Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dear Santa

You know I have tried to be a really good girl this year - I've been on time to work most days and have been pretty nice to my family. (Well, don't ask the teen-ager, she's a little crazy right now and doesn't think anyone is nice!) I've finished quite a few quilts this year for other people, but nothing special for me. I've really had my eye on this one:

Madeline kit by Fig Tree Quilts

I think it would look so cute on the door to my sewing room. I just love everything about it, from the cute design, to the lovely fabrics, and it says handmade on it! (Which you know I love!) I promise if you give me this I will make it right away and enjoy it all year long (no UFO pile for this one, pinky swear!).

And, Santa, if you could give the great folks at the FatQuarter Shop a little extra treat in their stockings, I sure have enjoyed getting to know their shop and all the wonderful things for quilters they have. They sure work hard and they deserve it!



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Breaking News

There was a major collapse of overloaded scaffolding on site here at the Pamelaquilts Studio last night. No deaths were reported, but there are mounds of mismatched strips of fabric covering the floor under the cutting table that will take some time to be put back into position. There were no witnesses to the event, but the noise was heard in the Dining Room during dinner and disregarded. The comment heard was "what are those darn cats up to, now?"
Upon closer investigation it was discovered that the cats had nothing to do with the incident, but that the collapse was caused by a total disregard for safety and weight bearing limits of the flimsy plastic drying rack that was serving as a catch-all for scrap materials. The structure has been reinforced and put back into position, hopefully there will not be a repeat of this disaster - there are plans in place to continue the strip sewing operation that had been put on hold for some time allowing the needed supplies to build up disasterously.

An audit has begun in order to find more projects that dangerously close to toppling over and destroying other sections of this area. These projects will be scheduled to begin after the start of the new year. Hopefully this will clear the area and make it attractive to human habitation once again.

In other news, operations are under way to continue the completion of the wholecloth quilt project. One quilt was quilted yesterday, and is slated to be bound this morning. The second quilt will be pinned, quilted and bound before the close of the day - the chief contractor is very good at making dead-lines, and will not be missing this one.

This is your reporter, the slacking quilter, signing off for now -


Monday, December 14, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

After a very busy month of November and working like crazy to get projects finished this month I am looking forward to some play time in my sewing studio. Once I do some archeological excavation in there, of course! There are mounds and piles and detritus enough to keep me busy just cleaning up for a week, I think. Definitely need to add some type of organizational work to my list of resolutions for the New Year (like every year!).

I am very happy to report that I finished my parents 50th Anniversary quilt and they loved it -

I've also finished three other custom quilts, then have two more of the wholecloth ones to finish up this week before I officially take two weeks off from "work" for the Christmas holiday. I intend to watch some movies with my daughter, make cookies and fudge, (and probably eat them, too), and just relax. It seems like every year I get a request about this time for one big job that really needs to be finished by Christmas, but if it happens this year I am turning it down. I want to enjoy my holiday instead of working like a beaver to get stuff done! I've already rehearsed my response - "Gee, I would love to help you out, but I don't have the time to take on any work until after the first of the year." Each morning I will give myself a pep talk about this because the last two years have been really exasperating with trying to sew for other people, and get my own projects finished at the same time. I want time to play games with my girls and laugh this year!

I have so much I want to catch up on blog wise, that I could really start to ramble, but instead I think I will focus on one thing at a time, so I will be catching up on all of the November stuff a day at a time instead of cramming it all in one post.

Today I am working on the wholecloth quilts I am making for a client. They are both batik on the top, and I have chosen coordinating cotton backings for them. I know one I am going to quilt with spirals, but the other I am still thinking about. I know that something will inspire me, though and it will come out wonderfully - seems like it always does. One will also have a piece of batik art on the back, whichever one ends up getting the back that's a little short of fabric! (I wanted 5 yards, but there were only 4 1/2 on the bolt). I am hoping to get both of these quilts done by tomorrow night, we'll see if I'm up for the challenge! At least my evenings are free for the rest of the month, no more meetings or events to go to - that seems to be my good sewing time.

