Monday, March 28, 2016

End of March Update

Whew...can you believe it's already almost the end of March?  I know everyone says it...but the time just flies!  I haven't been quilting or sewing as much as I'd like as we've been doing a few home improvement type projects around the house.  Even when someone else is here to do the work, it really just disrupts the routine...you know?  

Last week, I was able to get away from all the mess, dust, and chaos and attend another wonderful retreat at the Cocalico Quilters' Inn.  This is just an amazing place for a quilt retreat...if you and your group are ever looking for a place, you must consider it!

I "borrowed" this picture off of the website, and they have landscaped and made it look a little more homey...but it was nice to be there in a -little- warmer weather this time.  The last two times I've been there, we've had snow.  It was still chilly this year, but at least the ground was green and the sun was shining!

There were 12-13 of us and we all had plenty of space to spread out with a table of our own. 

I think this was taken the last night and some of the ladies had already packed their machines and started cleaning up...

The biggest project I wanted to accomplish while at retreat was to put together an old UFO.  First up, I needed to assemble these blocks.  I had all the 9-patches made, they just needed to be assembled into this bigger block.  All 20 blocks went together lickety split.  I had precut all the setting triangles at home, and the other blocks used in the quilt had been assembled for years...so the next step was to sew the rows together....

And tada!!  This is one of the oldest UFO's I have and I'm so happy to get it to this point.  I don't remember why I didn't finish it...but I think I had a plan to do something different.  There were a few non-pattern units in the box...but I don't remember what I was going to do with them!!  LOL  In the end, I love it this way after all.  Not sure when it will get quilted, but that's okay!  By the way, this is a Bonnie Hunter mystery called "Double Delight."  She still has the pattern available for free on her website!!


I also sewed a few of these Star Challenge blocks.  If you're on Facebook or Instagram, "A Needle Pulling Thread" quilt shop (@anptquiltshop) is doing this challenge to make one star block each week.  Last year, she used the churn dash block and I was sorry I didn't join in.  I haven't done them weekly, but I've been doing 2-3 at a time.  I think I might even be a week ahead now!  :)  I find it easier to cut for multiple blocks at a time, then they are ready to sew when I have a few minutes here and there.


Of course, Burkholders quilt shop is only about a mile from the retreat house...so multiple trips were taken by all the quilters!  Lookie what I bought...BATIKS!!  I have rarely purchased batik fabrics...I bought a few for Megan's quilt, but this is the first time I needed to choose batiks, and only batiks, for a new quilt I plan to start.  I don't think I'll get started on it until the summer, so stay tuned!!


Another goal for retreat was to assemble this little quilt top.  It's a "Frivols" project, #7 by Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings.  It was a fun little top to put together...but I really didn't think it would take me two days!!!  LOL 

I happy with all I accomplished and enjoyed getting to know all the ladies at retreat.  I'm ready to go again!!  :)  

Hopefully, I'll be quilting by the end of the week.  We are having new carpet installed upstairs, so EVERYTHING had to be moved, the longarm was disassembled as well...we got everything moved out fairly quickly, but I just wonder how long it will take to get it all back in order.  :P

Happy Quilting!

~Michelle

Monday, March 07, 2016

Some finishes!

I had so much fun in Lisa Bongean's wool class last week, I wanted to keep going on the class project.  It only took me a couple more days and it was finished!
It's called "Just Picked," and measures about 8" x 18".

I love it!  Right now I have it on my treadle machine table...I'll have to find just the right candle to use.  It's perfect for spring...that hopefully, will be here soon!

I took an unplanned road trip late last week...but I was able to spend a couple days with my daughter, Megan.  While she was taking care of a few work related things, I was able to get the "E" stitched for my Buttermilk Basin's block of the month.  These are so fun and quick and easy.  I can't wait for next month!  It's not too late to jump in!

That's about all I've accomplished in the last week or sew...I've hardly turned my sewing machine on at all.  :(  Hopefully that changes this week!!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle



Monday, February 29, 2016

A super QUILTY week!!

Last week was superweek for me as far as quilting goes...every day was filled with quilting adventures galore.  I was exhausted by the end of the week...but it was definitely worth it!!

