Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sewing for Christmas

I don't do Pinterest.  I can find enough things to keep me busy without looking for it!  These two projects enticed me enough to work on them.  It also helps that I am not looking to start any big projects until after the first of the year.  Well, that's not true, I am doing Bonnie Hunter's 2013 Mystery Quilt at  So I am just looking for a few small projects to hold me over till the next clues come out.
I saw this project on Facebook.  Quiltville had posted a link to the tutorial. I was needing a Christmas table runner, and this certainly fit the bill.  The only special ruler it needed was a 60 degree ruler, which I just happened to have.  Hubby really likes this, which is always a bonus!

I found the tutorial for this modern poinsettia block on The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.  I decided to make a pillow out of my block, which was 20 1/2" unfinished.  It required the Quick Curve Ruler, which I also happened to have.  Yeah, I'm a ruler collector.  Gotta have 'em.  You never know when you are going to need just that one special ruler to get the job done.
The cool thing with both projects, is that I used only stash fabric and batting.  Even the pillow form was in my closet, waiting for me to make a pillow for it.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Red and Cream Quilt, or how to make a quilt in 4 days!

Well, I didn't start out with the intentions of making this a "mystery" quilt.  It just sort of serendipitously ended up that way!  Here's the story.
Several years ago, my local guild did a birthday block swap.  The swap committee chose the pattern, and if you signed up to participate, you chose the colors you wanted.  I have always loved the look of a red and cream quilt, and loved the look of the block, so I signed up.  I received 16 9" blocks.  Not much you can do with  those.  So I put them on a pants hanger (my favorite way of storing blocks while waiting for inspiration) to let them "mellow".

Two years later, we did another birthday block swap.  Again a 9" block.  So I signed up, and again asked for red and cream.  I think I got 11 or 13.  Still not enough.

This year, the Chocolate Chicks, another small group that I belong to, is doing a Churn Dash Stash Buster.  You know where I am going with this, yes, I asked for red and cream!  Surely I would have enough blocks to make this quilt!  I received 21 8" blocks (well, it should have been an even #, but that is all I could find, so either someone made me 1, or 3, or I lost one!)

Working with EQ7, I tried a variety of designs mixing the first two blocks.  But I never really liked the look.  I decided to just let each of the different swaps sing in their own groupings!

I LOVE the secondary design that this block creates!  Sixteen different quilters, sixteen different ideas of red and cream.  But what harmony they created when they came together!
I had to make a few more of the double dutch nine patches for the second round.  No problem, as I had plenty of reds and creams in my stash.  I decided onpoint would give more interest.  I used a red Moda Marbles for the setting triangles.  A cream batik from my stash was used for the filler border.
Now, to handle the next border.  To make it totally with the churn dash blocks would require 32, and I didn't feel like making 11 more.  I decided to separate them with 6X8" rectangles of red and cream.  That nicely framed the blocks and let them sing.  I chose to do an hourglass unit for the corners also to frame the churn dash blocks.
On to that final border!  I had to make a field trip to Sew Sassy, my local quilt shop, to buy more of that red! I didn't want to just put a plain border on it, but didn't want anything too fussy, either.  Borrowing from a trick that Debbie Caffrey showed us when she taught at our guild this spring, I put a 1" cream inset into the final red border.  Just the right touch, I think!
So that is how I put together a huge quilt (I think it is 96" square) in just 4 days!


Monday, October 28, 2013

Comfort Quilts

Quilters are know for their generosity.  One of the ways that we show it is by making comfort quilts.  I have been involved with many comfort quilts over the years.  Most of the time I simply provided a block to be added into a quilt that someone else would be putting together and quilting.  Often, I wouldn't even personally know the person who would be receiving the quilt.  It doesn't matter. If I can spread love and comfort, and say a prayer for another human being, then it is always a good thing.
My most recent comfort quilt was for a dear friend of my hubby.  They have known each other since 1955!  They have stayed in contact through the years and the miles.  They met in high school.  Hubby grew up in Chicago and attended Loyola Academy. Recently, his friend was diagnosed with cancer.  The nurse in me wanted to know the details; the quilter in me wanted to make a quilt for him.
My friend Mickey Depre recently made a quilt for her brother-in-law using a Bonnie Hunter pattern in Chicago Bears colors (orange and blue, go Illini!). I went to Bonnie's free pattern tab to check out her offerings.  Scrappy Mountains Majesty struck my fancy, so I recreated it in EQ7 using navy blue and orange.  Funny thing, the orange pieces looked like fish to me.  Brain flash!  Our friend lives in Boca Raton, FL and is an avid boater and diver!
So I "dived" into my stash and pulled all my turquoises, teals, aquas, corals, yellows, and fabrics that reminded me of a coral reef.

