Summer’s Hot and the Recuperating is Easy

Hot Summer 104Let’s start with the first item: summer’s hot, and yessiree it is.  Tomorrow is supposed to be 108.  This is a good time to stay inside and keep getting better, which leads us to the second item: recovery.

Recovering Activities

Here are some of my recovery activities, omitting the one I do most: lay on the bed.  I finished up my Rosette #3 in periwinkles, blue and purples (below) and started putting Rosette #4 together.  The photo in the upper left took about a week to do, in twenty minute intervals off the pillow.  I continued sewing up little felt creations from kits I’d picked up at quilt shows (why do I buy these?) and thought I’d finished them all.  However, I found another batch in the closet yesterday.  My husband took me for a Big Day Out to Cinnabon, and I could only eat half of a mini, a side-effect of surgery.  Nightly I would I arrange my applesauce and spoon for the 3 a.m. pain meds routine, which I am happy to say, as of today, has been phased out.  However, I am still in my nightgown, so be sure to call first before showing up on my doorstep.

I have spent an inordinate amount of time stitching while watching movies, because I am always tired and because apparently I had a serious case of Bonzo-Brain (from the effects of the anesthesia and pain killers).  I found this out because my son told me I was “a lot more coherent than last time we talked.”  And my husband says “you’re more alert now.”  And my mother says “you are sounding so much better today.”  Good to know that I have people who love me and will humor me when I am functioning at toddler level.

Rosette #3 photo

Rosette 4 center sewn

Here’s the center of Rosette #4, all sewn up.  It may take me another week to get the next round, at the rate I’m going.

Chuck Nohara examples

Because I now also apparently function at teenager level with my phone in my hand while I lie in bed (tablets are too big and a laptop is way out of the question), I discovered the Chuck Nohara Instagram group and fell in love with these amazing little six-inch appliqué blocks.

Chuck Nohara book

Which led to the QuiltMania website and the purchase of this book, which may or may not have had the most expensive postage I’ve ever encountered in my life.  Even accounting for the lack of critical thinking during the Bonzo-Brain state, I was pretty freaked out.

Chuck Nohara book in transitWhich has led to my obsessive compulsion with tracking the dumb thing.  That book is going way more interesting places than the Cinnabon shop at the mall.  (Attention FED EX: For the record,  I live in California.  Why is it stopping in Memphis?)

pajama party retro

But there are two things that have gotten me through these past few weeks. The first and foremost has been my amazing husband, always asking me if he can do something for me, putting lotion on my toes and pulling up the covers for me in the middle of the night (because I can’t reach either of them).  He has cooked for me, done the wash, brought in the mail, fixed me fresh orange juice every morning and taken me to the doctor appointments.  He listens to me when I cry, reminding me that I will be in recovery for 6-8 weeks and it’s only nearing the end of week three and would I like to get out and take a drive?  And we do and I stop crying and take a deep breath at how beautiful the world is, even if the temperatures are soaring.

Then I go and lay on the bed, my phone in my hand and read about you all on blogs and IG, distracting me in a lovely way from this work I am doing at getting better.  This is the other thing that has gotten me through: my family, friends, and the sweet messages of hope and encouragement and inspiration from you, just like we were all girlfriends hanging out together in our jammies, drinking root beer and playing records and the ukulele.  I am always amazed at how much we have come to know each other through correspondence and sharing activities, as well as quilting together.

Thank you all, so very much.  You kind attentions have made my tough summer a bit more easy.

 

Disruption in the Quilting Force

NursesAll the nice nurses lined up to greet me

Last week I walked into our local hospital and two days later, was wheeled out in one of my new nightgowns, a vase of flowers on my lap while the two volunteer interns pushing my wheelchair commented to each other about the weather, the construction at the hospital, and about another volunteer that was not a favorite.  It was the first time I’d been outside since the surgery to rearrange my clockworks and I was thinking about the sunlight, the slight breeze and whether or not my husband would back into the construction truck which had parked so strangely in his path.  It was surreal.  When I walked in, the possibility of the Big C was dangling over my head and I’m happy to say that the initial reports are that this diagnosis was carried away in the sunny breezes of that hot morning.