Well, the backs are in the dryer (should have washed the fabric yesterday, oh well) so I am going to go through a layer in the studio. I am working on making a list of UFO's to work on next year. They have really piled up, and it seems like I'd better get some of them done to make room for all the new ideas that are percolating in my brain!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Time for Tea, Take Two

Is there such a thing as too much alliteration? Probably, but it makes me smile! Today was a work day, I had a dress for homecoming come in that needed to be done at the last minute. A dress that was very encrusted with beading and needed to be taken in. So that means removing beads and securing threads so the rest of them don't go flying with every movement, plus the actual sewing. So that took up a nice chunk of my day.
I did have time this evening to do a little spot of quilting as well as filling a custom request. I finished this set of quilted shoe bags - made for a dancer who wants to protect her shoes when she travels! They came out very cute, and my photography skills have vastly improved since I listed my original bag two years ago. I think I need to retake some of those!

Then I worked on finishing this little quilt. It is made from leftover scraps after cutting triangles from strips. The pieces were too big and pretty to throw away, and this is the second quilt I have made from them. I thought it might be fun to put some pictures of the quilt in progress in the listing. So I am going to share them here first! I think my heart skills are improving. A lot of these actually looked like real hearts, not my usual heart or leaf? shapes. I suppose there is hope for my limited drawing skills after all!

Stitching the binding on - and you can see another good looking heart! I am so in love with the method of sewing the binding on totally by machine - it is so fast, and I have it down to a science. It makes binding go so much faster than stitching by hand, and I think it looks great. I also put a couple of borders on a panel for a baby quilt. So I just need to figure out what to use for a back and I have another one to get quilted. I'm glad I'm getting some of these projects finished up, it will really help unclutter my sewing room, and it's nice to add some new items to my Etsy shop!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Slow, but steady

Of course no one can be super productive every day, but I wish I could be! Not too much done on the quilting front today, but a group of us from the quilt guild got together to work on the design for the 2010 raffle quilt. Everyone brought books and magazines, I brought my laptop and EQ6, which turned out to be a huge help. We set up a design wall and put our blocks up (12 beautiful 18 appliqued quilt blocks designed by Piece O Cake designs). As we played with the arrangement in real life I rearranged the settings, was able to look at finished sizes and experiment with sashings and borders. We scoured the quilts shop for fabrics to audition and ended up with a fabulous green for our setting triangles, and a nice neutral and red for a border with swags.

I've been playing quite a bit lately with the EQ6 fabric and have discovered that Moda offers jpeg files for their collections that are fabulous! Just download, unzip and you can load them right into EQ6 and they are ready to go. I have yet to explore the other company's websites, have been too busy grabbing moda fabrics for my virtual projects - so they are really on top of my list at the moment.

I discovered some fabric to go with the Jelly roll I received as part of my prize package from the Jelly Roll Challenge. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my copy of the book, I hear that it debuted at Fall Market! I think that's part of the reason I feel so unsettled lately, I am really excited to see how my pattern and quilt look. Anyway, my mind is starting to work on the jelly roll, so I hope to come up with a quilt soon out of that (in my pile of future projects!)

I got this quilt listed today in my Etsy shop. I'll bet it gets lots of views, it's really a striking quilt!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Keeping up the pace...

I spent the afternoon working on more projects today. I finished binding the two quilts I quilted yesterday and took pictures of them, even though it was a cloudy day. It feels really good to have two finished projects!

The first one made me think of the song "Stray Cat Strut" but I didn't think that made such a great title for a baby quilt, so just called it Cats on the Fence. The second one is a panel with pieced borders that has the words "Ever After" so that will be it's name. I think this would make a cute baby quit, or even a housewarming gift. Kind of folk art looking, I think.

I also added the final border to the ribbon star table runner I have been working on, and finished writing the pattern for that. Now I just have to make some non-holiday samples of it and I will be ready to get that printed up.

I got two quilts basted, my second version of "Candy Heart" that was not quite what I wanted, and the scrap quilt I made from the leftovers of this. I used a little piece of Strawberry Shortcake fabric that I have had in my stash for many years for the back of the little one - it will be adorable when it's finished!

So I am pretty happy with me efforts this weekend. I feel like I have been a bit "blocked" with my quilting, but it felt really good to go from project to project this weekend and just move some of them along toward the finish line. Hopefully as I have some spare time this week I will continue to chip away at these projects and even have time to start some of the new ones that are flitting around the edges of my thoughts.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Definite Progress!

