Quilts And All Things Fabric...

As an avid fabric enthusiast, a blog about quilts and all things fabric just seemed the obvious thing to do.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Add A little Love To Your Life...Purple....Lavender

Okay, so I might have gotten a little carried away with  the title for this blog...just be thankful you couldn't hear me singing while I was typing it!

Quiltville Winter Mystery En Provence's Clue 4 is to blame for the musical inspiration! Purples and Lavenders are up there on the top of my happy colors list. And I love the fabric I chose for this years mystery. Hey, I get to keep this one; so of course I picked out what I like! 

This post is going to be short and sweet since the units in this clue (Clue 4) were identical to those in clue 3, just different colors.  I loved seeing the Lavender Labyrinth photos that Bonnie shared in this clue.   If you look closely at the neutral fabric is has lovely circles that I jokingly referred to as crop circles in the original post. Now I think they are white lavender labyrinths! 


Here are the 80 finished units. These should sew up very quickly, but I must admit to having a senior moment with these. When sewing block units, I lay them out by the machine supposedly just as they are to be stitched. This makes it easier to keep it going at a good steady pace and chain stitch away.

Not sure if I got the white center units rotated 90 degrees or if I accidentally switched the left and right wings. Yes, I DO know how these go together. Yes I know how the little clipped corner works with the point and how the point on the other end hangs over making a dog ear. I am NOT a novice quilter.  Not my first rodeo with these rulers and this block. AND  to make it even worse, for clue 2 and clue 4, I went back and reviewed Bonnie's video on how to do these. (Insert big (really big) head BONK here). YET I sewed the wing on the wrong side. I think part of it may be how we see something and the brain says, "oh, yes that's a perfect match"...it was....but it was WRONG! Now if I had only done a couple it wouldn't have been so bad...NOooooo....I did all 80 of them! And pressed them. And didn't realize  SOMETHING wasn't right until about 30 in...yes I really did do that! Lets just say I may have worn out the seam ripper. LOL  I can laugh at it now. Hopefully my little silly goof up will help prevent someone else from making the same mistake. I would love to say I learned my lesson and this will NEVER happen again...seriously....really???? Any of you that really know me are probably laughing till your sides hurt right now! And what does the husband say about all of this??? He says " the difference in you and me is I would find a way to make it work." Yeah, that's called a seam ripper! LOL

After all that it was time for some REAL Lavender to relax! Ok, so part of the thrill of this years mystery for me is tying it to the lavender fields. I really do LOVE lavender...the real thing...not just the color!


I make handcrafted Lavender Soap, use Lavender EO in the diffusers (which also have purple/lavender lights...most of the time I have them rotating colors, but can leave them set to one color if I choose), there is lavender color in one of  my pincushions, and two of my favorite things are the lavender/purple mugs my oldest granddaughter gave me for my birthday and mother's day on two different occasions. Eeyore's fuchsia ears on the tea mug and the bow on his tail on the taller mug. I also use Lavender EO in the bath and mix it with Emu Oil for great skin care.

And all of this talk about lavender and purple brings us to the end of today's post and to my little "Garden Variety Inspiration" post. Well of course it's going to be something PURPLE!  Enjoy!

Have a Sew Fabulous week everyone!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Purple Passion

My favorite colors fall in the teal and aqua ranges, with purples and lavenders dueling it out with pinks for second place. And that ranking is subject to change without even a moments notice.   So when this years Quiltville Winter Mystery En Provence came out with purples and lavenders as two of the colors, I just knew I had to play along.

