Friday, July 22, 2016

Trivets for Susan

 Some time last Fall (November, maybe?), a friend called to ask if I could make some trivets for her that would be cuter than the ones she had been seeing in stores. "Of course," I said. "When do you want them?" "Whenever you have time," she said. Big mistake, Susan! Now she knows that I need a firm deadline, even if it is arbitrary!

 Susan follows me on Instagram.* Every time I saw that she had clicked "like" on one of my quilty photos or left a sweet comment, I felt guilty for not working on her trivets. A few months ago, I pulled all the reds and cream/tans from my stash and set them aside. I thought that was a good start. About a month ago, I was surprised to see my stash was seriously lacking in reds and low volumes. Haha!

When I cleaned out my quilty storage area to move some furniture around, I found the stack and quickly got to work. I used different block designs and different fabric combinations for each trivet to make the project more fun and interesting for me. That Dutchman's Puzzle might be my all-time favorite block.

She had asked for a modern country look. The smaller trivets are 8-9" and the larger ones are about 11".  There is a layer of Insul-brite and a layer of cotton batting. They are pretty thick, so I kept the quilting simple with just a few straight lines.

I get excited when I actually remember to sew my labels into the binding! (It's the little things, people.) The binding is done all on the machine for durability. I rinsed each one separately several times to remove most of the excess red dye. Then I threw them all in the washer with a color catcher and then into the dryer. I wanted to make sure they wouldn't run or fall apart on her, and they washed beautifully.

If there is a moral to this story, it is to always give Tina a deadline!
Percolation time: 8 months
Working time: 10 hours over 3 days

*If you ever wonder what I'm up to between blog posts, visit me on Instagram. I post there pretty regularly. For example, you can see what I worked on in a machine quilting class yesterday with Angela Walters!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Spring Recap

 Now that summer is officially here, I thought I should show you what happened around here in May and June.  Here's a recap of the highlights.

Julia graduated from college, so I made her this little gift. The title of the hymn and smiling earth are perfect for my sweet girl who majored in Environmental Studies and minored in Religious Studies. (Pattern by Mollie Johanson of Wild Olive).

The best pictures of any event are the ones with my mom! Julia is happily interning at Disney's Animal Kingdom as a Wilderness Explorer troop leader (environmental educator). If you're headed to Disney before the end of January 2017, look for her and say hi!

 My cousin celebrated his 25th anniversary of priesthood, so I made him a new stole. I decided to use scrappy greens, knowing he'd get a lot of use from the color for "ordinary" time. I didn't know green is also his favorite color.

My husband turned 50 in June, so we went on an epic musical road trip from Nashville, to Memphis, through the Mississippi delta, and finishing up in New Orleans. I only stopped at a few quilt shops along the way: Craft South, Sew Memphis and Ella Rose. We were on a tight schedule, so grabbing fat quarters was a great option. He bought a guitar in Clarksdale, so I came in way under budget!

We picked out the bendy bag pattern at Sew Memphis for Bill's electronics and new reading glasses. He travels a lot for work, and this is a vast improvement on his ziplock baggie. I forgot to include the pull tab, but he doesn't mind.

And now for the WIPs. This spinning hexie EPP has become my traveling project. I kitted up some blocks to take on our vacation. Now I'm working on them during work breaks and in front of the TV at night. I've got 2 or 3 more block kits, but I might keep going to use up more scraps. Each hexie finishes at 3" on a side. I have no idea what this will be. I'll just keep going until I get tired of it or a shiny new idea comes along.

In other EPP news, my Lucy Boston-inspired Patchwork of the Crosses top is finished! It measures about 35" square, so I'm trying to decide if I'll add borders or not. It would be a sweet wall hanging as is. I have no clue how I'll quilt it.

I designed and started piecing this ombre mini back in early April. I had intended to participate in the ombre mini swap, but I didn't finish in time. I finally competed the piecing this week. I think the quilting will wait until after a class with Angela Walters in a few weeks. That will be fun!

Since the ombres were out, I wanted to play some more. I pulled an old Simply Color (V and Company) jelly roll off the shelf and went to town.  I found this pattern online that got me started. The jelly roll only had 21 strips, so I cut 3 more from my stash. Each strip set makes 7 equilateral triangles plus 2 ends (1/2 triangles). I cut the first triangle in the center of the strip set, which in this case was the lightest area. The top is about 36 X 45", which is a nice baby quilt size. It would be a striking wall hanging, too. I love how it looks on my front porch!

 Last but not least, Julia and Fred are engaged! Yes, there is a wedding quilt in the works. She really likes the wedding ring quilts I've been making for my nieces and nephews, but mama needs a change! She picked the Geese at My Wedding pattern from Quiltworx. We haven't decided on colors yet, but she likes modern solids. That works for me!

It's time for me to head back to the basement for more sorting and purging and cleaning.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mother's Day

 A few months ago, my sister bought this quilt from me as a gift for her sister-in-law. Her mother-in-law loved it so much she wanted to keep it. I suggested that a lap quilt would be a nice Mother's Day gift. So here is a gift for Estelle.

 My sister and I chose a focus fabric via text messages. Then I turned to the stash for an assortment of fresh greens, pinks and reds.

I was scrolling though Instagram and saw a pic of the Quatrefoil Quilt from Missouri Star Quilt Company. After piecing a test block, I knew it was the perfect choice.

After doing the quilty math, I realized I would not have enough background fabric to complete the project as intended. The stitch and flip corners were going to waste too much fabric. I devised a way to cut my background triangles to the right size, place them on the square just so, and stitched a 1/4" seam. All that was "wasted" was a corner of the colored square.

I couldn't resist piecing those little triangles into pinwheels.

