Sunday, March 31, 2013


Despite our intentions to spend most of this Spring Break visiting museums and seeing friends in NYC and Philadelphia, a strep scare (ultimately negative) sidelined the younger boy, so I stayed home with him while Child the Elder accompanied his father to a Penguins-Islanders game and spent just one day in the Big Apple. I spent nearly 36 hours sitting with a sick son watching a neverending stream of movies and wrapping tiny hexagons for my neverending River project. I had a really enjoyable time talking with just one child at a time; we don't split them up for one-on-one time often enough. My fingers, however, were literally bleeding from the hexagons. Time to learn to use a thimble. The city tourists were kind enough to take a detour to the City Quilter and brought me a nice stack of cotton prints, always the best souvenir!
So many possibilities for these wonderful NYC-themed fabrics!!
After they returned on Saturday night, we just kind of hunkered down in the house and I put the hexies away for larger-scale projects. I made an entire quilt top for my California fabric "cousin challenge", although said cousin asked me not to post any photos so I will wait a while. (If you're in CT, though, you can see it at Lisa's Clover Hill, and I'll be teaching a class with the VERY EASY pattern on June 8.)

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday at Open Sew days at Lisa's, then Thursday shopping and basting with my friend Tina. On Saturday morning I went back to Lisa's to pick out some monotone fabrics for a pixelated photo project that I'll be working on this summer. And, while the menfolk were in Springfield last night for yet another hockey game, I whipped up this nifty table runner (also with my new favorite, the Hex n More ruler):
This sucker is 18 x 80, which is a real table-filler in this house!
And, finally, today I added two outer rows to the triangle/hexagon project that I made using the cutaway pieces left over from the Jewel quilt.
The outer border was a good opportunity to practice Y-seams. I cut the strips exactly wide enough to use up the rest of the contrast fabric that I had leftover from my sister's purse.

And THAT's how you spend a Spring Break!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tangerine Quilting: Blocks 1 & 2

I got a nice start on quilting the Tangerine Tango blocks this weekend. These 18" segments are just the right size for really detailed custom quilting...I'm thrilled with how they're coming out! I'm especially pleased with how the feathers look curving around the grey corners; I'm going to do the same motif in every block. After I sew the blocks together, I'll put some feathers in the smaller grey segments too.

A little pseudo-McTavishing in this wonky log cabin. The smaller strip of grey will be in the corner,  so I quilted it before attaching this block to the others.
Teensy stippling and infinity spirals in the tic-tac-toe block. I haven't decided yet whether to add quilting in the black strips.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tangerine Tango Sampler setting

Ready to quilt! I used, for the SIXTH time, Maple Island's BQ setting for last year's Craftsy sampler blocks. I love the way this pattern lets the blocks remain center-stage, but with just a little extra something going on between them.
I'm using a really dark steel gray as the background, with a print from RK's new Architextures line (love these fabrics!) as the rings.
This awesome print is even named "Tangerine"!!
Yesterday I cut all of the strips and started assembling the segments; after my class today I jumped right in on the final seams and...voila! I'll start quilting (one block at a time -- another reason I like the BQ pattern is that it works well with the QAYG technique) tomorrow.
2012 Craftsy blocks, ready to quilt! The colors aren't perfect in the photo (taken at night with a flash), but the hue of the lines in the ring print is a perfect match for the vibrant Tangerine Tango blocks.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Scrappy Travels

In a desperate attempt to tame some of the scrap bins (again), I have started cutting strips to make Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trips Around the World quilt. In working my way through the green bin, I cut 55 strips already. Not a bad start. Now that I have the fabrics for finishing last year's Craftsy blocks, it's time to get started putting those together!

Stay warm, my fellow snowbound New Englanders!

Thin Mints: Quilted

Finished the quilting on Thin Mints last night! I used the spirals that I practiced last year in the Free-Motion Challenge -- because I wanted it to evoke round stacks of chocolate cookies -- surrounded by a wavy line, which I did with the walking foot. As usual, all my quilting is with Sulky Blendables threads, this time using two different colors. Nothing is jumping off the shelf as a binding choice, but the right thing will turn up soon.

The chocolate Pearl Bracelets that I used on the back is peeking out at bit at the top of the photo...I liked how this motif supported the "Thin Mints" name that this quilt gave itself.
spiral quilting close-up

I couldn't pick which photo I liked best, so what the heck. This is just the best darn pattern.

Sisyphean River

I made myself a tiny design board for my micro-hex river project today:

3/8" per side. Yes, I am insane.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thin Mints

I was inspired to finish these blocks after last week's Modern Patchwork class. I have had the brown strip sets made for this version of the Roller Rink pattern for months, but I finally picked out the accent teals during the class. After I had two blocks together, I had enough momentum to finish the whole darn thing. Then, once the whole thing was on the wall, the stacks of brown surrounded by those minty greens practically named itself: "Thin Mints." Plus, I loved Girl Scouts (and their cookies) so darn much.
"Thin Mints"... 'cause it kinda makes me want to eat a whole box of cookies...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Turtle Shirt

That's fun to say, isn't it? Turtle shirt, turtle shirt, turtle shirt...

