Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Crazy Eights - The Big Reveal . . . . .

It Wednesday, and you know what that means, it's Thelma's Crazy Eights Big Reveal Day!

Crazy Eights is the pattern I selected for the Fat Quarter Winners book tour.

It won't be the only pattern I make from this book!

Ta Da ! ! !

Sometimes, when I look at this quilt, I'm curious as to what it would look like if I switched the position of the red and black fabrics. Not enough to make another one, but I wonder if the red would be less dominate if I switched them. I like the red, and love the quilt, but am curious just the same.

Why don't you give it a try and let me know how it works out!

One of my favorite things about Monique's Bundles and Bolts Website is the page where she displays quilts made by other quilters, using her patterns and, get this, with their pets!

So here's my attempt to get a good picture of Cooper in front of Crazy Eights, he got bored fairly quickly!

And even took off once. "Cooper, come back here!"

Is that the best smile you have for me, I guess so!

After you look at Monique's Pet Page, check out Twinkling Lights, a new pattern for April, I love it!

So as I went about my normal end of project cleanup, I had these leftover strips.

I'm an over cutter!
What to do with those lovely strips, I just hated for them to go to waste, which is what made me come up with this idea.....

Why not surround that lovely center with my leftover strips!

And made my Crazy Eights even CRAZIER!

I could not be happier with this quilt, believe it or not, it is even lovelier in person, the picture does not do justice to that fabric.

This is Lifetime Quilt #69, the entire time I worked on this quilt I always called it "Monique's Quilt", I think that's the name I'm sticking with.

This quilt finished at 74" x 85" and has approximately 1, 558 pieces.

Now for the winner of Monique's Fat Quarter Winners book and set of rulers . . .

Silly Sally!

I hope you're reading my blog this morning, I don't have your email address, drop me a note with your address and your gifts will be on their way to your door.

I hope you've enjoyed the book tour, I jumped from the Eventide sew along to the book tour with no time to think, what am I gong to do with myself now!!

Monique, congratulations on your first of what I expect to be many books, it's been a pure pleasure and nothing but fun participating in your book tour.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Block Eleven . .

I had a little time to squeeze in some sewing after finishing Crazy Eights and before heading to the Quilt Show in Paducah.

Here's Block Eleven of the Fat Quarter Shop Kate Spain Designer Mystery Block of the Month for 2010.

For once my changes were minor! I stuck with the fabrics provided but did shorten the handle and the basket just a smidge in order to add a narrow frame around the basket. The fabric used for the sashing in the finishing kit is the same fabric as the basket, I just thought a little separation might be a good thing.

I keep thinking surely all the cute blocks have been sent, then I get another kit and am totally thrilled with the pattern. Now I have high expectations for that final block!

It's not too late for you to make this adorable Christmas quilt, Kimberly at the Fat Quarter Shop still has the BOM listed on their website. (click here)

Today is Monique's big reveal day, don't miss out on seeing her latest take on Spades. She's using Maison de Garance by French General, so it must be wonderful.

My big reveal is tomorrow, talk to you then.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Perfect Arrangement . . . .

Just in case you didn't catch my prior posts about Fat Quarter Winners by Monique Dillard for C&T Publishing, here's what you've missed; Lisa, Nicole, Monique and I all selected a pattern from Monique's Fat Quarter Winners book and have been blogging about our project this whole month.

The pattern I selected was Crazy Eights.

If you've got the book, Crazy Eights is the very last pattern. I think Monique saved the best for last! When I first looked the book over, I liked Pinochle the best (Lisa's pattern) but now that my Crazy Eights quilt is done, it's my favorite!

My official book tour big reveal is Wednesday, but I wanted to share how I went about arranging my blocks for the center of my quilt, and if I saved that for Wednesday's post, that would be a loooooooong post!

So this is where I left you the last time I blogged about Crazy Eights,

with my basketful of Crazy Eight Blocks, 84 of them.

I went with 21 different red and black color combinations, and made 4 blocks from each combo. That in itself would make for a nice scrappy quilt, but I'm a nut about like fabrics touching in my scrappy quilts, so this is how I went about arranging my 84 Crazy Eights blocks.

First I started with a nice, clean, empty design wall.

I always run the lint brush over my design wall between projects. Isn't it amazing the amount of threads those design walls attract?

Then I laid out each stack of blocks, 4 like blocks in each stack,

down my ironing board. Which is conveniently located next to my design wall.

The pattern calls for one block in each corner of the border, so first off I selected four of my favorite blocks.

