Monday, January 16, 2017

Moving it Forward

I got some news Thursday afternoon that rocked my world. A friend of my boys was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I have watched this fine young man grow up. He and his brother and sister were a big part of my children's lives as they grew up. 21 is far too young to have to deal with the challenges cancer brings. Cancer just sucks.  
 I got this news just as I was finishing up the quilting on a Quilty Hug, my little way of fighting cancer. Before binding it I hurried to put a Quilty Hug together for my sons' friend. This kept me from my Friday finish but it was worth it. I had some shew fly blocks in flannel done and mostly sewn together. I finished sewing them together. Then added a border. Cut batting and made a back. I'll be basting it tomorrow and hope to be able to give this hug by the end of the week.
 While in the mode of making backs and cutting batting I pieced a bunch of gray scraps together
to  make a back for my yarn bomb trees.

 And just because my way of working through bad news is to try to keep busy I also pieced a back for this Quilty Hug that has been waiting to be quilted for some time.
I hope your progress has occurred under better circumstances. It would do my heart good to see it. Please link up and share.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Stocking Up

I always have mixed emotions when I finish a spool of thread. Bummer it's gone and Wow! I've done a lot of sewing. I know it's silly but I take the spool and toot a little song of celebrations through it before I toss it in the garbage. I have similar feeling when I finish a cut of fabric. Though this is harder to tell. Since I don't throw away any piece of fabric unless it is less than an 1" big.  
 I do however know when I'm running low on a solid. I use a lot of solids for backgrounds
 I like to use colors rather than white or cream.
Gray is my favorite background.

 I use them for sashing.
 I give the eye and easy place to rest among all my scraps.
Sometimes I use them for a whole quilt.
 Do you use a lot of solids? Do you buy in bulk or just what you need when you need it? Would love to hear your methods.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesday Tutorial~ Wonky Frames

My yarn bomb trees are framed and made into a flimsy. I was hoping to be able to photograph it outside but by the time the top was done it was raining. Bummer! So you get the design wall.
 I thought it would be fun to share how I framed my blocks. Being wonky themselves they were all different sizes. I didn't want to lose any of my trees so I opted to add the frame and then square up the blocks. The biggest of my blocks was 10" x 11". My sides being the shorter side. So I cut strips 3" wide and 10 1/2" long. You don't want to go skinnier than 3" but can go wider, depending on how much frame you want to show. For the top and bottom I cut 4" x 12 1/2". You want to go bigger than the block size so you have a little wiggle room.
 Next make a diagonal cut through your shorter strip. I like to leave at least an 1" at the thinnest part.
 Place the diagonal cut sides along the edges of your block
 Flip so right sides are together and stitch in place.

 Trim off excess so you are working with a straight edge on the top and bottom. Note your block is not going to be square. Don't worry about it.

 Next make a diagonal cut to the strip for your top and bottom.
 Once again place diagonal cut side to the top and bottom of your quilt.
 Flip so right sides are together and stitch in place.
 Next square up your block
 Mine came out at 12" and finished at 11 1/2"
Forgot to take a picture of the finished block. Ooops!  This is a fun way to add interest to a block. you can do it with whatever block you have. Check out this simple quilt using this method by Berlin Quilter. Really adds a lot of interest to those simple blocks. Don't you think?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Moving it Forward

It's no secret I love scrap quilts or that playing in my scraps makes me very happy. This weekend I was planning a little snow play with my daughter but with the thermometer reading 1* we made other plans. We bit the bullet and finally got Christmas taken down. I was tempted to honor Debbie Reynolds and her daughter, Carrie Fisher and just keep it up year round. Apparently they both did this, they loved Christmas so much. But the fact that I hate to dust and all those decorations tend to collect dust so down it all came. Then off my daughter went to make cookies with a friend and I jumped into my bits bin and made a bunch more of these little scrappy stars. 
Also this week thanks to everyone's input I settled on a sashing idea for my yarn bomb trees. I know a lot of you liked the red. Sorry I don't know if it's because I just used red as a sashing and didn't want to repeat myself so soon or what but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Instead I went with two different blues. Instead of true sashing I framed the blocks in a wonky improvisational style. I really like the design it creates where the blocks come together. I didn't quite get them all framed. But that will give me something to do this week.
Now it's your turn. Time to share your progress. How did you move things forward this last week. I'm looking forward to seeing what you've done. It truly is inspiring.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Personal Progress and Soap

January means a new set of girls will be coming into Young Women's. And even though I no longer work with the 12-18 year old girls (I work with the 8-11 year old girls now) I still get to make the Personal Progress covers for them. Which means I got to make cover for five of my girls. Sad they are leaving me but excited to watch them grow and develop. My DD helped me pick out fabric last night. We chose some fat quarters of Coney Island, by Fig Tree, for Moda that I had in my stash. I braved the snow filled streets yesterday and headed to Joann's for ribbon and interfacing. By lunch, I had five new covers made. I hope the girls will like them. 
I haven't made soap in a while. I like to mix it outside as the lye gives of fumes. With temperatures hovering around 30* I put it off. However my Sun and Sand is now ready. Perfect timing we have been receiving mountains of snow recently, and I'm ready for a little tropical escape. This bar smells just like an ocean breeze. Can't wait to use it in a steamy shower. I also have it available in my shop is you are needing a little escape from the January blahs.  
 Yesterday the temperatures climbed to a balmy 40*. I took advantage of the warmer weather to make this Valentine themed soap. I'm not quite sure what I'm calling it but it smells divine.  It has a blend of cinnamon, patchouli, cedarwood, ylang ylang, and rosemary essential oils.  Any suggestions on a name?
 Linking up with Sarah and Amanda Jean to celebrate these fine finishes.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Auditions

I thought for sure I'd be sharing finished tops from our Quilty Hug sew in yesterday. And while three tops have all their blocks, sashing and rows complete, we didn't quite get the rows and sashing all sewn together to complete the tops. I would promise you next month, but because I will be heading out to teach at Bryce, you'll have to wait until March.  But I promise it will be worth it.

After the sew in, and a little cleaning, there tends to be a need to sweep after a sew in, lots of little bits and thread. I pulled out my yarn bomb trees. I have three more I need to make. But I wanted to audition sashing. I thought this dotty orange and black might be fun. But I don't think there is enough of it. And I'm not sure I can get more. It is from Moda's Oh Boo from a few years back.
Mary thought a red might be nice. I had this in my stash. What do you think?
 Next I tried Kona solid sky. I really liked this one. What are your thoughts?
 Finally I tried a more cheery blue. I also like this one.
 I think I will put scrappy corner stones with whatever I choose. I'll finish up my blocks and then decide. Would love your input. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tuesday Tutorial FMQ

Free Motion Quilting is something I started doing more because I'm cheap than because I wanted to gain the skill. Quilting by check was just not something I could bring myself to do. I know my skills in this area are not the best. But as I improve I do like it more. The fact that other than Ruth I don't have a lot of help getting the tops quilted for the Quilty Hugs we make each month in our sew in. Fortunately Ruth is really good at FMQ. She recently let me know about a YouTube station I have found very useful. After watching one of their tutorials I did this all over design.
I really liked it. Here is the tutorial. I did change mine a little. I make leaves differently than she shows. I didn't feel the need to change it. 
 While finishing up the last of the basted Quilty Hugs yesterday I found this border. My curves are not as smooth as they should be but I'm pretty pleased with the results.

Here is the tutorial I watched for this one.
If you are interested in improving your FMQ I recommend Whirls and Swirls. She has lots of videos and her instructions really worked for me. I know I'll be watching and using more of her videos.