Those bonus pinwheels are now a couple of mug mats.

 The top came together quickly. My go-to loopy quilting took a few hours to complete on Saturday night. Yes, that's how I rock a weekend!

Everything came from my stash except the backing and binding.

For Estelle
59" X 72"
Started April 10, 2016
Completed April 25, 2016
Border: Martha Negley Dahlia
Backing: Martha Negley Crabapple Path

Monday, April 4, 2016

Color Challenge

Another mini is complete. This one was made in response to a quilt shop color challenge. 

At the beginning of February, Julia and I visited a quilt shop near Albany, NY. I had been a fan of Amelia's Garden since I met Tara and her mom vending at quilt shows. Next to the register, they had set out a basket of fat eighths with a printout of a design seeds color palette. I'm sure no one is surprised that I chose an orange one! The challenge was to make a mini quilt using as many of the colors in the palette as possible. I already had most of this fabric in my hands, ready to check out!

Before I sat down with EQ7, I scrolled through my Pinterest boards for inspiration. I'm always attracted to kaleidoscopes and periwinkles. My block is like a bordered kaleidoscope. Since I wanted to use all six colors, the background color changes behind the stars. I numbered my blocks and colored them in with crayons so I could keep it all straight. I still had to rip out a couple of pieces.

I usually use paper clips to hold blocks together, but the wonder clips were closer. They work, but I prefer vinyl coated paper clips.

To make thinks interesting for me, I used a different free motion quilting design in each color. I definitely need more practice with these lazy 8's.

This was such a fun challenge, I'd like to bring it to my guilds or retreat.

Texture. Oh, yeah!

All ready for Julia to take back to the shop next week for judging. Rhode Island peeps, Amelia's Garden will be vending at the NBQA show on April 23-24

Amelia's Color
Started 3/25/16
Completed 4/2/16
20" X 20"

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Springtime in Kansas

 It's been mini season here at Seaside Stitches. This is the largest of my recent mini finishes. I'm calling it Springtime in Kansas. The pattern is Kansas Dugout, and I think the scraps give a pretty springtime look. I've never been to Kansas, but my father was stationed there during World War II.

It started out innocently enough with a single ring of English Paper Piecing. I was excited that it uses the same papers as Patchwork of the Crosses.  

I added rings and rows until it reached a decent size. All the fabric came from my scrap bags, and no fabric is repeated except the Kona Snow squares.

 I didn't want to piece in tiny triangles to square it up, so I set it on point and appliqued it to a big square of Kona Snow. That provided large corners of negative space for fun machine quilting.

During the quilting, I had two "are you kidding me?" moments. Thankfully, I don't have this fold over problem very often. I was able to trim around the stitching and pull out the offending fibers.

I was literally 1/2" from finishing when the bobbin ran out. Really?!

I like the look of combining straight line and free motion quilting. It took me some time to decide on a quilting design for the piecing. I'm not completely happy with what I did, but it's done.

 I do really like the quilting in the corners. I took Christina Cameli's Craftsy class "Wild Quilting" last weekend to get some new ideas. I drew out a bunch of options and chose this divide and conquer symmetrical plan.

Oh, baby, I love this texture!


This little quilt will be donated to the Narragansett Bay Quilters Association auction to benefit the New England Quilt Museum. Do you think I can convince my husband to buy it back?

Springtime in Kansas
Started March 1, 2016
Completed March 21, 2016
Hand Pieced with Aurifil 50 wt
Machine Quilted with Superior So Fine 50wt
18" square
Purchased at auction by Maria Lage

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Blue Star Mom

 For my modern quilting lecture that debuted last week, I needed an example of alternative grid work. Since my son left for his first overseas deployment, I felt ready to hang a red star banner. This quilt killed two birds with one stone!

"The Service flag is an official banner authorized by the Department of Defense for display by families who have members serving in the Armed Forces during any period of war or hostilities the United States may be engaged in for the duration of such hostilities." You can read more about the Blue Star banner at Blue Star Mothers. Pete is in a relatively safe place, but I do miss him more than when he is in his office in North Carolina. I try really hard not to worry.

I started piecing when I was on retreat in January. My first attempts at wonky 5-pointed stars were horrible!

I turned to a crazy piecing technique that worked much better for me. It creates a positive and negative block at the same time, so I have a stack of white stars on a blue field that might become a flag someday. Only a few of the blue stars were bordered in red. I used some Kona solids and some prints.

The blocks were laid out on Peggy's bed since we didn't have a design wall.

After making a couple more stars, I had to figure out how to fill in the negative space around the blocks. I couldn't just start cutting white fabric and wing it. My brain doesn't work like that. So I drew it all out in my graph paper notebook and came up with a piecing plan. The numbers are finished sizes without seam allowances.

It didn't take long to complete the top.

The quilting was done at home a few days later. I selected a star to echo quilt around. In the photo below, the red lines indicate the sections that are already done. The blue tape marks the line I'm getting ready to quilt. 

This style of straight line machine quilting with a walking foot is really tedious! I was ready to quit after three sides, but I knew I had to see it through and complete all five directions.

Oh, the texture!

I had a Marine Corps print in my stash that I had to use on the back. 

When I showed this quilt to the Clamshell Quilters, a lovely woman presented me with this star to send to Pete. I had read about this project before, and I wanted to cry when she gave this to me. Now I remember why I was saving my worn out flag and didn't give it to the scouts to burn.

Rather than putting his stuff in storage in NC, he brought it all home! I found his gloves in his car and the cover was on his desk. Yes, his dress blues are hanging in the closet.

Modern Blue Star Mom
28" X 39"
Started 1/30/16
Completed 2/3/16