Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fabric Frenzy

On our way the the retreat last weekend, we had to stop at a fabric shop.  Had to. Required. End of story!  

We weren't required to buy anything.  When you feel like you just escaped (from home) and were on the run (from making dinner), buying fabric was the last piece of the puzzle in our temporary life of crime!  Rebel!

There was a little fabric shop that has never been visited by me, and it was time to remedy that! Granny B's is in the heart of Dickson Tennessee, and we couldn't wait to check out the stock!

I really didn't buy that much, some more print filler.  This would be my Cotton + Steel haul.  I ended up getting extra fat quarters because it was Friday and they were and additional .25 cents off! 

And just as I'm getting my fabric cut, I turn...and there is Tula.  Damn it Tula Tigers...You are so pretty!  I had to.

This fabric will be the backing for my daughter's Birthday quilt.  April Rhodes ~ Bound, which will work perfectly fine with the Wanderer line.  Now to prep it, the quilt and wool batting for the long arm quilter!  

Late presents aren't always a bad thing!   Her birthday was yesterday and like nearly every year at this exact time...she get sick.  No exception, no surprise!

This last batch has my all time favorite, Anna Maria Horner's Echinacea.  And I must say this color way is exquisite!    

I was thrilled when I was presented with opportunity to yoink these!  Thank you...

More Tula.  I don't believe I need to say more.  

If you would please stop me now.  I cannot take any more fabric.  I'm feeling the guilt mounting at having beautiful stacks and not using any of it!  


Saturday, February 27, 2016

Pillow Talk

If I have a pillow to rest my head on, and a quilt to cover up with...then I have nothing to complain about!

I believe that is the life of a quilter at the end of a long day of productive quilting!  I have finally come to the point where my dreary old couch and sad old pillows needed some attention.

Enter Hazel The Hedgehog times two.  Pieced, quilted and washed.  A powerful punch of color.

19" x 19"
For Miss Pink, I added the trademark cat eye glasses.  This time I did a tight zigzag stitch around the edges.  These pillows will be used every day and I didn't want the glasses to fray.  

You'll notice that I added a strip of personality to each pillow, and arranged it so they were on opposite sides.  Straight line quilting works for me on these pillows and the personality strips got more personality by adding more lines in different thread colors.  

I didn't realize it at the time I was picking out fabric, but they ended up being a boy and girl! Not intentional at all!  I'm not a gender specific kind of person!

I will say that these guys make a boring ugly couch a much better place.  When you walk in to the room you see bright and pretty.  That I like!

When I decided I was going to make an entire quilt using my Confetti idea (waiting to be quilted), I first tried a test block.  That block didn't make the final cut for the quilt, but it wasn't going to linger in the deep dark closet either.  It just needed a border and viola!  it became a pillow.

16" x 16"
The color slices at the corners were an idea I was trying with the quilt.  Nice for a pillow, not for the quilt.  The extra detail works well in pillow form.

A simple quilted grid was all it needed for the finish, and washing but that almost goes without saying.

You know me and quilt porn...I love a good close up, that's for sure!


Friday, February 26, 2016

Micro Mini Mini Quilt...Call Me Crazy

Let me start off by saying this, I sometimes love a good challenge.  And when someone throws down the gauntlet...well, I have to respond!

My obsession with rainbow paper pieced stars hit me hard.  Really hard.  My attempt at integrating one in my Confetti Quilt wasn't successful, but that didn't stop me from trying to figure out what to do with ones I had already made, nor did it stop me from making more.  

My original version started as a 4" star.  While making bright rainbows, I wondered what it would look like in pastels.  I actually loved it, but it didn't make the cut for my Mini Quilt (to be shown soon).

I couldn't very well let it flounder in the great abyss of unused blocks.  Oh no.  Logically a mini mini quilt was in order.  Don't you agree?

4 1/2" Pastel Paper Pieced Star
 lightly quilted it using a variegated pastel thread.  It turns out that I love a good variegated thread!  

That's kind of cool, Right?!  I slapped on a binding and have a sweet little Easter inspired mini mini!  I think I may swap it on Instagram (#miniminiquiltswap)!

While making my stars (Oh, My Stars!), and posting on instagram, I had plenty of input on what and what not to use with the Confetti Quilt.  Then it happened!  The challenge! 

Go Small or Go Home!!!  Chawne @  Completely Cauchy and Jeifner @ Secondhand Dinosaur threw out a challenge.  Betcha can go smaller...and so I took the challenge on and created this little jewel!

2" Finished Micro Mini Mini Quilt
Seriously?!  Paper pieced.  This is where the 'call me crazy' comes in!  I could not not try it!  

