Monday, May 31, 2010

Check Out These Crocodiles!!

Hi, all!

You have got to go over and see Clare Bower's new stuffed crocodiles on her blog, Clare's Craftroom!!  They are just too cute!!  And if you leave a comment on her blog, she's giving away a copy of her new pattern to one lucky commenter....

I'm still plugging away on those quilts for my daughter's silent auction - four of them are finished and ready to go, and the last one is now a quilt sandwich, ready for quilting!  Keep your fingers crossed that my sewing machine doesn't decide to take a vacation!!  Check back for pictures of all the quilts on Friday.....



Friday, May 28, 2010

Sew and Tell Friday - 2 Real Finishes, A Top, and a Tutorial!

Hi, all!!

It has been a productive week at my house - finally!!  The two Super-Size Shoo Fly quilts are completely finished - quilted, bound, and photographed!!  

I really love the way these came out - but now I need your help!  Both of these quilts are just crying out for names - but I'm terrible at naming things!  Well, except for the snake in our backyard - his name is Severus Snake (for all you Harry Potter fans out there!) 

 But most of the time, the perfect name for something occurs to me long after I need it.....  So I welcome your suggestions for each of these two quilts!   Update:  Thanks to everyone for their wonderful suggestions!  The brown quilt is now called "Chocolate On My Mind" and the light quilt is "Summer Wreaths".  Thanks so much and I'll have two more next Friday for naming!!

Remember the Sunbonnet Sue blocks my friend gave me?  Here's the top that I completed this week using them.  Notice the cornerstones in the two borders?  Well, I usually avoid cornerstones like the plague because I always have trouble making the blocks match up perfectly in the corner.  But this quilt really needed those cornerstones.  Then I flashed on a technique I saw in a recent quilting magazine of using partial seams.......  So I did my cornerstones like this:

1.  I cut the side border pieces at least 2 inches longer than I needed each piece to be, and cut four cornerstones.

2.  I sewed one cornerstone to each border piece, ending up with four pieces, two in each size, consisting of a border and a cornerstone.  Press the seams toward the cornerstone.

3.  Choosing the proper size border piece for the side I wanted to start on (it really doesn't matter where you start with this technique), I matched the end of the border piece at the cornerstone to the corner of the quilt.  Holding it in place, I pinned my first pin a couple of inches in, then pinned down the rest of the  edge.  You should have some leftover fabric at the end of your pinning.  Starting at your first pin, sew the seam.  This will leave the cornerstone "waving in the breeze", but you'll get back to it later.

4.  Square off the edge of the quilt with the excess border.  Press the seam toward the quilt.

5.  Beginning where you just trimmed, pin the next strip, matching the cornerstone to the border you just sewed on and the quilt seam.  Sew the seam all the way to the end.  You should have some excess fabric at the end of this seam.

6.  Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have sewn on all four border strips.  Square off the last strip, being very careful not to cut your quilt top or the first strip you sewed on.

7.  Now, take the cornerstone that is "waving in the breeze" and attach it to the last strip you sewed on.  Voila!   You now should have four perfect cornerstones, and you didn't have to do any of that pesky exact measuring!!

NOTE:  If you sew on two borders, both with cornerstones, you will have to adjust the direction you press your seams to accommodate matching the corners.

Here's the proof that the corners come out perfectly:

(This little "quilt" I made for the tutorial took twenty minutes, start to finish, including picking out the fabric to make it with and taking the pictures.  See how easy?  I think I'll finish it off now for my granddaughter's doll bed!)

Now, I know some of you more experienced quilters out there may have been doing your cornerstones like this for years - but when I googled cornerstones, I didn't find any similar instructions, so hopefully this will help someone else!!

Be sure to check out Amy's Sew and Tell Friday - I'm so grateful to have real finishes this week, and I should have two more next week!  I can't wait to see what everyone else has been up to!!



Friday, May 21, 2010

My First Blogger's Quilt Festival Entry!!

Hi, all!

Wow, this is exciting - my first quilt festival entry!  And what a great idea to make it in "blogworld"!  

This quilt is part of a group of quilts I am making for a silent auction the first Saturday in June.  My daughter and son-in-law are in the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia, which can be a very expensive process.  They are well on their way - they've made it to the waiting list so we're probably just a few short months from having a new grandchild to join the adorable Lilli!!  Lilli is two and a half and my almost constant companion, at least Monday through Thursday during the day while her parents are at work.  We have a wonderful time sewing (she'd like to use my sewing machine with the power on, but I think she's just a little too young for that yet!)  She has her own little stack of "quilts" in the hall closet - I can't wait until she's old enough to really put one together!

So anyway, my contribution includes this quilt, which I call "Breakout Butterflies".  My granddaughter, who serves as my #1 encourager and critic, immediately pronounced it playworthy - I almost didn't think I would get it back from her - so hopefully some child will also love it well!  The butterflies are appliqued on top of the quilted top and the backing, with baby rick-rack outlining and antennae.  

As you can see in the picture of the backing, I outlined both butterflies with stitching then quilted up to the outline, creating a "ghost butterfly" on each side.  I love the bright colors in this quilt, and sure wish I had remembered to take a picture of the bound quilt before I gave it to my daughter for safe-keeping!  I used the bright blue print of the four-patch squares for the binding and it really makes the border look complete.

What did I learn from making this quilt?  That piecing the back is a great place for creative expression - even though it sometimes feels like more work than piecing the pattern on the front!!   (If you are interested in seeing the other quilts I'm making for the auction, check back  - I've got three more ready to quilt and bind and should be posting pictures of them in the next week or so.)

Hopefully soon I'll be posting a picture of my new grandchild so you all can see one of the benefits of this quilt!   I hope you'll join me then in welcoming him or her to the family!

Thanks for checking out my entry in the Bloggers Quilt Festival - enjoy browsing all the great quilts!!



Sew and Tell Friday - Bear With Me!!

Hi, all!

My week has been so weird, it's a miracle I have anything to post at all - but I'm posting these as "finishes" because it was such a trial getting them this far!!!  Every time I was ready to put a quilt sandwich together, it started raining.  Then Thursday, my dog woke up with ears as thick as pork chops - silly thing thinks that hornets would be fun to play with - turns out she's allergic to hornet stings!  So I spent a good part of the morning dealing with the vet and, once again, sewing got pushed to the afternoon, when, once again, it started raining!!!  So this morning I got up really early, got outside before the weather got bad, and got my quilt sandwiches (3 of them) put together.  As you may be able to tell from the pictures, by the time I got to this point, the weather was already starting to get iffy again - lots of wind and intermittent sunshine - but they are finally done!!  Hallelujah!!

These three quilts are for my daughter's silent auction, and I should have them done in time to show finished pieces next Friday!  (You are seeing front and back of each quilt above.)  That will make four quilts for her, and that's all I thought I would be doing........      but ...............      

my wonderful friend Tracy, who made a beautiful appliqued Sunbonnet Sue quilt for her granddaughter, brought me six (yes, SIX!) blocks she had leftover from her quilt as her donation to the cause!

So it looks like I'll be doing one more quilt to bring my newest grandchild home before it's all over!  I have such great friends - but this one really takes the cake because I know how much work goes into those blocks!  Thanks again, Tracy!!

So now, it's time to get quilting!  But not until I see what everyone else has been up to on Sew and Tell Friday!!  And don't forget to check out the Bloggers Quilt Festival!!


Monday, May 17, 2010

I was a bad, bad girl......

Hi, all!

Well, this was supposed to be the year I worked on getting rid of my fabric stash - but look what came in the mail today!!!

Well, actually, the fabric came in the mail - the Rave 4 hairspray came from Wal-Mart!  It's for an experiment in spray basting - I've been told it works, and if it does, it's a whole lot cheaper!!  ($2 per can as opposed to $11 per can!)  I'm testing it on a sample first, though..... not going to risk a quilt top yet!  The yardage fabric came from Pink Chalk Fabrics which was running a great sale last week - I had a hard time resisting it and ordered from them twice!  The pre-cuts are from the Fresh Cotton collection.  I spotted a quilt I absolutely loved in a recent quilting magazine, but couldn't find the both the honey bun and the jelly roll at the same shop anywhere!  I happened to mention it in a series of e-mails to a fellow blogger, and she sweetly told me that Burgundy Buttons had both AND that they were on sale!  Needless to say, I jumped right over to that website and ordered mine!  So anyway, now I have to stop buying fabric for a while.....

But I have new toys to play with - thanks to my wonderful hubby!  Look what I got for Mother's Day!

(Not the sewing machine - who by the way has been recently named Abigail, or Abby on days when we are having serious fun!)  The extension table is my new toy, and wow, do I love it!  It takes so much of the weight of the quilt and makes machine quilting so much easier!  I am one spoiled girl.....

And here's my second new toy - a cutting mat that rotates!  This has been a great help with squaring off blocks, which I have found is absolutely necessary when making Shoo Fly blocks!

It's the silly little things that make quilting fun, you know?

So now I have absolutely no excuse not to get those last three quilts for my daughter finished, and soon!  Plus I have new fabric to play with and lots of new quilts floating around in my head - - - sweet!!



Friday, May 14, 2010

Sew and Tell Friday - A Near Finish!!

Hi, all!

Well, I had to take the picture of my Friday finish before I actually finished it - the weather was closing in here in Tennessee and I had to take advantage of the sunshine while I had it!  It will be finished tonight, for sure - I've only got to hand-stitch the binding and it will be done.

I love this pattern - learned it from Quilts For Kids - but this time I took some inspiration from a recent quit magazine and added the butterfly applique.  And here's the back:

  I put another one of the butterflies on the back and just love it!    Both butterflies are outlined in black baby rick-rack (more handstitching!) and I think they came out really well.

I stitched around each butterfly, and then quilted up to the butterfly stitching all around.  I like the way it makes the butterfly kind of pop out of the background......
This quilt is the first to be completely finished for my daughter's silent auction.  I created a special label for the back that incorporates both her blog name and my quilting "handle":

The binding will be the bright blue of the four-patch squares.  It's looking really good now where I've started to do the hand-stitching!  So now I'll head over to Amy's Sew and Tell Friday to post my link and see what everyone else has been up to this week, then finish off this quilt!



Monday, May 10, 2010

Such An Exciting Few Days!

Hi, all!

We just had a big weekend - my daughter Nancy graduated with her master's degree from Cumberland University in Lebanon, TN, so we had a big celebration on Saturday!  Fortunately, we had absolutely perfect weather for an outdoor graduation - sunshine, a light breeze, and about 65 degrees.  Lilli even cooperated during the long ceremony and made it all the way to the end - but not without LOTS of yogurt covered raisins!  At least we managed to prevent her from going up to sit with her mama!

Then Sunday being Mother's Day, we went to Chris and Nancy's house after church for good lunch and a fun time with them before going to see Iron Man 2.  What a fun movie! Lots of stuff blowing up - you can't get better than that!!

I did get to do a little sewing this weekend, too - actually more cutting than sewing as I cut out the pieces for another Super-sized Shoo Fly quilt.  I managed to finish piecing the top today, but wasn't able to get any pictures as it was a little too rainy to hang the top up on my clothesline.  Maybe tomorrow...  But it is really pretty, I think.  Lilli approved, anyway!!  I also cut out a children's quilt today from some pretty Heidi Grace prints - very bright and cheerful.  Hopefully I'll finish piecing that one tomorrow.  I got a good start on it today!

My niece Heather also came to visit for a few days today.  She's between college and work - got finished with school for the semester last week and starts a new job next week, so she decided to come visit her Wicked Auntie!  Lilli knows her name is Heather, but for some reason insists on calling her Rachel (Heather's younger sister's name) I think just to annoy her!   We'll have to find some interesting things to do this week.....  Lilli has voted for going to see the horses at my neighbor's farm!

A busy week ahead - hopefully I'll have some pictures tomorrow!!



Friday, May 7, 2010

Beautiful Pastels for Sew and Tell Friday!!

Hi, all!!

