Monday, January 30, 2012

Design Wall Monday

I started this quilt on Wednesday to battle the frigid atmosphere...

Fruit Loops, 70 x 81
Based on the pattern Island Chain from Kim Brackett's book, "Scrap-Basket Sensations."

I'm still waiting for the weather to warm up as forecasted. I saw Fairbanks made national news with it's temps...-57F on Saturday.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Greetings from the Frigid North

Yet another day of subzero temps. I would rather do doggie potty breaks in subzero temps than rain but I'm still not liking it. I hunkered down in the studio all day Saturday. It never got above -13F so the dogs were house-bound. I'm sure there were lots of other things I should have been preparation...paying! Time for winter therapy...sewing with bright colors.

Did I  forget any colors? I plan to add the borders today. It's supposed to warm up tomorrow...and hit the teens on the positive side...those weather people are always so optimistic!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Recharge for the Soul

Ahh...the third Thursday of the month is such a treat...meeting with quilters and sewing all day. Here's what I got done.

Half way through putting the rows together. 
Our temps are sub-zero again so these colors are especially cheerful to me right now. 

Time for Show and Tell from the other favorite part of the gathering.

December's project was "Pineapple Blossoms," from Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville fame. Erin and Carol did the version with 2-inch strips and no sashing. Carol's has an extra row. Both ladies used mostly Thimbleberries fabrics.

Here's my version with 2 1/2-inch strips with sashing. I also made HSTs from all the trimmings of the main blocks which make up the middle border. 

This is Carol's version of "Picnic," done in flannels. This quilt is so cuddly. We are big fans of Kim Brackett's books with designs made from 2 1/2-inch strips. This is from her book, " Scrap-Basket Sensations."

This is Jane's take on "Snail Takes a Detour," another design from Kim Brackett, this one is from her first book, "Scrap-Basket Surprises." This quilt had very pretty free-hand quilting. She backed it with flannel...very cozy...and it seemed to really make the quilting pop on the backside. Sorry I didn't get a picture of that!

Megan's flimsy of BQ3.

This is the project for March's Breakfast Club, it is from Brenda Henning's "Strip Therapy 8." 

Our group leader, Marcia, made kits for all of us to make our own Valentine mug rugs. Thank you Marcia!

Here's Marcia's version of January's project done as a table runner. 

My evening was just as fun last night...I went to a fashion show in Anchorage...more about that later. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Getting Organized to Make Stockings

This is for Cathy...the latest convert to Bucilla stocking kits.

When you open your kit there are all kinds of wonderful parts to find...and since these kits are like potato can't make just are going to benefit from a little organization. 

There will be a baggie with floss, beads and sequins.
Here are a few ideas for organizing the floss.

I also threw in a cuticle stick...I wanted to remember to mention it...I use it to aid with stuffing in little places. I think you can pick up these floss organizers at almost any craft store...maybe even Wal-mart's craft section.

Since I have an addiction to these kits I have invested in a "professional" floss organizer.

I got mine from Herrschners. I didn't see it on their website but it was in their most recent catalog. Here's a link to one I found on the internet. I made a cute little box with felt sides that roll up.

Stores away nicely.
Next...those tiny beads and sequins.

These are various containers I've used over the years. Most are available at craft stores. Beading stores are also a great place for some of these items. See the little metal triangles?  Those came from a beading store. I absolutely love them. They make for great pouring aids when putting the beads and sequins away in their special containers. 

 These are my current favorite organizers when working with the Bucilla kits...they are made by the company, Plano. Check your husband's fishing tackle box because that's what these were made tackle.  I love these because the openings are large enough for me to actually work with pouring in and out of each individual colored beads or sequins as I need them. Your hubby will be so confused when you ask to hit the fishing tackle section of  sporting husband would be shocked! I found them while roaming the aisles with one of my boys at Sportsman's Warehouse. I thought it would be a tortuous outing but I came out a winner! I haven't been back in several years so I wonder if there is anything new and wonderful to discover...let me know if I'm missing anything.

Baggies are the best aid.  There are always little pieces that get cut from the felt as your working that you don't need right then...but you don't want to lose them. The felt likes to stick to things so I really recommend only cutting pieces as you need is so easy to lose them if you cut them all out ahead of time. Ornament kits are different because sometimes there are two or three ornaments in a kit that are the same...just keep track of those cut pieces...I've lost a piece or two of felt over the years. Sometimes dimensional pieces are made and I normally don't tack those in place until as late as I can. As you get parts of the stocking finished it becomes bulkier to work with.

One more hint...Cathy is starting with some ornaments...a great idea! The kits always call for making hangers for the ornaments with floss from the kit...that works but I think there are better products. Floss tends to catch on the pine needles. I like using decorative cording.

Here's one of my ornaments with the decorative cording for a hanger.

Happy stitching!

Fruit Loops

I'm so blogging friend, Cathy from Ontario has been corrupted...and I take all the blame. She bought her first Bucilla stocking kits. I love her choices. I have all the kits she showed but one..I may have to get that one too!

I didn't find time to work on my stockings last night as I just had to open EQ7 and play with border options for "Island Chain." I have a real problem putting a plain border on a quilt...every time I do it I feel like I sacrificed part of the design. EQ7 makes it so easy to play with borders. I kept it simple.

I didn't import images of my fabrics but these from the program's palette will do. I'm not sure what color I will use for the green section. Here's my fabric again.

I'm leaning toward a turquoise...but of course purple goes with everything. I'm going to be cutting it close on having enough background fabric but I'm going to try.

I am patiently waiting to get Judy's new borders book...I've been hearing all the oohs and awes from Blogland...but it takes a while to get to time I'm giving her my Federal Express account number!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Design Wall Monday

The first month of 2012 is almost over...eek! The good news is that also means it is almost time to meet up with my quilting friends on Thursday. This month we are making another Kim Brackett quilt, "Island Chain," from her second book, "Scrap-Basket Surprises." 

