Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Quick and Final Finish for 2013 . . .

My Shower Shuffle is done! I don't think I could have picked a better project for wrapping up my sewing year.

This is Lifetime Quilt #122
The Inspiration for this pattern came from Camille Roskelley from Thimble Blossoms .  The color palette is from Carmile's pattern Puddling Jumping and the blocks are from Camille's Craftsy video, 25 Half-Square Triangle Blocks.
The majority of the fabric is April Showers by Bonnie and Camille for Moda.
This quilt finished at 75" x 75",  each pieced hst block finished at 15".
This quilt has approximately 549 pieces.

This was a fun project start to finish.  I sewed along with an imaginary friend which made it all the more fun.   

I wish you a safe, happy, and heathy New Year.  I plan to take a look back at my 2013 sewing year later this week, but am really looking forward to another rewarding and challenging 2014.

Thanks for stopping by, it's wonderful to have so many folks to "talk" quilts with, that's been the best part of my year, truly.  

Monday, December 30, 2013

Shower Shuffle . . .

Hello and welcome back!  Our family had the nicest Christmas, I hope yours did too.  Thanks so much for all your warm wishes, they made my holiday even sweeter.  I love this time between Christmas and New Years, we just stay in and enjoy the decorations, leftovers, and lull that follows Christmas.  It's a pleasant and relaxing way to wrap up the year.

Even though I took a blogging holiday I've still been sewing and am very excited to have something new to share with you today, so thanks for stopping by!

Have you seen Camille Roskelley's Craftsy Video called, "25 Half-Square Triangle Blocks with Camille Roskelley"?   This post won't make any sense unless you have, so I've attempted to attach the video to this post.  If you can't get it to work the video is also available on Camille's blog, Simplify, here.  I think this is a clever little video and Camille's fun personality and enthusiastic facial expressions makes me laugh every time I watch it.

If you're a regular reader of my blog you know half-square triangle units are my favorite block.  I use the Easy Angle, make them big, then square them to size.  Perfectly made hst units can make some amazing blocks.  In Camille's video she uses a half square triangle in every square of a 16 piece block.  She comes up with 25 different blocks, naturally, being a hst fan, I love them all.

I mentioned this video to a friend, Carrie, and shared that I was thinking of making every block in the video, and to make it even more fun, I was thinking of making different size blocks, setting some on point, adding sashing to others, and basically creating some sort of math and setting hst hot mess.  My friend was intrigued by this idea and suggested a little holiday sew along.  In the end we decided to select 16 blocks from Camilles' video and to use Camille's color palette from her pattern Puddle Jumping (click here) for our projects.

We both started with the exact same number of hsts in the exact same fabrics.  Here are my 14 different pieces of fabric with 20 hsts from each fabric for a total of 280 units.  (yes, that's Starlight still languishing in a state of limbo on that second shelf)  Making 16 blocks meant that we needed 256 hst units, starting with 280 gave us 24 extra units to play with.

The next thing I did was select the 16 blocks that I wanted to make out of the possible 25.

Next step, to start piecing.  I didn't have any rules on which pieces of fabric I used, I just went with what was pleasing to my eye.  My 16th block was a little of a challenge, based on the units I had to work with, but considering I didn't have a master plan, I think they all turned out just fine.

And here are my 16 blocks.

The blocks finish at 15 inches and the fabric is mostly April Showers by Bonnie and Camille for Moda.

Carrie and I are going to use the same setting for our blocks and I'm  hoping to add this quilt to my list of 2013 finishes, stop back by to see if I make it.  Carrie/La Vie En Rosie has finished her "Shower Shuffle", the name we're giving our projects, and is blogging about her finish today. (click here)  I can hardly wait to see her blocks and compare them to mine.

This would be a great scrap project for that bag of orphan hsts you've been saving and the size is up to you. The block, setting and size potential is unlimited.  I think this project would make for a nice guild challenge quilt or bee swap too.  Keep it in mind as you work on your 2014 To Do list.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Two Finishes . . . .

