Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Stitch Tease 2

The next round in the Stitch Tease Bee begins tomorrow. I ended up being the queen bee for the first month. Now I know why no one wanted to be first. It was really hard for me to think of the block I wanted everyone to make for me so I ended up choosing something really easy.  Usually it's a good idea to choose a difficult block that you don't want to make a bunch of, but instead I chose to get as many prints and solids in the same color palette as I could. Since I chose an easy block I am going to be very specific about what I want.
photo from Film in The Fridge blog

I really like this quilt made by Film in the Fridge. I'd like one very similar so I am asking my bee mates to make 2-12 1/2" unfinished blocks using shades of aqua, teal and turquoise with white. So here are my specifics:
I want only aqua, teal and turquoise fabrics, both prints and solids.
Please use white in each block.
I only want the prints to be tone on tone or on a white background.
Do not introduce any other colors in the prints.
If you have it, you can put a piece of Essex Yarn Dyed Linen Flax in one block.
I DO NOT want wonky.
I will add the mustard to my blocks as I arrange the layout.

So here's my start to this quilt, the first 9 blocks.

I am planning on making it really big so it can be a beach quilt. The colors are just so pretty.

So there you have it, Round 2 in the Stitch Tease Bee begins now...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Summerville Color Blocked

Spread the word

Last year when Lynne announced she was having a quilt drive for Siblings Together I was not able to get a quilt finished and shipped in time. So this year she announced it quite early in the year and I knew I wanted to participate. I have finally finished my quilt.

Siblings Together is a summer camp for siblings who have been separated by the foster care system in England.  I believe it takes place in July, so I will get this in the mail so it arrives in plenty of time.

I belong to Pink Chalk's Charming Solids Club. Each month I receive 2 charm packs and 6 F8 of coordinating solids. After seeing Jennifer's pattern in this book 
I knew my Summerville charm packs would be perfect for her pattern. I didn't want to use linen as Jenn did in her quilt, so I took advantage of Kathy's (at Pink Chalk) expertise at matching solids to lines of fabrics and chose 4 solids from her suggestions to use and color block this quilt.

These solids were perfect and this quilt just screams HAPPY...SUMMER...CANDY...FUN...
all things kids love.

The backing is three fat quarters of Summerville and some more color blocking.

I quilted mostly with straight lines using a new to me thread. Isocord is a Polyester thread recommended by Leah Day and I have to say my Bernina loved it! Not one break during the entire quilting process! In the charm square section I quilted on either side of the seams in both directions and then diagonally through each square. In the color blocked section I did L-shaped lines about an inch apart...

until I got so bored and just wanted it finished, so I did some loopy FMQ in two sections.

I have to give a shout out to all the solids manufacturers. These colors are intense and for insurance I used 3 color catchers when washing the finished quilt. They came out as white as when they went in the washer!

I hope the child that receives this quilt will know that it was made with love and I hope that it will bring he or she comfort and joy.

I used Summerville Weave in Coal as the binding and it is a perfect finish for this quilt.

Last year, Laura Jane designed this label and Spoonflower printed and donated them. I still need to decide what to write on my label before I attach it and send off my quilt.

Siblings Together Quilt Labels
This is my 6th quilt finish for the year

and my first finish for this quarter in the 2013 Finish-A-Long.

she can quilt

Quilt Stats:

Name: Summerville Color Blocked
Fabrics, front and back: Summerville. Solids: Moda Bella Solids in Clementine, Free Spirit Designer Solids in Bright Green, Kona Cotton in Turquoise, and Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Cranberry.
Thread: Pieced with Aurifil 50 wt. Quilted with Isocord 40 wt. Sterling (#0142)
Batting: Warm and White
Binding: Summerville Weave in Coal
Size: 59" x 59"

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring Garden Check-In

One of the things I enjoy about spring is walking through the garden and checking on the progress of all the little plants we have so carefully planted or cared for during the winter.

