Monday, March 30, 2020

Daisy Chain Mystery - Finished!

I am happy to report that my One Monthly Goal and PHD 2020 project for March is actually finished, with a day to spare.  It's been patiently waiting for it's turn to be quilted, and today was the day!

I was having a hard time deciding what color of thread to use for the quilting.  I ended up diving into my treasure chest of half used spools of thread and found a nice variegated King Tut thread that was just right.  Since this was a small quilt, I figured that a half spool would be about right and it was.

I quilted hearts and loops on it and I think it's just perfect!  It's always fun to see how the quilting just makes a quilt come to life.  I used Peacock from Island Batik's Basics line, it's the fabric in the large triangles of the star blocks as well.

March was definitely not as productive a month as February was, but then again, March has definitely not been a regular month as we all know.  I did a lot of sewing and have 3 super secret projects started, but I can't show you!  I quilted a quilt for a customer as well, but didn't count that in my total either.  I finished the final challenge for Project Quilting Season 11
And yesterday I finished the Island Batik Ambassador challenge for the month.
And that is that for the month at least as far as quilting!  I did sew a bunch of pillows, a cover for a Beanbag chair and a set of curtain panels.  I also made some fabric masks for a friend.  I guess I can't complain, I did accomplish quite a bit, and three quilts finished in a month isn't really that bad.

Next month should be interesting, with staying at home in order for the time being we should all be doing well on our UFO's WIP's and other projects!  At least it's good for taking your mind off the news...

Linking up with Elm Street Quilts for OneMonthlyGoal
and Quilting Gail for PHD in 2020

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Two Hearts, One Love - One Die Wonder Challenge!

Another month, another great challenge from Island Batik!  They provided us some great fabric, and Accuquilt provided a really fun BOB (Block on Board) die, then the Island Batik Ambassadors had to come up with an inspiration to make a quilt that makes the block from our die the star of the show.  Not hard to do with die I received - Storm at Sea.  I just love this block and have used it in several quilts in the past.  But I've never used the GO! cutter to cut my pieces before, and let me tell you, I am in love!

I have wanted to make a Storm at Sea quilt with a heart on it for a while, so this was the perfect time to try it out.  Not to mention that my husband and I are celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary this month (in fact, it's today!) so it really was perfect timing.

I chose to use my bundle of foundation fabrics from my first box this year.  I loved the colors - purples, blues and greens with a fun pop of bright pink! I really loved the solids mixed in with the different textures.  I did a little math and decided that I had enough fabric to make around 30 blocks, which was a large enough quilt to have two hearts in it.  I read through the cutting directions for the die and pre cut into the sizes that would work to cut on the die.

It's not quite as easy as just putting a single layer of fabric through, but the way the pieces are arranged you can put your background, medium and dark pieces through in the amounts needed so you can make your blocks without cutting a lot of extra pieces you won't need.  I had to do a bit of math, but it worked out perfectly, and I was able to pre cut the pieces quickly.

One that was done, it only took an hour to actually die cut all the pieces for my blocks, plus the extra pieces to fill out the side and bottom border.  I actually brought my GO! cutter into the living room on a card table and did the cutting while watching a TV show with my husband.  It really was a no-brainer, plus is a nice quiet activity to do without disturbing anyone.  There are 28 pieces in each block, so there were a lot of pieces (1003!), and all of them are perfectly sized and trimmed to sew together easily, with no trimming of dog ears after sewing!  I LOVE THIS!!

I spent about 8 hours chain piecing all of the units for the blocks.  There was a tiny bit of ripping out because of my design, but it all came together in the end!  I started out with the heart sections, then the rest was just a scrappy explosion.

Do you see how those pieces are precisely angled so you can align them together?  And how perfectly those points line up?  Even on the long pieces, it's so easy to sew them together because all you have to do is line up the edges - no guesswork, or marking seam lines needed, they just go together with no problem!  Perfect piecing absolutely starts with perfect cutting, and the Accuquilt GO! system does the job!

 I used a size 10 Microtex Chrome needle from Schmetz for the piecing, and I think that also contributed to the accuracy of my sewing.  Even when I had to rip out, I wasn't left with large holes in the fabric.  Though I had intended to change to the size 12 for the quilting, I forgot.  And the same needle worked just as well for my quilting!  I'm officially a fan of this needle now!  Plus, it even worked with my needle threader on my machine, which is definitely a bonus - usually I have to hand thread the smaller needles, which is why I usually stick to the size 12 needles to start with.  I used Auriful thread in 50 wt for both piecing and quilting as usual!
I used this pink thread for the hearts, and peacock blue for the rest of the quilt.  All the quilting on this quilt was done using my walking foot, and stitching 1/4 inch from the seam lines to accent the curvy look of the block. 
So pretty!
I love the sparkle of a scrappy quilt.  For the back, I added a strip of the leftover pink I used for the center of the hearts to a long piece of fabric.  This piece was from the Graphic Gems collection.  I really wanted to hoard save it for another time, but it really was perfect for this backing. 
This trick is really great for those quilts when you need just a few inches added to the width of a border.  I just cut a strip around 15 inches from one edge and insert a contrasting fabric.  Looks much better than adding a strip to one edge, and is fast and easy to do.
The binding is Cheerios in Plum - borrowed from the fabric that goes with a pack of pre-cuts I'll be using later this year. 

