Friday, July 31, 2015

Quilt Block Contest

Tomorrow I am going to drop entries off at the State Fair Grounds.  As always, I entered the quilt block competition.  They send each entrant four fabrics about 10" square and we make a 9 1/2" unfinished block that uses all of the fabrics.  This year's (and last year's) fabrics were challenging because there wasn't a big difference in color and value between the fabrics.  Quilts with minimal contrast can be beautiful (note the low-volume quilts and this higher-volume quilt) but I think that a quilt made with only two bright colors and fairly small piecing is going to be too busy and the blocks will all mush together.

Given the fabric restrictions, I am really proud of my block.  The piecing is good, the fussy cutting adds extra detail and the block pattern is clear - no small feat.

I am also thinking of bringing some of the quilts or pillows from You Can Quilt!  Building Skills for Beginners - but it makes me really nervous, I'm not sure why.  Maybe because I feel like the book is being judged via the quilts?  ....  I'll let you know what I do and how it all ends up.

Next Friday I will host a link-up for anyone that has finished That Quirky Scrap Quilt.  I've got to get quilting!  :)

Friday, July 24, 2015

California Wedding Quilt

Talking before the ceremony.
Well, we are back from California - at last!  We drove there for my brother's wedding, stopping to see friends and family along the way.  It was...not as bad as I thought it would be - the driving that is.  Seeing everyone was Great!  The wedding was beautiful and so much fun.  Two of our girls were flower girls (I made the sashes and bows) and we had a wonderful time meeting all of the bride's friends and family.

For a wedding present my mom made them this quilt.  Simple, calm and reminiscent of the quilt her mother made for her when she got married.

She also pieced the back.  The bright crazy back is suppose to represent how crazy and unplanned life can become, but how there is a beauty in that too.  (I hope I got all that right.)  My mom is an amazing seamstress, but doesn't often venture into quilt making.  It was fun to help pick fabrics and get the step by step updates during the making of the quilt. 

Now that we are back home I have been catching up on laundry, the garden (the weeds are waist high!) and everything else I didn't do for the three weeks we were away.  I have been taking some time out for quilting though and finally figured out what I am going to do for my quilt block entry at the State Fair.  I have some issues with their fabric choices (again) and will fill you all in next week.  :)

Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 26, 2015

That Quirky Scrap Quilt Done!

That Quirky Scrap Quilt is done!  I love it.  It is crazy and bright - the photo above is a bit washed out - and has lots of my favorite fabrics in it.

 Some close ups.

And more.

Let's plan on having a finished quilt link up on Friday August 7th.  That will give me time to get back and get it quilted and bound.  Yes, we are going to that long of a vacation - insane.  It will also give you some time to finish even if you are just starting.  Go here for links to all of the posts and instructions for That Quirky Scrap Quilt (along).

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday @ Crazy Mom Quilts

Monday, June 22, 2015

That Quirky Scrap Quilt (along): Putting It Together

I almost got That Quirky Scrap Quilt top put together today but it didn't quite happen.  Just a few more seams!  When I was laying it all out on Sunday my husband noted that it was a little chaotic and (proudly using his quilting vocabulary) that there wasn't a lot of contrast in value.  He is right.  It is pretty crazy and there isn't a strong difference in value, but while that could be a real problem in another quilt I did it purposefully with this one.  I think is is going to have that quirky scrap quilt feel I was going for.

So, let's put it all together.  The quilt is 13 blocks wide and 16 blocks long.  The un-pieced 4 1/2" squares are alternated with either 4-patch, half square triangle (HST) or quarter square triangle (QST) units.  The pattern is like this:

un-pieced, 4-patch, un-pieced, HST or QST, un-pieced, 4-patch, un-pieced, HST or QST, un-pieced and so on across the top for 13 units.  Note that you can use either a HST or QST when you get to that unit.  Spread the QSTs evenly through out the quilt.

When I was laying out my real quilt I chose to have the darker squares in the 4-patch unit go in the same direction in a diagonal from bottom to top.  I also chose to have all of the darker halves of the HSTs be on the right/bottom.  It give all the crazy a dash of order.  :)

The 1st row starts with an un-pieced unit followed by a 4-patch, un-pieced, HST/QST and so on....
The 2nd row starts with a 4-patch unit and follows the same pattern across the top.
The 3rd row starts with an un-pieced unit followed by a HST/QST and so on....
The 4th row starts with a HST/QST unit and follows the same pattern across the top.

Repeat the pattern in the first 4 rows for a total of 16 rows.  You will notice that the 4-patch and HST/QST units run on a diagonal from bottom to top.

Sew units together into rows, set the seams and press towards the un-pieced unit.  Match seams and sew the rows together.

And it is done!

I will get a picture of mine posted Tuesday or Wednesday.   We are going to start driving to California on Saturday (I keep telling myself, "It will be great!" but I am not buying it), so I will put off the big reveal of the final quilted and bound masterpiece until the beginning of August.  I hope you will link up if you have been quilting along.