Strange as it may seem, with these being in my very favorites range of colors, I had very little purple and absolutely NO lavender in my fabric stash. There was possibly enough purples to make up the yardage, but I really wasn't wanting to go scrappy with this one. So off to the fabric store  with list in hand fabrics needed as well as a swatch of my green, since I did have it. A perfect piece...but more on that when we get to the clue that uses greens. Now, back to the purple and lavenders. Started telling the clerk what was needed and she picked up a piece of scrumptious purple that was end of bolt they had laying on the cutting table. I'm instantly in love with the fabric but it wasn't enough yardage. Remember at this point I'm not doing scrappy and only looking for ONE purple. HOWEVER, I decided that the piece was going home with me anyway. LOL Then we found another gorgeous purple that was just perfect. Ok, it's a go. Now to find a lavender and yellow to play in the group. I have a lot of yellows, but again not enough yardage in any of them and none of them were playing that well with that green.  I found one lavender that was PERFECT....not enough left on the bolt. Ugh! So kept on looking. Found another variegated lavender that I really liked, but decided it might be a little too dark for this project and to work with the purple I had pulled so gave up on it. But, seriously thinking next time I'm up that way some of it might have to come home with me if there is any left.

This is the lavender I loved and ended up with.
So, I'm fairly perplexed on finding lavender. Then the clerk and owner did a wonderful thing that all shop owners I hope do for their clients. They found a kit that had that lavender I was in love with in it for backing. She offered to pull it for me and just sell the kit discounted with no backing. How much did I want? YES! Win win for both of us. She makes an on the spot sale, I get what I want, and she can still sell the kit discounted or easily add a different fabric for backing. How much do I want or how much do I NEED.  Well, duh...I took the WHOLE thing of course. Happy camper!
The lavender is not showing up very well in the photo. It is slightly darker. The center purple is the one I chose as my main purple and the bottom dark with gold dots is the small remnant that came home with me.

Now since Clue 3 is four patches like in Clue 1, I won't bore you with a lot of repetition on the makings of the units. But after much consideration I decided that the dark fabric needed to be added in to the fray. So I have a constant in the single lavender and now two dark purples.
Got the strips all cut and stitched together to start sub-cutting .

Ok, so here they are all laid out to sew. Again, I made sure the seems were all going up in the right direction in my stacks so they would spin nicely when finished. Makes it easy to just pick them  up and pop them under the presser foot and chain away. Goes quite quickly ....unless you run out of bobbin thread and your machine forgets to "beep" at you.... Yeah, fun. Hey, but only about a dozen ran off without thread.
Spun out on the back......
...and all finished!
I absolutely LOVE these units. The photo just doesn't do them justice at all. This is going to be one gorgeous quilt when its done.

Monday, December 5, 2016

More Fun With Fabric

Do you ever find it difficult to start a blog post? Sometimes I find it hard to decide where to start. I know what needs to be included, but finding the right words to get started often has me sitting here staring at the computer screen clicking my fingernails on the keyboard. This is one of those days.

Clue 2 for En Provence came out last week. I jumped on it quickly and got it cut out, then it took me three days to get it sewn. Not a difficult clue. Not hard to stitch together. Only 100 to make.  Just too much "other stuff" kept getting in the way.

This one was quick to cut out using the Tri Recs rulers. I like rulers. I have a lot of rulers. Some of them have never been used. Just bought them because they were cool and sometime I might use them for ...well... something.  But that does not apply to the ones used in Clue 2. Bought them for one of the other mystery quilts and they have been very well used.

Here are both rulers put to use. The fuchsia strips stack right sides together so when cut, you get both the left and right "wing" piece.

I just stacked the center triangle units and the right "wing" units by the machine and started chaining. Went quickly. One thing I made sure of was that the white triangle units were ALL laying Right side up. This fabric is a tone on tone/ white on white fabric and I have a terrible problem seeing the right side sometimes. Especially on cloudy days when the lighting isn't very good. I literally sat with the little lamp by the units and double checked each one before  I started. Managed to get them all sewn together correctly. Whew!
And they all squared up perfectly.  Sure was glad Bonnie posted in the clue the link for the video she made using these rulers. It was great having the refresher.


All done! Stacked and now stored waiting their turn in assembly.

Now, I need to get back to working on a very important Christmas gift. Beginning to think it isn't going to get finished in time this year. Oh, well, if not I'll just sub something else and give it when it's done. NOT going to rush it and mess it up!