The batting is Hobbs Natural 100% cotton with scrim.  You only need to quilt this batting at least 8 inches apart, so it was perfect for this lightly quilted project.  I think it's a bit flatter that the 100% cotton without scrim, both are easy to quilt and make a nice lightweight quilt.  I would use either one of them for most of my projects with no problem!
My quilt finishes at 48 x 57 inches.  A nice size for a lap quilt, I think!  If you like this block, I highly recommend the Storm At Sea BOB die - it will definitely make the cutting easy, and the sewing will be a breeze.  Make sure you visit my fellow Island Batik Ambassadors and see what they made with their AccuQuilt dies this month!
Thanks again to Island Batik, plus Accuquilt, Schmetz Needles, Aurifil Thread and Hobbs Batting for providing me with the materials needed for this project!  I can't wait to get started on next month's challenge!  I have it partially thought out and an excited to start cutting and sewing - have I told you lately how much I love being an Island Batik Ambassador?  Stay tuned for the next challenge!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Project Quilting 11.6 - Vibrant and Vivacious

I think many of us are feeling a little unfocused this week, I know I have been.  It was great for me to set aside a day to focus on this challenge and do some fun sewing - I really had fun with it and love what I ended up making.  And I forgot about everything around me for just a little while!

Spring Zing Batiks Charm Pack
I knew right away that I wanted to use a set of 5 inch squares from Island Batik - Spring Zing.  I got these in a giveaway at quilt guild and have been saving them for something fun.  They are pretty spring colors.

I had the beginning of an idea started in EQ8, so I printed it up and got sewing, confident that I would figure out my design as I went.

After I sewed my blocks together, I decided to add a pieced border using rectangles cut from the remaining charm squares.

After quilting, I finished it up with a spring green binding.

This table runner ended up finishing at about 22 x 56.  I love the colors and how happy and fresh it looks.  This was finished in my home in Coos Bay, OR.  I am sad I didn't get all the challenges done for Project Quilting this year, but am really glad I was able to participate!  I can't wait for next's always so much fun, and I plan on continuing on as a sponsor...I'll have several new patterns to share by then!

Linked up with Project Quilting!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Keeping Mind and Hands Busy

Seems like our world here on the Oregon Coast has changed drastically over the last 5 days.  I won't sugar coat it, it's definitely unsettling.  We were about to leave on a planned trip to visit our oldest Grandson for his birthday when everything began to change.  We almost decided not to go, but in the end we went because we thought if we didn't we might not have the opportunity for a time.  We drove by car, spent the entire weekend in the house and drove home yesterday. 
It snowed while we were there!  It was so fun to watch the big fat flakes drift down. We relaxed and played board games and did Wii Sports.  We talked and ate good food.  It was a wonderful relaxing time and I am very glad we went while the risk was still low.  Now we are hunkering down in our home, wondering....

There are plenty of people still out and about, living life like normal right now.  I hope it can continue this way, but am prepared for more restrictions. We are pretty much homebodies, so I don't think how we live is going to be changed much as far as that goes.  We live in a small town, so maybe we won't be affected too much.  I celebrate my 60th birthday later this summer, but am thinking of myself as an at risk person and being extra cautious anyway.  Maybe I've read too many post-apocalyptic novels, but I figure it can't hurt!

I'm sure this is going to have big effects, not only on our community health, but also on our economy.  The thing is, that it's easy to start obsessing on all of this.  But when you do that, it steals any joy that you might find in this day, right now.  So I am choosing not to worry.  I am choosing to trust.  (I'm really trusting, that next month when we go to the store there will be toilet paper!)  We will do our part, and be as prepared as we can reasonably be, we will watch out for our neighbors and make sure their needs are met.  We will also enjoy our lives, take walks, and encourage those around us.  We laugh at the toilet paper jokes.  I'm also washing my hands, staying away from groups of people and making sure I get enough rest, healthy food and water.  I'm praying that we can all get through this and be the better for it, and appreciate our regular "normal" again.
I will probably not be working as the quilt shop much over the next few weeks, so that means more fun sewing time!  Today I am working on my One Monthly Goal - so I've pulled out fabric to choose a border.  Hopefully I can get this sewn on and baste it today so I can get busy quilting it! 

If you like this pattern, check out Allison's Daisy Chain Mystery  at her blog - I think she still has all the instructions available.  It's a fun and easy pattern, this is the baby size, and you can go larger.  I think it would make a great stashbuster project, and we'll be all about using up stash for a while, I think.  And on a related note, if your local quilt shop is still open, give them a call.  They would likely be more than happy to mail your purchases, or even do a pick up from the door.  Make an effort to continue to support them because the smaller shops will definitely be hit hard, especially the ones without an online shop. 

