Saturday, March 31, 2012

March Finishes & A New BOM

It's hard to believe that today is the last day of March.  I did have a productive month and finished two applique blocks ~ one for each of the applique quilts I'm working on ~ plus got my Christmas Greetings from Elm Creek Manor quilt top sewn together.  Each month I try to get one block done for Ladies of the Sea and at least one block done for Sarah's Revival.  If I have some extra time, I work on my Roseville Album quilt.

With a few days to spare, I finished the Xebec Pirate Ship for Ladies of the Sea.

I do most of my applique using the back-basting technique and find that it saves me a lot of time.  The most challenging part of this block was both the skull and cross bones as well as doing the embroidery for the tiny port holes.  I perservered and got it done and happy with the results.  The next ship set to launch is The Elissa.

The block I finished for Sarah's Revival is shown below in a previous post.

And here is my finished Christmas Greetings from Elm Creek Manor quilt top.

In my SBS & Other Elm Creek Quilts Yahoo Group, some of the members and I got together and sewed a block-a-month beginning in April of last year.  I stayed on track with this one and finished sewing the borders this week.  Soon it will be packed up and sent to The Missouri Star Quilt Company for long-arm quilting.

The next quilt my online quilt group is doing as a BOM is Cornucopia of Thanks by Jennifer Chiaverini. 

Begins in June 2012
Pattern by Jennifer Chiaverini
I have chosen fabrics from Nancy Halvorsen's Bittersweet collection for my quilt.  Yesterday I wanted to audition my fabrics so sewed a 12-inch block that I plan to substitute for the nine patch block in this quilt.  I really like these fabrics and think that they will make a pretty quilt.

This BOM begins in June.  If you are interested in participating, you are most welcome and can do so by joining my SBS & Other Elm Creek Quilts group.  A link to the group is provided toward the bottom right of my blog.

March has been a busy month for me and I'm hoping to get as much done in April.  Part of today will be spent prepping my applique blocks and getting more blocks organized for my piecing projects. 

Until next time . . .


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Special Gift & A Special Cause

The month of March is National Quilt Month and this year celebrates the 22nd anniversary of National Quilting Day, which is the third Saturday of March and this year it fell on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2012.  I belong to an online quilting group where we have various block swaps and secret sister swaps.  To celebrate National Quilt Month, we decided to do a secret sister swap by making one gift and adding other store bought quilting-related items.  This past Saturday, I received my gift and love it!

I received a cute wall hanging, some neat little note cards (pictured on the left), a set of charm squares (in the middle), and 2 fat quarters in neutrals!  I am so pleased.  I hung the wall hanging in my sewing studio and have already used the note cards.  Of course, I know I will find a place to use all of the fabric, too.

I did kind of a kitchen themed gift for my secret sister and here is one of the potholders I made:

I found this pattern at my local quilt shop and the fabric is called My Farmhouse Kitchen.  I had a lot of fun making this.

Now on to a special cause . . . one of my cyber quilting friends has asked me to pass the word around about Sunset Ridge Equestrian Center.

Sunset Ridge Equestrian Center is a place that has opened its doors to help children with special needs.  My friend's daughter is a teacher at Granite Falls Elementary in Granite Falls, NC.  Each year teachers take students horseback riding at Sunset Ridge.  Horseback riding is a great way for these children to get a sense of independence along with better balance and coordination.  They also learn responsibility through grooming the horses.  All in all it is a great day for them!  The barn fees are usually paid by donations and also by the Autism Fund.  Sunset Ridge Equestrian is attempting to win a 25k grant that will benefit many students with disabilities in several counties. Diane DiReinzes, owner, wants to build an indoor riding facility so lessons can be given year round.

I am hoping that you will take a few minutes of your day to help make this dream come true.  All you have to do is visit the web site sponsoring the grant, Love a Local Business, and vote for Sunset Ridge Equestrian Center.  To vote, just click HERE

Business Name:  Sunset Ridge Equestrian Center
Address:  Taylorsville, NC

After you find Sunset Ridge, just cast your vote.  Each and every vote matters so much, so I really hope you will take the time to help a business who supports helping children with special needs.

Thank you for sharing a part of your day with me.  I hope that you have enjoyed National Quilt Month by sharing and making beautiful things.

Until next time . . .


