Friday, August 31, 2012

Twelve Days of Christmas Quilt

Okay, I was wrong. I assumed (you know what they say about that!) since the Temecula Stars ran through today, there would be 9 stars, but it was not to be. That's alright though, I am going to make up my own ninth star center and my own setting, because I'm not totally in love with the eight block setting they have posted. I'll let you know what I come up with when I figure it out!

While I was over at the Temecula Quilt Co. blog picking up the weekly star pattern, I noticed the button on the left hand column labeled "12 Days of Christmas".  I clicked on it (naturally), and found another group of little blocks. When  I figured out the secret behind them, I had to make a set of my own.

                           Can you guess why the quilt is called the 12 Days of Christmas?
 No, not because the blocks are red and green, silly!  
Each block contains the number of pieces to represent the day. I thought that was pretty clever and would be a fun conversation piece to put out during the holidays--yeah, I got sucked in. It looked so simple and easy, and was, for the most part....BUT!!!!  My first issue was with the pinwheel block:

I think my pinwheel  (day 8) had too much contrast. My eye seemed to be drawn directly to that block, so I made a new one using fabrics with a bit less contrast.

                                              My next irritation was the X block (day 11):
 I resewed this block 3 times, and just could not get a quarter inch seam allowance around the edges. Finally, I went to my Electric Quilt program and made a foundation pattern from the Red Cross block. I'm not sure what went wrong with my original block--I checked my measurements, my quarter inch seam allowance and my cutting--maybe I needed more starch? Anyway, I am happy with my little paper pieced X now (see finished top below).
If you decide to make the quilt and would like the paper pieced
foundation for the X block,  let me know and I'll email a copy.

                           And lastly, one of the easiest, aside from Day One, the twelfth block. 
                                             Unfortunately, I had to remake this one, also. 

By the way, these blocks finish 3 inches square--so sweet!
 I would recommend that if you make this quilt, you use a dark, med., and then a light (in that order) to make block 12 or you may end up with something that looks like a swastika, like I did.  Too bad I didn't notice that until the top was all put together with sashings and borders. At least it wasn't quilted yet, so it wasn't TOO much trouble to pick it out and replace it.

This is my finished top. I love it! I'm thinking I should hand quilt it if my arthritis allows...what do you think?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Temecula Star Blocks

I don't usually make little quilts, but with some prodding by Martha, I checked out these cute little blocks from Temecula Quilt Company. They have them displayed so sweetly, I couldn't resist making them. I was way behind, but the blocks go together quickly. I made all of the outside star segments and then waited for the next posting each Friday to make each center. You can see I am waiting for the last little star center.

I'm excited to see what kind of setting option there will be (if any) so I can get this put together.
The last block goes up on Friday, so you have time to get the other eight finished up and still be right on schedule! I used scraps from other projects and from my scrap boxes of squares and strips.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pantograph Quilting

I've done lots of hand guided "custom" quilting (only for myself) on my HQ16, but decided recently that I should learn to do pantographs for "all over" designs. Most of my quilts probably wouldn't look right with an all over design, but  I do have a few scrappy tops that I  need to get finished and I thought this would be the way to get going on them.  My first attempt at using a pantograph was a disaster! It was a quilt I did about 4 years ago using a panto called Raindrops. It was so bad, I haven't dared to do another until now. Of course, I expected my first try to be perfect!

This was a Block of the Month we did during Clothesline Club a few years
ago at Colorz for Quilts. Karen DeVries drew up the blocks for my group. 
This is my second attempt. It may be a bit better than my first try, but there a lots of wobbles. I finally figured out that I had chosen some difficult pantographs that show all the errors--not for beginners! I did a little research and tried a free pattern from Urban Elementz that was more "forgiving" of my wobbles and it went pretty well, so I purchased some used pantos from Ramune, who I met on the HQ16 group that I belong to on Yahoo. I think I will be able to handle them with my limited skills, and I'm really excited to try them out.

I'm donating the quilt to Quilts of Valor, so I made a matching pillowcase with
the extra backing fabric.
I'll show you my third attempt at panto quilting as soon as I finish the binding. I used the free pattern Crinoline and it looks pretty cute--the quilt, not necessarily the quilting!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Leaders and Enders Challenge

I don't always remember to use "leaders and enders" when I'm doing piecing. Most of the time, I have a scrap of something and use it over and over until it looks like a gnarled spider web. Bonnie Hunter has written several books using the leaders and enders concept and when she put this challenge on her blog recently, I had to join in on the fun. You can read Bonnie's instructions about how to make these cute spools  here.

