Thursday, March 31, 2011

Crazy 9-Patch MIAGIA Blocks

The other night I dropped by the Pensacola Quilter's Guild MIAGIA (Make It And Give It Away) sewing night and picked up a ziplock bag full of random fabrics. Over the weekend, I made this quilt top.

Once this quilt top was done, I had  some fabric left over. I've been dying to try Elizabeth Hartmann's Crazy 9-Patch blocks in some more random fabrics, and this was my chance.

Since the fabrics I had left were mostly fat quarters, there was not enough to put the same fabrics in every block, which is really OK with me.  I wanted all 27 of the blocks to be different.  And, the point of this exercise was to see how the blocksturned out with a less defined color scheme.  Here are my 3 sets of blocks:

So, now I'm wondering - whatcolor should I use for the lattice blocks.  Not white, I think.  Not brown either. I really want the blocks to "pop".  I thought about a dark green.  Hmmm.  I'm open to suggestions. Let me know your thoughts!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mini QT - Finished!

Last night I finished my mini QT quilt. It ended up being 12x12inches, which is the outer limit for these little minis.  Here is a sneak peek.  When you see the whole thing, you will laugh at what a teeny tiny sneak peek this is, but since my partner and I know who we are sewing for, I can't give much in the way of a reveal until she receives it.

I honestly have been struggling with this quilt for two months.  I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do, but I wasn't sure exactly how to accomplish it.  Saturday, I spent most of the day fiddling with it.  I really wanted a Raggedy Ann in the quilt, and I even made two Raggedy's, but alas, it just didn't work.  So, here was the dolly replacement.  Hmmm.... What does our little quiltie look like?

Here is another little peek.

All in all, I'm pretty satisfied with it.  Can't wait to show you the whole thing.  It goes into the mail tomorrow!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Where Did The Weekend Go?

I'm not sure how this happens, but one minute it was Friday, and the next it was Monday morning.  I think weekends exist in some kind of time warp.  It's kind of scary, how fast this past weekend went by.

The weekend was fairly productive.  I made some more of those fun little hexie needlebooks, and gave them all away.  Time to make one for me, I think.  And next month, the Guild is having a Jumble sale.  I might make a few to try to sell there.  I also have some projects to finish up that I might finish to sell.  And there is a ton of stuff in the garage that I will never use in my lifetime.  I think I'll take some of that and see how it does.  Meanwhile...

My Mini QT quiltie is well on its way to being complete.  Just a few more little details, and another trip to JoAnn's to pick up a package of buttons that somehow didn't make it into my bag when I was there last night.  That's kind of frustrating.  I think my little quiltie is going to turn out cute.  I hope my partner, Valery Anne likes it.  I can't show the details here until she receives it, so stay tuned....

Last Monday, I came home with this bag of random fabrics from MIAGIA night for the Pensacola Quilter's Guild.  In it was a random selection of fabrics sorted mostly by color.  There was one large piece and a few fat quarters, some leftover borders and a couple of random half yards.  I have to say that there was maybe one fabric I would actually have purchased if I had been choosing fabrics.  And the colors weren't anything I would have chosen either.  I almost asked for a different bag of fabrics, but I decided that part of the challenge of the thing would be to create a quilt outside my comfort zone.

Here is what the bag contained:

So, since I had reached an impasse with my Mini QT, after working on it for most of a day, I pulled out the bag to see what was there, and the fabric started to speak to me.  It was interesting because what it ended up being was not at all what I thought I was going to do when I picked up the rotary cutter.  I was actually thinking I was going to attempt a shoo fly quilt with these.

Apparently, the fabric had other ideas, because this is what it became:

I only added a couple of pieces from my stash to round it out.  The Guild will provide the batting, and I have some leftover sheet pieces for the backing, so I'll finish it next month.  I thought this turned out to be a pretty attractive quilt.  Kind of masculine, which is sometimes hard to achieve.  It was actually a great exercise, and proves that even the most uninspiring fabrics can become an attractive quilt.

By the time the next MIAGIA night comes around, I'll probably have the second quilt top done.  I have the pieces cut for the blocks.  I wanted to try Elizabeth Hartmann's wonky 9-patch with a selection of fabrics, rather than the monochromatic palette I have seen used in the past, so this is my chance.  In fact, I've decided that these MIAGIA kits are going to be my "test kitchen" to try new things.  More to follow.

