Friday, March 29, 2013

Finally, a flower is blooming at my house . . . .

This is what greeted me Monday morning, 16 inches of snow. It is melting, and the streets are clear, but it sure doesn't look like spring in my neighborhood. 

I'm still working away on all the pieces and parts for my Carolina Lily blocks.

But I had enough pieces and parts to make one inspiration block.  I was worried about those side stems matching up correctly with the seams at the base of the flowers.  Woo Hoo, what a relief, the stems did match up just right.

It feels great to know the blocks should go to go together easily and to finally have something blooming at my house.

I'm not so sure I like the direction of those grapes on my basket, I may cut those triangles again, so the grapes are not diagonal and they all look the same.  I'm not missing those basket handles one little bit.

My trunk show for the Homespun Quilters in Mt. Carmel, Illinois was nothing but fun. There were at least 50 members in attendance.  They were a very welcoming and engaged audience, I immediately felt at ease while I talked about my quilts.  They are also a very civic minded group volunteering their time and energy making pillowcases, Quilts of Valor, and fleece quilts for local youth.  I felt honored to be asked to speak to such an active and experienced group of quilters.  Thanks so much ladies, I could not have had a better time!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Carolina State of Mind

It's official, I've started Carolina, the beautiful lily pattern by Paula Barnes for Bonnie Blue/Red Crinoline Quilts.  

On the back of the pattern Paula reveals that the peak blooming time for the Carolina Lily is July to August, I thought maybe it was more of a springtime flower, but that's OK, maybe I'll have this top done by July or August.  Right now I'll just go for anything that blooms.

There is a Carolina kit available at Red Crinoline Quilts, click here for details.  In the product description they do mention that the handles and stems are appliquéd.

So the first thing I wanted to try was the stems.  Paula recommended using the Clover bias tape maker and that's what I used.

I machine appliqued the stems and had no problems, but those side stems must be perfectly placed to meet at the correct seam when piecing the block together.  I won't know how I did for sure until I get the rest of the required block parts cut and pieced.  I used an overlay to get the seams in place.  If it works I'll blog about my process.  I'm not sure what I'll do if it doesn't, let's just think positively.

But I need 160 flying geese before I can piece blocks, so that's what I'm working on now. I'm using Monique's Fit to be Geese rulers and everything is going smoothly.

I'm using tricky background fabric again, where the front is just enough darker from the back to be noticeable when the quilt is done but not while you're piecing.  So I made my little cheat pieces of fabric and keep them right next to my sewing machine for reference.

Tomorrow is my trunk show, thanks so much for your words of encouragement, I'll let you know how it goes. I'll be staying a couple of days with my folks while I'm home so I may be off my regular blogging schedule this week.  Did you even know I had a blogging schedule?  I try to blog on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays but sometimes I have to blog on Tuesdays or Thursdays if it's the first of the month for Blogger Girls BOM or the end of the month for the Schnibbles Sew Along.  Speaking of which, are you counting the days until Sherri and Sinta get back to hosting that sew along?  I am!

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Friday Finish . . .

So I got all those borders around all those blocks and said, "I'm Done"!

Then I remembered someone along the line suggesting that I put a little 2 inch outer border using the background fabric around this quilt, to make it look like it's floating, so I did, and then I said, "I'm Done"!

This is Stars Above My Red Chateau and Lifetime Quilt Number 102.
The pattern is 3 Barns by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co - (click here)
The fabric is Rouenneries Deux and Chateau Rouge by French General for Moda
It finished at 73" x 73"
It has approximately 2,405 pieces.

This quilt was very easy to piece and it's a perfect size to hang in my living room, I could not be happier with it now that it's all done.  I think this pattern would look great using any style of fabric and would be a great stash buster.  That sashing alone could empty someone's scrap basket.  I've not seen any other 3 Barns out there in blogland, if you've made this quilt send me a link or a picture.

Next up, I've decided to tackle those bias strips and start on Carolina.  The weather has been so uncharacteristically cold little green daffodil and tulip tips have yet to peek out of the ground.  If I want flowers around my house it looks like I'm going to have to piece them, perfect timing for Carolina.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Stars Above My Red Chateau, aka 3 Barns

It doesn't seem like I'm blogging consistently about Stars Above My Red Chateau, also known as 3 Barns.  But I do continue to make progress.  Just in case you've forgotten, here are some time lapse photos to refresh your memory and show you my progress.

The pattern is Three Barns by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.  

The fabric is Rouenneries Deux and Chateau Rouge by French General for Moda.

So I started with these pretty but plain star blocks.

