Wednesday, November 25, 2009

i'm in deep

My husband has a phase that he uses whenever we are in the midst of a big project. "It's got to get worse before it gets better." That's how I'm feeling about my WIP's. I signed up for Jacquie's challenge with 19. As it stands now, I have 18 wips. I finished 3 since the sign ups but started two more this week. They both have a deadline. (Which is soon.)

Here's the breakdown.

2 quilts to hand bind

1 that's in my machine about half quilted

2 basted and ready to quilt

2 waiting to be basted (i ran out of pins)

and 11 tops (gasp!) to finish piecing.

If all goes well over the Thanksgiving holiday, I'll be able to finish up a few bindings. And maybe then I can start to breathe a little easier. :) For those of you here in the States, Happy Thanksgiving! See you next week.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

measurements for a filmstrip quilt

I've had some requests for a tutorial on the filmstrip quilt, so here goes....

The filmstrip quilt is made of two different blocks. For block A:

Start with a 5" square of a colored fabric.
Cut 2 pieces 2.5" x 5" of white fabric. Sew to the center square using 1/4" seam allowance. Press.

Cut 2 pieces 2.5" x 9" of white fabric. Sew to the top and bottom of the block. Press seams well.
Square up the block to 9" if necessary.

For block B:
Make the blocks the same as above, but in the reverse. Start with a 5" square of white fabric, surrounded by a 2.5" colored border.

To make a baby size quilt, the fabric requirements are as follows:
1.5 yards of white fabric
1.5 yards of assorted prints

Make 15 A Blocks and 15 B blocks. The layout will be 5 blocks wide and 6 rows long.

The quilt will measure 42.5" x 51."

For the larger version the fabric requirements are:
40 charm squares (5" squares)
1 jelly roll (or 40 strips 2.5" x width of fabric)
3 yards of white fabric

For this size, you will need to make 80 blocks. 40 A blocks and 40 B blocks. The layout will be 8 blocks wide and 10 blocks long.

(shown horizontal)
The finished size of the quilt will be 68" x 85".
If you make a filmstrip quilt, I'd love to see it!

Monday, November 23, 2009


the winner of the fat quarters is blueberry moon.
please email me your address so i can send out the FQ's to you!
thanks for all your comments! i appreciate each one. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009


this is my 600th post. i can hardly believe it. as a little thank you to you, my dear readers, i'm giving away a fat quarter of each of these prints. i'll pick a random name on monday evening, november 23. one entry per person please. since i like to leave a question for you to answer when i do a giveaway, i'd love it if you let me know what kind of christmas gifts you are making (or meaning to make) this year.

thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for reading, commenting and following along with me as i quilt. it means so much.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

blueberry pie

Continuing the blue theme...

I finished this quilt on January 2nd of this year, so I can't cross it off my current WIP list. I haven't blogged about it until now because I was thinking of using it for a quilt in a bag pattern (much like this set). But that idea has come and gone. This quilt was donated to Margaret's Hope Chest, which surpassed their goal of collecting 400 quilts for homeless kids, by the way. Woo-hoo!

It measures 64" square.

I stippled it and bound it in a blue stripe. The back (which I didn't get a decent photo of) is a light blue dot.

I like this quilt, but it is a good example of why I prefer scrappy quilts. They are so much more interesting.

On another note, I made my own spray starch this morning. The idea came from Tara. I did a google search and found a few different variations of the recipe and made up my own proportions.

I used 12 oz water, 3/4 tablespoon cornstarch and 3 drops lavender essential oil. Mix well in a measuring cup and pour into a spray bottle.

There were recipes that called for cooking it, but I chose this method because it was quicker. The corn starch will settle, so you will need to shake it before using it. It smells wonderful and it works really well. There was no flaking whatsoever. I bought the 12 oz spray bottle at Target, because a cute new bottle was a must.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

sue likes blue

sue likes blue-front
Another one off the "in progress" list. I'm down to 17! Woo-hoo!

This quilt is made up of all solids. I LOVE solids so much. This is probably one of the final versions of this quilt that I will make. I've already made it in orange, green and aqua. I've made variations of it in orange and grey, too. IF I were to make another version of this, I think I'd do it up in reds and browns to match my living room. It doesn't sound like I'm ready to be done with this design yet, does it? :)
sue likes blue-back
This is the back. I love to make two sided quilts. It gives me a good excuse not to label it, because I'd hate to "ruin" one side.

