06/23/14

Color Cats

My design wall hasn’t been very busy this spring and early summer but today there’s something to talk about.

I drove to and from Denver last week and, as all quilters know, a road trip isn’t complete without a stop at a fabric store or two! At a quilt shop in Colby, KS, way out on the western edge of the state, I found a panel of happy cats. I’ve been keeping my eye out for pre-printed designs that I could use with back basting applique and thought these cats looked fun.

Printed on a cream background the lines show through on the back side which means I don’t have to draw a pattern on the wrong side for Back Basting Applique, I can just start right in with the basting step!

See how well the lines show on the reverse side?

See how well the lines show on the reverse side?

This fabric has been out there for awhile, I think it was printed in 2009, but if you want to try this you may still be able to get a panel from the shop in Colby. Click here for their Facebook page. Here’s the fabric’s identifying information.311I’m appliqueing my cats in solids and making samples for a color theory lesson at the same time. Here are my fabrics for the first cat. I use an old Grumbacher color wheel that I bought years ago in a art supply store.317And because I didn’t have to worry about enlarging a pattern or drawing it on my background fabric I started right in with the basting step and got to work which brings us to Design Wall Monday. And this is what’s on my design wall today – a partially completed color cat!327Let’s link in with Patchwork Times and see what others have on their design walls today. Click here to go to Design Wall Monday.

And check back later for a full report on the Denver trip and an update on my Star A Day project!

04/14/14

4/9ths and 20/20

On this snowy Monday in April my design wall is 4/9ths full of Tiny Stars! (plus two more small projects to round out the picture) That’s right! It snowed in KS today. And that’s right, I have completed four out of nine sections – one star at a time!

4/9ths finished!

4/9ths finished!

And there’s more! Not only am I completely up to date on making a Star-a-Day, I also made twenty yellow stars for my quilt guild challenge. The Sunflower Piecemakers Quilt Guild, is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year so the challenge was to make a quilt with 20 blocks or a block with 20 pieces. I thought, why not use my Star-A-Day templates and make 20 little 3″ blocks and turn them into sunflowers? And why not use 20 different yellow fabrics? And go ahead and add at bit of wool work with 20 different brown wool centers.  20 appliqued leaves seemed sort of skimpy spread throughout four borders so I grouped them in short vines on opposite corners and used 20 different greens.

Anniversary Challenge quilt wearing a third place viewer's choice ribbon. Ribbon made by talented guild member, Joelyn.

Anniversary Challenge quilt wearing a third place viewer’s choice ribbon. Ribbon made by talented guild member, Joelyn.

Quilting like a maniac I got it done just in time – why do I do that? I had a WHOLE year! Using 20/20 vision next year I’m starting earlier! But I like the finished quilt. And apparently the guild members liked it too as I won the third place viewer’s choice award at our meeting. Look at that beautifully handcrafted ribbon made by guild member and friend Joelyn!

If you live nearby you can see this little quilt on display at our quilt show on May 3, 2014 from 9-4 at the Lansing Activity Center, Lansing, KS. The other challenge entries will also be on display. Come visit!

In the meantime, let’s hop on over to The Patchwork Times by clicking here to see what Judy and friends have on their design walls and check back later for a post about quilting those stars as I go.

 

04/7/14

Seashells from the Seashore

Welcome back to Design Wall Monday. I’ve been away for a few weeks, so, I don’t have much happening on my design wall. But I did get this little embroidered quilt finished while vacationing in Florida.

Pattern by Blueberry Hill

Pattern by Blueberry Hill

The beaches in Key West are littered with bits of coral smoothed by the rolling sea. The colors could make a good palate for a quilt of neutrals. I collected a few shells and pieces of coral with naturally drilled holes in them to string and hang in my home in Kansas.

I enjoyed photographing the tide coming in and/or out. Every once in awhile there was a surprise splash of color left to delight the beachcombers.

A splash of color from the sea

A splash of color from the sea

Although there isn’t much happening in the sewing room I do have a splash of color on the design wall. It’s made with Marti Michell’s apple core template. Those pieces are about 6″ long.

A bright splash of color on the design wall. It will be a tote bag when it's finished.

A splash of color on the design wall. It will be a tote bag when it’s finished.

If you like following my pie stories check out A Pie Baker in Key West and find out which Key Lime Pie won my personal little taste test.

And tune in to American Patchwork and Quilting Radio later today – I will be a guest with host Pat Sloan where we will be chatting about quilts, fabrics and maybe even pies! If you miss the live broadcast you can catch it later by podcast.

And let’s link in with Patchwork Times today – maybe others are being more productive and you can get a peek on their design walls. Click here to go to Design Wall Monday.