This is one of my favorite quilts from the book so I'm excited to make this and it looks like some pretty simple construction. The colorway in the book is lovely but I need to pull from my stash and perhaps brighten up my world. 

Not a bad start! The top fabric piece will be the borders. I've pulled a light blue for the background and rummaged through the strip bin to gather these strips...still need to pull about 19 more strips which will mean cutting...I was really hoping to avoid that.

I thought I was going to get somewhere on the Scrappy Dresdan Plate challenge from Bunny Hill Designs...after a few hours of pressing I had a lovely box of petals...

But I'm short...I need 240 and I've got 156. More I can tackle two birds with one stone...looks like several colors would be perfect for both projects. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Stocking Sunday

I don't have much to show from last week...lots of organizing in the studio. I've been tackling problems. In working on my Bucilla stocking kits I had a first...the printed lines on the some of the white felt pieces smeared while handling them. I tried washing them completely but it left them with a yellow tinge.

I felt the only choice was to create my own new pieces to replace the grungy looking ones. It was mainly the pieces for Santa's beard. So I redid all the embroidery...

My Patchwork Santa looks nice and clean! I've also made a little headway on the Nutcracker stocking.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pincushion Parade

There is a fun little blog parade being hosted over at Laugh Love Quilt. Like all the participants I have more than a handful of pincushions that I use regularly.

This Hat Pincushion holds various needles for hand work.

These little China men hold my large quilt pins and a few tiny applique pins.

Here's the main work horse. I picked this pincushion up at my favorite quilt shop in Hawaii on the island of Kauai, Kapaia Stitchery.

These are my little Eskimo ladies...I had to have an Alaskan pincushion.

This one is strictly for my machine needles. I used this mainly when working with clothing...mostly the needles are only used for a few minutes and ready for the next job.

Another work horse...the pincushion and thread catcher combo. Love this! A gift from my mother-in-law.

My most recent that I made to match my lime green scissors.

The  idea came from a book by Nancy Halvorsen. I'd love to have all of these...just never get around to making them!

There are so many cute pincushions in this book that I want to make that apparently I bought the book twice. I think that's the only time I have done that with books. Sew very fun. Hope you enjoyed this part of the parade.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Brief Hope About Forrest

In our little town of Eagle River, Alaska, a home was found to be full of dogs and birds on was something right out of the show "Hoarding." Over 35 dogs and 50 birds were in the house. Most of the dogs were Chihuahuas. Sunday night on the 10 o'clock news I saw the flash of a Bernese Mountain Dog being taken out of the home. I immediately hoped it was Forrest who has been missing since July. Since the animals are now evidence for a criminal case the animal shelter wouldn't release information about the animals but a savvy electronic person was able to pull single frames from the news footage and I was able to get a better look at the's not Forrest. Darn! Double Darn!

Still hoping.
Walks always help.

We did get our walk in yesterday because it warmed up to -7F. I don't know what it warmed up to today but I'm pretty sure it was still subzero...but sunny!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beyond Frozen


-16 F

Beauty has it's limits.
The two creatures with double fur coats are looking a little miffed that I don't walk when it's -16F!

Jenny is acting as a draft shield...cuddled up against the front door where it's a little cooler than the rest of the house.

Tonka is putting most of his body mass on the cool tile. I guess he's trying to get more cool.

If there were a picture of me I'd have ten quilts piled on top of me. It's cold!

Maybe it will warm up to -10 tomorrow...I do walk when it's that warm.
Not much to show in the studio today...I'm just cleaning up from all the fusible web work I did last week...I made a pretty big mess pulling lots of fabric from the stash for a tiny perfect piece. I'm also ironing...with a nice hot iron. Sounds wonderful.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fusing...Forever Fusing

The final four blocks are fused...

These are the blocks from the kits...fabrics provided.

And these are the blocks made with fabric from my stash. I love the black bear. I'm not thrilled with the position of the dive-bombing dragonfly...I may have to redo it. 

Next will be the all the top stitching...I think that will be the most challenging step in the quilt.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Quilt Shop Excursion

I was feeling a little guilty about my quilt shop excursion yesterday until I saw a picture of bolts of fabric in the storage closet of Judy Laquidara over at Patchwork Times. I don't have any bolts of fabric so obviously my stash is reasonable. So I'm going to enjoy my purchases and share them with you. Many of the fabrics in the bottom photo I already had my stash but I was in search of yellows for the Dresdan Fan design over at Bunny Hill Designs. (Click the Scrap Plate Club button on the right if you want to check it out.)

I've really been drawn to quilts with yellow as a background color totally not my comfort zone. So I am going for it! I bought three bottom fabrics...the yellow print for the borders, the purple for the sashing and the yellow for the backgrounds of the Dresdan plates. First I have to pre-wash everything so no cutting yet. 

And when I got home I had a package waiting for me. I ordered four different fat backs...fabrics that come in 108" widths...and of course they are batiks.

Still diligently plugging away on my January UFO. I am surprised at how long it takes me to put these blocks together. Four more...

The two center blocks came in kits so the fabrics were already selected and ready to use. The other two are made of fabrics from my stash...although the dark grey for the halibut came from my set of new purchases. Very hard to find grey tones in batiks. They were approved by AK Santini this morning.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sharing an Internet Freebie

Here is a link to a wonderful free pattern at Anthology Fabrics. It's the pattern, Florigia

There is a kit for this quilt in the latest issue of Keepsake Quilting...but I thought you'd like to know the pattern is available for free. I would really like to make this one...another pattern in the stack. This one has a little paper piecing of my favorite techniques.