Sunday, April 23, 2017

Extra Credit

Working with my scraps from the last project....

has led to an actual quilt inspiration. 

 I also had a stack of 2 1/2 x 5-inch rectangles left from the "Splash" Bali pop and I wanted to make a star block, put it on point, and create corner blocks with the mini triangle cross hatch blocks. I think I have it all figured out with a little help from my EQ 7 program.

An enhanced carpenter's star...perfect!

I am so proud of myself for actually thinking to use Bonnie Hunter's tool for making HSTs. 

Maybe I can get this little top pieced before Breakfast Club on Thursday. I was going to do some more sewing tonight but my dogs just came inside from playing in the backyard...not is "breakup" season in Alaska. Snow is melting like crazy and my backyard is a bit soupy. The pups don't look too muddy but they sure are stinky. This will make their third bath this week! And the mosquitoes have shown up with the warmer temperatures. The bears are awake too but haven't seen any yet...

I think Kinley will be the first to get in the shower. She does not want to look at me. Not volunteering to go first.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A New Book from Margaret Solomon Gunn

I am spreading the word that a new book has just been released by Margaret Solomom Gunn, "Design Inspirations." You can see her facebook post about the book and get a chance to win a copy. 

Her book is appropriately named, as I find her work to be very inspirational. I have learned more from her than any other quilting author. The 10 minutes I spent talking with her at the International Quilt Show in Houston last fall gave me three great tips I have incorporated into my quilting techniques. 

She is amazing. Click her book title above to visit her facebook page.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Quilt Tops - Finished!

I have been on task!
It is such a great feeling to finish two big quilt tops. Both projects had lots of piecing with many points to match.

Bonnie Hunter Mystery 2016

My first Bonnie Hunter mystery, "En Provence," was a great little challenge. I used the specialty rulers Bonnie recommended for her design. Her ruler, the Essential Triangle tool was used to make all the half square triangles and the quarter square triangles. Her ruler was great and I need to remember to use it for my own designs.  Bonnie used Tri Recs rulers for making the "triangle in a square" sections, also a great set of rulers. For years I have read Bonnie's blog and she spends lots of time emphasizing the accuracy of the quarter-inch seam in piecing...I totally understand her constant harping on this necessity. When I started putting everything together it was really amazing how often I basted a row where all the points were meeting and it was good without fixing before I put in the final stitching. I'm pretty much a stickler for my points being crisp so what a relief to have it all come together so nicely. 


"Le Tour de Provence," 69 x 87

I did make my version, "Le Tour de Provence," smaller, twelve blocks instead of 16. Kudos to all those quilters who did her original size. I saw some really great versions of this pattern in the blogging world. The quilt below is one of my favorites and I would have done this if I had seen it earlier. This is Jane Klotz Gephart's version as seen on the facebook page of McTavish Quilting Studio.

Photo from McTavish Quilting Studio FB post.

There are ways to simplify Bonnie's designs and I would take some of those steps if I were to tackle any of her designs in the future. I get that her niche is using scraps...I just don't have the scrap stash she has to fulfill the scrappy fabric designs...maybe after another 20 years of quilting. I had to order strips to make this design...that kind of defeats the goal of busting your stash for a quilt project. I think I would have had a comparable result with straight yardage in these colors...especially working with batiks like I always do.

Breakfast Club Mystery 2016

Our Breakfast Club mystery was another major piecing project. I also made this mystery smaller, 35 blocks instead of 80...yes...80 blocks in the original design. I think 42 blocks has been the largest finish so far from our group of Breakfast Club quilters. 

I made my own border design, a variation of piano keys, to follow the layout of the blocks with the 1/2" charcoal sections. A great way to use up many of the 2 1/2 x 5-inch pieces I didn't want to make into more blocks. I used a "Splash," Bali pop and Bali cracker with the Hoffman 1895, "Blacklight," which is more like a charcoal color, as the background fabric.

