Monday, April 24, 2017

Ode to Rita

I am so excited to share with you my alternative pickle dish quilt. I first fell in love with this design when I saw the one made by Rita of Red Pepper Quilts in 2015. Last year, for my turn in the Stash Sewciety Bee, I asked my bee mates to help me make this quilt. Each member made 8 of the quarter star blocks. I asked them to use a fussy cut in the square part of the block to give the quilt a fun and playful theme. Colors were not really specified but I did want low volume fabrics used for the background fabric in each block.
I made all the quarter circle blocks and more of the quarter star blocks to have enough to assemble fifty-six twelve inch blocks. 

After sewing all the 6.5" partial blocks into the 12.5" blocks it was time to assemble the quilt and get an even distribution of color in this very scrappy quilt.

This quilt is big! I quilted it on my Bernina 820 using lots of wavy lines, circles, words, hearts, flowers and arcs. I know that everyone sings the praises of Aurifil thread and I do love it too, but only for piecing my quilts. My machine and I love Connecting Thread's Essential cotton 40 wt. thread for machine quilting. 

I really had fun quilting this piece. I used Bamboo batting for the first time. The batting was a little difficult to baste because it stretched a little every time I would try to smooth the quilt, but it was a dream to quilt and after laundering, the quilt has wonderful texture.

To say I am a huge fan of Rita's work is an understatement. I have drawn so much inspiration from her and feel privileged to have actually met her and taken a class from her at Sewtopia a few years ago. That being said I ordered a ton of Carrie Bloomston's newsprint fabric to use as backing (thanks Rita). It's a favorite because it comes in extra wide, 108", making for a seamless backing. 
I used a black gingham for the binding for the first time. I struggled with the cutting of the fabric because it is printed slightly off grain. Several people gave me some good tips for working with plaids and checks so next time I will pre-wash the fabric and cut it along the line of the print instead of on the grain.

I'll be heading to retreat, in Wisconsin, with my Stash Sewciety friends next week. I wish I had room in my suitcase to take this quilt along, but it is too big and heavy. I'd love the girls to see it and also to get a photo with all the contributors and the quilt. 

After laundering, this quilt measures 80" x 92". I think it's my new favorite finish...until the next quilt is finished, that is!
This is my first finish of the second quarter 2017 Finish Along.

Capitola Quilter

Friday, April 7, 2017

Three for me.

I think I'm finally ready to admit that three projects should be my maximum when listing my Finish Along wishes. I'm so easily influenced by projects I see my friends making that I rarely get around to finishing what I stated on my list. 

Here are three I know I can get done this quarter. My proposed second quarter finishes are:

1. My pickle dish variation quilt is a classic example of me being influenced by my Instagram friends. Rita posted her quilt, with a tutorial last year, so I used it as my inspiration for my Stash Sewciety Bee. I asked my bee to make the starry looking blocks and I made all the drunkard path blocks. I have finished machine quilting this large quilt. It just needs to be bound. 

2. My knitting project for this quarter is a simple pair of socks. 

3. My third project is a repeat performer on my Finish Along list. I need to make several more blocks for this flying geese quilt before I can quilt and bind it. My Stitch Tease Bee made these blocks. I really want to make a partial ring of flying geese to incorporate into the design and also add some negative space.

Linking up with the Finish Along hosts. Thank you for hosting!

Capitola Quilter

Thursday, March 30, 2017

2017 First Quarter Finish Along

I had big ideas in January when I made my collage of hopeful projects to complete this quarter. If I would not have gotten sick for two weeks this month I might have been a little closer to meeting my goal. I managed to finish four out of my six projects.

The faux cactus for my grandson's nursery were fun to make. The process of sewing the cactus was effortless, but stuffing them took a lot of polyester batting and a strong arm. The shorter ones are 24" tall and the taller ones are 34" and 36" tall. I haven't delivered them to my son yet (because of being ill and not wanting to be by the baby), but this weekend we are getting together to celebrate a few more family birthdays, so I will deliver them on Sunday.

Find Your Fade Shawl is finished. It will probably live in a drawer until the fall, since our weather has taken a warm turn this week.

Baby quilt #1, Summer in the Park pattern. This one was gifted to my sister's granddaughter.

The second Summer in the Park quilt was gifted to my brother's granddaughter. It's fun to think we all had grandchildren born within a few weeks of each other.

I didn't get my alternative pickle dish quilt finished. I basted it this week and I am about half finished. with the quilting. It goes to the top of my list to finish for the next quarter.

Also, high on my list to finish for next quarter will be this flying geese quilt. I need to make a few more blocks and come up with a good layout. So this one goes down as unfinished for the first quarter. 

Linking up with the lovely ladies who host the Finish Along.

Capitola Quilter

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Find Your Fade Shawl

Ten weeks...that's how long it took me to make this shawl. Now granted, I also finished two pair of socks in that same time period, but I think it's safe to say, "This shawl took forever!"

I took the shawl with us on our recent weekend away hoping that I would be able to get some good photos of it. I also snapped a lot of photos of the local flowers.

