Pieceful Monday

It’s Pieceful Monday once again, so let me show you what I’ve been up to. I’ve been having fun with some purple batiks, making a mini quilt, and getting down and dusty with my machine.

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Quilt Show Preparation

My schedule changed quite a bit over the weekend, somewhat unexpectedly. I had to cancel some fun outings I had planned with friends and, thankfully, they were graciously understanding. I took a short road trip to help my brother and sister-in-law prepare for a quilt show.

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Churn Dash Mini

Churn Dash blocks are one of my favorite quilt blocks to make. The block goes together so quickly and easily, and yet it is so versatile. With a change of just one color, you can completely change the look of the block. Recently I stumbled across a book with a cute little churn dash mini quilt pattern. I got the book for a song, and already had all the fabric in my stash.

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Handy Bags

I dislike coming home with so many of those plastic shopping bags that cannot be recycled, so I decided to find a pattern to make my own bags. So today I want to share a couple of handy bags I’ve made. Both of these bags have very common purposes and get quite a bit of use in our home and travels.

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Bits and Pieces Friday

At our quilt group last night, we shared our favorite tips for quilting. Here are a few that were new to me:

Pool Noodles – Pick up cheap pool noodles at the dollar store, cut them to size, and roll your blocks or smaller quilts tops on them. You can easily secure the quilts to the noodle with pins. Rolling the blocks/quilts avoids creases, and the noodles are light and easy to transport if you are heading to a sewing day.

Sandpaper – Okay, this wasn’t new to me, but thought I’d share it anyway. Sandpaper is a great base to use under fabric when you need to draw a diagonal line from corner to corner. It holds the fabric steady so there is less distortion to the bias as you draw the line.

Rubber Doorstops – Place three of these under the back of your machine and it will tilt the machine just enough so you can see the machine bed better.

Zipper Pouches – Make a few zipper pouches and fill each one with basic quilting items, like scissors, thimble, etc. Dedicate the pouches to projects you are working on, adding in the notions needed for that project. Then when you are ready to stitch, you can just grab the pouch and all your sewing items are already in there, ready to go.

Reusable Tins – Use the tins from mints, etc. to create little on-the-go sewing kits. Attach a magnet in the tin to hold needles, etc., clip it shut, and off you go.

I thought these were some clever tips using common household items. Do you have a clever, handy tip? Share it with us in the comments!

This weekend I hope to finish the blocks for the commission quilt, as well as finish these bits and pieces into little mini mini quilts or pin cushions.

I’m whooping it up today for handy quilting tips and little projects along the way with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Happy Friday, all!

Wendy

Cool Tool Update

A few of you asked a little more about the BlocLoc flying geese ruler after Monday’s post. I played around with it a bit more, and I have a little update to share with you today.

The question asked was whether you could use the FG ruler with multiple sizes. The BlocLoc website indicates that the FG rulers are size specific. Some of the other rulers, such as the squares and the rectangles, can be used on multiple sizes. However, read on and I’ll show you another use for the FG ruler below.

Before I do that, however, I’ll show you how to downsize the block using the FG ruler. It’s pretty simple. I made a couple of larger blocks using the same method as Monday’s post.

Placing the ruler on the larger blocks, you can see there will be quite a bit of waste after cutting.

Once cut, I sewed them together and they worked beautifully, so you could use the ruler for this if necessary.

Block before cutting on top; after cutting on bottom.

But here’s the thing — you can also use the FG ruler for Square in a Square blocks. I think it makes squaring these blocks easier because the ruler sets firmly in each edge.

Set the ruler’s groove in one triangle of the block.

Trim the side, lift the ruler and turn the block a quarter turn, put the ruler in place, trim, and repeat, going around each side. It’s pretty slick. Because of how the ruler sits in the groove, you never lose the 1/4″ seam allowance by the point of the triangle. You can the FG ruler on blocks up to the size of the ruler.

More information on these rulers can be found at the BlocLoc website. I’m not an affiliate, i’m just enjoying these rulers.

Happy stitching!

Wendy

Cool Tool Monday

While I’ve been working on the commission quilt, I’ve also been having some fun trying out some tools in my quilt room. One of those tools is a BlocLoc ruler for flying geese.