I hope to post now and then while we are on vacation.  We will be stopping by the Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska on our way to California.  It is about 4 hours from us and I have been telling the husband and kids, "It will be a great stopping place!"  I don't think they are buying it, but they can take a lunch and play break while I look around.  :)

My mom made a quilt for my brother and his soon-to-be wife for their wedding (the reason for the trip to CA) and I will post pictures of that too.

Actually I have a lot to post about:  the pioneer dresses I made for Emily, the sashes for the flower girl dresses, the fabric for a quilt block contest that has absolutely no difference in value again, (ugh!) much to write about and make and so little time!

I hope you have a great week and are able to stay cool and get some sewing time in too!

Monday, June 15, 2015

That Quirky Scrap Quilt (along): Making the Quarter Square Triangles

Well, after a bit of a delay we are back on track.  This week we are making the quarter square triangles (QST) for That Quirky Scrap Quilt (along).  (See a list of other posts here.)  We will use the twenty 5 1/2" squares we cut earlier to make the QSTs.

First, pick out the 10 lightest value squares.  On the wrong side of the fabric, draw a line from corner to corner on each of the 10 light squares.  Place each light square right sides together with a darker square.  Then, sew a quarter inch away from the line on both sides.  Cut on the line.  Set seam and press towards the darker fabric.

Cut in half from corner to corner perpendicular to the seam.  Switch halves with another set.  Arrange squares as illustrated.  Match seams and sew together.  Press.

Trim to 4 1/2" square.  Place the ruler so that the 45 degree line runs along the seam and the intersection in the center is at the 2 1/4" mark.  Trim exposed edges.  Rotate the block and trim the remaining sides.  Repeat to make 20 QSTs.

Now that we have made all of the 4-patches, half square triangles, and quarter square triangles we can start putting it together next week.  I think it is going to be Amazing!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Good News Times Two

Well, Kate is doing much better.  Once they got some meds into her system and got the inflammation down she perked up a lot and then we just had to wait to make sure there weren't any intestinal issues.  Her favorite thing in the hospital was riding the bikes up and down the hall and watching movies - a lot of movies.  Her most un-favorite thing was getting blood drawn.  Second most un-favorite thing was not getting to choose what food to eat for awhile while she was on a liquid diet.  

Crazy Selfie
When we got home we were talking over dinner about how she hadn't been very cooperative in the hospital about needles and medicine. She said she never wanted to to be poked again. I said, "Sometimes when you're sick that's what you have to do to get better. Would you rather get a shot or die?" (I was trying to make it that extreme on purpose so she would see that shots weren't that bad.)  
She thought for a second and said, "I would rather live with Heavenly Father." I'm glad she has faith that dying wouldn't be that bad, but that is why parents, not 5 year-olds, get to make medical decisions.   
Later my husband told me that while he was with her they had to draw blood and after doing everything they could to encourage cooperation they were holding her arm and she was screaming "Mommy!" over and over.  (She screamed for Brian when I was with her.)  Brian finally asked her if she thought I would tell them to stop something that would help her get better. She mulled that over for a few seconds and then started screaming "Anybody!!!"  :)  She is a character and I am glad she is feeling better.

In other news, my little Cogs quilt is in the Fons and Porter's Summer 2015 Scrap Quilts magazine!  I love their pictures.  It is a toddler sized quilt 38" x 50" and is made out of some of my favorite American Jane fabrics.

This is the first quilt I have submitted to a magazine and I was surprised about a few things.  The biggest surprise was that they are pretty laid back about piecing instructions.  You don't have to be a professional pattern writer to submit a quilt.  They just want basic instructions which they will edit to fit their magazine style.  In fact, they rewrote my cutting and piecing instructions so the on point squares in the block are pieced a different way.  An easier way, but it surprised me.  (But don't use 12 fat quarters like they say, just use your scraps or you will end up making even more scraps!)

I was also fun to see my friend Doris's quilt in the same magazine!!!  

Well, I am going to start working on my list of things to do again and will post more instructions for That Quirky Scrap Quilt (along) on Monday.  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

When Priorities Change

Last week I made a list of all the things I needed to do in the next few weeks.  It was loooong.  Then on Sunday everything changed.  Our 5 year old got sick.  She had muscle and joint pain to the point she couldn't walk and a strange rash.  We took her to the emergency room and she was diagnosed with HSP.  It is crazy how what is important changes overnight.  Suddenly the garden, weeds, quilts, home improvement, everything just weren't priorities anymore.  They are going to keep her in the hospital for a bit longer and it is going to be a long recovery, but she is soooo much better.

So that is why I didn't post the instructions Monday for That Quirky Scrap Quilt.  I am planning on continuing on next week, but we will see how that goes.  There aren't going to be any firm plans for awhile.  