I renamed it "Oceans Majesty". I quilted it on my friend's Gammill longarm in an allover swirly design.  They received it last week, and I certainly hope and pray it gives him comfort as he is fighting this horrible disease.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Past Heritage, New Traditions

That was our theme for Illini Country Stitcher's 2013 Quilt Show!  This was my second time chairing our biennial quilt show.  It is a lot of work, but it is enjoyable to see ideas come to fruition, and to have a chance to display all our guild members' immense talent!  At times it is like herding cats, but you just gotta love it!  I'll blog later about the show itself, but now I am just gonna brag a bit on myself!
I entered 7 quilts into the show, in 6 different categories.  I came home with 7 ribbons, but one quilt didn't win anything.  So I will start with that one!
Resting Amongst the Cone Flowers was a quilt inspired by a class with Ellen Anne Eddy through our guild last summer.  I thread painted the bunny and the dragonfly in class.  The background fabric is some of her hand dyed fabric.  It was entered in the art/innovative class.  The competition was stiff, and I was not surprised that I did not win a ribbon there.
This Double Wedding ring quilt was entered in the Antique class.  It was gifted to me by my Uncle Howie when I got married.  He said it was made by my Greatgrandmother Matilda Bell.  However....she passed away in the late 1920s, and this quilt contains many printed feedsack fabrics which were not manufactured until the 1930s.  So we have a family mystery quilter!  This quilt won third place!
This quilt was from a pattern in Quilter's World magazine last fall.  I fell in love with it.  I donated this quilt to a local charity for their silent auction, then purchased it back.  It placed third in large wall hangings.
This quilt belongs to my hubby, and he insisted that I enter it in the show, as he likes it better than the above quilt.  It was also made and donated to the same charity, and hubby purchased it through the silent auction.  Both quilts were in the same category, Large Wall Hanging, and hung across from each other in the show.  It placed second!  Hubby says, I told you so!  I am proud to say that this quilt (well the top, anyway) has been to Houston!  I took it there when I took a class with Teri Lucas to get her opinion on how to quilt it!  Thanks, Teri!
My small group, Material Girls, had a row swap last year.  I requested a Christmas themed quilt.  I was just overjoyed when I was gifted with my rows!  I had a lot of fun deciding how to place my rows and then quilt it!  It placed second in group wall quilts.
This little gem has won before, at the Midwest Heritage Quilt Show.  This was started in a class with Sally Collins at the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show in 2012. It now has won two first place ribbons!
This beauty won first place in Mixed/Other (meaning more than one technique was used, ie. a combination of paper piecing, and applique) and Best of Show!  This started life as a Block of the Month through The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. The design was by Sarah Vedeler, although I modified the design starting in month 6!  I call this Sedona Joy, because it was a joy to work with such beautiful colors!
I am still flabbergasted that I won so many ribbons.  The competition was truly marvelous, and people were constantly sighing and saying how hard it was to make a choice!  Counting the ballots took the committee 5 hours because there were many ties!  I am so proud of our guild and the great talent that our members posses!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Meet AnnaMarie

