Thursday, May 26, 2011

Shop Hop Quilt...Nearing Completion

Making progress on the Shop Hop blocks.

My overhaul of the blocks has been revised countless times, but this is what it looks like currently.  I'm thinking that I'll do the quilt-as-you-go approach so I can try different machine quilting techniques on each block.  As much as I've bad-mouthed this project, it is good that it has pushed me to try things I wouldn't have normally done.

Today's finishes include the Berries on the Lake from Huckleberry Patches in McCall.  The original had a pink in the center and a pale pink/purple on the outside.  I decided to make the "lake"  blue and used the purple leftovers from another block for the outside purple.

Another block that played on the name of the shop was the one from Marilynn's Pickets and Patchwork. I played with colors for hours and never really came up with anything that I really liked.  The fuschia stripe, teal and purple were from the kit, but the rest were yellow/orange.  I'm glad that I tried the technique for leaving a Prairie Point picket...but I  don't really love it.  I would have been happier with different color combos..but this was "good enough".

The "Just Like Home" block from Traditions Quilt Shop in Baker was most disappointing.  The only fabric in the kit that was a batik was the purple.  The rest were prints (weird).  I misread the measurements on the windows, which made them 1/2 shorter than they were planned.  I couldn't find my seam ripper (didn't look hard) so I just added another piece of the purple below for length.  Those windows will be far more energy efficient.

I had scads of "bonus blocks"  from creating HST.  I used leftover HST for pinwheels and just let it evolve.

My plan from here is to add black sashing around the blocks and some sort of border outside the 16 block  format that includes some of the extra scraps.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday WIP

I'm still working on Shop Hop Blocks.  Unfortunately, the only "theme" of the blocks was batik, so the colors of each shop's block varied widely and I've been making swaps from my stash.

This Stained Glass block was from LaDonna's in Baker City.  I substituted the blue for an orange, but otherwise used the fabrics in the kit.  I used to really like foundation piecing, but did not enjoy making this one.  I think it would have been easier to traditionally piece.

The other block I finished was Prarie Queen from Knit One-Quilt Too in Kuna.  I used their purple, but swapped out the pastel purple in the kit for the lime.
I probably should have used black instead since this is the only block so far w/o black.  Hmm...I'll have to do one of the remaining ones w/o black so it isn't lonely.
That brings me up to 12 blocks with 3 yet to go.  I may need to make up one of my own so I have 4 rows of 4.  This was the first time I've ever done the full shop hop and only time I've bought block kits.  It will probably also be the last time I ever buy block kits.  Oh well, at least $14 of my spending will go to Project Linus.

And yesterday I got a call from my LQS saying I had won something from the drawing from people who had visited all 14 shops.  I was really hoping for the grand prize of $55 gift certificates from each shop...but I got a pattern, some charms and 6 fat quarters in jewel tones.  Cool.   Just what I need...more things to add to my WIP pile.

WIPs on Wednesdays

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Thread Experiment

While cruising Quilt Market, we found ourselves at many thread vendors and saying "We teach mostly hand applique and hand quilting classes.  What do you have that we should know about."   As a result we scored some great thread samples.

While I was working on one of the blocks for Ester Aliu's Quilt Along (WIP # 14), I would stitch a length of one thread, then swap to another until I'd tested all the greens that we had received, as well as every green we had in my project bags and Anna's house. 

The thread in front is my standard applique thread:  YLI Silk in a 100 weight.  The middle 3 are the new ones (left-to-right): Clover silk #50,   InvisiFil Poly #100, YLI Soft Touch cotton#60.  Back row is the stash which includes an Aurifil #50 cotton and a Metzler #50 cotton. I used all the threads right off the spool with no wax or silicon conditioner.

Not surprisingly, both the YLI Silk and InvisiFil resulted in nearly invisible stitches.  I need to try again as I work on the next block since I was stitching the light green stems to which the InvisiFil thread was a much better color match than the YLI Silk.

Anna did a similar experiment while stitching down her Mimbres Fish Applique. She makes her stitches closer together than I do, and pulls her thread tighter with each stitch.  She felt that the YLI Soft Touch wasn't as "slippery" as the YLI silk so the needle was less likely to unthread itself while stitching.  When the silk was waxed, it eliminated that problem.

