Monday, August 19, 2019

Monday Motivation - The Big Picture

Sorry for the lack of posting lately, I find that my plate is full these past few weeks with wedding plans and deadlines!  All the deadlines are checked off and we are now counting down the days to the wedding - the dress is altered, bridesmaids dresses are pressed and ready for trying on.  (No, none of them made by me this round, just alterations to do be done!)

I find my mind is full of all these things, and it's really hard to find words to write my normal blog posts - not to mention that there will probably little going on in the quilting arena for the next week.  I do have some finishes that I want to catch up on, so hopefully will be able to share those soon, though.

For today, what is motivating me is not getting bogged down in the little details, but to keep my eyes on the big picture.  For instance, I start cleaning up the kitchen and start fussing over the need to put new paper in the bottom cupboard where I store my glassware, or the fact that the drawer under the oven needs to be rearranged, and I really should put the breadmaker into storage until fall...but what I really need to do is wash the dishes and mop the floor.  Then I can fit the details in as needed!

I notice that I can do the same thing in my quilting.  Before you know it I've sewn a dozen perfect blocks, not noticing that I've turned the triangles in the wrong direction.  But boy, those points sure matched up nicely!  

Make sure you step back once in a while and see that you are tending to the big picture as well!

The Beat the Heat blog hop continues on this week with the following lines and quilters - plus a new giveaway!  

Monday, August 19 - Petal Pushers

Tuesday, August 20 - Quiet Shades

Wednesday, August 21 - Seedlings

Thursday, August 22 - Soil & Seeds

This week you can enter to win these lovely Quiet Shades pre-cuts!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Seashore Splendor Block 14 - Anchor

Are you ready for the fourteenth block of the Seashore Splendor Quilt Along?  I know some of you have fallen a bit behind - that is so easy to do!  We still have several months to go until we are done, so don't worry, there is plenty of time to get your blocks finished.  I've been working hard myself to get caught up, too.  I have a daughter getting married next week, so I wanted to make sure I had this block done so I don't have to worry about anything next week! 

Today's block is another great seashore inspiration - an Anchor!

Most of this block is fairly simple piecing, but there are a lot of pieces to keep track of!  I've written the instructions so you can cut each section as you go - for me this made the most sense and helped prevent me from sewing the wrong pieces together.  This block will take about a half yard of background fabric - you can use light or medium sea for this and 1/4 yard of your dark sea fabric.

Start out by cutting out the arm section.  I like to lay my pieces out in the positions they need to be sewn in.  I work at assembling any units that need to go together.
For this block you'll be making several mirror image sections, so make sure that you aren't making two sets that are identical!  That doesn't work for this block!  Then I sew the next set of units together.
Continue sewing the next section...
Then complete the arm section by sewing to the center.
The next section is the eye of the anchor.  These pieces are a bit smaller, but it all goes together easily.
Use the sew and flip technique to add triangles to the long side pieces, and assemble the center section.
Sew the top triangle and the side strips to the the center.
Then add the side triangles.  You can trim the extra fabric off at this point or wait until your block is complete.

Now it's time to work on the bottom section.
Ok, this looks a little crazy, but don't worry - it's really not that bad!  First, sew the three small squares together.  Sew the long strips together (I changed the instructions a bit to make them the same size so you don't have to worry about centering them)  Then sew the small triangles to the center of the strips.  Sew the larger triangle to the center of the long side of the large rectangle.
Next, trim the extra fabric from the strips to make two striped triangles.  
Sew the three small squares to the top of the large rectangle, then add the striped triangle to the sides, matching seams where the stripe meets the top of the rectangle.  You can trim the extra fabric off now, or wait until you assemble your block.
Just the side units left now!  
You can see how easy these are to sew!  Dark square to light rectangle, small triangle to top of rectangle, then large triangle to outer side.  Mirror images again, so be careful!
Now you just add the sides to the center, then add the top and bottom.  Take some care to match seams where needed.  This completes the center of the block.  At this point, make sure to trim up the edges, and you are ready to add the setting triangles.  
Oops - forgot to get a picture of my finished block!  I'll add that ASAP!

This block will challenge you, but it's worth it!  Wouldn't this make a stunning pillow?  I think I'll have to make another for that project!  Download the pattern by clicking the link below:

Download Anchor Block here!
Thanks for following along!  Here's a look at our progress so far - how is your quilt coming along?

PS - I'm having a sale in my Etsy shop today to celebrate my birthday - 15% off everything, including PDF patterns, and finished quilts.  Visit PamelaQuilts on Etsy to save this weekend!

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Beat the Heat Blog Hop - Enchanted Forest

Welcome!  It's time to Beat the Heat with Island Batik, and today is my day to post the project I made using the "secret" fabrics I received in my first Island Batik Ambassador Box in 2019.  The line I received is called Enchanted Forest, and it is truly enchanting!  And the colors definitely make me think of a cool green forest with light dappling in between the leaves.

