plenty of grouches out there to practice on. Try it on all of the grouches that you see today, and watch the results!

Happy Do a Grouch a Favor Day!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sunday Stash: Michael Miller Cotton Couture

Sometimes, you come across a fabric that you just fall in love with.

Michael Miller's "Cotton Couture" is that fabric for me. It's "high density" (think super-expensive Egyptian cotton sheets, only softer and finer) with a "hand" that is like, well -- buttah. Almost too yummy for quilts, it makes me want to make summer blouses!

And Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts is hosting a QAL using these beautiful colors of Cotton Couture:

The Quilt-Along is called "Ugly Christmas Sweaters." 

My friend, Joy, hosts a cookie exchange every year. At the exchange, she also has an "ugly Christmas sweater" contest. I have won more than once (one year I wore a felt tree skirt, and yes, I won the contest). So when I saw Lorna's quilt, I knew I had to make it for Joy!

Ruth's Stitchery ordered all the colors of Cotton Couture needed for the quilt, as well as this adorable foxy print, Sweater Weather, for the back ground. The red print is Festive Nest for the backing. (Lorna used white Festive Nest for the background and Sweater Weather for the backing. But I love the foxes, so they are my background!)

I'm working on deadline to make a wedding quilt, but I stopped in the middle to make the first block:

Isn't it cute? I can't wait to make more blocks! 

Lorna is releasing instructions for each block every few days, go here to join. Or if you're impatient, like me, you can order the complete pattern in PDF format.

Now, back to the wedding quilt!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature