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Sunday Stash – It’s Flannel Time

Today I went to my first quilt show. I didn’t have a quilt entered; I’ve never even made a quilt that would come close to qualifying for the show, not even if I were allowed into the youth category. I just wandered around drooling and thinking, “Really? Fabric and thread? Humans can do that with fabric and thread?”

I’ll post pictures soon, but I’ve got to do some editing on the oodles of pictures that I took. Plus, many of the quilts came with touching or fun or interesting stories (or a combo of all three), so I want to spend some time looking at the show book for more quilt info. I want to be passing some stories along with the pictures and seeing if I can find some of the quilters on the interwebs to give them the mass kudos they should earn for their creations.

I added some supplies to my stash because Joann Fabrics is having its 70 year celebration, and even though I have a wish list that’s going to need to be taken to my local quilt shop for fulfillment, Joann was having some crazy good sales that were too good to pass up.

Those pictures are easier to post, so here we go.

roll of cotton battingWell, I’m all in. I’ve got to make a go of my quilting Etsy shop because that behemoth roll leaning against the fireplace is 25 yards of cotton batting. For less than $3.50 a yard, I figured it was a worthy investment, especially since it’s 90 inches wide, and most of my quilts finish at less than 45 inches, so I should be able to get two quilts per width of batting. Plus, as a bonus, it’s manufactured in the USA. Um…no big deal. I’ve just got to churn out 35 – 45 quilts to use this up, right?

flannel typewriterI’ve been wanting to play with flannel in a quilt, so today’s sale prices were too much for me to resist. Anything that hearkens to typewriter keys makes me a little weak in the knees, so I’m loving this print that I found. Gray, teal and lime is a color scheme that makes me drool a bit too. I’m going to have to hide this stuff to make sure I finish off my quilt along quilts before I cut into it.

flannel turtles

And, here’s a close up of the other fabric.  I’ve heard that flannel has a nasty reputation for stretching and being a bit difficult, so I picked a simple pattern (at least, it looks simple).  The pattern I chose calls for 13 fat eighths of fabric to go with the main fabric of the quilt, so I picked an array of blues and greens with a little sprinkling of gray. I made the decision to grab the turtle fabric when I realized that fat eighths meant that I was still going to have half of all those fabrics left. Probably if they were quilting cotton, I would have just filtered the leftovers into my stash, but since I don’t have flannel floating around, I figured I’d might as well enact a plan for using up all the flannel that I was buying.

Those are probably quilter’s famous last words.

At any rate, I hope I like working with flannel because I’ve got enough on my hands to make two quilts now. If anyone has any good tips for working with flannel, I’m all ears. I’m particularly curious to hear what you use for batting. Do you use cotton (because I’ve got plenty)? Or, do you prefer something else, maybe even a third piece of flannel…

<a &34;Finding


WIP Wednesday – keeping up with the quilt alongs

Last night, I promised myself some quilting time after I was done teaching my four hour evening class. By the time I went to bed around 3, I felt like I had been hit by a truck.

Star Quilt Along choice oneYou might remember this fabric that I picked out for the Star Surround Quilt Along. I was excited to get it cut last night, but then, my heart was crushed a little when I found out that a fat quarter of the black and white fabric wasn’t going to be nearly enough to give me what I needed to make the quilt. Since I promised myself to pull everything for this one from my stash, I then set off auditioning potential fabrics.

star surround fabricsThis isn’t the best picture, but this is what I came up with. I decided that the center star will be the yellow and gray. The surround will be black with the white texture, and the background will be red. I’m not quite as excited about these color choices, but I think the quilt will still turn out fine. I did find some fun red and white fabric that has strong potential to become the back of the quilt.

I also had to get to work cutting out my block pieces for Megan’s Star, this month’s Modern Quilt Along block. Again, disappointment set in because I wanted to make this block into a full 40X40 baby quilt, but after I fell in love with the fabrics that I was putting together, I discovered that I don’t have nearly enough to make a 40×40 block. Let me tell you, I did sooooo much math and  even hunted down a  geometry calculators online only to discover that I was going to make the original sized block after all. Sigh…math for nothing.

Megan's star fabricsI don’t like making blocks just to make them, so I’m trying to figure out what I’ll do with this block. Right now, I’m leaning towards adding some borders to it, so it can become a small pillow for a rocker in a nursery or a little kiddo’s bed. I’m open to suggestions. I guess I’ll have to see what the assembled block looks like before I know for sure what I want to do.

And, now since the feeling of being hit by a truck was only partially due to fabric woes and math calculations, I’m off to take a nap. I managed to pick up a nasty summer head cold, and I’m hoping that sleep will help cure it because ideally I’d wake up refreshed and ready to bust out a rough draft of my syllabus for this semester — one of my least favorite tasks of teaching.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Bowling or Travel, anyone?