As for today's "Garden Variety Inspiration" ...that one may be challenging. Let me go dig through some previous photos and see if I can find what I want to use. It's too cold and cloudy to bother trying to go out and get anything today.  Fount it! Remember last time I used the leaves from the Hazelnut bushes? Well here is another take of the bush, but not of the leaves. Cool huh? Very appropriate for a dull grey day and VERY much in contrast to the beautiful fuchsia pink above.
Neutrals with a touch of green and orange. Well, if it doesn't give you an idea of what you want to do, maybe it says to you what not to do. LOL
Have a wonderful week and until next time I hope you stay Sew Happy!



Friday, December 2, 2016

Fun Starts With a New Winter Mystery

The main reason I quilt is because.... I thoroughly enjoy  "playing" with fabric, it's that simple. A lot of what I have made has gone to my children and grandchildren. Sometimes I actually get to keep one! This year's Quiltville Winter Mystery Quilt is one of those "sometimes".


When the fabric requirement list came out, you probably heard me Yip for joy at the colors. Purple and lavender! Yea! Two of my favorites; yes I have more than one favorite color.


So off to dig in my  VERY limited stash of fabrics. All I managed to find in there was a green that was just begging to be used and a really fun tone on tone swirly neutral (off white and white). That prompted a visit to an LQS. (Local as in 40 miles away.)

After much mental anguish over whether to go scrappy or not; I chose the latter. I know Bonnie's quilt patterns are designed for scrappy quilts.  I have done some of them VERY scrappy and some not. Honestly, they come out beautiful either way. Right now I have a lot on my plate and decided it would just be better for me to not do scrappy this year. Partly because it was just too hard to come up with enough variations in fabrics and partly because I need more control in my mind and budget right now. Don't judge, just let me play in my own way. It will turn out great!



When Clue 1 came out on Black Friday it was neutral four patches. Right off the bat, Bonnie suggested that those of us NOT doing scrappy MIGHT want to consider adding a second neutral to these four  patches. Uh Oh! If Bonnie suggested it, it was more than probably a good idea! I gave this a lot of thought. Do I want to add the second fabric, or not? After all my neutral is a two tone with lots of movement.  Do I HAVE enough of  a second neutral  without having to make another purchase? Well, after digging and digging, I came up with a perfect piece. When I made the Jamestown Landing Quilt (found in Bonnie's String Fling book) I backed it with a pebble print neutral. It is a very light tan with the pebbles shapes drawn in light grey and off white.  Big question was was there enough....yes! Barely! Now the question is, how is this going to "PLAY" with the other fabrics. First off, it looks FABULOUS with the original neutral. Now to lay all the fabric out together for a look. Yes, it did look good in there, but again, do I really WANT to add this in? Ok, so I took it out of the grouping of fabrics. Wow! Instant change! It was as if something was missing. Seriously, missing. I added the second neutral back to the pile and VIOLA! Decision made. Well, that was easy!


             This is really a light tan background. It is just showing up very grey in the photo.



So I diligently got busy making 4 patches! Did some brain strain math to determine how many strips of each fabric were need to get the 221 finished units. Here are  some of the strips stitched together and laid out to start sub-cutting into 2 inch pieces and the first stack completed.




The strip sets are laid on top of each other just like they will be placed when sewn. These are cut in two inch sections. I like to move the ruler so that there is a straight line at the top as well as the 2" cutting mark. This helps me keep the pieces nice and square. It is so easy to let that ruler slip a little.


 




 All squared up! Size came out perfect! I would say, now how did that happen? But we all know it's from actually paying attention to what I'm doing and cutting and sewing accurately.





Since we are twirling the back seam on these they needed to feed through the machine with the two patch seam facing UP. I found it much easier for me to stack them with the seams all going in the correct direction. That way they could just be picked up to sew and put under the needle without much thought or worrying about getting on going the wrong way.
I laid them out in groups of 20 each, that way the count could be checked and double checked.



Then I just happily chained away until I got tired of sitting. Then I would stand up, clip them apart and twirl that back seam open and make nice little stacks.

 
Then back to sewing!