The shawl is very large. This photo shows my favorite sequence in the yarns I used. 

The lavendar smelled heavenly and was so pretty in bloom.

Wisteria is one of my favorite blooms. I am always amazed at how high it grows and how thick the trunk of the plant can get. I've heard it can thrive for decades and decades.

When choosing the yarn for this shawl I was very impatient, so I started with a dark charcoal that I had in my stash and then would shop for each new yarn as I needed it. Bad decision! I had a hard time finding yarn to fade according to the pattern directions, so after the second yarn I changed directions in my idea of where to take the colors. Instead of going from charcoal to grey to white, I introduced burgundy, pinks and purples.

The flowers in Cambria were the perfect backdrop to my shawl. I ended up really liking the color combination and the way each yarn melted into the next.

I think I might plant some of these plants in my garden. I first need to find out what they are called. I'll be making a trip to the garden center this week.

This shawl is another finish on my first quarter Finish Along list.

Capitola Quilter

Yarns used:
1. Madelinetosh 100% Superwash Merino color Dirty Panther
2. The second segment...I can't find the tag
3. Spun Right Round 80% Superwash Merino wool 20% Nylon color Naughty or Nice
4. Madelinetosh 100% Superwash Merino wool color Tosh Loves Stephen
5. BAAH La Jolla 100% Superwash Merino wool color Rose Bouquet
6. Malabrigo Superwash Merino wool color Violeta Africana
7. House of A La Mode Bangin' Cash Sock 80% Superwash Merino wool 10% Cashmere 10% Nylon color Midnight's Moon
8. BAAH Sonoma 100% Superwash Merino wool color S"Mores

Needles: Addi Turbo 32" circular size 6
Finished size: 107" tip to tip and 27" from the point to the top of the shawl.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Knitting Bag for Ann

For the last three out of four years I have received a very special treat in the mail, all the way from the United Kingdom.
Here's the story...
In 2013 I noticed several of my friends living in the United Kingdom were posting photos on Instagram of their Christmas cakes being made for the upcoming holiday season. I am familiar with fruit cake but this looked and sounded very unlike the rum soaked cakes of my childhood (that nobody would eat). When I commented of my curiosity about these cakes my friend Susan sent me a recipe. But my friend, Katy, and her mom surprised me by actually sending me a piece of her Christmas cake. I was hooked. This cake is so good. Covered in marzipan and sweet but not too sweet. I look forward to my gift every year.
It's taken me this long to think of something to make for Ann because, unlike fruitcake, everything that I bake or preserve would not travel as well. Katy told me her mom knits so I decided to make her a knitting bag and include a few extras.
I had this piece of Field Study linen by Anna Maria Horner and a perfect coordinating fabric for the binding.

The interior of the bag has a vinyl zipper pocket on one side and several slots on the otherside to keep knitting needles and accessories. When opened the bag measures 10.5" x 20".

I'll pack this up and send it off next week. I still want to find a few extras to send with it.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Gifts for Mim

This week is my week to switch my creative hats. I will not be sewing this week but instead will be working on my scrapbooks. I will be in Seattle all week at my dear friend's house. My friend Monika and I will travel to Mim's where we will eat, talk, drink, talk and oh yeah...scrapbook. Mim and her husband spoil us with their incredible hospitality so it is only natural that I try to spoil her by making a few things that she has hinted at liking.

Giving a handmade gift is one of my favorite things to do. Sure, it's easier to buy something but making something, especially something a friend has hinted at that they would like, remains at the top of my list of pleasures.

This year I was listening when Mim hinted that she doesn't have any mug rugs. I decided to make her a set of non matching mug rugs, one for each season.

The first was made using Kate Basti's #talltalesblock. Mim loves to read, so her spring mug rug is a book and birds theme.

Summer wouldn't be complete without a yummy ice cream cone. This paper pieced pattern was found on the Freeze Frame blog.

For fall...a maple leaf block seemed like the best way to capture fall colors.

For the winter mug rug I used Amy's #riseandshinecoffeepattern. This is such a fun and versatile pattern.

Two years ago I made Mim a Valentine's Day pillow. (You can read about it here) This year, knowing she has the pillow form already, I thought it might be fun to make her a reading pillow. This was really fun to make. I started with the cutting guideline from Don't Call Me Betsy's tutorial and then assembled it my own way. It was very fun to cut words from text fabric and use selvedges as book titles.  This pillow finished at 20" square.

The last thing I made was a coin purse for each of my friends. This pattern is a standard in my rotation of things to make for friends. If you haven't tried making a coin purse hop over to Craftsy and grab this pattern. The lion is for Monika and the apples are for Mim. 

I am looking forward to giving my friends their gifts but I am more excited about spending time with my friends. I will be working on making scrapbook pages using photos from our trip to Ireland, Thanksgiving, Christmas, baby Valko (my newest grandson) and New Year's weekend. I hope I can get all these topics covered. I scrapbook using the Project Life app and then add other digital media to the pages when the mood strikes me. I'll be sharing some of my favorite pages on Instagram as they are completed.