Added a little bling.

Then a whole lot more bling.

The sashing is going on easily and the best part, once I get those last 3 blocks done, the quilt is done!  No borders, woo hoo!  These are my favorite kind of patterns.  Those patterns that have 3 or more rows of borders are killers.  You think you're done when you get all the blocks together but you really have 3 more days of measuring and sewing to go.

Remember a few posts ago I asked if it were OK to look inside a pattern at a quilt shop?  Well I heard from a few shop owners and they all said it was fine to look inside the pattern, just ask first.  And don't stand there and take notes or take pictures with your phone! Really, people do that? And don't blame the shop when the instructions are bad, they don't get to open the pattern and read it before they buy it.   ( but do nicely let them know, so they don't buy any more patterns from that designer.)
Now we know!

Diane in Illinois - if you send me your email address I'll explain how I made the fans for Evening Bloom.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Morning Catch-up

I didn't get much sewing done over the weekend, but I did spend some time on quilting related activities.  I've been invited to do a trunk show the end of the month  for a guild in my hometown.  Out of the 100 quilts I've made I needed to select 12 quilts for my talk.  I immediately tossed out the quilts that are not quilted and the ones that don't live at my house, taking my total down to around 50.  Right now I think I've narrowed my list down to 15.  Besides picking out the quilts I also spent some time getting out the original patterns, laying out the quilts, and printing off the blog posts where I talked about the quilts while I was working on them.   It was a fun stroll down memory lane but it pretty much ate up all my free time on Sunday.  Who knew getting ready for a trunk show was so much work. Although, it is my first, I guess if I'm asked again by another guild I'm good to go!

I also did a little research on the Carolina Lilly block.  A book that I often use when researching blocks is The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jenny Beyer.

It has over 4,000 pieced blocks listed and is a great reference.  Here are a few lilly blocks pictured in the book.

Most of the baskets don't have handles.  So I'm dumping the handles on my Carolina pattern but will appliqué the stems, I can appliqué.  The majority of the comments left on my last post suggested that I omit the handles, so we're all good!

I really like this block, the full flower in the center with the half flowers on the sides, maybe I'll make another quilt using this block and more modern fabric.   I can't decide if I'm a modern quilter or a traditional quilter, maybe I'm a little of both.


Someone asked me to demo how I'm folding my fat quarters that are stored so neatly in those plastic bins.  I wish I folded like Moda, but I don't, I wish I had a nickel for every Moda Fat Quarter I've refolded. 

My method has 5 folds, and here we go:

fold fat quarter in half, selvage to selvage.

Fold in half again

Take each end and fold to the center.

bring those two ends together, folding  that piece in half.

I fold the fabric in this fashion in order to get this fold on the longest end, so more fabric is showing at the top, making it easier to select and pull fabric from the bin.

Here's a stack of all the fat quarters, folded edges up.

Next hot topic - I've gotten a couple of requests from folks wanting to be notified by email when I create a new post on my blog, the application is now available below my followers list on the lower left  side of my blog.

And last but definitely not least, Judi Madsen, The Green Fairy,  just finished quilting my Evening Bloom top.  She did an amazing job and blogged about it here.  She has several pictures on her blog, be sure to check them out.

It's not home yet, but I've never seen a quilt look better in pictures than it does in person, I can hardly wait to see it.  I'll be holding my breath and crossing my fingers until it hits my front porch!

Friday, March 15, 2013

A few updates . . .

The last time I blogged about this pattern it was to tell you that I was eager to get started on it but that I was searching for the perfect green fabric for the flower stems.

I found the perfect green and here are the fabrics I have selected to make this pattern, from left to right, Battle Hymn by Barbara Brackman for Moda, Darker Battle Hymn by Barbara Brackman for Moda, the red is Lately Arrived from London by Barbara Brackman for Moda, the background fabric is a Moda Solid and the green is by Timeless Treasures and is called Spring.

Once I had the perfect green to go with the rest of the fabrics I just knew this would be my next project.  I got out the pattern to study and rewrite in Thelma-ese, something I always do before I actually start a project, but was disappointed to find out that the handles on the basket and the stems of the flower are appliquéd.  Now I probably should have figured out that those round basket handles were appliquéd before I opened the pattern, but I just didn't really give it any thought.  I thought for sure the stems would be pieced, I don't think I've ever run across a Bonnie Blue/Red Crinoline pattern that had any appliqued pieces.  Which brings up this question, are we allowed to open up a pattern in a shop and read it before we buy it?  I never do because I thought it would look like I was trying to figure out how to make the pattern without buying it.  Had I read this pattern in the shop I don't think I would have bought it.  And now I have all this fabric to make this quilt. I'm going to see if I can find a pieced Carolina Lilly basket block, I have Jenny Beyer's book of pattern blocks that probably has something I can use.  And I'm guessing those round basket handles are just going to be forgotten!  I really thought once I had that green I would be going to town on that project, but not quite yet.

