Friday, February 28, 2014

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? Floating Boxes Tutorial Unveiled!!

Hi, all!

Friday again!!  Can you believe it?  And it's a very special Friday around here - today is my beautiful daughter's 30th birthday!!  

Well, actually, she doesn't have a birthday this year - she's a leap year baby - but for some reason she insists on celebrating each year.  ;-)


And remember these quilts?

Well, today the tutorial for the child's size (in the bottom two pictures) is running on the Benartex blog, Sew In Love {With Fabric}!!  It was so exciting to be asked to participate in their Kids' Quilts Blog Hop, and definitely fun to play with their cute children's fabrics!  The quilt above is made with the Yard Dog line - just adorable!!

I hope you'll hop over to their blog and check out the tutorial - there's also a giveaway associated with the hop!!  Then come back here and link up your own Whoop Whoop, and if you want a PDF copy of the tutorial, ask for one in a comment.  I'll email it to you right away!  (If you think there's any chance you might be a no-reply blogger, please please please put your email address in your comment.  I will send the tutorial to everyone I can reach by email, but unfortunately there are several of you who routinely leave comments who are no-reply bloggers.  I always respond to comments, so if you've never received a reply from me, you're probably a no-reply blogger!)

And here's a picture of the same block made up in a different layout, using all scraps.  Useful little block!


And on another front, I'm whooping about how many sponsors have responded to my call for help with the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge!  It's exciting to see some new sponsors this year, too!  (And if you want to help sponsor, just drop me a line.) Signups are coming up soon - March 16th! Stay tuned for more info soon.  and grab the button for your blog if you want to - it's right there at the top of the right side bar!


So that's my whoop whoop for the week!!


And now it's your turn!

What are you doing the happy dance about today?

Share!  We want to dance along with you!

And if it's your first time here, remember, 
it doesn't have to be a finish -
just something you're happy about accomplishing!

The party will remain open until Sunday night -

Hope to see you there!



Monday, February 24, 2014

Make-A-List Monday - Whew! I'm glad for friends!

Hi, all!

A brief taste of spring this week has got me dreaming of daffodils and sunshine and warm spring breezes - how about you?  It will be cooler this week but the little taste was enough to give me some hope for the future…

I'm still waiting for that part for Jolene, so quilting has been slow - but that's a good thing, because I had a lot of things to do besides quilting this week!  Let's see how the list went...

1.  Finish the quilt tutorial.
Done!  I've emailed the HTML version, and created a PDF file for those who want a hard copy.  It will be posted on the Benartex blog, Sew In Love {With Fabric}, this coming Friday!

2.  Finish the tutorial quilt for a new baby, born 12 weeks premature.
Done!  See how cute it came out?

3.  Make a quilt for a gentleman with dementia.
Done - although I didn't have a lot to do with it.  We had a quilt donated to us (thanks, Patty!) that was finished except for sewing down the binding, and Betty finished the binding.

4.  Finish six comfort quilts for various ministry needs.
Five of these were finished, although I didn't have much to do with these either. Cindy, Kathy and Robin worked on these five.  All of them went to family members of an elderly couple who were killed by a package bomb recently in our community.

5.  Finish cleaning up the case of the Singer 99.
Still working on this.  I really want this case to look nice when it's done, so I'm taking my time with it.

6.  Email potential sponsors for H2H 2014.
Done!  Hopefully I'll start hearing back from them soon!

7.  Rewrite the Page for Hands2Help to reflect the new causes and schedule for 2014.
Done!  Feel free to check it out and see what will be going on for this year's Challenge!

8.  Keep up with any ministry needs that arise.
Done!  Two new babies were born, and we've sent quilts for them!

So not too badly, thanks to a lot of help from my friends!  Writing the tutorial for Benartex took quite a bit of time, on top of the H2H administrative duties.  But they're done now!

And here's what's on the docket for this week

1.  Finish the last comfort quilt.

2.  Finish quilting the top that's on the quilt frame at church.

3.  Quilt a top for a gentleman with lung cancer.

4.  Work on piecing a baby top.

5.  Keep working on the Singer 99 case.

6.  Hang the new shelves in my sewing studio.

7.  Keep up with any new ministry needs that arise.

8.  Clean house!

This week promises to be a busy one - I've got meetings at church, the Thursday morning community group, grandbabies four days this week, and my niece coming in for a few days this weekend!  Oops - looks like I need to add a little house cleaning to that list.  Gotta love it!  

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



Friday, February 21, 2014

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? A New Design...

