Tuesday, March 29, 2011

March Stitch-Along Blocks are done!

March is done!  Look at these beauties!  These are my three blocks for the Tis the Season Stitch-Along.

You can't tell from here but these blocks are a little lighter and square - too excited to wait for morning to snap these :)

 I realize that I still haven't mastered the straight stitch so I stuck with my friend, the stem stitch.

The sashing fabric is from Moda's Fruitcake line.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jelly Roll Conundrum

Oh the pain! The agony! I can do it! <pant> <pant> I am woman!  I am strong!  <gasp> Give me strength!

The time has come and I don't know if I have the courage to cut into my Jelly Roll!  My Tis the Season blocks cannot be complete without sashing but to actually have to unwrap and cut into my beautiful, beautiful roll.... the pain!

As you can see, I obviously have not found the courage to do so in the past! Left unattended, these things multiply like rabbits!

Tune in next time for an update in this crisis!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Looky Here! Looky Here!

My Friendship Star quilt just arrived in the mail!  My good friend Judy Frank (of Frankly Quilts in West Bath, Maine) quilted some lovely loopy stars in my loopy star quilt!

Isn't it gorgeous???? I still need to bind it (wanted to photograph it while it's sunny - can't depend on too many sunny days in Michigan right now.  Isn't that an ugly shed and fence in the background?).

Even though this is a simple scrap quilt I've compiled over 9 years, it's my favorite.  So many scraps shared by so many friends!  Pieces shared in charm swaps and pulled out of scrap bins at the retreats and classes.  The only pieces I own of the red floral/stripe (arm of this star) and the pale yellow swatch (upper left) are in this quilt - both shared by friends from Cobblestone Quilters in Portland, Maine.  It's a memory quilt of my fabulous friends I had to leave behind but have never forgotten.

Even the back is fun!  I've decided that at holiday time I'm going to fold this quilt so the back is showing with these loopy stars!  Won't it make a wonderful holiday quilt in itself?!?

Hope you're able to enjoy some sunshine on this Saturday also!


p.s. Here is the original tutorial to make these fun blocks!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Roll Call! My Favorite Tutorials

We learn so much from other bloggers…they are an amazingly talented group!  I wanted to share some of my favorite quilting tutorials from the last six months.  

Detroit Zoological Gardens - June 2010

It’s Spring – maybe this will motivate us to cut into those precious stashes!

No, I haven't tried them all... but I'm working on it!

Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Disappearing Four Patch

Tested out a new block today (featured -in yesterday's Stash Manicure blog). It's a new eight-inch block for my sampler quilt- the Disappearing Four Patch.  This is a really cool variation on the Disappearing Nine Patch using charm squares.  Here's my version set straight and set on-point.

Although you can't tell it, these blocks actually came out perfectly square - the photos were taken at an angle!

Can you image a whole quilt of this fun block in these gorgeous colors!?!?

Whenever I want to test a new block, I try to make it 4" or 8" finished using Kona Snow and complimentary fabrics.  When I have enough, I'll finish it as a sampler quilt.  Hopefully I can show more blocks soon!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Happy National Quilter's Day!

Spent a fabulous day celebrating at my local quilt shop.  Bits 'n Pieces is a delightful shop in Wayne, Michigan.  Big sunny windows, sample quilts everywhere!  Bright and happy staff.  They're well worth the 1/2-hour drive from my home in Ferndale.  Today they had mutliple classes - so much excitement and so much laughter! 
This shop also has its own line of extraordinary quilt patterns.  My goal is to one day make their Southern Star quilt in Civil War fabrics.  I didn't catch her name but a quilter at the Ann Arbor Quilt Show displayed this version of it last year:

I bought Nancy Halverson's Count On It book along with some fabrics to make the April Bunny X-ing quilt!

