Triple Sawtooth Star

Since May I have been a member of a charity quilting bee called do. Good Stitches.  do. Good Stitches was organized by Rachel at Stitched in Color and is a large charity quilting bee with many groups all over the world.  My group is called Aspire and our quilts are donated to Enchanted Makeovers which uses the quilts in their makeovers of women’s and children’s shelters.

For October, our quilter requested that we make 16″ Triple Sawtooth Star blocks using purple, green, orange-red, orange, and golden yellow.  So I headed to my scrap bin and pulled some fabrics.  I just love this color combo.  It’s so rich and warm.

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When I cut out the pieces needed for each block, I realized that my purple pieces weren’t big enough so I had to pull a different purple.

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First you make the inside star.  These two blocks are an adorable 4″ each.

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Then you use the 4″ star as the center of the 8″ star.  I ended up having to go a bit scrappy and use multiple fabrics in the green and orange colorways. Rather than cut into a new fat quarter or half-yard cut of fabric, I was trying to use up the scraps that I had.

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Then you use the 8″ star as the center of the 16″ star.

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I’m loving orange right now in my quilting, but I really think I might like the green and purple star better here.  I think I would like the yellow/orange star more if the yellow was a bit more vibrant.  It seems overwhelmed by the orange.  But I think once it is combined with 20 other blocks in the quilt, it will fit in quite nicely.

These are blocks I made in July for that month’s quilt.  I didn’t have as many blue, aqua, turquoise solids as I thought I did, so I broke open the fat quarter pack of Cirrus solids that I had won last year.  You can read about it here.  They were wonderful to work with and were easy to cut and sew without fraying.  I definitely need to use the rest of the fat quarters in a project one day soon.july-2016-block

I find I have less time for sewing than I would like, so I’m glad to get some quilt blocks finished.   I can’t wait to see these quilts finished.

Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

 

 

 

Modern Lone Star

There are certain quilts that must be on every quilters list to make at least once in their lifetime.  Things like Log Cabin, Churn Dash, Dresden Plate, (any) star block, Drunkard’s Path, and certainly the Lone Star.

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To date, I’ve made quilts for my oldest 2 children, and the grandchildren of course.  But I have 2 more children I needed to make quilts for.  I decided to make my middle son (now 23) a Lone Star quilt.  He is 6′ 4″, so even a quilt for snuggling on the couch would need to be larger than usual.

I pulled together some fabric scraps from my stash and then bought a couple of yards of chartreuse fabric to make it pop.  The solid fabric is Kona Slate.  Each diamond is 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ and measures 6 1/2″ point-to-point.

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Then once I had the lone star together, I cut it down one side.  Let me just say, that was super scary.  I shared with you previously here and here some of the challenges and lessons learned while piecing it, so to take a rotary cutter to it at this point was nerve racking.  If I messed it up, it would have to be remade.  But it worked great and the part I cut off, I flipped over to the back.

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I quilted it lightly with parallel lines 1/2″ apart following the lines of the star.IMG_3414

It was so big, I didn’t even get a complete view of the quilt until we were able to hang it for pictures.  (By the way, it’s really hard to photograph such a large quilt.)  I LOVE how it turned out!  It’s so beautiful!

Finished at 70″ x 90″.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

UFO Finish #4

I love this mini quilt.  I started this quilt last year when I started a much larger lone star quilt.  I had never done a lone star quilt so I wanted to ‘practice’ on something smaller.  I often practice new techniques in a similar fashion.  I’ll make one or two blocks to see how a quilt will go together, or if a bag or some other project, I may make it first with fabric that I really don’t care about before I cut into my good fabric.  Many times it ends up being a waste of time because (1) the pattern is so complicated I never want to make another one after the first (haha). or (2) because it goes together smoothly.  Other times though, I’m able to find areas that need to be improved or find things I would do differently in order to save fabric usage.

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I pulled this navy scrap with orange, teal, lime green, and purple elephants from my scrap bin and then found more scraps that complemented it.  For the most part the placement of each color was due to how much of each fabric that I had on hand, but I wanted the points to be bright so that the star would SPARKLE.  So orange was the only way to go there.  I just love orange these days.  It’s such a bright, cheery color.

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I used this tutorial by the Hopeful Homemaker for piecing my strips.  I did one thing different that I found to be very helpful.  When piecing the diamonds, I first ‘basted’ the seams with a long stitch.  I found that I often needed to adjust the seams just a smidgen in order for them to line up and it’s so much easier to pick out longer stitches.  Then, once I was happy with how the seams lined up, I would stitch one last time with a small stitch.

One thing I didn’t do that I wish I had was starch all the pieces when piecing.  I usually skip this step because I am impatient and want to get it done, but it really would have helped provide a much crisper, less puckered and wrinkled, finished star.