Beans popping up in little rows...
Dumpling peaches, fuzzy and green...
Rhubarb blushing and begging to be made into a pie...
Fresh herbs, parsley,oregano,thyme, basil and rosemary,
just a handful turns any meal into a gourmet meal...
Zucchini plants, we only need three, which ones will make the cut...
One lonely artichoke...
A barrel full of potato plants...
Nasturtiums, did you know they are edible?
A simple blossom on a pepper plant...
A wine barrel full of hydrangeas, I hope the blueing agent works...
The viburnum tries so hard to be lovely in our too hot climate...
Tomatoes, it looks like we will have a bumper crop again...
Lemons, we haven't needed to buy lemons in 20 years...

The very first blueberry was picked yesterday. How many more do I need for a cobbler?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sending a Hug to Boston

To Boston With Love

By now you all must have heard about the drive for banners flags to be displayed in Boston and to stand with the city in support and love. My best friend was there, having just crossed the finish line only minutes before tragedy struck. I am so thankful she and her running group were not injured and so very sad for the families of those who lost their lives and for those who were injured in the senseless act of violence.

This is my contribution. It's the least I can do.

I hope you will take the time to read about the efforts of the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild here and help if you can.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Square Peg, Round Hole

This weekend I went to the LA Modern Quilt Guild Saturday Sew. It was my first time to attend one of their events. Actually it was the first time I have gone to any quilt guild meeting and I had a great time.

I always feel a little odd going to something for the first time, especially when I am pretty sure I will be the oldest one there. Will I be accepted? Will I be the right kind of quilter for this group. Will they be nice to me and will I come across as shy or stuck up? I always feel like a square peg in a round hole when doing anything for the first time.

But I must say my self-confidence was given some insurance by the fact that Michelle, {I like Orange Too on Istagram}, would be there. We had met at Sewing Summit 2011 and I was a pattern tester for her bag design last year. It was great to see her again.

I brought my Flower Girl 2 quilt with me. It was all cut and ready for some piecing. I sewed all the leaf pieces {that's 80 leaves}, pressed them and finished 2 blocks. A pretty successful afternoon and a fun time, too. I came home with a very sore wrist from all the pressing.

There was such a variety of projects being worked on from quilting baby quilts to basting an orange and aqua quilt.  Julie {chicken Julie on Instagram} was making a really great quilt using striped fabrics cut into triangles and then sewn back into great looking squares of all sizes.
The rectangular version of this block required heavy use of both my seam ripper and my swear jar. But I'm kind of in love with it.
from Julie's Flickr feed

I wish I would have taken more photos but I didn't want to seem over eager my first time.

I did manage to take a few shots of Latifah's {the quilt engineer on Instagram} amazing clam shell quilt. This could be my new favorite quilt...ever. Isn't it stunning? She is finishing it with 1/4" finished binding. Amazing!

I hope to be able to go to another one of these events soon and next time I will try to remember more people's names and take more photos.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Post Sew South Swap

As soon as I returned from Sew South I knew I didn't want that feeling of camaraderie and friendship to end, so I organized a swap for anyone who wanted to join. It's a secret swap and no one knows who is making something special for them, except me! I assigned the partners with a random draw and even pulled the name of my own partner from the hat. I was so happy when I saw her name.

I had been watching Janice of Better Off Thread  post Instagram photos of a mini she had designed and was working on and I was instantly smitten. This spiral of geese is completely an imitation of her spectacular version.

I knew I wanted to make something really special for my partner and since I was so enamored of Janice's mini I asked her if she had a pattern for it. She was so generous to share her pattern with me (which is not for sale, yet).

I love the way this mini turned out. I sure hope my partner does, too.

Made with a rainbow of scraps on a Kona White background, this mini was foundation paper pieced in 8 arcs and then sewn together.

Then the background is cut and it is reverse appliqued to the spiral.