Hi, all!

I hope you all have been enjoying some nice weather - we certainly have!  At least, up till now - they're predicting severe storms for us tonight (Thursday night) so hopefully I'll still have a roof tomorrow morning!  Of course, I found out today that I need a new roof, so maybe that's not so important.  Oh well!

I did get some quilting done this week - I'm kind of enjoying doing some straight line quilting on my tabletop machine - it's nice to slow down a little bit!  Fortunately, I've got a local friend with a very nice Gammill, and she said I could come crank out ministry quilts on it while I'm (still!) waiting for the (back-ordered) part for Jolene.  Thank heavens for good friends!! She told me her Gammill's name is Mamie.  Mamie and I got along well together earlier this week!

But today I want to share the quilt I finished with straight line quilting this week.  This quilt was my test quilt for a tutorial I was asked to write for a series of posts on the Benartex blog next week.  I wrote the tutorial but wanted to test it before I started cutting their fabric, so I made the quilt in a larger size. 

For this one, I used a Comma jelly roll and some Kona, I think in bone.  It's a really simple block, either for pre-cuts, yardage, or scraps, and it's a simple quilt to make larger or smaller.  The tutorial will run next Friday on the Benartex blog, and I'll put a link to it in next week's Whoop Whoop post!

I quilted this one using an angled straight line, but to add interest, I turned some corners.  Thank heavens for my Mark-B-Gone marker, which helped me keep a straight line on the borders!  

This quilt already has a new home with Diane, who used to work with our quilt ministry.  Her life has gotten much more complicated since she learned to do some amazing long arm stitching, so she doesn't get to come as often as we'd like to see her, but we still consider her a part of the group.  She had surgery this week for a blocked carotid artery and we wanted her to be wrapped up in a quilt-y hug from all the ladies at the ministry!  If you've never seen her quilting you really should go check out her blog.  She does the most amazing memory quilts I've ever seen!!

And now, just for fun, I want to show you a picture I found earlier this week while looking through a box of old stuff…

Me with my very first rotary cutter and mat!!  I think this picture is between 20 and 24 years old  I showed it to the ladies at church and they said, "Oh - - - your hair was brown?"  LOL!  I wasn't quilting back then, just sewing clothes for myself and my young daughter, but I put that rotary cutter to good use even then!

So that's one of my accomplishments for the week - 
can I get a whoop whoop??


And now it's your turn!

What's got you whooping this week?

What's made you jump for joy?

Tell us - we want to dance right along with you!

The party will stay open until Sunday midnight - 
and remember - it doesn't have to be a finish!

Hope to see you there!



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Working Wednesday - Taking a Little Hiatus...

Hi, all!

Here it is, Wednesday again --- andI have been working so hard on the Hands2Help Challenge setup for this year that I haven't had a chance to work at all on the book.  So I think until I get all this preliminary work done, the book will have to take a backseat!  

Challenges are fun, but a whole lot of work to organize!  Last week I finally got the button finished…

…and managed to finally get the code attached to it so you can put it on your own blog!  You can pick it up in the right side bar if you want to add it to your blog - and I'd appreciate it immensely!

I've finally worked out the schedule for this year's challenge, and am working on updating the Page with all the new info.  

I'm also working on contacting last year's sponsors, and locating new ones!

And I had the most amazing conversation today with the woman who runs one of this year's charities!  In listening to her talk about her journey, I heard so many similarities to our church's quilt ministry.  It actually kind of freaked me out, because her ministry is so much larger than ours - but then I remembered that she has been doing this for fifteen years now and we've only been doing it for four years.  God will give us the resources and workers we need as we need them - but I can look at her ministry and see where we could be in ten or twelve years.  It's pretty amazing! I can't wait to tell you more about her charity, and the others we'll be quilting for this year.  Soon!!

So - - - because there are only 24 hours in a day and I haven't found a way to clone myself yet, a short hiatus from thinking and working on the book is in order.  Watch for more on the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge very soon!!



Monday, February 17, 2014

Make-A-List Monday - Where Did The Week Go?

Hi, all!

I hope you all had a fabulous Valentines Day!  I know my chocolate stash has been replenished, and a copy of Game of Thrones (3rd season) is headed my way - woohoo!!  How fun is that?  Something great to watch while quilting!

It's funny - with Jolene out of commission, I'm doing more straight line stitching - and I had forgotten how much fun it is!  Slower, but satisfying in a totally different way.  So I guess I'm doing some of my own "slow stitching" these days!   

