Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Stash (Better late than Never)

My intention was to get to this first thing this morning but here it is almost the end of the day.  ((sigh!))  
But I did get to visit with a good friend all afternoon so I am willing to put in a late hour or two...
most definitely!

First, I wanted to share what I won from Melissa at Happy Quilting!  My oh My!  Did that make my day!

I have been wanting to play with this fabric line for quite some time.  Now I just need to decide on a pattern.  If you have any good ideas, please feel free to share them.

As the sponsor for the giveaway was the Fat Quarter Shop, I thought I would go ahead and pick up a few items from their sale section for some quilt backs. I was really happy with my picks.

None of these have a quilt top yet so it will be fun to see the quilts evolve.  (I might just have to go pull some gray and blue scraps just to use that great hexagon fabric!)

I also won these little goodies from Char over at Cloth Stitched.  It sure looks like a christmas project just waiting to be assembled!

I adored the little card she made to include with the package.  She is just so darn creative!

Today was definitely one of those "good" days.  Hope you all enjoyed your weekend and hope to see you back here soon to see what I make with all this goodness.

Linking up with Blossom Heart Quilts for Sunday Stash, Stitch by Stitch for Anything Goes Monday and Quiltstory for Fabric Tuesday.

Friday, September 27, 2013

French General Quilt

When I was doing a little tidying up in my sewing room, I came across some French General fabrics that I have been collecting up for quite some time.  All of this fabric was "gifted" to me from various friends (aren't they wonderful!).  And as most of it was leftover jelly roll strips that didn't make the cut for other projects, I had strips of varying length, chunks of prints that were less than a fat quarter and one large piece of yardage that was suitable for a back.

Rather than stick it back in a drawer, I decided to just sew it up into a quilt top.  Once I figured how big the backing was, I started decided on a pattern for the front.  Before I knew it, the top was pieced and the project was loaded onto my longarm to be quilted.  Not having a lot of time to quilt it, I just stitched in some over lapping squares.

 Thought I would share as these square and rectangular blocks are perfect for using up those 2 1/2" strips.  And the combination of 61/2" square and 12 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangular blocks allow you to play with all sorts of layouts. 

I am happy to say I used up all the fabric except a half yard of one of the stripes.  I stored that one away for use as a binding on a future quilt.  Now to figure out what to do next...

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Fridays, Cherry Valley Designs for TGIFF,  Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya Quilts and Can I get a Whoop Whoop? Fridays at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Leaders and Enders - Some Scrap Management

It is no secret - I am one to have several projects going at once all at various stages. This allows me to choose a project based on time availability, particular interest at the time, or to truthfully succumb to my attention span issues.  But no matter what project I choose to work on, I am always working on a scrap project using the leaders and enders concept.

So you want to know what Leaders and Enders are?

It is a great way to avoid the long, tangly threads requiring trimming from your blocks and to eliminate having your needle come unthreaded when you start sewing on your machine. 

...because you essentially never lift your presser foot.

Basically you keep a few scraps of fabric by your machine. When you are done chain sewing some of your adorable quilting blocks (or whatever it may be) you grab one of these scraps and feed it under your needle and stop with that fabric scrap under the presser foot. Then just use your scissors to snip the little bit of thread running between the block you are working on and leave the scrap (or ENDER) under the needle.  Then the next time you start to sew, you sew off that scrap of fabric and continue on into the blocks you are really working on.  The process is repeated usually using the same scrap of fabric as the ender until it is entirely filled with stitches.  Then you just start using a new scrap of fabric.

While I liked the concept of saving time and thread, it always annoyed me to sew across that little piece of fabric.  My manufacturing background just saw it as waste.

Well, I quickly realized I could use this process to gradually sew those pesky scraps together and make various blocks to be made into quilt tops.

String blocks are a favorite of mine to work this way as I always seem to have bins full of strings and any necessary cutting is minimal.  So instead of using a small piece of scrap fabric, I just sew a string onto a foundation block.

I just finished this big twin size sting quilt.  It was made entirely using the leaders and enders process. 

Another block I make using this method is to pair up and strip sew leftover binding pieces together and make these fun 16 patches.  I just pile them up until I have a big stack of blocks and a creative mood to play around with a layout.

If you have lots of scraps, I hope you try this process.  There are tons of blocks you can make and it is a very painless way to keep on top of those pesky scraps.  You will be surprised how quickly a quilt top comes together!

 I will be linking up with Freshly Pieced and My Quilt Infatuation.  
Can't wait to see what others are up to.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Scrappy Stairs - 100 Quilts for Kids

With September quickly coming to a close, I wanted to make a few more donation quilts in support of  the 100 Quilts for Kids quilt drive hosted by Katie at SwimBikeQuilt. A big thanks to some friends who helped piece some of these blocks.  Because of them, I was able to put together and quilt up two more quilts for the cause.

I chose this fun stairstep block.  Each block uses just 2 fabrics and is easily strip sewn.  Once completed, you end up with a fun 16" block.

A total of 9 blocks made a 48" square quilt.  A great size for an older child.

