Saturday, March 21, 2015

Thank you Quilters Anonymous!

For those of you that may be in my neck of the woods, I hope you take the opportunity to check out the Quilters Anonymous Show in Monroe, WA every year in March. It's a nice, big regional show with a good sampling of just about everything from art quilts to hand quilting and everything in between. This year was no exception and I always enjoy walking through this really well-planned show. It's definitely a testament to the hard work and experience of QA's 500+ members that have been putting on this show for over 30 years.

A few of the lovely things that caught my eye...

Several of these stripe block quilts that were the product of a group block exchange...perfect border treatment of these fun stripe blocks
Beautiful Minnick & Simpson, "St. Germain" by Nanci Villareale

very fun! "Happy Birthday to Me" by Dianna Park
click to enlarge so you can see the beautiful hand quilting on this one! "Rosey of Sharon" by Donna Eines
 One reason I like this show is because I can always see some quilts in person from one of my favorite on-line quilters, LeeAnn at Nifty Quilts. I love her work and always enjoy seeing the quilts I have enjoyed on her blog in real life.
Nifty's "Pine Burr"

Scrappy courthouse steps by Nifty, "Hourglass"
I'll finish up with this one, a great use of holiday fabrics!

"Pineapple Christmas" by Patsy Hayes
Of course these are just the tip of the ice berg. There were over 500 quilts in the show, not to mention a great collection of vendors. So if you've never been, mark your calendars for next year - March 11-13, 2016!

Happy stitching,


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Baby Bang Take 2

Here we go again. I told myself after I finished one of these 45 degree diamond quilts a few years ago I was never making one again.  The original one I saw was Kaffe Fassett's "Big Bang". I fell in love with it in Kaffe Fassett's Caravan of Quilts and I think you can also find it in Kaffe Quilts Again. Kaffe's version was 95" x 95", and of course, all beautiful Rowan fabrics. While you know how I love my Kaffe's, this time I went with French Country-feeling fabrics I had in my stash and wanted to use. By the time I got out to this size (about 45"x45") I was done with diamonds and bias edges, called it quilts and redubbed mine "Baby Bang".

My first attempt at "Big Bang".
It's currently on display at my university library as part of a Mathematics in Creative Arts exhibit based on the book: Crafting by Concepts: Fiber Arts and Mathematics. I wish I could claim my quilt took all kinds of crazy mathematic calculations and mind bending, but no. Just a single block - the 45 degree diamond, and a few of its friends :)

Makes this simple quilt sound kind of smart, doesn't it?

Also in the exhibit, not your everyday origami! 

There it is under all of that other really cool stuff!

Recently, I was on the hunt for some science-looking fabric, and when I found these I knew instantly what quilt they had to go in - Baby Bang Take 2! These lovelies were found at one of my favorite local quilt shops, Two Thimbles. A mix of fabric lines: three from Atomic Garden by StudioE fabrics, Fruit Stand by Jane Farnham for Camelot Fabrics, and Lucky Penny by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics.

There is no fancy technique used in the piecing of this quilt. It's just joining 45 degree diamonds - one at a time into rows, rows into eighths, and finally joining the eight sections into one. Here's the new version in progress, two eighths laid out on my design wall:

Slow and steady is the key to this one - and touching the diamonds as little as possible! It can be maddening. I swear if I even look at one of those diamonds sideways, it stretches and distorts. Well, wish me luck! If and when I finished it, it will have a new home on my office wall.

Happy stitching,


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Year, new things

Ringing in a new year, I thought it would be appropriate to try something new! Fortunately for me, I had just the opportunity. My good friend and very talented long-arm quilter, Nikki Crisp, recently renovated a former chicken barn on her property into a fantastic long-arm studio and work space, newly christened as The Hen House. Along with work space rentals to groups and professional long-arm services, she teaches long-arm quilting classes. Since I don't have the funds, space or inclination to buy my own long-arm machine any time soon, I was excited about the opportunity to take a class and try it out.
A little Hen House-warming gift.

I wish I had some "before" shots for you of the barn building, but to say this place has undergone a major renovation is an understatement! It's beautiful, full of great work space, bright light, a comfy kitchen area and two A-1 long-arm machines.

A-1 machines, one is Nikki's regular machine, and one she uses for rentals.

Lots of fun, functional work space filled with light.

Cutting and ironing stations, design wall, kitchen, and the cutest little red fireplace ever - I'll have to go back for a picture of that!

Now, besides basting one or two quilts on my other friend Tracey's A-1 previously, my long-arm skills should be classified absolute beginner, but it is sure was fun. During my three hour class, I got to try a whole bunch of techniques and designs and had a lot of fun playing along the way. Best of all, Nikki did all of the hard labor, loading and dealing with all of the mechanical stuff. I just got to spend my time playing!

I'm sure not ready to trade in my day job any time soon, but I think it's great to continue to try new things and grow. At the very least, you will come to appreciate even more, the talent and SKILL of your professional long-arm quilter.

Action shot - look at that concentration! :) I was having fun, honest!

Nikki is pretty old school, so if you live in the area and want to find out more about the Hen House or schedule a class or rental, you can email Nikki or give her a call at 360-319-2914.

