Sunday, June 30, 2013

Scrap Therapy

Our Scrap Therapy group had our June meeting and we showed the results of our 2-color quilt challenge. We had 3 entries, Pam's brown and cream half log cabins, my blue and white shared 9-patch, and Anne's cream and ecru quilt. Anne was the winner! You'll notice, none of them are quilted yet. We're an easy group with very loose rules!

That is one huge quilt, Anne!

This quilt above is Judi's Mystery quilt. The border and the center square of the block is made with a gorgeous rose and green batik. I wish the colors showed up better!

And this wonderful quilt is Judi's Piece o' Cake project. It's called "Flowers in the Garden," or something like that! I took a few closeup pictures so you could appreciate the detail she is putting into this project. She used some wooden beads in the center of the ruched flowers, and appliqued a few bugs and bees on it also. She is also buying some appropriate buttons...she has a snail to add to it! Judi did this as a quilt as you go project. Great job, Judi. The detail and the hand quilting is wonderful!

The photo below, with the butterfly, displays the red background more accurately. Don't you love the polka dot binding--what a snazzy finishing touch, Judi!

Anne has been working on several different projects at the same time. She too is determined to finish up some of her scraps. Here's her red and white scrappy project. Is that the "Lady in the Lake" block?

Anne's working on 2 different blue scrappy quilt projects. I like them both!
Can't wait to see them getting larger!

We talked about ideas for our next 6 months. We enjoyed our mystery quilt and would like to do another one. We also want to do a row-by-row quilt, completing one row each month. We haven't picked out which one we want to do. That's where it will get interesting! We do all agree that we don't want one that depicts only one holiday. But other than that, we are beginning the search. Wish us luck as we try to get 6 to 8 women to agree on the same thing!

Till next time keep stitchin!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sewing Circle

Our June Sewing Circle met Saturday and we had a few Star Quilts to show. We're working through Kathleen Tracy's book "Civil War Sewing Circle." Kathy's quilt does not have sashing, but there is one thing we all agree on...we don't like setting blocks with this many seams up against one another.

These two quilts below are the assignment to make this month and to show in July. They are the One Patch Scrap Quilt. It's a very easy project, and I hope a lot of the gals will make it. Pam made her from scraps and fussy cut the star in the center--what a cute idea! Mine is made from a charm patch I had leftover from another project. I changed the border because I didn't want to cut them up! They are from a line called "Java" and have little coffee beans and coffee types printed on them.

The photos below are some miscellaneous show and tell we had. We're also trying to finish up some UFOs this year.

Lori's putting her sampler blocks together as she makes them (below).

Fannie found a darling pattern that puts different 6 inch blocks on the side of this simple house. It turned out great, Fannie!

Pam's working on using some of her large collection of brown fabrics. They decided they wanted to be a quilt today!

This last photo is the 10-minute table runner. It's a fun, easy project several of us have made.

Till next time, keep stitchin!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hexagons and Handwork

Our LQS is having an affair right now with English Paper Piecing. We are currently in the hexagon phase....we're making trivets (above) and small wall hangings (below).

The shop display is 2-sided, with all sorts of fun ideas to get you hooked, too. They are featuring a hexagon color of the month. This month is pink, and the display was so empty looking I didn't take a photo of it! The little quilt in the photo above is called an apple core. It can also be made with the little paper templates.

It's amazing how many books, pamplets and patterns there are right now on the subject. (Just google it and find out!)

That's Linda and the shop owner, Ann Banks, loading the Accu Quilt cutter with a hexagon die cutter. We found out it works best with 6-8 layers of fabric, the idea being that if you layer 6-8 different fabrics, you'll have enough cut for a good sized quilt in no time. We even talked about different ways to glue the fabric around the hexie paper. The best way is to use a glue pen (longer and slimmer than a glue stick), fold over only one edge and glue the fabric to the fabric. Then move around the hexie, folding and gluing each side. You don't glue the paper pieces at all. And no more time-consuming basting!

I decided I'd get out my collection of 30's fabrics and make some hexies. I tried 2 different sizes, the 1" hexagon and the 1.25" hexagon. I think I'm going to stick with the 1.25" hexagon. (The pink and blue pieces are 1.25". The paper pieces to the lower left of the bobbin ring are the 1" hexies. Hexies are measured by the length of one side.) 

