Monday, March 25, 2019

Make-A-List Monday - Looks Like Spring Has Sprung!

Hi, all!

Monday has rolled around once again, after a busy week!  And I actually did more than just quilting for a change.  Of course, some of it I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into, but it still counts, right?  And spring seems to have finally shown its face - beautiful sunshine and nice warm days - hooray!!!

Let's see how last week's list went...

1.  Finish a ministry quilt for a special request.
Done!  We had a special request for a purple quilt, which I didn't think we had - but lo and behold, there was one waiting to be quilted!  

2.  Make heart blocks for the drive for the Christchurch victims (more about this on Wednesday's blogpost.)
Done!  These are so quick and easy, and it appears that they are having a great response from other quilters who want to make blocks!

3.  Work on the vintage quilt.
In progress!  This is going to be a long term project, for sure!

4.  Quilt the solids On-Line quilt.
Done!  This turned out really cute!

5.  H2H administrative stuff - lots of emails!
Done!  I sent out second requests to sponsors who hadn't responded to my earlier request, and an informational email to all the participants who were signed up at the time.  IF YOU DIDN'T RECEIVE AN EMAIL, please check your spam folder first - if it's not there, please email me directly at salliesue57 (at) gmail (dot) com. 

6.  Sort out H2H prizes.
Whooee, the never ending task!  I still haven't made it through all of them, but I'm getting close!

7.  Taxes. (UGH)
Done, done, DONE!  It was a bit more complicated than I anticipated, not because of the taxes, but because I had to upgrade my operating system before I could run the program, which meant I had to backup my drive, which takes forever!  So what I hoped to get done on Tuesday didn't get done until Wednesday, but it's done!

8.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that come up.
Done! It was kind of a quiet week, with only one quilt given away - this one to a woman having serious complications after surgery.

Oh, and I almost forgot - the purple quilt shown in the answer to number 1 - that quilt went to a man whose wife died.  Purple was her favorite color and the person who requested the quilt wanted one that would remind the man of her.  A sweet thought, and I was so happy that we had something that worked perfectly!

I also quilted four more quilts for the quilt ministry, and put binding on those four and one other that another member quilted.

And, in a fit of total insanity, my husband and I decided to weed the  30 foot long front flower bed (which our yard guy, God bless him, had cleaned out at the end of last fall - it was packed full of iris corms, so tightly packed that you couldn't get a shovel into it!)  After weeding, we put down landscape cloth, mulch, and planted five burning bushes in it.  Boy were we sore when we finished!  I still want to add some rosebushes between the other bushes, to give both summer and fall color, but that's for later this week!

So not a bad week at all!  It sure felt good to get the taxes out of the way, and now I can play without guilt!  Here's what I'm hoping to get to this week...

1.  Finish sorting the H2H giveaway goodies and write the "Meet the Sponsors" post.

2.  Quilt at least one more quilt for the quilt ministry.

3.  Write an estimate for a t-shirt quilt.

4.  If approved, order fabrics and make blocks for the t-shirt quilt.

5.  Put together several twin size string tops for the ministry.

6.  Put Gypsy Wife on the quilt frame

7.  Keep working on the vintage quilt repair.

8.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that come up.

It feels like I'm forgetting something important, but maybe what I'm forgetting is to take time for fun!  So I'm glad I've put Gypsy Wife on the list - I'm looking forward to quilting that one!  I've got another wool batt on order (coming in tomorrow) and the back is all made, so I'm ready to get started.

And now the question is - - - what are YOU working on this week?



Sunday, March 24, 2019

Hands2Help 2019 - Tips, Tutes, and Tasty Things!

Hi, all!

Welcome to one of my favorite weeks of each year's Hands2Help Challenge - Tips, Tutes, and Tasty Things!  I always enjoy seeing what you guys share, and I've picked up some great ideas each year.  It's a great way to get to know the folks who are participating in this year's challenge, too, and make new friends.  Just link up a post (or two or three, or more!) below to share your ideas.  It doesn't have to be a new post, or even one of your own if you want to share a great tutorial, tip or recipe someone else wrote.  But it's a great reason to write a post that lets people know a little more about you, too.

I've been saving a few tips just for this week, so let's get started!


Best tip first...

Wonder what this is?  It's a miracle worker!!

This is what my design wall looked like - and because it looked like that, my blocks wouldn't stick very well.  Sound familiar?  Well, I had just bought some of these silicone scrubbers for my kitchen, and it occurred to me that they might be useful other places too.....

...and lo and behold, I was right!  A few swipes across my design wall and look at all it gathered up!

And after a few minutes of work, look at all the stuff that came off! I tell you, this is one of the best things I've come across.  They're relatively cheap, and they work great.  Plus they have a little hanging tab so they're easy to keep track of...

And then I discovered this little trick...

Did you know that the end of a Gutermann thread spool comes off, and you can keep needles inside (if you haven't taken the label off the other end, anyway!)  It was a really handy way to travel with needles for hand-sewing!  The end of the spool just pops right back in, sealing it up and keeping it safe.

And next, my favorite tool in the sewing room...