Happy stitching,


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Colors of the season

I am such a sucker for a beautiful variegated yarn. Looking at the stack of Kaffe fabric in my stash, you will certainly understand why I couldn't leave the store without this yarn. Don't worry, I only get the urge to crochet about once every three years so when the mood strikes, I have to jump on it! This won't be turning into a crochet blog any time soon.

I started off telling myself I would just make a scarf. Then, if it went well I could change the plan. I'm not know for restraint, so now I'm on the third skein and about halfway to an afghan! It's warm and cozy though, even though it is slowing down my progress on the star quilt.
Yarn impulse-buy with afghan in progress on scrappy maple leaves runner.

Just an update - applique star count is at 26...almost halfway there!

And in the midst of all of the hustle and bustle of the season, I was gifted these lovelies from a friend :) with a little help from Carol at Fabric-Etc. Thank you Tracey!

For all of you elves out there still diligently working away - happy eve of the eve and a Merry Christmas to everyone else! Hope Santa brings you some quilty goodness in your stocking!

Happy stitching,


Monday, November 10, 2014

Seasonal stitching

It's true, this time of the year starts to bring lots of rainy, gray days to my neighborhood, but it also brings crisp, bright, beautiful fall days. Both kinds make me feel like quilting! I think I'm a pretty seasonal quilter, but my seasons don't always align with what's going on outside! This time though, my creative urges and the weather are going hand in hand.

I was inspired by these lovelies that I picked up on a recent mini-shop hop with a friend. I've been eyeing them for awhile, just waiting for inspiration to strike. Most of these are Woolies Flannels from Maywood Studio, but not all.

When it's dark at 5:00, I want to curl up on the couch for the night with some hand stitching. This time around, I was in the mood for needle-turn applique. I wanted blocks I could work on a little bit at a time with simple shapes. I do have a plan! But I'm not in any rush on this one.

I originally thought I would do the whole thing in flannel - but not having worked with flannel before, I was unsure how the whole applique thing would work out. After some good advice from friends and a google search about flannel applique nightmares, I decided it would be better to keep the flannel just for the background squares and use cotton fabrics for the applique. **Best tip I've learned: PREWASH your flannel in hot water and dry to get any shrinkage out the way before you spend all the time on your project!

After tracing my shapes on to the right side of my fabric, I've cut them out 1/4" outside of my drawn line. I like to use this applique glue, Roxanne's Glue-Baste-It, that you can usually find at your favorite LQS instead of pins. A couple of drops does the trick and saves my fingers from many extra pin pricks.

Here are a couple that are finished. I think I need 56 blocks for the layout I have in mind. Doing a few each night, they are actually going together quite quickly.

Hope you're feeling inspired!
Happy fall stitching,


Sunday, September 28, 2014

A little bit of this and that

"Will work for fabric"
Can you see the sign she's holding? That even kind of looks like me. This was a snapshot of a quilt on display at Quiltworks in Bend, Oregon when I was there for the Sister's Quilt Show this summer. I didn't manage to note the name of the quilt or the quilter that this is from - but kudos if it's yours!

I would definitely love a red house. My house isn't red, but my front door is! I'm pretty sure I've wanted a red front door my whole life. At least that's what it felt like after my wonderful hubby painted it for me just recently. I love it! It's hard to remember what it looked like before (it was black) because now when I look at it, I think it should have always been red. It's the lipstick on the house for sure.

Entrance of Casa de Alexander
Well, sometimes life is like a perfectly organized stash shelf and sometimes it's a little bit more like a scrap bin. Mine has been more like the latter lately. But it is all good! Fall weather is quilting weather, yeah!

Happy fall stitching,


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Oh blogger, where art thou?

August? How can we be halfway through August already? Time sure doesn't seem to slow down - ever - does it? This summer has been so beautiful and I've been checking off my summer must/wanna-do list:

  • spent time at the lake
  • picked berries - made jam
  • visited Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show
  • hosted family friends for a visit
  • #1 son turned 16!!!!
  • and in between.....there has even been a little bit of quilting :)
Sherry's "Time to Sew!" project
This pic came in recently - Sherry T. was the winner of the Quilters World Winter 2013 magazine I gave away on the blog last fall and she actually made my clock project that was featured inside! Hers turned out great, don't you think? I love what she did for the center and she used a fun selection of fabrics for her blades.

***Super important correction notice - if you make this, there is a size correction on the fan blade template that was printed in the magazine. The fan blades need to be cut to 3 1/2" , not 5" as shown on the template. You can still use the template, you just need to trim the blade to 3 1/2", cutting the extra off the top wide end of the blade or your Dresden plate will be too big for your frame!

Last month, I was lucky enough to join a fun group of ladies at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. So fun. So hot. So many quilts. Definitely put it on your to-do list if you haven't been there before for the show. It's a real treat to see so many bright, beautiful quilts hanging outside. I just snapped pics with my phone so they're not the greatest but here are a few....No shortage of beautiful inspiration everywhere.
June Jaeger
The Stitchin' Post

From the teacher's tent...
Sue Spargo
Scott Hansen
Jackie Erickson
Anyway, that's a bit of a catch-up from me. This week is fair week and I can't wait to see the quilt exhibit. I didn't get anything in myself this year due to other deadlines but lots of my quilty friends I'm sure will not fail to please and inspire. Maybe my next post will even be sooner than a month from now - yikes!

Happy summer stitching,