Saturday, June 30, 2012

FAL Q2 : 4 out of 6

It's Quilter in The Gap Post-FALQ2 Linky Party time and here are my 4 out of 6 that made it into the Finished category with three of the quilts already given away - the Echino bag I kept for myself and use everyday.   You can read about my Q1 accomplishments and High Hopes for Q2 in this post.  Thanks Rhonda and Sarah.  I'd love to win a prize, but like I said last time...we're all winners when things get DONE!

Front Sparkle Punch

Back Sparkle Punch
Front Asterisk

Back Asterisk
Teal We Meet Again - ready to give away

Teal We Meet Again
Zakka Bag Echino and Linen
Echino Zakka Bag

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Favorites and Alpaca Parts

Friday Favorites 06/29/2012

Barely a crumb of my favorites out there this week for me - slightly over-inspired.  

Alpaca - Pillow Parts
When my son was in Peru for study abroad earlier this year the funniest thing happened.  Laurie Wishrun posted a limited release of the most adorable Llama fabric - it was like she designed the line just for me! He was half way around the world and I was missing him. So I snatched some up from her etsy store Scarlet Fig.  I'm calling them Alpaca because those are more specifically the animals in the pictures he posted on his travel blog. 

This was back in January and I had plans to make a pillow for his birthday but instead - he got Alpaca parts.  It seemed just too risky to include fuzzy dingle ball tassels without prior approval - he totally embraced the oddness of his gift.  Pretty sure I'll be making two since the panel will fill up the entire 18x18 form. 

I've got another birthday boy tomorrow - I'm no longer the mother of teenagers!  Hopefully I will make the Oak Tree quilt I promised him before his next birthday rolls around.

Monday, June 25, 2012

BOM for Bigger Plans

The Block of the Month for June at PQVA is my favorite kind: Quilter's Choice.  The floral fabric was provided and the instructions were to make a 12 inch block with fabric and colors that play well with Blue.  Since I have big plans to create a Wedding Quilt (mentioned in this post) using the Old Italian Block from Anita Grossman Soloman's book Rotary Cutting Revolution that requires 110 of them ... it seemed like a good choice to try out 4.

Although the book includes instructions for using a paper piecing method, I'm going to opt out of that and hope for the best.  It was kind of tricky with all those bias edges but I did survive. Anita give her tips on starching fabric- something I've never tried other than a quick spray of Sizing on occasion.   The latest of my long list of blogs that I follow hers: Make It Simpler and I can tell already that I'll spend days catching up on the links and newsletters.

Batik vs Quilt Cotton Advise

Wedding Quilt First Pull
I'm using batiks in blue-ish for the dark and here's a stack of my first pull.  The bottom row doesn't really read dark so they may or may not make the cut.  Until I pull the rest of the lights I'll just leave them in the mix.

The next big decision is whether or not to commit to an exclusively batik quilt or combine non-batiks like I did in the Lava Lamp quilt.  The end result would be very different and I'm tempted to go that route but a bit nervous about the bias and varied tightness of the weave.

Do you mix batiks and quilt cotton often or have an opinion?

Linking up to Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations.

Summer Sewing Contest Winners

Congratulations to all of the winners in the Ellison Lane Quilts Summer Sewing Contest posted here. This was a fun to participate in and a great way to start off the sunny weather inspiration and I really like those chosen. 

Shop Hop Post Up Next

It's pretty rare that I actually know what my next post will be - but this time it's a no brainer: My Shop Hop Weekend report. Stay Tuned

Friday, June 22, 2012

Finish-a-Long and Block-a-Thon

Second Quarter FAL is coming to a close and it looks like I will have 4 out of 6 projects finished. Here are the six I set for my goal: 1)Asterisk Quilt, 2)Cat & the Hat, 3)Tassels Quilt, 4)Curio Quick Curve, 5)Teal We Meet Again, 6) Zakka in Echino.  Tassel blocks are still coming my way from the gals at F+F=AMSB so it'll come together when I have all of my parts and I decided that Curio wasn't quite right for the QAL and missed the boat on choosing another line.