So, the weekend is OVER and it's back to the old grind.   I have several projects I hope to finish and mail this week in addition to my mini quilt - the Make Mine Modern fabric swap and sewing item (oh, I have the funnest idea for this - I hope it turns out like I think it will!), and several sets of Bee blocks.  Time to get cracking!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


It has been a long time since a book has grabbed me so hard I read and read until the wee hours.  I think the last one was the 7th Harry Potter, which I started as a quick bedtime read and suddenly realized it was 6am and I hadn't been to sleep at all.  This is another such book.  I picked it up from the library Thursday night, read a couple of chapters that evening, a couple at work during lunch on Friday, and came home Friday night thinking I would read a couple of chapters, and then work on some of my sewing projects.  Hah!  Was I wrong.  This book grabbed me and wouldn't let go.

I picked the book because it is this month's selection for the Quilty Girls Book Club Flickr group.  I hadn't heard of it before, and frankly I didn't expect much because last month's book was kind of a bust for me.  I didn't even finish it.  But this one was different.

Diane Setterfield's prose is beautiful in places - in other places it kind of intrudes into the story, but those places are infrequent and easily overlooked.  The characters are almost entirely disfunctional, and yet somehow, you care what happens to them.  And you want to find out what happens, which helps.  There is just enough of an air of mystery and a fun little twist at the end, that keeps you reading...  and in my case, reading and reading and suddenly it's 2:45 am.

The main character in the story, Margaret, is a bookish young woman that I could really relate to on some levels.  When I was younger, books were often more real to me than people, and Margaret seems to have this problem.  I could really relate to that part of her character. I actually marked a quotation from the book I wanted to keep - and then turned the book back in to the library before I copied it.  I am notorious for library fines, so THIS time, I promised myself, it would be different.  Alas, this time I was too quick.

There are some truly dark places in this book, so it probably isn't for everybody, but it sure kept me turning the pages.

Friday, March 25, 2011


If you have been following my adventures with my project for the Spicing Up the Kitchen Swap, you will remember that the placemats above were giving me fits. My intention was to make reversible placemats for my partner.  These were definitely not cooperating!  If I took them apart once, I took them apart 8 or 10 times, to the point where I finally gave up on these, finished the others and sent them off.  Frankly, I was tempted to chuck these, but the yellow is bright and cheery and Kumari Gardens is so, so pretty, and I just couldn't.

Meanwhile, I've been pondering what to do for my sister for her birthday.  Suddenly, a few days ago, it hit me - finish these for her.  So I did.  They were really no more cooperative at the end than the beginning, but I did finish them.  The border on the towel and the potholders were made from the very interesting scraps produced by the diagonal borders.  They were actually a lot of fun!

Can you see the quilted butterfly?  I had a terrible time getting a shot of the actual quilting.  This was really the best I was able to do.  The quilting was actually fun.  

And believe it or not, after all that angst over what to put on the back, I didn't get a photo.  Well, I did, but apparently it didn't get downloaded and I've already erased the pics off the camera.  And the gift is already in the mail.  Suffice it to say that the Weekends fabric looked awesome on the back of these things.  The butterflies and flowers - and the colors - coordinated very well with the Kumari Gardens.

And after they were done, they had to be washed because the wash-away marking pen I used to quilt the butterfly on the yellow centers had to be washed out, you know.  And I know it's all the rage, but I really like quilts before they are washed when they are crisply pressed and they feel so smooth and nice.  But these were washed and I didn't press them again.  Am I a slacker?

The binding is Central Park. The color was perfect.  The design didn't detract from the rest of the fabrics. It's what I had.  

Nuff said.

I hope she likes them.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Didn't I Tell You

I've been meaning to write this post for days now, and I can't believe I've been such a slacker.  I received this great package in the Urban Home Goods Flickr Swap.  I asked for something to keep me organized.  My sewing area is a VERY small space with LOTS of stuff in it.  When I am in a creative mood, stuff goes everywhere, and truly, there aren't many places for it to go.  I do try to keep the floor picked up since it is a walkway, but even that is often a struggle.