And it was hard, because I like them all. I put them aside in the basket, so I would know where they were when I was ready for them.

So then I started selecting blocks and placing them on my design wall, eight across.

Here they are, one block of each combo, right now it's impossible for any like colors to be touching because each block is different.

As I took a block off each stack, I turned that stack over, face down, so I would not select that block again until ALL blocks had been selected and put on the design wall.

Once all the blocks were face down, I turned them all face up and started the process again, being careful not to have any like blocks touching, but it wasn't that hard, since I had 21 blocks to choose from.

After the design wall was covered with 80 blocks I had one left over!!

How did that happen????

That nearly drove me crazy I knew I had 21 combos, I knew I had made the blocks in groups of 4, where did the extra block come from.....then I remembered, my inspiration block, my very first block! Guess I have one for the label now.

So here's what I consider a perfect arrangement, and with very little fuss.

I always sleep on a block arrangement, one look before bed and another first thing in the morning, then I start sewing the blocks together.

If you think this looks good, wait until you see these blocks connected and the border added, oh la la (I say ooh la la, but evidently that is not the correct spelling!) What took me so long to make a red and black quit, I just love it!

Don't miss the big reveal on Wednesday! Plus I'll announce the winner of the Fat Quarter Winners book and ruler set.

I'm heading to Paducah, Kentucky this week to attend the AQS Quilt Show. This will be my 6th consecutive year. It's a wonderful show and the folks of the city of Paducah really make all the quilters feel welcome and at home. My Big Reveal post is written and hopefully will be published on Wednesday, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed!

I'll catch up with you and your goings on next week and have a full report of my time at the show.

Today Nicole is revealing the first finish for the book tour, Rummy, be sure to stop by, from what I've seen I think it's going to be a stunner!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Burst of Color . . . .

First, you have until midnight, Saturday, April 23, CST, to leave a comment on my Fat Quarter Winners post to win the book and a set of rulers. You can quadruple your chances of winning by also leaving a comment on Nicole's, Lisa's, and Monique's blogs!

This is Lifetime Quilt #41, Thelma's Flower Garden. I got it back from my quilter months ago, put it in the closet, and forgot all about it.

Today I was getting out some of my spring decorations and I remembered this quilt, it sure says spring to me.

This is the pattern I used, Hip to Bee Square, by Humble Bee Quilt Works. If you've been looking for a great pattern to showcase a large print fabric, this pattern is for you.

For the quilting, I just went with an overall swirly pattern. I wanted it to feel like a bee was buzzing around the quilt top, going from flower to flower.

My red couch usually plays nicely with any quilt I display on it.

That's a lot of color on that sofa. Maybe a little too loud for me, but I'm keeping the quilt there through the weekend. It's the only thing blooming around my house!

I hope you have a marvelous weekend,

from beginning . . .

to end.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Meet Monique . . . .

It's week three of the Fat Quarter Winners by Monique Dillard for C&T Publishing book tour!

For this week's tour, Lisa, Nicole and I are asking Monique a few questions and sharing them with you.

I'm curious by nature and love to ask questions, I'm a rapid fire questioner, I'll ask 3 questions in a row without giving the questionee time to answer question 1. I've even been told , "that's a nosey question"...really, I don't think I'm being nosey, I guess I just have one of those enquiring minds!

Monique was great to answer all the questions I asked of her and if she thought I was nosey, she was polite enough not to mention it!

Thelma's Nosey Question #1, " Monique, how did you come up with the name for your company, Open Gate?"

Monique's Polite Reply, "Actually, my mom was the one who came up with the name. I really wanted to incorporate my Old English Sheepdog love into the name or logo and we tried everything. I had my friends and my family thinking of names. My mom called me one day and said: How about Open Gate. She said it's an inviting name because it implies that you want someone to come in to your yard. I liked it right away. Then I had a friend that is a graphic designer and she drew out a logo with the gate open and an Old English Sheepdog at the gate waiting for someone to come in, perfect!"

I have to admit, before I even met Monique, I always looked for her patterns in quilt shops, it was the dog and that Open Gate logo that drew me in.
Great Job Monique's Mom!!

Thelma's Nosey Question #2 - "How many patterns have you published and what are your all time favorite patterns and why?" (see what I mean about the 3 questions)

Monique's Polite Reply, "My first pattern was published in 2004. I currently have 76 patterns. I have several favorite patterns. If I had to pinpoint a few, I would say: Courtyard (left), Dorchester Cottage (center), and Hidden Glory (right).

