Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What I'm Working On

I confess -- I'm not really working on this one, but I wanted Jo to see what one of her patterns looks like in all scraps. This is the Modern Day Patriot quilt from Jo and Kelli's book Country Girl Modern. I knew as soon as I saw it that I would make it scrappy.

 This one will be going to my brother Jimmy as a Quilt of Valor just as soon as I have one finished for his son-in-law. Brother Jim served 26 years in the Navy, enlisting at age 17. (He had to have our parents permission!). He retired then worked for the Department of Defense until he was 65.  Our family moved a lot when we were kids, with my brothers and sisters sometimes attending a different school every year.  I was the youngest and we moved a lot but stayed in the same school district so I had a much different experience than my siblings. I thought scrappy was appropriate as Jimmy has had soooo many different homes over the years. 

He graciously allowed his daughter to marry an Air Force man, thus the need for another quilt.  :)  Here's a close-up of the scrappy goodness. 

I can't wait to share this one with my brother!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Finish

I'm so happy to be able to share a finish with you this Friday! I've had the quilt top made for a while and finished the quilting right before my knee replacement surgery. One day last week, I got brave and went upstairs to apply the binding. Going up was great, coming down was more challenging.  :)

My husband Mike has a friend that has been there for him for years, always helping out with any project -- including making new doors for our kitchen cabinets and a custom cutting table for me that holds bolts of fabric and is the perfect size!

I knew that he needed a grand gesture as a thank you, and this quilt is it! I can't wait to see his face when it gets delivered.

This is Sue Garman's Washington Medallion quilt pattern. I joined a Block of the Month years ago from Stitchin' Heaven quilt shop and worked on this blue and brown beauty for years. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday Finish

I was reading my old "Just Choose Three" posts and realized there are some quilts mentioned there that I never shared. Let me present Bending the Rules!

This quilt was a lot of fun to make and was inspired by the Denyse Schmidt solid fabrics shown here. I'd had the quilt designed for years but could never get happy with colors to use. As soon as I saw those fabrics at a Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting, I knew I had my solution! 

I used the Aztec Wave pantograph designed by Patricia E. Ritter and Marybeth O'Halloran for the quilting. I love the movement it adds to the quilt. (No, I don't receive royalties from Urban Elementz... I just love their pantos!).

Friday, September 8, 2017

Another Mystery Finish

For several years now, I've been designing a mystery quilt as a fundraiser for the Westside Quilters Guild in Hillsboro, Oregon. Our 7th Annual Mystery Workshop will be held on October 28th. I finished up quilting one of the quilts this week, but since I can't share the quilt I thought I'd share my fabric choices. I've been working toward my designs being very friendly for charity, throw, or twin-size quilts. This one finishes at 64'' x 81''.

Here are my choices for quilt #1. Focal = red; yellow= pop; blue = frame; cream = background.

This is for quilt #2. Background = grey; pop = green; focal = fishing print; frame = black.

Version #3 will have a background that shines with solid or tone-on-tone playmates. This is going to be one fun class! I can't wait to see what everyone makes. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Oops Quilt

Have you ever made a quilt that defied you all the way? This is mine. Every year, I design a new quilt and teach a mystery workshop to the Westside Quilters Guild. I've also designed two "clue of the month" type quilts that we made on our Sewing Saturdays. I designed this Be Mine quilt, got all the instructions written, and started cutting. (Yes, I write the instructions first and test the pattern as I go for accuracy.)

I got all my cutting finished and realized I had too much fabric left over. Double-checked  the number of strips -- no, that wasn't it. Then it dawned on me... this quilt was designed using 2-1/2'' strips and I cut everything at 2''!!  So my class version of the quilt was a mini version. Ugh. It's a little embarrassing when the designer can't even cut her own fabric.