Finish number one,  I got the Christmas tree in my sewing room out and decorated.  This tree should be the first decoration I get out, not my last.  All those pink decorations on a fluffy white tree put a smile on my face.  It's a random assortment of food, beverage, Hello Kitty, Barbie and bedazzled ornaments, but they're all pink so it works, or so I think!  It even lights up.

Finish number two, my Joyful Round and Round!  This is the quilt that will be hanging in my living room next Christmas!  I think I'm one of the last stragglers to finish for Camille's Round and Round-along, but this is definitely a perfect case of better late than never.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 121
The pattern is Round and Round by Camille Roskelly for thimble blossoms.
The fabric is all by Kate Spain for Moda.  There's some "In from the cold", "12 days of Christmas" and even a little "Joy".  The background fabric is the white on white snowflake print from "In from the cold".  It doesn't show up in this picture but it looks great in person, all those snowflakes surrounding my blocks.
I've even pieced a scrappy binding to match.
My quilt finished at 74" x 78".  I added a 3 inch outer border to give the blocks a little more float.
It has approximately 625 pieces.

If you've seen this finished quilt out in blogland and have not added it to your To Do list, and really, I don't even know how that could be humanly possible, give it another thought.  It looks even more wonderful in person, and better yet quilted I'm sure, but besides that, there's just some sort of zen peaceful quality about working on the quilt that you need to experience.  I'm not sure if it's all the white background or the easy piecing, but when you need a relaxing project, this is the one for you, it was the perfect relaxing yin to my hectic December yang.   I always enjoy Christmas, I truly believe it is the most wonderful time of the year, but some years I have more spirit than others, this year I have plenty and even some to spare, and I think it was working on this quilt that got me there.

Christmas officially starts Saturday at my house, that's when my favorite daughter arrives home for the holidays!  I have a little wrapping left to do and the big grocery store shopping trip, but I plan to be drinking an eggnog latte while I finish up that to do, so it won't even be a chore. I hope you're getting the sprit of the season and well on your way to reaping the benefits of your time and hard work.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It's new to me . . .

I got a new old quilt in the mail yesterday.  Do you remember Amaryllis?  This is a top I pieced for Monique Dillard at Open Gate Quilts back in of April 2012.  It's Lifetime Quilt #85.  

This is the first time I've seen the finished quilt in person.  I pieced the top, mailed it to Monique, then she added a border, got it quilted, attached the binding, then carried it around to trunk shows and classes for the last 18 months.  Monique promised that once its 15 minutes of fame, or in this case 18 months of fame, was over, she would send the quilt home to me.  I'm not sure how she parted with this quilt so close to Christmas, I think I would have kept it, just a couple more weeks at least.

I love this quilt, the fabric is Sentiments by 3 Sisters for Moda.  This fabric has a nice romantic feel to it.    Did you miss out on Sentiments?  I think 3 Sisters new Christmas line, Wintergreen, would look great made up into this quilt too.

This is  my chair and as I type this blog I have this quilt on my lap, sitting next to the Christmas tree, with the fireplace going.  If I could just talk someone into bringing me some hot chocolate life would be perfect, but just having this quilt home for Christmas is pretty wonderful all on its own.

The pattern is available here, I bet you're thinking you need your own Amaryllis, I could not agree more!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Still going Round & Round

I'm practically done with the decorating, although, at my house, I seem to tweak and adjust and rearrange ornaments, knick knacks, and villages until it's time to pack them all up again.  But that's part of the fun, right?   We are enjoying the decorations, eating off the Christmas dishes, drinking out of the Christmas glasses and turning all the trees, candles and houses on each evening.  It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

And even though I still have some shopping, wrapping and cards to finish up, I've been squeezing in a little sewing time.

This is Round & Round by Camille Roskelley for thimble blossom quilts.  I'm using several of Kate Spain's Christmas lines for my top.  Now that my hsts are done, it takes no time at all to make these blocks.  I break the block assembly down into two steps.  First I select my hsts, arrange them in the proper order, then I decide on my centers.  Step two is piecing it all together.  It takes me longer to finish step one than step two.

I'm over half way done.  I'm a little late to this party, but I am thrilled to be making this top all the same.  The genius of this pattern is its simplicity, and during this hectic time of the year, I'm finding serenity working with all this white space and relishing the simple piecing.  If you've not made this pattern yet add it to your 2014 list, you'll just love it, and any style of fabric will make an amazing quilt.

