Friday, July 18, 2014

Master Procrastinator and a free pattern

So, once again it has been a long time since I last posted.  I really must quit being so darn lazy.

I am going to try to do a recap with a few separate posts instead of one really long one.

So here goes…….

I spent the latter part of January and February working on the disappearing pinwheel quilt that I started during the Martin Luther King Day Sew-In.  It took me forever to decide on a border for it and I wasn’t in a big hurry to finish it since it wasn’t going to be gifted until the first week of May.  So of course I procrastinated and didn’t finish it until the last week of April.

Finished size 108” square…

This picture was taken at King's Gap Park near Carlisle, PA, with my sister and niece standing on the wall holding the quilt up.

Here is a close up of the quilting; I must apologize again for my horrible picture taking skills. I did an all-over swirling design in the center and swirls with leaves in the borders.

I stayed busy between starting and finishing the pinwheels quilt by making a quilt for an intern at work who was graduating and moving away.  I wanted to make sure that she knew her hard work and positive attitude were much appreciated.  I came up with a design I called Positive Energy.

The front is clean and simple with lots of negative space.

Since I wasn’t certain on the style preferred by her I thought it would be a good idea to make the back a little more colorful.  I cut random width strips of the same solids used on the front and a coordinating print to make a pieced back…

It was a very simple and quick quilt to construct so I decided to write up the pattern for the top and post it here for anyone who would like to make their own. Positive Energy Pattern

This is the first time that I have attempted to create a pdf link in the blog so I hope that it actually works.  I will keep my fingers crossed and in the meantime if you cannot get it to display and would like to receive it by email just send me a request at


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Chopping Up Old UFO Blocks

I needed wanted to make a last minute baby quilt for a friend of a friend.  I heard, and was very touched by, her story 2 days prior to her due date so I was in a rush. 
When I started thinking of what to do for a fast baby quilt I remembered seeing some of the awesome disppearing 9 patch quilts that Sandy from Quilting...for the rest of us has made.  That got me thinking that if you can chop up a finished 9 patch then why not chop up other completed blocks and see what I get.
I had some old UFO blocks in a box on the shelf. They were from my 3rd attempt at making a quilt and I was far from mastering the 1/4" seam allowance needed to make blocks that fit together correctly. My obsessive brain could not get ovet the fact that my seams didn't match up perfectly when piecing the blocks together so I gave up and threw them in a box.
I started with 4 of these blocks

Chopped them into 4 parts each.
Tried some different layouts

 Then said the heck with it and just tossed them around onto a white background fabric.  I decided that I liked the tossed look, so I pieced them together into wonky columns

Then added some polka dot sashing strips in between

I free-motion quilted loopy lines in the background and dot-to-dot (ala Angela Walters) in the squares

  Since I was in a hurry I wanted to attach the binding by machine but I usually don't like the look of machine binding because I can see the seam line. Also, I really suck at following a straight line so my machine bindings look especially terrible.  Then I found a tutorial on youtube for "piped" binding and the light-bulb went on. I used the polka dots with a yellow accent strip.

Wow, that was so easy and looks way better than my usual attempts at machine binding.

Now I only have 12 more of these old UFO blocks to repurpose

What I Have Been Working On Lately

So I have worked on several projects recently that I hadn't yet had a chance to post about, so here goes...

In Progress

Christmas Cactus Quilt for Mom

This is one 1/4 of the top.
The pattern is by Piecemeal Quilts and I am using fabrics from Winter's Lane by Kate & Birdie Paper Co for Moda and Rock Candy from Blank Quilting for the background.
I have got 1/2 of the top done now but took a break to work on a project for Martin Luther King Day Sew-In on Twitter. (#MLKSI)

Disappearing Pinwheels for #MLKSI

I have the nine-patches made and all of the squares cut out for the disappearing pinwheel blocks. Can't wait to get started on the rest of the blocks tomorrow!

Recent Finishes

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Tote

The pattern is from Eazy Peazy. It was pretty easy to construct and it holds a LOT. I used it to go shopping at my fave LQS yesterday. I ended up with a 70" square quilt (picked up since display was done for now), my small tote with wallet and 2 bolts of fabric in it. (I think it could have held even more though) I put a fauxe-piped binding around the top because I really didn't want to attempt turning right-side out with the stiff peltex bottom.

Sketch/Note book cover with matching pen/pencil pouch for guild gift exchange

too darn cute, if I do say so myself...and I do.

Wall Hanging for Riley Blake Fabric Challenge for the Modern Quilt Guild

All improv piecing, very abstract and outside my comfort zone but it was a whole lotta fun once I got my brain to stop trying to be so anal about it.

Chopped up old UFO blocks
Nevermind, I think this one deserves its' own post so back in a few...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Disappearing Pinwheel math

Who knew that there would ever be an up-side to having a kid home sick with the flu.  He might be “grown” but it is a bit reassuring to know that I am not completely unnecessary as mother anymore.

It gave me a bit of time to work out the math for the Disappearing Pinwheel quilt.  I had seen the video from Missouri Star Quilt Co and thought it would be fun to work on so I was super excited when the Twitter buzz started about everyone working on that together for the MLK Day Sew In.

