Sunday, December 25, 2016

One Last Christmas Finish

Sometimes when folks stop by my blog they wonder where I get my time to do so much sewing, especially this time of year.  While I am retired, any retired person will tell you they just don't know where they found the time to work, they're so busy now.   Spending time in my sewing room is time I earn, it's where I go to relax, it's time I need to unwind and escape.  Additionally, if I'm in my sewing room I'm focused and making the most of my time, no distractions, and I put my social media addiction on hold. I also usually listen to a book or music while I sew, which makes my sewing time even more enjoyable.  Why am I monologuing about my sewing time?  Because while I was busy decorating, shopping, wrapping, and cooking, I squeezed in some time to work on this tree quilt.  Projects like this are the perfect projects to work on when all the other parts of your life are hectic.  I like a good challenging quilt pattern as much as the next quilter, but when my life is challenging I prefer that my sewing project is not.  This has been the fun jingle jingle in my last few busy holiday  days.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 192 - Candy-land Christmas Trees
The pattern is Trees by Amanda Jean Nyberg for Crazy Mom Quilts. (Available here)
It finished at 52 1/2" x 60 1/2"
It has approximately 468 pieces.
For the fabric I just picked some pieces from my stash, most of it isn't even holiday themed fabric.  I was needing a little pink in my Christmas this year this did the trick.  I'm keeping this quilt, it will look perfect hanging in my sewing room next Christmas.

I love the trees so much I'm sharing a closeup of each one, enjoy.

Keep this project on your radar when you're looking for a fast quilt that is also fun and relaxing.

Best wishes to you all for a blissful holiday season, thank you for being such an important part of my quilting life, quilters are the best.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Juniper Berry Finish

For the last week I've been playing with the fabric Juniper Berry by Basic Grey for Moda.  I've had this Christmas line of fabric for months but couldn't come up with a pattern that suited me, and I guess I basically never did find a pattern that suited me, instead I just started cutting diamonds using my Creative Grids Rhombus Template and throwing them up on my design wall until I came up with a pleasing arrangement.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 191
I've named it "Yes Die Hard is a Christmas Movie".  It may seem like an odd name, unless you're a big Die Hard fan like our family, and yes, that is one of the Christmas movies that we watch every year, along with Elf, Christmas Vacation, Holiday Inn and The Family Man.  Anyway, Argyle is the name of the limo driver in the movie Die Hard.  And this is definitely a Christmas argyle pattern.
It finished at 76" x 91"
The fabric is Juniper Berry by Basic Grey for Moda
There are 288 diamonds.

This was my first experience working with diamond blocks.  I'm not sure why I was avoiding diamond blocks, they were very easy to cut and piece together.

To make piecing the rows easier I pieced together the like colored 4 patches first, then sewed those blocks together to make the rows, then sewed the rows together to finish the quilt top, easy peasy.

I could start putting together my Village house project but am thinking I may need to squeeze in one more Christmas project, it is the Christmas season for days yet!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

First Snow Finish

This is a horrible picture of my First Snow finish, it is so much prettier in person, you'll just have to take my word for it.  The background fabric is by Kate Spain for Moda, In From the Cold.  I loved that print and bought yards of it when it was first released.  I've been patiently waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it, I think it looks great in this pattern.

The original pattern has 12 blocks, I went with 9 because I'm still in my square quilt phase, which has gone on so long now it's probably more of my norm instead of a phase.

The bright red fabric in the corners and center is a tone on tone snowflake print, also from In From the Cold.  The other red print is Kate Spain but a different family.

The pattern is regular piecing and very easy to a make  The pattern directions are straightforward and a breeze to follow.  I think this is one of those patterns that looks hard but isn't.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 190
The pattern is First Snow by Woodberry Way
It finished at 67" x 67"
The fabric is all Kate Spain for Moda
It has approximately 976 pieces.

Using only 4 fabrics in First Snow resulted in one Village house.

I think I have 20 more to go.

I have some Juniper Berry by Basic Grey for Moda calling my name,  I think I may try to squeeze in one more Christmas quilt while it is still Christmas Season.

Twelve more days until Christmas, but who's counting?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Persimmon Candy Box Finish

I finished my Persimmon Candy Box quilt right before Thanksgiving but this is the first chance I've had to blog about it.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 189
It finished at 72" x 84"
The pattern is Candy Box by Lella Boutique
The print centers are Persimmon by Basic Grey for Moda
The white background fabric is Bella Solid 98
The beige background fabric is Essex Linen - Natural
It has approximately 1,050 pieces.