I wasn't impressed with Clover's silk for applique, but I am looking forward to using it for quilting.  Which gave me an idea for making an entirely silk quilt from some old silk blouses and some fabric that I bought for a blouse and never made.  Besides, quilt fabric now costs as much as silk...might as well explore some new options.   Hmmm...that's WIW (Waiting in the Wings) project #11.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Blue Lemonade

Today I had the house to myself and was psyched to get some serious quilt project action going.  But at some point I realized that I had to organize the "stuff".  Which was good, until I realized that I have 15 WIPs.  And another 13 projects for which I have all the parts, but haven't actually cut into the material.  Pathetic eh?

But I did finish piecing "Blue Lemonade".    This quilt is named in honor of the Blogger's Meet-up at the Blue Lemon at International Quilt Market in SLC . 

These are fabrics I wouldn't have purchased, but when life gives you lemons....
I was so busy talking I forgot to take pictures...but here's the ones Amy snagged.  Go see more of them at the Meet up Blog.  This combo of photos pretty much sums up my experience.  I talked with John from Quilt Dad, and had lunch earlier that day with Victoria from Bumble Beans.  I was so busy enjoying the food and talking with 2 bloggers from Utah, that by the time I was ready to work the crowd, the give-away was over and most people had left.

Inside those pretty gift bags were some great goodies.

I managed to talk Anna into trading me her 5" charm squares of Kaufman 30's repros from the gift bag for the 2.5" sets of  both French General and Cabbages & Roses we'd acquired earlier in the day. This is the fabric that became Blue Lemonade.

I had planned to do a "disappearing 9-patch" but when the color distribution didn't work like I'd imagined, I decided to use the new toy.

This is my new favorite tool.  The Bloc Loc has a divot routed down the diagonal, which catches on the seam, so you can push down with one finger on the pivot point...

Spin the block and ruler in the pivot point that's your finger....

Then slide the ruler diagonally down the seam to the size block you want and trim.

Here's their promo video if that doesn't make sense to you.

My friend Baily asked if I'd teach her local quilt group how to applique.  So today, I did Cindy's Flip-Flop block from  from the Shop Hop using 3 different applique techniques.  The soles & straps are back-basting applique, the flower I stitched 2 pieces right-sides together, then turned through a slit on the back to make dimensional petals.  The flower center is a yo-yo, using a nickel to press the yo-yo into roundness submission, then removed, re-pressed and hand appliqued in place.

I also finished the "Hearts and Diamonds" block from Stitch n' Snip in Garden Valley, with substitution of every color except the purple.

Sadly, tomorrow, I must go back to work.  But I have a lot of ideas that I wrote up as draft blog posts during Quilt Market, so I'll have posts all week, where I usually wouldn't.

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Maybe a full week of quilt activities is too much.  I started seeing llamas everywhere. (This was across from the quilt shop in Logan).

And, I was really paying attention to the conversation we were having at the Bluebird Cafe ... except when I was taking this photo under the table of the tile work.

I spent Wednesday evening trimming up HST with my cool new tool.   Which resulted in perfect squares...

and a pile of confetti.

I'll blog more about that quilt top which I'm calling "Blue Lemonaide" and it's story later....

...but here it is being ironed in Renae Allen's amazing studio.  On the right is Anna of Victoria Rose Quilts being coached on free motion quilting by Renae.  Actually, I was the one who got most of the coaching....  I need TONS of practice.

And then I went to visit my mom, Betty Jeanne.  You can probably guess from this photo why the quilt I'm making for her is blue and white.  I caught her salting the margarita glasses.   Whooo Hoooo!

And at long last, I made it home late this morning.  I managed to unload the car while Harley Dude was out on a ride, so the real volume of my shopping will never be known.   A little more gardening to finish then I'm off to bail my machine out of the shop.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Keeping Utah Quilt Shops In Business

I'm still in Utah, and after a day to recover from Quilt Market, Anna & I hopped in the car under the pretense we were going to IKEA.  But we managed to get sidetracked at quiltshops in Brigham City, Sandy, Nephi, Springville and West Jordan.  Which is where I bought these batiks for the stash.  (On my way to have lunch today with my husband's cousin, I stopped at 2 more shops in Ogden...they're included in the photo too.)

During my drive from Boise I had carefully designed in my head a quilt that would use up the Hullabaloo Layer Cake that I won from Cut To Pieces with only the addition of a grey sashing.  But then another design popped in my head with a large, pink, appliqued llama.  Needless to say, I now have enough fabric for 3 quilts.  Plus a yard of a grey that's not in the photo that looked like a reasonable match in the shop and is  brown/green in the sober light of day.