Aside from a brief mention of the process in this post, I’ve kept this pretty quiet as I lurched all summer from doctor’s appointment to scan to oncologist to OB-GYN’s office, not trusting the emotion, not knowing where the path would lead.

I had intended to keep it quiet still, as we here in QuiltLand tend to prefer our blog posts to be bursting with sunshine, little blue birds, some snippets of song, and fabric fabric fabric.  However, when I realized that the recovery was going to be loooong, I might need to explain my absence.

I’ve recovered enough to now sit at the computer for whole stretches of minutes, but do most of my reading in bed with my tablet.  I thought I’d share one or two interesting bits from QuiltLand that I thought you might enjoy.  Stephanie Ruyle’s latest blog post, where she shows her magnificent quilt, Ember, is a great description of using up scraps, making them into art (no photos of this one–go over to see it).

knotted cotton_detail

We also had our recent Four-in-Art Reveal and while I loved all of the offerings this time, Catherine’s choice of poem, Mrs. Midas, and her resultant art quilt are a magnificent pairing. Maybe it’s because I’m feeling a bit imprisoned by convalescence that I related to what Mrs. Midas was saying.  I also liked the speech on quilting, given by a sitting criminal court judge in Canada.  He writes amusingly about his wife’s passion of quilting; although long, it’s worth a read.

My minutes are up, so it’s time to go.  On the positive side, my husband says I’m more alert now than when I walked in last week, woozy from anesthesia and painkillers.  I am hoping for incremental progress every day, knowing that the average recovery for this type of surgery is 6-8 weeks.  On the negative side, I’ll cry (more) if I can’t get back to the quilting, but never fear!  I’ve been able to pick up the hand sewing, so at least the hexies are coming together bit by bit.  I hope that whatever summer fun you are doing, you’ll let me know–I can live vicariously though you all at this time.  I may not have the stamina to write back immediately, but I will certainly read everything, and appreciate whatever you share.

The Woods Run Mad With Riot: A Four-in-Art Quilt

4-in-art_3Mad With Riot_frontlabeled

The Woods Run Mad With Riot
A Four-in-Art Quilt, August 2015
#3 in the Literature Series

As always, my exploration of a subject in this series starts with the literature, and the poem I had originally chosen just wasn’t cutting it.  It didn’t evoke that hot, slightly wild feeling that day after day of hot weather can produce, when even Mother Nature seems slightly out of control, patting her damp forehead with a handkerchief, swooning slightly at how overcome her gardens are, the tempo and volume of the cicadas and crickets and birds, and wondering if she’ll last out the heat.  THAT kind of evocative.

So I went hunting and found a new poem that did the trick:

Summer in the South

And how in heaven’s name could I pass up a poem that had such a great closing line: “the woods run mad with riot”?  So that became the title of this piece — immediately — and I tried to figure out how to express this in fabric.  While I normally do a deconstruction post after my reveal post, I’m combining them into one this time.

MadRiot_1

The trees in the background would have to be slightly oppressive, the sky colors clear, not soft or muddy, and when I found this great paisley fabric in gold, things just started to gel, as I thought it looked like a field crisping up, the tractor marks a design in the tall wheat fields.  Or whatever fields.  The poem has a line about shoots being “yellow-green” and there’s something about water, so here we go.  I used SoftFuse Premium this time, my new go-to fusible for fabric.  I pressed the paper-backed fusible to the back of the fabric, let it cool, then free-form cut the shapes, remembering to work backwards visually, so it would come out correctly after I peeled off the paper.  (Note: In other quilts, I have peeled off the backing and cut what I needed freehand, without using the paper for drawing. Here are some tips for using SoftFuse Premium from Marti Michell’s blog.)

MadRiot_2

I thought about borderie-perse, that method of appliqué that has always seemed to me to be rich and visually saturated, and since this poem is leading me onward, I turned to this technique, cutting around blossoms and wads of flowers and slipping them into place to build up my scene.  The SoftFuse is slightly tacky on the back, sort of like a Post-it note, so I can stick it down and it won’t move, yet I can reposition it when I need to.

