Friday, August 31, 2012

liberty scrap challenge

When Nova asked me to join in her Liberty scrap challenge (along with Jo from the Organic Stitch Co.), I just couldn't say no. Liberty fabrics are two ways about it. And you already know how much I love scraps! These are the cream of the crop.
For my project I made a little wonky whirlygiggle mini quilt with a little touch of hand stitching.
I do love it, even if it was a bugger to photograph! :)
It measures 17.5" x 22".

Here's a little tutorial if you would like to make one of your own.
First off, start with two little wedge shaped pieces. Make sure they are over 2" long and wide enough that when the two are sewn together they are at least 2" wide.
(For the white fabrics I used scraps of regular ol' quilting cotton. They mix just fine with liberty fabrics.)
Sew the two wedges together and press.
Trim the block to 2" square.
Make 4 blocks, then layout as shown.
Sew the top two blocks together, press the seam toward the right.
Sew the bottom two blocks together, press seam toward the left.
Nest the seams together and pin. Sew top and bottom blocks together.
Press. Starch a bit if you would like.
Trim/square up block to 3.5".
Repeat as many times as you desire!
I chose to make 12 blocks, and then decided to add some gray sashing.
From the sashing fabric, cut 8 pieces 2" x 3.5". Sew the sashing pieces in between the blocks as shown to make 4 rows.
Cut 3 strips of sashing fabric 2" x 12.5". Sew between rows as shown.
For the side borders, cut 2 pieces 3" x 17". Sew to each side and press.
For the top and bottom borders, cut 2 pieces 3" x 17.5". Sew to top and bottom and press. 
You mini quilt top is complete!
Baste, quilt and bind as desired.
I chose to hand quilt my mini with my precious Anna Maria Horner thread. (Thanks Tara!) It's the perfect compliment to this project!
It was a great activity to do while my kiddos were playing at the beach. :)
I bound it with a vintage navy dot that came from my grandma's there are lots of precious bits in this quilt.

If you would like to check out all the other Liberty Challenge Tutorials, you can find them all on this page and check out the flickr group here.
Be sure to check out Jo's shop for Liberty scrap packs, charms and fat 1/8ths. She is offering a 10% discount to YOU on your order for the next 10 days...just enter 'Challenge 10' in the checkout when you place your order.


If you would like to throw your name in the hat, I have a scrap pack and a fat eighth of lovely Liberty fabric to giveaway to one lucky reader (thanks, Jo!)...just leave me a comment on this post! I plan to pick the winners for both contests tomorrow evening. (I didn't plan on doing two giveaways this week, but I'm sure you don't mind, right?)

Happy Friday!

edit: the giveaway is now closed.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

another pair of socks

When I first learned how to knit socks, I went to great lengths to take the classes. It wasn't at a convenient time of the day so I had to find a sitter for my girl and find someone to watch the boys after they got off the bus. (Sometimes that involved two different sitters in the same day, which is totally unheard of in my world.) Then I had to purchase the sock yarn, pay for the class, drive back and forth, pay the sitter, etc. When it was all said and done my first pair of socks cost at LEAST $75. For that reason (and so many more), I am committed to keeping up my sock knitting skills. I try to have a sock on the needles at all times.

I had a FABULOUS teacher (through a local-ish yarn shop) and it was totally worth my time and effort to learn this new skill. Hand knit socks are a treat to wear AND I enjoy the process of making them. I have a high tolerance for tedium, so knitting them-even the second one-isn't a problem for me. No second sock syndrome here. Hurray for that!!!

This particular sock yarn was a gift from my pal Terri. (Thanks, dude!) It's lovely, lovely yarn....Lorna's Laces in the color Mother Lode. (Ha! Love that name! That's exactly how I felt when she gave me this yarn, like I hit the mother lode!) I love these socks! Every time I finish a pair (this is my 7th pair!) I still feel like proclaiming "I can knit my own socks!"

I just cast on another one charcoal gray. Mmmmmmmm. I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

hello sunshine

this is my hello sunshine quilt.
it makes me smile just looking at it!
it feels just like this time of year....
summer is still hanging on,
but it gives a nod to the upcoming fall weather.
I sure love this color/fabric combo!
most of the fabrics are from the new hello sunshine line by Connecting Threads. (LOVE!)  
and then I added in a few stash fabrics, just for good measure.
looking at this photo I realize that I forgot to add in the green dot.
(because I used it to bind a different quilt.)
at the last minute I added in a solid navy Kona cotton.
i love how the navy really stands out...
it adds so much depth to the quilt!
size: approximately 45" x 60"
template: tri-tool by Darlene Zimmerman and Joy Hoffman
(bought at JoAnn's-hurray for clearance!)
each triangle finishes about 6" tall.
here's an outtake from the photo shoot.
it makes me smile. a lot.
my oldest son is GOOFY and oh-so-helpful, too. :)
i sure love him!

