Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Finished UFO, Finally!

I made these scrappy flip-and-sew blocks at least five years ago and never did anything with them. Until last week. It's just a small quilt that will go to Project Linus, but at least it's done. My friend Susan has converted me into a bias-stripe binding fan. It gives the quilt just the right amount of fun.

I quickly quilted it on my HQ16 using a free-motion swirly pattern.

The blocks were pieced on used dryer sheets instead of a muslin or other such foundation. Several years ago I had a box of dryer sheets that were about 6" x 12", so I just pressed them flat (after I had used them) and cut them into 6" squares. Then I added scrappy strips and squared it all up to 6 1/2 inches.

I still have a drawer full of these sheets...maybe some day I'll try this again. I certainly have enough scraps to use...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fiber Art for a Cause

Between now and November 6th, if you live anywhere near the Binghamton NY area, or if you are in the area on a visit, you must get to a venue that is displaying "Brazieres for a Cure", a delightful display of fiber art for a serious cause. It's a traveling exhibit, so you can see it in places like Ithaca, Oxford, Corning, and Cooperstown, NY. Click here for a schedule. And be sure to check out their blog.

Part of the exhibit was on display this past weekend at the Endless Mountains Quilt Show in Athens, PA. That's where I took these photos, but the bras must really be seen in person to be appreciated.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I have my mammogram scheduled...have you had yours recently?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Grab a Box of Tissues

Wouldn't the world be a great place if everyone thought like a quilter?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

From the Heart

Like most guilds, mine often makes quilts for various charitable organizations. But once in a while, we all get together and make a quilt for a fellow guild member, usually one in need of a hug for one reason or another.

The call goes out for members to make a 6 1/2-inch block with a heart on it. Usually any color is fine with a neutral light background. We encourage signatures on the blocks.

We've made quilts for members who move away, those who are having very difficult health issues, etc. What you see are two examples of the quilts we've made over the last several years.

Last week, the call went out again. I made the heart block you see here. I wish it was for a happier occasion...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mystery Revealed

The selvage project that I blogged about yesterday is a ponytail clip. I had an old one that had come apart, so I just made a new top for it using the same method as in my selvage postcards. I then just glued it onto the metal clip part.

I think if I do this again, I'll try to figure out a way to make the top interchangeable...perhaps using Velcro..

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Mystery

Can you guess what my latest selvage project is?

It's something that I made using some of the smallest selvages given to me by my quilting friends.

You'll have to wait until tomorrow's post to see what it is, or if you come to tonight's meeting of the Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild, you'll get to see it during"show and tell".

Hint: It's something that you would usually see a woman use, but I suppose certain men might use it, too...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

May The Force Be With You

As I was organizing my fabric recently, I found this scrap piece left over from a throw I made in the fall of 2006 for my son. Doesn't it look like the color windows in selvages?

Nick is a great fan of the Star Wars movies and especially the novels. His collection is up to 107 books. Yes, I said 107! And there are even more that he hasn't bought yet. How many possible plot lines can there be about outer space?

This quilt was very easy to make and is a great way to show off fabrics with a big print. I quilted a meandering loop design using my HQ16 with variegated thread.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Flimsy Finished!

Remember this post?

The majority of people seemd to like the last layout the best, so that's what I decided to go with for this charity quilt. The blocks are now all sewn together and all it needs is a backing, some batting, a bit of quilting, and a final step of binding. Normally, I think I would add a border or two to this quilt, but since I'm making it all from fabric that was donated to our guild, the backing piece is just large enough for the top the way it is. If I added borders, I'd have to take more time to make a pieced backing and I don't really want to do that. Too many other projects are calling my name right now.

I'm not sure about what charity will be the final recipient, so this will be put away for a while until I get finished with a few other projects that have deadlines.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hard Work Pays Off -- NQR

My son's hard work over the years has made him a semi-finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program!! Yippee!!

Out of 1.5 million juniors who took the PSAT test last fall, some 16,000 are chosen as semi-finalists and 8,200 will find out next spring if they win one of the scholarships. The awards are not large sums (but not chump change either), and even if Nick doesn't win one of them, his father and I are proud as punch! Who cares if he can't throw a football or shoot a basket?!

Tomorrow we should be back to regularly scheduled quilting posts...thanks for bearing with a proud mama!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pillowcase Fun

There is another birthday coming up soon -- this time it's my husband's grandson who will turn 9 in October.

The kids in the family usually get books (and college fund deposits) as gifts (yes, we're the boring grandparents, I'm afraid). This year the books have been wrapped in pillowcases. You can see more of them here and here.

This one has the balloon fabric for the body and the bug fabric for the cuff. All wrapped up and ready to go in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I Can Do Anything Now

I feel like I can do anything now after making this block. In some ways it is both my least favorite and my most favorite of all the blocks so far. It's my least favorite because it was a pain to figure out how to make it and it's my most favorite because I managed to figure out a neat way to get it done.

Since I started my DJ journey in May 2008, I've spent many hours studying this block and studying the various techniques used by some of my fellow DJers. Some have chosen to break it down into a paper-piecing pattern (sometimes requiring Y-seams and sometimes not), and others have hand-pieced theirs. I was not looking forward to either method, especially after hearing Angie (our guild's first DJ goddess) say that she spent 6 hours making this block!