If you just want some fabric eye candy, scroll past all these long paragraphs about my life to the eye candy. Otherwise, tune in for the developments around here.

So, this week has flown by in a whirlwind. I haven’t necessarily been overly busy, but the decision-making part of my brain has been going 100 mph, which is exhausting. I told my realtor that I’d decide by Monday morning whether I’d list the house. Why is this such a tough decision to make?

Well, barring the lack of central air conditioning and the semi-obnoxious neighbor on one side of me, this house has been  quite a suitable home for over six years. I’ve remodeled and stripped wall paper and painted and stripped more wall paper and painted. I’m almost done with projects and ready to breathe a sigh of relief, and I can look at each room and remember the awesome friends that helped out with each one. At the same time, I’m a single girl who does have a limit to her home improvement skills, and this 1920s house isn’t getting any younger. Plus, at this point, I’ve pretty much maxed out the pricing for the neighborhood. I could add central air, but I’m not sure I’d see a return on investment. Interest rates are low but climbing, and this might be a good time to cash in my sweat equity and move on.

I’ve checked around, and I think I could find a place where I don’t share walls with anyone, a place with central air and replacement windows. Maybe even a place with a cavernous finished basement and a bigger yard to facilitate more entertaining. As a matter of fact, I visited an open house last Sunday, and it had almost everything on my list of things I’d want in a house. I started to picture where the furniture was going to go. But, do I want a higher mortgage even if I can afford a higher mortgage? That can bring its limits. For example, right now, I could almost run screaming into the night and take a job as a Starbucks barista and still afford the place…not that I’m actually planning on doing that.

Pretty soon, I’m just going to need to make the decision before I make myself crazy.

In the meantime, I’ve got to clean up as if this place is going on the market soon. Yesterday, three city firefighters came to the house to install smoke detectors and bring the house up to code. They were super nice and the detectors were free. That had to be done because a house in the city can’t go to settlement without being up to code with smoke detectors. Tomorrow, I plan to finish the cushions for the rockers out front to boost the curb appeal and plan to touch up the yellow paint around the house (brown paint on trim can wait until the last second before the listing photos get taken since the dog is on a personal rampage to scuff it up). And, it wouldn’t hurt to keep tidying up the basement. It’s a basement, but it still wouldn’t hurt if people could see open space for their junk instead of my junk. Plus, I figure that the more I clean and tidy now, the easier packing will be later if I list. And, the house will be ready for its first showing then — preferably the showing that is the day after I list, the showing that brings buyers with a full price contract (a girl can dream, right?)

Ok, on to the eye candy — I’ll be able to get cutting directions for the star surround quilt along on Monday, so much to the electric company’s dismay, I’m further stressing this heat-wave stressed power grid by washing my quilt fabric. I’m going with the yellow, black, red combo that I posted before.

Some time ago I went on a fabric shopping spree through a clearance section,and I thought before I threw everything in the wash to get wrinkled, I’d snag some quick pictures.

Here’s the promised eye candyKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI had a quilt in mind for these fun little bowling pins, but I also want to refinish some lamps and shades this summer to post on Etsy. It just occurred to me that I could make a pretty cute lamp shade out of this fabric too. Maybe if I play my cards right, I can do a little bit of both. KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

I have a few kitchen projects that I want to do, so these fabrics are going to go towards them. The colors  clash as much as possible between the three, so they won’t be used together, but I think each fabric is definitely cute in its own way.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThen, I got this line of travel fabrics – postmarks, stamps, and postcards galore. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with all of it. Maybe once I jump into my Craftsy block a month classes, I’ll find a project for them. Or, I’m kinda thinking that with the postcard fabric, I want to go off the map. Visions of appliqueing the postcards  to patches of corduroy and then attaching those to er…some other kind of fabric still to be determined could make a super fun lap blanket.

flowered colorblock fabricThen, there was this fabric. I saw it once at the fabric store, resisted it, and then couldn’t resist and went back to buy it. But, then I realized that the yellow is quite unique, and it could be difficult to find something that I wanted to pair with it.

Until…drum roll, please…

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA I have the pattern that I’m going to use to put these three fabrics (plus a healthy dose of black fabric) together. And, it’s either going to be the gaudiest quilt known to man or the most awesome.

Linking up to Sunday Stash.

Embarking on another quilt along

Ok, I must be going crazy…either that or I’m trying to stay motivated.

I’m struggling to keep up with the String of Pearls Quilt Along that I joined, which is a little sad because I’m making the quilt less than half the size of the actual quilt along pattern.