I’ll be honest, this ruler was a bit of an impulse buy. I’ll also be honest and tell you that I really don’t like making flying geese blocks. So I figured the ruler might make it more enjoyable, and I was right.

Of course, the first thing is to cut the pieces for the block. I’m using some scrap pieces from my stash, an Amy Butler print, a coordinating print, and a soft grey.

I have the Amy Butler print wrong side up for the cutting because the print blended in to my mat and ruler, making it difficult to see the cutting lines. It made it easier to cut with the fabric wrong side up.

Once all the pieces were cut, I was ready to make the blocks using the traditional method.

First was to draw the diagonal lines on the squares.

Then sew the squares onto the rectangles, first one side, then the other.

One side stitched.

Now, here comes the part that makes this tool so fun. BlocLoc rulers have grooves on them that fit against the seams of the block. With this ruler, the grooves fit right into the larger triangle or goose part of the block. It snugs right up against the seam line and stays put while you trim.

Then you just trim off the excess fabric. There was very little waste fabric.

Stitching the blocks together was a breeze.

Like my little kitty scissors? Haha. It was a freebie in an order, and they kinda stuck around.

So that’s my cool tool for today. By the way, I’m not an affiliate for BlocLoc. I just like the rulers.

Wendy

Little Friday Finish

Sometimes it’s just the little things that make me feel good. Here’s a few from this week.

On March 1st, BigJ and I had a date night to celebrate our engagement 30 years ago. 30 years! It seems like yesterday. I haven’t aged a bit – ha! We went on a little drive, which took us back to the place where he proposed — Diamond Bluff. There is a much longer story to it, of course. You’ll have to ask if you want to hear it, but it’s too long for a quilting blog post!

Earlier that day, I spent some time with a couple of quilty friends, sipping coffee and doing some stitching while we chattered away. See? It’s the little things that make me happy.

I am 9 blocks away from having all the blocks completed for the commission quilt. Another little thing that makes me happy!

Today I made a little tiny finish. It’s my first finish for the year, in miniature form. One of BigJ’s co-workers, who has become a friend to me, had a birthday this week and I wanted to make something for her.

I pulled out my scraps and started to play. I wanted it to be bright and cheery, because sometimes the job she does can be a challenge. I decided to call this little project a “therapy mug mat” — something happy for her to look at when she needs cheering up.

This is what I came up with.

The block is square, truly! My aim with the picture? Not so much!

I had a little fun with some free motion quilting. I consider it not bad for a newbie to the whole FMQ thing. I made a wonky little star in the middle piece and then just organic wavy lines around the rest.

The block is made using Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s small template and concept from her book 15 Minutes of Play. It is so much fun, I will definitely be doing more of this!

That’s my little Friday finish. I hope she likes it!

Linking up today Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Amanda at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Have a great weekend, all!

Wendy

 

 

 

My Favorite Quilt

To be honest, each quilt I’ve made is a favorite in some way or another, but there is one particular quilt that still makes me smile whenever I think of it. I do not own the quilt; it was made for someone else. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, and let me tell you about it.

Connie and I have been friends for many years now. At the beginning over games of golf, which she still plays and I’ve taken a haitus. She has encouraged me not only in life, in golf (that’s another story for another time), but also in quilting. When she began long arm quilting, I wanted to encourage her in her growing business. One day Connie called me about a woman wanting a quilt made. Would I be interested in taking it on?

Here’s a little secret about me. There are a lot of things in life that I’m too chicken to try, but taking on a difficult quilting project is not one of them. I love the challenge of new things in quilting, just to see if I can do it.

So I said yes and asked about the quilt. Connie said the customer wanted a quilt with a Frank Lloyd Wright design. Ok, I’ll admit — I was a bit intimidated by that. You can imagine the patterns and lines that were running through my head.

I agreed to meet with Connie and Carol, the customer, to chat about the quilt and see what Carol had in mind. She had found a book with a Frank Lloyd Wright panel and wondered if I could make it into a queen size quilt. The panel measured approximately 14″ x 40″ as I recall.  I was excited to begin.