The second oops was my binding. It turned out wider than usual and my seam allowance was narrower. At this point, I just wanted it finished so I finished hand sewing the binding last night. While I love this quilt, it may need to find a new home. :)

P.S.: This year's mystery design has been much easier and I'm even including some new construction methods in the pattern. Looking forward to class on October 28!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Finish

Woo hoo! Another Friday finish to share. I've got about four quilts that need binding so the finishes may come a little quicker than usual.

This was originally designed as a mystery quilt, but after making two of them I decided my friends at Westside Quilters Guild would not be very happy with me. Bonus for me, matches the couch beautifully!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday's Design Wall

This week I'm hoping to finish an updated version of an old quilt pattern. I'm teaching this class in October at Ocean Waves Quilt Camp and decided it would be fun to make a more masculine version in a twin size -- 60'' x 84''. It's a great size for charity quilts as well.

When I was cutting out this quilt, I made the borders and binding immediately to keep them safe from accidental cutting.... and was feeling pretty smug. Now, though, because of a tiny design change I really want to change my binding to the brown color. 

Two problems -- 1) all of this fabric came from my stash and I don't have the same brown and 2) I don't want to waste a perfectly good binding that matches the border. We'll have to see what happens after it's quilted. Sometimes my design sense overcomes my good sense.  :)  Yes, I've already auditioned some browns.  

P.S.: That darling doll is one of the Binding Babies by Doohikey Designs I bought while in Texas visiting my brother. She's sitting on the second spool post of my machine.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Pineapple Quilt

I'm taking the time to share some finishes that were never shared on the blog -- like this pineapple quilt. I'd had this in my design notebook for years. I knew I wanted these colors, but couldn't decide on a construction method.

Creative Grids Mini Trim Tool to the rescue! I tried out four different pineapple rulers. They all worked, but this one was the most logical and simple for me.  I'm a huge proponent of finding the sewing method and tools that work best for each person.

I've already got another pineapple planned... even though this one is 3,600 pieces in a 48'' x 60'' quilt! The "logs" finish at 1/2'' wide.  It was densely quilted with an allover pattern called Melange by Patricia E. Ritter.

Finished size of the blocks is 6'' with an 8 x 10 layout. I've got a wall that measures 51'' and have really enjoyed making some quilts that just fit that space.

I apologize for my picture quality today, but you do what you gotta do -- I'm home by myself today (woo hoo!) and realized I really do need photo helpers. Thus, the quilt hanging on the garden shed door.  :)

P.S.: There is a Creative Grids pineapple tool that makes a much larger block, I just enjoy the little pieces. Happy Friday!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Challenge Quilt

My husband and I just returned from a month-long road trip…. we had a great time visiting family and friends across 14 states! Long times in a car also allow for the mind to recharge and refresh and I realized I've got lots of quilts to share on Fridays! When you're sewing for a book, or new pattern, or guild challenge, you can't really share much. I've got some new patterns in the works, but for today I'd like share a challenge quilt.

The Westside Quilters Guild is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and their challenge was to use ten solid fabrics in a quilt approximately 36'' square. At the same time, I was the featured quilter for the Krazy Horse Quilters Guild in Pendleton, Oregon and their theme was "not your grandmother's log cabin". I've had a pieced log cabin quilt designed for years and this seemed the perfect time to blend the two challenges.

The quilting is panto pattern Ba Da Boom by Patricia Ritter. I bought it from Urban Elementz. I'm open to naming suggestions for this quilt if you've got one! For now, I'm calling it the 2017 Challenge Quilt. Brilliant, right? :)

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Quilt Finish!

My niece Dana got married on June 23rd and I knew the perfect pattern to make – Elizabeth Hartman's Dogs in Sweaters (Dogs in Sweaters pattern). 

However, Dana's little dog Autzen didn't look exactly like the pattern, so an edit was in order.  The pattern came out in June, so I knew it would be a time crunch to get it made as I had knee replacement on May 15th.  