MadRiot_3

I know that I will be adding log-cabin-type strips to the edges; here I’m auditioning colors.

MadRiot_5

I sewed the strips on the edge, then auditioned threads for quilting.  I’d picked up quite a few Magnifico spools from Superior Threads, a mid-weight poly thread with a lovely sheen and I just have to say I love this thread.  I use Bottom Line in the bobbin, lower my thread tension by half (from the 4.2 range to the 1.9 range) and it all quilts up beautifully.  I stitch around all the flowers, put a bit of quilting in the stream and field, and quilted around the clouds.

MadRiot_4

Time to trim.

Three of Four

Here it is with the other two, already done.  I can already see that the last piece is going to need to be bold as well.  And I may have to rework Winter a little bit.  Hmmm. . . not while it is so sweltering hot.  I need to just sit on my porch, letting the afternoon breezes cool this place down, sipping something cold and icy and refreshing, while fanning myself with a wide-bladed palm leaf fan, swooning a bit.  It’s that kind of a hot summer!

Mad With Riot_back

Mad with Riot_label

Tiny Nine-Patch

About Us: We live all over the world, from Scotland and Australia to the continental United States.  Our blog is *here.*  Please visit the other members of our Four-in-Art Group and see their Literature Art Quilts:

Betty at a Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com
Catherine  at Knotted Cotton
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze
Simone at Quiltalicious
Susan at PatchworknPlay
Tiny Nine-PatchNext reveal date — the final in our Literature series — is November 1st.
4-in-art_3

Circles Block #14–EPP Sew-A-Long

Circles EPP Button

Circle Block 14_OPQuilt

Peppermint Candy
Circles Block #14 in the Circles Sew-A-Long

Yes, I know Peppermint Candy isn’t orange and pink, but the swirl — a bit fat swirl, this time — reminded me of unwrapping crinkly cellophane and seeing those fun swirls on the candy before I popped it in my mouth.

I had to steel myself to get going on these last four, as I was a bit fatigued, but when you want something (like a peppermint, which I’m hunting for in the desk drawer as I write this), you want something, and I wanted a sixteen-block arrangement for my Circles Quilt.

I have the final four patterns as a group up for sale on Craftsy [and Payhip, if you are purchasing from an EU country that collects VAT].  I will post the tutorials each month until the set is complete.  The finishing instructions pattern for Shine: The Circles Quilt is also listed on Craftsy and Payhip.

Printing for block 14

The usual caution applies about making sure that your printer settings are set to 100%; please print off four copies of this pattern.  Surprise! There is no center circle this time, as we’re going for glory and piecing it as accurately as we can.

The tricky thing is the swirls.  I had no idea that FAT swirls are harder than the thin ones, but they are.  There is more bias, more clipping needed, and more care as you lay them out.  But the block’s upside is that there are fewer pieces, so that’s got to count for something.

Circles 14_2fabrics

Fabric selection is getting easier because I am more practiced?  Or maybe that the fabrics I like are on the top of my stack?

Circles 14_3printing down

If you want your swirl to go the direction of the pattern’s swirl, lay the pieces FACE DOWN on the wrong side of the fabric.  Pin, then slice around them with a rotary blade.

Circles 14_5printing whatever

Since the outer wedges have no direction, you can place them face up or face down.  If you are just coming right at this pattern from the Internets, and have not made any of the other circles, there are lots of tips and tricks in the other circle block posts.  You can find them in the tab above.

Circles 14_4clip curves

I took time to do a bit of clipping as I glued down my seam allowances over my paper.  If you don’t, your edge won’t fit neatly with the other swirl’s edge, and will leave puckery bits.  Clip.  You’ll thank me later.

Circles 14_6layout

I like this!  This is always the jumping-off place.  If I like it here, I’ll proceed.

Circles 14_7in bag

I bag the pieces up with a printout of the block (below) to help me with color and placement.