First up, I finished the binding on my Bitty Blocks row quilt.  This was a year long block of the month project hosted by Quiltmaker magazine in 2015.  Each month on their blog was a different 3" or 4" "bitty" block to make.  This quilt was incredibly fun to make and I just love it.  I love the row by row design...and all the tiny blocks.  So fun!  The checkerboard border is made from 4 patches I had made for another sew along that I didn't get very far along with...and when I realized they would work for this project, I decided to scrap the other "unfinished" project and use them up!!  Perfect!!


On Sunday...I traveled to Dover, Delaware.  I stayed with my friend, Lisa, and we attended a TWO day workshop with Pat Speth, the "Nickel Quilts" author and designer.  She also presented a lecture and trunk show Monday evening.

Pat has come up with so many incredible ideas for using 5" squares...it's amazing.  I'm only sorry that I only got this one sad picture of her design wall.  LOL  She had some amazing blocks up there.  It was a great two day workshop and I left feeling very inspired to cut some of my stash in to 5" squares and get to making some amazing quilts!  I did work on a project over the two days, but didn't get any pictures of it...I'll share that soon in another post.

I returned home late Tuesday night, because the next day was the day my new "sewing bee" was meeting....they've been meeting for a while, but I'd recently been invited to join and it was the first time I was free to attend.  We met at a local library and it was fun stitching and chatting, until our phones started alerting a tornado warning!  Really?!  The library staff ushered us into an interior room while we waited out the storm...it was still fun...we just continued the chatter there.  :)

Thankfully the storm cleared, because Wednesday night was preview night for the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival!  After a quick dinner, I headed over (only about 6 miles from my house!!) and met up with a couple of friends....



I have "known" Debbie (left) and Fran (right) for about about 10 years through an online quilting group...we've swapped fabric, quilt blocks, secret sister exchanges, etc, over the years.  In that time, we've also watched kids grow up and marry, grandbabies come along and shared many other milestones of our lives.  Debbie lives here locally, so I have met up with her a couple of times since moving to the area.  Fran lives in North Carolina and comes to the show every year, so it was the first opportunity to meet her face to face.  So awesome to finally meet...they are both really sweet and just like I knew they'd be after sharing so much of our lives over the years.

When the doors to the quilt show finally opened, I almost made a beeline to the Primitive Gatherings booth!  And look who was there!!  I was so excited to meet Lisa Bongean...she was so nice and within minutes of talking, I felt like we'd been friends forever.  She is so down to earth.  I loved that she talked to everyone coming through the booth all the while, stitching on a wool project.  LOL

We spent the rest of Wednesday evening browsing all the vendor booths...and came back Thursday morning before the doors opened!!  LOL  We browsed more of the vendor booths and also looked at the quilts hanging for the quilt show.

I took Friday "off" and stayed home trying to catch up on real life, but this is where I was all day Saturday...back at the festival in a wool class with Lisa!  Yay!!

I just can't say enough what a great teacher she is...I've taken a lot of classes throughout my quilty life and she is at the top of the list of favorites.  If you ever get a chance...I highly recommend taking a class with her.

Here is the project we made in class...I've continued to work on it this weekend and have just a bit more stitching left to do.  It was a quick and easy one!  I can't wait to finish it up and share the whole project with you.

Whew...it was a great week!!  Now to buckle down at home and get back to the real world.  LOL

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle









Wednesday, February 03, 2016

WIP Wednesday...and a couple finishes...

 I think I've shared my Buttermilk Basin Block of the Month from 2015.  Each month, Stacy shared a free pattern for a cute wool applique block.  Then, in January 2016, she revealed the final layout of the blocks...here is a picture of Stacy's quilt.  



I really like the setting, so I decided to forge ahead and make the 239 1.5" half square triangles...I used the Easy Angle ruler.  I love it because there is no trimming and it makes perfectly sized triangles.


The next step was to sew them into strips of 9 like this.  I sewed all the strips and started to stitch them to the blocks.  I REALLY thought I was sewing them in the right direction....but then I took a closer look. 
If you look at the original above, you'll see the triangles are turned a different way.  It's the HSTs that are sewn wrong, not the strips.  Ugh...oh well, I was not going to unsew all those triangle strips!!  I actually like them this way and it really didn't make a lot of difference!