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

1.  Straight line quilt another quilt for the ministry.
Done!  Isn't this pretty?  You can read about who this went to here.

2.  Quilt two ministry quilts on the mid-arm at church.
Done!  And I can't find the pictures anywhere…  but one went to a little girl with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and the other to a woman just diagnosed with breast cancer.

3.  Write the quilt tutorial.
In progress.  I've written the tutorial down, now I'm working on the quilt and taking the pictures to go in the tutorial.

4.  Write at least one blog post for the new blog.
Didn't get to this one...

5.  Write another Working Wednesday post.
Done!  You can read it here...

6.  Start a new Thursday morning sewing group!
Done!  We had seven folks show up for our inaugural meeting - worked on the sixteen-patch blocks for a Good Night Irene quilt top.  That's a great quilt for new quilters, and a fun one for experienced ones!

7.  Sand down the Singer 99 case.
In progress.  I've done some of the sanding, but I need to do some finer sanding to get it nice and smooth!  Here's a couple of progress shots - the first is what the case looked like as I was removing that burlap-ish cover on the wooden case.  I've also removed the brown leatherette on the top work surface and taken off the metal closure pieces, since I don't have the original case top.

8.  Make the blog button for H2H 2014.
Done!!!! Finally!!!! I had a horrible time with blogger changing the code I wrote, eliminating the code that goes in the capture box for some reason. Don't ask me how, but I finally got it working!  So you can grab the button for this year's Hands2Help Challenge from the right sidebar now!

9.  Start contacting sponsors and guest bloggers for H2H.
(If you'd like to sponsor or be a guest blogger, speak up now!)
I've got the email started, but I'm still putting the mailing list together.  Gotta get this one done!

10.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that arise.
This one kept me busy this week!  Among others, I finished this quilt… which I'll share more about on Friday.

And here's my list for this week

1.  Finish the quilt tutorial.

2.  Finish the tutorial quilt for a new baby, born 12 weeks premature.

3.  Make a quilt for a gentleman with dementia.

4.  Finish six comfort quilts for various ministry needs.

5.  Finish cleaning up the case of the Singer 99.

6.  Email potential sponsors for H2H 2014.

7.  Rewrite the Page for Hands2Help to reflect the new causes and schedule for 2014.

8.  Keep up with any ministry needs that arise.

I'm sure there are other things that I need to work on this week, too, but I'm drawing a blank right now!  I think this list covers the major things, though.

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



Friday, February 14, 2014

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? Going in Circles...

Hi, all!

Did this week fly by for you?  It sure did for me!  Things are looking up, as far as I'm concerned - I heard two of the prettiest words I've heard in a while in the weather report this morning - "pushing seventy"!!  Next week it's supposed to get much warmer and I'm definitely doing a happy dance about that!! But I also did some quilting this week that I want to share with you - - - I spent my week "going in circles"!!

The beautiful color slabs and spool blocks were donated to us, and I spent some time playing with them on my design wall trying to figure out how to put them together.  Finally I stepped back and realized that I liked them with a lot of negative space!  So after lots of measuring and finagling later, this top was born.  Then it sat on the shelf while I tried to figure out how to quilt it

I love the circle quilting that I've been seeing out in blogland lately, and since I'm still quilting on my tabletop machine, I decided this would be a good quilt to try it out on.

I love the juxtaposition of the curves with the very straight elements of the quilt.  My curves aren't perfect, so we'll just call them "organic" - it's a lot harder to spin that quilt around evenly than it looks!!  But I'm really happy with this quilt.

This quilt is going to a young couple who just found out that their unborn daughter has a heart defect.  They won't know whether it can be fixed until after the baby is born, so they have a nerve-wracking wait ahead of them.  Our hope is that this quilt will remind them every time they see it that there are many many people praying for them and their unborn child!


And now it's your turn!

What have you been working on this week?

What's made you dance a happy little dance?

Share it with us - we want to dance with you!!

The party will stay open until Sunday midnight - 

Hope to see you there!!

Hugs and Happy Valentine's Day!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Working Wednesday - The Finish Line!

Hi, all!

With Jolene out of commission, I've been much more aware this week of how we complete quilts.  Therefore, that's what I'll be writing about this week!


Once you've made your quilt tops, the question arises how to finish it off.  When you first start making charity quilts, you may not have access to a long arm quilter or quilting service.  There are several options for finishing your quilts, and we'll look at some of them here.