Then came the edit of the dog pattern – Autzen was a not as long as Elizabeth's dogs, so that was easy to shorten up. The ears and tail had to change as well. I kept redrafting and sending pictures to friends until I got happy with the overall design.  
My friends and husband came to the rescue in a big way! Annette delivered University of Oregon fabric (and went so far as to replace fabric that was stolen from her car!). My husband agreed to take me fabric shopping right after a physical therapy session as the surgery was on my right knee and I wasn't driving yet. Here are my blocks:

Here's a picture of my niece with her Dad opening her gift after the wedding. Yes, I got it finished on time… the day before the ceremony! Dana and her husband Ryan love it. Woo hoo!

PS: I wanted the quilt to be a bit larger, so decided to add little blocks of the sweater fabric on the left side... my knee just couldn't take sitting long enough to sew more dog blocks.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Evolution of Quilt Design

Last week I was reading a famous quilter's blog and noticed the quilt block she was sharing was almost identical to one I have in my first book. Does this mean the quilter stole my design (because I know she has my book)? Not at all! It means that we both enjoy traditional patterns and are likely to have some blocks evolve in a similar manner.

I thought it might be fun to show you how this particular design evolved into my Dutch Friendship quilt. It is on page 66 of Then and Now Quilts (available from my Shop Here tab!, at local quilt stores, C&T Publishing, and Amazon). Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the full-size design that finishes at 85" x 97".

I've always loved the Dutchman's Puzzle block and started with that basic design. You can see how coloring the block in dark, medium, and light gives way to new design ideas. After four additional versions, I landed on the block I call Dutch Friendship – a Dutchman's Puzzle block with Friendship Star in the center! The cherry on the top was changing the center square to a square-in-a-square on point to echo the cornerstones in the quilt top. 



This quilt was affectionately known as "the beast" while I was working on it because it was the largest, and last, quilt for the book. I worked on it as a leader/ender project through a lot of the other sewing and even worked on it on vacation at Sun River, Oregon. It is still one of my favorites! 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Krazy Horse Quilters

Woo hoo,,, or should I saw Yee Haw! I’ve been selected to be the featured quilter for the Krazy Horse Quilters in Pendleton, Oregon at their May 6-7 show. I’ll also be teaching a Grandma’s Surprise class from 9-1 on Friday, May 5.  Here’s a link to their website to get more information: Krazy Horse Quilters.

They don’t know it yet, but I’m planning to have five new patterns available and will introduce them at their event. It’s going to be a lot of fun!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Just Choose Three -- February

I thought it might be fun to update this list on the first of every month. I'll be in Iowa, so will post a little early. Not as many changes as I'd like, but I'm okay with my quilting and knitting progress.

1. Quilt tree – I really need some focused time for this, and that is not happening right now. I'm keeping it on the list, though, because it is a high priority. 

 2. Bending the Rules still needs my attention. 

3. Make one quilt for Camp Erin. Camp Erin is a bereavement camp for kids who have lost a family member. Each camper receives a quilt and teddy bear when they arrive. I'm going to use the Tiles pattern by Kim Brackett, found in her Scrap Basket Strips and Squares book.

1. Diamondback Socks have become a TOAD – trashed object abandoned in disgust. My troubleshooting skills for knitting are just not that great and I don't love them enough to start over, so I've got another skein of yarn to add to the stash. This year is all about enjoying the process. That didn't happen with these socks.

2. Oblique Scarf – finished and needs blocking.

3.  Hitofude sweater. I've decided to postpone this one until a little later in the year. It looks complicated enough that I will need to pay attention and not just knit. Can you say lesson learned with socks? J 

So, for now I'm choosing to knit:

2. Tilted Texture shawl. My plan is to save this for knitting on the plane. 

3.  Continue knitting hats for charity. I'm using up sock yarn much faster than I do when making socks, that's for sure!

Update: After writing this post, I realized I needed to take a day and just get something d-o-n-e! One Camp Erin quilt is cut out and ready to go and Bending the Rules is cut out as well. It's beginning to look like my February is going to involve more travel than sewing, but I'll be ready for March.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Design Wall -- Organizing!

