Saturday, March 31, 2012

A little peek

Since I can't show the QOV blocks just yet, I started another project using some fabric I was "paid" with for a favor I did.   I added some mirage fabrics for the small squares.  I am not sure I am happy with them for this. I would like the pattern to POP a bit more.  The mirage blenders seem to get lost in with these bright strips.
Here is the first two blocks I made and joined.  Joining the two makes the full pattern.  This is adapted from a pattern so I will not be showing 'how to' on this one.

I have also made lots of bookmarks.  I am planning to put some in my Etsy shop - which at this moment is empty.
Here are a few of the bookmarks:

The white angel one just doesn't photograph well.  I suppose I will leave it out of the shop.
I hope you are having a pleasant and creative day!

Monday, March 26, 2012

"Where I've Been"

Several people have asked me lately "Are you okay?"  I haven't posted since Friday- the Rainy Day - but I didn't get washed away.  I have been working on a project for the Quilts of Valor "GO for a Star" blog hop.   Marjorie is hosting the blog hop and you can read about it here.
The basics are simply to get as many quilters as possible to make a quilt for Quilts of Valor (QOV.)  There will be prizes for those participating in the event.
This is a country specific blog hop as this is for the USA QOV organization.  The QOV mission statement states "The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover ALL combat servicemembers and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor. This foundation is not about politics. It's about people." (note that I discovered that there are also QOV organizations in Canada and the United Kingdom.)
That said, everyone is welcome to visit and comment.  We love all our worldwide friends.

I don't like posting without a picture -and since I have been working diligently on the tutorial and  video for the blog hop I don't have anything new to share.
So I will leave you with something "older" that I made.
One of many Disappearing Nine Patch quilts I have made.

And this painting that I painted a few years ago.
Tomatoes for Pablo
(a tribute to Picasso) 
Be sure to watch for the blog hop.  I am hoping you will learn something and be inspired to make a quilt for Quilts of Valor.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Rainy Day

What do you do on a rainy day? It is raining steadily here today. I have several things to work on. I need to make some more of these delightful machine embroidered free standing lace bookmarks.
 I made some more of the Happy Easter bookmarks.  A lyre design -it looks black here but is a wonderful deep rich purple.
Then I made this cross bookmark and a heart design bookmark.  (FYI- All these designs came from Embroidery Library.) Do you see the little hearts in the design? It is so cool to watch these stitch out.  I guess I was tired last night;  I feel asleep sitting in front of the machine several times -but only for seconds at a time.  I would start to nod and then "jerk" back up.  The pink heart design was last and it was watching it that I feel asleep.  Did you know that pink is a calming/soothing color? Maybe that is why I kept nodding off.

I am working on a quilt project but I can't show it yet.  I will be in the GO! for a Star Quilts of Valor blog hop the week of April 2-6 and you will see it then AND get a tutorial AND (hopefully) a free paper piecing pattern.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Secret Revealed

This is the second post about my challenge.  The first post is Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks. First off, I have to say that there were lots of good guesses!   But only one person nailed the answer.  Let's give a big round of applause to Leslie at The Crafty Unicorn Quilting.
Both quilts are designed with blocks that are indeed Card Trick.  One of them is set "on point."  That would be the top one.  The second is simply Card Trick colored differently.  I exported the pictures from EQ without the lines to make it a real challenge.  I confess that I could not have figured this out at all had I been in your position.

I saw an episode of The Quilt Show with Paula Nadelstern,  She had a puzzle quilt in which each block had a matching block in it. (similar to this challenge) That just got my imagination churning.   I sat at the computer and fired up EQ7 and had a go at it.
The word "trick" in the title of the post was a clue but I don't know if that helped Leslie or not.

Here is Card Trick on point with a more traditional coloration:

And here is Card Trick with a horizontal setting and a traditional coloration:
So you see, simply changing the colors around can make the block appear completely different.
Thanks to everyone who played along.  You made it really fun for me and I hope you stretched your mind  a wee bit.  Mental puzzles have been proven to help keep the brain more active and "younger."

