Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Super Mini Skinny Minny Geese

If you love paper piecing, love a good challenge and are a tad bit crazy...this may be the project for you!

I found myself with a little spare time on my hands yesterday and couldn't resist the urge to try Jeli Quilts Skinny Minny Geese once again.  Except this time I wanted to make the 4" blocks.

Skinny Minny Geese
3 1/2" x 3 1/2
Pin Cushion
What does a 4" block mean?  This pattern consists of 4 sections.  Each section is 2".  Yep! Tiny! It seemed like the right thing to do, it seemed doable.  And frankly, once I started I knew I could not give up.  Which at times was exactly what I wanted to do.



But I didn't.  Dinner could wait!  This was more important and I kind of felt if I stopped in the middle, I may never finish it.  I powered through each section, each ridiculously small piece and got it done.

If I could pull it off, I can do anything!  Maybe not anything, just more than I thought I could. How wild are all those threads?   



I'm going to be so bold and say 'I pulled it off'!!  Yikes!  Perfect?  Certainly not!  Adorable? Yes indeed!  

This was most definitely the hardest and most challenging paper pieced project I have ever done. The pieces were so small!  

 

The question at the end was what to do with it?!  As you can see I went with a pin cushion. A logical choice.



The past couple weeks I have been feverishly working Secret Santa gifts for our Guild swap. I would love to share what I have done...but it will have to wait for another couple weeks.  

In between secret sewing, I've also been making 'things' for a Holiday Giveaway I will be having in December.  This little guy will be one of them.  So, please stick with me and check back!  My small way of saying 'thank you' to all of you who have supported, encouraged and inspired me!



Completing this Skinny Minny project reminds me that we can accomplish just about anything if we set out minds to it!  It may not be easy, it may be a big pain in the butt...but it can be done with a little perseverance...and a whole lot of crazy!

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Very Happy Win!

Yes I do!  I like giveaways, I especially like when I win a giveaway!  There are many generous people who entice us with goodies, and frankly I sometimes cannot resist throwing my name in the mix.  

I was the lucky winner of one of Afton's (@Quilting Mod) giveaways recently.  She has been super generous the past couple weeks with giveaways and sharing photos from Quilt Market. For those of us who weren't able to attend Quilt Market, the photos shared by Afton let us get a peek at the newest fabrics, latest trends and even a lot of gorgeous quilts!



When I saw the giveaway for thread, I was thrilled!  But when I saw it was Cotton + Steel thread I began to drool a little!  Early this year I saw that Cotton + Steel was partnering with Sulky to create a line of thread.  I was intrigued then and hoped to one day see it and try it. That day came with five pretty 50wt spools of cotton thread.  I'm looking forward to trying each and every color! 

 

And speaking of color, notice that each plastic spool is a different color.  Clever!  And exciting!  I can imagine all the Cotton + Steel junkies are beside themselves!



Also included was a big stack of selvages.  Each one generously cut with the C+S 'magic' include on each and every selvage.  I rarely save selvages.  If solids had selvage coolness, then I would. This stack will merge with my puny stack and hopefully I can one day explore a project using them all!



And who doesn't need a tote?!  Thank you Afton, thank you Cotton + Steel!  I'm a very happy girl!

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Granny With An Edge ~ Revisited

Go Go Granny!  By Granny I mean granny squares, of course!  I made a baby version of this quilt a year ago and had always wanted to give it another go.  This time I went for a bigger version and even tried to take precise notes, you know...in case I ever decide to make a pattern for it.  (I say that for every quilt 😜 )


Granny With An Edge
45" x 68"
Simply put, it's on edge or on point if you want the technical term.  Choosing the rainbow theme put it on the verge of modern, yet still has the charm of yesteryear.  


Of course, using an array of reproduction feed sack prints could never really take it all the way to modern.  Just a little too cute for that!



Each granny square has 25 - 2" (finished) squares, 13 different prints and a 2" white border.  I tend to use white most every time I take the feed sack route.  I like the crispness of it with all those tiny prints.  


  
The three center blocks are the only ones that have the coordinating border around all four sides. It felt like the right way to take the design, and frankly...it was the easier way to go!



Not all the prints ended up being feed sack.  My stash has slowly being depleted and the variety I once had is not there any longer.  I ended up searching through 'current' prints and finding pieces that had the 'vibe' of feed sack.  It was difficult!



In an effort to work through my tote of prints, I pieced together some prints for the back. When it came time to quilt I knew I could go simple or crazy, and ended up somewhere in between.

I stitched in the ditch around each block, added a couple 1/2" straight lines in each border and ended with 1" lines on the corners and sides.  It works with the design, nothing too crazy!


Who can resist a freshly washed pile of a quilt?!  It always make me want to curl up under it and take a nice peaceful rest!