Hope you celebrated today in your own way!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tip of the Day: Ordering Quilt Books from Amazon

Have I mentioned how much I love books? I have bookcases filled with lovely bound treasures of inspiration!  Just ordered Bonnie Hunter's Scraps & Shirttails II*

*Disclaimer: I always buy from local bookstores when I can.  However, this treasure wasn't available through my local literary locale!

My big complaint, however, is that the book is $24.95 - just 5 cents short of free shipping!  Luckily, I know a secret.  If you ever need to add an item to meet the spend $25 get free shipping option, visit this lovely site: Super Saver Shipping.  Now, I have a book AND a glue stick on it's way - saving me $$ for another day!

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

When You Wish Upon A Star....

Knowing how fortunate I am, I do my best to "give back" when I can.  (I know.... it makes me sound like a braggy goodie-goodie but that's OK - I confess!  I have worse habits! 

Over the years I've made preemie quilts for Maine Medical, made baby quilts for children suffering trauma, made kids quilts for the Downey Touch of Comfort drive, and donated TONS of fabric last year to Botsford Hospital's Doctors Without Borders program.

I've been feeling a little bummed this year because of work commitments, finances, family health, etc I haven't given much lately.  I have read these wonderful posts of quilters banding together to help flood victims in New Zealand and tsunami survivors in Japan - I'm so proud of these quilters, and I know I need to help too!  

I'm all excited about Moda's Just One Star drive benefiting the Semper Fi Fund via the Quilts of Valor Foundation.

"Many hands make light work".  Using this star pattern, the quilters at Moda would like to collect 1800 star blocks to create 100 Flags of Valor quilts.  These "100 quilts in 100 days" will be donated to injured veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on Flag Day to show them that they are loved and remembered.

I'm excited about sitting at my machine this weekend whipping a few of them out.  They ask that you sign your name and your state on your blocks so our soldiers can see the quilters that cared. 

I've even chosen fabric to make a special block - this one dedicated to my brother MSG Eric Lobsinger, US Army - active duty.  He's home safe now, but he's served our country in many dangerous areas time and again for over 24 years.  Thankfully he's never been injured in the line of duty, and I couldn't be prouder of my big brother!

Won't you stop in your busy day and make a block or two also?

Hugs to you,

p.s. I'll try to post some pictures as soon as possible!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

♫ A Little Bit of Color in Your Life ♪

Still stitching away on my Stitch-Along project. I've changed floss colors 3 times - background fabrics twice - and sashing fabrics once. I'm normally not this indecisive but the other ladies in the group have had such inspiring selections!  As you can see, I've decided to go with the variegated floss.  Have you used this?

When I spoke to the ladies at the shop, they gave me several pieces of advice:

  1. NEVER trust that it's colorfast.  Snip off a section, soak in hot water, and dry on a piece of white fabric or paper towel.  If it runs, you will need to set the color before using it.
  2. Hand-dyed and overdyed floss are sold in shorter lengths than DMC. They are typically 5 ounces instead of 8 ounces.
  3. ALWAYS buy more than you need because dye-lots change!  They showed me several examples on the display wall where the color changed considerably between their re-stock orders (all had the same item numbers on them).
  4. When embroidering with floss, always separate your floss before threading your needle.  If you need two strands, pull them out from the skein one at a time, lay them together, and then load your needle.  Your stitches will lay flat and you will have less tangling.
  5. Also, and I had never thought of this, when you pull out your two strands from the skein and lay them together, make sure you lay them down in the same direction you pull them out.  That way (in my example below) the green sections of one strand will lay next to the green of the other strand to give you a nice solid color when stitching.  If you reverse them, than you may have green next to red, which may give a muddled appearance.  I typically separate all six strands first, pair them up, and load 3 needles before I start stitching.

A good friend from the Stitch-Along recommended the site 123stitch.com for some amazing threads.  I'm not affiliated with them so you can trust my word that their pricing is very competitive and the shipping was quick & very inexpensive.  For this project, I ordered the Threadworx Overdyed Christmas Time variegated floss.