You've made your top, and it's time to make a back.  You can piece your back with a creative design using the scraps from your front, or you can do something simpler with one or two fabrics.  Remember that a pieced back can be hard to center to your top, particularly if you are new to quilting.  I always make my pieced backs asymmetrical so that if the top is not quite centered, it looks intentional.  

Once you've created your back, you sandwich your quilt.  Lots of choices here, too. You can thread-baste the top, batting and back together.  You can pin it together using safety pins.  Or you can use basting spray to basically glue the layers together.  Whichever method you choose to use, be sure that your quilt sandwich is as smooth and wrinkle free as possible.   

Now on to quilting!  When we first started, quilting was very new to all of us.  Our very first ministry quilt was simply stitched in the ditch, and so were the next several quilts.  This is a simple and effective way to do it, but doesn't do much to enhance the piecing you've taken the time to do!  

You might consider stitching 1/4 inch to each side of the seams as an alternative.  This is actually easier than stitching in the ditch, because you don't have to hit such a small mark.

Then we moved on to straight line quilting, on the diagonal of square-blocked quilts.  Also simple, but it gave the quilts some texture.  All of this quilting was done on our tabletop domestic sewing machines, and we were learning how to manipulate the quilts through the machine throats.  

Starting to feel a bit more confident, our next step was more organic straight line quilting.  Sometimes we echoed the pattern in the fabric with the quilting; other times we just did straight or wavy lines to secure the batting and create texture.

Then we moved on to free motion quilting.  This can be a terrifying thing the first time you do it!  But practice makes perfect, or at least better - and charity quilting gives you lots of opportunity for practice!

Do you notice the label on the binding in the picture above?  This is one way to label your quilts, simple and effective.  We decided we didn't like the look of a flat label on the back, so we chose this as our standard label.  However you choose to do it, you should always label your quilts!

Some ministries choose to tie their quilts rather than quilt them.  Many will pray a prayer with each knot that is tied, and even involve non-quilters in the process of tying the knots.  This is a great way to allow more to participate in the creation of each quilt.  However, it may not make as sturdy a quilt, so if it is likely to need a lot of washing (for example, a quilt for a young child), you may wish to keep that in mind.

Once the quilting is done, you will need to bind the quilt.  You have several choices here too - you can choose to self bind, turning the backing over to the front to finish off the edges of the quilt.  (The frog quilt pictured above was bound that way.)  Or you can attach a separate binding by machine and either hand sew or machine sew to the opposite side of the quilt.  Many charity groups request that quilts be machine pieced, quilted and bound to make them as sturdy as possible, able to withstand washing in a commercial machine.  This is a factor to keep in mind when you are deciding how to finish off your quilt.  There are many great tutorials on how to bind your quilt, so it's easy to review the options and decide which one works best for you.  We originally started by attaching the binding to the front by machine, then stitching it down to the back by hand.  However, the day we had seven quilts to finish before the next day, we learned how to complete the binding by machine!  Sometimes necessity dictates technique….

Once your quilt is finished, take pictures!  You'll be giving this quilt away - your pictures will be the only record you have of what you created.  Believe me, after you've given away enough quilts, they'll start to blur together.  You will want to be able to look back and see what you have done in the past.  Look at pictures others take of their quilts - blogs or Pinterest are a great place to do this.  Improve your picture taking skills by analyzing what you like about certain pictures.  Natural lighting, an artful setting, close-ups - all of these things will make your pictures more interesting.  But remember to take at least one picture flat and straight on so you can see the entire quilt!

Now fold up your quilt neatly, tie it with a pretty piece of ribbon or tulle, and add a card for your recipient.  We are fortunate to have a woman in our group who makes beautiful stamped cards as her contribution to the ministry, and we wrote a prayer to go in each card that goes out from our ministry.

Our Prayer For You

That the DESIGN or plan of this quilt will remind you:

“…I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

That the COLORS of this quilt and of all Creation will remind you:

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for He founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.”  Psalm 24:1-2

That the WARMTH of this quilt will remind you of the love of God:

“…and hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”   Romans 5:5

That the many STITCHES in this quilt, like the many stars in the sky, will remind you:

“…so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life…” Philippians 2:15

That the HANDS that worked on this quilt will remind you:

“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.” Psalm 31:14-15


A Ministry of Gladeville Baptist Church

Now bask in the glow of a job well done…….  and then get to work on the next quilt!


OK folks - did I miss anything?  Do you finish your charity quilts differently?  If you've got any great tips, I'd love to hear them - we've been swamped with requests lately and anything we can do to streamline the process would be fabulous!

Thanks for your input, and for helping me along this journey!