EQ7 Block 14Circles 14_8beginning sewing

I just did not know how to go about putting this together, as the swirls are so swirly.  I finally figured out that old adage: just begin at the beginning (above), so I did. Remember there is almost no easing–just add a stitch and curve it around as you go.

Circles 14_8aIt will curve up in your hand, and this is normal and to be expected.  It will lay flat once you get all the side sewn.Circles 14_9sewing together

Once you get the sets of two done (making sure you are consistent as to which side the dark color is on), sew the twofers into a set of four, as above. Lather, rinse and repeat.Circles 14_10whoops

Then you’ll have two half-circles, which should look like they fit.  Keep going.Circles 14_11alltogether

Now . . . finish sewing it together.

Circles 14_12inner points

Now the points.  Curves against curves–these babies just seem to be opposites today.  Again, start at one tip and move along to the other, letting the piece cup into your hand in an arch as you go.  Circles 14_13hook together

I always like to hook my pieces together, so up above, I’m taking a stitch or two to nail those green points together before I start sewing the next one on.  I think it gives the block some inner support once all the paper is gone.

Circles 14_14before pressing

Points on.  Now, for those of you who believe that fabric is the same as paper, you are going to be freaked out by the little puckers and pfhlttts you see in the photo above.  But here’s the truth: fabric is NOT paper, and it will move and shift and make you worry until you take out the paper at the end and give it a little bit of steam and the fabric settles into itself and you breathe again.

Circles 14_15 back

Beauty Shot, showing how pretty all those little seams look.Circles 14_15afterpressing

Okay, I pressed it with the paper in.  Still a few puckers and pfhlttts, right?  That’s why we make quilts–once you get this thing over batting and get stitching on it, you won’t even see them.

Circles 14_16hollow up

Stitch on the outer wedges, then remove the papers from the green points and the swirls and it’s Decision Time. Hollows up? (above) or Points up? (below)Circles 14_17point up Circles 14_18background fabric

Cut a 14 1/2″ square of background fabric, fold it in fourths, and press in a registration mark so you can get your circle placed in the center.
Circles 14_19pinned for appliquePin the circle down, and appliqué it onto the background, tucking in the points as you go.  Flip it over, and cut out the back 1/4′ away from your hand-stitching line.  Remove all the remaining papers, then give it a good press on a padded ironing board, face down, then face up.  Let it cool, and admire!

Circle Block 14_OPQuilt

2c_Fifteen Circles

Okay, this should give you encouragement.  While you’ve seen all of the blocks in the Shine: A Circles Quilt post, I still think they are look fun  to look at like this, all together.  Now I think you can see about how the fabric choices up to this point dictate what I can and can’t throw in–and that’s okay with me.  Only two more patterns to go!!  The tutorial for Number Fifteen will be released September 1st, or, if you can’t wait. . . you know where to find them.

Summertime Quilt Fun

Hoffman Tour_1

Our quilt guild organized a tour of Hoffman Fabrics this past Monday. I jumped at the chance to go, as I’d passed up several other opportunities.  I decided that it was summer and it was time for some fun.  So I left the sewing chores behind and drove down to Orange County to meet up with the rest of the ladies.

Hoffman Tour_1a Hoffman Tour_2

We were ushered into a seating area, where a Hoffman employee gave a sneak peak at some of the lines coming out soon.  The one above is a digitally printed fabric, which allows for greater color variation than screen printing, and is done in Pakistan.

Hoffman Tour_3

I love their screen printing, which is done in Japan.

Hoffman Tour_4

They printed all their batik basic colors onto fabric, which someone cut up, interspersing with gray to create this quilt (below):

Hoffman Tour_4a Hoffman Tour_5

I liked a lot of their Christmasy Momento line.

Hoffman Tour_5a

This hedgehog is from the Forest Friends line.  Very cute.

Hoffman Tour_6 chop

We watched a video on how they make their batiks, which all starts with a design being translated into a chop (above).  This is then dipped in wax, applied to the fabric, then overdyed.

Hoffman Tour_8

Sometimes the fabric is dyed first, then stamped, then they remove the dye, as in the case above.