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesdays with Precuts

I'm always looking for new ways to make quilt blocks that are fast, efficient and easy.  Today, I want to share with you a wonderful way to make half-square tirangles (HST) using charm packs.  You won't believe how simple this is to do.  I found a tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Company called Fast & Easy Pinwheels.  I think pinwheel blocks are the cutest thing, and you can make them into many different quilt layouts.

After viewing this video I got to thinking that you could cut your squares any size you want depending on how large you want your HSTs.  The next time I have to make a lot of blocks using HST, I will definitely be using this method!

Shifting from piecing to applique . . . I want to share with you block 2 for my Sarah's Revival quilt.

This one was a little more challenging than block 1, so I'm glad to have it finished. 

Until next time . . .


Monday, March 19, 2012

Design Wall Monday

I often browse through various technique videos hosted by Bernina USA on The Quilt Show.  A few months ago, I found one that really interested me called Bite Size Quilting.  After watching the video, I knew it was something I wanted to try.  Instead of quilting in 'sections' you quilt each block separately using your machine's embroidery module.  My machine came with various quilt block designs, so I found one that I liked and started quilting my blocks. 

The blocks I chose to work with were ones that I had from a recent block swap.  The theme of the swap was black & white with a touch of red and we were to make 6-inch (finished) sized blocks.  I received some really great blocks and wanted to get them put together into a quilt, so decided to use these blocks for this new technique.  With swap blocks, I also had signature squares so planned a quilt backing accordingly.  I played around with different setting designs using EQ7 and came up with one using an alternate block in between the swapped blocks.

Although it took some time, doing the quilting on each block separately was easy to do . . . I just had to get them layered and hooped and then attach to the embroidery module.  While my machine was stitching out the design, I worked on another piecing project.  I felt like I really accomplished a lot as one quilt was being quilted while I pieced another.

Here's how the quilting turned out on the swap blocks:

Here's the quilting on the alternate blocks:

And here's how the backing quilting looks on the signature blocks:

When you're ready to sew the blocks together, you keep the seam allowances to the back, press them open and then cover with ribbon or bias tape.  I chose a red bias tape as shown above.  If you are interested in seeing how to do Bite Sized Quilting you can check out the free video by clicking HERE

I have all of the blocks and border pieces quilted and now just have to sew them all together.  I'm liking how this quilt is coming together and I'm pretty sure that I will finish more of my quilts using 'bite sized quilting.'

Until next time . . .


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lap Quilting

I first became interested in quilting in 1986 after finding out about Georgia Bonesteel and her lap quilting technique.  I have always enjoyed sewing and wanted to make quilt blocks but the thought of having them all together and then having to layer with batting and backing intimited me.  So, finding out about lap quilting was exactly what I needed.

This is Georgia Bonesteel's first book on lap quilting and it is all you really need to learn her method.

Lap Quilting with Georgia Bonesteel
More Lap Quilting with
Georgia Bonesteel
New Ideas for Lap Quilting
Georgia Bonesteel
After the publication of this book in 1982, Georgia published 2 more books on lap quilting.  All use the same technique but there are different patterns in each book as well as pages with templates that you can trace and use for your piecing.

I enjoy lap quilting and while I don't use it for all of my quilts, it is a great choice for others.  I have started quilting my Vintage Valentine blocks using this method. 

A group of quilting friends and I are setting aside Fridays to finish quilts, and I started quilting my first Vintage Valentine block this past Friday.  It took me a little time to get the block marked and basted so I didn't get too much quilting done but it is a start:

Next Friday I will continue work on this and in the meantime start marking the next blocks.  Please note that I had to take the fabric covered buttons off for quilting.  These will be replaced in the middle of each flower and the center of the tied ribbons when the top is complete.

Until next time . . .


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesdays with Precuts

I have to admit that when the precut fabrics first started coming out, I thought that there were limited things one could do with them ~ boy-oh-boy ~ was I ever wrong!  This past year I have learned so many different techniques using precuts and thought it would be nice to share one technique with you every Wednesday.  Since most of the cutting is done for you ahead of time, you can whip up a project in no time at all.  Today, our precut technique is 'tube quilting' done with a jelly roll. 

One of my favorite quilt shops is the Missouri Star Quilt Company, not only because of their famous 'Daily Deal' but also because they have many tutorials on how to use precuts.  The quilt I'm featuring today from the Missouri Star Quilt Company is called, 'Summer in the Park.'  You will be amazed at how easy these blocks are to make and how quickly they come together to make a pretty quilt.