The sun did come out and it was a beautiful day today, but I kept on track and actually got a lot done! To tell the truth, I started making a list last night of all the projects I am working on and got a little overwhelmed. So I just told myself that a little progress is better than just going and hiding my head under the covers because I have so many things I want to get done. So today, I just did a little here and a little there and before you know it I had accomplished quite a bit.
I finished quilting my Mount Kilimanjaro quilt (and learned how to spell it correctly as well!) I have been putting off quilting this for so long because I just could not figure out what in the world to quilt on it. I gave myself a good pep talk and told myself to just start and it would come to me what to quilt. And it did! The sky was pretty easy, then I just started to outline the animals and think. I thought of putting grass around the onpoint squares and once I started quilting, it just started flowing into a kind of grassy vine that looks really good! A little outlining on the bushes and water, and it all just sort of flowed together and looks really nicely done. I finished the binding, photographed it and actually got it listed in my Etsy shop tonight - I would be well pleased with just getting that done, but there is more!

I got the scrappy rail fence baby quilt quilted, plus another baby size quilt quilted also! Both are trimmed and the binding is cut, waiting for tomorrow to be finished up. Now, I can't forget, they all need labeled also, and I am going to add them to the quilt journal I got in my prize package from the quilt show so I can remember all the details about making them. It surprises me how much I forget about each quilt within a year. I also finished putting borders on my leftover scrappy quilt and chose a backing fabric for it and the larger quilt. So, I added two to the pile to be quilted, but got three quilted today! I must say, it was a good days work, plus I managed to do a couple loads of laundry, grocery shop and wash dishes after dinner. Wish I could be this productive every day!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Progress - I Think

I feel like I got of lot of sewing done today, but I didn't actually finish anything. I did enjoy myself, though, so I am feeling good about what I've accomplished! What did I accomplish?

I picked up border fabric yesterday for the table runner sample I am making for the Strip Class I am teaching in December. I decided to add a narrow piping to the inside of the border and it looks absolutely fabulous. Not to mention that I discovered that in the large bag of feet I bought for my sewing machine is a piping foot that works like a dream for this! It even produces a perfect 1/4" seam so I have a feeling I will be adding piping to projects on a regular basis now. This was enough to make it a good day all by itself!

Then I went to JoAnns to look for some fabric for a border on the baby quilt I put together out of scrap blocks. I found just what I was looking for in the red tag clearance section at 50% off the clearance price - $1.50 a yard! Woohoo! I bought enough for the back, too. Then I bought an assortment of other great fabrics for other future projects. (Should I mention that I also bought fabric online today? I found some cute fabrics for a custom project I am working on and ordered some fabric for a prototype I am working on for a local group.) I came out with around 10 yards of fabric for $22.50! (And did about as well with my online purchases!)

I added the border to the baby quilt, so it is ready to be basted - it will be very cute. I also finished adding the borders to my jelly roll quilt, so it needs a back and will be ready to quilt also. I finished trimming up the tumbler quilt for the shop, and did some quilting on the Kilamanjaro quilt so I can list it in my Etsy shop. It feels good to be productive! Hopefully the weekend will go as well - these rainy days make good quilting days! I just need to not do any shopping now for the rest of the month!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Busy as a Bee!

I can't believe it's been so long since I blogged! I have been so busy, lots of work, alterations, and not as much quilting as I would like. No project today, at least to share, but lots of things in the works as you can see from these pictures:

I've been working on some new journal covers for my etsy shop.
Finishing up an abandoned project that has been languishing in the pile of UFO's.

Using up leftover bits and pieces from the above abandoned project. Can't waste good scraps, you know!

Working on samples for the quilt shop and possible subjects for our new Strip Club (Jelly Roll Strips!) The shop purchased an AccuQuilt Studio and we have been having fun making strips and charm squares!

Plus pondering more original designs using jelly rolls, plus perhaps entering another challenge or two.

So I've accomplished a lot, but not really finished much at this point. But I'll get there!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Eight days to get ready for the Quilt Show!

Today I finished up one of the projects I am committed (and should be committed for entering!) to finishing for the Sea of Quilts show. This is the largest project, so I am very happy to have it done.