So, after staring at the block for the 100th time, I had a light-bulb moment last night and realized that it could be made using the raw-edge machine-buttonhole-stitch method that I've come to like a lot. I printed the block onto freezer paper, then ironed the pattern onto the dark orange fabric and cut it out as one piece, just like in this example shown in this post. You can see what the cut-out piece looks like in my second photo today. If you try this technique, I advise that you use a pair of very, very sharp small scissors. I then very carefully stitched it on by outlining where the individual pieces should be. The stitches are hard to see in the first photo, but click on it and you should be able to see a close-up.

The third photo shows what it looks like on the back. I chose not to piece the background like Jane did. This block was trouble enough as it was. The remaining blocks will be a piece of cake now, right?

This is "L-10, Nan's Naiad", an advanced-level block. Not counting the time I spent studying it and deciding on what fabrics to use, it took me about an hour and a half. If I had had to hand-piece it, it would have taken weeks. My hat is off to those who make many of these blocks by hand!

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's Been Too Long

It's been more than 2 weeks since I last finished a DJ block. Too many other fun projects going on right now.

This is "E-7, Bread Basket", an advanced-level block that I chose to paper piece. Since I didn't want to deal with Y-seams, I added a few pieces to make things easier. In the original quilt, the center square is one piece of fabric and four of the triangles are one piece each as well. I broke them down into smaller (!) pieces to make for straight stitching.

I've been studying the blocks that remain...many will be a bit tough, but I think I've figured out how to make "L-10, Nan's Naiad" the easy way....stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Check This Out

A group of my quilting friends and I have started a group blog where we hope to share photos of our projects, ask advice, and share info on stitching-related topics. Feel free to comment on our posts. We'd love to hear from other fabricoholics out in cyberspace.

The new blog is called Random Acts of Stitching. You can get to it by clicking here.

And if you are a member of the Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild and would like to join our blog group so that you can post your photos and other info, just contact me or my friend Susan. We'd be happy to help you get started on blogging with us.

Seeing Double

I made these two Double Pinwheel quilts for my husband's twin grandchildren in June 2006 and quilted them on my HQ16. At that time the machine was still new and I was having some issues with it, so the quilting was so-so. I soon discovered that the problem wasn't the machine, but the operator!

The pattern is from Eleanor Burns. I used 3 fabrics -- a pink, a blue, and a white -- and made both sets of blocks at once. Can you see that they spin in opposite directions? It's a very simple technique, and looks a lot harder than it really is. And it works beautifully for twin boy/girl quilts.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Today's post is for all the students who unfortunately live in school districts like mine where they will not be seeing this live. Our school district administration could learn a thing or two from it. So could the parents.

Monday, September 7, 2009

My Cup Overfloweth

I think I've finally caught up with all the thank yous that I needed to send out this summer. This first selvage postcard is for Anina of Twiddletails to thank her for organizing the nine-patch swap that I participated in. Since a lot of the selvages on the card had circles, I secured the diagonal one using a small circle/large circle fancy stitch on my Bernina.

The second selvage postcard is to thank Megan for the adorable 30s fat quarters I won in the giveaway on her Will Work for Fabric blog. The selvages in this postcard came from the FQs she sent me.

Here's a shot of the box of goodies that arrived from her. In addition to the FQs, she sent a nice pattern and an adorable golf tee pin cushion. How cute is that?

And of course, I had to fold the FQs using the method I blogged about here.

The last postcard is for Kheli of Remember Your Karma who sent me a box containing various pieces of lovely fabric, some embroidery floss, and a few other little goodies. Some of the selvages in the postcard came from the fabric she sent.

Kheli's postcard is the one that I used in my fabric selvage postcard tutorial here.

Thank you again to all these wonderful bloggers!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Group Effort

This is a Project Linus quilt recently made by several of my guild members out of fabric and batting that had been donated to our stash. One member pieced the strips, I quilted it, and another brave member attached the binding. I took this picture before the binding was attached.

Sometimes we have to work with what we have. There wasn't much of the light blue fabric that was used for the narrow border (and we're not sure that it's 100 % cotton) and the batting was a real poufy poly batting. I hated quilting with it, but in some ways, I like the final effect. It made the quilting stand out nicely on the front -- it almost makes the strips of fabric look like they were curved pieces.

The problem with having such a narrow border and such a poufy batting was that it made the narrow border quite ruffly. I was glad when a guild member volunteered to deal with the binding. The final result worked out just fine and I'm sure some child somewhere will love it no matter what. That makes us all feel good.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

NQR -- Glorious Weather

There hasn't been too much quilting/sewing going on for a few days in my house because the weather we've been having has been perfect. The early morning temps are cool (mid-40s), but the daytime highs get into the 70s with no humidity! We had so little sunshine this summer that I am trying to spend as much time as I can outdoors. The forecast calls for dry sunny weather for the next week! That's been unheard of these last several months.

One of my favorite places to be on beautiful days is the Pine Creek Rail Trail, just outside of Wellsboro, PA, and just a short drive from my home. This morning, I joined my husband and several of his birding friends from the Tiadaghton Audubon Society on a seven-mile bike/birding ride. I'm not a birder, so instead of binoculars, I looked at things through my camera lens.

Toward the end of the ride, this magnificent creature treated us to a great view. My camera is not the best, so the shot is a bit grainy, but I think you should be able to figure out what it is. There are a number of places along the rail trail to see them, even a couple of nests where babies are raised in the spring.

If you're ever in the area of north-central Pennsylvania, you must certainly take some time to walk or bike along this trail. No traffic, no crowds...we saw a lot more birds than people. Over the three-hour ride, (it takes birders a long time to cover 7 miles...) we probably saw fewer than ten other people.
I suppose I'll get back to quilting soon...maybe in the late evenings...