I haven't taken a picture but I won some wonderful vintage sheet fat quarters from Debi at Quilting With Debi.   Thanks Debi,  they are wonderful and will go in a project soon.

I also want to let you know that I will one stop on a blog hop that starts April 2 and runs through April 5.  I have added the blog badge on my left sidebar.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Paper Piecing (Or as I call it Frustration!)

Did I ever tell you how I got started quilting?  Well maybe a few of you remember but some of you haven't been with me all that long.  So let me tell the story again.
One of my co-workers shared the same lunch time that I had.  We would sit and talk after we finished eating.  But she would always have something to work on also.  Sometimes it was applique, somethings other things. I did find it interesting.  Then one day she asked me to "do a favor" for her.  She was teaching her first quilting class and wanted a friend in the class.  She said, you don't have to pay for the class even.  She did tell me that an acrylic ruler with a quarter inch mark would help.  Ha! I had a nice desk ruler that was clear plastic and had quarter inch marks..but not at all what she meant. LOL.  Luckily she let me borrow a ruler!
The class was on Paper Piecing or as she called it PFP (paper foundation piecing)   I had never made a quilt block in my life, but I had sewn.  I was the first one in the class finished with my block.
My First PFP Quilt Square
Not bad for a first block!  I was hooked, so I signed up for the second class and made a table runner.

Table Runner

Again, not bad.   Thus I became a quilter.
Fast forward to NOW!
I did a quilt design in Electric Quilt that I want to make.  However the only practical way to make the quilt is to paper piece some of the blocks.  I have made two of those blocks.  Each one took me nearly an hour.  Yikes, I will never finish that way.  So I am thinking of doing a redesign.  
But I have a question for you. Do you paper piece?   Do you love doing it?  Should I post the design /pattern idea even though I will never make it?
I will say that the block is not that difficult.  I just have angle issues with paper piecing.  And I find it frustrating.
I think now that if paper piecing were the only way to make quilts, I would probably quit.  (Sigh, but I am glad it isn't!)

And if you didn't comment on yesterday's post please go HERE and see it.  Make a guess. I have only had a few brave souls so far.  I promise not to laugh at your answers.
Probably at some time on Wednesday, I will reveal the correct answers and put comments "back to normal."

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

Playing in Electric Quilt 7 allowed me to test something.  Can you teach an "old dog" new tricks?  Yes indeed you can.  I am going to show you two digital quilt designs.   For each one, I want you to tell me what traditional block design I used.  There is only ONE block design used in each quilt.  Are you up for the challenge?
Okay then, let's play
Quilt Number One:
Okay then, How about Quilt Number Two:

You may notice that each one has an hourglass section in it.  So, for the third question:  excluding the hourglass part, what is the BIG thing these quilts have in common?

I will give you a couple of clues.  Clue one: There is a trick to this.  Clue two: I got this idea from an episode of The Quilt Show (the 300 series if you need to "cheat" and go look- ha ha)

The prize is one that you can all win.  A workout for your brain AND a special "realization" that  you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Oh yes... I am "moderating" comments for a while so no-one tries to "cheat" - So I deleted Billie's since it got  in there before I started moderating.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

National Quilting Day/St Patrick's Day

Today is a big day for me.  Two of my favorite things are celebrated today.  Quilting and Irish heritage.  I am a quilter and I do have Irish heritage.  I have never been to Ireland but I someday want to go there.
In our area there is a LOT of clover  growing this year.  Have you ever looked for a four leaf clover:

A couple of weeks ago, I was outside at work and found one.  It looks like the one above, but I didn't take a picture so I "borrowed" this one.
And for National Quilting Day, I designed this little quilt:
I call it Rolling in the Clover. I used Electric Quilt 7 and designed my "four leaf clover block."  Then I imported the image (above) into EQ7 as fabric.  (That I a cool feature that I just found!) And did alternate blocks in the new fabric. 
May the Luck 'O the Irish be with you today!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Heads up for a FREEBIE! and Prizes!!!!