Hoffman Tour_7

I went gaga for their new Me + You line of batiks–so modern looking.  Here’s another view:

Hoffman Tour_7a Hoffman Tour_9 stack

Our group saw a lot of samples; here they are stacked up at the end of the presentation.

Hoffman Tour_10 receiving

Then over to the receiving section, where all these bolts come wrapped in plastic.

Hoffman Tour_10 bagsOne woman said she’d like to sneak out one of these scrap bags, maybe by stuffing it into her bra.

Hoffman Tour_10 more bolts Hoffman Tour_10 new bolts

Wherever you look there is beautiful fabric.

Hoffman Tour_11

I laughed when I saw this: fabric draped over shelves, hiding the mess from the world, like just I’ve done more than once.

Hoffman Tour_12

Lisa and I were on the tour together.  Here we are walking from the loading dock area down to the front of the warehouse.

Hoffman Tour_13

Such beautiful prints!

Hoffman Tour_14

The company’s batik lines got their start by a couple of the sons who were surfers, and who wanted to proudly wear their surf fashion.  The surfboards decorate their offices now.

Hoffman Tour_15

We all could have watched this all day long, but it was time to go.

MCM Bee Block July2105

In other summer fun, I finished my block for my Mid-Century Modern bee-mate Susan, of Patchwork’n’Play.  She chose the Stepping Stone block.  All of the links to the tutorial, plus tips are on our group’s blog, The Mid-Century Modern Bee.

Nightgown Pattern

It was waaaaay past time for a new nightgown, as you can see by the vintage pattern above (the last time I made this was 18 years ago!).

Nightgown yoke

Instead of tucks, I like to add braid.  This is also a vintage braid from my stash, with embroidered edelweiss flowers — a reminder of Austria, where my husband and I went on our honeymoon many years ago.  We’re coming up on twenty-six years of wedded bliss next month.

28090027We had our reception after the honeymoon, at a friend’s home.  If we look tired, we are, as we arrived home the day before from Austria and are majorly jet-lagged.  I still think he is the most handsome man around.  And yes, I did make my wedding dress, although it is not at all like the fashion today–it was made of French laces with entredeaux and ribbons and insertions.  I still have it and love to look at it and think of the girl who made it, so many years ago.

Rosette 3 someone elseAnd then I had another quilty issue that had stumped me for a while: why didn’t I like rosette #3 of the New Hexagon Millefiore Quiltalong? The above photo is someone else’s beautiful rendition, but somehow it just didn’t “work” for me.  I couldn’t figure it out.

Rosette #3I went online and looked at lots and lots of other Rosettes on our Facebook group, and still just didn’t like it.  Then I found this photo:

ImageThese were made by the woman who makes samples for Katja’s shop in Canada, and look what she did with hers (on the right, above).  She simplified those outer blocks.  Bingo.

Rosette 3_1

So in the papers for Rosette #2, I found the shapes, and used them and loved what I saw.  Here’s the first version, above.

Rosette 3_2

Second version, with darker “middles.”  And below, in all its cluttered glory, is the design wall with the full shape.  I’m still not too sure about those far right-hand hexagons, but I’m withholding my judgement on those until I see how they fit with the rosette next to it. . . which is still a long way off.

Rosette 3_3I’ll work on getting these stitched together over the next few weeks.  Katja will be releasing Rosette # 8 in about a week.  That means that, wow, I’m only five behind!

4-in-art_3

Our Four-in-Art Challenge Reveal is coming up also in a week, and I’m not at all behind on this one.  I also have another tutorial for Circles Block #14 coming up as well.  So even though summer is a relaxing time, the quilting calls my name and brings an order to my life and to my days.  I feel fortunate to have some “summer” time with cloth and thread and design and stitching–hope you feel the same!

Mini House Quilt Finished!

Mini House_frontlabeledMy mini houses quilt is finished!  I know you’ve heard that line before, but let me go back in time to a galaxy far far away, to this:

Fail Mini House

Mini House Fail.  Yep.  That center certainly is puckery, demonstrating clear signs of the Training Bra Effect.