If my memory serves, the book where she had found the pattern for the panel was Quilts in the Tradition of Frank Lloyd Wright by Jackie Robinson, published back in 1995. I believe I found a copy of it at our library, and I was on my way.

I enjoy sketching out quilt designs on graph paper. It feeds my creativity — a little sketching, a little color, a little math. Well actually the math makes my brain hurt a bit, but I usually get it figured out. Once I had the design in my head and sketched out, we moved forward with the fabrics. The colors she chose were tan, burgundy and black. My plan was to make 3 panels and lay them side by side. The rest of the quilt would be a lighter tan/cream fabric. When finished, it would be a queen size quilt.

If you are familiar with Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs, you will know that they are very linear in nature. Straight lines that intersect, or chevrons. I was thankful there were no chevrons!

The black fabric represented the leading in the panel. I remember that the black strips were cut at 3/4″, so after sewing they finished at 1/4″. I was still fairly new at quilting, so mine were probably closer to 3/8″. At any rate, they were tiny when finished!

The first panel went together well. I got the second one done and laid it next to the first one, to make sure they were coming out even. It was then I realized that I had shifted one of the little burgundy squares to the wrong place. I had to rip the entire panel apart to fix it! That done, I moved on to the third panel.

Third one done, I laid all three panels out on the floor. I have no idea how, but one panel was longer than the other two. Not knowing where the mistake was, and not really wanting to rip yet one more panel apart, I wondered what I could do. And then it came to me — why not offset the longer panel just a bit from the other two. Problem solved!

Once I had the top done, it was Connie’s turn to work her longarm magic. To bring the focus to the panels, she just quilted in the ditch on each one. She crosshatched the rest of the quilt. She also made the pillows you see on the bed in the photo.

Carol was nice enough to invite me out to see the quilt once it was on her bed. I have to say, it was stunning. The house was newly built, and they had matched the paint in the bedroom to the colors in the quilt.

To this day, I still get excited when I think about making this quilt. It was nerve wracking but really fun. I enjoyed the challenge!

Happy stitching, all! Enjoy the challenge!

Wendy

Pieceful Monday

Well, what a weekend. Sometimes things just don’t work out like you plan. There was a big snowstorm headed our way this past weekend. And there was a big ski race in the works. A great combination, you would think. We made some changes to our schedule to avoid driving in the storm, leaving late Thursday evening and heading to Duluth. Friday we would head to our hotel for the ski race.

Friday morning, I woke up to this beautiful view of Lake Superior. Usually the lake is frozen, but with the unseasonably warm winter weather we’ve had this year, Superior is all open water.

BigJ has had it on his bucket list to ski the American Birkiebeiner, a 55k x-country ski race, and this was the year. So after a late breakfast/lunch, we headed for Hayward, Wisconsin to pick up his race gear. Here’s our view as we drove along. Notice anything missing?

No snow, or very little. The storm track, which the race authorities were depending on, went south, so no snow meant no race. Poor guy. He was pretty disappointed, but we picked up the bib, hat and other race items. This is the second cancellation in the history of the race, so it was worth picking up the memorabilia.

We came home to about 4 inches of snow. Life is funny sometimes.

I had packed up some stitching to do while I waited for him to finish the race. I didn’t have time to work on any of them, since we arrived in Duluth around midnight, and we came home on Friday after the race had been canceled.

So this is all basted and ready for me to hand quilt. That will keep me busy for a few days. The saying still makes me chuckle.

Saturday I spent the day working on the commission quilt blocks. I have six blocks ready to be stitched together, which will bring me to almost 2/3rds done with the blocks. Yippee! I’ll work on those today.

While I haven’t been doing much quilting other than the commission quilt, I have been stocking my quilting library. Bernie from Needle and Foot contacted me to let me know I had won this book in one of her giveaways. If you haven’t met Bernie, head over to her blog and get to know her. She’s a gem! I’m very pleased and already have my eye on one of the patterns in this book for a precut that’s been patiently waiting on my shelf. Thanks, Bernie!

I have a quieter week ahead, so I’m hoping to spend a good chunk of it with my sewing machine.

Happy Monday, all!

Wendy