Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Random Thoughts

Even though I have a huge collection of cute pin keepers, this is the one I have on my cutting table and use everyday. In fact, I have two of these--the second one stays packed in my retreat tub. After forgetting to bring along pins once, I don't ever want to have that happen again! I like the fact that I can sort of toss my pins toward it and the magnet is so strong that it grabs the pins and positions them in an easy to pick-up position. 

This is the pin keeper that sits next to my sewing machine. I love that it's a cute heart and has a separate area to place my dull machine needles until I get around to throwing them out. I can't tell you, though, how many times I've been stabbed reaching for a pin off of this thing. I don't know why, but the pins always seem to land in a jumble.  

Since Santa put a gift certificate to the local quilt shop in my stocking this Christmas, I though I should treat myself to a new pin keeper to replace the heart. Meet my new Zirkel. If you drop your pin point down toward the center, it will position them around the perimeter--easy to pluck one off without injury! So far I am loving it. The Zirkel is a bit pricey, but if you have stabbing issues like me, it may be well worth it to you too!

My scrappy borders for Mrs. Billings are coming along--two sides completed. You can imagine how many pins it took to hold these together while sewing. I invested in a couple new packages of pins too!
Linking with Scraptastic Tuesday HERE

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Weekend Stitching

On Friday, I just couldn't avoid it anymore--it was Sewing Room Cleaning Day (with one bathroom thrown in for good measure). I had a terrible mess, but it's much improved--now I can get back to sewing!
Even though (while cleaning) I had determined I will never need to buy fabric again, I couldn't pass up the Super Bowl "half price everything in the bargain room" Tailgate Sale at Gruber's. Unfortunately, Fortunately, there were no carts available, so I was limited in the amount of bolts I could carry to the cutting table. I think I showed great restraint!
I scored six yards of the large floral for $25.50-- 
touchdown!! I think it will make a beautiful backing.
I already had some of the Laundry Basket Jelly Bean fabrics but since they are a favorite of mine, I replenished my supply.
The Janet Clare Nocturne dots in the foreground weren't on sale, but I couldn't resist picking up a fat quarter--so fun.   

I'm going to use the Jo Morton chrome yellow fabric to make this Churn Dash quilt. The amount left on the bolt was exactly what the pattern calls for, so it was meant to be! The pattern is from the 1999/2000 issue of "McCall's Quilting presents Vintage Quilts", a specialty magazine that I had book-marked years ago (you do the math--lol!).
Guess what? I may make the churn dash blocks in blue fabrics. Surprise!
The red and double pink churn dashes are pretty cute though.
The original quilt is bound in green--I love that--a daring and make-do quilter.

My "How Does Your Garden Grow" banner is finished, as are the sunflower seeds--the end is in sight for this quilt.

All that's left is to put some antennae on the butterflies and stitch their bodies--probably a bullion stitch for that. I'll be trying to figure that out as I do some Slow Sunday Stitching.
Slow Sunday Stitching

Friday, February 5, 2016

More challenges

Last week's 365 Challenge blocks.

The good news:
the crazy block number 34 had been posted incorrectly and was replaced by this easier (????) one (20 half inch HST's!). 

The bad news:
I had already pieced the crazy block.
The other good news:
this will be the block for February 23 (a day off-yay!).

Why can't they all be like block # 35--three easy pieces---?
Because it's a Challenge!!

Fortunately, the blocks this week have been a bit simpler--a good this because.....

....now you will know for sure that I have lost my mind.
Since I won the  All In A Row book from the lovely Anne at Bunny Hill, so I felt I had to make at least one row.
I used fabrics from my Kathy Schmitz Piecemaker's bundle and made the row designed by Sweetwater.Sweetwater
If I only get this far, it will be a fun skinny runner!
I hope you are finding time to sew this week!
Linking with Needle 'n Thread Thursday HERE
Needle and Thread Thursday

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February Already?

I'm not sure how January went by so quickly, but since it's winter, that's okay!
One month of 365 Challenge blocks down--only eleven months to go! 