I'm STILL organizing my fabric, from the notes I've been getting it seems like the majority of us have Spring Cleaning Fever.  When I started my fabric reorg I didn't really have a plan, but now that I'm well into it I have refined the process and it's going smoother and faster.

First off, I added more bins, I went from 4 to 8. There's no way I'm going to be keeping 8 bins worth of fabric, each bin holds over 250 fat quarters, I won't do the math, but you get the point, that's a lot of fabric. But having bins that are more empty than full makes adding new fat quarters easier.  I'll be combining some of  the bins once I'm done.

I was spending at least an hour during the day, when the light was the best, cutting, folding and storing the fabric.  I think I mentioned earlier that I'm basically going to a fat quarter system, cutting yardage that won't be used for a border or sashing into fat quarters to add to the fat quarters I already have.

I'm now taking the yardage that I cut into fat quarters and folding them at night, while I watch TV.  I don't need good light for folding.

I then stack the newly folded fat quarters by the bins, so that when I do have good light I can just sort the fabric into the bins by color.  I'm not sure if it's really going faster, or if it just seems like it's going faster, but I feel like I've really made significant progress this week.  I'm almost done cutting the yardage into fat quarters.

And while we're speaking of fabric, playing with all my fabric has made me think about why I have the colors and prints I do, and brings to light the colors that I don't have.  It's been good for me to think more about my fabric, so maybe that's why I found this little helpful hint from Lissa at Moda Lissa, so interesting.  She was talking about solids and said if you want to make a quilt solely from solids, but are not sure how to select your solid colors,  pick a print fabric you like with several colors, pick solids that are in that fabric, then don't use the print fabric, just use the solids.  I thought that was very clever.  She does a better job of explaining the whole thing, read it here if you missed it.

The Fat Quarter Shop has sold all the Thelma Bundles, thank you so much!  You have no idea how worried I was that I would pick a bundle of fabric that no one would be interested in buying.  If you didn't buy your bundle yet, there is one left, and it's free, click here to enter the giveaway at the Jolly Jabber.  You have until March 19th.

Nothing much going on at my house this weekend, I'll be watching basketball, sorting fabric and sewing, sounds pretty perfect really!  Hope you have a pretty perfect weekend too!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Etioles au-dessus de mon chateau rouge

The sun was out yesterday and that put a smile on my face and some spring in my step. The temperatures are still really cold, but just seeing the sun really perked me up.

I've come up with a name for 3 Barns, Etoiles Au-Dessus de Mon Chateau Rouge,
Stars above my Red Chateau.

I also added another row of sashing, the first row is done!

I know it doesn't look like I made any progress here, but I did, sometimes things have to get messier before they cleaner!

Sunshine really helps with the sorting of the fabric, although I have one piece of fabric that I thought was gray, but when I put it with the grays it looked green, but when I put it with the greens it looked brown!  I can't decide if that is a great piece of fabric that will go with anything or nothing, but I'm keeping it.

The reds are looking good!

This is a public service announcement.   I think you may need to buy some stuff.   

The other day I was putting away all my snowman decorations and getting out Easter and spring stuff.  I sure was sad to pack up my snowman wool mat, especially since that was the only wool mat I own.  As if Lisa Bongean was reading my mind she posted this spring mat on her shop website.  I bought one, I think you need one too!  It comes in two colors, but this is the one I went with.

This picture is from the Primitive Gatherings Shop, click here for more information. 

This is also offered by Primitive Gatherings, although I borrowed this picture from Linda Hrcka at the Quilted Pineapple.

I blogged about this pattern earlier, it's in Kim Diehl's latest book, Simple Charm and is called Short and Sweet.  Primitive Gatherings is offering this project as a kit.

Not only do I like Kim's patterns, but her fabric selections really add a lot to the patterns, I think the Primitive Gatherings Shop did a great job of selecting fabric for this pattern.  This pattern has cotton and wool. click here for more detail.

And finally, the Fat Quarter shop's Thelma Bundle give-away runs through March 19, click here,  if you're a regular reader of my blog you should have no problem answering the quiz questions. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

That Red Bundle

The Fat Quarter Shop's blog, the Jolly Jabber, is talking about the Thelma Bundle today.