I have developed a new obsession...vintage Singer Sewing Machines!  It started innocently enough.  A few years ago I thought owning a Featherweight dated 1954 (the year I was born) would be really cool.  So I scoured Ebay until I found one that looked decent, and won the bidding!  You can see the past blog post here.
So earlier this month I started checking out our local Craigslist for Featherweights.  Haven't found any yet.  Found out that my Schwann's salesman (Schwann's is a door to door frozen food) and his wife are pickers.  Which means they prowl estate sales and auctions for unique items that they sell on Ebay.  I have Ed on the lookout for Featherweights and other vintage Singers.  In return, I will advise him on quilts that he picks up.
The above machine, a 1925 Model 99, I purchased at a local consignment store.  I was made aware of her through Facebook when two different individuals posted this picture on my page:
Yes, she looks kinda rough in this photo.  The bentwood case actually looks better than the photo.  I am totally in love with these cases!  They are just works of art!  Like most of them, the case is missing its key.  So far I have not found a supplier for this part in the USA.
So far, I haven't seen this foot control before.  It actually looks pretty cool.
What didn't look cool was this splice job into the motor to supply power to the light.  It is a Singer light, and I can't find that this is a typical way to get power to the light.  Although hubby and I took down the splices, resoldered and taped, I am still a bit leary about using this.
Solution, an aftermarket handcrank!  Would love to find a vintage handcrank, but will keep an eye on the market.  Anyway, I cleaned her up, oiled her up.  I used Mother's Mag and Aluminum Polish on the bright pieces, and Blue Magic TR3 on the paint, and she is looking mighty fine.  I threaded her up this evening, adjusted the upper tension, and cranked out a beautiful stitch!
And I am calling her AnnaMarie.  My paternal grandmother's name was Anna.  I have always felt a strong bond with her, despite the fact that she died 10 years before I was born.  Her youngest daughter's name (my aunt) was AnnaMarie.  I always liked that name.   

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Grand Rapids-Part 2

One of the best things about going to quilt shows are the classes!  I really am a quilt class junkie.  I love learning new techniques, meeting the teachers and the authors.  Getting to pick their brains on how to better my own quilting!  I love it!
My first class was with Katie Pasquini Masopust.  This was on color theory.  Our pre class requirement was to cut two 2 1/2 inch squares of fabrics from our stash.  Minimum of 100 was requested.  We had one energetic soul who cut over 400!  At the start of the class, we dumped all our precious squares in the middle of the table, and stirred!  Then the fun and the magic began!

By searching through squares, we each built a color wheel.  We talked about values at the same time.  What was so great was learning about color by using real fabrics that we have access to.
We then built samplers based on color patterns, such as using complementary, analgous, triads, etc!  What fun and laughter we had that day!
My next class was with Linda Hahn.  Another fun class!  Linda and I have been friends on Facebook, and it was great to get to meet her in person!  Her paper piecing technique for New York Beauties is awesome!  I learned loads of new information, and met new friends in class!
And YEA!  I didn't end up with a class UFO!  My class project is completed and ready to be quilted!  Hubby loves it, so it will get a high ranking on the to be quilted pile!
Sorry, but no pictures with my third class, and the real reason I went to Grand Rapids.  I attended David Taylor's Photoshop for Quilters lecture.  I have been wanting to learn more about Photoshop, and David's lecture helped.  He recommends Visual QuickStart Guide as the best guide to help you with Photoshop.  You can get a guide specific for the specific Photoshop program that you have (I have Photoshop Elements 8).  David is a great teacher, and totally approachable!  A great class.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Grand Rapids....part 1