We all know there are a million and one granny square quilts out there.  Does this look familiar? Would it be worth the time to write a pattern?  The quilt could easily be made using lots of current fabrics. Just curious.  Sometimes when making a traditional-ish quilt or any quilt, I often wonder if it really is new, different or worth making a pattern for.  


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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Surprise :: Secret Sewing

In case you thought I have been slacking, alas that is not the case!  I have been feverishly creating, quilting some secrets, quilting some gifts and just plain quilting!

I have one project that (well two) I am not at liberty to share right now.  I promise I will soon and hopefully have a little giveaway associated with it.  When I started this project I ended up making two versions.  Two variations are better than none!  

I worked through the design and eventually I did settle on the one but then was left with a spare. What to do, what to do!  Then it hit me!  Another secret surprise gift for some unsuspecting person!  I've done this a couple times this year and vowed to continue doing so when time allowed.  I love surprising people!  It's my way of appreciating, thanking and giving back in some small way.



I wish I could show you the entire piece of this one and the other one...but I just can't!! Boo! If you follow me regularly, you may have an idea where this is going!



This one has been sent off to the 'unsuspecting' person, who has received it.  I think it's safe to say they were surprised and then some!  So much so I received a phone call from them! Now the tables were turned...I was surprised and delighted!  That I never expected, never. We had a wonderful conversation full of laughter.  I felt like I was the one who received a special secret gift...and in a way I did!

I don't expect to be surprised back!  My mission, if you want to call it that, is to brighten someones day in an unexpected way and put a smile on their face.  Plain and simple. 



You might be thinking why share if you can't really share the entire piece?!  First, I don't often get the opportunity to do this kind of secret and it's frankly exciting!  

Second, I wanted needed to write a post that wouldn't cause controversy like my previous one.  I was literally horrified and saddened.  The vitriol was something I had never encountered ever...on my blog or in real life.  I choose to stop comments and remove much of the content because of it.  I caved and became silent.  I want to thank all of you who commented in support and understood.  We should all be thankful.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Safe With Me


Safe With Me
13" x 7 1/4"







Kitty Wilkin (nightquilter.com) created a free pattern of a safety pin.  Click this link for the free paper pieced Safety Pin pattern !

My first thought was metallic fabric for the pin, which I didn't have.  Then I remembered about a tacky piece of gold fabric (?) I yoinked at one of our guild meetings a while back.  I couldn't tell you why I was drawn to it, maybe that thing about shiny things...



It was incredibly difficult to work with and doubly difficult when paper piecing.  I love to press my seams good and flat.  But because it is a synthetic metallic plastic media, there was no way I could do that without messing up my iron and melting the fabric!



Because I wasn't sure where to take it next, I set it aside and vowed to not let it linger in limbo too long.

    
And true to my word, it didn't!

 







The back has metallic polka dots!  It all came together, just like we will all come together for each other!



For those who are on blogger...did you notice the emoji button at the top?!  I'm a sucker for emojis!



Thursday, November 17, 2016

Pleasure In Scraps

There is pleasure in scraps.  Scraps can be anything from funky shapes to half square triangles to strips of fabric.  If you try to define what a scrap is you would most likely get half a dozen different definitions from half a dozen different people.  And frankly, it doesn't matter.  I'm a scrap lover through and through!


19 1/2" x 19 1/2"
I can't remember where these scraps came from or what I was working on that I had a stack of triangle-ish pieces, but I sure was motivated to see what I could put together with them! 



The colors were dreamy...they worked together for me.  Each piece could easily have been a funky triangle, but I opted to make improv diamonds instead.  All different sizes, all with a different 'wonk' about it.  Piece by piece, section by section.



I know there are many people who don't feel they can 'let go' and ride out the process of improv.  I totally get that!  I feel that way about putting together a quilt with quote unquote 'traditional' blocks.  And I even feel that way when it comes to quilting a quilt.  



This one I kept adding and taking away.  This looks good here, this not so much!  I knew this piece had a center and needed a border of some sort.  Something that would enhance the overall piece.  

When I settled on the triangles, I had to decide the orientation.  Should they all point out or should they point in?!  I fiddled with it on the design wall until I decided some will be in some will be out, and the rest would point up!  Play with it!!



Here is just a few of the perfect colors for quilting!  Aurifil must have every color in the world, all of which I wish I had.   The triangles and diamonds were color coordinated with thread and I kept the lines straight.  I didn't use a ruler, instead I used my dual feed for the guide.  



I decided I may as well go with Free Motion Quilting for the rest of the quilt.  I won't even pretend I nailed it!!  But the effect was what I wanted in the end.



It's a rare day when I know exactly how I want to quilt a project.  I admire anyone who looks at a section or a quilt and knows precisely what it needs!  If there is a secret...I'll pay you to tell me!



