Monday, August 27, 2012

Coming Attraction

It's coming. Can you feel it? See it? Smell it?

It's still summer, but the little things are showing up that tell us fall is coming. It is cooler first thing in the morning now. The days still warm up, even get hot, but then the nights remind us, fall is coming.

The leaves may not have turned yet, but they are less brilliant. The bright green of summer leaves is giving way to the darker, and a little duller, green of fall leaves before they turn into yellows, reds and oranges. This will be my first fall in Colorado. I wonder if the leaves here are as spectacular as the leaves in New England?

Back home in Hamden, CT, there is a little hill called Sleeping Giant. We sometimes like to call it a mountain, but since it's highest peak is 739 feet, it really does not qualify as a mountain.

However, it is a lovely park to hike in with miles of trails, a lovely old tower with 360 degree views of the surrounding area and trees. Lots of lovely trees that turn the giant ablaze with color in the fall. We used to live right near the giant, and I would always look to see how the leaves were changing each day on my drive to work.

What else does fall mean? Back to school. Football. Crisp air. Oh, did I tell you where I went on Sunday? To the SF 49ers game! Oh, yes, they played the Broncos. And the niners won! Of course, it is only preseason, and the Broncos were great in the first half when more of their starters were in. Hey, but I saw my team, in my first live NFL game and they won. I'll take it!

It means it is time to make those fall table runners, and Halloween pumpkin quilts and treat bags, time to decorate and get ready for the upcoming holiday season. We have presents to make!

To that end, we will have a little pattern giveaway next month. I am off for a few days, back to the lovely states of Connecticut and Maine to see friends and family. It should be fun. A visit to the beach. Maybe some chowder and lobster. Time for the last hurrah of summer.  It's not over yet!

So when I get back, we will get on with the fall and all the business of back to school, pumpkins and gourds, turkey and stuffing and holiday gift giving and throw a pattern giveaway. Maybe a pattern. Maybe more than one.

Any requests?

In the meantime,
happy quilting,

p.s. In spite of Miss Lily's assistance, I got my friend's quilt all done. And it is coming with me to CT so I can give it away. Yea me!
I'll post pictures after I give it to her. Hope she likes it!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Help with Quilting

I am trying to quilt a very large quilt. It will be a gift for a friend.

Lily is "helping".

Actually I think she is bathing.

and napping.

Not helping.

Silly kitty.

happy quilting!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy Day

Week seven and I was feeling a little low this week. But... two fun things happened! First, I won a pack of Aurifil thread from Freshly Pieced. Wow! Thank you, thank you! Can't wait to play.

Second, I went to the local quilt shop, Fabric Expressions today for their monthly demonstration. Each month the owner, Alison, hosts Terrific Tuesdays where she demos a project using precuts- either jelly rolls, charm packs, etc. It is really fun and she runs the session three times that day! And if you bring a show and tell, you can put your name in to win a door prize- usually a charm pack!

Today she demonstrated  a pattern from the Moda Bake Shop called Kapalaa Kolors Tablerunner. A really fun pieced and appliqu├ęd pineapple runner using this charm pack. Click on the link and check it out!

And I won the charm pack! Yea! Thank you!

So what did I bring for show and tell? On Saturday, hubbie and I went to a quilt show. Probably not his first choice of things to do, but he came with me anyway. And drove. 

It was the Rocky Mountain Quilt Festival and it had wonderful things to see. It had the entire Hoffman Challenge collection and the quilts were just terrific. I was told it is the only time the whole collection is seen together. After this show, the collection gets split up and travels around so at other quilt shows, you will only see a portion of the challenge collection, but not the whole thing! Lucky us!

The Route 66 quilts were there as well- none of the pictures I took came out but Ricky Tims posted a few here.

It really was a great show, and there were lots of vendors. I was very good but I did buy one thing, a small kit from Sweetwater to make a composition book cover.

Isn't it cute???

I added some quilting on top and I used, for the first time, Aurifil thread! I really liked how nicely it sewed.

If you want, you can get a kit here at their Etsy shop.

Off to work on another project; but I have to tell you, it is not one that I already had fabric for. Of course, since I went to a couple of quilt shops today, I bought more fabric! Just don't tell hubbie! 

This little cute pile I got at The Creative Needle. I am going to test one of our new patterns by first making the blocks into a table runner. Who knows, maybe my new Aurifil thread will match and I can use it to quilt the runner when I am done!

Too many projects... not enough time!

Happy quilting,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Stuff from Week 6 in Colorado

Hi everyone!
I have been busy this week, but not with much that I can post about! So sad.

