Thursday, February 28, 2013

Card Making with my Cricut

I have a Cricut die-cutter and it is such fun to use! Over Christmas break I treated myself to a new cartridge called "Create a Critter," and made several of these puppy and kitty cards for my friends. The first one I sent to my dog-loving friends.

The inside says "'Ruff Ruff' that's dogspeak for Happy New Year!" And of course, "Ruff Ruff" could just as easily say "Happy Birthday" or "Get Well Soon"--well, you get the idea!

Here's my kitty card..she had to be gray because our Dusty is gray. The inside says "'Meow meow' that's kittyspeak for Happy New Year."

The papers are from Basic Gray's collection "Max and Whiskers." I used my Spellbinders dies to make the circle and the scalloped circle. The border punch is one of my favorites--Apron Lace. And I found the metal heart charms and the buttons that look like paws at Michaels. The Cricut cartridge I used for the dog and cat is called "Create a Critter" and the animals are actually 4 layers thick, so they look rather dimensional. The eyes are little black brads. The ribbon and twine I had on hand. The idea was taken from a magazine I really enjoy called "CardMaker." This is my favorite magazine for card ideas because they give you dimensions for the card base and they list their sources for the products that make up each card.

And here's my inspiration...Dusty in all his glory. His mantra is out the window...repeat. He's a 25 lb. Maine Coon. The funny thing is, he and my husband share a secret language!

I'm off to Joanns to see if I can buy a bigger cutting mat on sale. 'Till next time, keep stitchin or scrappin!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

January Wayward Girls

I looked through some of my photos and realized I didn't post our January Wayward Girls projects. The first quilt (above) is Carol's project--our first Thimbleberries project for 2013. We are working our way through their book "Pint Sized Projects." This of course, is the Bear Paw.

This is Pam's little Valentine quilt, from the book "Pinwheel Party." She's quilted it since then, I must get a picture of it for you.

Carol's January quilt (above) for our Civil War Sewing Circle. And below, Carol's "sunflower" blocks for our February Thimbleberries quilt.

I was able to complete 3 of my Bear Paw blocks. And below, my first finish of the year, a baby quilt for my new grandson Kian, born January 5, 9 lbs. 2 oz. Mom, Dad, and baby are doing fine! The very light background is a blue and white toile from Bunny Hill. And that peachy/orange color is actually yellow. Sorry about the bad lighting!

And here is our little darling! He is such a good baby. He only cries when he is hungry. I can't wait to see him again! Aren't babies just the most wonderful thing ever!

Till next time, keep stitchin!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hampton Virginia Quilt Show

Once a year the Mancuso quilt fest folks put on a fabulous quilt show in Hampton, Virginia. On Sunday, we drove down to Hampton with some friends and had a wonderful day.

The traditional quilts are usually my favorites, but these were just different enough that they caught my eye. I have a picture of the quilt, and then a closeup. I hope you can see some of the details in the quilt, including the quilting.

I really, really love 2-color quilts. Blue and white would be my first choice, followed by red and white, but this green and white quilt was stunning. Oh how I wish I could have watched this artist machine quilting this green and white beauty!

And the artist who hand pieced this basket quilt was robbed of a ribbon. This quilt was incredible! Each basket finishes at 3 inches square. She used all kinds of fabrics, but the quilt has an older feeling to it because she used the blue Civil War era repro to set the blocks together. This truly was a stunning masterpiece!

Of course, I had to buy a few goodies to bring home! First, a few bundles of fabrics:  The blue bundle is 8 fat quarters of Judie Rothermal's Cocheco Mills in blue and brown; The shirting bundle is 10 assorted reproduction shirting fat quarters; the flat red package has 1.5 inch x 42 inches "log cabin" pieces. How fun is that going to be! 28 dark reds and 24 light reds. And the brown bundle in front has 20 different 10 inch squares in brown, from light to dark. Gorgeous!

And then a few notions:  a package of 1" hexagon paper pieces (hexagon piecing is very big right now!), some blue quilt pounce (to use on white fabric); and 3 quilt pounce stencils: a feathered heart, 2 snowflakes, and 2 borders. I have a quilt pounce but couldn't get it to work satisfactorily, so she gave me a quick demo. You have to "prime" your pounce by pouncing it about 100 times to get it started....who knew? The stencils are on a very fine nylon mesh and you can store them rolled up if you like.  You can buy them at

And I could NOT resist this Superior thread chart, for only $3.00! It will be fun to put it on a blank wall space near my sewing machine and just look at the gorgeous colors. The beautiful blue bird toile is a gift from my dear friend, Pam....thanks Pam! Hubby and I really enjoyed our day with you and your hubby...And dinner at the Kings Arms in Williamsburg was wonderful!

till next time, keep stitchin!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Shared Nine Patch and Irish Chain Blocks

Yesterday I posted photos of the two quilts I'm currently working on, and it occurred to me that you might be interested in seeing how these blocks go together.

This is the shared 9-patch block (above and below). I hope you can see that the block is not quite together--blow up the photo to get a better look. The block has a 9-patch in the upper right corner, and a 4-patch in the lower left corner. The remaining units consist of a 2.5 inch background square, and 1.5 inch background and indigo squares. I strip pieced the 9-patch and 4-patch using 1.5 inch strips. And yes, it does go together pretty quickly.

I set my indigo and light background blocks together with alternate squares of a medium blue fabric, cut into 5.5 inch squares. And again, here is a photo of the finished top:

I think this quilt would be just as fun done up in red and white fabrics, don't you?!