"Fruit Rollups," 57 x 75

Here's a reminder of the original design Marcia used to create the mystery, "Meadow," from the book, "Moda All-Stars Scraps Made Simple." Marcia made her version in bright batiks with a dark background and encouraged everyone to swap bright batiks for a truly scrappy look. I was on the fence about participating in the mystery since winter driving is a bit challenging in December but the quilting goddess cleared the streets so I was able to make the session...though I didn't take part in the scrap swap.

I am getting a reputation for creating little designs with my leftovers from trimming the corners of the blocks where a 2 1/2-inch square is sewn on the diagonal of a block corner. I get a 1 3/4-inch half square triangle that finishes as 1 1/4-inch...tiny little devils...but they have become a bit of an obsession. Here's what I am doing so far with these scraps...making little blocks that will finish at 3-inches. 

Another little quilting project that could take months...

Monday, April 3, 2017

April - Beginning a New Month

First...a bit of news from March.

I almost forgot to share the birthday present my son, Zack, gave me. We landed on Spencer Glacier...way up on the peaks of the Chugach mountain range. Our weather was perfect; sunny and no wind! The snow was almost waist deep powder. We are standing on the snow that the airplane skis packed down when we landed.

Three of my son's friends also landed on the glacier with their airplanes. This photo was taken from our airplane parking spot. If you click on the photo you will be able to see the black lab dog one of the couples brought in their plane. A pretty unique outing for private planes. My son spent a summer working in Denali National Park, flying tourists around Denali and landing on the a glacier there so he has lots of experience with this kind of flying. We patiently waited for a great day for our trip.

I also wanted to share a picture of a quilt I donated to the orphanage my father spent a few years in when he was a wee boy. The Methodist Children's Home in Waco, Texas, has an annual craft sale to raise money through their alumni association. I have donated quilts every now and then. It is getting easier for me to let go of my quilts. The blocks in this quilt were part of a Thangles sampler through a local quilt shop. I came up with my own layout to include the six new star blocks I added to the layout. It was one of my first longarm quilting endeavors which I loved at the time but now I would do things so differently! 

I did get the red snappers installed on the fabric leaders of my quilt frame. I have loaded the backing fabric for my next was so much easier than pinning! I still pinned the quilt top bottom edge to a fabric leader. I'm waiting for about a three hour block of time to get the batting in place and baste everything together. I absolutely cannot leave anything hanging down when I leave the room or my cat might attack it.

My most exciting quilt related news is the new books I bought from one of my favorite longarm bloggers, Margaret Solomon Gunn. She self-published these two books and they are fantastic!!! 

You can check out the books through her website here.

Our cat, Eli, likes to spend time in the dog run. I haven't managed to get a photo of both dogs and the cat on the dog bed together. Every once in a while they all nap together peacefully. This is Kinley. Logan was inside napping.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Spring Snow

The dogs are happy...we have new snow! We got three inches of snow yesterday and looks like another six inches came down last night. It is still snowing so maybe we are on to a record breaking spring snow.

Eli did put a foot out the door to check out the white wet stuff but then decided it was better to watch the snow from inside. I just put those deck chairs out last was so pretty and sunny for about three weeks...though temperatures were still in the 20's at the warmest part of the day. 

This is as close as I am going to get to gardening. Another adorable Bucilla stocking kit in progress.

I do have plenty of projects to tackle while the snow is flying. We finally committed to a sink for our garage. Yes...rather lavish for a garage but experience from our previous house led me to insist we have a commercial grade sink for all my husband's game and fish processing. My chore is to put together the chrome shelving unit that will tuck into the corner and determine a counter top for it...something like butcher block for all that chopping. And I am hoping to have a wonderful garden this summer and would love a big area to clean my veggies.

Also in the garage is my main project today...hiding under the Christmas present I bought my husband. 

Oh dear...wonder who put the gun ammo in treadle machine drawer? 

I'm very embarrassed at how poorly this little trundle machine has been treated. I put it in the garage two years ago with the expectation of working on it right away. I watched a couple of youtube videos a few days ago and gathered my supplies. This is the official "before" picture of the cabinet.

But of course there is always more on that pesky, "To Do List." I bought a set of red snappers for my quilt frame but need to add 3/4-inch sleeves to the fabric leaders to insert the red poles. I also bought some charcoal gray felt to recover my design walls.