When I first learned this technique I got to thinking that instead of using a square ruler to make the cuts, that it would be easier to use one of the specialty rulers that Nifty Notions or other companies offer.  For this quilt, the quarter-square-triangle (QST) ruler from Nifty Notions is perfect. 

Nifty Notions ~ Quarter Square Triangle Ruler
I think that using that by using the QST, your cuts will go a bit faster because you won't have to worry about lining up a 45-degree angle each time you make a cut.  I have my strips sewn together for this quilt and plan on using my QST ruler to make the cuts. 

Obviously using a jelly roll is the quickest way to make these blocks but you could also use fabrics from your stash and cut your own 2-1/2" strips.  I think this pattern makes a great stash buster, don't you?

Until next time . . .


Monday, March 12, 2012

Design Wall Monday

There's not much on my design wall this Monday morning, but I did sew 5 Farmer's Wife blocks last week so started playing with them to see if I should add maybe another fabric line or just keep going with the original idea of using Ruby by Bonnie & Camille.  Here's what I have so far:

The blocks I finished starting from the upper left hand corner are:

Bowtie, Economy, Hovering Hawks, Autumn Tints and Practical Orchard.  I placed two other fabrics from the Ruby line to fill in the spaces.  The gray/white swirl is what I plan on using as the setting triangles and the pink with red dots is my choice for sashing.  Then for the border I was planning to use this fabric:

This quilt is designed on-point so the gray/white swirl will be between the border and the sashing.  I'm thinking it will turn out okay but in looking at the few blocks I've finished, I probably better start using a little more green!

As I said above, I've been toying with the idea of adding another fabric line for more variety.  Over the weekend I searched for something that had colors similar to Ruby but also introduced another color.  By process of elimination, I've chosen Flora by Lauren & Jessie Jung for Moda.  Here are the fabrics in the Flora line which I found at Charm Packs Plus:

I think these fabrics will not only blend well with Ruby but will also introduce yellow for a little extra sparkle.  There are some orangy fabrics in this line which I will not use as they will clash with the reds and pinks but otherwise, I think Flora is a good choice.  What do you think?

My plan for this week is to try and sew 2 blocks each day.  All of them are fairly easy and now since I am using Marti Michell's template sets, they are even easier : )

Whatever you have planned for the week, I hope you meet your goals.  Since I'm working on 3 applique projects and now this piecing project, my plate is pretty full!

Until next time . . .


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Amish Quilts

Center Diamond, circa 1920-1940, maker unknown.
Quilt was probably made in Lancaster County, PA.
I love Amish quilts not only for their simplicity using vibrant colors but also for their intricate hand quilting.  They truly are a work of art.

Today while browsing around The Quilt Show website, I ran across a wonderful video that showcases some of the most beautiful Amish quilts I have ever seen! 

The quilts shown in this video are from The Espirit Quilt Collection in San Francisco.  The Espirit company is housed in a remodeled wine warehouse which is also the home of this famous quilt collection.

Since I enjoyed watching this so much today, I wanted to share it with you too.  Enjoy!

Until next time ~


Monday, March 5, 2012

Design Wall Monday

I've been wanting to start another sampler quilt and when Pat, one of my dear cyber friends, suggested joining her to make The Farmer's Wife Sampler, I knew it was the one for me.  Not only do I like the design of this quilt but it's always fun to make a quilt along with friends who are doing the same thing.  There's not much on my design wall yet but hopefully there will be soon! 

Ruby by Bonnie & Camille for Moda
With all of the fabric choices out there, it wasn't easy making the best choice for this quilt.  While I like Civil War fabrics, I really (I mean really) have to take a break from them because I did several projects with them last year and have grown a bit tired of them.  I finally decided on Ruby by Bonnie & Camille for Moda.  For my Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt, I wanted to change to the other side of the spectrum from the Civil War theme and looked for fabrics with a 30s/vintage theme with a flair and, to me, Ruby fits the bill. 

Prior to my back injury (which is another story for another time) I was able to get one block sewn. 

Block 69: Practical Orchard
Farmer's Wife Sampler
I chose the Practical Orchard block because it was one that I could figrue out on my own how to cut without templates; plus, it looked like an easy one. 

This quilt will be my piecing project for the year.  Applique is my favorite quilting method but I also need to add a little piecing to mix it up : )

Thanks for sharing some time with me today and have a great week!

Until next time . . .