I've been keeping an eye on the flickr group and am impressed with everyones completions. Although... when I see a picture that I like it just makes me want to start that project which is kind of counterproductive.


Have you read about the Free Spirit Fabric Christmas in July Block-a-Thon? I'm taking a break this summer from the 3x6, 4x5, NuBee swaps so I may be able to fit it in.   The blog line up has many of the usual suspects but also some names I don't recognize and it's always fun to discover who's out there.  Ever since Block-a-Palooza introduced me to flickr groups and blogs I have a soft spot for this sort of thing.

Silly Chase

While browsing my computer the other day I came across this picture of our dog Chase. I'm not sure it captures just how silly he is but wanted to share it anyway.  We adopted him from the shelter and he's the sweetest thing ever.  The very first time he backed himself up onto the couch to "sit" next to us - literally, like a human would - we just about lost it laughing and couldn't believe our eyes. I wish I had a picture of him in full position but he's super camera shy and as you can see gets down the minute I try.   He also stand on his two hind legs to pick black berries that hang over the fence from the neighbors yard- I really need to get that one on video.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Now for the Fun Stuff

The ideas for our Modern Quilt Guild Retreat are endless and now that the venue has been chosen, the date has been set and the registration has begun, it's time for some of the fun stuff.

I've been scouring flickr and blogs for ideas and came up with a few favorites: I want to make a Fabric Wreath to hang on the doors of Fireside Hall where our workspace will be.  For the BAMQG Winter Retreat Adrianne designed custom printed fabric from Spoonflower and we simply must copy cat that idea for ours.

I've seen some great name tags, goody bags and decorations out there.  So many possibilities really - it's going to be fun.

 Bee Blocks complete

When I posted my Basketweave Braid Star parts on Wednesday I was thinking there wasn't much left to do.  As it turns out, adding the white and joining the four sections was actually quite a bit.  Not complaining mind you - just an observation.  I like that we make two blocks for this bee so that I can try out a different approach at various stages. 

F+F=AMSB for Eileen
My first block I left the paper on the whole time which made it awkward picking it off at the end so the second time I removed the paper before joining the four parts and liked that better.

I also trimmed just the inner two edges that are joined and left the outer star point untrimmed until the very end.  It worked well to use my 12.5 square ruler to crop the entire block referring to the horizontal and vertical 6.25 marks and the diagonal line to be sure it was properly centered. I didn't want to risk cutting each quarter to 6.5 and then find out after joining them that the overall block size was off.

I'm sure there are lots of ways to do things "right" - just thought I'd share my journey because I always love hearing how other people do things...  The tutorial is from ADD Crafter and I love the way she used a single color in each wing. This is a block I would do again - especially since it's such a scrap buster and goodness knows I have plenty!
F+F=AMSB for Eileen

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

WIP Basketweave Star blocks

a bright braid

WIP Wednesday

Eileen chose the Basketweave Braided Star for the F+F=AMSB June block. 
It reminds me of a cross between this block and this one.  Here are the paper pieced parts so far - I still have to add the white and join them together to create the two blocks but I'm feeling pretty good about the progress.
Parts and Paper - almost there
Template and tutorial used:

The first block I made one quarter segment (the printed template) at a time attaching strips 1-13 which worked fine. The second block I did strip 1 on all four papers, then strip 2, all of strip 3 etc.. not exactly chain piecing but it streamlined the steps of folding, trimming, pressing, placement etc.. and that had a much more efficient flow with less mental gymnastics.

Setting up my travel iron and small cutting board right next to my machine was also key.   It was a snug fit and I felt a bit trapped in but I had learned from working on my NYBs that getting up and down every 2 seconds gets old quick. 

I'm going to be sure to oversize the white so that I can use the 6.5 square ruler to trim it to size. Do you ever get the feeling the paper shrinks from all the ironing during piecing? I made sure when I started that the template printed exact but now it appears to be 1/16" or so shy. 

Linking up to WIP at Freshly Pieced where you will find Sukie, her first guest blogger starting us out right. 