My friend Monique, at Open Gate Quilts, has joined the impressive teaching staff at Craftsy.  Her first class is all about flying geese and is on sale right now at 50% off.  I'm a huge fan of Monique's method of making geese using her "Fit to be Geese" rulers.  If you've ever struggled making geese I think you would love this class.  Check it out here.  You will also receive Monique's Fat Quarter Winners e-book when you sign up for her class.

I hope things are going well at your house, that you're also getting through your To Dos and most importantly, squeezing in a little fun time for yourself, take it, you've earned it.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Glitter and Styrofoam . . .

There's not much sewing going on here, but I am making great progress on my Christmas To Do list, especially the decorating.   Everything in my house has a thin layer of glitter topped with pieces of styrofoam, even Cooper, even us.  Once everything is unpacked and I can move from decorating to cleaning, I hope the situation improves, although really, Cooper and I don't mind a little glitter, the styrofoam, not so much.

I like dishes, Christmas dishes are my favorite.  I keep the kitchen table set with this place setting, and yes, I pick it up and move it for every meal we eat at that table, which is maybe just once a day.  I like the dishes  and enjoy seeing them out, so I don't mind the daily plate shuffle.

This is the reason we have so much glitter in our house.  I replaced our old 12 foot Christmas tree with this 9 foot one.  This tree is dusted with glitter to give it the look of a tree covered in frost.  I really enjoyed decorating a 9 foot tree over a 12 foot tree and look forward to this tree settling in and the glitter staying in place.  I'm also going with a white and silver theme in the living room this year, a nice change from the red and gold I've had the last 8 years.

Although you know me, I had to have a little red in that room.  I normally hang "Oh Christmas Tree" in the living room in December, but this year I decided I wanted something a little dressier and went with "Red White and Wonderful" instead.

"Oh Christmas Tree" is on the quilt rack with "French Vintage" in the sunroom.  (I've had the quilt rack for over 7 years and have no idea where you can get one too.)

The red couches are ready for Christmas, on the left is pretty little quilt a friend sent me for my birthday, on the right is Vintage Holiday.

Since the tree in this room is decorated with nothing but snowman ornaments, I thought this adorable snowman couple should hang out here too,  in between the two red couches.

Besides Cooper's quilt on the floor, the other quilt in this room is "Scratch", a Miss Rosie's Quilt Co quilt.

I'm hoping to get back to my Kate Spain Christmas Round & Round this week, the perfect project for December sewing.  I hope you're making progress with whatever is on your To Do list too!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Round & Round . . .

So my normal daily routine, where I rush around doing my errands and chores in the morning to get into my sewing room in the afternoon, netted me no time in my sewing room Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.  I finally decided just to take some time on Thursday, even though I still had things to do and errands to run.  It's that time of year where I never get through my daily To Do list and I'm guessing your day is the same.

I did, finally, put my hsts to use.  Here's my first Round & Round block.   Round & Round is a pattern by Camille Roskelley for thimble blossoms.  (click here) Camille is doing a Round and Round Along and I've seen several finished tops online, and not a stinker in the group.  Here's a new quilt finished by Camille herself using some fabric not by Bonnie and Camille, but cute all the same. (click here)

I'm making a Christmas version using a layer cake of "12 days of Christmas" by Kate Spain for Moda and a layer cake of "In from the Cold" also by Kate Spain for Moda.  

In the pattern the star centers are background fabric, I decided to fill my centers using a print fabric.  Sometimes I use the same fabric as the points, sometimes I use the same color as the points but a different print, and sometimes I go with something totally different.  So far so good.  I've also determined, based on the fabric I'm using, that each large block should have two red stars, two green stars, two blue stars, one white background star and one gray star.

I'm finding this to be a perfect project for this time of year, just a little fun and easy escape, if you're looking for a little fun and easy escape maybe you need to go Round & Round too!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tis the season . . .

I had the nicest Thanksgiving week, thanks so much for your best wishes, I hope you had a great week too.