I'm happy to tell you that Connecting Threads is offering up two bundles of fat quarters of the hello sunshine line to two of my readers! (One fat quarter bundle to each winner.) If you would like to win, please leave me a comment in this post. I will pick the winners (US and Canada only, please) in a few days. Please be sure that I have a way of contacting you should you win.

Happy Tuesday! xo

edit: the giveaway is now closed.

Monday, August 27, 2012

our weekend

My family and I had the privilege of spending the weekend in Michigan. Part of it was family vacation, part of it was so I could take part in the summer work party for Margaret's Hope Chest. I got to take in a bit of the quilt show in Grand Rapids, too, which caused me to wonder why on earth I call myself a quilter. Some of those quilts were utterly AmAzInG! They were really fun to see, even if they made me question my abilities. :)

The work party was fabulous! I'm so happy I got to be a part of it!
Here's Carin sharing a story about this beautiful quilt that she reconstructed.
 Jill and Jessica showing off finished quilts. (These ladies sewed FAST!)
More finished quilts....I'm not sure who finished this one...sorry!
I believe that Carol finished this one. That little square turned on point made me smile!
Stephanie's completed quilt. I love her layout!
Evidence of a day well spent. :) I think we finished between 10-15 quilts in about 6 hours! It was fun to meet some new friends and work together for such a worthy cause. These quilts will be donated to kids in need. Thanks again to all who donated blocks and for those to came to help sew up the quilts! It's neat to see what we can do when we work together!

As for the rest of our vacation...
It was so nice to see the beach again. The lake was absolutely gorgeous.
This was at Tunnel Park in Holland...
And in South Haven.
 It was sooo good to go back to visit.
We had some wonderful family time and great weather....
and we enjoyed the beautiful views. We had the chance to spend some time with friends, too, which was wonderful!
Overall it was a great trip...lots of great memories made. (This photo was my husband's idea...and I LOVE it!)

We are so thankful to be home safely! Last night when we were an hour from home we were THIS close to being smashed between a U Haul that was towing a car and a concrete barrier. It was SO scary. Oh-my-goodness!!!! Thankfully it was only a close call. We are so thankful to God for His protection of our family!

One more week of summer 'vacation' left here...I have a feeling it's going to be another CraZy week, but I'm going to try to squeeze in some sewing (and blogging!) too. Here's hoping!!!

Happy Monday to you!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

my finished oatmeal quilt!

My oatmeal quilt has been finished for almost a month now. I've been procrastinating blogging about it because in order to post about it I would need decent photos of it. That still hasn't happened, but if I waited until that happened, can see where this is going. (I will save you the rant about my lack of photography skills...let's just say I have had a lot of frustration with it lately!)
Now, about this quilt....I love how it turned out!!! It's another one in my monochromatic series that I started way back when. Free piecing slabs (as found in Sunday Morning Quilts) is a great way to use many scraps of various sizes all in one quilt. I also like this technique because I like making design decisions each step of the way, watching it unfold a bit at a time, then tweaking as needed. It's my favorite way to work! 
The quilting is just several rows of "e's" or "l's all looped together. It took awhile, but the texture is great. I'd definitely quilt more quilts like this! I used the piecing as sort of a built in guide for the lines, so I managed to quilt most of it without marking. I marked just a few lines here and there to keep me on track in a few small sections. It worked really well.
The pieced back was designed around the funky 'leisure suit print' and a few odd pieces of neutrals from my stash. I love piecing a back together with what I have on hand. Again, it's kind of like a puzzle. It's also like two quilts in one. Love that!
For the binding, I made kind of an unpredictable choice, I think. I chose a print that when chopped up has bits of color here and there and it almost matches the backing fabric. :) The little bits of color add a little interest without stealing any of the attention from the rest of the quilt. I rather like it! 

The quilt measures about 62" x 78".

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I had the chance to meet up with Anita of bloomin' workshop and her husband yesterday. I've been admiring her work and blogging with her for years. I met her briefly at quilt market in 2010, and it was nice to have a longer visit this time around. It was great to meet her husband, too. We had a picnic lunch at the beach, played with my kids, and had a lovely visit. It was so fun and relaxing, to boot! The weather was absolutely perfect.
I made this little mini quilt for her at the last minute. I've been wanting to make her something for her wall of quilts for over a year now. Nothing like an in person visit to get me movin'.
I did a straight set version of my up, up and away quilt. It's about 18" square.
Someday I want to make a huge version of this quilt. (No wonder my list never shrinks. Make on, add one to the list...)
This year in my garden I planted kale as an experiment. Turns out it's really easy to grow and apparently it likes the spot that I planted it in. Hurray for that! I've made kale chips a few times. They are really good, as long as they aren't too salty. I also found that parkay spray works in place of the oil, so there are fewer calories. My kids will even eat them! Today I froze some kale (using this method) to use in soup in the winter. I've also used kale in stir fry just a bit. Another great use for it. I'm so glad I tried growing it!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

jump for joy

I'm back home again after speaking and teaching up at Gruber's quilt shop on Friday and Saturday. It was fantastic. I typically don't sleep much on weekends away because I have a hard time shutting my mind off. I should clarify...that issue really isn't reserved for weekends away. It's a way of life for me, but I digress. :)