To quilt it, I did an all over swirl quilting pattern. Liz and I were discussing this quilting method and we both agree that it is a much easier and more natural technique than stippling. For those of you who have a hard time with stippling, you may want to give it a try. It also seems to me that swirly quilting goes a lot faster than stippling, which is handy when you have 17 WIP's. :)

The quilt measures about 55" x 70".

About the name of this quilt....when we moved into our house, it was apparent that the previous woman of the house (Sue) liked blue. A lot. We have 2 blue bathrooms, HAD a blue kitchen, and a blue basement. Oh, and our master bedroom has blue carpet, too. So, "Sue likes blue" is a phase I've uttered a lot over the past few years. And will probably continue to do so for a long time to come. I like blue, too, but not quite that much. It makes a fun quilt name, though, and that's what really matters, right?

Monday, November 16, 2009

circle time

circle time
Circle time is finished! I LOVED using circles. It was a nice departure from all the squares and rectangles I use so frequently in my quilts. The fabric is Woodland Bloom by Moda and I used two charm packs. Thanks Sherry!!

To make the quilt, I first cut out circles using a CD as a template. Then, I laid out the circles unto a plain white sheet, using a very unscientific method of measuring. I used sashing strips and strips of paper (both 2.5" wide) to measure the spacing between the circles. I started from one edge and worked my way to the other side. I'm sure things aren't perfectly straight, but close enough for me. I pinned the circles onto the white background with safety pins, then zig zagged the circles down onto fabric. This required me to borrow a friend's sewing machine, since my Juki has no zig zag stitch. Thanks Therese!

I was on the fence about the borders, but I do like how they turned out. I debated back and forth for a long while-even after it was basted-then one day I decided to quilt it and put the debate to rest. Now that it's finished, I'm glad I kept them as they were. I like that they are a bit unpredictable.

For the back, I used a light aqua polka dot from my stash.

And I bound it in this lovely grass green polka dot.

I stippled the background and the borders, but left the circles unquilted. I like how they pop a little bit.

The circles are very forgiving. The edges softened after washing. I was not sure how I would like the slightly raw edges, but they are really a fun part of the quilt.

After washing, the quilt measures 46" x 59".

Only 18 more WIP's to go. Only. Heh.
My generous blog friend Carol is giving away a quilt top, backing and binding on her blog. You can check it out here. :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

using it all

I love using up every last bit of fabric whenever I can. It has become a sort of personal challenge for me. Or you could say that I'm learning to fully embrace my craziness. :) This includes using the leftover triangles that you trim when you join binding strips* together. I keep them in a little drawer on my desk. I've collected quite a few, so I've come up with a few projects to use them in.

*I cut my binding strips at 2.5" wide.
This is the start of a little quilt using the triangles. To make it, I started with 49 white 3.5" squares, and added a triangle to one corner of each block. It is constructed somewhat like a snowball block, but a triangle is added to one corner only. Then the white fabric is trimmed off from behind the colored piece. Once I made all the blocks, I arranged them to form little bow ties. If I wanted, I could also make them into little butterflies by stitching in some antennae. It currently measures 22" square, so think I will make this one a little larger by adding some borders of some sort. I love the start of it.
This little quilt measures 18.5" square. It's made up of maverick star blocks, like in this tutorial, but instead of starting with 4.5" blocks as the tutorial directs, I started with 2.5" blocks. I've found that 2.5" blocks match the triangle size quite nicely. Each star block finishes and 6". Smaller=cuter!!! This one will be going off to a blog friend soon.

I realize that this is hardcore scrap quilting, but I do love it!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

finally figured it out

I wasn't planning on posting a part 2 about the retreat, but here goes. You can see the posts here and here for more details from different perspectives. (And a photo or two of me, for those of you who are curious!)

stash building from before my trip

I am so thankful that I got the chance to go to the retreat this past weekend. Not only because of the much needed the break, but because it really clarified what I want to do. I've struggled over the past two years trying to figure out where I want to go with my quilting. I had writing, pattern writing, selling quilts, I even thought about making my own kits to sell. So many options that I went back and forth on from day to day. I've written two book proposals. One got rejected and one I gave up on before turning in the final copy. It wasn't my cup of tea and it was a whole lot like work. After teaching at the retreat this weekend, I discovered that is what I really want to do. I was nervous and I probably have a long way to go. To be honest, I didn't know if I had all that much to offer, but I saw people trying new things and being challenged to get out of their comfort zone, so I'd call that a success. And it didn't feel at all like work. When I told my husband, "This is what I want to do!!!" He said, "Go for it!" So, if you are interested in having me speak at a retreat, email me for details. Whenever I think about this, I just start grinning like a silly woman. It's so good to have finally figured this out.