The pattern is Boston Commons, and I started this quilt a year and a half ago. I've always liked the pattern, and when I found the Eleanor Burns book I knew it was time to tackle this one. I made it in a patriotic color scheme, and purposely tried to choose gender neutral fabrics because so many quilts are girly in nature, and I know there are lots of men out there who like quilts, too! I quilted it on the Lenni at our quilt shop, using King Tut thread on the top and bottom line on most of the bottom. Turns out it gave me better tension than the cotton thread I tried at first.

The quilting in the white area is my own idea, it was supposed to look like fireworks (at least in my head). It didn't come out quite like I pictured, but it does look nice, and fills the space well while using both thread colors.

The back is white on white with stars (matches the white on the top). I don't know why I was posessed to use white on the back, but it looks really nice!

It is a queen size quilt, and I will be offering it for sale in my Etsy shop after the show. I don't know if I will win a ribbon for it, but I am happy with the finished product. The quilting took me 6 hours, so it was quicker to do it on the long arm than it would have been on my home machine, and easier on my arms and shoulders! Though I discovered that my thighs got quite the work out squatting to check the underside of my quilt - the day after my first 3 hour session I had difficulty getting up and down stairs and rising from my chair! (Yes, someone needs to get more exercise here!)

Now it's on to the next project in line, a blue and white miniature quilt - after all, I consider Miniatures to be "my" category, so I need to have one done to enter!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Working, Baby, Working.

Yep, I've been doing a lot of work at the quilt shop, my daughter gave birth to her second son and I have been working on some big projects. But, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and I hope to get back to quilting and blogging about quilting in the very near future!

This post is instigated by today's post on the Jolly Jabber blog. I absolutely love Fig Tree Quilts and I will do just about anything to increase my chances of winning! They have a new club and it is so tempting, but I have so many projects already pending that I really can't indulge right now. But maybe if I can get some projects done this month I will think about it a little more!

I still have to finish my jacket using the Patisserie fabrics I bought with the gift certificate I won from the the virtual quilt show earlier this summer - really need to remember to call and order the pattern or it won't get done in time for the quilt show. Plus that it will be jacket weather soon and I will be glad to have it ready to wear!

One more little blurb and I will go to bed - we got our Accu-quilt Studio in at the quilt shop today! Too much fun, we cut up 10 jelly rolls for the autumn braid quilt and chose fabrics for a charm pack to make up a little table runner I am designing on the fly - another project I need to make a little time for, but it will be worthwhile, I can sell my pattern at the shop. I started working on my Autumn braid quilt tonight, need to get it done before the show also so we can take sign-ups for the class. I am overcommitted as always, but by the time the show is over my life should settle down and I will have time for some serious quilt making. I have a long list of projects to work on, and blog about!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

So You Think You Can.....Quilt!

I spent quite a few hours with my youngest daughter watching all the past episodes and then the grand finale of So You Think You Can Dance. We were both so much in awe of the talent and dedication of all the contestants. It was almost sad to see it end we enjoyed it so much! I am very envious of those with the ability to move so gracefully and seemingly effortlessly. Of course if you pay close attention you notice that at the end of the dance they are breathless and dripping sweat! And they spend hours practicing and perfecting their moves. My daughters dance team also practices visualization, where they sit and picture the perfect dance in their minds. It takes a lot of work to be a dancer, even if you do have natural talent.

As I was thinking about how much I would enjoy being able to dance with such beauty I began to compare the art of quilting with the art of dance. One of the things I enjoyed about watching all the dances was how each dance told a story, and how each element contributed to the emotions they called forth with the music. And I was reminded about how when I make a quilt, that quilt also tells a story. Maybe not in so many words, but each one has something to say about my life and what is going on around me. I think of all the dramatic quilts made in response to 9/11, how quilters poured the emotions they were feeling into designs that expressed their feelings about this tragedy.

Like a dancer, my work requires lots of practice and repetition. Many days I do the same thing over and over, sewing half square triangle after half square triange. If it's not right I do it over until it is. The sewing machine provides my music, humming along swiftly when sewing strips and in short bursts sewing patches together. My scissors keep time, snipping thread as I go. The colors I use enhance my design, like a lovely costume makes the dance even better. The quilting is the partner, ebbing and flowing with the rhythm of the piecing, enhancing the movement of the design.