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I decided to offset the star rather than center it on the background.  It took me a few days to figure out how I wanted to quilt it, and I love what I came up with. First I marked and quilted diamonds to extend the star shape to the bottom and right.

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Then I free-motion quilting the remaining areas with a paisley flower.  I practice my FMQ every chance I get, and this was a very fun design to stitch.  I just love it!

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Then I decided the bottom right corner was a perfect place to put a small elephant.  He’s so cute!

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Quilt finishes at 17.5″ x 17.5″.  Each diamond in the star is 1″ x 1″ finished.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

UFO Finish #3

I have finished yet another UFO since the start of the year.  This is my second oldest UFO so I’m glad to finally get it done.  These blocks dates back to 2003.  No lie!

I really love this quilt.  Each block was made by a different person from a block swap I participated in.  No one knew what blogging or social media was back then, so I’m not sure what happened to the other blocks we mailed out or if the other participants finished their quilts.  I’m pretty sure I am the only one that sat it aside for more than a decade though.  I mean, who would do such a thing?  But like they say… ‘better late than never!’

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We each signed the blocks and wrote a little saying about our wonderful country.

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I free motion quilted it with a loop-d-loop (my favorite) with a few stars thrown in here and there.

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This quilt will be donated to our local Quilts of Valor chapter.  I hope it provides comfort and healing to a member of our armed forces that gave so much for our country.

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I’m very happy with the progress I have been making with my UFO’s though I expect I won’t be able to keep up this pace much longer.  Not only is it tax season, but our house is now under contract  (Yippee!) so hopefully we’ll be moving in the next 2-3 months.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

I’m Going to QuiltCon (I wish!)

Although I won’t be there, a quilt of mine will be and that in itself is exciting!  Also there is a moral to this story, so be sure to read to the end.

I decided to enter a quilt into the Michael Miller Glitz Fabric Challenge for this year’s QuiltCon in Pasadena.   I was a lucky recipient of a pack of 8 fat-eighths of Michael Miller Glitz in black/silver and white/silver.  I have not used metallics in a quilt before, so that in itself was challenging.

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The fabrics above should be the focal point of the point, but other Michael Miller solids were permitted.  Michael Miller prints could be used on the back and/or binding.

After some soul searching I decided to order Mist & Honey as solids for the front.  I love how the warm honey and the cool mist play off each other and has become one of my new favorite color combinations.

And I found a coordinating Michael Miller print for the back that also used the same colors.  Maybe I’m on the only one loving that combination.  I couldn’t tell by the picture that the print I picked for the back had metallic gold accents until it was here.  It was metallic gold, and I had metallic silver for the front.  Hmmm…  Oh, well.  It is what it is.  I decided to roll with it.  The charcoal solid was for the binding.  IMG_2845

You may recall the block I designed earlier in the year for the Cirrus Solids Block Challenge.  This block was very easy to piece  since it is made up of 1″ blocks (finished) and then longer 1″ strips or rectangles to fill in the remainder of the negative space.stuck in the middle

I decided to rework this block to use just two colors (black and white) and to piece the block so that the colors looked they there were woven together.  The center white squares really gave me a headache.  In order to piece complete squares or rectangles to create the block, the center white strip needed to be 3 pieces.  But the ‘woven’ look I was trying to achieve didn’t work with 3 separate pieces there.   It needed to be one piece.  Well, that ended up creating more issues when piecing the rest of the block.  Long story short… it was easier for me to piece the entire block with three 1″ white squares there in the middle, and then when the block was finished, pick out those three 1″ white squares and replace them with a 1″ x 3″ rectangle.  That really surprised me!  Surprised that it was easier to do it that way and pick and resew than it was to sew the block with the correct piece to start with.  But it really was.  And if you don’t understand all that…. let me know and I’ll make another block with pictures and explain it better.

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I made 4 blocks – two with honey and two with mist and then placed them opposite of each other.  I decided not to use the charcoal solid for the binding.  It just didn’t look right.  Instead, I decided to finish the quilt by ‘facing’ the edges.  I LOVE how it looks!  It gave the edges a clean crisp finish.  I will definitely be using this method again!  In fact, I already have with the buck I appliqued here, and I’m getting ready to finish a 3rd wall hanging using this same method.  In fact, I may never traditionally bind another wall hanging.

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I quilted it with a spiral (lines are 3/8″ apart) with my walking foot, except in the very middle.  A spiral is next to impossible to quilt (neatly) in the very center.  So instead I started the spiral a little wider and filled in the center with some parallel lines.