I wanted to try it using charm squares instead of a layer cake but had no idea what the finished size would turn out to be.  Since my son was super ill with the flu and couldn’t be left alone for the day I decided to dig out some scraps and work out the math while he was napping.

So here goes…

finished trial blocks


I had a candy bar (2 ½” squares) laying in the drawer so gave it a try, finished size = about 2” = Heck NO!, It was impossible to cut straight, the ruler kept wobbling because it was all seams and I couldn’t get it to lay flat no matter how much steam and starch I used. So I would only recommend that size for the super brave at heart or an experienced miniature quilter, obviously by the photo I am neither, it looks terrible.

Charm Square (5”), trimmed the pinwheel to 5 ¼” to make the math easier since quilting rulers don’t have 1/16” markings.  5 ¼” ÷ 6 = ⅞” so I cut ⅞” from the center on all 4 sides.  After piecing together into the churn dash block it was 4 ¼” so the finished size would be 3 ¾”.

I wanted to try it with the charm squares for a wedding quilt that I want to make for a May wedding.  I was already looking at a pattern that was churn dash and shoo fly blocks so this project was perfect.  But after realizing that I would need about 400 of them I decided to go with the layer cake size that was shown on the video.

Layer Cake (10”), trimmed the pinwheel to 12” to make the math easier.  12” ÷ 6 = 2” so I cut 2” from the center on all 4 sides.  After piecing together into the churn dash block it was 11” so the finished size would be 10 ½”.

Here is the EQ drawing of what I hope to accomplish with this.  Thinking reds and creams, maybe batiks...

red/cream disappearing pinwheels

Hope the math helps.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

In Memory of Granny

As I was writing the previous post earlier this evening my husband and I left to go visit his Granny who had been transferred from the hospital to a hospice house. She passed while we were there visting. So I am dedicating this post to the wonderful woman who raised my husband. Below is the quilt top of the first jelly roll race quilt that I made. It was for Granny's 96th Birthday a few months ago, wish I had gotten a photo of her with it.  We are sad to see her go but glad that she is no longer in pain.
We love you Granny

Quilty Cousin comes for a visit

Yay! My one and only relative who quilts came to visit me last weekend.  She lives a few hours away so we don't get to see each other very often. 
Of course we had to go visit my favorite LQS and while there she mentioned that she had not yet made a complete quilt as she has been learning through her guild by making sampler blocks. 
I thought "well, we are gonna have to fix this" and asked her if she would like to go home from her visit with a completed quilt.  Of course the answer was YES! so we picked out a jelly roll and backing and binding fabrics with the idea of completing a jelly roll race quilt before she went home the next day.
Well.... We almost did it lol.  We had some other family over for dinner and ended up visting for several hours and didn't get to the sewing until around 9pm.  She had the top pieced and a border added before we gave in for the night at 3am. After going out for breakfast and more visting we went back to my house and got the quilt sandwich basted (with elmer's glue of course).
She wanted to try free motion quilting so I made a practice sandwich for her to work on.  We were having so much fun trying freemotion and chatting that time got away from us. It was time for her to go home.  So after a quick lesson on binding and writing a list of some great online tutorials and videos to reference if she got stuck she headed home.
Here is her quilt top...great job Dom!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Custom Acrylic Shapes

I still haven't had a chance to play with these yet, but I am excited to get them in the mail to Cindy@SewMeSerenity, she was the winner of my first ever (hopefully of many) giveaway during the twitter Black Friday Sew In. 
I have a new set ordered and on their way. They should be in by the middle of next week, just in time to make a whole lotta half-square-triangles for a quilt that I hope to have done in time for Christmas.

I was looking for quilting rulers in various sizes to use when trimming half-square-triangles or fussy cutting without having to repeatedly move and re-align my ruler. As far as I can tell, they don't make or sell them in any and every size. Lets face it, I will be the first to tell you that I am lazy and want to find the easiest or most efficient way to get things done, so I was determined to find a way.

That is when I came across the Delvies Plastics website.

You can get different thicknesses and are able to custom order pretty much any shape or size.
Since they aren't actual rulers I custom ordered them with the lines engraved to help with centering blocks/designs. You can get them quite inexpensively if you can manage without the engraved lines, but hey, I'm going for easy.  Even with the engraving I think that the price was very reasonable.
I ordered 2", 3", 4", 5", 5 1/2" and 6", all 1/8" thick it was $30 including shipping (so the cost may differ a bit depending on shipping rates), for 6 faux rulers I think that is a very fair price.  You can get the laser cut shapes up to 17" or 17 1/2" (I can't quite remember what she said on the phone).

The only issue I foresee with these at this point is that like most rulers they are smooth on the back and will probably slip around. Maybe it's just me, but I have this problem with every on eof my rulers, even the ones that are supposed to be no-slip. So I am going to give mine the treatment that I give to all of my rulers, a quick shot of spray adhesive on the back.  I just give them a light spray and let them dry before using.  This is the only method that has worked for me so far.  I have tried the grippers and the stickers and the vinyl sheets to no avail.

Again, they have many shapes and sizes standard and with the cutomizable options you can let your imagination run wild creating templates.  My experience with them has been good.  Customer service has been responsive both by email and on the phone.  So, go check them out.