I did attend a quilt guild meeting this week. And one last week. It was fun. They are both doing some really great stuff. I signed up for a fabric dying class in September. I have no idea where the town is that I will be going to, but hey, that is what Google Maps are for!

At one of the meetings, a lady showed some small quilts that she had made. And one of them used the pattern and tool from Primitive Gatherings. The pattern is called Itty Bitty Primitive Pinwheels by Primitive Gatherings. And I thought- I have that pattern! I should try that!

(Oh- and if you haven't been to Primitive Gatherings website, you should go. Fun.)

So I went home and pulled scraps from my 2 1/2" fabric bin and got started. First, I made the large square that you use to cut out your pieces.

And then I started to cut the pieces out using the little square tool. It is just like the Twister tool, just smaller! Itty bitty in fact!

I got all the way across the the first row and thought, what did I get myself into!

Here are the first three rows cut and on the design wall. Really cute.
So you start out with a square about 22" and it finishes to 10 1/2" square!

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Here is part of another block I am working on for one of our new quilt patterns. I had some leftover fabrics from the Aviary line by 3 Sisters for Moda from a few years ago and I am combining it with some fabrics I found at a couple of local shops. Very soft and pretty.

The problem is, I have too many projects started... ever do that? I find myself hopping from one project to another but getting none of them done!

So I am going to try to systematically finish them.
One by one.

Or two by two.

I like that better. Two by two: in Noah's Ark fashion.

More to come soon!

In the meantime,
happy quilting!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Giveaway on ...

There is a giveaway of some really cute pink fabrics going on at the blog My Sister Made Me do it.....

Don't you want this jelly roll???

Pop over to: My Sister made me do it...

Check it out!

Of course, I already have plans for this fabric...but good luck!

happy quilting,

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Weekend Plans and Giveaway Winners

So, everyone who posted on the giveaway is a winner! I will email you for mailing information. Thank you to everyone who visited the blog and posted a comment. Comments really make my day!

Who has plans for this weekend? I have no plans. First time since being here in Colorado. Not sure if this is a good thing or not. So far, it means that I have started the weekend with laundry! So not so great!

I think I will work on organizing my stack of projects. Now I know that sounds boring, but really it is not. I get to go into my piles, play with them, dream about where they are going, maybe get some new ideas... discover fabric I have not used yet and has been stored away and so it feels like I am buying new fabric all over again.

Isn't strange the shelf life of fabric? Quilters stash fabric away, sometimes for years but often, if you find fabric in a store that you like, and realize a couple of weeks later that you need more, it is gone.

Off the shelf, unable to be reordered and just archived into quilt history. So many fabrics whose only crimes are that they are old. Beautiful, still valuable and desired, but last year's model. Maybe all the fabrics of today, that we love but are gone too soon, will be revived in the future, just like the "new" reproduction Civil War fabrics.

Kind of like the adage, what is old, is new again.
Or something like that.

Off to play with my new piles, my old piles and see what magic happens!

Any suggestions for this cute little group of 4 Fat Quarters? I just love the button. I keep changing my mind on what to do with it. I would love some new ideas!

Have a great weekend!

happy quilting,

Friday, August 10, 2012

Starts and Finishes

Friday is a great day.
For those who work all week, Friday is the day when you are at the finish line.
You made it thru the week. The weekend is here.

It is also a great day for introspection. What happened this week? What did I accomplish? What are my plans for next week?

For my Friday Finishes, I am going to show some blocks. And truly, at this stage, they are finished because they are for a block exchange and I can't put them together until I get my collection of everyone else's blocks back!

And since I did Flying Geese blocks and used some cool tools, I thought I would do a quick tutorial. Why not?

So, the block I am working on is made up of 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" Flying Geese blocks. I decided to do the No Waste Method. To do that you need:
(1) 7 3/4" square of the goose fabric
(4) 4 1/8" squares of the sky fabric

This will make 4 FG blocks. I need 18 of them.

You start by marking lines on the wrong side of the sky fabric. You need a center line, drawn corner to corner and then lines 1/4" away on either side of the center line. To do this I used a  FriXion pen and the Quilter's Magic Wand. The FriXion pen is a great marking tool- the lines go away when you apply friction, such as ironing. Truly great. And it makes a nice, skinny line, perfect to sew on.

The Quilter's Magic Wand is a tool to mark those 1/4" lines- it has a line down the center of the tool and is set to mark a scant 1/4", allowing for your marking tool. Works just perfect!

Lay two of the marked squares, RST, on the geese fabric in opposite corners. I am not a big pinner, but I pin the fabrics together so they don't shift as I sew.