Christa's quilt along block progressHere’s what I have so far, but when the next step is released on the 17th, I’m supposed to have the blocks finished with the top and bottom borders sewn on, and I’m supposed to have all the blocks put together into a completed quilt top.

deck support pulled outBut, my mom and dad are coming on Wednesday to help me deal with this hot mess in the backyard, and I have to teach a 4 hour class tomorrow evening, so that quilt is not going to be in one piece by Wednesday. I’m not giving up hope though because we get an entire two weeks to baste and back the quilt. It’s my chance to catch up! I still can finish on time. I know I can.

In the meantime, a few other intriguing quilt alongs have surfaced, but I have resisted. However, today I found the star surround quilt along, and I don’t think I can resist. It’s a little more intimidating to me since new instructions are going to be released weekly instead of bi-weekly, and the week of completing the quilt top coincides with the first week of school, but heck, why not take on the challenge? Students won’t turn in any full length papers to grade in that first week.

I told myself that I could only do this quilt along if I could raid my growing stash and make the quilt from fabrics already on hand (excluding the backing and binding). I let what I found in my stash dictate that I’ll be making the 40 x 40 baby quilt, which is going to be one giant block.

Well, the stash and my fear of flying geese have dictated that decision. You might recall that my last go round with flying geese was just a bit intimidating, so the thought of making one block with them instead of nine blocks with them seems more doable. I guess it’s time to listen to the old cliche, when you fall off the horse, you’ve got to get back on and ride again. I’m going to work on making those geese without clipping their wings this time.

This week is just fabric selection week.

Hint, hint: That means there is plenty of time to still join in the fun.

I’ve put together two choices from my stash to mull over.

Star quilt along choice 2If I go with this choice, the yellow and light pink would become the star. The dark pink will form the border of the star, and the gray will be the background. Solid is recommended for the background, so this is a bit of a risky choice, but since there is no direction to it, I think it would work.

Star Quilt Along choice oneThe second choice is more bold. The yellow and black will form the center star. The black and white will form the border (which worries me just a tad because there’s a direction to the fabric), and then the bold, solid red for the background.

I’m leaning towards the bold yellow, black, red combo since I’m doing the single block design. I think it will have more impact. But, what do you think? This is baby size, so would the softer pinks be better? Will I tear my hair out with the directional fabrics?

Cutting starts next week, so I’ll need to decide by next Monday.

Fresh Poppy Design

Modern Blocks Quilt-a-Long – Spool

Last night, I finished ironing my blocks for the June Modern Blocks Quilt-a-Long. June focused on the Spool block, which was considerably easier than May’s Follow the Leader, a block that nearly drove me to smash my sewing machine and left me well-acquainted with my seam ripper. I did have to rip out some seams last night, but that is because I originally made my table runner 7 blocks long. After I spread it across the dining room table, I realized that the sample table runner measurement that I looked up online must have been for people born with a silver spoon in their mouths. For those of us with average sized dining rooms and average sized tables like me, the 7 block runner hung below the edge of the table. It wasn’t a good overhang, it was more of the a-guest-is-sure-to-snag-this-and-spill-everything-on-the-table overhang. So, I pulled the out some seams and made a 5 block runner instead.

spool block - tealFor this month’s block, I used the fabulous MicroMod fabric line from Cloud 9 Fabrics filled in with a little gray.

spool block - fushiaThe MicroMod fabrics are the ones that I won from Katie over at Swim Bike Quilt. Thanks again, Katie!

If you’re thinking, “Hmm… modern blocks quilt-a-long?” It’s not too late to join in the fun. There are still 10 blocks to go. I think I’m going to try super sizing July’s block. I’ve been wanting to try to blow up a block to table topper or tote bag proportions for awhile now. I’m a little worried about the math involved. Does anyone know of an online calculator that helps change the measurement proportions of a quilt block? Or, do you have any other tips for expanding a quilt block to double or triple its original size?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI’ll also want to take some time in July to quilt the table runner (and fix the eyesore of a walkway that’s in the background of the picture). I’m excited/nervous because I want the quilting to go really well, but I’ll be trying something new — this big diamond, little diamond technique.

Alright, my sister is going to be visiting for the holiday weekend and my realtor is coming on the 8th to tell me how much the house would possibly sell for if I decide to move, so as much as I’d love to spend the night quilting, I really ought to spend the night grouting the last of the countertop tiles, fixing some drywall mishaps, stuccoing the bathroom wall, and/or cleaning the house. We’ll see how far I get on that ambitious list. I did have some Starbuck’s iced coffee, so I’m feeling a little wired for the tasks ahead.

I’m linking up to Fabric Tuesdays and Sew Cute Tuesday this week because I want to procrastinate by browsing through both of the linky parties before I get to that home improvement list.

Fresh Poppy Design

Better Off Thread

My very first quilt

I thought before I finally get around to hanging this quilt on my bedroom wall, it would be fun to show off the quilt that started (and almost finished) my quilting hobby.