If you don't have a Hera marker (made by Clover), you NEED one!    It marks fabric by making a crease on the fabric, much like a bone folder if you make cards or scrapbook.  I use this clever tool to mark my squares when making half-square triangles (so much easier than pencil, and you can mark up to three at a time by stacking them up!)  I also use it to mark my quilting lines on t-shirt quilts (for straight line quilting).  The crease is easy to follow and you can see it on any color - something that isn't so easy when you are using chalk or water soluble markers.  And you can also use the blunt end to "finger press" your seams open in a pinch.  I'm sure there are other uses, too - and I'd love to hear them!

And speaking of other uses, I found that quilting tools also work great when you are putting up a tile backsplash!  I used all of these - plus my Hera marker, which didn't make it into the picture - when I was working on this project.  My husband thought I was nuts, but hey, it worked!  So remember to think outside the box.

And while you're in the kitchen...

If you want some truly decadent comfort food, try this recipe for shortbread cookies.  (FYI, the recipe says to put them in a press but you can also roll the dough and cut them out - about 1/4" thick is just about perfect!) And they get better as they age, so yes, eat some right after they come out of the oven, but put most of them in a well sealed container or tin for a day or two - you'll think you've died and gone to heaven!  This is definitely the cure for those "rip-it" days....

Since I've overloaded you guys with tutorials already this year, I'll leave that to the rest of you.  Can't wait to see what you share!


Be sure to come back next week to "meet the sponsors"!  I'm busily sorting giveaway goodies and lining up sponsors who want to help say "thank you" to all of you fabulous, generous quilters. It's going to be a great year!  (Oh, and don't forget to link up your own tips, tutes, and tasty things below!)



PS It's not too late to sign up for this year's Challenge!  Click on the Hands2Help 2019 Page (right under my blog header picture) and scroll down to find the signup form.  Join in the fun!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? A BIG Finish!!!

Hi, all!

Wow!  It's already Friday!  And since our whoop whoop party was pre-empted last week, I bet I'm not the only one with a lot to whoop about this week!  So let's get started...


Maybe you remember this picture - taken the day I finished my Long Time Gone quilt top.  Notice the date on the top?  That's right - July 10, 2017.  That. is. pitiful.  I had every intention of hand quilting this top, and it's been sandwiched for more than a year.  I did a little bit of hand quilting, but nowhere near as much as I should have.  I finally realized that if I continued hand quilting it, this quilt would never make it to the binding stage.

So I bit the dust, pulled out the bits of hand quilting I had done, and took the top and back off the batting.  I had a wool batting on hand that I had bought for a quilt for my niece, only to find out that "washable" doesn't really mean easy care/appropriate for a college student.  But that wool batting was perfect for this quilt! I wanted something with a lot of loft that would show off the quilting I wanted to do, plus be warm, light and drape-able.

Lots and lots of quilting went into this baby - it was on the frame for three days!  I had a hard time getting good pics up in my studio, but one day when I turned off the lights to quit for the day, I noticed that the light from the back window made the quilting stand out nicely, and took this picture.  

I didn't think I'd ever get through with it, but finally I reached the bottom of the quilt.  I used both free-motion quilting and ruler-work on this quilt, and don't think I wasn't nervous about it!  But I decided that since it was for me, I was going to do what I wanted and look on it as a learning experience, embracing the mistakes and imperfections.

Because wool batting can't be dried in the dryer, I hung this quilt on the clothesline to catch some sun and breeze.  Once the sun set, I pulled it off and laid it on the guest bed to finish drying.  It was a good place to lay it out flat, and with the ceiling fan, it dried pretty quickly.

And another advantage?  When I came in to check on it in the morning, the light coming in the bedroom window was perfect for showing off the quilting!

Every block was quilted differently!  As I said, I did a lot of ruler work, and also a good bit of tiny stippling or matchstick quilting to make some parts "pop out".

There was some pretty straight line quilting too - I really love the way the background fabric turned out on the block in the lower left corner of this picture!  Those tiny diamond crosshatches really set off the Trip Around The World block, which was mostly ditch-stitched.

Here you can see some of the matchstick quilting I used to make parts of blocks stand out.  Man, that stuff is tiny!  

It was so much fun deciding how to quilt each block!  I really stretched myself, and had a pile of quilting books stacked on my worktable to refer to each time I moved on to another space to quilt.

The back really tells the tale of how much quilting is in this quilt - you can just see all the texture it created!

And isn't this fun?  Jen Kingwell herself signed my quilt at a trunk show and lecture she gave in 2017!  

So here's the skinny about this quilt:

Pattern is Long Time Gone, designed by Jen Kingwell.

Fabrics are scraps of various Kate Spain designs, Good Neighbors by Amanda Jean Nyburg, a line from Connecting Threads called (I think) Nana's Kitchen, maybe? and various other assorted bright scraps.  The sashing between the blocks is the very last of my grandmother's vintage Irish linen that she ordered directly from Ireland during the 60's and 70's to make her suits.

Batting is Hobbs Tuscany Collection Washable Wool Batting.

Quilting is completely hand-guided free motion and ruler work.

And yes, I'm keeping this one!

Oh, and one more thing to whoop about - we currently have 242 people signed up for Hands2Help 2019!  It's not too late to join in the fun if you haven't signed up already - click here and scroll down to the signup area!

So - - - can I get a whoop whoop???


And now it's your turn!  

What's making you whoop it up this week?

See what you find when you google "funky chicken"?
What's making you do a little happy dance?

Share!  We want to dance right along with you,

And it's always more fun to dance with friends!

The party will stay open until Sunday midnight.

Hope to see you there!