I don't now about anyone else, but this time of year it is so hard to find the exact right time to take pictures outside!  Where the morning use to be perfect, it isn't now.  Evening photos have to be in the magic '15 minute' time slot, that of course changes from day to day!  



Figuring out what to do with scraps, fabric bundles or a super duper special stack of your favorite in the whole entire world fabric...is hard!  I can improv this and that just fine, especially with scraps.  It's the 'normal' things I struggle with!!  


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Monday, November 14, 2016

Color + Log Cabin = {Pattern}

I guess you could call me the 'queen of pot holders' lately!  I've made a million and with each set I mindlessly piece, layer, quilt and bind.  It's second nature and should be expected after so many sets.

There has been interest in a tutorial for these culinary delights, so yes...I put together a tutorial along with a pattern for this set of pot holders.  

1/4 Log Cabin Pot Holders
9" x 9"
I couldn't resist the chance to share my process and come up with a design that I could share with you.  Log cabin blocks can be as simple or as complicated as you want.  The 'logs' can be the thick or thin, light or dark, mixed width or the same size...this is one of those blocks that will always be a 'go to' for most any quilter.  Pattern available here!


For this block, the corner square starts at a whopping 1 1/4" square.  Pretty tiny, but very doable. This kind of block is put together on two sides.  You continue to add strips until it grows to the size you are after.  I like to press my seams open to reduce the bulk.


The smallest width is 3/4" and the widest is 1 1/2".  There are 14 colors used that will eventually grow to 9" square.  Yes, a little ambitious and I wondered why I needed to take it to that level more than once.  My answer is I like a challenge, I like color!  


This is the result of building those logs!  After a good hot steam pressing, the time has come to layer the pieces!  


I use a layer of cotton batting and insul-bright in every pot holder.  Insul-bright is a product from The Warm Company.  It 's heat resistant, not heat proof.  At least one layer of cotton batting is recommended when used for pot holders and oven mitts.  Insul~Bright is not recommended for microwave use.  This product is widely available.  Jo-Anns, Walmart and many online shops carry it.

  

To make the quilt sandwich, I lay my backing (right side down if using a print), insul-bright, batting and top right side up.  There isn't a right or wrong side to insul-bright.  


Pin to secure the layers together and quilt as desired.


I didn't do anything special in the quilting department.  Random straight lines with a lot of thread color changes!

I've never had problems quilting pot holders using this many layers.  I recommend using a walking foot or dual feed.   


Once the quilting is finished I square up each pot holder.  I don't know if there is a standard size, but I tend to make my sets 8 1/2" to 9" square.  

The pattern I designed is for a 9" block.  But we all know depending on how accurate you are with piecing or how accurate your 1/4" seams are, size may vary.  Which is why I make the outside log wide enough to play with.  

Finishing off with binding in yet another color is always welcome in my book!  My personal choice for binding is 2 1/4" strips.  I always use a scant 1/4" when stitching the binding to the front.  This allows a little extra binding to wrap around the thicker than usual layers.  


You can find the pattern for these pot holders in my Craftsy Pattern Shop:  Log Cabin Pot Holders

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Mountain Top :: Moon Glow

Another hand quilting project done!  Hand quilting has been a saving grace for me in the evenings.  I love keeping my hands busy, and having another option is always nice.

18 1/2" x 21"
I was bound and determined to use restraint on this piece.  It's so easy to throw the kitchen sink in the hand quilting mix, this time I kept it simple.  But...I wanted to take it over the top!



Big stitch quilting is rewarding, especially if you don't stress on making it perfect.  Perfect. What exactly is that?!  My perfect may not be others perfect, and others imperfection may be perfect to others!



My favorite part of this?  The moon!  It was the one section that I had to, actually couldn't help myself, quilt to death!  The densely packed stitches put me over the top!  Initially I was done with the moon after the neutral tan thread.  I tried.  Then I wondered what if.  What if I added an autumn orange?  Moon glow.  That's a thing, right?!   The moon and the sides of the mountains were 'glowed' for effect. 



The quilting in the sky is a dark blue, it looks royal blue against the muted blue/grey fabric.  I tried to create a flowing current of wind and clouds with the lines.  A few swirls added here and there remind me that the winds and currents aren't always wispy soft.  Turbulence is there hidden and always a factor.



There is nothing better than a solid backing to show the quilting detail!   A glittery moon and the craggy, erosion filled valleys on the mountains.



The moon stitches were intentionally made to be inconsistent, more than usual.  A few rounds I made tiny stitches easing into bigger stitches.  


I could envision seeing a mountain top in the distance with the sun setting casting a glow on the peaks and valleys.  I'm not sure I captured the vibe I was feeling, but I do like it!



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