So as several as you suggested, I've been unsewing my Starlight blocks a few at a time.  I'm making progress and have just a small stack left to go.  I still need to trim the blocks and figure I"ll do that all at once.

I'm not going to press and trim these blocks, I'm gong to cut new ones.  That's just some Moda Bella Solid that I buy by the bolt,  I figure at $6 per yard that's the most efficient way to go.

So while I finish trimming my Starlight blocks I figured I would start something new, a Christmas something. 

I like to make Christmas quilts in December, in 2009 I made Oh Christmas Tree (LQ# 53), 2010 I made Red, White and Wonderful (LQ#64), in 2011 I wrapped up my FQS Kate Spain Mystery BOM (LQ#)71,  and last year I made Vintage Holiday (LQ#100).  This is the start of Round & Round by Camille Roskelley for thimble blossoms.  My half square triangle units are trimmed and ready, I'm hoping to make some blocks this week.  The fabric is by Kate Spain for Moda.

I plan to attack my Christmas To Do list this week, so sewing time will be scarce.  I did get a start on my decorating this past weekend.  Here's something new for my house, an advent calendar.  This came from Pottery Barn, is hand painted canvas, and huge.

Those numbered pockets are a great size, perfect for giant chocolate bars, but I figure if I filled those pockets with chocolate bars they wouldn't make it a week, let alone a month.  So I'm going to do my advent calendar in reverse, and add a candy cane to each pocket each day.  Once it's Christmas my wall hanging will be full of pretty candy canes instead of empty candy bar wrappers.  

Even though this is a very busy time of year, it's my favorite, let the fun begin.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Let's all eat more Pie!

(this is Lifetime Quilt Number 50)

I would like to let you know, as I reflect on my many blessings, you, my blogging friends, add so much to my life. Thank you for making my small life so much fuller.

I'm taking the rest of the week off, my baby girl is home and I plan to enjoy every minute of our time together. There will be nothing but shopping, game playing, movie watching, cooking, and most importantly laughing, going on here.

No sewing to speak of, that can wait.

I'll be back on Monday!

Best wishes for a safe and happy week, to you and your family, wherever you may be!

Friday, November 22, 2013

More is More

How about more Wild Air?

Wild Air is the pattern by Carrie Nelson for Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.  I started my quilt in a class sponsored by the Corn Wagon Quilt Company in Springville, Utah.  After blogging about my Wild Air I received a note from Julie, who was also in my class, along with this picture of her finished Wild Air.  I thought you would enjoy seeing her beautiful quilt as much as I did.

Julie used Glace by 3 Sisters for Moda for the majority of the pieced blocks and Basic Grey Blush also by Moda for the red border.  A funny story about Julie, she has since moved from Utah, and my first reaction was, " oh no, you must really miss the Corn Wagon Quilt Co",  because I remember Julie being very active in several of their classes, but then Julie told me she now lives in Temecula, California, yes home of the Temecula Quilt Co!  How could she be so lucky, Julie said the nice ladies at Temecula Quilt Shop have welcomed her into their fold.  The next time we're moving, I'm insisting we move to a town with an active local quilt shop!

Besides getting ready for Thanksgiving, I'm also counting down to Christmas.  I got my Countdown to Christmas quilt, headboard cover, pillows, and wall hanging out the first of November.  I love this set so much I start counting down to Christmas early.  Also, if I'm going to the trouble to change the fabric on that headboard, it's going to be out for longer than one month!  This is my guest room.

Here's my Christmas in the City wall hanging.

When I'm in  my sewing room, Cooper likes to hang out right next door in this room, he gets a great view of the goings on out on the street, he's always on guard for the UPS, USPS or Fed Ex men.  I know I have a package getting ready to hit the doorstep before it's even out of the truck.