Did you know that International Quilt Day is Saturday the 17th?  Yes, it is on St Patrick's day this year.  Maybe we should all make a green quilt project. Ha ha.
Actually, there may NOT be a lot of sewing going on.  Why you ask?  Well you see, AccuQuilt and The Quilt Show are offering a very nice way to spend the weekend.  Let me just paste the information I got to share with you:

*Visit community for FREE and watch more than 100 shows hosted by Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims featuring the Top Quilting Teachers in the world
*Explore classrooms, unique tutorials, inspiring slideshows, and much more
*Enter the contest to win amazing prizes from companies you know and love—here a sampling of the prizes you can win:
  • A BERNINA 550 sewing machine (yes! a new machine!)
  • Gammill's Deluxe Chair—perfect for sewing at any machine
  • Fantastic assortment of books from AQS Publishing, plus a 1-year membership to American Quilter's Society
  • A selection of inspiring quilting books from C&T Publishing
  • AccuQuilt's GO! Baby die cutting machine, GO! Value Die, GO! Birds die, and a 6x12 Cutting Mat 
  • Bundle of 41 fat quarters from Ricky's Blended Solids collection, compliments of Red Rooster
  • Box of silk threads from Superior Threads
  • One of five DVDs from Why Quilts Matter
  • One of five Stitched: The Movie DVDs

You can also see a free episode of "Why Quilts Matter"
Now, honestly, the prizes are a good enough reason to visit. But the free shows can enhance your skills as well as entertain you.  So on Saturday (and I suggest starting EARLY so you can fit it all in) go to  THIS LINK to start the party.
Note, if you are already a member of The Quilt Show (even a free member) all you have to do is log in and go once you click the link.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Marking the Spot

How do you mark your spot?  Do you like to help other people mark their spot?   I do!
I have been wanting to try free standing lace (FSL) on my new embroidery machine. I got the water soluble stabilizer on a roll (not sure how long that roll is though.)  So I found a design on that was inexpensive and bought it to try.  I hooped two sheets of the stabilizer and used the "embroidery edit" on my machine to place two bookmarks in the hoop.  I think maybe I could squeeze three in there  - maybe.
As Easter is fast approaching, they had a "Happy Easter" FSL bookmark file for $1.08 - I love their sale prices!  I thought "these will make great little gifts!"  What do you think? Would this gift make you happy?
Somewhere I read that you don't want to wash out too much of the stabilizer, but after it liquifies leave some in the piece and iron it (use a press cloth on top AND bottom) and it will stiffen it. (Oh yes, and save the scraps to make a fabric stiffener also  -just keep them in a ziplock bag until you are ready then put in a small amount of water to liquify them)

These are 1.79"(w) x 6.84"(h) which I think is a nice size for a bookmark.  Now, I am wondering if I made FSL bookmarks to sale, how much should I charge for them?  (no that is NOT rhetorical-I want an answer - how much would you pay?)   Obviously I would need some different designs, but there are a few choices to be found.
For now, I will probably make a few more of these to give to family and friends. (I know Mom will get one!)

Oh yes, Accuquilt is announcing the Barn Quilt Contest. There are some great prizes. If you want to enter click the graphic.
AccuQuilt - Barn Quilt Design Contest - Enter Now!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dogs, Sam and Trapunto

Sunday I did some more machine embroidery.  I have the AccuQuilt Go! dies for the Gingham Dog and Overall Sam.  So I did some sew-outs using these die cuts and Marjorie's files. 
Here are the results.  There is some puckering - NOT due to the embroidery files, but due to my stabilizer. I used "Totally Stable" and it wasn't as stable as that would imply! I also didn't float an extra layer of tearaway stabilizer under it. Live and learn.  I think these will be fine in a quilt anyway.

I also tried a file I got from Embroidery Library  It is a trapunto embroidery file.  I only bought one of these and it is not appropriate for the current season, but I finally sewed it out so I am showing it anyway.
You can't really see it in this picture but the open areas are slightly raised like trapunto.  I have no idea what I will do with this piece. It may go as a Christmas card to someone one day.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Finished -and Some more Machine Embroidery

In case you missed the earlier Saturday post it is here.  There are a couple of close up shots there.