We did make it to IKEA, where it was my plan to buy some cotton sheets to use for quilt backs as well as for piecing.  I recently used cotton sheets for both the Joseph's Coat and the Double Irish Casserole and I was very pleased with the result - a wrinkliness that adds texture. 

So if my husband asks...I just bought bedding. 

But I was giddy with joy when I figured out that I had square inch equivalent of 62.5 yards of fabric at $1.87/yard.

Life is good.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Quilt Market Update

On my drive to Utah, I made one detour.  The text to Harley Dude said "Safety stop to wash bugs off a quilt Jerome."  to which he replied "Yea...right" and I insisted "No, really.  Safest place to do so. Quilters have sharp tools and are very protective of their own kind."

I made a couple purchases from the wall of bargains.  Pictured are : the rest of the bolt of a really good red with blue flowers that will likely become the back of the State Quilt, the rest of the bolt that will become the back of whatever the Hullabaloo Layer Cake that I won becomes, a yard of an orangeish-red for which I have no purpose,  and 1/3 yard of a batik that I didn't yet own.  Of course there was plenty of chatting going on at the cutting table which lead to my pulling the Charley Harper Cat out of the trunk for The Gathering Place gals to oogle while I powdered my nose.  Funny thing is, that I kept running into those Rupert Gals repeatedly at Market. 

Anna and I attended quilt market Friday and Saturday.  When we arrived Friday morning, Renae insisted that she didn't really need our help and she sent us on our merry way.  We did a lot of mobile marketing; When people asked what we did, our reply was along the lines of "We are here with Renae Allen of RGA Designs who does the Skillsbuilder series for free motion home quilting."  We stopped and chatted mostly with people who had designs that would work for the Western Heritage Arts Center Quilt Workshops in West Yellowstone, MT, products that we could use while teaching the handwork series there, products that we would like the Send It Home shop in West Yellowstone to carry for class attendees to purchase, and designers from Utah & Idaho with whom we wanted to establish some blogging relationships (give aways, guest bloggers, etc).   This photo is Cheryl Gunn & her sister of Walzing With Bears.  I have a funny story I'll share later about how I seem to run into her everywhere!  I'll be doing a series of posts related to items we received and plan to try over the next several weeks.  I had so much fun meeting up with people I'd only met via blogging, and made several new friends whom I plan to keep in touch with.  

At the end of each day, Anna & I did a debriefing of our "Favorite Things" and we could only narrow it down to one person and one thing each day.  Our Friday Favorites include a long chat with Pepper Cory about hand-work and buying Sample Spree leftover Batiks.  Saturday was lunch with Victoria Findlay Wolfe of Bumble Beans Inc and talking with the thread companies about what threads they have for handwork and why we should buy theirs rather than someone else's. 

I spent Sunday test driving threads and needles and have a series of post with my discoveries.  But right now, I really must be going...there's a valley full of quilt shops to visit and an idea for pink llama applique that must get out of my head...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Joseph's Coat

My huge accomplishment of the year was finally finishing the Joseph's Coat that was my older daughter's high school graduation gift.  I thought you might enjoy seeing as part of your Blogger's Quilt Festival Tour.

It was my very first Quilt Along hosted by Kellie at Don't Look Now and was the reason that I started blogging.  Now I've made over 200 blog posts and just launched a professional blog to share nutrition tips and tidbits.  I guess blogging is every bit as addicting as quilting.

I made so many new quilting friends world-wide in the process of making this quilt.  I love the support, encouragement and the kind of ooooo's and ahhhhh's that keep a project from becoming abandoned.

It is all hand appliqued and hand quilted.  It took upwards of 400 hours to complete over the course of 16 months.

Now...if I could just finish those other 14 projects that are in various stages of completion!

Thanks for stopping by my blog.  Take time to look around.  Although applique is my first love, I seem to be sucked into crazy ideas that require piecing and quilting.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Road Trip!

My bags are packed and I'm about to start loading it into the car and heading to SLC.  The great irony is that I have 1 bag of clothing and 9 containers of projects.  If I don't forget, I also need to drop my machine off at the Sewing Machine Spa on my way out of town.  I'm looking forward to Quilt Market, then a very unplanned week of visiting and sewing with a friend in Brigham City, UT.  Will also be taking the long way home via Idaho Falls to deliver my mom's belated Mother's Day gift.