So, maybe I can't dance, but my quilts dance for me. They tell the story of my life, or the story of the person they are made for. The fabric, the colors, the piecing, the quilting, it all adds subtle layers to the entire picture. They are a lasting performance that, even though not everyone can see or understand it, tell the story of my dance.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Where Have I Been?

Here, there and everywhere! Everwhere but here, that is. I've been away on a whirlwind tour of the Los Angeles area - we did Miniature Golf, Disneyland, Universal Studios, Olvera Street, Dodger game, Hollywood Park, two movies, visited both sides of the family and drove over 3,000 miles in 12 days. Talk about burn out! Not to mention working like a fiend to get several sewing jobs finished before leaving and having a custom quilt to finish on returning home. Whew, I need a vacation to get over my vacation! But it was very fun, and I loved seeing my sister and her family, and all of my husbands family as well.

The custom quilt was an Alchemy order through Etsy. I made a quilt for a double bed from all of the cute clothes of a baby girl's first year. Mom and I both liked snail's trail block, so I tackled it - using some pink fabric for foundations. It was an interesting job and came out quite well in the end, though I think I would choose an easier pattern next time!

I used fabric from two different outfits for each of the blocks, sewing them to a fabric foundation. I traced the lines on the fabric from a pattern I printed out from EQ6. I ended up making 30 blocks, then bordered it with 6 inch blocks to bring it up to the proper size. I used a pair of maternity slacks for the binding. Believe me, there is a good reason that we don't use stretchy fabric for bindings. I will not do that again, believe me! I ended up making it a single fold binding, sewing it to the back, then using a zig-zag to attach it to the front. Not the best way of doing it, but I was committed to using those pants, so I made it work!

The quilting went all right, despite the variety of fabrics in the top. The foundation helped, but the lightweight stretchy knits wanted to bunch up, and the heavy weight stretchy fabrics caused skipped stitches. I used a big meander and got it done. In retrospect, it might have been easier to use the longarm at the shop to quilt it, but I was concerned that I haven't practiced on it for a while and didn't have a great deal of time to mess with it. At least I'm confident in problem solving with the Juki!

As of right now the quilt is on it's way, and the owner loves the pictures - hopefully the reality lives up to all her expectations!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Not Quilt Related, but I Couldn't Resist

This is not quilt related, but as most quilters are women, I think it's appropriate, and very funny! I read it on the Quiltsy Team thread this morning, complements of AlltheNumbers.

allthenumbers says:
Morning Quiltsy! I go this in my inbox this morning and I thought you all might enjoy a good chuckle:


(1) Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

(2) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

(3) Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.
(4) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

(5) Loud Sigh: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing.)

(6) That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

(7) Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you're welcome. (I want to add in a clause here - This is true, unless she says 'Thanks a lot' - that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say 'you're welcome' . that will bring on a 'whatever').

(8) Whatever: Is a woman's way of saying F-- YOU!

(9) Don't worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking 'What's wrong?' For the woman's response refer to # 3.
Have a good giggle, then go do some quilting! I'm off to finish working on those dresses.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Drowning in Dresses

Sorry for the absence, but I've been drowning in dresses. Pretty pink poly Shantung dresses made from scratch. I hope to get them all finished tomorrow and be able to work on more quilty stuff, but in the meantime must do what I have to do!

I did list my second copy of Easy Paper Pieced Miniatures by Carol Doak on E-Bay today. The listing includes a package of foundation papers that goes with the book, so if you are interested check it out! I listed this in order to pay for the new digital camera I ended up bidding on last night. My current camera is a Kodak Easy Share and the battery compartment door is broken. Won't stay closed, which causes my camera to shut off at odd moments, making it really hard to take pictures for my blog, or for my Etsy shop. It turns out that this is a common weakness with these cameras. But other than that it's been great, so I ended up buying a similar one. I justify this by the fact that I know how to operate the camera, already have the software and it will still work with my printer dock. Plus it's a good price, so if something happens to it in a year I won't cry too much!