Wow! It's Sew and Tell Friday again!!  It has been a really eventful week here in the Nashville, TN area, but I still managed to finish a project - I'm telling you, Sew and Tell Friday has revolutionized my life!  I'm always trying to get something done that I can post online....  (If you want to see more of what we've been going through here in Nashville, check out this link.)

So - here's my finish for the week  This quilt is for our quilt ministry, going to the director of my church's weekday education program.

Take a look at the back of the quilt - the teachers traced each child's hand on the backing and put their name in it so she can remember each one of them.  And I love the front of the quilt - this is a disappearing nine-patch pattern, which I had never tried before but I'm glad to have it in my repertoire now!  I think I'll be making a lot more of these.

I was inspired by a beautiful pastel quilt I saw recently somewhere online (of course, I can't find it now) but it wasn't until I remembered that I had a charm pack of Moda Kashmir II stashed away that it became a reality.  A quick trip to the quilt shop for a little yardage from the Kashmir collection, and some pastel solids from my stash, and this is the result!


I particularly like the quilting on this one, too - I just stitched on either side of each seam.  I think it enhances the quilt without overpowering the design...

So what have you been working on this week?  I can't wait to see!!  Stop by Sew and Tell Friday on amylouwho's blog and check out what everyone's doing!



Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Home Safe and Sound!

Hi, all!

Well, we made it home safe and sound and fortunately had no damage in our little neck of the woods. Lots of our friends weren't so lucky, and it will be a long time before Nashville is back to normal, so keep us in your prayers!  Here's a pic of the road we used to get home - it didn't look like that when we went over it but apparently this happened sometime since then. 

On a happier note, it's good to be back to my sewing machine and projects! My friend Cassie and I got together today at her house to sew - her two littlest girls and my granddaughter always have a great time playing together. Here's a picture of all three of them.

My granddaughter always talks about playing with "CamiAbby" (both the girls' names) as if they were one person. So I guess the title of this picture would be "LilliCamiAbby"!

 Cassie and I were both working on quilts for the quilt ministry at church today - I wish I had a picture of hers, because it's really beautiful. Lots of stash fabrics combined to make a really striking quilt. I'll post pictures of it as soon as she finishes it. Here are pictures of the almost-completed quilt I'm working on.  Tomorrow I'll put on the binding and it will be finished.
 I just love the pastels in this quilt - not my usual color choice, but I was inspired by a pic I saw on someone's blog and it just nagged at me until I remembered a charm pack of Moda Kashmir II I had stashed away. It was just perfect for a disappearing nine-patch quilt!

Once I get this quilt done, I'm buckling down and working on the quilts for my daughter's silent auction. I can't wait to see how they turn out! Stay tuned for pictures........



Sunday, May 2, 2010

I wish I had my sewing machine with me, but I don't know where I'd plug it in!

Hi, all!

Well, I'm sitting here in a Wendy's in Dickson, Tennessee, wishing I had brought my sewing machine on this little weekend jaunt. While we were in Jackson for a family wedding, flooding rains moved through Tennessee - currently we are sitting here because, while we only live on the far side of Nashville, apparently you can't get there from here! 12+ inches of rain have fallen, even the interstates are flooding, and the backroads are non-existent! So I'm sitting here looking at my new quilt magazines and wondering where the nearest quilt shop is - surely to goodness there's one in Dickson! Oh well, I don't think I could get my husband to buy into the thought that it would be a more interesting place to waste a few hours while they clear the roads than Wendy's!

I'm also hoping that the rising water has remained in the yard and isn't in my house - but there's nothing I can do about it from here so I refuse to worry about it! My fabric stash is upstairs, so I think it's safe - and that's the important thing, right? My husband, God love him, reminds me that a tree could have fallen on the house right on top of my sewing room. (sigh) He's my ride, so I have to stay here. But his drums are up there too, so he's not really wishing that happens.....

OK, that's enough for now - I just had to vent a little! We've never in our twenty-plus years in Middle Tennessee seen rain like this, so it's certainly an adventure...but I'm ready for the adventure to be over so I can get back to my sewing machine!