Here is mine all sewn together.  I love it so much!!  I'm a little intimidated to quilt it as it will need some "custom" work...but I'll do the best I can.  I'm just not super confident in that area.


The block of the month was such a success...Stacy is offering another one for this year!!  You can head over to Buttermilk Basin and download your free pattern.  I think it'll spell "Let it Snow!"  :)  
(I promise I'll find some mini buttons for my snowman's eyes!!)


I joined a sew along with A Needle Pulling Thread Quilt Shop...@anptquiltshop and/or #52weekstarchallenge, if you're on Instagram.  I thinks she's also on Facebook.  The challenge is to make one sawtooth star each week for 52 weeks. Sounds easy enough, right?  ::wink::  Can you believe we are five weeks into the year already??!!

Just today, I finished this Mondo Bag...the fabric is from an old jelly roll I've had hanging around.  These bags are made from a printed/grid fusible interfacing, so the assembly is pretty easy.

I forgot to show this little table topper I whipped up a couple weeks ago.  Remember the Bitty Blocks quilt I showed before?  I had a few extra basket blocks...then added a few HSTs from another project...a couple 9 patches from something else...and voila!!  

Perfect little table topper for a square breakfast table.  (can you see Chloe watching the birds from her perch?)

Well, that catches you up with what's going on in my sewing room!  What are you up to?

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle

Monday, February 01, 2016

Quilt Retreat!

Last Monday through Friday, I was lucky enough to be at a quilt retreat!  This is my second time at this location, called Cocalico Quilter's Inn.  Click the link for info and lots of pictures of the inside. The Inn is owned and operated by Burkholders Fabrics in Denver, PA.    Burkholders Quilt Shop is only about a mile away...which meant almost daily trips to shop!!
  I took this picture on Wednesday, I think...it had really warmed up and the snow was melting pretty quickly.  It was snowy last year, too!

The building is a refurbished farmhouse.  The builder used a lot of reclaimed wood from the original house and barn....it's really beautiful inside.  There are about 10 bedrooms inside with 1-3 beds in each room.  Plenty of bathrooms too.

This is the sewing room...there were 9 of us and we had plenty of room to spread out.  


Another shot from my spot...

I was playing with the panoramic option on my camera...

I made this little table mat for under my machine...I had a few blocks from a quilt along I started last year.  I didn't stick with the quilt along, but the blocks I had worked great for this.  Not every quilt has to be HUGE, right??  :)


The theme of this retreat was "Crumbs and Strings."  Sheila taught us her technique for making strip sets without the need for a foundation.  Then those strips sets were cut to make these blocks...each strip set made a full block and then units to make the pinwheel type block in the picture above.  It was really fun to see these blocks come together!

Here are a few of everyone's blocks...there was everything from batiks, to civil war-ish, selveges, and mine, which are the darker blues.  Lynn also chose blues...Hi Lynn!!  :)

Next step after making the blocks....are the sashing and stars...


This picture doesn't show how pretty these batik strips really are...

Here is my top...those units around the outside border are "leftovers" from the original strip set.  There was almost no waste!!  It only measures about 38" x 46" at this point, so I need to decide on more borders to make it bigger.

Sheila also taught us "crumb" piecing and we made these cute little drawstring bags...

Here are everyone's all lined up...they are sooo cute!! 

 I also had time to whip up this Quickie Strippie for a friend that will have a baby soon.  Another nighttime picture, so the colors aren't quite right.

 Here are all the ladies (minus one, who had to leave early)!  We had so much fun!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

WIP Wednesday -- Bitty Blocks

Since January 2015, I've been sewing along with Quiltmaker Magazine's "Bitty Blocks."  Each month, a new 3" or 4" block pattern was released on their blog.  You could make as many or as few as you wanted.  About March or April, they gave us an idea for a row quilt for our blocks.  I made 16 of the 3" and 12 of the 4", based on the size of one of the layout ideas.  It's been soooo fun making these blocks each month.  ALL the blocks have been made from my scrappy stash of squares and strips...so it's been easy to get a wide variety of fabrics.