Saturday, May 23, 2015

It's Here! : You Can Quilt! Building Skills For Beginners

 Almost a year to the day from when we mailed in the quilts and manuscript, I had our book in my hands: You Can Quilt! Building Skills For Beginners.  I just received my order of books and will start shipping them out on Tuesday.  If you didn't already pre-order, you can order a signed copy in my signed copy in my Etsy shop or an unsigned copy from  Amazon or the AQS website.  It is also available as an e-book if you prefer.

Let me give you a tour of the book.  The publishing group at AQS sent me a copy of the book that they had all signed.  That was really nice.  Don't you love the close up of Rosie?  And that Circle of Geese block?

The next page with a close up of the quilt I made...and all of the copyright mumbo jumbo.

Next comes the Table of Contents, but let's just focus on the quilt for a second....  :)

Marlene's quilt, Rosie's BOMb, faces the introduction.  I really like the introduction.  It tells the story of two school teachers turned riveters for the summer and then ties their story into quilting and how we can do hard things and learn new skills too.  We Can  Do It!

The books then goes over quilting basics like sewing a 1/4" seam, pressing and choosing fabrics.

Then we get to the blocks.  There are 12 different "Skill Builder Sets" with 3 quilt blocks in each set.  The first block in each set is very simple and then we move on to more complex blocks.  The Skill Builder Sets included in the book are: Learning the Basics (straight lines, chain piecing, sub-cutting), Half-square Triangles, Quarter-Square Triangles, Flying Geese, Wonky Blocks, Improvisation....

Foundation Paper Piecing, Curves, One-Patch Blocks, Applique, Inset Seams and Challenge Blocks.  This is a comprehensive book!

There are also setting, quilting and binding instructions at the end of the book.

The back cover has pictures of additional projects you can make with the blocks.  

But that is not all!  The book comes with the cutest CD ever.  I think centering the compass block on it is brilliant.  The CD has the templates for the curved, appliqued and foundation paper pieced blocks.  There are also setting instructions for the quilt seen on the cover, a bonus Airplane block, and pictures of other quilts made with the blocks from the book.

I am totally biased, but I think you will really like this book.  It would be fun to work through the blocks with a group of friends.  And although it is marketed to beginners, it would also be beyond useful for all of us who are stuck in intermediate-quilter-land who want to stretch our skills.

Again, you can order a signed copy in my Etsy shop or an unsigned copy from  Amazon or the AQS website.  It is also available as an e-book if you prefer.  I will start shipping books out on Tuesday.

Monday, May 18, 2015

That Quirky Scrap Quilt (along) - Making the Half Square Triangles

 Welcome to part three of That Quirky Scrap Quilt (along)!  Last Monday we made the 4-patch units and today we will make the 32 half square triangles units (HST).

If you have not already cut the squares for the HSTs, cut (32) 5" squares.  If you have some extra 5" charm square laying around, they are perfect for this.  Take 16 of the squares and draw a line from corner to corner on half of them.  I like to pair the light and dark colors, so I drew lines on the 16 lightest fabrics.

 Place the two 5" squares right sides together and sew 1/4" on both sides of the line.

 Set seam, cut in half and press open.

 Trim to 4 1/2" square by lining up the seam on the 45 degree line on the ruler.  Make sure the inner sides are slightly over the 4 1/2" mark and trim around the ruler.

 Rotate the HST.  Place the diagonal line on the seam and the HST inner edges on the 4 1/2" lines.  Trim the outer edges of the block.

Now you have two perfectly sized HSTs.  Repeat for a total of 32 HST units.

I have really had a fun time making this quilt so far and committing to posting instructions each Monday has made me stay focused and on task - no easy task.   (Links to all the posts can be found here.)  Next week we will make the quarter square triangles and then we will put it all together.
Linking to Scraptastic Tuesday.

Monday, May 11, 2015

That Quirky Quilt (along) - Making the 4-Patch Units

 Last week I posted the cutting instructions for That Quirky Scrap Quilt (along) and today we are making the (52) 4-patch units.  (See this post for an  overview of the quilt.)   I was worried that it would take forever to make 52 units, but they came together quickly.  (They would have come together even quicker if I hadn't 'sewn' 10 of them together without bobbin thread!  I hate it when that happens.)

First choose a light and dark 2 1/2" strips.  Having a light and dark strip isn't strictly necessary, but I want to have a distinct light/dark pattern.  Note that a fabric can be both 'light' and 'dark' depending on the other fabric it is paired with.  If you are using scrap strips of varying lengths, choose two that are approximately the same length.  Sew right sides together along the length of the strip with a quarter inch seam.

Set the seam by pressing the stitching line while the strips are still right sides together.  Then press strips open.  Do not run the iron up and down the seam because it can make the strips curve.

Square up the edge of the strip then cut 2 1/2" wide pieces off the the length of the strip.

Take two units, invert one, match seams and sew together.  You can pin the seam, but after the first 10, 20 or 30 you probably won't need to anymore.  :)

Set seam and press open.

Repeat for a total of (52) 4-patch squares.  Each 4-patch unit should measure 4 1/2" square.

 That's it for this week!  Next Monday I will post instructions for making the half square triangle units.