Courtyard - I love the diamond effect that you get when you put your blocks together in Courtyard.
Also, it has my favorite colors to use in quilts - red and black.

Dorchester Cottage - The name reminds me of the countryside in England. I have visited England several times and it's one of my favorite places to go. Another reason is the color selection and the diamond effect that you get again when you put the sashing and blocks together. The pinks and browns are so warm and inviting and with the cream color background, it just sets it off.

Hidden Glory - the main reason is that it is named after my dog that passed away. She was the sweetest, most loving dog that I have ever had. I miss her terribly. The other reason is that I love red, white and blue quilts and although this is scrappy, it's not overly scrappy. One of my favorite things about designing is the secondary designs that come out when you put blocks together. This is a prime example of that."

Thelma's Nosey Questions #3 - "What patterns are your most popular patterns?"

Monique's Polite Answer - "My most popular patterns are Quarter Scramble (left), Wine & Cheese (center) and Victoria Rose (left)"

Thelma's Nosey Question #4 - Since I can't live without my FTBG ruler, I would like to know what tool or tools you can't live without, also just how did you come up with the idea of the "Fit to be Geese" ruler, do you know how many are currently in use?

Moniquie's Polite Answers - "Besides my rulers, of course :), I couldn't live without my 6" x 12" ruler. The reason is that I cut a lot of fat quarters and I can fold the fat quarter with the ruler fitting perfectly. I also have a scissor fetish. I love little scissors that snip threads and fabric. My favorites are Dovo so I don't have too many. They are quite expensive but wonderful scissors. "

"My friend Sue and I were coming home from a retreat that I had been teaching at. I only had the Fit to be Square ruler at the time and the ladies at the retreat kept saying that I should design a flying geese ruler. So, I thought about it for a bit and on the way home, I bounced some ideas off of Sue and came up with the idea. Honestly, sometimes I don't know where the ideas come from. They just do and I'm glad!"

"I would guess that there are over 4000 rulers out there. I don't know if that's a lot or not but they keep selling and I'm thrilled about it!"

Thelma's Nosey Question #5 - I would love to know all about your sewing/design room and how you have it set up.

Monique's Polite Answer - "Actually I have two sewing rooms. I have one in the basement that I had set up when I first started quilting before I started designing. That one is now used primarily for storage and cutting of fabric for kits. It has lots of light and shelves for patterns and fabric. It also has lots of tables for cutting and a huge ironing board. The one that I sew in now is upstairs on the main floor. We converted two small bedrooms into one large room and put sliding french doors between them. I usually have them open and use the whole space. I have a bed that I lay my blocks on when I'm piecing. I have a desk where I have my laptop and speakers for my I-tunes. I have a collapsible cutting table that my husband made. It is high and has a drawer. Most of my furniture needs to be collapsible so that when I have visitors, they have space. I also have a drop leg table where I put my sewing machine. There is a high shelving unit that my husband made for me and put a pressing board on top. I have a barn wood cabinet where I keep some of my fabric. In the small closet, I keep some more fabrics and one more tall cabinet houses my fat quarters. It's a wonderful space that I love to spend hours in."

Thelma's Nosey Question #6 - What blog do you check first thing every morning because it's your all time most very favorite blog?

Monique's Polite Answer - Oh that's easy, it's Cupcakes 'n Daisies!
(OK, I might have made that one up.)

So what's a book tour without a giveaway?

One lucky commenter from today's post will win Monique's Fat Quarter Winners book AND a set of her fabulous rulers "Fit To Be Geese", "Mini Fit To Be Geese" and "Fit To Be Square".

To be eligible to win go walk your neighbor's dog, then leave a comment here. Twitter your outside temperature on Facebook and you can leave another comment here. I'm just kidding.....

Just leave a comment on this giveaway blog, Nicole's giveaway blog, Monique's giveaway blog or Lisa's giveaway blog (Lisa's will be tomorrow), 4 chances to win, 4 winners, it's that easy. My giveaway closes on midnight Saturday, April 23rd, CST.

I'll announce my winner on next week's book tour post.

I filled my basket with Crazy Eight blocks,

and made a quilt!

Yes, Crazy Eights is done, don't miss the big reveal next week.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Evening Bloom - Block 2

The other day, someone left a comment asking if I was still working on my needle turn applique project, Evening Bloom. Not only am I still stitching away, I'm still loving it.

It's the perfect ending to a perfect day and the perfect ending to a lousy day!

So here's block 2 . .

In full bloom!