I've got so many projects and irons in the fire (pun intended) that I needed to take some time to organize. On my design wall today is the Stars Upon Stars block of the month. I knew when I started this that it would have to go on a back burner. What I've learned, however, is that some projects don't work nearly as well if you don't keep up somewhat. That is the case with this project.

I originally kept everything together by month. While that would normally make sense, it just furthered my state of confusion every time I tried to start over. New plan. There aren't that many "blocks" to this quilt – 7 to be exact, so now I'm grouping each unfinished item in its own little bag. For example, last month I needed to complete a whole star block and three sashings. I've cut the 1'' strips I need to make star points, sewn them together into 1-2-3-4-5 and 5-6-7-8-9 order to keep them straight, and set them aside for when I have more time.

Next I've cut all the small stars that go in the blocks and all of the background.

Into a bag it goes with a label. Once I finish it, it can go in the box with the other finished parts (of which there is ONE!).  I'm still on the fence about the outer edges of my sashings... whether I want a variety of light grey, one shirting print, or a variety of lights that include greys. I've decided not to decide until more blocks are complete and I can lay them all out. For now, I'm just cutting the pink center and the dark that frames it.

I really wanted to get this project finished in time for our guild show in October. I talked to the shop owner about sending me two months at a time, but with the current delays in getting one month sent to me, I just don't see that happening. That's okay, it will certainly be finished for the October 2019 show.  J  My other option, of course, is to just use my own fabric and add the monthly BOM fabric to my stash as it arrives. Not quite as appealing. Or, option #3 is to use my own fabric and design a quilt that would use the fabric sent every month. Now that one has some merit!  

Here's my bit of cutting and sewing for today. This is the next star to get cut and ready. Wish me luck.

To see more design wall goodness, head over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Just Choose Three!

In an effort to keep my quilting and knitting projects moving forward, I've decided to choose just three of each to complete or start. I've written their names on the whiteboard next to my sewing machine to help me focus. My quilts are easy – I need to quilt my tree quilt soon, cut out my pineapple quilt, and cut out my newest pattern, Bending the Rules. This list is separate from my UFO list as these are projects that have more urgency.

 Triangle tree quilt aka My Roots Run Deep -- each triangle finishes at 1-1/2''

Pineapple quilt all cut -- the design is a surprise!

Bending the rules -- sneak peek from my computer

For knitting, I want to finish my Diamondback Socks, my Oblique Scarf, and start on my Hitofude Cardigan. I put off making this pattern because I wanted to wait until I lost more weight, but it is so flowy I think it will be just fine to make now. It doesn’t use standard measurements for fit, so I should be okay.

Now, just because I put these up as the first three of each doesn’t mean that’s where they’ll stay. For example, once I cut out the pineapple blocks, I don’t really intend to just stop and sew all 80 blocks. I want these to be my “travel project” for when I’m at retreat, or Sewing Saturday events, etc. They’re pretty mindless, so chaining these while sewing with friends is perfect. Once I get these cut, I’ll put a line through them and add another project to the list.
Pattern writing doesn’t stay on this list, it stays downstairs next to my computer.  J  The knitting list stays upstairs to remind me of my evening knitting.  I’m going to work hard in 2017 to stop my “work” by 7 pm and starting in on knitting instead. I don’t have any gift knitting planned for 2017 with the exception of two teddy bear outfits to go with Camp Erin quilts and charity hat making.

When you work from home, it’s easy to stop and do laundry, cooking, and taking care of other obligations. Unfortunately, it’s also a distraction from getting my quilt business work completed.  Thus, the sometimes late evenings and no real relaxation. That’s going to change!

I think about how much I accomplished when I was working full time and raising kids and feel a bit like a slacker sometimes.  J I think a bit more structure will help this year. How do you get your work accomplished, your home life taken care of, and some relaxation thrown in?