Something, somehow was just not right.  So back to the QuiltPro software I went, redesigning seams and adjusting tweaking.  Yes, I was a veritable Gepetto in my digital workshop, firm in my resolve to keep to the original Rolling Star Block with its Lemoyne Star (or 8-pointed star) center, as I liked the way it interacted with the “bushes” in my little village.

Sewing Skeleton

It feels like I’ve been sewing on this for ages. . .
(photo courtesy of The Quilt Loft, a local fabric shop)

Mini House Redo

Armed with new templates, I followed the directions (but NOT the dimensions) of the great tutorial from ever-talented Rachael of Blue Mountain Daisy. She has good tips on snowballing on corners (I oopsed and sewed on the bottom triangle — the “front yard” —  too early in the above photo, but still made the little doors and windows work okay.)

I am happy to provide this pattern at no cost, as I want to share this mini quilt design for anyone else who wants an interesting pattern to sew up on those days.  But Please: do attribute the source of this to Elizabeth at OccasionalPiece-Quilt  (or OPQuilt.com) and do not print off copies for your mother or your friends.  Please direct them here to get their free copies.  Many thanks.  Here’s the pattern in a PDF file for you to download: Houses Mini Quilt 18inch

Houses Mini Quilt

Fabrics:  You’ll need a few yellows, various reds and pinks (roofs); four different green fabrics will be the bushes.  Choose two bold colors for your center that really play against each other, but notice that mine are “calm,” and not busy, prints.  See earlier post for the pain over choosing those centers.

Houses Mini Quilt Template Code

Here are some notes to go with that pattern.

There are two kinds of houses: the one that begins with a square and the one that begins with a rectangle.
•  The base for the square (shown in the above photo with snowballed corners) is 5″ cut dimensions.  You’ll need four of those in different house fabrics.
•  The snowball blocks (bushes, roof and “front yard”) measure 2 3/4″ square and you’ll follow Rachael’s directions, remembering to put on your doors and houses before you sew on the “front yard” piece.
•  The flatter houses will use a rectangle (template D) that measures 2 3/4″ x 5″.  You’ll need four of these in different house fabrics.
•  I did apply SoftFuse to my doors and houses, a winner of a fusible product that everyone should have in their stash.  (I have a post coming up on August 1st that talks about it–check back for more info, or Google it.)  There is no template for those–just cut freehand.
•  For the half-square triangles (HST) used for the bushes and the center Lemoyne Star, cut squares 3 1/8″ (template A or C) then cut diagonally in half.  (Or sew two fabrics together 1/4″ on either side of the center diagonal line, then cut apart–there are many good tutorials online for making HSTs.)
•  For the HST used for the flat-house roofs and front yards and the sky triangles, cut a square 4″ then slice diagonally (template B).
•  Templates E and F are for the sky pieces, and H/G become a 3 1/8″ block when put together.  Use that dimension to make an HST.

Mini House Redo_1

First make the square houses, by snowballing on the bushes and roof, then cut out the rectangles for the flat houses.  Add windows and doors, checking you don’t have too much repetition, but a little is okay (ties the quilt together); stitch around each window and door.  Add on the front yards for the square houses, then the flat houses.  Lay out everything as you go so you can keep track (above).IMG_0082Build the roof/sky assembly for the flat houses, sewing on the triangles to the “yard” and the roof, then pressing them away from the lights and towards the darks (yours may vary).

IMG_0083

Now add the center pieces and see if you like them.  As you know, I cut six different combos before I was finally happy.  If the center fabric was too busy. . . fail.  If the center was too washed out. . . fail.  The yellow and the pink below are really strong colors, but the visual texture is “flat.”

IMG_0085

Start sewing in the corner of your layout by adding one bush/sky unit (above), then the next (below).

IMG_0086

I laid them back down to keep track.  Sew the pinwheel in the center.  Your rectangle house should already be sewn together as a unit.