I was finally able to catch up with December's blocks...3" pinwheels.  I made these with 2 1/2" squares.  So simple...but I love them!

I should have been sewing in rows all year as I went along...but nooo...I didn't do that!  Next step was to get all the rows sewn together....

But there were more blocks needed!  I needed three rows of flying geese.  Of course, they are itty bitty flying geese...finishing at 1" x 2".   I turned to my box of 1 1/2" squares for the sew and flip method...can you believe I had enough pairs of squares for 150 flying geese?  If you look close at that box...it doesn't look like much of a dent was made either!!  

Instead of totally scrappy, I thought using one colorway would help tie it all together.  I had some left over red strips from another project and cut the rectangles I needed.  It took a few days to get them all sewn...but look at those pretty geese all lined up! 

All ready for sashing strips!  I'm still deciding what to use/how to sash it.  I'm really trying to use only fabrics from my stash and so far I haven't found a big enough piece to use for sashing.  If I use all the same fabric, I'll need a yard...if not, I'll do a scrappy sashing too.  I'm still working on it! 

I really didn't expect to love this project so much!  I did enjoy making the blocks each month...but seeing it come together now...it's just so fun and scrappy.  I love it more each time I look at it! Hopefully, I'll have more progress to share soon with sashing and final borders!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Two Finishes!

I'm so excited to share two quilty finishes!  Recently, I signed up for a UFO Challenge with the local guild here in town.  Every other month, they will pick a random number and we'll pick that number off our list to finish.  Since the challenge is just getting started this month, we were to finish #1 on our list.  First on my list is Oklahoma Backroads.  This is from a workshop I took with Bonnie Hunter in March 2012.  I've had this top done, except for borders, since I went to retreat in November 2012!!  Why, why, why???  I pulled it out, added borders and loaded it on the machine for quilting.  I just love the scrappiness of it.  I look at all the different fabrics and can remember when I bought them, where I used them, maybe someone gave it to me...so many memories!

It's all from my stash, including the backing.  I bought a bolt of this fabric for $3/yard from Burkholders a couple years ago...I've just about used all of it up with this quilt. 

I surprised myself using the brown for a border...but it's perfect, if I do say so myself!  I tend to always choose blues or reds...but I didn't have enough of anything in my stash to work.  Then I pulled out this brown....LOVE!!  I used the same fabric as the back for the binding...using a light fabric for binding is something I don't do often either...but it works!!


 My second finish is the Quiltville Mystery "Allietare!"  I'm always motivated to finish these mysteries...I've finished six of the seven I've participated in.  The first one is the one still unfinished!!

Anyway...here it is before quilting.  My cat is exceptionally large, e'hem, big boned.  But this picture gives an idea of the size.  It's half-sized from the original pattern.  All the grey half square triangles and small black squares finish at 3/4".

I believe this was my first attempt at a scalloped border...if I've done it before, I don't remember!  LOL  I used a small Fiesta bowl as the template, and I have to say...this part worked out remarkably well.  Actually sewing the binding on...hmmm, not so much.  I needed about two other hands to maneuver the binding, quilt, presser foot up and down, etc.  But I just went for it!  

It's not perfect...but the best part is, sewing it up and hiding all those wonky seams!!  I did a 2" bias binding as Bonnie recommends.  She has some great tutorials on Clue 6 of her pattern.

Ta-da!!  I love the scalloped binding!  As tough as it was, I would do it again...it gives it a fun, whimsy effect.  I would be fun for a baby quilt.  It's far from perfect, and I can see the flaws...but I love it anyway!

I hung it up on that same fence as Oklahoma Backroads above...to get an idea of the size again... 

 The black has a small grey print...but doesn't really show in the picture.  I used a thread called Cookie Dough, which is a muted gold...

Leftovers on the back!  The camera had a hard time with this red on the back and that grey is the same as the grey on the front...it looks almost blue in this picture! 

This corner is what the red really looks like.... 

Just can't thank Bonnie enough for another fun mystery!!  Mystery quilts are not my favorite...but Bonnie's never disappoint!!


Happy Quilting!
~Michelle