I grew up loving Little House on the Prairie, so somewhere always within me there was probably this fascination with all things handmade. If I remember correctly, at a homeschool event, I made a simple little nine patch quilt block. And, I think that was all it took.

From there, I took a class at my local quilt shop. In high school, my family lived literally 15 minutes away from nearly anything that resembled civilization except for a pizza place, a little general store (that achieved nearly heroic status when it started selling soft serve ice cream), and a quilt shop. Sigh…those were the days. If I lived 5 minutes from a quilt shop now, I’d be in my glory…and broke. But, still. Oh well, at least Joann Fabric is on the way home from church. I stop in there and raid their remnants bin on a regular basis. Still, an honest to goodness, quilt shop on the way home would be amazing.

I digress. So, I think it was in high school that I took my quilting class. And, I was determined to do everything by hand. I’m not even sure if I had my first sewing machine at that point. I might have, but I wanted to my quilt to be unpolluted by the stains of modern technology. I also wanted it to be museum quality. So, I obsessed over putting in the teeny tiniest stitches I could possibly make.

And, that took forever. I did the project in fits and starts. Seriously, I just finished the binding last year, and I’m 32. Fortunately, even though I’m using a different quilt in my bedroom, it’s still the same colors as the quilt that I had in high school, so I can still use this — even though I’ve switched bedrooms 5 times since I started making a quilt for my bedroom.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThis picture isn’t the absolute best. Sun was shining straight through the quilt, so we can see that I still hadn’t learned that sometimes it’s a good idea to press the seams of dark fabrics toward the dark fabric. Fortunately, the sun does not shine through my bedroom walls, so no one will really be the wiser. I also hadn’t learned to handle the bias edges of triangles with care.

heart hand quilted I quilted many, many hearts into the border of the quilt. I know now that museum quality stitches aren’t just tiny, they’re supposed to be even front and back, which isn’t the case on this quilt. Still, I like that I tried to have some design flair. And, I really need to get on with learning free motion quilting. As much as I like straight line quilting, it would be handy to know how to quilt shapes again.

heart foursomeYep, many, many hearts.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI did branch out for the borders around the blocks…probably because I couldn’t make hearts tiny enough.

And, there you have it. Taking over 10 years to finish a quilt was a bit much for me. I won’t say that I’ll never hand quilt anything ever again because it is nice to work on something in front of the TV or to be able to pick up something and move with it. But, I’m a machine quilting girl now. With so many beautiful fabrics in the world to combine, I want to get through projects in a reasonable time. And, there is something that I love once I get to the stage where I start quilting. For me, there’s almost a magical transformation as three separate layers start to meld together and drape nicely, and I’m no longer fearful — fearful of losing pieces, fearful of stretching something out of shape. Instead, I’m seeing a beautiful, useful creation emerge within my hands.

Work in Progress Wednesday – spools and pearls

Just a quick check in tonight. I like work in progress Wednesday in the quilt blogging world; it makes me want to push to do something.

I’ve been working on my two quilt alongs this week. Remember the placemats with the flying geese from last month’s modern block quilt along? Whew! They were tough. This month’s spools are progressing more quickly, and I don’t think I’ve ripped out any stitches yet. Each of the seven spools need one more piece sewn onto them. Then, I’ll trim up the blocks and piece them together for a table runner. I need some advice from fellow quilters out there. What type of batting do you use for your table runners? I use 100% cotton in my baby quilts. I love the drape it gives the quilt, and I don’t mind that they crinkle up a bit when washed. I’m not sure I want the crinkle in a modern table runner though. Should I use a polyester batting instead? Or, should I use a cotton/poly blend? Please weigh in with your success or horror stories on batting choice.

Here are the two spool blocks that I’ll be alternating.

spool of thread progressMaybe some of you recognize the fabric from the Micro Mod fabric line from Cloud 9. It’s the fabric that I was so excited to win from Katie over at Swim Bike Quilt when she completed her micro mod sew along project.

spool of thread 2 progressAnd, I’m also working on the String of Pearls Quilt Along at Christa Quilts. She’s such a kind guide, always reminding participants to move at their own pace and have fun. But, I don’t want to be behind!

string of pearls progressI’m not quite sure why I’m freaking out. I have to put black sashing on the last two sides of the squares, trim them up, and strip piece together the background fabric and get it cut. But, Christa isn’t even going to release the next phase of the quilt along until July 3rd. Plus, my quilt is going to be way smaller than hers. I reduced it down to make it baby sized. Until I do a little more quilting, I don’t trust myself to be able to manage a very big quilt yet. So, I keep them short and sweet.

So, that’s what’s going on around here. My other work in progress was going to be priming some night stands and accent tables for the front porch tonight. But, it’s 11:30, so it’s probably best not to dive into that project just now. Maybe curling up with Agatha Christie for a little bit would be a better idea.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

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