Tuesday, August 31, 2010

half-way there!

I've got 57 of my 114 paper plates finished! The triangles are currently sewn into half-hexagons; they won't be sewn completely together until the layout is finalized at the second class meeting. But you can get the idea of what they will look like eventually :) Here are a few of my favorites so far...

The book we are using is One-Block Wonders Encore! by Maxine Rosenthal and Joy Pelzmann. And the absolute must-have to make this pattern: the Super 60 Clearview Triangle ruler from

I have found that five hexagons is the perfect number for me to work on at once. With five there are not so many pieces floating around to become confused, I can chain-piece 10 seams in one pass, and my cheap-o iron manages to stay hot between pressing sessions without timing out. I am still not convinced that an expensive iron will make me a better quilter or seamstress. One day I may cross over to that way of thinking, but until then, I am content with my Black & Decker that times-out after about 5 minutes of inactivity.

Some close-up shots of my favorites.... I love the little "seed-pods" in this one...

And all the peacock blue in this one...

Happy orange flowers...

and this is one of the few dark ones... love the forest green!

Here's hoping I can maintain this pace and get these ready to go waaaayyyy ahead of schedule... something that never happens for me. What would that be like?

If you are wondering what a finished one-block wonder might look like, there is a flickr group here with lots of photos :)

Enjoy the day!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

one-block wonder

At 9:00am Saturday morning I started with five yards of this fabric...

and at 3:00pm Saturday afternoon, I had this...

114 paper plates loaded with 3 3/4", 60-degree triangle kaleidoscopes. See them all stacked up there in the top left corner?

The fabric is Alexander Henry "Kebede" purchased online at From Here to Quilternity. Isn't that a great quilt shop name? The class is One-Block Wonder Kaleidoscopes taught at my LQS. I love taking quilting classes; you learn so many little tricks in class that you could never pick up from a book.

I now have four weeks to sew together ALL of these triangles, so that we can arrange them on a design wall at the next class session. While I'm not excited about all that repetitive sewing, I am happy to have a deadline to force me to get it done :)

I've been wanting to make one of these quilts for a long time now, but was too chicken to start it on my own - I wasn't sure I could get all six layers of repeats lined up correctly. Turns out it wasn't that bad - you just need LOTS of flat-head pins!

I'll update you on my progress in the next four weeks. Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

the view

Elsie used to take a break everyday after the lunch dishes were cleared and cleaned, recline on the sofa, and watch "As the World Turns" for an hour. Sometimes she'd nap, sometimes not. "What a huge waste of time," I always thought to myself... as a teen I had things to do and places to go.

Turns out she was on to something...

to-do list for this afternoon:
relax - check
read book - check
enjoy the view - check

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Plan B

I just finished my Fresh Modern Bee block for August. This one is for Jolene at Happy Modern Quilts; she will be making a quilt for her daughter with our blocks using pinks, oranges, yellows, and a few pops of lime green - a very happy palette!

I really struggled with this block - my original layout turned out to be waaayyy too busy, and then it took forever for me to come up with a Plan B after I had paper-pieced those flying geese segments (and used up most of the fabric she sent.) But I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. I hope you and your daughter are too, Jolene! This is going to be a fabulous quilt judging from the photos in the flickr pool :)

On a completely unrelated note, I've had the Partridge Family song "I Think I Love You" running through my head ALL day. I'll bet you didn't know that every time David Cassidy sang that song in the 70's, he was singing it to me... did you? But I had to turn him down so I could finish middle school... *sigh*

HAHAHAHA - Have a great day :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

more pillows

It's been "pillow central" around here for the last few days, and I have a couple of new ones to show you. Both pillow fronts are inspired by this tutorial at Film in the Fridge quilts and this post from Jessica at Give it a Go. And both pillows feature concentric quilting that I first learned about from Red Pepper Quilts' instructions found here.

My first 20" pillow uses several fabrics from Patty Young's Flora and Fauna line for Michael Miller and Kona Charcoal sashing. My daughter LOVES these fabrics and can't seem to stop collecting them. Here's a close-up of the concentric square quilting...

It's not difficult to sew, but the marking does take some concentration and patience. But if you can sew a straight line and pivot at corners, then you can do it!

And next up is a Halloween pillow using the same pattern for the front...

but the quilting is done in a spiderweb pattern...

I used the same principles as with the square quilting, but I sewed the intersecting straight lines where the pivots occur first. Then beginning near the pillow center, I just put a little curve into the quilting lines as I went, radiating out to the pillow edges, but never needing to cut the thread until the very end.