IMG_0087

After you sew those units together, start sewing the pieces together: roughly divided into thirds from top-to-bottom, I sewed from left to right in rows, beginning with the smaller units of bush/sky and sewing them to the next largest piece, and so on.  In the top row, I pressed the seams toward the flat house unit.  In the middle row, I pressed the seams away from the pinwheel of the pink/yellow, and in the bottom row, I pressed the seams the same as the top row. (I thought of this as a sort of giant nine-patch.)

Mini House Redo_2

Everything seamed and pressed.

Mini House Redo_3

Cut a square of batting and a square of fabric (well-pressed), then layer up your quilt.  For such a small quilt, I use straight pins, sinking the point into the batting.  First stabilize the quilt by sewing the strong verticals and horizontals (think: nine-patch), then sew around the rest of the straight line pieces, using a walking foot and fine thread.  (I use Bottom Line by Superior Threads for this work as the thread is nice and fine and disappears.)

Mini House_front detail

I stitched in clapboard on the houses, horizontal on the flatter houses and vertical on the squares, but broke out into curvilinear on the dotty houses.  I swirled in a bush, did a curvilinear on the front porches and the yellow points of the Lemoyne Star, then outlined and stitched in the sky in a random fluffy cloud effect.  A strong binding finished it off.

EmmaOttoRussellJames

Here’s the book I was listening to while working.  While I usually never recommend a book until I finish it, so far this has been a lovely and quirky, a perfect summer read.

Mini House_back

I had some great little house fabric for the back.  This is for the Home Sweet Home Mini Swap and it’s okay to post photos of the quilt.  The surprises come in not revealing what extras you tuck into the box for your partner.

Mini House_back detail

I cut giant 6″ squares, folded them in half diagonally, then attached them in to the corners for easy hanging with a dowel cut to size.

Mini House_frontlabeledThis is quilt # 147 on my 200 Quilts List and is 18″ square. I haven’t shown you the label or the name as I’m keeping that a surprise, too.  I’ll update the post later, after I mail it off in early September.

Tiny Nine-Patch

Note: For an excellent video with tips for the traditional construction of the Lemoyne Star, head *here.*

Matrix and Offset Pattern Giveaway

Matrix

Sometime back I wrote about the Mid-Century Modern Bee and all the talented quilters there.  I also mentioned my friend Anne of SpringLeaf studios and how she is a pattern designer and maker.  This week she is having a giveaway of two of her patterns, and I thought you’d want to know.

Deister Mtrix2 blog

The first one is Matrix, a beautiful quilt using bold and bright colors as well as soft-toned grays.  It’s fun to make and easy too.  Head to Anne’s blog to leave a comment and enter her giveaway for this pattern and where you can see other versions of this quilt (she is very thorough).  Hurry! for the giveaway for a downloadable PDF version closes soon. You can also buy this in her Craftsy shop if you want (info is on her blog).

Deister tumbler bedroomThe other quilt pattern she is releasing is Offset.  Our group test-drove block patterns for her in the early stages of development, so it’s fun to see both of these patterns.  Head over to her Offset Giveaway to leave a comment and enter your name to win one of her patterns.

OffsetI’ve sewn Anne’s patterns before and she is a ‘cut above’ in the pattern designing market.  She writes clearly and makes her illustrations easy to follow with clear directions.  I also like the “extras” she puts in her patterns, and it was from her pattern Facets that I finally perfected the miter when I end my binding.  Again, you need to hurry! to get in on the giveaway–head over to SpringLeaf Studios and have a look around!

Good Heart Quilters Quilt Retreat 2015

QuiltRetreat_2015_2

The Good Heart Quilters had their 4th annual quilt retreat at Lisa’s home this summer.  She is the smiling blonde marathoner in the lower right (I am in the yellow T-shirt).  Some of our group isn’t here, and we also had a couple of newbies join us this year.  We meet at Lisa’s home Friday morning, eat lunch together (Lisa gets it all beforehand) and this year, we went out for dinner, then sew into the night. Saturday the group meets up again (we always lose a few on Saturday) and goes again until they can’t anymore.

QuiltRetreat_2015_1

From this industry. . .

Quilters working on Quilts

. . . came these results.