The quilt project that never ends...En Provence. This is the size I am making. Twelve large blocks finished but lots of piecing parts left to complete.

Times a wasting...better get into the garage and start my projects.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Recapping March

A month can fly by much too quickly. My biggest accomplishment was finishing a quilt.

I will do a bigger post all about this quilt when the snow has melted and I can do a nice photo shoot with some scenic Alaskan pics. It is a king-sized quilt so a little too big to drag around in the three-feet of snow left on the ground.

Lots of wonderful pictures from our March Breakfast club meeting to share.

At the December Breakfast Club we did a mystery. The next three photos are different versions and layouts of the blocks we made. I'm still working on mine.

This is Megan's version. Most of us went with a dark background but Megan went very bold and different with this bubble gum pink color. It just screams Florida with the blue ocean, bright sunshine and pink flamingos. She also left out the 1/2" sashing so she got diagonal rows of stars.

This is Joyce's version which is the look most of us are doing...dark background with bright batiks. I like this size which is smaller than the original pattern. I'm not even halfway to the 42 blocks needed for this version.

This is Marge's version...a nice runner. I just have to comment on the "small world," aspect of Alaska. Turns out her grand daughter is dating my son. She's a very pretty, smart and fun young lady.

These next two quilts are also Marge's. This is from one of our autumn classes. Marge has a friend in Minnesota she sends her tops to for quilting. I'm so impressed with the quick turn around.

This pattern was last month's Breakfast Club project, a fat quarter design from Cozy Quilt Designs called, "Mirror, Mirror." 

And Marge's last show and tell is this month's Breakfast Club project, a runner with laser cut appliques from an Alaskan designer, Northern Threads.

This is a nice digital screen print from Hoffman of San Francisco that Patty turned into a fun lap-sized quilt.

Patty also shared a table topper and a runner.

Both are hand quilted.

Kathy had some big quilt tops to share. Yes...obviously this is a Kaffe Fassett design with his fabrics.  It is from the book, "Quilts of Italy."

Another biggie. I do not know the pattern for this, though Kathy thought it was a Thimble Blossom design. I couldn't find it with a Google search.

And a tiny finish from Kathy.

Barb is making many of these for her grandchildren...bunny bags.

The quilt shop we meet at is Seams Like Home. They have a Saturday Sampler series they run every year. This is a set of blocks made by the shop owner for one of the colorways that was available. Barb took the blocks and made a top for them that will be quilted and given to a local chapter of the national charity, Camp Erin which is a children's bereavement program.

And another version of the Saturday Sampler blocks put together by Rona for Camp Erin.

Rona also had some fun spring wreaths.

And excellent idea was shared by Yvette that documents the quilts made or owned by her family members. It is a very large photo album with a bit of info attached to each quilt photo.

The dedication page...

Spectacular family treasure.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

February Progress

I may have to rename my current quilt project, "Diligence in the Chugach." I live on the side of a mountain in the Chugach Mountain Range and I had named this quilt, "Chugach Mountain Hike." I have been working "diligently" almost every day for two weeks and I am only about a quarter of the way done quilting this top. In the photo are my three main quilting tools. The quilting ruler is a new purchase from Judi Madsen with Green Fairy Quilts. Her modern take on machine quilting is inspiring and has influenced my quilting designs. Of course there is also a seam ripper...I really like this little green one when I am working on my midarm. And I love my little green, Karen Buckley serrated scissors. I just bought a second pair because one pair was really not enough.

I am also feeling like I am moving at a turtle's pace with the blocks for, "En Provence." 

I did make it to Breakfast Club last week were I worked on the pattern we started in December. Loving the colors. I am using a Bali Pop called, "Splash," along with a few strips added from my stash. There will be a one-inch sash of the dark gray around each block. It takes a bit of time to deal with all those points.

Two little reindeer ornaments from a Bucilla kit are finished...nice to get a little something in the done category.

Still several weeks of winter to enjoy. Today was perfect...sunny and 27 degrees. My ideal winter day...and it seems the dogs agree with me.