Wednesday, August 24, 2016

WIP Wednesday - Ready for Retreat

It's WIP Wednesday, and this week I am cutting and pressing in the hopes that I can make the most of my retreat time this weekend.

We're in the final countdown to the quilt show (29 days!), and I have some work to do since none of the three quilts I entered are finished. This one was literally just a pile of fat quarters.

I'm using my new Gypsy Quilter Gypsy Gripper, which I bought this summer. I do think it helps with accuracy and safety. I have never had any aches or pains from cutting, so I can't say if it prevents that.

My goal is to bring all the pieces precut and get the top and back finished over the weekend so I can turn it over to Lene to quilt.

Wish me luck! What are you working on?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Big Daddy's Quilt

Remember the quilt I was working on for my father-in-law for Christmas Father's Day his birthday?

I finally finished it, and we gave it to him last night at a birthday dinner. I couldn't come up with a cute name, so I just called it Big Daddy's Quilt.

big daddy's quilt disappearing nine patch

When I was first pregnant and we were trying to think of nicknames for the grandparents, someone came up with the clever suggestion to call my 6'5" father-in-law Big Daddy. Deuce couldn't quite say all of that, and shortened the nickname to Big. Now pretty much everyone who knows him through us calls him Big. It sure does suit him - not only is he a big guy physically with a big deep voice, but he also has a big heart! He is so generous with his time and advice, especially for those who find themselves in difficult situations.

big daddy's quilt disappearing nine patch

I am so grateful to have in-laws I love and who are such a huge part of our family. Have a happy birthday, Big!

big daddy's quilt disappearing nine patch

Special thanks to Lene for quilting it with my favorite all over pattern for men.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

WIP Wednesday - Birds in the Air

My Birds in the Air blocks are here!

Recently one of the Twilters suggested a block swap to celebrate the launch of Frances's book, Birds in the Air. For once in my life I didn't wait to start working on my blocks at the last minute. For once I beat the deadline with time to spare. The waiting was excruciating!

But they're here! The blocks are here and I love them. It is such fun to look through and see the familiar names mixed with the new. My Middle Child and I were choosing our favorites last night - how can you pick just one? - and he couldn't believe the ones from so far away. (Whoops! I must have forgotten the pick of OzzyPip's block from Australia!)

I'm working on a layout now, and think I have one I like. I'm keeping it a little bit of a surprise until the top is together. I keep going back to my studio to look and swap blocks around and then leave it for awhile so I can look at it with fresh eyes, but I think I might have landed on my favorite.

I am so grateful to Tina for organizing and to everyone who participated!

What are you working on today?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Going to Guild - Andi Barney on Modern Quilting

Last Monday was guild night, and our guest speaker was Andi Barney of Red Hen Fabrics and Atlanta North West Sewing Machine Service and Repair (more on both of these coming soon). Andi shared her lecture on Modern Quilting, along with dozens of slides and a stack of quilts.

Of course, she spoke about the use of modern fabrics with traditional blocks, the use of negative space, and the emphasis on the quilting. I wish you could see the detail in the quilting (above). It is just amazing. Andi said she prefers to quilt on a domestic machine, even though Red Hen has a selection of long arm machines that she could use whenever she wants!

Andi also talked about the popularity of text in Modern Quilting, whether printed on the fabric or created with improvisational piecing. This quilt is very special to Andi since she moved to Atlanta without having family in the area.

 In the "Everything Old is New Again" category, can you tell which of these fabrics is an antique feedsack and which is a current fabric? (Apologies to the fabric designer whose name I cannot remember to save my life.)

This was a great program for a fairly diverse audience; some of our guild members are very traditional, others are truly modern, but most of us are all over the map. Andi did a great job of covering the topic in a way that engaged and interested all of us. Thanks, Andi!

We also had a very special Show and Tell quilt made by Lin C for #QuiltsforPulse. Please see the link for more information about how to help. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

I'm a sentimental fool when it comes to patriotism. I get choked up when they play The Star Spangled Banner, especially at little kids' sporting events. I could watch The West Wing reruns daily.* I have more Americana themed quilts than Christmas quilts - probably more than all of my holiday quilts combined. And I still have more red white and blue fabric in my stash.


Two of my favorite post-9/11 fabrics.

So when I saw this viral craft project on Facebook, I had to try it. I cleaned out all of the white bandanas at my local JoAnn's. They were already sold out of all of the red and blues, thanks to a post on their Facebook page and a 10 for $10 sale. Then I went to Dollar Tree after hearing a rumor that they had a red and blue bandana in a set for $1 each, but they only had a few blue ones left.

Finally I dug into my stash to fill in the gaps. It's a little bit addictive, so I made four of them: two matching ones for my mother's double doors, one with the more muslin/repro feel, and one for me. I love how they turned out, probably even more than if I had been able to find all of the bandanas, because of some of the fabrics I was able to mix in. Like this one:

and this one:

But no matter how much I enjoy a three day weekend or a Twilter sew in (#MDSI) or a good barbecue, let's remember what this day is really about.

To all the families and friends of our service men and women who gave their lives, my prayers are with you.

I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing weekend!

*If you are a West Wing fan, you MUST listen to the new-ish podcast The West Wing Weekly! It is a great look back with lots of insider stories and some fantastic guest appearances!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

WIP Wednesday - More One Hour Baskets

It's graduation time, and for once I am on top of the gift situation - maybe because none of my children are involved!

This year, all but one of the graduates we know are girls. The boy will just get a card and a check, but I wanted to do something a little more fun for the ladies. I decided to make them each a One Hour Basket, which is a free pattern on Craftsy.