Hmmm...looking at this photo makes me wonder what I've forgotten to pack.  Wallet, phone, chargers, camera, underwear, Girl Scout cookies, water, coffee mug.  I guess I can survive without anything else as long as I have those essentials.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Give Away Winners

Here's a picture of my "purse project".  I've been hand stitching HST blocks at meetings and waiting rooms for the past year.  At my all day Friday meeting, I started joining them into 16-patch blocks.  These are the "leftovers" from the 20  State Blocks that I have finished.  I think I figured that I'd need around 1000 HST blocks for this quilt.

With the help of the Random Number Generator, I have my give away winners.  
The Applique Set goes to:

Fran Russell said...

Glad to meet a friend of Celeste - I'm a relatively new quilt bud of hers.
I'm a follower and I'm interested in the goodies you're giving away! Either will do!

And the Piecer's Set to: 

Becky said...

Congrats on reaching 200 posts! Both are fabulous giveaways! I love them both, but my first choice would be the one for piecers, which is what I do most. Have a wonderful Mother's Day!

Now I'm off to enjoy whatever Mother's day brings.  My request was "anything I don't have to plan, decide about or clean up after".  

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Thank You USPS

I think that quilters are the only thing keeping the US Postal Service viable.

After admiring and following Deborah at The Blue Hare for the past year, I finally broke down and bought some of her hand dyed fabric that she blogs about at Quilt Routes and sells in her Etsy shop.    I'm not sure what I'm going to make yet...but I'm thinking of something with white that "tastes" like orange sorbet with Greek honey yogurt and fresh raspberries.

She won some batik charms in one of my give-aways and made this!  Check out more pictures of this amazing work on her blog. 
I was so excited to get a fabric post card with some of the scraplets coming back to my house!

My Harujion Design purse came yesterday!!!

Hiromi plans to blog about it, so here's just a sneak peak of the hand embroidered dragonfly!    She also has an Etsy shop where you can buy her work.

This was supposed to be my birthday present...but I'm claiming it for Mother's Day and have already moved all my junk into it.

Almost as exciting as the fabric-related purchases is my new, spill-proof key board.  Ever since the Syrah Debacle, I haven't been able to add, use decimals or enter using the number keyboard.    Some might argue that I could quit drinking wine while surfing quilt porn at night...but what's the fun in that?

Meanwhile, I'm still hand quilting the fur on my gigantic Charley Harper cat.  That process has become strange in that I have to quilt from the back side so I can see where I'm stitiching.

And I'm getting excited for Quilt Market.  I'll be helping Renae Allen of RGA Designs at her booth, and I scored tickets for the Bloggers Quilt Market Meetup at the Blue Lemon.  This is as much fun as last year when I connected with old high school friends via Face Book, then met up with a dozen of them over the summer when I was traveling!

Happy Mother's Day....I need to spend the rest of today deciding how I want to cash in on that holiday  (I've asked the cosmetologist daughter for a pedicure, but the DH and DD are still asking me what I want.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

200th Post Give Away

If Oprah can give away her favorite can I.
I have 2 stacks of goodies - one for appliquers and one for piecers.

I started "collecting" yellows in the early 1990's when my guild-friend Celeste convinced me that "good yellows are hard to find - buy them when you find them".  At first I thought she was crazy, but then discovered she's right!  (I just reconnected with her today via Facebook!  Hi Celeste!!!) This is a stack of a dozen of 9" pieces in yellow/orange that are perfect flower centers and petals.  There's a spool of YLI silk thread that makes the hand stitches vanish.  Plus some Thread Heaven thread conditioner for tangle-free stitching. This is my favorite thimble, but after I snapped the picture, I remembered that I have 2 other styles of thimbles that I'll throw in so you can find YOUR favorite.  I also need to pop by the LQS and buy some applique needles to include.

But I know that some of my quilty friends wouldn't be caught dead hand-stitching.  So here's another collection from my stash.  There are 80 charm squares (5") in assorted lime and fuschia print fabrics.  I have those bundled up with some fat quarters.  I like making Half-Square-Triangles with charms, so I'm including my favorite tool for marking those diagonal marking lines.  And a tool for un-piecing...(maybe I'm the only one who makes mistakes...perhaps you don't need this.)  The adorable tape measure is just because it's cute and matches the fabric.

Basic give-away rules apply:  1 entry for leaving any comment.  A second entry if you are a follower (and post a comment that you are).  Third entry for blogging about it.  If you are only interested in one of the combos, be sure to note that in your comment. And finally, I need to be able to contact you so make sure that you are NOT a "no-reply blogger" or that you include an email in your comment.  I'll draw the winners on Sunday, May 8th.