Thursday, December 29, 2016

EPP Diamond Pin Cushion

With the festivities ending, the tree coming down and the waist band expansion...we get start deciding what our next projects might be.  Some of you have jumped in already, others are contemplating what that next move might be.

Me...oh boy do I have ideas!  I just haven't had a chance to jump in...yet!  

Until that happens I thought sharing a 'semi-striped down-EPP-diamond-pincushion-tutorial' might be fun.  I say this because I didn't exactly take notes while making it.  I'll be relying on my memory, such as it is.  

I printed 1" diamond templates on card stock from Incompetech.  You can buy templates for your English Paper Pieced projects or make your own.  Incompetech is a good option especially if you are making some thing small.

You need 12 - 1" diamonds for the top.  I wanted this one to be scrappy, so I picked 12 different fabrics.  Diamonds are a fun shape for EPP and there are a lot of great combinations to be had.

Either method of basting works well, glue or thread.  I usually go for the thread when I baste.
Baste your diamonds and stitch the shapes together.  

For the sides you need six (6) 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" rectangles.  Baste your rectangles and then stitch them to the sides of the diamond top.  

Next, stitch the sides of the rectangles to create the pin cushion shape. 

Here's where my memory is a little foggy!  A pin cushion has to have a bottom and this one requires a hexagon.  I used a 5" hexagon which allowed for 1/4" seams.  

After removing the paper templates, I turned it inside out.  I pressed 1/4" seam around the entire hexagon making it easy to match up with the sides and keep an accurate seam allowance.  With right sides together, I stitched the bottom to the top on five (5) sides.  

Time to fill and finish!  I used crushed walnut shells for the first time and really like how heavy it was.  I was lucky enough to find one (and only one) bag at a local fabric shop! Thankfully it was just enough.  Do you know that you can get crushed walnut shells at your local pet shop?  I didn't either!

If you are new to English Paper Piecing, there are so many great tutorials out there.  Jodi @Tales Of Cloth has a great series on the basics.  Florence @Flossie Teacakes has a great 'where to begin' post if you are not sure how to start! Two great places to start!

I hope you enjoyed my 'semi-striped down-EPP-diamond-pincushion-tutorial'...such as it is! 


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Best of 2016 :: Top Five

You never know just how productive your year has been until you revisit it and have to pick your five best posts to share!  Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs is hosting 'The Best Of 2016' Linky Party.  

How do you pick the top five?  Was it the posts with the most views?  Your favorite quilt? The most comments?  That is left to the blogger to decide!

#1:  Raw I
This is one of my favorites!  It was hands down one of the craziest, insane and certifiable projects I ever attempted.  Raw edge weaving with the tiniest of tiny scraps.  This was my first and certainly it won't be my last.  Exploring new and different...I like that!  

#2:  Anomalous
I seem to always go for the scraps!  This quilt was the first quilt of 2016.  Unintentionally the past few years had always started with a quilt made with my hand dyed fabric.  This time I used scrap strips that I saved from numerous projects.  As always, I knew they would one day find a home and a place in a quilt...and they did!  

#3.  Micro Mini Mini Quilt
It was the year of the Mini Mini craze and I felt the need to see just how small I could go. When I made this, I was sure it was the smallest thing I would ever try or paper piece.  Well, let's just say never say never!

#4.  Wonky Block Tutorial
As far as tutorials this year, this was pretty darn popular!  I showed how you to give something a 'wonk' without too much work!

#5.  Phantom Triangles
Oh how I love this one!  Favorite quilting, favorite design, favorite idea!  It was just plain fun from start to finish!

Looking at my picks for the top five, it appears I have an obsession with rainbows. Hmmm...I'm pretty sure most of my year was filled with any number of rainbow concoctions! 

The recap of 2016 is complete!  I'm looking forward to exploring, experimenting, excavating and excogitating in 2017!


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Finishing 2016 With Stripes

I think, it's possible, maybe?!  Things get a little hectic this time of the year which make it considerably harder to start or finish a quilt.  I've wanted to barricade myself in my sewing room this past week, but duty calls!  Christmas had to come first...doggone it!  I'm half kidding!  

47"x 69"
This quilt is an attempt at trying something new with woven stripes and trying to deplete my stripe stash.  And through out the year I have accumulated large scraps of the background colors that needed a home.  It's amazing how dye lots of the same color can be so different! Aggravating, actually!  

So I took the random and scrappy approach with random and scrappy neutrals!  Now it looks like I totally planned it that way!

The stripe rectangles consist of 3 different widths (3", 2 1/2" and 2") that create the 'boxes'. With the short end pieces different lengths, the length of the boxes are different lengths...all in all...this is thrown together with little thought or concern.

What do I really like about this combination?  The stripes and background combination feel very comfortable and cozy.  Like an old pair of slippers or a favorite sweater.  It may not be a stunner, but it sure feels good! 

While weeding through the stripe bin, I came across a few unfinished feather blocks.  Two stone...I was in the zone!

I love this feather block!  I used this free pattern from Anna Maria Horner ~ Feathers Bed Quilt. And what could be better than some good old dense straight line quilting?!