I can't wait to see how it turns out!

Happy Saturday everyone!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Great Online Tutorials

Good morning!

I came across these 2 fabulous video tutorials today and had to share!

The first one is for Pieced Curves So Simple that show you how to add "applique" circles to your blocks without curved piecing, appliqueing, or pins!  I really miss HGTV's Simply Quilts!  While watching the tutorial you can click on the icon to view the printed instructions.

The other one is through the Missouri Star Quilt Co for a "tube tutorial".  Using this simple strip piecing method, you can create on-point hourglass-within-an-hourglass blocks.  They give both right-handed and left-handed instructions as well as suggested settings.  I really love all their video tutorials, and you can view them on YouTube also.

This is another great advantage to owning my iPad.  When I watch these tutorials, I can set my iPad on my cutting table and work along with them.  So cool!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Birdie Stitches BOM - March

Yesterday was a day of extreme hurry-up-and-wait so I was pleased that I was able to complete my March Birdie Stitches.  Isn't he adorable?  I didn't follow the true colors of the rainbow - instead, the colors will coordinate with my border fabric, Moda's Dilly Dally.

Sorry it's a little dark - it's raining here in Michigan and the day is overcast.  But that's OK, right?  Because I've made my very own rainbow!  (Corny?  Yes.  Glad I said it?  Yes!)

Hugs to you,

p.s. Visit the Birdie Stitches Flickr page to see some other fun versions of this block!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekend Roundup

Boy, this weekend went quickly. Celebrated my birthday at Lockhart's BBQ in Royal Oak and then celebrated my nephew's birthday at "Hogwart's" in Roseville.

I did take 15 minutes here and 15 minutes there in my quilt room. Prepped my March Birdie Stitches block, traced my Stitch-Along blocks, ordered some variegated floss from 123Stitch.com, and trimmed more scraps for my box of 2.5" squares.

I also took a few minutes to scan some of my favorite magazine articles from the "Tower of Mags" piled next to my stitching seat. LOVE electronic copies of my favorite articles & techniques because I'm most likely to reference them later. So easy to index and so easy to access later. I like using my Dropbox app on my iPad - can try the technique while cutting at my table.

Speaking of technology, if you haven't seen them yet, check out these great quilting videos from the Missouri Star Quilt Co -  LOVE the Fast & Easy Pinwheels.

Hope you had a good weekend too!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Flashback: Mother's Eyes

Look what I came across!?! 

I've been going through some of my older quilts (those created pre-digital camera) and snapping digital pics for all posterity (or, at least, for my amusement).  I thought once in awhile I might share some special ones.

This mini was made as part of a challenge for the 2002 Cobblestone Quilters (Portland, Maine) quilt retreat.  The challenge was "Quilt your favorite Memories/Impressions of the 1950's". 
As I was born in 1970, this was my interpretation, and it won VIEWER'S CHOICE!

Pretty cool?  It was the first time I used crayola in a quilt, used Libby Lehman's Threadplay technique, AND taught myself to embroider!  What fun!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Birdie Stitches BOM - February

Ok, I'm catching up!  Here's my February Birdie Stitches from Little Miss Shabby's site!

I've decided to try to make each bird in this block-of-the-month a different color.  March includes a rainbow so I think I'll make Birdie purple.  Pleased with my stem stitch, but the back stitch needs more practice.

Happy March!

Happy Birthday To Me!

Sitting here - in my pajamas - wearing my birthday tiara - and stitching away!

Best gift to myself! Bring on the cake!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Stitch-Along Starts Today!

Today is DAY 1 of the new Stitch-Along!  I'm so uber-prepared!  My fabrics are prepped and my patterns are traced.  The "attack plan" has been diagrammed.  Just a few more hours until I can go home and get a' stitchin'!

Here's the plan of attack for anyone following along!  I'll keep you posted!