I realize that the neutral color isn't showing up very well on my white machine bed and table. But these are really pretty blocks! The white on white two tone is swirls sort of like concentric circles of various sizes. The second fabric is the pebble print. SO....in the realm of things and the theme of this mystery, my WHITE LAVENDER fields have pebbles in the rows and crop circles in the field!
Look closely, see the crop circles????


 Well, folks that's a photo of Clue 1's 221 neutral four patches. And here is how I store them until they are needed for assembly.


You can play along too! Here's the link. Just click the word Mystery here.

And  usually when I post to this blog, I try to leave you with nature photo of something  for color/quilting/value/shadow/shade type inspiration . So here is this time's "Garden Variety Inspiration" photos. I love these fall colors. These are Hazelnut leaves from our yard. We have only picked a crop once and they were very small. The squirrels wipe them out every year!  These photos were taken in November on a very windy day. Enjoy!





Wednesday, September 14, 2016

September's Splendid Bonus Block

Yesterday I posted a big catch-up on the Splendid Sampler blocks. Today I have the Splendid Sampler  September Bonus Block finished. The Bonus Blocks are  extra blocks for fun or to incorporate with the other official Splendid Sampler blocks in the quilt. 



The September Bonus Block is in honor of time to return to school. It was a really cute and quick little block to make. The design is representative of the old fashioned chalk boards that children used decades ago.  Instructions for this and all the Splendid Sampler blocks as well as information on the designers can be found on the official Splendid Sampler web page (or by clicking here).

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Some of my blogs included a segment  called "Garden Variety Inspiration". This consisted of photos of various things in the vegetable garden, flower beds or just around the yard for inspirational ideas on color(s) and or texture to try and duplicate with textiles in our quilts and art projects. It is my intention to try and keep this little section going on a regular basis. Maybe not with every post, but often. So with that said, here is today's "Garden Variety Inspiration" photo.
This is an Okra bloom photographed in our garden earlier this month.  It is such a soft pale yellow with a pop of deep red in the center and the medium green stalks and leaves give great contrast!

That's all for today. May the rest of your week be filled with fun projects!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Progress on a Splendid Journey

The months have slipped by since I last posted progress on The Splendid Sampler quilt along.  We are currently on Block 61 with a cute little back to school  Bonus Block (which I haven't worked on yet). This is my version of Block 61 entitled Traveler.

I must say this has been a wonderful experience. There are a lot of very talented quilters sewing along and there are a lot of new quilters along for this most Splendid journey.

It is always a pleasure to see the blocks each quilter makes. Even though we are all using the same basic block design/pattern, with the differences in fabrics, colors and creative license no two blocks ever look exactly alike. I am constantly drooling over fabrics and blocks. I am using Pat Sloan's fabric line "One For You One For Me" for this sampler.

As of this posting, I have 58 of the 61 blocks completed. There are three hand embroidery blocks in various stages just begging to be completed; but my abilities at this give a totally new perspective on the term "slow as a snail" or "snail's pace". They will eventually be completed and put in place with the rest of the blocks. Here are the poor little embroidery blocks...and in case you are wondering ... I'm using the Sticky Fabri-Solvy water soluble stabilizer to print the designs on. Best stuff since sliced bread!
So far, I have made three of the Bonus blocks. Since I was able to acquire some additional fabric in this line, I may go back and remake the flip-flop block and turn this one into a mug-rub for my sewing room. It matches another wall hanging in there. At the time, I was worried about running out of fabric before completing  the project!
And I know you are wondering what all the rest look like, right????  Well, here they are!

As of right now the plan is to sash this with the dark blue swiggly fabric in this line with possibly adding little cornerstones from the lime green dot. BUT a girl can change her mine. All I know for sure is that this entire sampler top will be made from the One For You One For Me fabric line.
So that's about it for now on the Splendid Sampler blocks. I will try to do better about keeping up on the postings for this. It really is a wonderful group and a great quilt along. It's still not too late to join in on all the fun so just hop on over to The Splendid Sampler and jump in!