Now I'll show you how "Liz's Scrappy Irish Chain" is made. If you have your January/February Fons & Porter Love of Quilting magazine, it's on page 38. All the units are cut at 1.5 inches. I took out a bunch of fabric pieces leftover from other projects and cut as many strips as I could from the pieces, all of them less than a fat quarter. I strip pieced them, then sliced them at 1.5 inch wide. Notice the unit on the very left and the unit on the very right have a dark blue square in the middle. The middle strip has a dark blue square at the top and at the bottom.

This photo (below) is the main block all sewn together (Liz calls this the "Checkerboard Block"). At this point, the block measures 5.5 inches square. I need a total of 111 of them. I'm at 75 right now, so almost 3/4 of the way there!

The photo below shows the alternate block coming together (Liz's "Chain Block"). It starts with 3.5 inch strips of dark indigo, and two 1.5 inch strips of light background. I think it's more interesting to use two different background fabrics...remember, I'm trying to use up some of my stash. And I normally don't buy more than 1 yard of any piece of fabric.

Once you have the background strips sewn onto the indigo piece, cut them into 1.5 inch widths. Then sew them onto the sides of an indigo piece cut 3.5 by 5.5 inches, to create a 5.5 inch square.

I'm using more than one indigo too, here's a photo of the two I have so far. They are both Jo Morton fabrics from her indigo and berries line. I need 110 of these little beauties. I'm at 60 so far. 50 more to go! They're not at all difficult, it's just a matter of sitting down and doing it.

And here's my design wall, with a portion of the quilt. Liz's quilt is set 13 blocks across and 15 down. The photo shows 7 blocks wide by 6 blocks tall. With no border, the quilt will finish at 65 x 85 inches.

The weather here has been damp and rainy, perfect weather for spending time in my craft room. As a matter of fact, I think I'll go grab a cup of tea and head back there. Maybe I can get more of these little guys completed!

Till next time, keep stitchin!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Blue on Blue; Scrappy Quilts

I've been in the mood to sew something blue, and when I found this quilt in American Patchwork and Quilting, I had to pick up the rotary cutter and start cutting. The quilt is called "Baby Blues" and is supposed to be a baby quilt. The completed quilt will measure 42 x 50.

I'm also trying to use up some of my older indigos and shirting fabrics. The block in this quilt is called a shared nine patch. I had never seen it before! The indigo and shirting strips are cut at 1.5 inches. I made a total of 42 blocks, set 6 across and 7 down. The medium blue setting fabric is a new purchase, as I didn't have a big enough piece in that color. The blocks finish at 5 inches.

When I received this issue of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting just before Christmas, I knew that the scrappy quilt on page 38 ("Liz's Irish Chain") would use up more of my older Jo Morton fabrics. This quilt also uses a 5" block as it's basic unit--more 1.5 inch strips to cut!

So here's what's on my design wall tonight:

I have made a total of 80 of the pieced blocks (each with (25) 1 inch squares). Note that the dark blue indigo fabrics are the middle square on each of the four sides of the 25-patch block. This is going to be a heavy quilt with all those seams! But yes, I am using up some fabrics! I made 23 of the connecting chain blocks today. They go up much faster than the 25-patch block. I need 31 more pieced blocks and 87 more of the connecting blocks.

One of my LQSs had a fat quarter sale this weekend--buy 10 at $3.00 each, get 10 free. That means $6.00 a yard, so that's a good deal! I was able to find four more dark indigo Jo Morton fat quarters, so that made me happy. I also bought some Easter egg colored fabrics...I'm in the mood to make a spring table topper next.

Oh, the pattern for Liz's Irish Chain is on page 38 of the January / February 2013 Love of Quilting issue. And as an aside, when we lived in Missouri, our guild had Liz come and teach a class and she was delightful. It's so meaningful to have that personal connection with a national teacher. I always learn something new whenever I take a class.

It was 63 degrees this past week here in Richmond Virginia. And this afternoon we had snow flurries! Some of it actually stuck to the ground. It will be gone tomorrow when it warms up a little.

Till next time, keep stitchin'!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Quilters

So the happy quilters went on a local 3-day retreat and we certainly had a lot of fun stitching. I thought I would post a few pictures so you could see what some of us were up to.

Barbara put her beautiful blue and yellow log cabin quilt together. Her blocks were made using 2.5 inch strips. Blue and yellow are my two favorite colors, so I especially liked this quilt!

I had all of my log cabin blocks sewn and was determined to get the top put together over the weekend. The pattern is from a Jennifer Chiaverini book. This is the Underground Railroad quilt--I believe the book is called "The Runaway Quilt." Notice the black centers--they indicated the house was a stop on the Underground Railroad. I'm not sure about the history of that, but it makes for a beautiful quilt, doesn't it?! I started with 1.5 inch strips. There are 144 blocks, set 12 x 12. I can't wait to get this one quilted!

And the quilt above is Ann's version of the new Bonnie Hunter quilt "Easy Street." She toned down the colorway a bit by using all the same black-dotted fabric for the background, and she limited her greens to a few fabrics.

Here's a closeup of the block. I like it, Ann, good job!

I started two other projects...sometimes I just get into the mood to cut and sew! I found a cute baby quilt called "Baby Blues" and I'm working on setting those blocks together. And I'm working on another scrap quilt with 5 inch squares--cut from 1.5 inch squares. It's good and scrappy. So maybe I've made you curious?! Come back tomorrow and I'll snap a photo from my design wall.

till next time, keep stitchin!