With this finished table runner my machine will be taken off the dining room table and replaced with a big holiday meal!

🎄Wishing you all the best Holiday Ever!  Happy Holidays!🎄

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Planning My 2017 ~ It Isn't Easy!

Here we are at the end of another year!  It seems that every year flies by faster than the previous one.  In a blink of an eye we are ushering out the old and welcoming in the new.

That means it must be time to reflect, plan and start with a fresh slate for 2017!  If I didn't blog I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be as organized as I am.  Which in reality doesn't seem that organized!  It also means I'm able to go back through 2016 and revisit what it was all about.

A good way to start the New Year off on the right foot, joining in the 2017 Planning Party hosted by Yvonne @Quilting Jet Girl.   

Last year started with the use of my first quilting planner.  The 2016 Quilter's Planner was helpful to me, yet I wasn't as consistent as I wanted to be about making use of it.  This year with the 2017 Quilter's Planner, I will give it another go and try harder to keep up with each month.  

2016 was my year to try new things!  New techniques, new ideas, new avenues.  And if I could squeeze a lot of quilting in between...all the better!  What did I learn?  What did I try? I'm glad you asked! 

Knife Edge Binding
Mitered Corners 

Knife edge binding is another way to finish off a quilt instead of the tried and true binding method. I've only done it once...but I did it!  

Mitered corners was something I tackled because of the quilt, not so much because I wanted to do it!  I think it will take a lot more practice on my part.  I also did my first fancy flanged binding!

Spray Basting
Glue Basting

It's hard to with all the years of quilting under my belt that I had never tried spray basting!  In truth, I only spray baste small pieces even now!  

Glue basting turned out to be one technique I loved!  Especially with the curves of a drunkard path block.  I most certainly will use it often!

Raw Edge Weaving
Six Minute Circle

I had seen so many amazing things being made by weaving fabric on Instagram, that one day I went off the deep end and grabbed my bowl of 'shavings' to try weaving my way.  Raw edge weaving has made it in to a couple projects so far, with several more in the works.

The six minute circle changed my life!  Dramatic!  I had so much fun making all kinds of circles using this method.  I love making circles where I don't have to match up seams!

Faux Trapunto
Hand Quilting
Much like English Paper Piecing, I could never understand why anyone would hand quilt!! And just like EPP I was immediately obsessed with it once I tried it.  I've since done a few other pieces and hope to add that to the 2017 line up!

Hands down my most inventive moment of quilting this year was my Faux Trapunto experiment. I've since taken it to another level, trying a few things here and there.  It will make many more appearances both on my blog and ... in publication!

Pixie Ghost

A pixelated quilt had been on my bucket list, although I was thinking much bigger than this little ghost!  I used the interfacing method because of the size of squares I used.  I have mixed feelings about this method.  But I tried it...I tried!

Star Thistle

And the proudest achievement of 2016 for me?  This will come as no surprise I'm sure! Star Thistle.  It was my first paper pieced pattern/design.  It was also the reason I opened a pattern shop on Craftsy.  Both huge milestones for me!  I have another pattern ready to add to Craftsy, but think I'll hold off until after the Holidays.  That being said...if anyone has any time to test it between now let me know!  It's a basic, simple pattern.  
What are my plans for this next year?  What are my goals?  What are my resolutions? Much like every year, I try to layout what I want my year to look like.  And much like every year, well made plans change constantly.  It isn't easy for me to make and stick with anything! 

I want to be more organized.  From quilting to life.  Pretty broad, right?!  If I can be a little more organized that the year before, that would be a success for me.

Patterns.  Yikes!  This is one I say every year and one goal I can't say I really have accomplished to my satisfaction.  I get very frustrated and freaked out about writing patterns.  Confidence building is ongoing especially in that department!

I would love to do more tutorials!  If I could do half a dozen, I'd be happy!

I need to start taking care of me!  Selfish me!  With each year that goes by, there is this thing that happens...aging!  Yup!  I said it...I ain't getting any younger!  From mind, body and health, it needs a little (or a lot) more tender loving care than it use to!

It would also be in my best interest to 'get out' more.  I'm not a social butterfly at all!  I'm content to stay at home in my cocoon.  I'm not sure what this will look like, maybe take some classes, take a hike, or take a drive.  It might even mean that I need to work on and build better relationships with the people I already know on-line and in person.  I always feel like I'm not as outgoing as I should be or would like to be.  

The biggest goal is simply to quilt, learn and explore.  Test the boundries, push the envelope.  Quilt from the heart.  Do me, do the best me and do me proud.  

Which is what I wish for all of you!  Do your best, do what makes you happy!


Saturday, December 17, 2016

A Surprise Gift...For Me!

In my last post I shared what I made for my Secret Santa partner.  This time I'll share what my partner made for me!  Squeal!!

With our swap we fill out a form on what we like from favorite designers, colors, pouches, pillows, minis, even if we want something for year round or holiday themed.  I am sure I am no help at all when I fill out the form for past and present partners.  It isn't often I get presents of the quilt kind, and I get very excited when it's time to exchange those gifts!  I love anything...everything...all things!  This last one, I did say 'year round'...but boy oh boy! I'm so glad Leigh Ann ignored that part!