Aren't the colors so beautiful?  Right away I knew exactly what I wanted to make with these lovely fabrics...a quilt for our guest room.  This room features a light green carpet, orchid walls and plum trim - courtesy of our youngest daughter and her decorating before she left home.  I rather like the colors, so they are staying.  Anyway, you can see that they will look wonderful in there.  Now all I needed was an idea for a design.  And it didn't take very long for me to decide to make a new version of a project I designed several years ago - a sampler style quilt that I've taught as beginner's class.

I had such fun deciding where to place all of the lovely fabrics in my design!  I call this a sampler style quilt because it uses several different blocks, but there is a definite pattern to the way everything is put together, so it has a lovely effect that is a bit different than your usual sampler.

The Almond neutral that I received was absolutely perfect for the background.  As you can see, it really allows the colors to shine!  I found a spot for each and every fabric in this bundle, and they all look so gorgeous!

I really do love every inch of this quilt, from the chunky dresden plate blocks to the petite 9 patch cornerstones.  I squeezed every smidge I could out of that purple I used for the inner border!
I think the biggest challenge of this project was to get a full picture of this large size quilt - it measures 92 x 92 inches square.  I used the Hobbs Bleached cotton batting I received in my first box, and it was great to work with, it has a nice loft, and the white really kept the colors of my quilt looking nice and crisp.
I used the rental longarm at Threads That Bind to quilt this in a pattern called Periwinkle.  It features flowers and swirls, and I thought it was perfect for the lovely designs in the fabric.  I used a lovely lilac colored thread, which is so pretty.
I had to settle for pictures in my backyard, but if I had a bit more time I definitely would have attempted to make a road trip and take some fun pictures at a fun theme park near Salem, Oregon, which is also called the Enchanted Forest - wouldn't it have been pretty taken with this castle?  What I wouldn't give for the opportunity for that photo op!
Anyway, every time we drive past I'll definitely think of these lovely fabrics now!

Would you be interested in joining me for a Quilt Along in 2020 featuring this design?  If so, you can sign up for my mailing list.  I'll publish the supply list in November, and we'll be starting out on January 1!

I'm giving away a set of 5 inch squares cut from my leftover fabric - my giveaway will be open for a whole month, so check out the giveaway below.  I'm looking for a better name for my pattern, so if you have a suggestion, leave me a comment and give me your great ideas!  Or if you don't have an idea, tell me what your favorite summer road trip destination is.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure you go see what Kathleen did with her bundle of Enchanted Forest!  It's gorgeous, too - and she is giving away some 2 1/2 strips from the collection.

If you haven't visited the Island Batik Blog yet, you need to head there, check out the rest of this weeks participants and enter the giveaway there:

Thanks for reading my post!  

Linking up:

Check out the Giveaway Party on Slice of Pi for more opportunities to win quilty stuff!

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Seashore Splendor Block 13 - Storm at Sea

I'm running a little behind this time around!  I've been busy getting ready for the Beat the Heat blog hop.  I'll tell you more about that at the end of my post - but right now, lets get busy and I'll show you how to make Block 13 - Storm at Sea.  I've always loved this block because it gives the illusion of curves while being entirely made with straight lines!
For this block we need to use four different blues, so we'll be pulling in one of the sky prints in addition to the three sea prints.  If you've been using scraps, just choose a medium toned print for the fourth color and you'll be good to go!

Notes on cutting - be sure you double check the instructions.  Some of the squares are cut in half, some are cut twice for quarter squares.  If you have a specialty ruler for the rectangle units feel free to use that, or simply follow the instructions for cutting.  The diamond shapes can be cut using the template I've provided with the instructions, and I've also included templates for the half rectangle units as well if you would prefer to use those for cutting.

Lets start out by making the small square in a square units for the corners.  Finger press a crease in the center of the square and the small triangles so you can center the triangles easily. I like to sew opposite sides on before pressing the triangles toward the outside of the block.
Then repeat and add the other side, once again finger pressing to center.
Next add the final set of triangles to complete the corner units.
Repeat these steps to make the large center square.
Now it's time to tackle those rectangles! Make sure to stack them right sides together in pairs while cutting.  this will ensure that you have matching rectangles for both sides of the unit!
By cutting 3/4 of an inch off the tip, you give yourself an easy way to align the half rectangle with the diamond so your points line up correctly.
Let's get these sewn together!  Match the corner of the tip of the triangle with the tip of the "fat" angle of the diamond:
Sew an accurate 1/4 inch seam and press the half rectangle out.  Then sew the dark fabric on the opposite side in the same manner.
Here is what they look like after pressing:
When adding the remaining half rectangles, line up the point of the fat end of the half rectangle with the edge that it sticking out at the pointy end of the diamond.  Make sure you use the right color so that the colors match on the long side of the finished rectangle!

Sew with an accurate 1/4 inch seam - don't worry about that small tip.  It might look like it's not matching right, but wait until you press the piece out to see!  Repeat with light half rectangle and press.  All points should be 1/4 inch from the edge.