I will never claim to have done as beautiful a quilting job as Janice, but I gave it a good college try. I used Thermolam Plus for the batting to give it a firmer feel for hanging. {We'll just ignore the fact that I accidentally ordered a whole bolt of this last year from JoAnn's and it was not the fusible I thought I was ordering}

Bound with Lecien mini black and white stripe is the perfect finish for this mini quilt. Thanks to my friends on Instagram, they told me how to make the corners on the back so it can be hung, if my partner chooses to display it by hanging it up.

I used one of my quilt labels, folded in half and sewn into the binding on the back. You'll have to wait until my partner receives it to find out where this will end up.

Quilt Stats:

Name: Rainbow Spiral of Flying Geese Mini
Fabric: rainbow scraps, Kona White background and backing
Binding: Lecien Black and White mini stripe
quilted by me with Guttermann Polyester Thread
batting: Thermolam Plus
Finished size: 23 1/4" x 23 1/4"

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Stitch Tease...part two

You know the saying, "Hindsight is 20/20"? Well it certainly is true in this case..
When looking back through my photos of the blocks and strips I created for each of the members in the Stitch Tease Bee, I realized I probably should have taken better photos.
But here you have it. A brief show and tell of what I made for each person.

Helen asked for wonky stars on a Kona Ash background. She wanted the centers different from the points and to please use bright colors.

Danny gave us free reign to make whatever we wanted based on some of her favorite blocks. I chose to fussy cut some fabrics and make Polaroid blocks. These 7 blocks were sewn into one long strip.

Katy asked for blocks based on the print in her focal fabric, Circa 52 by Monaluna's fun modes of transportation. I chose to make an appliqued bicycle with a stack of fabric bolts on the back, topped off with a hitch-hiking Jack...Katy's globe trotting stuffed bear.

Dianne asked for pinwheels. Pinwheels are one of my favorite blocks. I tried to incorporate a few different styles of pinwheels in bright, fun colors.

Hadley wanted a strip of rectangles and squares with pieces of white mixed in to allow your eye to rest. Her colors were Aqua, orange, teal, green, blue, and grey.

Susan wanted white wonky stars in a flurry of bright fabrics. I incorporated the July girl for our shared birth month. 
I have to admit Annabella's request for curves had me a little worried but after making the Retro Flowers quilt last year I decided to use the template and make some scrappy drunkard's path blocks. I was also the one responsible for sewing Annabella's quilt together. 

This was such a great bee and I am so happy we are going to do it again. Round 2 begins next month. Sadly, we are losing Danny, but we have gained 5 new members and will make it a more traditional bee. Check back next month as we kick off round 2. I will be the first in the bee to choose a block and have everyone make it for me.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Buzz, Buzz...so many Bees

While my Stitch Tease Bee mates are posting about their collaborative quilt tops today, I have decided to post about my Virtual Quilt Bee blocks. I sort of jumped the gun and scheduled my Stitch Tease  post 24 hours early. By now you have all seen my gorgeous word quilt.

These are the first blocks in the Virtual Quilting Bee put together by the lovely Amy of Diary of a Quilter. I have made blocks 1-3 (2 of each) using Tula Pink's Prince Charming and assorted solids, all using Empire Yellow by Art Gallery as the solid. It's an odd color combination for me but it is growing on me and I am enjoying the blocks designed by the quilters Amy has asked to join her in this bee.

I'll keep going as long as the fabric holds out. There are 16 blocks scheduled in this bee but we'll see how long my fat quarters last.

Virtual Quilting Bee

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Stitch Tease...a Beautiful Surprise

I made a mistake and accidentally scheduled this post a day early but decided to leave it since "the cat is now out of the bag". The other posts from this bee will appear tomorrow, as we originally agreed.

The wait is over. I can finally reveal my Stitch Tease quilt top. Today, everyone is posting about the quilt tops they received, so make sure to check out all the blogs and see what this fantastic group of women has created.