These little cuties finish at three inches square
I prepped a bunch of spool "kits" and have them within reach next to my sewing machine on my mini design boards. I LOVE my 10" block boards(I need to make a second set a bit larger,soon). If you haven't made yours yet, Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet has a tutorial here on her blog.

I can squeeze eight "kits" on a mini design board
My tip: be sure you are sewing across your square the correct direction.......

In the words of Homer Simpson: DOH!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Happy and Tragic Tale of Two Turtles

In June, this Mama snapping turtle made her way out of the lake, up our hill, across the yard, and laid eggs in the soft sand along my neighbor's driveway. When she was finished, she made her way back to the lake, leaving the eggs to fend for themselves.

She looked so ancient! And huge! I think she may have had a run-in with an
outboard motor from the looks of her shell.

 This morning the eggs started to hatch. My neighbor Mo helped one little guy find his way to the lake.

Okay, now the tragic part. A sibling wasn't so lucky. What are the chances that a tiny turtle the size of a silver dollar, will take his first steps out onto the road just as the postman pulls up to deliver the mail? I will spare you the gory details.........

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

This Spring I went a little crazy and painted a lot of our furniture. I was so thrilled to finally have my HQ16 quilting machine out of the dining room after four years, and I felt like my whole house had been neglected (it was) and needed a face lift. I put new fabric on my dining room chair seats, recovered the snack bar stools seats and painted the legs white, painted a quilt rack with white milk paint and painted two small pine chests with blue milk paint. While all of this was going on, I was doing some research on-line because I wanted to slipcover a couple of chairs. I came across this blog, Miss Mustard Seed, and that is where I learned about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I was really curious about what the fuss was and wanted to try some for myself, but when I saw the price--yikes. Very expensive!!! Plus, there aren't any dealers locally and the shipping would have been crazy. But....I just really wanted to try it out, especially since I had this chest that I was not in love with anymore. 

This chest just didn't fit into our decor anymore, plus, the veneer was
splitting on the sides at the curves

You see, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) can be used over any surface--any surface WITHOUT prepping!! No sanding, de-glossing, no removing old wax or polish, Nothing. Just start painting! And getting this chest ready to paint was not going to be fun. Soooooo...well, you know...I had to buy myself some ASCP! I found a wonderful source here and ordered Louis Blue and White. I think you can figure out what my decorating theme is by now?
Anyway, my hubby helped me lift the chest onto the dining room table and I have to confess that I did one little bit of prepping that you can see in the photo of the side of the chest. The veneer had separated on the curves, so I smoothed them out with a little filler.

This is a shot of the side of the chest with one coat of ASCP  before
distressing and waxing. My little patch job bled through a little,
 so I did add a bit of a second coat of paint to the sides just where the
repair had been done.

The paint really does cover in one coat. I retouched a little bit over the patched areas but on the rest of the chest there is just the one coat. After it dried, I lightly sanded the carved areas to bring out the detail. I like kind of a primitive cottage/farm house look. ASCP is supposed to be waxed after it dries and there is a special Annie Sloan wax and a special Annie Sloan brush--those weren't in my budget. I used some Min Wax that I already had on hand, and an old paint brush to apply the wax. This process went so fast! The chest was back in our front hallway by the next afternoon.

I left the top of the chest unpainted since the hardware seemed to be
"dyed to match" the wood color.  My flash makes the painted surface look shiny,
 but it is  more like an eggshell finish.

 My can of paint is still three quarters full (and I have that unopened can of white) so I need to find something else around here I can redo.
I am dying to paint our Grandfather clock, but my husband has forbidden it--I wonder though, if he would really notice if I did it someday while he was out fishing...........

Linking up at: Between Naps on the PorchFurniture Friday at Miss Mustard Seed,
and Sunday's Best at My 1029 Charmer

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dog Tooth Borders part 2

Earlier, I showed you how I did the dog tooth borders here, that I am putting on my Memory Garden blocks. Now we are on to the corners on the final block.

All the sides have been appliqued. Now it's time for the corners.
Finger press your square on the bias and fold in half, bringing
opposite corners together. 

Pin the resulting triangle in place and
 applique across the bias edge.

After appliqueing, trim away the lower half of the square,
 leaving  a scant quarter inch seam.

You could trim away your background fabric also, but I
left mine and basted my corner to it.

The Bleeding Heart--the final block of my quilt!

My dog tooth border was so much easier with these tools!

