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 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).

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!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Beginning a "splendid" journey

It has been quite awhile since this blog was updated . So very much has happened in my quilting and crafting journey in the last year it might be impossible to catch up. So the best approach appears to just pick up in the here and now and move forward.

Current quilting activities include several BOM's and mystery quilt-along projects.

Today's focus is on The Splendid Sampler...already up to Block 8.

(If you are not familiar with this 100 block journey be sure and visit the main site by clicking the link above.)

The blocks are offered by some very talented and fabulous designers and  come out two times a week on Sunday and Thursday.  Why not come play along?

Here is my version of the latest block entitled "Friends Around the Square" designed by Julie Karasik.

This is a lot of fun. The little blocks are only 6.5 inches and will make for a "Splendid" sampler quilt when completed.

As a quick catch up for the previous seven blocks, here is a combined photo.
It's going to be a wonderful journey!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Grand Illusion Part 3

Grand Illusion Part 3

More adventures in mysteryville this week! Step 3 of the Quiltville Mystery Quilt Grand Illusion is a fairly quick and easy sew. Cut the 2" strips, sew the strips together in the correct order to make the strip sets, stack/nest the strip sets paired up (again in the correct order/direction), sub-cut the strip sets and sew the neatly nested little sub-cut sets together for a cute little block. Easy as long as you cut accurately, arrange in the correct order and sew nice straight 1/4" seams. :-)
The opening photo above shows the first block prototype cut and stitched from the first strip set. Came out great the first time. Whew!

To make the process MUCH easier, as I cut the stacked/nested strip sets, I stacked them into little rows ALL going the same direction. This way each unit was picked up in the correct position for stitching and I didn't have to make sure I was sewing the correct side of the unit. Yes, it does make a difference. The first block came out perfect, but to make sure it wasn't a fluke, I only cut one of the strip sets to begin with. Chained sewed them and checked each one to make sure the seams were nesting well and the points were good.

Once I was satisfied that all was well, I cut the rest of the sets. Again stacking them up in the same order so when picked up to sew, they were in the correct position.  the above is of all the blocks for Step 3...the first prototype, the original group chained together and the rest waiting to be sewn.
ALL sewn, pressed and stacked ...not so neatly...for their photo op!

So far, I am loving the units in this Mystery Quilt.
The above photo is of Step 1, Step 2 and Step 3.
Can't wait to see what the next step has in store. It's going to be a beautiful quilt!
Until next time...craft and create! It's good for your health.