Of course I had to quilt it.  Of course I had to use Alison Glass Artifact.  Of course it didn't exactly get centered!

Binding this little one was certainly interesting!  It had to be done. What's a quilt without a binding?  A WIP or a UFO, that's what!

I have a 1 1/2" strip for the binding, but it looks massive against this little piece.

There you are!  Lost in the binding, hiding away!  I use a variation of Crazy Mom Quilts Tutorial for binding, and in all honesty I could have used a 1 1/4" strip for this one, or even smaller.

Isn't it hard to imagine binding something so small?  Let alone having those mitered corners! It kind of blows my mind.  Yeah, a little crazy!

Will I ever go this small again?  I wish I could say 'ARE YOU CRAZY'?!  Then again you never know when someone throws out a challenge what you will do!  

I took the challenge. And I loved every second of it!  There is nothing quite like pushing your limits, trying something new or stepping outside the box!  

This little one, I'm thinking I want to keep it.  Then again, I want to trade it.  Maybe give it away.  It isn't perfect by any means.  There's a little 'wonky' happening, but hell fire...I kind of don't even care!  

So, what do you say?  Are you ready to go Micro Mini Mini?!  Do you want to take the Micro Mini Mini Quilt Challenge?!


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Exhausted ~ But Worth Every Second!

My first retreat, our Guild's first retreat...was a HUGE success!  It was a blast, exhausting, crazy and one weekend I won't soon forget!

The lake was beautiful, even in the dead of winter.  Not that we were looking to go fishing, but you could have!  Paris Landing State out!

The room was huge!  It was set up so that we had two people per table, a cutting station and several pressing areas.    

Everyone brought their own projects.  It was all about 'us' what you want!  Machines were quickly set-up and a steady hum filled the air.

Would you believe we had a Mini Pop-Up Fabric Shop?!  Stephanie who owns Cotton Bliss brought bolts, threat, pre-cuts, name it, she packed it!  Believe me this came in very handy for many of us.

See all that room?!  Well, ignore the carpet, the ceiling and the concrete...other than that it was perfect!!

All those projects I decided to bring with me, I made it through them all!  Four in all!  My suggestion...bring lots to do. You wouldn't believe how much you can get done in a weekend when all you do is sew, sew, sew!

My main project was to make another quilt using my design.  I've been wanting to double check my original measurements, directions etc. in hopes of developing a pattern.  (first go around with my design HERE)  The fabric is Denyse Schmidt ~ New Bedford. 

By the time I finished this it was mid-way through Saturday!  While I love the fabric and design, I was ready to move on to something else.

I busted out Hazel the Hedgehog!  Believe it or not...these are for me!  I've decided new pillow covers for my dreary couch was in order.  I busted out the big guns for these...Anna Maria Horner's 'Pretty Potent 'Echinacea'!  

I had most of these rainbow stars all ready finished, but decided a few more were needed for a mini quilt.  

The very last project is one I knew I wouldn't be able to complete, but was sure I could start. With a paper pieced pattern in hand, along with that ever popular Kona Highlight...wonder where this will go?!

I wish I had taken pictures of all the beautiful things everyone else made!  So many beautiful quilts, bags, blocks and baskets!  

By the end of the Retreat I was cross-eyed and blissfully exhausted!  The entire experience is one I will not soon forget.  There was always a steady hum of sewing machines and laughter.  Tips and advice flowed freely (and maybe a little wine here and there).  A feast of cupcakes, candy, chips and dips ~ and coffee (a retreat requirement).

If you ever get the chance to go on a Retreat, do it!  You will not regret it!  Hopefully there will be another one in my future.  I wouldn't miss it for the world!

A few thoughts for the next Retreat (or for your retreat):

~ Bring my own pillow!  Hotel pillows are just plain awful.  I might have slept better had I done that! 
~ Take several projects.  You'd be surprised how much you get accomplished.
~ Pre-cut as much as you can before your go!  I was so happy I decided to do that.  You will be too!
~ Bring an extension cord.  While a conference room has a lot of outlets, they sometimes are not close enough.
~ Take breaks!  I was determined to take advantage of every second to sew, but barely took time to breathe. 
~ Take more pictures of every one's projects!  I'm so mad I didn't do that...and don't forget your phone charger!  
~ Expect to be exhausted by the end of it.  

I would love to hear what you do at Retreats.  Do you do selfish sewing, charity sewing? Play games, have prizes?  What makes for a good Retreat?  


Saturday, February 20, 2016

I'm in Retreat

Well, not exactly!  I'm going on our first Music City Modern Quilt Guild Retreat this weekend! Not just our guild's first, but my first!