WIP Weekly Status Update:

Not your Granny's Bee (added more purple fabric and cut some strips)
MQG/Quiltcon Block Challenge (two done... maybe one more to go)
Basketweave Star for F+F=AMSB (need to add white, assemble & mail)
Wedding Quilt - Old Italian block (nothing)
Oak Tree Improv quilt (zilch - unless thinking about it counts)
AMH patchwork prism (itching to get going again... drooling over everyone else's progress and finished quilts)

Voting Time

 The finalist have been chosen for the Summer Sewing Contest at
Ellison Lane Quilts. Be sure to cast your vote for someone in each category - I did!

Blogs I Follow - the List keeps Growing

 I met Lorelei at the Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild Sew In a few months back - she's one of the few people - maybe the only person... that I have met in person who is going to Sewing Summit in October so I was especially happy to chat with her.  Yesterday, she announced a Name Change and Giveaway on her blog Mermaid Sews  - check it out and be sure to browse Julie's wonderful shop Intrepid Thread.

Piece Out - Karen

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday - QuiltCon challenge blocks

Link ups on Monday always make the week start off a bit better than they use to for me - thanks to Sew Modern Monday and Manic Monday.  It doesn't end there either - often I'm still clicking around to check out what everyone has done throughout the week because there is so much to see and comment on.
the little notch of Laurie Wisburn fabric is pretty cute

Here are my two QuiltCon challenge blocks.  The entry form says you can send three so I may just try and whip one more out before the SBAMQG July meeting.  They both have redeeming qualities. I'm pleased but not totally thrilled with either.   It sure felt good to play around with my Quick Curve Ruler and I do love sewing with Laurie Wisburn and Dan Bennett fabrics.
There are some fun blocks posted on the flickr group and I'm sure as the deadline for submission approaches, they'll be many more.  Deciding on the winning 20 blocks will not be an easy task.  I like the idea of having the rest made into charity quilts - so it's a win win no matter what.

Which is your favorite? Are you sending any blocks?  Do you get to attend QuiltCon? Do tell....

Saturday, June 16, 2012

WAV Ladies Week

I've shared my Crush Quilt photo and the story of how the title was inspired by our time at a friends vineyard during harvest season. Well, this post is about a recent visit during a very special Ladies Week at Wofford Acres Vineyard in the beautiful El Dorado Hills CA.
Me & Ann - with Ladies Week gift
 The name of the quilt I made for Ann was half the reason I chose it.  We just don't get to see one another often enough. A bonus is that the quilt is one more project completed for FALQ2.

Teal We Meet Again Quilt
One of my favorite things to do is take pictures - and yet, if it wasn't for my good friend Sue, I'd have next to nothing to show for the trip: these are all from her camera except the last two that I took many moons ago and wanted to share. I was lazy - yes, quite. I spent most of the time laying on the lawn, drinking Paul's award winning wine, grazing on fabulous food...

Our private tasting
Ann's neighbor, an avid quilter was sweet enough to invite us over to meet the gals from her guild. Her home was like a museum with quilts displayed on every wall and draped along the deck outside.  There was a mix of technique and some fabrics and pattern I recognized from my "to do" list as well as original designs that inspired.

Such a pretty color
We also took an outing to Jack Russell Brewing to pick up a new tee shirt for hubby, ventured into Placerville for Zia's gelato at the end of town (an inside joke) and to stock up on Z Pies to take home for the family which was a good thing since it was the first thing my son asked about as he helped unload the car.

I sat with Ann's friend Edi at lunch but didn't join some of the ladies on their trip to Time Out Spa - next time!  Oh, and the mug I use every day at work is from the wonderful Shafsky House B&B so I picked up another.

It's fun to be reminded of special times when you are back in the real world.

Me, Ann & Sue and the View

come for the wine, stay for the view
playing with photoshop

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

WIP: Quick Block donation

Amanda at Crazy Mom Quilts posted a tutorial link for a quick and easy donation block to send to Margaret's Hope Chest.  Or, check out the generosity and streamlined step by step tutorial at Peach Patch Quilts. The deadline for donation blocks is right around the corner, July 31st but if you can squeak a few minutes out of your day dip into your scraps and make few to send like I am.
Four Monochromatic Charity Blocks
It's fun to imagine a room full of quilters assembling these on a weekend in August - so inspiring and delightful.  The monochromatic ragged square is so simple with promising results that I'm making a mental note of the pattern for my next charity quilt.