Next post...I start showing that stack of quilts. :)

Monday, November 09, 2009


I have much to share about the quilting retreat over the weekend, which was in Fort Collins, Colorado. I doubt I will ever stop gushing over the awesomeness that was this weekend. It. was. incredible. Truly and seriously incredible.

The mountains were beautiful. As was the weather. Perfection.

Here's my new BFF, Tara, in the most incredible yarn shop in the world. Tara is an Innkeeper at the B & B and a wonderful Jill of all trades. She does everything! Such an amazing woman. And SWEET! And generous! Oh, my goodness. We met when she picked me up from the airport on Thursday and I feel like I've know her for years. LOVE that.

I did some sewing, of course....(photo courtsey of Liz)

...on a borrowed Singer Featherweight. Thanks Julie!
It was SO fun to experience sewing on one.

This is Alexis. She's such a charming and sweet girl. She is another innkeeper. The staff at the Inn were wonderful, as were the owners. I enjoyed my stay so very much.

It all happened at this B & B. I'd highly recommend a visit. I hope to go back some day with my husband for a getaway.

I bought some fabric. Of course. :)

This photo needs to become a quilt. This is more of the incredible yarn shop. It's called My Sister Knits. (in Fort Collins) I was almost overcome with excitement in this place...I was on the verge of overload. It was so great. SO GREAT!!!

This was my only purchase at the yarn shop. It was hard to not go crazy.

Gotta love a rustic VW van parked on the side of the road. :)

The quilters were GREAT!!!

SO GREAT!!! (I missed a few people in these shots...I didn't take nearly enough photos.)
It was great fun to meet Mama Urchin in real life after blogging with her for the past 2 1/2 years.

I ate at Chick-fil-a for the first time. I really love their cups. hee hee.
And we ate, and ate, and ate some more. The food was fantastic. Caramel whipped cream is wrong but so good.

The company was fantastic. It was fun to talk to fellow quilters about quilting, and it was also so fun to talk to fellow bloggers about blogging. That was a treat in and of itself.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that I came home to a very clean house. My husband is wonderful. :)

The whole weekend....well, it. was. INCREDIBLE.
Would I go back again? ABSOLUTELY!!!!
We are already starting to plan for next year. Yipee!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

ready or not

Today's the day! I fly out to Colorado for the retreat this evening. I've worked very hard over the past month and a half getting samples ready and preparing for my classes, so I think I'm ready. I'm quite excited!! Be prepared for quilt overload when I get back. :)

After looking at the stack, I DO use a lot of white in my quilts. Oh, my.

Monday, November 02, 2009


Today my little blog turns 3 years old!!! It's hard to believe it's been that long already. Then again, I can barely remember my pre-blog days, as it has become such a part of my life. As I was thinking of what I could do to celebrate, I decided to do a giveaway, as is a common blog custom. But, I'm going to switch it up a bit. Instead of picking a random winner, I decided that I would be giving away three quilts to Margaret's Hope Chest in honor of my 3rd blog birthday. (I also have 3 children, so it seems fitting to send 3.) I know I have written about this before, but Margaret's Hope Chest is collecting quilts for homeless children in Michigan at this time. Their goal is to raise 400 quilts and they are now at 137. The deadline is November 15, so there is still time to contribute. (Psst, they even take quilt tops, so you can reduce your UFO's at the same time.)

Speaking of UFO's...Jacquie is hosting another finish it up challenge that she is calling Joy in the New Year. You can read all about it if you follow the link. I entered the challenge with my whopping 19 (!!!) quilts in progress. It seems crazy, as that number doesn't count the one that I finished over the weekend. Yikes! I am curious to see just how large of a dent I can make in my unfinished quilts in the next two months.

In an unrelated note, you should bake these cookies today. Delicious!!! Thanks for sharing the recipe, Amy. My neighbors and family thank you, too. :)

Happy Monday to you!