Hopefully I can catch up with some quilt related posts later this week, and some better pictures!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Amy Butler-flies

Oh yes, since I came up with that ridiculous, but very apt pun I cannot escape it. This is the name of the quilt in my head now and forever, even though I have a feeling that Amy would not so much approve of my use of her name! My apologies, Amy, I hope you don't mind - I promise it will go no farther than this post!

I was asked to create a custom quilt using Amy Butler fabrics to make this old classic pieced butterfly block. I knew in a heartbeat that it would be an absolute knockout of a quilt before I even started it. My client said that she liked the lotus line, especially the reds and greens, so it was easy to choose the Cherry Wallflower pattern for the sashing and border. Especially because that fabric was available at Threads That Bind (where I work). I bought some fat quarters of the rest of the fabric available here, then had to turn to the internet to accumulate some more. I ended up with a great assortment of lovely fabrics and had a wonderful time making the blocks - thanks to EQ5!

Using the quilt program I was easily able to draft the block, then print up rotary cutting measurements and templates for the odd shaped pieces. They sewed together like a dream! I used Kona Snow for the background, it was the perfect almost white and goes with the Amy Butler fabrics perfectly.

For the back I chose a fabric by M'liss Rae Hawley that has red dot spirals. It doesn't match exactly, but it really looks perfect with the top of the quilt.

I quilted this in the same design I used for Papillon Jardin, and I think it looks great. I just used off white aurifil and it looks terrific. I love this picture, for some reason the light in it just makes me smile, I love my sewing room in the early morning!

Pictures absolutely do not do this quilt justice. The colors are so lively and happy and I can't get it to look as wonderful as it is in person. This is one that I really wish I could keep for myself - not that I need another quilt for my bed, but I have fallen in love with this one. My plan is to make myself a wall hanging with smaller blocks to keep for myself. I may publish this as a pattern, it's an old block, but it's awesome in modern fabrics, and is easily paper pieced.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Three Ways to Make a 4-patch block.

I have found 3 different ways to make a 4-patch block using charm squares. I found each way to be equally accurate, and they are all easy to do.

Method 1:

The first method is the one I generally use. I cut each 5 inch square in half each direction, giving me 4 2.5 inch squares.

For this project we are using black for the background and a brown metallic check for the colored squares. You will need 10 squares of each to make your block. I chain sew mine, alternating the background on the top for the first, on the bottom for the second, and so on until all pairs are sewn.

I then clip them into sets of two, open them up and sew the pairs together.

Fingerpress the seams toward the darker side and nestle them together to match the seams in the center of the block.

After sewing, press.

Method 2:

The second method is to layer the two squares right sides together. Stitch a 1/4 seam on two opposite sides of the square.

Cut the square down the center between the two seams, open up and press.

Layer the two squares right sides together with the different colors being together. Sew a 1/4 inch seam perpendicular to the previously sewn seam (the seams in your square will look like a letter H).

Cut in half through the center seam, open up and press.

Method 3:

This is similar to the method for making 1/2 square triangles. Mark a pencil line down the center of the light colored square.

Sew a seam 1/4 inch from each side of the line.

Cut on the line, press seam to the dark side. Layer the two squares with the different colors being layered on each other. Mark a line down the center, sew 1/4 inch from each side, then cut on the line.

Open and press seam to one side.

Make sure to measure your squares to make sure they are an accurate 4 1/2 inches. I found that all of mine measured up and it didn't matter which method I'd used. I just thought it was fun to do things different ways and end up with the same results. Have fun making your patches, next time we'll put the block together. I have a tip for piecing blocks that helps make it go faster and will help you avoid getting the different patches turned the wrong way.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jelly Roll Challenge Finalist!

I've been holding back from making a general announcement, but thought this might be a good time to share the good news - my quilt is one of the 12 chosen to be published in the new Jelly Roll Challenge book! I was super excited to get an e-mail last month informing me of this great news and I have hardly been able to contain myself. I want to blurt it out to everyone, but at the same time don't want to be overly boastful either.

It all started out with making a sample for the quilt shop using a jelly roll. Sharan always encourages me to make original quilts so that I can write up a pattern and make a little extra money. (always a good thing, right?) So I came up with a cute little quilt using my favorite new roll, and a couple days later at the quilt guild meeting I was presented with a flyer advertising the Jelly Roll Challenge. I went online and discovered that the deadline was a little more than a week away, but since I had my directions written up already decided to go for it! After re-reading the instructions I discovered that I needed a quilt top, not a completed quilt, so I had to remake my design. At that point I may as well tweak it to better fit the quidelines and have a better chance at success - well I guess it worked!