Etoile2B made me these lovely items for the UHG swap.  The pincushion caddy has been oh-so-popular in this swap and another that I am in and I have been coveting one of them, desperately wondering if I would have to make one for myself.  But no - how lucky am I?  And doesn't it look nice with the shavings from my Blockwork Orange Scraps in it?

And then.  she made me these 3 cute little fabric bags to hold all the little miscellaneous things that I am forever losing and having to buy more of.  I think they'll really help me keep track of stuff.

Thank you, Etoile2B for a perfect swap!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blogger's Pillow Party

When our family met for Christmas at BD#1's house, BD#2 wanted a new pillow to match her new comforter.  She had picked the fabric by the time I arrived.  She chose McKenzie by Dena Designs for the front and Minky in white paisley for the back.  But what should it look like?  .  

So I set her looking through Flickr pictures in the Pillow Talk swap and came across THIS pillow. It became our inspiration.

I offset the pieces and quilted the two sides in different directions, with a narrow piece of the lighter fabric as sashing between the two pieces.  The top band and bottom band (which don't show well at all in this photo) are from the gray floral and are outline quilted.  And the center band with the flower is bound with the lighter fabric and the flower is copied shamelessly from the inspiration pillow, but that was the part that inspired us.

This pillow is now living happily in BD#2's college apartment.  I hope though, that it serves her well beyond her college years!

Blogger's Pillow Party

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I recently joined the Pensacola Quilter's Guild.  I have mostly been a lurker - I haven't done any show and tell at all - but last night on the way home from work my alarm on my phone went off.  It was to remind me that the 3rd Monday is MIAGIA Monday.  What's that,you ask?  MIAGIA stands for Make It And Give It Away.  It is one of the charity efforts of the Guild.  I didn't bring my machine, and I wasn't feeling all that well, but I was feeling a little guilty that I haven't participated in any of the charity efforts so far, so I stopped in and asked if they had any kits.  Well, they didn't have any kits, but they did have a couple of bags full of fabric that had been loosely sorted by color, such as the one above.

This is what was in it...

Some of it would actually go pretty well with the fabric for the ugly quilt fabric in my previous post - in fact, I may combine them.  Some of it has real possibilities.  I really like the paisley (3rd from left, top row) and the argyle/jester fabric on the end of the top row.  I haven't opened the roll yet to see what's inside, but the outside has spiders on it.  (My favorite!)  

Intriguing, no?

This morning I was blog hopping, and I saw this post.

This may be just the thing for this bunch of fabric.  What do you think.  Easy and beautiful.  Just my style.

Monday, March 21, 2011

In the Mail

Today's post is all about mail.  Sending and receiving.  Mail - mail that is NOT bills, that is.  The kind of mail that is inherently good.  WH has even begun commenting on the fun little (and sometimes not so little) envelopes and boxes that come in the mail.  Today he greeted me with a big smile and "You got some more fabric in the mail today!"  Fun, fun, fun!

First, the outgoing mail.  I mailed the 27 A Blockwork Orange blocks to the swap mama.  I can't wait to get my 27 different blocks back!  How cool is that?  But, I do have to admit that I liked the blocks I made a lot...  I may have to make some more of them, since I didn't keep any.  I wonder if Elizabeth's pattern works in multiples of 9, or if 27 is optimum?  I'll have to check it out.

I also mailed BD#2's finished Sugar Rush quilt.  It is such a good feeling to finish a project and get it off to where it is supposed to go.  I hope she likes it as much as I do.

And I mailed these little guys, but I can't say where they went just yet.  Let's just say they are now winging their way all over the world.  Literally.

And in today's mail, I got my first two Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks for my GMFG quilt.  Aren't they pretty?

And I received the fabric for the blocks I am supposed to make for spontaneousthreads in the Christmas Fabric Bee.  She wants us to use the mod mosaic tutorial by Elizabeth Hartmann to create her blocks.  I've been wanting to try this, so it sounds like fun!

And a week or two ago, I received the fabric for the other two QBs in the CF Bee.  This one is for Fairly Merry.  Check out the pretty fabric for the center square.  The photo seriously doesn't do it justice.

And this package is for Singings - and has real silk in it.  Oh-so-elegant...  Just lovely!

And I thought it was amusing that when I put the three packages all together, they were in identical envelopes.  Funny, huh?  No wonder WH can tell when I get fabric in the mail!