The blocks do have a partial seam when putting all the pieces together, but it's not a big deal and didn't cause me any issues, don't let that stop you from making this pattern. I enjoyed piecing every block.

Additionally, I got a few questions on my last blog post regarding the Essex Linen.  I cut the yardage into one yard pieces.  I washed those cuts in warm water and dried them in the dryer.  I then sprayed the pieces with starch until they were completely wet and let them air dry.  The fabric was easy to work with, did not fray, but does require some heaving pressing to avoid losing your points.  I would use it again.

I also pieced a few Village scrap houses, I'm getting close to the end of the year, and close to the total number of houses required.  I love it when a plan comes together.

I'm so happy it's December, I have two Christmas projects that I hope to finish this month, and even though I've already made 4 Christmas tops this year, I love Christmas quilts, and particularly love making them the month of December, generally while listening to Christmas music.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Next Up - Candy Box

I'm squeezing in one more fall project before I officially declare it Christmas season and start working on a Christmas quilt.  It was an easy call since I can't decide what Christmas project to start, piecing 4 Christmas tops already this year has used up my Christmas fabric, patterns and mojo.

So for now I'm working on Candy Box by Lella Boutique.  I blogged about this pattern earlier,  I love the simple design and its pop of color.   And those centers are charm pack friendly, or a great use of some scraps, or some random fabric you just don't know what to do with.

I'm using Persimmon by Basic Grey for Moda for my centers.  The white it Bella Solid 0098 and the beige is Essex Linen, Natural.

The quarter square triangles are easy to piece and I'm finding this palette calming.

On another topic entirely, do you pay attention to the Blog List on the side of my blog?  There have been some great posts lately that you should check out if you've not done so already.   First off, Cindy Lammon of Hyacinth Quilt Designs just finished a beautiful Quick Curve Ruler pattern using Little Ruby that's a stunner.  If you've seen it already, I think it's worth another peek.

Lisa Bongean from Primitive Gatherings is hosting a free Magic of Christmas sew-along. I think 13 six inch block patterns have been released so far.  I've not made a one, but have printed off each pattern with the hopes that I will.  Nicole at Sister's Choice Quilts is sewing along and adding her own blocks, be sure to follow her progress.

And finally, earlier this week Sherri at A Quilting Life had a wonderful post on time management that I think is worth your time to read.  LOL

I already do a few of her suggestions but there were some new ones that I plan to start incorporating into my routine.  I'm not as good as planning as I could be.  I'm usually figuring out my next project while working on my current one.  Next year I hope to improve on that.

One tip that Sherri didn't mention that I do every sewing day is to have a set amount of time before I start working on my project to do some cleaning, organizing, filing or fabric sorting.

Before I quit for each day I leave that cute little ice-cream cone timer on  my sewing machine.  It's my reminder to spend some time organizing the next time I'm back.  I usually set it for 15  minutes, and you would be shocked how much you can accomplish in 15 minute increments.  If I ever post pictures of my sewing room I usually get some comments on how neat the room looks, that's because  I spend just a little bit of time organizing each day.

Do you have a time management tip?  Feel free to pass it along, if you have the time, LOL

Thursday, November 3, 2016

I Love a Good Pumpkin . . . .

After seeing dozens of pumpkin quilts on social media, I just couldn't help myself, I decided I needed a pumpkin quilt too.

There are several great pumpkin patterns available, but I chose Pumpkin Seeds by The Pattern Basket for my pumpkin quilt.

Have you noticed the assortment of real pumpkins these days?  White and blue pumpkins were very popular at my farmers market, and the inspiration for my version of Pumpkin Seeds.  It also helped that I had depleted my orange stash making my Halloween Blooms, no orange pumpkins for me, this year.

I did "Thelmaize" it just a tad.  

First off, I decided not to put stars in the pumpkins, I thought it would be fun to come up with a different design for each one.  Here's a block that is exactly like the pattern, other than the star.

I also rotated some blocks to make them tall instead of short.  

And I added a row to a few of the pumpkins, to make them bigger.

And end in the end came up with this.

This is Lifetime Quilt #188
The pattern is Pumpkin Seeds by The Pattern Basket
It finished at 49" x 69"
The background fabric is by Janet Claire for Moda, the line is called Nocturne.  
The sparkle fabric is Luster by Zen Chic for Moda.
It has approximately 485 pieces.

And here are my Village scrap houses!

Those pumpkin blocks are easy to piece, and fast.  Now I need a new fall project to tide me over until I start a Christmas one.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Halloween Blooms - A Finish . . .