EPP Laurel

We had some handwork going.  Laurel shows her Rosette #1 of the New Hexie Millefiore Quilt along, and the start of her third rosette is the inset.

House Block CentesrLisa was more than patient with me as I auditioned centers for this house block for her to comment on.  At 16″ it is to be a mini quilt for a swap I’m in.  While the easy way would be to use the popular Swoon pattern, I went back to Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Quilt Patterns and went to the source: a block titled Rolling Star from 1932. This brilliant little house idea came from Blue Mountain Daisy.

LemoyneSawtooth Star

(from here)

After setting in umpteen Y-seams and a billion more V-seams, I finished the mini quilt top.  I think using the Swoon Block method of half-square triangles would have been easier, but the center of the original Rolling Stone block is also a Lemoyne Star, rather than the a Sawtooth Star block, so inset seams it is (although I suppose I could subdivide them like the lower block on the right).  I like to try this original Rolling Star block again, now that I’ve got one under my belt.  We’ll see which one ends up going to my partner!

See you all next year!

Mini-Quilt Swapping

I know I’m late to this particular party on Instagram, but I have recently jumped right in and signed up for three swaps.  These are little groups of crazy people who have more than enough to work on but think it would be fun to make a gift for some unknown person, include a boatload of treats in addition to the mini and send it off, hoping it arrives.

So here they are:

HomeSweetHomeMiniSwap

Mini-house Swap.  This was started because the Denise, the organizer was moving and wanted to do a swap around the idea of a new house (blog post showing general info is *here*).  I like house quilts, and had never tried a swap, so decided to try it.  Then all these terms started floating around like Swap Mama, Swap Angel, Swap Moderator (which I think is the same as a Swap Mama).   I thought I would just sort of play along and pretend I knew what they were talking about.  Since I’m such a non-shopper, I’ve been taking screenshots of people’s “other extra items,” and will try to head out and find some since I’m such a newbie at this.  For this swap, we have an organizer, and a Swap Mama, who has sent out emails letting us know what’s up.

The first picture (above) is the confirmation I received after I signed up, then the logo for the main swap, then the logo for the group with our own “Swap Mama.” Believe me, the State Department has more code words than these do, but we do come close.

KaffeMiniSwap

Kaffe Fasset Swap.  How can you pass up something like this?  The sign-ups closed July 5th, with partners posted on July 13th, so I haven’t heard anything from Leslie Piper, who is the organizer.  Here’s their Facebook page, though.

 

SimplyMiniSwap

Simply Mini Swap.  This may turn out to be my favorite because all we can send is a mini quilt and a hand-written note to the recipient.  Brianna, the organizer has already sent out guidelines, and I love everything she is doing.  We have three check-in dates, a request to post a Mosaic, and shipping dates.  Above you see the interest post, then the IG post that the swap was a go, and the rest of the images are pretty self-explanatory.

She also gave us a link to a fine post about Rules for Swapping from Karri Garza.  Loved it.  If you click on Karri’s “swapping” hashtag on the bottom of that post, there are a few other posts she’s written about swapping.  From this I learned that some people sign up their dogs. (!!)  And their children. (!)  Hmmmm.  I’m hoping I’m on the receiving end from another grown-up human quilter, and that all these turn out to be a cool way to meet new people and create something fun.

If you want to try a swap, Amanda of Openquiltswap on Instagram has started a clearing house of swaps–such a great idea to help people like me find their way.  I did a search on other “swap rules” posts.  Here are some:

Katie Bastie on 52 Quilters

Schnitzel & Boo, who I think kind of pioneered this whole swap thing on Instagram

A Pinterest Board of mini quilt ideas from the New Jersey MQGuild

Be Nice or I will stab you

I also found out that there is an informal Black List that circulates among the swap organizers of flakey quilters who receive a mini quilt, but never send one out.  I’ve been in block bees like that, or have received quilt blocks that were at best questionable and at the worst, hideous.  So maybe being in a swap is like a big fun roll of the dice.

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Are you in any swaps?  Have you thought about being in a swap?  Any interesting stories to share?