And I've been neglecting telling everyone about the other cool mail I got.  BD#! sent me the most wonderful package the other day.  It was an assortment of Freebird by MoMo and Garden Party by Anna Maria Horner.  YUMMY!!!  And she also sent me a complete set of templates for my Single Girl quilt.  I really have to get going with that one.  I am so far behind....  It is awfully nice to have the templates cut though.  That much less work to do!

I also received my next-to-last set of charm squares in the Chronic Seamstress charm square swap.  So pretty.  The last ones were supposed to come from Louis in the UK and be Liberty fabrics, so I hope they come.  He said he mailed them way back in February.  I don't know of anyone who got squares from him, though.  Hope they're not lost!

 And I think I mentioned I got my order from Pink Chalk fabrics.  So fast.  And isn't it a great collection???  They were all on sale.  The Spirit charm squares were $4.48 and the other fabrics were all about the same per yard.  I could have bought more (oh yeah!) but I exercised a great deal of restraint and stuck with adding to my collections rather than embarking on something new.  In this lot is the Weekends by Erin McMorris, It's a Hoot by MoMo, and one piece of Central Park, because my LQS doesn't have any of the Lawn Zoo, for some reason.  To me, it's the piece de resistance of the entire collection.  Go figure.

Finally, I "won" this ugly fabric in the Save the Uglies giveaway.  I don't think there were many entrants, but I'm going to go ahead and try to make something beautiful out of this.  I actually think the dark brown is kinda nice, but the orange-ish fabric has Halloween words on it.  I decidedly do not want to make a Halloween quilt.  Do you think I can cut pieces small enough that the words are just random letters, and not words like "trick or treat" or "pumpkins"?  We'll see...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Progress Report

Yesterday's post presented my "to do" list for the weekend.  It was filled with UFOs.  Only 5 items, but one had a deadline and one had been languishing here since Christmas.  Another one was (is) a problem child and the fourth was the simplest of tasks.  The last one (these are how they are now ordered in my brain, but not necessarily in the order I listed them for completion yesterday) is just too creative for an everyday sewing day.  I am afraid this last one needs the extra burst of adrenaline that a deadline presents in order for me to actually get to work on it.

So here is the progress report....

The Central Park Whirly Wheels quilt is finished!!! (Please say "Yay!")  This is the one with a deadline and needs to be at Pensacola Opera by Tuesday.  I thought it would be a simple matter to complete the quilt - after all the top was done, and it didn't take any time at all to fix my mistake with the cornerstones.  But sadly, when I laid the quilt on the floor to start the "sandwich" process, my backing was 2 inches too small all the way around.  I finally decided to piece a center strip for the back.

I used the fabrics I had the most of along with a few random squares to break up the monotony.  I put a Lawn Zoo square smack dab in the middle, just for grins.

Then there was the label fiasco.  I tried to do a label with my Sharpie marker on a piece of white broadcloth, but that was a mess.  I KNOW I bought label fabric, but could I find it???  No, of course not - at least not until I had already done something else.  Said label fabric has since been located and is still in its virgin packaging, waiting for me to lose it again for next time.

Meanwhile, my printer was out of black ink.  I found a tutorial on the net on how to use an inkjet printer to create quilt labels, but it only referenced black ink.  Naturally, this required a trip to Office Depot.  WH says that Wal-Mart is cheaper, but there is no way I would go near that place at 1:00 on a Saturday afternoon!!

I finally created a fabric label with a piece of Heat N Bond, a piece of broadcloth, and (since the printer apparently didn't like the weight of that combo) a piece of cardstock stitched to the top.  That actually fed fine, and my printed labels turned out pretty well.  I used a scrap to bind the edges and sewed them on the quilt before it was quilted.  I'm still not sure I like it, but I couldn't think of a way to sew it on after it was quilted except to hand sew it, and that is always just a last resort for me.

Anyway, once I got the label done, it was on to the quilting.  This quilt is so busy, I thought it really needed a less-is-more approach, so I just quilted the sashing and the main part of the pinwheels.  Still, it took me 3 hours or more to quilt it.  I really hate the quilting part....  Well, no, I love to see a quilt when I'm finished, but I always feel like I just wrestled a bear when I'm done.  There's just no easy way to maneuver all that fabric through the throat of my machine without getting a major workout in my arms and shoulders.