I totally intended to blog about my trip to AQS QuiltWeek at Grand Rapids much closer to when I had been to Grand Rapids!  My bad!  To quote my friend Stephanie, once you get out of the habit of blogging, it is hard to get back on track.
We stayed at the Amway Grand which was just down the street from the DeVos center where QuiltWeek was.  What a beautiful, glorious old hotel!  It is as much of a showcase today as I am sure it was when it was first erected!  Beautiful wood work, chandeliers.  And the staff was just as amazing as the building itself.  Everyone was friendly, and so very helpful!  The only complaint was that the ice machine for our floor, which was conveniently located just a few doors from our room, was out of order!  Oh well, the exercise down the steps and back to the floor below was good for me!
Traveling with hubby who needs a handicap accessible bathroom is always an iffy proposition.  And I was a bit concerned with staying at a older hotel that was build before the American with Disabilities Act was enacted.  Not to worry!  The handicapped rooms were originally set up with 36" doorways to facilitate the movement of furniture for displays for a local furniture store.  The room door had an electric door opener activated by a switch from the inside which would open the door and keep it open for 30 seconds!  No more holding the  door open and trying to stay out of the way.
The bathroom was the best!  Double French style doors opened up to a beautiful modern bath, with a spacious roll-in shower.
Plenty of light, and great towels!
The refrigerator was hidden inside a cupboard.  And coffee in room!  A must!  Only real complaint was that there could have been more electrical outlets.  But we always travel with a power strip because of Wayne's CPAP machine, so we were set!
Downtown Grand Rapids is a beautiful city!  There are lots of restaurants and attractions, which makes it a wonderful walkable place!
This is a building reflected by another building.  The early evening light was great!
Grand Rapids was home to Gerald R. Ford, and his Presidential Museum is located across the river from our hotel.  This is a piece of the Berlin Wall located in the front lobby.  Going through the museum and reading the events the preceded his nomination to Vice President and subsequent succession to the presidency was very interesting.  To the younger crowd, this is history.  To me, this was the evening news!
This was a very important part of Ford's thought process.  It was quoted many times with in the museum.  This plaque was at the Fords' grave site.
This cute, giganto button was in a green space near the museum.  We happened upon as we walked to evening mass.
We attended two masses while in Grand Rapids.  Fortunately, St. Mary's was 0.7 miles from the hotel. The first was a vigil mass for the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.  The vigil mass was a Spanish mass, but we could follow along.  The priest talked with us afterwards.  He had been ordained only 2 months earlier.  It was so great to see the future face of the church.  The next mass was on Saturday evening, and we got there early.  This old church was built by the German community early in the 20th century.  The stained glass depicted many different Biblical scenes.  One of the parishioners gave us a brochure they have to explain the windows and the altars and their histories!  How friendly!
Of course, we had to eat!  This is Wayne studying the menu at Cinco de Mayo.  I love the siesta-ing guys on the back of his booth!
And what's a vacation without a little nightcap at the end of a hard day!  Nazdrowie!
And the best part of going to the quilt shows is meeting up with friends!  I am so blessed to have so many friends around the country!  Stephanie and her family live in Kalamazoo.  We drove down and ate supper with them at their favorite restaurant Bold.  A wonderful evening of great food and even greater conversation!
Now that I have broken the ice with this blog, surely I can finish up the series with my classes and the show itself!  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Retreat and Debbie Caffery Workshop

July has been a good month.  We have had unseasonably mild weather here in E. Central Illinois.  Not to say that we haven't had some hot and humid days.  But as I am writing this wearing sweatpants and thinking about a sweater, well, I think you get the point!
One of the fun things for this month is getting started on a new project with Chocolate Chicks, one of my small groups.  We are doing a Churn Dash Stash Buster.  This is how we are doing it.  This month our hostess Cyndee entertained us (about 12 quilters) with appetizers and soft drinks.  She passed out a pattern for the Churn Dash that she wants, along with a fat quarter of a cream fabric to each quilter that she wants used as her background.  We are to use from our stash fabric for the churn dash.  She requested a print that reads "Red Solo Cup"! I think this nailed it!  I used three different prints from my stash.  She will receive three 7.5" finished blocks from each member, so she will have enough to make a quilt!  Each member takes a turn hosting! Simple appetizers, nothing fancy.  We have found out that there are so many different variations of the churn dash pattern.

I went to retreat with the Materials Girls (another small group I belong to) for a long weekend of sewing and girl fun!  We stayed at The Old Brick Inn in Chrisman!  Joy, the innkeeper, is a delightful hostess.  We ate wonderful meals in a cozy atmosphere.  I worked on several projects while there.  This was a miniature I had purchased the kit for at the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show this winter.  It is now on the to be quilted pile!
Last week my local guild hosted Debbie Caffrey for a lecture and two workshops!  I was unable to attend her PowerCutting workshop on Friday, but I was able to take her workshop Open a Can of Worms. There we learned some power cutting techniques, how to use the half square triangle ruler to make half square triangles and trapezoids.  These blocks I got done in the morning.