I wear the finger pincushion on my thumb--perfect place to park a
pin while turning under a dog tooth! Learn how to make one here
courtesy of Linda Franz of Inklingo.

I sometimes wonder how I got along without my little thread catcher.
You can squish it up and tuck it in your take-along bag and not leave
a trail of threads--smart! This was a free project from Lisa
Bongean of Primitive Gatherings.Find the instructions here.

Lastly, I love my Karen Kay Buckley scissors. They don't have a super sharp point,
but DO have an awesome  serrated edge that really grabs the fabric--perfect for
cutting out applique shapes without slipping.

A sneak peek of my setting on the design wall

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Moose Bay Walkin'

I try to walk everyday and my route is about two miles. I know! Hard to believe.

I confess: my name is Karen and I am a carbo-holic.
 There should be a 12 step program for THAT.

Anyway, since you stopped by, c'mon along! Start the iPod here and let's go....
This is the channel coming from the Waldenhiem condos.

The channel runs out to Moose Bay. Moose Bay is part of Pelican
Lake in Breezy Point. 

This little bridge goes over the channel-see the sun coming up
on the treetops? Watch out for the sprinkler system!

Here's the Chapel. It's open on Sunday's from Memorial Day
to Labor Day, service at 10 AM. Casual attire is okay. 

My husband calls this the causeway, but I call it the Road
to the Point. There are 9 houses in those trees up there,
on a cul-de-sac, AKA where I turn around and head home.

This is a view of Moose Bay. My house is over there on the other side. Oh! Did you just hear the loon?
They've been so quiet lately.

I never veer off the path because this evil demon weed is everywhere!
I am highly allergic to the stuff.

No shots of the lake today--the sun was just coming up in that direction.
Critter count: 2 bunnies

Friday, August 17, 2012

Quilting Olympics--Go Baby!!

If you know me, you are sick to death hearing about my sewing room project that has been going on FOREVER. Well, maybe just a year or two.
It all started when I bought an HQ16 quilting machine and had to keep it in my dining room for 4 years because there was no way it was going to fit into my sewing space upstairs. My husband came up with the idea of moving my sewing room into our master bedroom (almost twice the size) and making the sewing room into our bedroom. Well, who am I to argue with an idea like that?

The HQ16 now residing in my new sewing space 

Of course, it wasn't going to be THAT easy! Along with the switcheroo, we removed the popcorn ceilings, replaced the carpet with hard wood flooring, put in all new moldings and painted the walls. I should add that, aside from the painting, my two sons and my spouse did it all themselves. It was quite an undertaking.

BUT, the whole point of this post is that I told my story on the Moda blog: The Cutting Table , and I won a Go Baby cutting system! How cool is THAT!! Thank you Moda Quilting Olympics Judges for awarding me the GOLD medal in the "Square Footage Takeover" event!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Wish Quilt 2013 Stitch Therapy Project

Beginning next January, our stitch group has chosen to work on their own versions of The Wish Quilt designed by Bronwyn Hayes. Originally the pattern was published in Australian Homespun magazine, BUT, Bronwyn has been posting the blocks on her blog for free since July 25th! I finished my version in June, just in time to enter it in the Pinetree Patchworkers quilt show. Bronwyn's beautiful design won 3 ribbons!
The Wish Quilt by Karen Martin 2012

I was thrilled and honored that my version of The Wish Quilt was featured on the Red Brolly blog on August 4th. In January, I will post a close-up photo of each of my blocks so you can see the fun details!

Be sure to visit Bronwyn's blog Red Brolly (red umbrella to us Yanks!) everyday for fun stuff and wonderful artwork.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Colorz for Quilts Shop Models

I just finished up these little Lori Smith cuties for the quilt shop. Susan will be quilting them. Both quilts are in the pattern Fat Quarter Quilting: Reproduction Fabrics Two (#1510). There's a lot of strip piecing and sub-cutting, so they go together pretty fast--and they're fun!

The quilt on the left is Simplicity. The blocks finish at 3 3/4". It will have blue binding. Cute!
Diamonds Are Forever is on the right. It's blocks finish at 2 1/2" and the binding will be the dark green.

Here's a close-up of the 2 1/2" blocks. An hourglass block alternates with the  red and cream  block.
Although the floral looks gray in the photo, it is actually a soft green.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dog-tooth Borders--fun and easy!