As usual in the course of trying to make my quilt better, I also had a problem and ended up making a third top, but as they say - the third time's the charm.

Here is a teaser of the quilt I made:

I used Nature's Chorus by April Cornell and it is a lovely line of fabrics. The colors are so yummy! In fact they make me think of candy, which is part of the name of the quilt.

Here is the blog post that announces me as one of the winners - they have not yet announced the grand prize winner or the two runner ups, they are waiting until publication, which is not for a few months yet. The top prize is a nice cash award plus an awesome new sewing machine. I keep fantasizing about it, but I hardly dare hope to be the top winner. At the least I'll get two copies of the book and fabric - so that is absolutely fabulous in itself! But I can hardly stand waiting, it's driving me up the wall!

My quilt top got to be sent to England to be professionally quilted - so now I have two quilts that have made trips to England without me! (The other one was the Bear's Paw quilt my daughter took with her when she did a summer project in London.) I would be more glad to fly there to claim it if they'll buy my plane tickets!

Anyway, I am now totally and completely in love with Jelly Rolls and am busy thinking of some new ways to use them. Who knows what I will come up with next - whatever it is I know I will have fun playing, and that is the best part about quilting for me!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Do you like puzzles and prizes?

If you like playing word games and winning prized hop on over to the Quiltsy team blog and check our out May Daze promotion starting on Sunday. It should be lots of fun, and there are lots of great prizes up for grabs. Get out your pen and pencil and play along, plus have fun going through all the participating shops! This is a great bunch of quilters so you should have a great time checking out what they have made. If you click on the button on my sidebar it will take you to our team page with the list of participants.

I have been busy sewing all day today, I have finally started making the blocks for the custom quilt I am making from Amy Butler fabrics. First I sewed all the blocks from the charm swap together and put them away, then I started putting up the butterflies. Are they ever gorgeous! Sewed some cornerstones and sashing on a few and WOW! I am so excited to get this going, and I'm sure it will be a hit with my customer. Here is a sneak peek at the first four blocks:

And here is my design from EQ5:

At the rate I'm going I should be ready to quilt by next weekend! What should I quilt on it? More loops and butterflies? I'm having a hard time deciding, and the thread color is a good question, too. I may have to do something than an overall design for this beauty! We'll see what inspiration hits me over the next week, I'll keep my eyes open for good ideas.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Charm Swap - Jacob's Ladder

I thought I would share this great block and talk about how I made it with charm squares. I am participating in a charm swap/challenge with batiks. Each participant ended up with about 115 five inch batik charm squares. We may add two fabrics and have to use every fabric we received. The finished quilt can be any size we like. I knew right away that black would be one of my added fabrics. It took some thinking to come up with a design, because I was limited due to the size of the charm squares. One day this block came to mind because it makes good use of the squares I had.

To make Jacob's Ladder, also known as the Road to California, you need to make two different units. Each block requires four half square triangle blocks and five 4-patch blocks. Each are easy to cut out of charm squares and waste very little fabric. Today I will tell you how to make the half square triangle squares, next week we will make the 4-patches and the following week, make the block and talk about design ideas using these.

For each block you will need two 5 inch squares of background and two 5 inch squares of fabric for the design. Make sure you have good contrast so your design will show up well.

You will want to mark the lighter of your two fabrics with a pencil from corner to corner diagonally.

Sew 1/4 inch to each side of your marked line.

Cut your square in half on the marked line.

Press seam toward the darker half of your square.

Trim square to 4 1/2 inches. If you are using pre-cut charm squares you may still have some pinked edge on the side of your block, but that's ok, it will be in the seam allowance.

My quilt is 4 blocks by 6 blocks so I sewed 48 of these, making 96 finished half square units. I mixed them all up in the blocks so no block has two of the same. If you just want to make a sample block for future reference you can use all the same color like I am doing for my sample block.

Next week I have two ways to make the four patch blocks, see which one you like the best!