Holy Happy Holidays!!  When I opened the box and saw it was a tree skirt I did squeal a little bit!  I was so excited, happy and thrilled.  I have been wanting to make a new tree skirt for several years, but you know how it is to put something off.  Leigh Ann nailed it and made the exact perfect gift.  And how about those fun Cotton + Steel fabrics?!  

Me and Leigh can see I'm thrilled!  I think she was relieved about that!  It was just the right gift!

And who wouldn't want chocolate?

I was also super excited when I saw the Wefty Weaving Needles!!  Something else I've wanted.  If you are on Instagram, you know there are some pretty amazing fabric weaving going on!  I cannot wait to jump in and give this new technique a run for its money!

There is also the Dirty Santa fun to talk about.  Dirty Santa is always a big hit at our Holiday party.  Each person brings a yard of fabric in any combination.  The first person picks a wrapped package, and the next person can steal any previous bundle or choose to pick another package.  Let me tell you, I get attached to fabric quickly and when my bundles were was heartbreaking!  Seriously, it didn't matter which fabric I ended up with, they were all amazing.    

But lucky me and not really a big surprise, I landed this stack of Moda Solids.  I'm sure I can get about 17 quilts from this...LOL!!

Lastly, I wanted to share my Christmas Village with you!  It makes it out of the box every three or four years.  I think mostly I'm too lazy to put it up every single year!  

I discovered yesterday that this village was made in 1990!  I'll do the math for you...that was 26 years ago!  Some of you probably aren't even that old (and now I dated myself big time)! I'm not sure how I was able to make these houses with a newborn and a four-year-old underfoot!

You have your Church with stained glass windows and a bell, a Store front which I'm going to say is a fabric store, and a School House.

You have to have a Carriage House! The Tudor House has Santa wedged in the chimney. Don't worry, I'm pretty sure he is magic and will make it down the chimney when the time is right!  And perhaps the most iconic of a Christmas Village is the Victorian House.  

My little trip down memory lane!  It isn't hard to become sentimental and nostalgic this time of the year.  These tiny houses are a reminder of so many memories!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christmas Party Fun

After a long week of giveaways, it's time to get back to normal blogging again!  I had a lot of fun last week with the giveaways and plan on making it an annual event.  I learned a few things while it was in progress and plan on making a few changes for the next one!

This past Saturday was our annual guild holiday party.  It's packed with a pot luck spread like no other!  I totally over indulged on everything!  It was so good I couldn't help myself!

We also have a Secret Santa Swap.  It is always a treat to see the look on peoples faces when they find out who got their name and then open their gift.  The talent, thoughtfulness and generosity is amazing!  Today, I thought I would share what I made for my person, Jenny!

Jenny's list was very helpful to me, yet I was worried when she talked about bags and zippers! She is the queen of all things zippers and bag related!  Yikes!  How could I impress her?!  I swallowed my fear and got busy! 

The first item I made was a set of pot holders (also on her list).  This I knew I could handle! There I go again with my 'Star Thistle' block!  The background color is her all time favorite!  I aim to please! 

I used four different colors for the points, a copper accent and  a print from Anna Maria Horner's 'Fibs & Fables line.  Star Thistle makes the geometric dot-to-dot quilting so easy and I find myself going back to it time and time again!


I wasn't sure if Jenny was a 'hanger' person or not.  The majority of the time I do not add hangers, but this time I thought I'd try something different.  I added twill tape on the corners for the hanging option.  What do you think of that idea?  

Next up was the dreaded zipper project!  A scissor pouch was on the list and I knew exactly which one I was going to make!  The Scissor Cozy!  Check out the tutorial from Svetlana @SOTAK's pretty easy and pretty amazing!  

I decided to use my small stash of selvages for this one.  Another thing I know about Jenny is that she is a 'super fan' verging on stalking (kidding Jenny!) of all things Denyse Schmidt! First, I pieced two panels being mindful of where I wanted the most interesting part of the selvage to end up.  And then went about following the directions for complete it.

I wasn't sure what size her scissors were and prayed this pouch would work!  My scissors fit perfectly and come to find out...we both have the exact same ones!  Cozy just as the pattern title states!

For the final 'make' I scoured my stash for every stitch of Denyse Schmidt I could find.  I didn't need much, but I needed 18 different prints.  They say variety is the spice of life!  

Since it used paper piecing on one gift, selvages on another, it seemed fitting to use English Paper Piecing for the third!  You know...that variety saying and all!  

I think Jenny was pretty happy with her gift(s)!  It's always a nail biter when making something for someone you admire and inspire to be like!  

One thing is for sure, quilters love getting gifts from other quilters.  We know what goes into projects and can appreciate every single stitch!  

Next time I'll share my 'goodies' from the Secret Santa Swap!


Monday, December 12, 2016

Congratulations & Thank you!

This week has been a big one for me!  I wanted to have a fun filled, action packed week and it was that and much, much more!  I know it was a long week!  I appreciate that you kept coming back each day!  Every once in a while we need a little lighthearted amusement in our lives!

Thank you for a fabulous week!  Now on to the winners...