At the beginning of the month, the blocks were very easy. Now they are beginning to live up to the name of the sew along--Challenging!!
These are the parts of block 34 before piecing--keep in mind it's going to be a 3" block!
This is what I've learned so far while making these blocks:
1) Starch the fabrics like crazy before cutting
2) Press the seams open
3) Check the measurements after sewing each segment in the block
...and then maybe my block will end up at the right size!

I spent a couple afternoons last week doing this....

....and managed to get to this on Saturday.
After auditioning what seemed like dozens of fabrics, I finally settled on a blue homespun from my stash. 

 The backing will be another piece of lighter homespun. I'm also using a third homespun for a hanging sleeve. It feels good to clear some fabric out of the homespun bin--eventually I may be able to snap the lid closed!

The binding was made using the fabrics leftover from the triangle sashing.
 Stacy had designed a spool block for a blog hop, and I really wanted to use it on my quilt front, so my extra block will go on the back for the label. 
 This will be my February UFO to complete. I'm hoping there will be few other UFO finishes  as well--I need to clear off my design wall! 
Linking with OMG: One Monthly Goal HERE
grab button for RedLetterQuilts

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Quilt Camp Accomplishments

It took several retreats, but I finally finished my Devil's Claw blocks--yay!
These will go together to make the cover quilt from Civil War Remembered by the Country Threads ladies. The pattern in the book calls for 30 blocks, but I wanted mine to be a bit larger, so I made 42 blocks. This project will probably have wait to be put together until April when I will be at quilt camp again.

It took almost the entire retreat to finish those Devil's Claw blocks, but on the last day I was able to work on some Fractured blocks. These were very fun to make-- a lot less labor intensive than a Devil's Claw block, for sure and a much better stash burner! 

You probably knew that I couldn't resist putting all of the flowers on my Flower Garden Crazy mat
I won't be doing the stitching on it for a while, though.
 I am still doing my Slow Stitching on How Does Your Garden Grow, but I'm sure everyone is tired of seeing what little progress I've made on that project!

Linking with Slow Sunday Stitching HERE

Thursday, January 28, 2016

First 2016 UFO Complete!

I finished my January UFO before I left for quilt camp, but didn't get any photos taken until today.
ThimbleCreek 2015 Mystery Sew Along quilt.
There was a little peek of sunshine this afternoon, so I ventured out onto our ice covered porch to get some quick pictures. I could have spent a little more time arranging the quilt but I 
had to be quick since I was too lazy to put on my coat and gloves.

Somehow there was a big pile of leftover hourglass units, so I used them to frame my label.
How 'bout those blue bats on the backing?!?
I ordered the backing online (at a great price) and was very surprised to see the bats were black and blue and not all black when the fabric arrived in the mail. It took a while to warm up to them, but I'm okay with them now---I think. 

I wimped out on the edge to edge quilting and ended up doing a lot of ditch quilting. It shows off all the piecing nicely, so I'm glad I changed my mind about that.

I need 239 one inch half square triangle to sash my Buttermilk Basin BOM blocks. I printed up the papers from my Triangulations CD and spent the morning fitting them to the scraps of background fabric I had leftover from the blocks. Of course I ran out of the background fabric, but I think I found a pretty good make-do fabric from my stash to make all the HST's.

 I'm really looking forward to removing all those papers--not!

Linking with One Monthly Goal (OMG)  

RedLetterQuilts2016 FAL

Thursday, January 21, 2016


The bad thing about procrastinating, is the stress you feel when your deadlines draw near. I always tell myself that I will get things done well in advance, but you already know that I'm easily distracted!
I should be packing for a retreat that starts on Sunday, but I don't want to fall behind on the 365 Block Challenge just yet--only 344 more blocks to go!!

I have finished quilting and binding my UFO for January (I'll share photos when I get back from retreat), so to reward myself I did the embellishments on the first Let It Snow block from Buttermilk Basin. I know I am going to love this Sew Along! 

My friend Sandi and I are doing our own Sew Along. At a sew-in on Tuesday we set up the backgrounds for our Primitive Gatherings Crazy Table Mats. She is doing Summer Crazy and I am doing Flower Garden Crazy. When we finish, we plan to swap patterns--fun!
I am sooooo itching to fuse a few flowers onto the mat and so some stitching, but I know I better finish my retreat  packing or my stress level will be sky high! 
Well, maybe just one flower first....