I basted some strips of fabric to the block for
the dog-tooth border. The corners get added

 We've been busy sewing our Memory Bouquet blocks since January. Don't tell anyone, but mine are almost all done...really!! I'm working on the last one right now. I probably would have been done months ago BUT, in a moment of craziness, I decided to kick it up a notch and add dog-tooth borders to my blocks. I am loving the way they look so far so I think it was well worth it. Now to figure out how to set the blocks!

All the block but one!

I made myself a paper template to figure out spacing. You can see the template laying on my strip on the left. It looks like I am going to make my dog-tooth border pointing out instead of in, but that is because I use it to mark my  points and valleys. I use a pencil to lightly  make a dot about an eighth of an inch from the inside edge of the fabric strip where I want to point of the tooth. I mark a line in the valley out to the inside edge where I will slash the fabric to turn under as I applique. I do my cutting as I go, one tooth at a time.

Here I have folded in the first side of a tooth and
sewn up to the dot that I had marked earlier. I usually take a couple tiny stitches at the point. Remember, it's about an eighth of an inch from the edge of the fabric! Then I tuck in the other side of the tooth, finger press to get a good crease, open it back out and trim the fabric a scant quarter inch away from the fold. Then it's a matter of tucking that folded edge back in and using the needle to smooth everything in nicely, stitch down to the valley.
Here's one tooth finished. You can see I use a  fine  pin to secure the side  I'm working on
 and one at the point where the tooth ends. After I have worked the points all the way around the block,
I will add the corners. I'll show you that next time as well as some nifty little tools that make
life easier!
Linking with Podunk Pretties HERE

Monday, August 13, 2012

Little Crow and the Dakota War

One of the ladies in our Stitch Therapy Group told me about a wonderful book: Abercrombie Trail by local author Candace Simar. It's a fascinating and disturbing tale about Scandinavian settlers and the 1862 Sioux Uprising. The cruelty and injustice toward the Native Americans was really heartbreaking and the tragedy that followed was brutal--not for the faint of heart! That it took place in Minnesota was a real awakening--not your "little house on the prairie" type of tale.

This week the Star Tribune is publishing a series about the Dakota War and about Little Crow specifically. The series started on Sunday and runs all week; it can also be read online. If you miss it, there is an e-book available at AmazonBarnes & Noble and iTunes.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Grandmother's Choice/The Saturday Morning Post

I can't wait for September 1st when Barbara Brackman will be starting a new site featuring a weekly quilt block and some history of Women's Rights. Be sure to sign up to get the latest post by email so you don't miss a single one!

She recently finished up a year long Civil War site and even though I never made a single block (slacker/I'm waiting for the book?) the information and research she does is phenomenal--and she's funny! I love her sense of humor.
Don't delay-sign up today!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

2012 Stitch Therapy Project: Memory Bouquet

This year the Stitch Therapy group at Colorz for Quilts has been working on old pattern by Eveline Foland called Memory Bouquet. 

Kathy Munkelwitz did a trunk show at the shop last year and everyone fell in love with her version of the quilt. I know, my photo is awful--sorry! 
Some of the gals were lucky and already had a copy of the Kansas City Star book Star Quilts II. The book contains the patterns that were published in the Kansas City Star newspaper in 1930, but sadly, it is out of print. You can probably find a copy on eBay.  Susan, Colorz owner, was able to find a few copies and also discovered that Deb Kratovil has a CD containing the designs that can be printed out. According to Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Applique, the Kansas City Star printed 20 blocks in their newspaper, but the Detroit News printed 25. Rosemary Youngs has been posting the Detroit New blocks for free on her website; I'm interested to see if she has all 25 of the bouquets!

This Morning Glory is from Deb's quilt.
We had it on display at the shop for a while. I believe
that she had some help with some of the
blocks, so she may not have done this
one herself. So pretty!
 This is Kathy's Morning Glory block with
beautiful embroidery and applique. She
used authentic feed sacks for the bowls and
framed her blocks in ovals. Hand quilted, of course! I love that she added some extra details and used a lot of different stitches. 
This is my first block, the Morning Glory. I shrank the designs  about thirty
percent and decided to do them in Red Work. My background is from a
line of fabric by Crabapple Hill Designs. The red fabric is from a collection by
Judy Rothermel called Inkwell Prints. I should also mention that I am using
Cosmo floss number 858.

Well, I think you can see that there are a lot of options to this design!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

And so it begins.......

Even though I am trying to spend less time on my computer; I've succumbed to starting a blog. I think it will be a great tool for my 2013 Stitch Therapy class that I teach at Colorz for Quilts. More later!