I know that lots of us feel uncertain, but I would just like to encourage you - you aren't alone.  Even though we can't gather together as we are used to doing, there are so many ways to connect now that are available to us.  Reach out and encourage other people.  Continue to choose to find joy in your days.  We will be ok! 

Love to you all!  Stay well, stay safe, and keep yourself busy! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Time for a Winner!

Time to play a little catch up and announce the winner of my giveaway for the Island Batik Log Cabin Challenge blog hop!

Congratulations to Cindy Shelley!  I've sent you an e-mail, so just let me know your address and I'll get those shipped out first thing next week.

In the meantime, I've been catching up on some Home Dec projects for my local designer.  She picks the best fabrics for me to have fun with.  I made this quilted bean bag cover out of this great zebra printed fabric:

And a stack of pillows plus newly upholstered footstools:
That's been it for sewing time the last week.  I have a few pair of pants to finish hemming, then I can get back to quilting.  I can't wait!

Monday, March 02, 2020

February Review and March goals

Whew, February was really a hectic month.  I don't know if it's the fact that it is the shortest month of the year, or the weather, but it always seems like February is a total struggle for me.  I was very productive, with 6 quilts in total being finished over 29 days!

Flirtation - this was my UFO challenge and OMG for February.  Pattern was written and quilt completed.  I am so in love with how this came out!  I'm excited to do a new version in the fall with fabric from Wilmington!

This cowboy baby quilt was made and is ready for baby to make his appearance!  I am going to buy some gift wrap so I can have it ready to give.

The dragon quilt was my shop sample for Threads That Bind for the month.  Both of these quilts use my Baby Nines pattern.

Two quilts were completed for the monthly Island Batik Challenge!  These are both available now in my Etsy shop - I love them, but have to let some of my creations go as they are overwhelming the area I have available to store them.  At 60 inches square, they make great lap quilts!  And make sure you enter to win my leftover strips.  This fabric is so gorgeous!

Oh - and not to forget, two Project Quilting challenges!  Both were small and only took a short time to complete.  You can click on the pictures to go to the blog posts they are featured in.

Last but not least, I did quilt my November 2019 Challenge from Island Batik!

So gorgeous!  I've had it basted and ready to quilt since November, so it's nice to not have to have it nagging me from the pile anymore - haha!

As far as March goes, I do not plan on finishing this many projects!  I will work on the Project Quilting challenges - just two left and they will likely both be small.  I also have an Island Batik Ambassador challenge using the Storm At Sea die!  I am excited for that one and looking forward to playing with it!  I plan on making a sample for Threads That bind, and my UFO challenge for my month, which will be my One Monthly Goal.

This is the Daisy Chain Mystery by Little Bunny Quilts from last year!  I have the blocks together, just need to decide on a border and get it quilted.  Totally do-able!

I'm also planning to buckle down and work some more on Crazy Jane.  The next block will be hand pieced, so I've been procrastinating.  Time to get to it!  Here is my PHD in 2020 progress this month:

Last, but not least - for March I am going to enforce giving myself more rest!  These words of wisdom came from my pastor yesterday:

All the things I want to do and feel like I need to get done will never be finished.  But I do need to take time to rest if I want to even get close to getting them done!  I'll be a few days late in getting the next installment up for the Stepping Stones Sampler.  Thank you for your patience - I felt disappointed that I didn't have it ready, but realized that it's not the end of the world to not meet my own deadline.  It's hard sometimes to admit that I push myself too hard and I just can't do all the things, even though I really want to and love doing it!  I encourage you to make sure you take time to rest, too - you'll be all the better for it!

Saturday, February 29, 2020

March Color Challenge 2020 block

I am really enjoying Patterns by Jen's 2020 color challenge, and I am one of the featured bloggers for March!  This month's inspiration is the Oriole and the color is Orange.

This was a super fun block to make, and I love the graphic effect of using the black where it is in the block - very striking!

Jen uses a great technique for making flying geese blocks, and as you make them it's easy to use the half square triangles as leaders/enders so you don't have to keep breaking thread as you go!
 As always, pay good attention to how you are sewing your units together or you will end up with this instead of a pinwheel!  Not sure how I managed this, but it was obviously not what I was aiming for!
 After a little ripping my block looked awesome!

Visit Patterns by Jen to get the pattern for the March block.  (and there are prizes each quarter if you finish at least one block, so it's not too late to join in!)

Visit the rest of the featured bloggers for March and see their blocks:

Catherine of Ali & CC
Kathryn of Dragonfly's Quilting Design Studio
Carolyn of Sweet Boater Chick
Anja of Anja Quilts

While you're here you might want to go take a look at my Island Batik Ambassador post from thursday and enter my giveaway for strips from the Primo line:  Lob Cabin Blog Hop

And I'm planning a sale in my Etsy shop next week - I'm celebrating 14 years of selling quilts, and now print and pdf patterns!  Plus I'll have some fun surprises throughout the week, so make sure you come back and see what I have cooked up.  It's going to be fun!