I do quilt all the time.  Practically every single day.  This will be different.  Spending the weekend with a bunch of crazy fun, super talented and like minded people is going to be the best ~ EVER!!

I've spent the last couple days prepping.  Getting fabric cut, filling WIP bags, sorting through fabric. Little time has been spent on what to wear!  Because really...who cares?!  

I've remembered to pack my power cord and foot pedal, imagine forgetting those two things!


I have all my prints and solids (not shown) ready for another Denyse Schmidt quilt.  This time using her 'New Bedford' collection.  I think it'll be amazing!

I also decided Hazel needed to come along for the ride!  I've decided my couch would be spruced up with two pillows using Anna Maria Horner's 'Echinacea' fabric.  I think they will make a boring old couch pretty jazzy!

My color wheel's are in the mix!  I need a few more before I can hope to make something out of those 4" rainbow wheels!  

Stop me now!!!  I'm thinking of another project I would love to bring!  Yikes!  You would think were going to be gone a week!  We'll see how that plays out!  Kona Highlight is the star of that one!

We all have heard of or been the lucky recipients of Swag Bags, right?  Because the retreat is on the heels of QuiltCon, how could we...our guild...not have a Swag Bag?  Mind you it isn't as fancy or stuffed with fabric goodness, but it's the thought that counts!

Cute right?

My daughter designed the front of the tag, as for the back...well isn't it so true?  

Little treats, little goodies, little bits of love!

Off we go to Paris!  (Paris Tennessee!)  I'll report back on Monday!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Epic Sampler BOM ~ Update

I think this is the first Block of the Month where I have kept up!  I'd like to think I have turned over a new leaf, but sure as I say that I'll fall behind on the next one!  

I have two more months worth of blocks to share with you.  The rainbow concept of this Sampler Quilt is coming together.  Knock on ends up looking like I see it in my head!  I shared my idea here: Epic Sampler BOM, you can see my idea take form.

I know this is a strange color combination, but I really like it!  And it's the first time I've made the ever popular 'X' Plus block!

6" X-Plus

Pinwheel Star is a paper piece block.  Total hotness!

12" Pinwheel Star
12" Ninth Frame

Finally getting in to the blues!

6" Courthouse Steps
This Sampler quilt has quite a lot of paper pieced blocks, like this one.  The more I paper piece, the more I am totally in love with it!  For someone who does a lot of Improv...paper piecing is totally the opposite!  I like to think of it as a good balance!
6" Double Star
Last one!  Purples!!  This one looks pretty simple, and it is...except when there is a pattern problem! It didn't take long to figure out there was an issue.  I swore a little and then figured out how to make it work.  Since then the February pattern has been updated!

12" Radiant Ring

I'm at the point where laying out the finished blocks before making new blocks is a good idea. It helps to ensure the rainbow effect will happen and flow.  

Three months left, nine more blocks.  I can't believe I'm caught up...that's all I'm sayin'!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Rowing Along

Here I go again!  Starting a quilt with very little direction!  The bare bones are there, the fabric is there, the idea was not 100% there!  

The end of the month will be my beautiful and talented daughters 30th birthday.  It's shocking!  Time does fly by far too fast, before you know it your baby is grown!  The one thing she asked for was a quilt.  That I could do.  With a monumental 'Three-O' coming would have to special and I hope I can deliver on that!

April Rhodes ~ Wanderer
The fabric is a bundle I bought not long ago.  The theme of this quilt will be a Southwestern vibe, these certainly will play well in to that. 

This past week has been a fury of work!  I'm determined to have the top finished by the end of the month. (her birthday is the 27th)  Honestly, I tried to find a pattern that I thought she would like, but she wasn't having it!  'Mom, do your thing Twiggy thing' she says.  Gulp! I took a deep breath, cringed, cried and went for it.

The blocks are a combination of pieced, fussy cut and paper pieced.  I had to made a couple paper pieced blocks in EQ7, very simple ones!  Like this one below.

I have two 'X's on the front and plan on adding a second to the back...Roman Numerals...XXX = 30! Subtle, but fitting.

Row by row I go.  Trying to figure out something spectacular on the fly!  It's a good thing that my husband has been working away from home the past week.  I had fabric and paper everywhere!

Squares, diamonds, diagonal.

Delectable Mountains.  I was going to use a variety of fabric in each block, but it seemed far too busy.  Like it isn't already!

There's still a few more rows to add, mostly for spacing.  It's getting there.

The quilt will be at least a twin size quilt and I plan on using wool batting.  This one I am not going to quilt, not me, no way!  I'll send it out with a huge sigh of relief!

I'm not totally feeling it, but I think it'll come together.  It was a struggle, as are most 'design as you go' quilts.  

Stay tuned!!