So, I'm glad it's finished.   And I really like it.  I hope the folks at the auction do too - and pay big money for it!

I finished CPWW early enough in the evening that I decided to go ahead and work on project number two.  This is a quilt BD#2 and I started at Christmas.  Santa gave her a Fandango charm pack in her stocking, and she decided to make Camille Roskelly's Sugar Rush quilt with it.  The pattern was designed for jelly rolls - not charm packs - so we had to make a lot of it up as we went along.  BD#2 pieced the top herself up to the 1st borders.  We didn't get to the scallops, so I did those and the 2nd border a few weeks ago after work one night when I was feeling creative.  I think I thought it would be super hard, but it was actually very easy.  I really like doing the blanket stitch on the machine.  It was really fun.

This little baby was already sandwiched, and just waiting to be quilted.  I hadn't made a label yet, so I made it at the same time I made the CPWW label.  I didn't realize until I made the label that Fandango is a Kate Spain fabric too.  I must really like her!

This fabric is also very busy, but the white in the scallop calms it down a lot.  I had fun playing with different quilting techniques.  The squares are done with FMQ in what is essentially a quotation mark design.  I don't know if that's a bona fide FMQ technique or not, but it is what it is.

The gold is FMQ'd around the flowers, sort of.  Or maybe you'd call it a pebble stitch.  Maybe.  The white part of the scallop is loosely quilted in rows that start out echoing the scallop but gradually get to be more shallow.  The green part of the scallop exactly follows the curve of the scallop 1/2" apart.  The bottom has 7 rows and the top has only 5.  Why, you ask?  I don't know, I just felt like changing it up a little.

This photo is remarkably good considering I took it with my phone!  Why is she taking pics with her phone when she has a perfectly good, in fact really awesome, camera?  The battery is dead.  What!  It has to be charged?  Who knew?

The backing is quilter's flannel.  BD#2 wanted it to be WARM.  I can't really blame her considering it was -18 or something in Idaho this winter.  Of course it's a little late in the season, but I think she'll find this baby is warm enough!  Once again, though, the piece of fabric I had wasn't big enough to fit the top, so I had to improvise.  This one has a pieced border all the way around the back. 

Since I mostly had FQs of this fabric, the binding is pieced too.  I got a little carried away when I was making the binding...  I think I could have used it to bind TWO quilts.

The Sugar Rush pattern has 3 flowers appliqued on the front, and I really didn't like the way the flowers looked.  I thought it was just too busy.  To me, the flowers just seemed to blend right into the background, so I was going to try some solids for the flower scallops.  I did have an alternate plan, but in a text message conversation, BD#2 said she liked it just the way it was.  It's her quilt, and who am I to argue with her?

At her request, I stitched them on and another project finito completo!  (Say "Yay!" again, please!)

The third project didn't take long at all.  I got those 27 blocks squared in no time.  Here is my pile of shavings.  They seem almost too pretty to throw away.  The blocks are in the mail tomorrow!!  (Please say "Yay" for the third time - thank you!

  Sadly, I did not get to either of my other two projects.  I spent a lot of time thinking about how to finish the Kumari Gardens place mats.  I still really want them reversible.  I kept thinking, if only I had about a yard of a pretty floral, I would just put it on the back and they would be reversible.

Well, lo and behold, what should arrive in yesterday's mail but my Pink Chalk fabric order.  (They were having an awesome sale last week on fabrics I've been eying for months!!)  And what should be in that order but some Erin McMorris Weekends.  And for some unknown reason, I bought a whole yard of it. 

I think this will look durn cute on the back of those placemats.  I was about ready to slice into it when I realized everything else was pre-shrunk, but this wasn't.  I didn't want to take a chance, so into the washer it went.

I didn't get to the mini-quilt at all, but I have the idea rolling around in my head.  Unfortunately, what's in my head doesn't always execute as well as I would like.  Oh, well.  I'll get to that.

What I did do was make 3 of the cutest little hexi needlebooks from this tutorial.  They were easy, and pretty fun! I think mine are a little larger than the tutorial, but I didn't measure.  I just cut down a hexi pattern I had from another project.  The appliques are from some sewing themed fabric I bought a couple of months ago

They were easy, and pretty fun!  Easy as