There was a perfectly timed sale on home dec weight fabrics at JoAnn's (50% off!), so I didn't spend a lot and have some leftovers.  These baskets really do take just about an hour. I spent a little more time since I did some light quilting on the exterior of the basket, but I found I could make one basket in about one and a half episodes of The Good Wife on Hulu.

I stuffed each basket with a some goodies: a small first aid kit, some Scotch Removable Mounting Squares, and a few treats.

I've got two down and one to go. Shoutout to The University of Alabama at Birmingham for having a color guide on their website!

P.S. I just visited Kelby's blog and found that there is a new pattern called Friends of the One Hour Basket. I am in love! I have just found the perfect use for the leftovers!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Going to Guild - Becky Goldsmith

Monday, May 2 was guild night, and our speaker was Becky Goldsmith of Piece O' Cake. She came into town and taught an applique class based on this quilt, Welcome to the North Pole.

Her program was largely about using color, which she uses in surprising ways in her quilts. This quilt is called "Tile Tango," and is from the book The Quilter's Practical Guide to Color. Do you notice the block in the lower right corner?

This quilt is called "Button Box," and it's from the book Piecing the Piece O' Cake Way. I love this quilt but am not a fan of curved piecing. I would need a really good reason to make this quilt! But isn't it so cute?

Becky also introduced us to Adobe Capture, and app that allows you to pull design details from photographs. I'll be playing with this more and doing a review once I get to know it better. Do you use it?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

Longer post later, but both my boys arrived home from college Friday afternoon, so I am enjoying the best Mother's Day gift ever - all five of us under one roof again.

Hope all the mamas out there have a great day!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

WIP Wednesday - Better Late Than Never

I know, it's not technically Wednesday anymore, but this is what I was working on yesterday when it was Wednesday so I'm counting it.

This week has been pretty exciting with some actual sewing going on in my new studio. The first order of business is piecing the back for my father-in-law's Christmas Father's Day gift.

Remember this technique that Dianne Knott shared? It totally worked!

Again, the picture quality is terrible but you get the gist.

I had enough scraps to piece in the horizontal strip and create the bit of patchwork for the remaining gap.

I even used the binding strips as leaders and enders, so I don't have that chore in front of me!

Monday is guild night, so I can bring the top and back to Lene to quilt. Can you believe it?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Design Wall

I've started moving things into my new studio and planning out the space. One thing I knew I wanted was a large design wall. I'm a very visual person, and seeing my work in front of me helps me figure out what the next step should be, which fabric or border is right, and saves me a lot of seam ripping. One other awesome thing about a design wall: when my projects are in plain sight instead of folded away in a drawer, they are less likely to become UFOs. Not that I have a problem with that. But I've heard about it. From friends. 

I searched for ways to add a design wall and found a few interesting looking tutorials. I've been saving these to my "Studio Dreams" Pinterest board for years. Eventually I settled on a combination of a few methods. Luckily The Pit Boss was in the mood for a project, so off we went to Home Depot.

My wall space is about ten feet long with eight foot ceilings. A lot of the soundproofing or other insulation comes in eight foot lengths, which sounds perfect until you remember things like molding and outlets and such. Also, as TPB pointed out, I can't reach eight feet high, so there would be a lot of wasted space at the top if I went all the way to the ceiling.

I ended up buying two packages of this Insulfoam, which includes six sheets that are eight feet by just under fourteen inches and about 3/4" thick. It's meant to go between studs.

We bought packages totaling 72 Command Strips (medium) for picture hanging - this was the most expensive component of the project!

I also bought a plain roll of duct tape.

Last, we went to JoAnn's and bought five yards of half price batting while it was on sale. 

I cut the batting into three sections lengthwise and then in quarters widthwise, which left me with twelve pieces that were a few inches bigger all the way around than the insulation. I wrapped each piece of foam with the batting and secured all of the loose edges with duct tape. This took awhile, so thankfully Frances, Pam, Tanesha, and Daisy kept me company.

I placed six Command Strips on each piece of covered foam; one at each corner and two in the middle.

Then I carefully stuck them to the wall horizontally, five high and two wide, starting just above the outlets. I placed one and a partial one vertically on the end. I also have a leftover piece, which I covered as well, for transporting pieces or laying out a complicated block on my sewing table.

Tada! I'm very happy with the finished product, even if the pictures are not so fabulous. The lighting is one part of the project I am still working on.

I ended up spending right around $100 for a design space that is over nine feet long by about six feet high, and which could be moved without destroying the wall. If you could find the Command Strips for less (or if you didn't mind just nailing the pieces to the wall) it would be even less.

I've already put a project on it! I did have to pin these since they still have the paper on the back, but the pieces without paper stayed nicely even with the ceiling fan on. I'm so excited to have this awesome feature in my studio!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

***Breaking*** Birds in the Air to Debut at CES Quilt Show in September! ***

I have been keeping a little secret from you all and can't keep it in a moment longer!

I'm sure most of you are familiar with Frances from the Off Kilter Quilt podcast and blog. If you are a fan of Frances, then you surely also know that she is working on her first novel for adults, Birds in the Air.

I am thrilled to announce that Frances has agreed to kick off the book tour for Birds in the Air at the Stars N Stitches Quilt Show on September 24, 2016. Frances will read from the novel, sign and sell books, and show some of her own quilts.

I personally have been listening to Frances's podcast since the beginning but have never met her in person, even though we don't live that far apart. I can't wait to meet her in person and see some of her quilts in real life!

We would love to see you there as well!

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