Back in February of 2012 I asked a few bloggy friends (Annabella, Katy, Danny, Susan, Helen, Hadley and Dianne) if they wanted to join me in a traveling quilt bee. We had been talking and commenting on each others blogs for a while and I knew these women were talented and friendly. My hope was that we would create a group of friends, although living 1000's of miles apart, but our own little sewing circle.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would grow to have such a close bond.  We not only comment and email but have texted, spoken on the phone and I have even met a few members in person. Come this July, at the Fat Quarter Retreat in London, I will have met everyone except Annabella! I guess a trip to Marrakech is in order, soon.
Meeting Danny for the first time May 2012

Di drove from Czech Republic to meet me in Vienna July 2012
Meeting Katy (and Jack) at Sewing Summit October 2012

We each chose a theme or design idea for our quilts and made a starter strip or large block (or two) and also picked one fabric and used it in everyone's quilt. This was the fabric I created on Spoonflower to use in everyone's quilt. It is a text print with everyone's name, blog name and city written on it.

fabric created on Spoonflower

The idea of the bee was to create a block or strip and add it to the quilt when it arrived at each members home. Since this was an international bee and shipping costs would be high as the quilts grew, we decided to send our contribution to one person and each of us would be responsible for putting one quilt together for one person.

I wanted a word themed quilt and left it up to each person to add a word and a strip (10"x 70") based on a word that they thought was a representation of my loves and likes.
When this parcel arrived on my doorstep last week I was shaking as I opened it. I could not believe how excited I was to see it. You see, this was a secret bee. After making our initial strip or block we never saw our quilt tops again or knew what was added to it.
I started mine off with the Bloom strip...for my love of gardening.

This quilt makes me cry. All I see is love when I look at it. It is probably one of the most meaningful gifts I have ever received.
Just look at all the special details and thought that everyone put into it.

The first strip was created by Annabella. We have spoken on the phone and not just about quilting. She knows how much I love my husband, whom I refer to as Mr. Romance on my blog, and incorporated our long marriage and a few of my other likes...sunflowers and country dancing. 

Next is Katy's creation. She knew that my family is everything to me and did some applique blocks to represent our FAMILY, which is made up of 3 dentists, a fireman and a chef and sewn together by a patchwork of love for our growing brood, that includes our son's wives and children.

Weather...Di and I talk about weather and gardening a lot. You see she lives in the Czech Republic where they actually have weather. I am always commenting on her snow and rain and she on our sun and heat. We both enjoy gardening as well as sewing. Her embroidery embellished blocks are just beautiful.

Hadley knows me well. I enjoy a nice glass of wine and love a good celebration (like my 60th birthday party last year). She made the most perfect paper pieced wine bottles I have ever seen in some of my favorite colors.

Danny and I have talked about what we are reading (or listening to on Audible.com) and so her row of books was perfect. Those letters are so precisely cut and appliqued, at first I thought she printed them on the fabric.

The Queen Bee...that was me, so Helen had a great idea. She used some really lovely fabrics in her patchwork and paper pieced the bees. The one on the right has some of the tiniest pieces I have ever seen in a project. We also share a fondness for tulips.

Susan was the one who sewed all the strips together and couldn't have finished the quilt top with a more perfect saying...Live, Love, Laugh....Sew. And she couldn't resist adding a tomato because come summer tomatoes seem to show up a lot on my blog. Susan did a beautiful job fitting all the strips into a perfectly squared up top and now the big question is...however will I quilt this beauty?

That's a topic for another day. 
Come back tomorrow and see what I contributed to everyone's quilt.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Let's Get Organized

The other day BariJ was having a giveaway on Instagram and I won this great set of printable organizing lists. You can print them as you need them.

I have always enjoyed making lists, my favorite part crossing off tasks that have been completed.
These will be used a lot and did I mention they are decorated with Bari's new, soon to be released fabric line? Bijoux for Art Gallery Fabrics will be in stores in May. I can't wait for it to be released. 
Just look at these gorgeous prints.

photo from Art Gallery website

photo from Art Gallery website