Looks great!  Time to sew it all together.  For this block, make sure your rectangles are all turned so that the dark units are toward the center of the block.  I like to pin to get those points lined up.  Don't drive yourself too crazy, because of the angles they are really hard to get absolutely perfect - but the beauty of this block is that even if you are off by just a hair it will still look good if you step back.  Really!
To my eye this looked a little off.  But when you see the whole block:
Looks good!  Click the image below to download your block instructions:

Download Storm at Sea Instructions
Now on to the Beat the Heat Blog Hop!

See the Island Batik Blog Post and enter to win a great prize this week!

My day is on Thursday - can't wait to show you my quilt and make a big announcement!  Don't miss it!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Artsy-Fartsy with Aurifil and Island Batik

What fun it's been this month seeing all the great challenge pieces that have been made by my fellow Island Batik Ambassadors!  I was hoping to get mine done early because I knew this month was going to a super creative onslaught of awesomeness, but here I am...sliding in at the end again.  But I had lots of fun making my project and I am happy with the results, so it's all good.

Aurifil is sponsoring this months challenge, which was to use any fabric art/non-traditional quilting/sewing/thread painting technique using 3 Aurifil thread weights.  I love using different thread weights, and was really excited about the challenge.  I had many different ideas, but this is the one that really stuck out to me, so I went with it!

I really enjoy making these journal covers, they are a fun way to be creative and end up with a nice project that can be enjoyed.  Here are the different threads I used to make my quilted journal:

I started out using 50 wt thread for piecing the background using a pile of blue scraps from previous Island Batik projects on a base of a backing piece and batting.  I really had fun doing this in an improv style, thanks to some tips from fellow Island Batik Ambassador Gene Black!

As you can see, I save all my scraps!  There are prints here from many collections, what great memories of past Island Batik Ambassador projects.
I love using Aurifil 50 wt for piecing.  I find that it really makes a nice flat seam, with little bulk.

For the pieced dresden plate, I also used 50 wt.  This one is a lovely yellow that arrived in the box I just received!  Isn't it perfect with those lovely yellow prints?  Several of these are from the Sunny Side Up collection was also included in the box of goodies!

First I chain stitch the top seam, then press the seams to get the nice points at the top.  I love this technique for making Dresden plates - you get nice finished edges at the top and it's so easy!  Then you trim and stitch your wedges together to get your circle.
Time to stitch it to the background.  For this, I chose Aurifil thread in 80 wt.  I absolutely adore using this fine thread for applique!  It melts into the fabric, doesn't tangle or knot up and is perfect for hand-stitching!
And those wooden spools are so adorable :)
See how lovely my hand stitches look?
Once I got my dresden stitched on, I started the fun part - quilting!  I chose to start by using this lovely bright orange 12 wt from Aurifil to outline stitch.  I love the bold look of this thread.  I have used it many times to stitch hems on jeans because it makes a lovely stitching line.  I use 50 wt thread in the bobbin and lengthen my stitch length a tad for the best results.
Isn't it pretty?  I really love the look of this for a bold stitching line!
This weight comes on a red spool.  It also works great for doing hand embroidery - I thought about doing some embroidery on this project, but ended up opting for more machine stitching...
I decided to add the word Create to the journal.  This was done with the 40 wt thread in a soft lilac color.  40 wt thread comes on a green spool and is perfect for machine stitching when you want to see the thread a bit more.  I also like to use it when stitching clothing.  It's a little more durable than 50 wt, but still makes a nice seam without bulk.  I stitched 4 lines of stitching to make my word show up well.  I tried to use a marking pen to write the letters out first, but that didn't work at all well, so I ended up just free-stitching it, and it came out perfectly!  Doing this is kind of intimidating, but in some ways it's a lot easier to just go for it than to try to draw it out perfectly beforehand.
Looks good!  Now I went back with another 40 wt in teal blue and stitched swirls over the rest of the cover.
Almost finished, but now I need to deal with the center of the dresden.  I decided to add a yo-yo to the center.  For this I picked a 28 wt thread.  This is a nice sturdy weight of thread.  Great for upholstery work because it is nicely and strong.  It looks great for top stitching, too.  It makes a great thread for gathering stitches because it doesn't break easily, so that's what I used it for!
The color wasn't a perfect match, but when it's all gathered you won't see the thread anyway!  This thread makes it easy to pull your thread tight and make a firm knot that won't slide out.  28 wt comes on a gray spool.
I used the yellow thread again (50wt) to handstitch the yo=yo down and quilt around the petals to finish off the dresden.  Then I decided to add some beadwork.  I like the 50 wt for beadwork as well because it's thin, but strong enough to stand up to stitching the beads.
I salvaged these beads from a gown I altered a couple weeks ago - they are a soft gold color, so look really nice on my yo-yo center!

For the pockets and binding I chose Aurifil 50 wt thread that perfectly matches the Blueberry fabric I used for the binding.  I love this color!

And here you have my finished journal with the threads I used.  From 80 wt to 12 wt, I love using all kinds of Aurifil thread!  As you can see, there is so much you can do with thread to enhance your projects, whether they are Artsy-Fartsy or practical!  I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about the different weights and how you can use them. 

Make sure you visit the other Island Batik Ambassadors and see what their projects were for the challege, you'll be amazed!