Last night I remembered a story related to the book that I wanted to share. When I was in the thick of book writing and quilting (while trying to keep life at home somewhat normal) my daughter, who was 4 at the time, and I had a conversation. I don't remember the exact details, but she was probably asking me to either play with her or to do something with her. I was in the middle of a big project, so the answer was "not right now, Mom's working". And then I told her that when the book was done I was going to jump for joy. As you may know, kids have a knack for remembering obscure things. Or at least my kids do. Sometime later (I'm not sure if it was days, weeks or months) when the book was actually done she asked me if it was time to jump for joy. I recall the day (and the exact spot in the living room) where her and I literally jumped for joy. It was a sweet moment, to be sure. And one I hope I never forget.

I'm so thankful that I get to do this....speak, teach, write, QUILT, meet and make connections with so many other quilters. It's amazing. It's a ton of work, and I don't sleep nearly enough, but it's so very rewarding.

I'm so thankful that Nancy March took time out of her life 12 years ago to teach me how to quilt. What a difference she made in my life! I was delighted to dedicate the book to seemed so fitting, so right. I was thrilled when I saw her come into the dinner on Friday night. It had been way too long since we had seen each other (because life gets busy, you know) and it was a such a sweet surprise, so touching.

The response that Cheryl and I have gotten (and continue to get) from the book has been fantastic. I would like to say thank you to each and every one who bought the book. Really. Thank you. Thanks to those who have supported me over the years through my blog. Thank you to those who leave kind words of encouragement via comments. Thanks to those of you who come to have dinner with me and those of you who take my classes or come to my retreats. Thanks for being a part of all of this. It means so much.

I'm jumping for joy all over again.
(even in my extremely tired stupor.)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

on the edge

This is one of my 15 wips.
It was an avoidance project.
You know the type...
a project that was at the absolute bottom of the priority list,
which also means that it was the most appealing.
The idea for this quilt came while I was water color painting with my kids.
It was super easy to translate into fabric,
and fun to piece, too.
I love the colors together!
pinks, oranges and yellows from scraps and stash
aqua solid is ocean mist from connecting threads
size: 59" x 74"

Monday, August 06, 2012

a breath of fresh air

I finished my low-volume quilt last week. This is such a special one. It's so pretty and delicate without being too fussy.
It's made from scraps and stash. I used Cheryl's Sunday Morning pattern from our book Sunday Morning Quilts.
For the quilting I did a free-form loopy pattern in white thread. Nice and easy.
I think I mentioned before that I was nervous about this whole 'low-volume' approach. I like light fabrics just as much as the next gal, or maybe even more, but working with just light value fabrics intimidated me. Would all the prints work together? Would they mesh? Would it look too chaotic? These were just a few of the questions I had. Thankfully Tara had pieced her own version of this pattern a few weeks before I did. She encouraged me by saying that the quilt could be anything that I wanted it to be. Of course it could be, (right?) but I needed that friendly reminder.
The other thing I struggled with is how big to make the quilt. The blocks are 10" I finally settled on 70" x 90", which is a large twin size. I knew I was going to love the quilt, so I made it bigger than my default (lap size). My train of thought was bigger=more versatile.
It took me a few days to figure out what to do for the backing. I love the yellow print (Pinafore in butter from Connecting Threads) and considered ordering more, but then I came to my senses and realized that I certainly DO NOT need to buy any more fabric! I ended up using 3 different pieces of small calico-ish prints from my stash.
 I do love a pieced backing...
...and it felt so good to use what I had on hand.
The binding is Circa 1934 by Cosmo Cricket for Moda, which I cut on the bias. I'm pleased with how it finishes off the quilt....just the right punch of color without overpowering the quilt. It's the cherry on top!

I love, love, LOVE this quilt! I'm ready to make another low-volume quilt (or two, or three....).

I had a few questions regarding the term 'low-volume' in previous posts. Low-volume fabrics have predominately white, light or neutral backgrounds. More often than not the prints are graphic and simple. There is a low volume quilt along in progress on flickr, with a lot of eye candy to browse. There is also a link to an article that talks about low-volume more in depth, should you want to check that out.

Happy Monday to you!