For this one, I just pieced 4 of the blocks in a kind of a barn-raising pattern and added a scrappy pieced border.

This quilt measures 38" square.

These quilts will be donated to a local group called Comforts for Children. They distribute quilts right here in the Eugene area to various agencies for at risk children of all ages.

As the quilt drive doesn't end until September 30th, there is still time for you to get some quilts made and donated.  While it really isn't about the prizes, you can link your finished quilts up to enter into a drawing with some great sponsors.  Thanks Katie for hosting such a great quilt drive.  I am already looking forward to donating more next year.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A couple of winners...

First off, I want to say hello to all the new followers that have joined me over the last few weeks.  (Can you see me waving?!)  I am also waving to those who have been following me for a time now.  (Now I am switching hands.)  I appreciate each and every one of you.  Every September, I always take some time to update my business plan and make goals for the following year.  I have lots of fun things in the works so I am pleased I will be able to share them all with you.

If you follow along, you know I recently held a giveaway to celebrate this quilt being published in Quilty magazine's September/October 2013 issue.

Want to know who the winners are?

(Drumroll please....)

Congratulations Lindsey Rodems, who won for following on Bloglovin'.  Here is what she said about my pattern.  "I think I would try navy blue and green for some Irish love. Navy blue being the "sashing"."

Sorry Lindsay, I rarely work in green so my stash is a little lacking but I did just get a big shipment of Kona solids so I decided to send you a nice big cut of navy for your chain sashing.  Enjoy!

Also, congratulations  akainik from Argentina who says "I'd make it red and aqua".  Last I saw, Quilty magazine is not being shipped internationally so I am happy I get to share this issue with her.

With the magazine, I am also going to send off a few fat quarters in these fun colors.  Yay! 

Both winners have been contacted and have responded.  A big thanks to everyone who entered.  As I said, I have lots of fun things planned for next year and I am sure a lot more giveaways are going to happen.  
So be sure and stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Long Time in the Works - FAL

Looking back, I can't believe I started this quilt in January!  Well, here it is mid-September and it has finally made it to a finished state.  Yippee!

As it is a holiday gift, when I started it I thought I had lots of time to get it done.  But this quilt fought me the whole way.

If you have been following along on this one, you may remember I had a big setback during the cutting and piecing stage.  I cut about half of the triangles the wrong size so everything had to be carefully remeasured and re-cut to salvage the quilt.  Ugh!

Once the top was done, it quickly was folded up and stuck away because I was so tired of looking at it.

Note:  The quilt pattern is Ballerina by Jaybird Quilts.  It was a great pattern with good instructions.  I just got distracted gabbing with friends one night and cut everything using the wrong line on my ruler.  Hmmm...wonder why nothing fit when I went to sew it together?!?

When I wrote up my 3rd quarter finish along goals, I knew I had better list this one in the hopes I would get it out and finish it up and ...and I am happy to say it worked!

I quilted just a simple scroll meander in a black thread all over the quilt.  The fabrics are so busy, the quilting doesn't even show so I am glad I chose something quick.

I did piece a large inset of this great Wintergraphix holiday print by Jason Yenter up the back.  I had purchased it and many others from the same line at a great sale after the holidays a year or two ago.  I knew they would make a beautiful quilt one day.

The quilt is a nice large lap size at  50" x 70".

Giveaway Alert!!  

And if you haven't entered yet, there still might be time to enter the giveaway I am hosting in the previous post.  It will be open until September 18th so hurry on over.

she can quilt 

Linking up with Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River and Show & Tell Tuesday at I have to Say

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Another Feature in Quilty Magazine + Giveaway

I have some very exciting news to share.  My Tangerine Dream quilt and pattern are featured in the September/October 2013 issue of Quilty magazine, available now.   

Now that is certainly something to celebrate! 

Quilty magazine - Sept/Oct 2013 issue

And because I like to celebrate with fun giveaways, I have set aside two extra copies of the magazine so I can share them with  two lucky winners.  

And to sweeten the pot, I am sure I will find a few other goodies to tuck into the envelope - I always do.  
And I will ship internationally!


Here's how to enter:

1.  Leave me a comment telling what colors you would like to make this quilt in.  (When you leave your comment, please make sure I have your email address!  No email = Sorry, no entry!  So if you are a no-reply blogger, please include your e-mail in your post!)

2.  For a second chance to win, become a Quilting is more fun than Housework blog follower, and leave me a comment letting me know how you follow, or better yet, leave a comment letting me know you already are a follower! (again, make sure I have your contact info if it's not listed in your profile.)

This giveaway will be open until Wednesday September 18th at Midnight PST.  Please note, winners must respond within three days of notification. If any winner does not respond within that period, sorry but another winner will be chosen.   


And I am not the only one having a giveaway this week.  Julie at 627Handworks is hosting 6 weeks of giveaways so once you have entered mine, be sure and head over to her site to see who else is celebrating.  It is a great opportunity to check out some new blogs and maybe win some great prizes!  
This is the final Sunday so don't miss out.
Best of luck!!