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Last but not least, every quilt entered into the competition needed a story.  Yikes!!  Ummm… a story.  I guess ‘because I liked the way it looked’ wasn’t good enough.  So, I put on my thinking cap…

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This is my story (with limited number of characters)…

Intertwined Lives: I reworked a block I designed earlier this year for the Cirrus Solids BOM challenge. The woven glitz fabrics show how we, individual people, are different colors and have different features, and how our lives intertwine with others over our lifetimes. The lives of the people that we have these relationships with, also intertwine with people we will never meet and never directly have any impact on because we lead parallel lives. However, the circular stitching exposes the bits and pieces of ourselves that get carried from our direct relationships to these parallel relationships. Without our knowledge, bits and pieces of ourselves are deposited into others lives and we never know if these pieces will have a small or a significant impact. Moral of the story: Your life affects more than just the people you know first-hand, so make sure your life is worth sharing.

Quilt measures approx 24″ x 24″.

Oh, and if you happen to be at QuiltCon and see my quilt, please let me know.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

 

UFO Finish #2

I have finished a second UFO on my list.  Yippee!  This is another charity baby quilt for our local quilt guild.  They provide the fabric and batting. I provide the thread and labor.

It was simple to piece since it was just 6″ squares.  But it was plain.  It needed something that would soften it up a bit.

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So I decided to take this opportunity to practice another FMQ design.  This is a simple paisley.  It was fairly easy and probably the first time I could honestly say I enjoyed FMQ on my home machine.  What I found difficult was trying to get myself out of tight spaces and filling in spaces that were too small for a paisley.  I tried several things… some worked, some didn’t.  But that is how it goes when you’re trying something new and practicing.  This was a good square.  It’s so pretty!

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As much as I like this design, it is very thread heavy.  It took 2-1/2 spools of thread to quilt this 36″ x 42″ baby quilt.  So, although I really like this design, it might work best featured in a smaller area rather than as an overall design.

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One more UFO down… many more to go.

Goal Setting

It’s been 4 weeks since we moved into my parents house in the mountains of NC.  Four weeks since I’ve not had to get up to go to work, get up to work on the house, or get up to pack all our personal belongings.  Four weeks to rest, relax, and do whatever I feel like doing that day. It has been a wonderful four weeks that have passed much too quickly.

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I have spent time with family, enjoyed the scenery, slept more than I thought possible, cooked more than I have in years, and taken up painting with acrylics.

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Moonlit Barn – my first painting

I’ve also made a new friend, saw the Independence Day fireworks, sampled some Shepherd’s Pie at the local Taste of Scotland festival, digitized some new embroidery files, supported two benefit breakfast fundraisers, investigated two businesses for sale, attended my mother’s choir concert, and attended the very first meeting of the Smoky Mountain Modern Quilt Guild.

But I feel like I’ve not been very productive.  In one way, I feel like that should be O.K..  I’ve spent 10 years working 60-hours per week on average.  I spent most days racing from one thing to another, fitting in whatever I could between working hours.  And many things just never got done.  After 10 years, I needed to destress and relax some, for both my physical and my mental health.  And that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 4 weeks.

But you know that list of things you keep in your head that you want to do should you have time one day?  That list of things you always dreamed about doing whenever you’re stuck at the office 14-hours and don’t have time to do anything other than work that day?  Well, that one day is here and I don’t know what to do.  Shouldn’t I be doing and marking things off that list?  I think I should be.  But, what were those things/items/goals on my list again?

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Goals are very important in both your personal and professional life.  Without goals, it’s too easy to wander around with no clear direction.  So, before another month gets past me, I think I should set some goals just for the remainder of July.  I’ll be sure to include plenty of rest and relaxation, but other things I would like to accomplish during the month of July are:

  • Hike to a waterfall
  • Visit the Scottish Tartan museum
  • Finish my current painting in progress (PHD – project half done)
  • Finish truck quilt (top done)
  • Plant Zucchini
  • Attend Pickin’ on the Square downtown
  • Practice 3 new FMQ patterns
  • Design a new quilt (any size)
  • Finish one crochet blanket (PHD)
  • Finish baby bibs (PHD) (coming soon)

And quilting goals for 3rd quarter (past July)…

  • Finish Lone Star quilt for my son (top almost done) (70×90)
  • Start and finish quilt for TMQG Spoonflower Challenge (6 Fat-8ths to work with)
  • Finish small lone star wall hanging
  • Finish quilt for Quilts of Valor (very old UFO)

I’m sure there is more I would like to accomplish in the next few weeks/months, but I need to be realistic in the goals I set as well.  So, this will do me for now.

Do you have goals that you set each day/week/month/year?  Do you write them down, or does the list reside only in your brain?  I know I need to get better at writing things down so that when I do have extra time here and there,  I’m not sitting around wandering what to do.  Historically, I tend to be much more productive if I have a game plan instead of trying to wing-it on a daily basis.  Does it work that way for you too?

Linking up with Adrianne at One The Windy Side for 2015 Finish Along Q3.