The two squares will overlap in the center.

Now, sew on the lines.

And then cut apart along the center line.

Press to the small squares. Kind of looks like a heart at this stage, don't you think?

Now, lay another small square in the last corner and sew on the 1/4" lines.

Cut apart along center line. You will have two units.

Press to the small squares and Viola! Two Flying Geese. Finish the other section and you will have 

They need to be trimmed. The idea is that you have a little "fudge factor" built in in case you sew a little wonky. So how best to trim them? there are a lot of rulers on the market, but look what I found in my ruler drawer? The Wing Clipper is made to trim Flying Geese blocks. I picked it up at a quilt show in Long Island and to be honest, this is the first time I have used it! but I am hooked!

Find the lines for the size geese you are making. Then line up the markings with your seam lines and trim two sides.

Turn the geese over and trim the other two sides. Perfect!

Here are my finished geese with the fabric reversed.

And here is one of my finished blocks.

And another . Not sure which one I like better. I have 10 blocks, so I will send out 9 and keep one for myself! But which one???

OK, so that is my finish for this Friday. I am off to work on something else today and will post more on that tomorrow. Here is a peak.

OH- the giveaway! 
Have you entered yet??? It ends today. Or tonight. 

So pop over to this post, leave a comment and maybe you will one of my cute projects from my CQC FQ Challenge!

Thanks for visiting! See you tomorrow!

happy quilting,

p.s. if you like I Spy quilts, pop over here to Blossom Heart Quilts for a cute giveaway!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Quilting, reading, transitions and don't forget the giveaway!

My daughter and her boyfriend just spent four days with us here in Colorado.

We drove around, went to a Rockies game, went hiking and exploring, went on an Alpine Slide and just had fun. Exhausting, but fun.

I have been very lucky in having two out of my three kids come visit already. It has helped the transition to this new life.

That and quilting. Quilting has allowed me to keep busy, a fun busy, and to explore the area as I check out the local quilt shops and get the supplies that I need. It is also a connection to my old friends and my old life. Truly, a tie that binds me to my past, my present and my future.

I am reading an interesting book that I found quite by accident at the library. It is called Quilting Lessons- Notes from the Scrap Bag of a Writer and Quilter by Janet Catherine Berlo. Janet is a writer, art historian and a professor. And when she experienced profound writers block, she turned to quilting to work thru all the myriad of emotions and struggles as she quilted her way back to writing.

Quilting can be both therapeutic as well as the cause of it's own version of "block"- quilters block. Have you ever been working on a quilt, or a design and it just won't gel? Often the prescription is to walk away. And it is very good advice. Sometimes you need the distance to get a new perspective. I often find as I work on a pattern, that if I leave it alone, move onto something else and come back to it with fresh eyes, that I see a new possibility, or a glaring issue, that I could not see before.

This philosophy of walking away before something is done, getting distance of both time and space gives credibility to the practice of having multiple projects going at once, which is a common phenomenon among quilters. Do you do that?
Right now, I have soooo many projects in various stages. (Of course, I do think you can reach a tipping point of too many projects and therefore can become overwhelmed! But hey, that is part of the fun.)

Off to make a dent in my piles of projects!

Don't forget- I have a giveaway going on and so far, it looks like everyone who posted will win something! How fun is that? Of course, I need at least a couple more comments as I have a couple more goodies to give away! So click here on giveaway and add a comment!

And check back soon to see what this pile of adorable fabrics- Blitzen from BasicGrey- is going to become!

happy quilting,

Saturday, August 4, 2012

CQC FQ Challenge Day 5 and a Giveaway!

Day 5 of my personal challenge to use the two FQs I received at the monthly CQC meeting.

I just had scraps left. Not really any big pieces of anything. So for the final project, I chose to make a pincushion.

They are fun, easy and don't need a lot of fabric.

Cute, huh?

This was a great idea. If I had not chosen to do this, those FQs would have sat in my stash for weeks, months, years, getting lonely and sad. Wondering when someone would notice them and put them to good use.

Instead, I have some great projects all done and now what to do with them? I know! 

Give them away!

So leave me a comment and tell which goodie you would like to win and I will put you in the drawing for that one. Become a follower (or mention that you already are one) in a second post, and you will get two chances.

We have:
Number One, the mug rugs.

Number Two, the wallet and coin purse.

Number Three, the coasters.

Number Four, the Two Star Tote.

And, last, but not least, Number Five, the pincushion.

I will draw names on Friday August 10th.

Thanks to all who visited and watched my little FQ journey! I appreciate it!

happy quilting,