I'm so pleased with the spiderweb quilting, but I'm not sure what will happen to my Halloween pillow; it's not my favorite holiday, but I have a few friends who love that day. Maybe it will go to live with one of them...

Enjoy the day :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

my lucky day

I have been fortunate to meet some amazing people at my job. The LQS where I work and teach is a small but thriving business, and the owner is a woman who loves quilting and loves helping customers become the quilter they hope to be. I am a lucky girl indeed to be a part of such a creative and passionate group of people - my team of co-workers and the customers we help everyday.

While I love seeing all our customers, there are a few that I really 'click' with. Sharon is one of those customers - she is a fellow Kaffe "nut", she loves bright and bold colors and patterns, she is always on the lookout for the next project before she has finished (or sometimes even started) the current one... in other words, we are a LOT alike.

A few weeks ago we were ooohing and aaahing over a pattern newly in the shop called "Twinkle" by Cheryl Wittameyer. (Our shop doesn't yet have online ordering, or I'd be re-routing you there of course.) It is very scrappy; you need 168 different fabrics cut 6 1/2" by 8 1/2"! We talked about what fun it would be to use our huge Kaffe stashes to make this quilt. A few weeks passed, I went on vacation, and the next time I was in the shop on my regular Friday shift, she walked into the shop and handed me a small shopping bag. Inside the bag, all tied up nicely with a fabric ribbon, were 158 pieces of her Kaffe (and others) stash, all cut to precisely the size needed to make the Twinkle quilt! I was speechless, to say the least! Here is a photo of all the gorgeous pieces I received...

I couldn't believe she had been so thoughtful, and when I said so she replied (with a big smile), "well it was just as easy to cut two pieces from each fabric as it was to cut one for myself, so that's what I did. One for me, one for you."

It may seem like a small thing, but to me it was an enormous gesture of kindness and thoughtfulness. It really inspired me to give more thought to the little things I can do to make others feel like it's their "lucky day." Thanks again, Sharon! Now I've got to add a few fabrics from my stash, choose my contrasting fabrics, and get busy building this gorgeous quilt :)

Happy sewing everyone, and make the most of these last few weeks of summer...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sneak peek

It might be that I am breaking some rules here, but I just had to show you a bit of these projects. My real-life sewing group, SewMod, has organized a row-quilt challenge. Each member makes a 40" row of a different specific block for every other member. We're supposed to be doing one row per month (in order to evenly space the work between the months of June 2010 and February 2011) but since procrastination is one of my dominant personality traits, I'm a little behind... but only a little.

We each provided all the members with an "inspiration" fat quarter of fabric in order to help with color selection. I decided to jump in with the pinwheels row first since I love, love, love that block. The inspiration fabric for this row is the green and white print on the far right. Can you believe that I had the blocks all together before I located this sashing in my stash? In the words of the multi-tentacled Davey Jones (Pirates of the Caribbean), "How fortuitous!!"

Moving on to the Dresden Plate row (another favorite block)... but wait, I have to make Dresdens with Halloween fabric? Huh? The inspiration fabric here is the center circle of black, purple, and neon-green eyeballs. Well, they turned out pretty darn cute, I must say...

I couldn't just keep these to myself until February, now could I?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

There's no place like home

We are home from a week-long vacation to the Big Apple. It was our first family trip to NYC. We saw many amazing things (photos that follow are not necessarily in order of amazing-ness) like M&M World in Times Square...

If you've never been there, they have M&Ms in every color known to man available to purchase as well as tons of wacky dispensers, t-shirts, pajamas, socks, hats, keychains... you name it! All M&Ms, all the time. Eat your hearts out, Tante, Nana, Mimi, and Aunt Lisa!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was my personal favorite; I could wander that place for days. Here are my two dancers posing with Degas' "Tiny Dancer" sculpture. I love, love, love this piece of art, and I've been lucky enough to see it three places: Paris, Chicago, and now NYC!

Another room at the Met...

Remains of an Egyptian temple awarded to the Met because they had the best plans to house all the pieces in one room (and probably the most money to accomplish the building of said room.)

Our day-long trip to Liberty and Ellis Islands was my second-favorite NYC experience. Here I am at the base of Lady Liberty with my girls...

A shameless tourist photo with King Kong at the Empire State Building...

"Oh look! They named some islands after me!"

And lastly, Alan and I atop the Empire State Building. Amazing views on a beautiful sunny day!

It's good to get away and see new sights, but oh, so wonderful to come home :)


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