03/17/14

Design Wall Monday – Going Green with a T-shirt Quilt

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I thought a little something green would be appropriate for the day so here is a picture of yesterday’s design wall – it’s a T-shirt quilt for my daughter Sarah.

For Sarah, Stevenson University class of 2010

For Sarah, Stevenson University class of 2010

Awhile back she sent me her college t-shirts along with a request for a quilt.

When a box of these comes in the mail from an adult child it's a sign that you'll be making a t-shirt quilt!

When a box of these comes in the mail from an adult child it’s a sign that you’ll be making a t-shirt quilt!

What could I say? She is my only daughter and I did make two t-shirt quilts for her brother. Yes, there would be a quilt.

Sarah enrolled in Villa Julie College in 2006 and graduated from Stevenson University in 2010. No, she wasn’t a transfer student – the school just did a little name change maneuver while she was a student. It’s just a coincidence that her school color happens to be green and finishing the quilt coincides with the greenest day of them all! And there’s more! Villa Julie College was originally a nursing school, started in 1947 by the nuns of Notre Dame. Not exactly the Fighting Irish but in the same family, I’m sure! Green school color, St Patrick’s day, sisters of the Fighting Irish – it all comes together to make this a great day to mark this project off my to-do list!

I sent Sarah a picture of her quilt along with a comment that I am retiring from T-shirt quilts. Good thing I added the part about retiring because she posted it to Facebook and within minutes the “I want one!” comments started flowing. What is it about T-shirt Quilts??

I used the T-Shirt Quilts Made Easy Book by Martha DeLeonardis for the block layout. Martha’s book is an excellent resource. If you receive a box of T-shirts in the mail, you won’t need the luck of the Irish, just follow the well written directions and join me in marking “T-shirt Quilt for daughter (or son), (or both)” off your list!

Check out what others have on their design walls today at The Patchwork Times by clicking here.

One more thing, look at the little St. Patrick’s Day gift I found in the yard.

First crocus of spring! Happy St Pat's day, Happy Spring!!

First crocus of spring! Happy St Pat’s day, Happy Spring!!

03/10/14

Design Wall Monday – Wizard of Oz Row Quilt

When I lived in Pennsylvania I stitched with a group a ladies on the first and third Tues of the month. The Tuesday Quilters are a talented group of quilters who happen to love friendship block exchanges. I moved to Kansas in 2008 but the group has continued to include me in their assortment of exchanges. Most recently we did a row exchange. Each participant determined the theme for their quilt and made the starting row. The project rotated to a new quilter every 6 weeks or so. At each stop a new row was stitched and added to the box. The themes were varied: butterflies and blossoms, southwest, patriotic, coffee, baskets, stars, flower garden, at the beach, and from Kansas – The Wizard of Oz!

Wizard of Oz rows from Tuesday Quilters Row Exchange

Wizard of Oz rows from Tuesday Quilters Row Exchange

My completed rows arrived in the mail the other day (missing two rows but I am optimistic they will show up soon!)

I sent my starter row (on top in the picture) with a box of Wizard of Oz fabric and asked for whimsical. I thought it was easy! But, oh my! The complaining I heard! I even received a poem of complaint!

There once was a quilter named Roz  (actually Barb E.)

Who hailed from the land of Oz

Her row theme was a scream,

Which caused us to dream                    (more like nightmares -JUST KIDDING, really, it’s very cool.)

Therefore, giving us pause for the cause.

They may have whined and they may have fretted but I knew my friends would come through in the end. Just look at their clever work. (click on the image to enlarge)

Paper pieced by Janet. And she isn't a paper piecer so these witches are extra special!

Paper pieced by Janet. And she isn’t a paper piecer so these witches are extra special!

Dorothy and her shoes by Karen.

Dorothy and her shoes by Karen.

Paper pieced by Marylou, who is a paper piecer! Love the use of Dorothy's dress fabric!

Paper pieced by Marylou, who is a paper piecer! Love the use of Dorothy’s dress fabric!

Look at the cute little dog! Ginny's family owns apple orchards so I love that she featured these famous apple trees on her row!

Look at the cute little dog! Ginny’s family owns apple orchards so I love that she featured these famous apple trees on her row!

It's all about the shoes! Made by Judy.

Judy featured the yellow brick road and as we all know, it started with the shoes….

Judy appliqued that gorgeous rainbow and made the Emerald City really sparkle!

…and ended at the Emerald City. Judy appliqued that gorgeous rainbow and made the Emerald City really sparkle with fancy fabrics!

Thank you Tuesday Quilters! I love my rows!

Check out others’ design walls at Patchwork Times by clicking here.