You need to assemble a small hexie kit. I couldn't resist buying the bobbin ring full of bobbins of every color. It's called the "Super Bobs Donut" by Superior Threads. They are 60 wt. bottom line polyester thread and are very nice for hand piecing. My little polka dot scissors was $5.00 from Joann's. You'll also need some hand sewing needles (size 8 or 9 sharps), a little needle holder/container, a thimble and perhaps a needle threader. Everything (exept the bobbins) fits nicely in my little Snoopy lunchbox from the Dollar Store.

And you need some inspiration/eye candy--a goal to strive for. Unless you're one of those super creative types that just designs as you go. The book I chose is English Paper Piecing by Vicki Bellino, from That Patchwork Place. I like it because she uses all sorts of differnt fabrics from 30's to plaids to red and white to country/primitive colors. She also includes projects of many different sizes, wall hangings to a bed size quilt that combines aqua and brown log cabins with a starflower block that is made with diamond-shaped paper pieces. And it's not just about hexagons, she includes the diamond-shaped starflower, petal flowers, dresden plates, pentagons and larger hexagons made with pieced fabric strips. It's possible to make the 12 different projects from this book, using the same technique of paper-piecing but creating 12 entirely differnt looking projects.

I hope you'll give it a try! English paper piecing is very portable, too. So if you find yourself spending time in doctor's offices or at soccer games, and you want to keep your hands busy, this could be for you! (Or if you just want a portable project to work on while you're watching tv.)

Till next time, keep stitching!

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Wayward Girls

The Wayward Girls had a get-together this past Saturday, and honestly, it was certainly an interesting day. Once in awhile we sew-ers have an off-day, when the fingers and the fabric just don't want to cooperate. But how rare is it when it happens to all 3 of us on the same day! We got started about 9:30 in the morning, and by 12 noon when we stopped for a lunch break, we didn't have too much to show for ourselves. I had managed to assemble three 3 inch friendship pinwheel blocks. Pam had made a bazillion half square triangles for her Union Star quilt, and Carol had spent her morning fixing some of the corners of her Thimbleberries Pine Tree quilt.

I mean, really, isn't that an exciting photo (above)?

By the end of the day, Carol's repair looked like this (above).

Can you spot the way the corners are set in the "before" photo above? Sometimes you just don't notice your mistake until it gets on the design wall, or when you view it as a photo. Carol gets a gold star for perseverance!

And by the end of the day, Pam had managed to assemble 2 Union Star blocks. She is trying to put her collection of homespuns into a quilt so she can make space for some new fabric! If you've ever sewn with homespuns you know they can be uncooperative. They are more loosely woven and like to stretch. Good job, Pam, you get a gold star for perseverance, too!

The little Thimbleberries quilt "Glory Be" (completed it measures about 15 x 17) above is what I had hoped to have by the end of my day. But my new machine was not cooperating, and I spent about 2 hours tinkering with the bobbin. After rethreading the top thread and bottom thread about 4 times, totally changing the thread I was using, changing the needle again (I had cleaned the bobbin case and put in a new needle Friday evening, looking forward to a full day of sewing progress....ha!), and playing with the tension, my machine finally decided to cooperate. And I managed to get this much finished:

Really, a full Saturday and I had 6 little 3-inch friendship stars, and that wonderful little stars and stripes flag to the point above. When I realized what I had done with the red stripes...yes, I sewed the bottom part on upside down, I decided to throw in the towel. Pam and Carol had already frittered away several hours playing Candy Crush on their phones, and I was going to join them, but couldn't find a Candy Crush app for my Nook. So I played some (more) solitaire. When I can face that uncooperative little flag, I'll go fix it!

We had a fun lunch at Cracker Barrell. It's always fun poking around to see what trinkets they have for sale. Then we headed over to Hobby Lobby and fondled the yarn. Which reminds me, one of my favorite blogs is Patter Cross at . If you are into crochet, just search for her crochet posts. She is making an afghan for each of her triplet daughters. She is using a Vera Bradley bag for her color inspiration, which I think is one fabulous idea. Makes me what to go shopping for some Vera for myself! She has a wonderful blue and yellow pattern that I have been coveting.

And for dinner, we really broke out of the mold and headed over to Bonefish. Do they have one near you? They are known for their Bang-Bang Shrimp (which I had never tried before!) and their wonderful fish. It was a fabulous meal, but I caution you to bring a bulky warm fall sweater with you (it was 90 degrees here Saturday, and 65 in the restaurant!).

I'm looking forward to our Sewing Circle this Saturday. All my lesson handouts are finished, so I might have time to finish up some sewing projects before Saturday! I hope you have some time to sew this week, and I hope your machine and your fabrics cooperate with you! Till next time, keep stitchin!