If  you're a regular of my blog you've already seen several posts on the things I made using my bundle, 

like a bundle tied with a ribbon, 

and my Tickled Red table mat.

But here's something you haven't seen.   Someone else is having fun with the Thelma Bundle.

Isn't that a cute variation on the 9 patch?

If  you're making something with your Thelma Bundle be sure to send me some pictures so I can share them with everyone else.

And if you don't have a Thelma Bundle,  I think there's some sort of contest going on where maybe you could win one.  Check it out!

Thanks again Kimberly for including me in your Fat Quarter Shop promotion, it's been nothing but fun.

Monday, March 11, 2013

How I spent my weekend

I really missed that hour I lost in the middle of the night Saturday night, how about you? Then there's the time I spent changing all the clocks because the time changed, more time gone, that being said, I did accomplish a few things.

In my last post I mentioned how I have several things going on at once in my sewing room and how that didn't really mesh well with my personality.  I have all the respect in the world for you quilters who can have projects stacked in various stages of completion all over your sewing room and how you just work on whatever calls your name any given day.  I am the polar opposite of that.   Someone suggested   my happiness meter would rise and my stress meter would drop if I could take a couple of things off my To Do list.  So that's how I spent my weekend, moving that happiness meter in the right direction.

Here's what was on my sewing room list, 3 Barns, Blogger Girls BOM, mini churn dash project, pineapple quilt project and my cleaning out my stash project.

Remember this pictures, one of my favorite red things, 35 pounds of red fabric?

It lost some weight this weekend, here's my stack of reds, down to 14.6 pounds!  (I wish I could personally lose 20 pounds in one weekend, but this weight loss feels pretty good too!)

And here's where it went, I cut over 100 five inch squares for my mini churn dash project.  This stack of 5 inch squares is 5 inches tall, how perfectly zen is that.

I also cut 400, yes 400, strips for my pineapple block project. (Love that Go Cutter!)

Additionally, if I didn't think I would use the red fabric in that stack for sashing or a border, I cut the piece into fat quarters and moved them to my fat quarter bin.

I also cut the 200 light strips that I needed for my pineapple quilt project, the strips are all cut and the whole project is now stored in these project boxes in my closest (out of sight out of mind),  ready for their turn at the sewing machine.  This would be a great retreat project, pretty mindless sewing, but I don't have a retreat coming up, but I'm considering this project done for now and off my To Do list.

And my 5 inch blocks are stacked in my mini churn dash project basket.   I leave it setting out, because I think those blocks look cute in that basket, but I'm removing this project off my list for now too.

I've been trying to clean up and clean out my stash for the last couple of months, but I really didn't have much of a method, over the weekend I set up this sorting area in an office area in our house.  I think its original purpose was a study/computer area for the kids who would be inhabiting the three bedrooms that surround this area.  I'm repurposing this spot for now, for however long it takes me to go through and organize my fabric.  I found that it's easier to sort my fabric when there is direct sunlight streaming through those windows.  I'm going to spend at least one hour a day going through and organizing this fabric.  Just having a plan and a place to execute my plan makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something.

The pink basket on the floor is collecting fabric looking for a new home, and the two boxes to the right of that bin are packed and ready to be shipped to their new home, progress!

I also mentioned some home improvement projects driving me crazy, but that's not really what's going on, a home improvement project would be fun, what we're doing is home maintenance fix-up projects.  Our house is nearly 15 years old and it appears that 15 is the lifespan of most things in your home.  And I'm even fine with the fix up projects, but they just don't seem to end.  We replaced the furnace but the installer did a poor job glueing the exhaust pipes together which are now leaking and ruining the ceiling and drywall upstairs, fun!  And at first I was very excited about the new garage door openers, garage door openers do really fun things these days, like lighting up the garage whenever it spots any movement, automatically closing when left open for a specified amount of time, opening even when the power is out, and providing the time and temperature in the garage.  But after the installation process drug out over two days, and I gave the installer's truck a jump because his battery died, and then heard, "I'm not sure why the door won't close right, you need to call a garage door repairman" I wasn't happy.  Really, it closed right before you came. We are also in the process of updating the landscaping to only find out water isn't draining properly away from the house.  Then the weather turned bad and all I have is a backyard of mud, several pieces of earth moving equipment parked in the yard, and a dog who loves mud and white carpet which doesn't.  I'm just ready for one job to be done, or spring, I think either would feel really good!

The one good thing about having repairmen coming and going, I have to stay home and wait on them, which is time I'm spending in my sewing room, there's always a silver lining!