I'm working on Evening Bloom with a friend, which is not only fun but keeps us on task to meet our goal of one block a month. Here are our blocks together.

And here are my first two blocks, this is how they will look in the quilt. I'm working away on block 3, when it's finished the first row of this project will be done!

If you're still trying to decide if you should finally give applique a try, don't wait any longer, the only thing that disappoints me about needle turn applique is that I didn't try it sooner. I guess I just needed the perfect project.

Today Nicole at Sister's Choice Quilts is interviewing Monique Dillard, the designer of the book Fat Quarter Winners. Be sure to check it out!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

One More Finish . . . .

We have another Eventide finish!

This beauty was made by Sharrieboberry at Needles Zing.
Sharrie! Congratulations on sticking with it, I think it was worth the wait!

Sherrie is thinking of changing the name from Eventide to Eastertide, given her choice of colors and the timing of her finish, it sounds like a great name to me.

I've just put the final seam in all the mug rugs I promised anyone who finished their Eventide. I'll be checking to see if I have all the correct addresses tomorrow, they should be in the mail on Friday.

Today is Lisa -Stashmaster's Fat Quarter Winners book tour day, she has a tutorial for your enjoyment.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The book tour continues . . .

Just in case you missed last week's blog, Nicole - Sister's Choice Quilts, Lisa - Stashmaster, Monique - Open Gate Quilts and I are dedicating different days of the week during the month of April to talk about this new book,

Fat Quarter Winners, by Monique Dillard and published by C & T Publishing.

Out of the 11 patterns provided in the book,

I've chosen this pattern, Crazy Eights, as my first project to make from the book.
The first of many I'm sure.

So the quilt is made up of 84 of these blocks.

I'm going with a mix of black and red fabrics, some are from Sophia, by Windham, 19th Century Red, also by Windham, and any other black or red fabric in my stash that caught my eye.

The pattern calls for 8 blocks to be made from the same red and black fabric combination, and to use 10 different sets of black and red fabric, I'm going with 4 blocks and increasing the number of red and black fabric sets to 21. The pattern also calls for a scrappy background but I'm going with the same background for the whole quilt.

After I made my first 4 blocks I threw them on my design wall. It then occurred to me that this pattern would look really good with just three fabrics, one background and two contrasting colors. I've got all my strip sets cut so I'm going scrappy, but keep that in mind if you decide to make this pattern.

We thought it would be fun to each do a tutorial this week on a technique required to make one of the patterns in the book. For my tutorial, I'm going to explain how to use Monique's Fit to be Geese rulers.

My pattern does not use flying geese, but I'm such a huge fan of this method of making flying geese that I asked to do this tutorial, and since I whined and pouted about not getting to make Pinochle for the book tour, the other three ladies let me pick my favorite for the tutorial.

The Fat Quarter Winners book and the ruler both provide great directions for using the Fit to be Geese rulers. The book also provides an alternate way to make flying geese, one that does not require you to buy the Fit to be Geese rulers, which is nice, but really, once you see how easy it is to make the geese, you'll want the ruler.

So the rulers come in two sizes, regular and mini.

If you have both rulers
you can make geese ranging in size from 3/4" X 1 1/2" to 3" X 6".

For this tutorial I'm going to make the 1 1/2 " X 3" geese.

The ruler provides the fabric requirements for each unit and yields 4 geese.

I needed one 4 1/2 " square and four 2 3/4" squares of fabric.

Cut the large square diagonally twice and the small square diagonally once.

These are the pieces you need to make one unit.

Line up the background or sky unit along the left side and bottom of the geese unit, right sides together, and sew. The side of the sky unit is supposed to hang over the top like that.

Press open, towards the background unit.

Then add the right background triangle.

And press open towards the right background triangle. If it looks a little wonky, don't worry, that's what the ruler is for.

Trim the top of the unit with the ruler placed just like this, where the rooftop fits right into that seam.

The top's done, straight and neat.

Then rotate the ruler 180 degrees and trim up the bottom.

Then rotate and align the ruler again to trim each side, using the appropriate red lines on the ruler,

like this.

One wonky unit, four quick trims, and you get this,
a perfect 1 1/2" X 3" single unit.

This method suits me because you start with a piece that's a smidge big and trim it up, I like to do that whenever possible with any block that I make.

That's all there is to it, easy peasy.

These rulers are available at a quilt shop near you or from Monique's online Bundles and Bolts store.

I hope this tutorial was somewhat helpful to you, and if it was not helpful, I hope it was at least entertaining!!
A big thanks to my helpers, The Cutesters.