03/3/14

Design Wall Monday – Fourteen Years and Still Going!

Every winter I work on a particular pastel applique’ project. Come January, to get re-inspired, I put all the completed blocks on the design wall. I go great guns for two or three months, then for no special reason, I stop, pack it all into it’s plastic bin, and put it back on the shelf. This has been going on for fourteen years!

This year, as per usual, I got fired up to work on it. I did an inventory and discovered I only had three pieced blocks left to sew and was over two thirds done with the appliqued blocks. I don’t keep them up all the time but today my design wall features the blocks I’ve completed so far. A few early blocks were appliqued with freezer paper – that was before I learned the Back Basting Applique’ method. Aren’t they pretty?

Grandma's Country Album blocks by Robert Callaham for McCall's Quilting Magazine

Grandma’s Country Album blocks, pattern by Robert Callaham for McCall’s Quilting Magazine

Why do some projects get the best of us? This one drags me down because it’s pastels. Don’t get me wrong, I like the blocks. And I like the fabrics. It’s going to be a gorgeous quilt when it’s done. It’s just that it’s so, well – pastel and I seldom work in pastels. I chose the fabrics after I saw a picture in McCall’s Quilting magazine. It was the Country Album II Quilt – stitched in pastels. It was beautiful. In the same issue I found an ad for the pattern so I ordered it.

The booklet arrived. On the back was an ad showing the original Grandma’s Country Album pattern booklet. I didn’t even know about it! So I ordered it too, I would put the blocks from both projects together into one quilt.

Here they are, my original pattern booklets

Here they are, my original pattern booklets

That was 14 years ago.

Now it is March. Two months of “stitching great guns on it” has passed. I feel the urge to pack it up. But, I want to finish it. I want to move all those fabrics to their appropriate color bins so I can use them in other projects. I want to free up the space that big project bin consumes on the closet shelf. I need motivation. And I think I just found it! At Amazon.com, where I discovered my very same pattern offered for sale – for $75.00! (Album II was a mere $40.00.) There was a note on the Amazon page that said, “Rare!” I guess so! I paid $6.95 for each booklet. Maybe I should take better care of my copies. I could sell them when I’m finished making my quilt. Or rent them! Or just own them!

I’ve gotta go, I have pastel blocks to sew!!

Most recently completed block, "Grandma's Wreath"

Most recently completed block, “Grandma’s Wreath”

Click here to go to The Patchwork Times and you can see what others have on their design walls today.

02/24/14

Design Wall Monday – Jelly Stars

Today, there is something new on my design wall. Jelly Star Blocks.019The first time I made this star block was in 2006 as part of a high school graduation quilt for my daughter, Sarah. I was recently reintroduced to it by Jenny Doan from Missouri Star Quilt Company when she was a guest speaker at my local quilt guild. You can click here to see Jenny’s video on how to make it.

I liked the idea of using a pre-cut roll of 2 1/2″ strips for the stars but I didn’t like the part about making the star points with folded corners (although that is exactly how I made the block in the fore mentioned graduation quilt.) I already have a drawer full of cut away corners and I only had a little bit of the purple background fabric. That put me in a fabric conservation mood! With a little figuring and using a fabric saving trick I learned from a Marti Michell instruction insert I came up with an alternate way of making my star points.

This technique uses the Marti Michell template set B, triangle template B-13 (pictured) Note: These measurements will work with solids and batiks but not prints that have a right and wrong side.

For each block cut four strips that measure 8 1/4″ x 2 1/2″. (I cut mine from a jelly roll, thus the pinked edge.) Using a ruler, mark 6″ from one end.

Mark 6" from the end

Mark 6″ from the end

Position Marti Michell Template B-13 as shown with the tip of the triangle aligned with the top edge and with the mark you made in the step above. Cut.

Position template B 13

Position template B 13 like this

Cut with a rotary cutter, I stack and cut all four at once.

Cut with a rotary cutter, I stack and cut all four at once.

Use the template and a rotary cutter to nip the corners.

Cut a 2 1/2″ strip of background fabric. Using the same template B-13, cut the strip into triangles and blunt the corners. Cut 8 triangles per block.

Cut 8 per block

Cut 8 per block

Flip the 4″ piece over (wrong side, although solids don’t usually have a right or wrong side). You want the triangle peaks going opposite ways. Sew the background triangles to each end. Press the seam toward the triangle on the longer piece and away from the triangle on the shorter one.017

Complete the block according to Jenny’s video. Here is a finished block. The corner squares are cut 4″.

Jelly Star Block

Jelly Star Block

I will keep on making blocks until I run out of purple background fabric – which might be soon!

Click here to go to The Patchwork Times and find out what others have on their design walls today!