***  Sorry, this giveaway is now closed.  If you missed out on this one, be sure to follow so you can be included in the next one!  *** 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ta Da! Finished Star Surround QAL

Who needs sleep!  Not only did I squeeze in my own Star Surround quilt into my longarm customer rotation but I decided to stitch the heck out of it!  So once it was on my frame, it was a bit of a quilting marathon to get it finished so I could get back to those paying customers.

I really love how it turned out.  Melissa at Happy Quilting designed a beautiful pattern and I was really pleased with the fabrics and colors I chose for the top. This was my first Quilt A-Long and I will definitely be doing more in the future.  (Thanks Melissa!)

For the quilting, I did a combination of straight lines and curves.

In the ash gray negative space I quilted really tight curls.  This gave dimension to some of the areas where I did minimal quilting.

On the back, I simply put a single gray and black fabric I already had in my stash.  As I had enough yardage, there was no need to spend the time doing any extra piecing.

(Just one quick long seam....Yes!!)

This much quilting is not something I usually do on my own quilts but I so love this quilt I am thinking of hanging it on the wall in my bedroom.  I truly love everything about it.  
I think the center star is my favorite.

To see all the other lovely quilt tops from this same gorgeous pattern, you can go here or catch Melissa's post on September 16th where she will be including all the finished quilts in a big quilt parade!  I know I am looking forward to seeing them.

This week I will be sharing this finish with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Can I get a Whoop Whoop?! at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, TGIFF and Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Some Favorite Tools

As I was quilting away today, I realized how important a few simple tools are to me.  Yes, I have many specialty rulers and expensive templates that I pull out every once in a while for a specific quilt.  But I thought I would share some items that make my quilting time so much easier.  

As a longarm quilter, I really couldn't write a post about the tools I use everyday without talking about Pete. (Yes, my longarm has a name and yes, he is a boy male.)  We have been together almost 8 years now.

Lots of people ask me what machine is best to buy.  Short answer is truly, 1) what you can afford and 2) what you feel comfortable running.  There are a lot of good makers out there.

Beside Pete, there are three other tools I use every day. 

   * Gingher snips on a lanyard around my
           neck.  (Love them!)

   * Self threading needles for burying
           threads.     (Best invention ever!)

   * White school chalk for marking.  
           (So handy!)

The chalk works great for auditioning quilt patterns onto a quilt, marking points or even drawing in actual quilting lines.  It stays put really well.  And once you are done, a slightly damp cloth easily wipes it all away.

Caution:  Only use white chalk.  Colored chalks may stain your quilt!

...and of course the thread.  Oh My The Thread!  I love my custom-made thread racks.  They (yep, there are more than one) are along the hallway leading to my studio and their brilliant colors make me smile every time I pass them.

So what tools do you love? Is there a certain brand you favor or a specific tool you always reach for?  Or better yet, is there something new that you have recently discovered that you want to share?  I would love to hear about them.  And I am sure so would others!

Linking up with Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River.  Check it out and see what everyone else has been up to.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Making Progress on the Scrap Front

(Groan) I am still working on getting to the bottom of the scrap bin. Amanda Jean over at Crazy Mom Quilts commented that scrap management is a full time job and I think she is right. Thought I would share the second quilt top I just finished.

For this one, I sorted out all my fabric bits with black or grey backgrounds but also had some bright colors. I cut everything into 2 1/2" squares. As I was sorting, I came across a bunch of different shades of blue and turquoise solids that were old die lots or manufacturers so I thought I would use this opportunity to use them up as well.

When I am sewing scraps, I really don't like to match up seams and I also knew that I wasn't that careful with my cutting.  I took all this into account when I started deciding how to sew this top.

This quilt top is made from 2 blocks.

Block A uses a total of 48 scrap squares.
*sew 4 into a 4 patch for the center
*sew 2 sets of the following in rows (3, 5, 6, 8)
*cuts for 1.5" wide solids (2 ea) are 4.5", 6.5", 10.5", 12.5"

Assemble as you would a square in a square block.  Due to my bad cutting, I always squared up the block after finishing a round with the squares.

Block B uses 36 scrap squares.  The solid center is a 4.5" square.

*sew 2 sets of the following in rows (2, 4, 5, 7)
*cuts for the 1.5" wide solids (2 ea) are 8.5", 10.5", 14.5", 16.5"

Completed block size is 16.5" unfinished.

Then just alternate the blocks and sew them together.

....And celebrate that all those bits are now on its way to being a quilt!

 Many of these scraps have been collecting for years.  I would have loved to make this top in some other fabrics but it definitely worked great for these busy difficult scraps.  I was just happy to find a way to get rid of use them.

BTW - If you like this design, you might like some of my other patterns that can be found here.

Remember this one?

Well, it all quilted up and listed in my Etsy shop.

Whoo Hoo!!

And a little triangle baby quilt I also cut some scraps for is finished too.

I have been one busy girl lately!

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Thursday Threads at 627Handworks and  Finish it up Fridays at Crazy Mom Quilts.
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