I've finished Halloween Blooms.  Besides being fun to make, I think this top turned out very festive with a great Halloween vibe.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 187
The pattern is Halloween Blooms by Joanna Figueroa for Fig Tree and Co.  (click here)
It finished at 61" x 70"
It has approximately 1,374 pieces.
The fabric is from several companies, designers and families of fabric, some Halloween themed, ,most not.

I've also pieced my end of project scrap houses.

Four very definitely Halloween houses,

and two not so much.  I love them all.

Next up, do you think I can whip up a pumpkin project in a week?  I'm going to try.  

Friday, October 21, 2016

Halloween Blooms Update . . . .

The bloom blocks are all pieced and the sashing attached for my Halloween Blooms project.

I went with a scrappy background for my blocks, a change of pace for me.  I don't mind a background with a design, but several in one project is usually too busy for my taste, but I think this scrappy background worked fine.

The hard part, once I decided I could live with  a scrappy background, was deciding on the sashing fabric.

I didn't want the sashing to stand out, but at the same time, I didn't want the sashing to blend in, shockingly I found this sashing fabric in my stash that I think does the job.    It's from the line Bungle in the Jungle, an animal print themed line of fabric.

I just need to add three rows of border fabric and this top will be done.

Halloween Blooms is going so well I'm thinking I'll have time to squeeze in a pumpkin project while it's still pumpkin season,  hurrah!!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Annual Halloween Sewing

I got a late start on my annual Halloween project.  If you've followed my blog for very long, you may remember that I like to sew my Halloween projects during the Halloween season. Over the years I've pieced some great projects.  In 2014 I pieced Lucy, last year it was Rise and Shine-ish, and this year it's
Halloween Blooms was designed by Joanna Figueroa for Fig Tree & Co.  Available here. It finishes at  61" x 70".  Joanna is also selling a very nice Halloween Bundle of fabric,  available here.  

All three of these last projects have the same theme, orange, black and grey fabric, most of which is not Halloween fabric.  

And here is where I am right now, 15 blocks pieced.  The blocks are fun to make but take much longer than I expected.  I'm lucky if I can get 5 done after an afternoon of sewing.  But it's not a race and I'm enjoying every minute.

On a completely other unrelated topic, I ran across a wonderful pattern that I'm eager to share with you and also eager to make.  It was going to be my next project but all the wonderful pumpkins quilts I'm seeing on social media are testing my reserve.

This is what I love about this pattern, besides just the look in general, it meets a very specific need!  You know all those charm packs that you bought, and love, and wish you had bought layer cakes or fat quarter bundles instead, they are the center of these blocks!!  So  you can turn a favorite charm pack into a 72" x 84" quilt top!

The pattern Candy Bar is by Vanessa Goertzen for Lella Boutique and available here.

Several times I have blogged about a finish and get comments saying they love the fabric and wish they would have bought more, with this quilt you don't need more!  It even works with some scraps you had leftover from a favorite line that you can't get enough of, or maybe gave away and wished you hadn't!

Or maybe you're like me, hoarding a fat quarter bundle for a perfect project, but also have a charm pack you would be willing to use,  I plan to make my Candy Box with Persimmon, after I finish Halloween Blooms, and maybe after that perfect pumpkin quilt.  I must sew faster!!

PS - this is not a paid endorsement, Joanna and Vanessa did not give me free merchandise to promote these patterns, I doubt they even know who I am, just saying.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Autumn Woods - a finish, finally

I'm so happy I didn't give up on this fabric.  It took several tries, and a lot of contemplation,  but I finally came up with a good pattern for my Autumn Woods fabric.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 186
The focus fabric is Autumn Woods by Kate and Birdie for Moda
The background fabric is Reflect by Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufman.
The pattern was inspired by High Surf in the Blue book by Vanessa Christenson.
It finished at 68" x 68"
It has approximately 1,232 pieces

The background fabric is printed on Essex Linen.  I love the look of the two different textures, the linen alongside the quilting cotton, and it was very easy to work with.  I prewashed the fabric and it didn't shrink or wrinkle.

It is heavier than the quilting cotton, and hard to press open.  I couldn't get the sharp creases that I'm used to when working only with quilting cotton, I lost quite a few points because the fabric wouldn't press as flat, due to the bulk.  It may be better suited for bags, pillows, and seat cushions.

Here is the pattern that I started with.  The pattern has large, medium and small half square triangle units.

I added more medium sized hsts and played around with their placement to get a different look.  It's hard to go wrong when you're playing with hsts.  I use the Easy Angle when piecing my units, cut them a tad bit large, and square them up.

I continue to use my project scraps to make Village houses, here's 3 more, a nice addition for Fall.

It's almost the end of the year and I almost have enough houses for my 2016 Village project.  I love it when a plan comes together.