Well since this is a white quilt, and since it is out for a couple of months, I thought I would put an old blanket over Countdown to Christmas for Cooper to lay on when I'm sewing.  As you can see, Cooper was having none of that, he must be excited to have this quilt back out too, to push that old comforter out of the way.  (the bedroom set, including that great headboard where you can swap out the fabric is from Pottery Barn)

And finally, a starlight update.  Thank you all so much for all the great and supportive comments regarding my little problem with starlight, by Camille Roskelley for thimble blossoms.  Knowing you've had similar issues made me feel less foolish.  And between your comments and the passage of time, I'm feeling better about the whole thing.  I'm also taking your advice and working on the un-sewing a little bit everyday.  Once I have the blocks apart and trimmed I may even work on something else, then put those starlight blocks back together, a little break would be good for my soul I think.  Two comments really stand out, Vicky's comment was, "a quilt so nice you'll make it twice!  That's my new mantra,   I think because it's fun and true!  And Ann said, "Sometimes quilting is a humbling experience", and she is right, this was a humbling experience, but I'm better for it.   So really, thanks so much for feeling my pain.  And like I said, I have a fix for this.  If you want to feel some real pain go visit Nicole's blog, she just finished her Clover Schnibbles table topper only to spill hot wax on it, I'm not sure there's a fix for that, but I sure hope so, I feel your pain Nicole!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Bump in the Road . . . .

So here's my stack of pieced triangle units for Starlight, the pattern by Camille for thimble blossoms.  (click here for pattern detail)  They went together perfectly, and by using the Creative Grids 60 degree triangle for the pieces and parts, the points lined up perfectly to create the required 1/4" space above those triangle points.  So the only thing left to do was to put the pieced triangles and large floral triangles on my design wall and start sewing everything together.  

But then I noticed that the large triangles that I cut, at the required pattern size, were not big enough!

My pieced triangle  units are an 1/2" larger than the cut triangles.  I could not for the life of me figure out where I went wrong, because I checked and double checked and squared up every step along the way.  Then a friend figured out my problem, using the 60 degree triangle created this difference.  

The pattern says, "Using your rotary cutter and small triangle template (or a 60 degree ruler)…." Note is says 60 degree ruler, not 60 degree triangle.  I cut my large floral triangles out first, because I wanted to make sure I had enough fabric for those big units plus the small points for the centers.  And I just barely had enough fabric as it was.  But had I not cut them first, all I needed to do was to cut bigger triangles and everything would be perfect, but that's not possible now.

So this is where I am, I have a beautiful stack of floral triangles and another beautiful stack of pieced triangles, but they don't go together, so at this point I figure I have 3 options:
1.  Throw it all in the trash.  (I bought the floral fabric in London, that's not happening)
2.  Buy more floral fabric and cut larger triangles and keep the pieced triangles as is.  (I really want to use this fabric, not fabric that's the same but not the fabric I bought.)
3.  Take the white triangles off the pieced units, un-sew the the pieced two triangle units, trim a 1/4" off those triangles, sew them back together, trim the white triangle units to a new size, sew them back on.

So really, I only have one option, and that's number 3, and that's  my plan.  I have started un-sewing the  pieced units but it's not fun, and the thought of trimming and sewing them all together again has really taken the wind out of my sails.

I keep thinking of how hard I worked last week each morning to get through my To Dos in order to get up to my sewing room to work on those triangle units each afternoon, all the while the large floral triangle units, that I cut first, were just sitting there, wrong.  I've lost that loving feeling for this project, I'm hoping once I get those pieced triangle units down to the size I need, and start putting everything on my design wall, things will look up.

If you're going to make starlight, I recommend using the Creative Grids 60 degree triangle, it makes the piecing a breeze, just cut your large triangle units a 1/2" larger and you'll be great.  Or better yet, measure your pieced triangle units, preferably after the first one, not the 124th one, and see where you stand, that's the size you need to cut your large triangles.  And  finally, I guess there's always the option of just following the pattern, but where's the fun in that!

Monday, November 18, 2013

A little Starlight

Starlight, by Camille Roskelley for thimble blossoms,  is a jelly roll pattern, but I'm using fabric from my stash, so my first order of business was to cut my strips.

The next step was to piece a few strips and cut some triangles.  The pattern provides a template but I'm using the 60 degree ruler by Creative Grids, it couldn't be easier to get things lined up and cut those pieces.

And here are all my triangles.  The floral fabric that I'm using for my large triangles is also the fabric I'm using for all my star centers.  