Finally, Back To The Sewing Room

Finally, I am back to sewing.  We have spent months rehabilitating the house and packing all our worldly possessions.  Well, all our worldly possessions that were left after a dozen or more trips to the dump and as many trips to the donation center.  Of course, I kept all my beautiful fabric; although it is all packed up and in storage.  🙂

We have moved to the mountains of NC and arrived this past Saturday night.  We are living with my parent temporarily until our house sells, so technically we still have to move one more time.  The house is not on the market yet, but hopefully we’ll have it listed by July 1.  We have some workers in to finish things we couldn’t do so that is what we are waiting on now.  Aren’t these mountains just gorgeous?  We’ve been driving around exploring the area and at every turn we see more beautiful scenery and are just in awe of God’s majestic handiwork.

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I have been able to set up a little sewing area in the downstairs bonus room at my parents house, and I’m so happy to be back to my sewing machine.  We were apart for such a long time.  I brought a large plastic bin of WIPs with me and my goal is to get them finished while we are here.  And, if by some miracle I get them all finished, I have another large plastic bin of WIPs waiting for me in storage.  And if they all get magically done, there is a smaller bin of WIPs.  The amount of WIPs I have is staggering, but hopefully I’ll get many of them knocked out in the next several months.

You may recall the lone star I started in January.  This is the first WIP I plan to finish.  I just picked it up this afternoon and am busy piecing each of the 8 panels together.  It’s going together rather easily, so hopefully I’ll have a finished project to share with you in the next week or so.  We’ll see.  Usually the timing of my goals are a little unrealistic.

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And, I’ve picked up another hobby.  I know, I know… I don’t have enough time to focus on the hobbies I do have, but I wanted to spend some quality time with my dad.  He’s been taking painting lessons for several years from an art teacher in the area, so I thought that would be a good way for us to spend some time together.  I’ve tried my hand at painting 3-4 times in the past 10 years or so and always enjoyed it, although it was never something I felt I could continue on my on.  So I went yesterday with him to his painting class and started a landscape.  It’s about 1/2 way finished, and I’m very pleased with it so far.  Tomorrow afternoon we go again, and I hope to finish it then.  Then I have plans for another painting that I plan to start next week.  I’m really excited about it.

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So, I want to know… how many WIPs do you have?  Please tell me that I’m not alone in having too many to count.  I really haven’t counted, but if I had to guess, I would guess I have 30-40, and the true figure is probably even higher.  Oh, that sounds just awful.  LOL.  What about you?

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Red Fox

It seems that I’ve disappeared from the blogging world again.  We are hoping to move to the mountains in a matter of weeks, so we have been busy making more repairs around the house, decluttering, and packing.  More about that another time.

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I wanted to show you a quilt I designed for my youngest grandson.  He was born last August.  I found this fabric at my LQS and fell in love with it and knew I wanted to use it for his quilt.

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The fox and tree are raw-edge appliqued.  And other than the background and the fox fabric I just had to have on the back, everything else is scraps.  I quilted bamboo onto the background, and filled in the fox, tree, and leaves with free motion quilting.DSC_0167 DSC_0161

Last but certainly not least, it’s somewhat hard to see, but in the tree trunk I embroidered my grandson’s initials.  I really love that part!

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I decided to enter  this quilt into the Blogger’s Quilt Festival at Amy’s Creative Side.  Head on over there and vote for all the wonderful quilts.  There are lots of fun quilty prizes up for grab, so we are all super excited about it.

Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Missing QuiltCon

So, it seems as if the entire modern quilting community left today (without me) for Austin to attend QuiltCon.  I so wish I could be there, but I can’t leave work during busy season.  I’m going to miss hanging with old friends, meeting new friends, and learning from the top names in the quilting world.  One day, one year, I will get there.

The good news is that I have all 8 points of the Lone Star put together.  After the first panel, the next 7 panels went together almost effortlessly. I made sure not to make the same mistakes twice as I blogged about here.  I did have to rip out a lot of seams due to points not matching, but I basted all seams until I was happy with everything, and then I went over it again with a smaller stitch.  So even ripping all those seams wasn’t too bad.

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And it’s huge.  Of course, I planned it to be this big, but it is still a surprise to see it so large.  Point to point measures 79″-80″.  My design wall is way too small for it but I think you get the idea from the picture.

I also finished filing the shower in the master bath.  I threw my back out doing it, but thankfully it is done.  I still have to grout it — and that by itself will take a full day — but it is closer to being finished and that is worth celebrating.

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And I’m working on a new paper piecing pattern.  Hope to be able to share soon.

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I believe a pair of red shouldered hawks have adopted our yard.  They were hanging around most of the day.  I was able to get a picture of one of them, although he took off flying right when I was about to click the shutter.

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Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.