These I got done in the afternoon, sort of like extra credit!  These fabrics are the same fabrics I used in the Kaye England workshop a few months ago.  They are Christmas prints, so I will be able to make a sampler of workshop blocks at some point in time!  The diamond shape I am going to make a small medallion quilt with it!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Guest Blogger

I was the guest blogger today on Teri Lucas' blog that is devoted to faith and quilting!  I am very excited to be included in this venture!
A stained glass window in Notre Dame.

Monday, July 8, 2013

There's an app for that!

I would have to say that I am middle of the road when it comes to being tech savvy.  I do not shun all the new technology, nor am I first in line to get the latest and greatest.  I was very late in getting an iPod, and only got one when I saw a patient with an iTouch (pre iPad) and thought of all the wonderful things I could do with it besides listen to music.  I also resisted getting a smartphone.  Of course, that is all ancient history, as I am the proud owner of a Samsung Galaxy S4!
I am sure that I am not using it to its greatest capabilities.  I do depend on it for my calendar.  And I do use the camera.  And today I learned how to take screenshots...on purpose!  I have taken them accidently, but was never too sure how I did it.  The reason I wanted to know this new skill was to tell you about an app that I absolutely love!
At a quilting retreat I was thinking that I needed a way to inventory or category my quilting books, on my phone, so I would stop buying duplicate books.  God bless Amazon, which doesn't let me buy the same book twice from them.  But I don't always buy my books from Amazon, so I needed something more dependable.  That's when I thought, surely there is an app for that!  I asked our techy guru quilter if she knew if that was available.  She didn't know off hand, but a quick search found that there were several options available!

As I have an Android, I opted for Book Catalogue.  It is free (yea!) and got good reviews on several sites.  There are many similar options available to Apple products.

You can easily locate your books that you have added by author, or by books.  You can collapse or expand as needed. 

By touching a title, you can see a picture of the cover and all the pertinent details about the book.  There is even a place for you to make notes about the book.  And you can note if you have loaned a book to someone!

Adding a book is as easy as scanning the ISBN barcode that is located on the back cover of the book.  Older books will not have a barcode, but you can manually enter the ISBN.  The app will search Amazon, Google, and other internet areas for the book and bring up the information.  It also will tell you if you already have this catalogued.
I give this app a definite thumbs up!  Enjoy your day!




Sunday, June 30, 2013

Modern Mystery Quilt and good news!

Last fall, the  American Quilter's Society in their weekly OnPoint emagazine had a weekly Modern Mystery Quilt designed by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr.  I have always wanted to try my hand in the modern quilt movement (which I really think of as more of a minimalist look) so I downloaded the pattern dutifully every week. I did not start cutting and sewing until after I had all 6 weeks in hand.  Yeah, it is kinda like reading the last page of a novel to see how it ends before you start the book (I don't do that!).  But I will say that I had decided from the get go that I wanted to use a light grey as my background or field fabric (as they say in the modern movement) and I wanted to use soft blues and greens, something that looks like sea glass (or what this prairie girl thinks sea glass should look like!)
I had a lot of fun playing with the colors in this quilt!  I also amassed a large number of aquas! Having recently taken a class with Susan Cleveland and learned her Piping Hot
Curves technique, I decided to add red piping to my circles to make them pop!  I think of the circles as portholes!

My first thought was to use the open areas to do some intricate quilting.  But the quilt was telling me it wanted something different.  As you can see, I decided to do a sun-type pattern in the circles, with small circles in the central axis.  The rest of the quilt was quilted with long meandering sinewy lines to give the impression of rain trickling down a window!
On to the good news!  I entered two quilt in the Midwest Heritage Quilt Show at the Vermilion County Museum.  This is a judged show that runs the month of July at the museum in Danville, IL.  My miniature "Pieced Baskets" won a first place ribbon!  This quilt was started in a class that I took with Sally Collins. 
Sedona Joy, which was a 2012 Block of the Month through The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims, won a second place ribbon! The original quilt was designed by Sarah Vedeler.  After month 6, I started changing up her design.  I had some issues with the set in seams, which then translated into trouble with getting it to lay flat for the quilting.  I am eager to see the judge's comments!