Normally, the first thing I do when I start a new pattern is to make an inspiration block.  I enjoy looking at one finished block as I make all the pieces and parts for the remaining blocks, plus it's a good double check that I'm understanding the sizes of all the pieces and parts.

This pattern is a little different, I can't really piece together a star block, because of the way the rows are combined, but here's a little peek of what a star should look like.

I'm thinking that center fabric matching the outer triangles looks pretty good so far.  On my last post I got a couple of comments from folks regarding working with these triangles and this pattern, but I have to say so far, I've had no problems at all.

A few corner triangles on these pieces and I'll be good to start working on those rows.

So far everything is coming together perfectly, but I'm really eager to see a finished star block.

Like many of you I'm cleaning my house in general and my ovens, refrigerators, and cupboards specifically,  in preparation for Thanksgiving.    But I'm very motivated to speed through those chores each morning to get up into my sewing room each afternoon.  Plus spreading the To Dos out during the coarse of a week makes them seem less like work.  It's more of the same for this week but you can bet I'll be racing through my daily To Dos to get back to working on Starlight.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Next Up . . .

Sometimes, when I finish one quilt, a quilt where I loved the pattern, the fabric, and created no drama for myself start to finish, plus throw in sewing with friends, a project like Nantucket,  it's sort of hard to start something new, something that will be as fun, as rewarding, and as satisfying as the last project.  I don't think I'm going to have that problem this time.  This is going to be my next project, "Starlight" by Camille Roskelley for thimble blossoms.  (click here for pattern)

This quilt is my new favorite size, 67" x 70".   I've found that quilts around that size are easy to work with, and can either be hung in my living room, thrown over a couch, or centered on my bed.  You can either make a template to cut the pieces for this quilt or use a 60 degree ruler. I bought one of those 60 degree rulers ages ago and have been looking for a reason to use it, now I have one.

Of the two quilts shown on the pattern cover, I'll be leaning more towards this one, the lighter one.

Besides using that ruler for the first time, I'm also going to be doing something a little different as far as the fabric for this top.  This is the print I'll be using for those large setting triangles, the green dot triangles in the pattern.

It's a Liberty of London print that I actually picked up at the Liberty of London Department Store this summer.  I'm fussy about my florals, as a matter of fact, I don't even wear florals,  I wear stripes or solids.  Some florals to me are "too granny",  some are "too whimsical", others are "too cartoonish", but I thought this floral was just right and so me, pink and red, what's not to love!  I thought Starlight would be a great way to showcase that floral fabric.  Those setting triangles are 8 inches top to bottom, a nice size.

The problem is that this is the only Liberty of London print I have, I don't even know if this was part of a family, and obviously I need more fabric for this quilt.  I almost always work from a family of fabric, sometimes, if I'm feeling really crazy, I may combine a couple of lines from the same designer, but unless it's some sort of super scrappy pattern, it's one fat quarter bundle or layer cake getting me through a project.

So I got out all my happy fabric bins and started pulling fabric.  Luckily for me it was a sunny day, good light was a big help.

I just laid the Liberty fabric next to my fat quarters and started selecting fabric that I thought was a good match.  The floral print has the following colors; dark gray, pink, orange, orange red, deep red, and a light and dark gray green.  Not a lot of colors really.

So after I pulled fabric that I thought matched the floral print, I made sure that all the reds, pinks, oranges, greens, and grays played well together, which eliminated some of the prints.  The greens were the hardest.  I also paid attention to the volume of the prints, I didn't want a large majority of the prints to be too bold, so bold that they would overpower the floral triangles.

So this is where I am, totally outside my comfort zone by selecting all this fabric.  I hope I got it right, time will tell!  I'll be heartbroken to cut and use that fabric and then not love the finished project.  I can hardly wait to get that fabric cut and few pieces up on my design wall.  Unfortunately it's that time of year when getting any real time in my sewing room is a rarity.  I've started my holiday chores, getting the carpet shampooed, cleaning out the spice cabinet, getting the lawn and trees ready for winter, and the septic tank ready for company.  I've had more people coming and going around this house this last week than I've had all year, plus my lists now have lists,  but things are shaping up, maybe I'll squeeze in some sewing time this weekend.

Keep your fingers crossed that it all works out for me!