The secret quilt for my brother is finished and will be given to him at his surprise party.
Here it is:

I also played with some machine embroidery.  I got some files from Marjorie at  She also has a blog at  She does some great work. If you like doing machine embroidery and have an Accuquilt GO! cutter,  You can really find some treasures in her store.   This is a Scalloped Heart from the Scalloped Hearts design set.
I like this so much I took two pictures of the same heart - still in the hoop.

I have some ideas, but for those I will have to use the extra large embroidery hoop.  Stay tuned!

Progress - I should finish in time!

The secret quilt for my brother is coming along nicely.  I have managed to get it almost all quilted.  I do this in sections.  There are three sections and I have two of them fully quilted.  The last one is half quilted. Thirty minutes more should see it quilted.  I am not doing any "fancy" quilting.  Just simple lines with deep organic waves.  They are not planned to be even waves.  I am working around the embroidery designs.
In the above pic you can see that part (bottom left) that is yet unquilted.  
Both the red and brown/cream fabrics are from Dad's shirts. 

Here you can see that I worked around the embroidery designs.  I tried to get in between words so that it is quilted somewhat evenly. 

Once I finish the quilting, I will join the three sections and then bind it.
I hope to have this completed in time for the surprise party - shhh....don't tell him!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Quilt Embroidery

I have never made a  quilt with embroidered squares before. However, I need to make one faster than usual for my brother's upcoming birthday.  I couldn't decide what to do for a while.  Then Monday afternoon (after my trip to the dentist for a cleaning) I had an idea.  You see, my brother is a big fan of the University of Alabama football team.  But here they are just known as Alabama or Bama or even "The Tide."   I believe they just won some important game. But then I am not a big sports fan. LOL.
So, I had some of this licensed fabric which I bought before I knew you can't make items with it to sell. Ahhhh!  I will make him a quilt.  When I got home I found the fabric. Hmmmm...there is only about 7/8's of a yard. Now what?   So I hunted thru the stash for some fabric to go with it. All I could find was a mottled black.
A light bulb flashed in my brain.  I could do some embroidery with the new machine on the black.
So I did these:

The football is really brown, but this thread really reflects the light. The licensed fabric is in the back of my embroidered squares.

Today I was talking to a co-worker about it and he (yes I said HE) said "why don't you get one of your Dad's shirts and use some of that in it?  That will make it even more special."  Cool idea!
At Mom's this evening, I asked her about shirts.  She said "He had one red one that you could use." We found it, and in the process found one other shirt that I will be using in the backing and maybe a little on the front.
So I cut up the red shirt and made two of these.  This is the first on still in the hoop on the machine.

I think he will really like this quilt.   I don't think I will have it done by his birthday, but I will be able to show him some pictures. LOL.  I hope it is worth waiting for.
Oh, I will be making big squares and doing this in my method of Quilt as You Go..which is a slight variation on Marguerite McManus' method in Finish almost Any Quilt.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Just an Idea

Star Stripes
A Design I made in EQ7

Sorry I am not saying much.   I am still tired from storm watching all day yesterday for work and then all evening because I needed knowledge of events for my own safety.   Seems all I can do today is yawn.  

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Bits and Pieces

My back decided to act up Thursday morning, so I made a visit to the chiropractor and got it  "whacked back into place."  However, that left me limited in what I could do for the evening.  I had been playing with digitizing a logo for my friend who carves Father Christmas figures.   I had done one test stitchout that I wasn't overly happy with.  So I sat gingerly in my chair and did some cleanup on the original image.  Then I used one of the three trial programs I am testing for digitizing embroidery.  (There is another way more expensive one that I want to try too!)
Anyway - here is the stitchout from the effort.  I think I like this one.

I could not get the branches as "spidery" as I wanted them, but at least this one looks pretty good.

I also looked at some pictures from a past vacation.  This one had been lost in the shuffle.  Although it is a tile mosaic wall, when I saw it all I could think was "Crazy Quilt."
I am wondering if I can semi-follow the design and make a lap quilt.  LOL, talk about making it up as you go!