I told my dad that I'd make him a new summer shirt for his trip to Hawaii, and he picked out some awesome sea turtle fabric. I took photos at Lisa's and let him pick what he liked...yay for technology!

What could hypothetically be a two-evening process of making a simple shirt ended up requiring three separate trips to stores as I (separately) discovered that I didn't have interfacing, ran out of thread, and needed buttons. (Maybe some pre-planning would be in order next time, huh?) Also, I mistakenly sewed a nehru collar and had to do a Take 2 on the whole collar assembly. Duh. Once I managed to secure all of the necessary notions, and paid a modicum of attention to the instructions, it really did go together seamlessly. Wait, no...strike that last...there are lots of seams in a shirt. Insert whatever adverb you prefer at the end of that previous sentence.
Sea turtles, mate.

Still using these fun labels that Barry got me, lo these many years ago.
I also found some perfect glass beads to use as zipper pulls on Mom's bag. Done and done!
Mom bling!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Roller Rink class

On Sunday we held our second monthly class for the miniature versions of the Modern Patchwork quilts. Show and Tell from the first month Metropolis projects was fun -- Ginger and Tina are making full-size quilts, so they're still working, but Liz and Sue had finished projects to show off.

Liz has a wall hanging ready for her office!
Sue made a lovely wall hanging with three Metropolis blocks.
The Roller Rink block itself is extremely simple to construct, so most of this month's focus was on selecting good runs of fabric to make a nice gradient. We talked about value, and how to use Joen Wolfram's 3-in-1 Color Tool for getting a nice even spacing between the steps of a gradient. I love that tool -- it's like having an entire collection of paint chips at your fingertips! Once everyone settled on their fabrics, the minis went together in no time at all.

Liz's block had a great contrast between the greens and a fuschia summer watermelon! I know that she has already quilted and bound it too -- way to go!!
Nancy joined us this month and made a little wall hanging with a wonderful African feel. I think she was inspired in part by the Newington group quilt. I was impressed at what a difference it made switching to black-and-cream prints rather than black-and-whites.
Sarah used shades of grey with a terrific orange contrast border. My photo doesn't really do justice to the orange.
Ginger chose some cherry pinks with chocolate and cream borders -- I can't wait to see this one, because after I made Jess's quilt last year that has become one of my favorite color combos. Somehow Sue managed to sneak out before I photographed her block, which was bright greens bordered with vivid red and the lightest possible tint of green. She did a great job contrasting the colors. Tina is using the same greens that Sue used, but bordered with royal and turquoise blues; it will be interesting to compare her analogous color scheme with Sue's complementary-color project.

One thing (which I mentioned in class) that I really love about this block is that, the last time I checked there aren't a heck of a lot of opportunities to use the full seven-color Roy G Biv spectrum -- seven-point stars and heptagons use weird angles -- but this block uses seven two-inch squares: that spells Roy G Biv in my book! My sample block takes advantage of this. I'm not going to add anything else to this little thing. A bit of quilting, a pillowcase facing, and some jingly bells hanging off the bottom. Maybe seven chakra-colored sequins or beads just for the glitz factor.
I whipped up a single block on Sunday morning before class. When I pulled out the fabrics that I decided to use for every month, I realized that I could fussy cut circles to have a chakras block! If I were yogic-minded, I would hang this in my studio.

Tune in next month for the Glam Garlands block!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Travel bag!

My mom is turning An Important Number soon, and the surprise behind Door #1 was a TRIP TO HAWAII!!! She sent me some fabric leftover from a skirt that she made, with a request for a matching bag. I have made this pattern three times now, and I still like it. The only minor modification to the pattern is that I added a line of stitching across the front where the bottom folds under, because I lose little things (like coins) into the fold space in that front zipper pocket.
I thought the little touch of Laurel Burch butterflies made a nice contrast with the bright tropical stripes.
I did a little free-motion quilting on the back (and the front panel, although it's mostly hidden by the pockets).
Happy (early) birthday, Mom! I'll get this in the mail as soon as I make a shirt for my dad...that fabric is scheduled for pre-washing tomorrow, and I'll probably sew it up by this weekend.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Star of David finished!

I still have to stitch on the little label, but the Star of David quilt is finished! I really love how the flower of life quilting came out.
For Sherri's dad, 64 x 84"
For those of you that are interested in the process, I did all of this quilting with my walking foot. I made a plastic template of just the edge of one-sixth of a 6-inch-radius circle, which I used with a regular chalk marker to mark the gentle S-shapes on every seam line, two times per seam line (S, then backwards S). I did this in all three directions, from the center out. It wasn't the speediest technique -- lots of back and forth from the machine to the marking table -- but I ended up with pretty circular-looking circles so it was worth the effort! A great way to get an allover effect on a pretty big quilt using just a domestic machine and a walking foot!


The back coordinates nicely without being too floral or feminine...
Star of David backing fabric!
...and to finish it off, I found the perfect stripe with just a hint of sparkle to use as the binding.
Olive and teal striped binding!
I don't have a photo of the label, but it's a lovely poem, written in both Hebrew and English:
May it be Your will O LORD my God, and the God of my fathers,
To let me lie down in peace, and to let me rise up again in peace.
A coordinating pillowcase too...thank you, Sherri!