Linking up to WIP - Lee is taking a well deserved break this summer and was sweet enough to arrange guest bloggers.

No -or little - progress this week:

Not your Granny's Bee (pulled fabric and posted pictures)
MQG/Quiltcon Block Challenge (pulled fabric, contemplated design)
Basketweave Star for F+F=AMSB (printed paper foundation)
Wedding Quilt - Old Italian block (chose the pattern)
Oak Tree Improv quilt (bought backing on sale)
AMH patchwork prism (two steps backwards, took down from the design wall)

Not the most productive week - how did you do?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Asterisk Revealed -Sew Modern Monday

More of a modern reveal than a modern finish for this Monday link up at Canoe Ridge Creations. You may recognize it from the sneaks previously posted.  Once again, just like Duck & Cover I'm lovin' the back as much if not more than the front. I think it's the freedom to design that appeals to me. The Amy Butler honeycomb border fabric and the hard diagonal cornerstones really hit the mark.
The back - rotate your head sideways!
SBAMQG logo block by Anne
This wonderful quilt was made as a secret collaborative project for a wonderful member of our MQG and it was presented to her at the last meeting so I can finally post pictures.  Keeping it under wraps wasn't easy. One more FAL Q2 completed - yeah.

FMQ was admittedly enjoyable on this quilt which means that I've come a long way from the fear and dread of that particular step. 

I've been tempted to explore new FMQ styles and have high hopes of bravery on future projects now that stippling feels nearly second nature.The jagged triangle/diamond type and water style appeal to me and seem attainable.
Enjoying FMQ
The front - a classic porch picture
Linking up to Ellison Lane Quilts Summer Contest.
What new brave things do you have the horizon?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Echo Splurge and Stash Busting

Echo FQ splurge
        We found out our friend had gotten married and will be having the wedding reception in August -time enough to create a quilt.  This gave me a great excuse to finally splurge on Lotta Jansdotter's Echo line before the entire collection disappeared.

I've changed my mind and decided on the Old Italian Block pattern shown on the cover of Anita Grossman-Solomon's Rotary Cutting Revolution book.  I had originally seen the book at Kapaia Stitchery in Luhui, Kauai and later purchased it without having ever made anything in it which is depressing.

Echo's directional and large scale print wouldn't lend well and I'd prefer to go scrappy, possibly batiks.  I'm secretly not too sad because now I have what I wanted and now I get to sew from stash and cross one more pattern off my wish list and that will feel good.

On the topic is stash...check out  scrappy Sunday at crazy mom quilts.  

Group One Fabric Pull - Purple and Green

Digging Deep

The Not Your Granny's Bee swap had me hunting in the buckets for purple. What is it about that color - it's pretty hard to find.  I'm happy with the mix I came up with, Dan Bennett is a favorite of mine and many quilters I'm finding don't know his fabric.  When I use it in a swap block I am often asked who the designer is.  

Bow Tie Baggie

At the June SBAMQG meeting I was the lucky winner of this lovely collection of 4.5" Bow Ties.  This block is on my wish list of patterns to make one day.  Now I'm one step closer.  

Any Splurging or Stash busting for you lately?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

May Sewing + an overflow of inspiration

Linking up to Lily's Quilts
It's a Fresh Sewing Day. What were you up to in May?

A Whole lot of Eye Candy

I'll admit that I spent as much time browsing blogs, new and old this month.  Between all the eye candy of Market and Blogger's Quilt Festival more than the usual hours behind a computer instead of a machine was to be had.

Bubbles, a viewers choice has that transparency thing going on I love so much as well as the circular quilting much like Adrianne's Kona challenge.  Heather Joy's Retro Modern Quilt was a treat to discover considering I don't typically lean towards Applique. I'll be keeping an eye out on these blogs.

No surprise that Jenny's Urban Nine Patch won for professional quilting with her mind blowing talent and Marianne's Colour Shot was chosen in the piecing category.  I follow these two blogs daily and never cease to be amazed.