Thursday, August 11, 2016

Another successful Sew Fest

Finally rested up after a week in Texas for Sew Fest.  Was gone 11 days and I was happy to see my bed!  Now to get my ambition back and start on the quilts that are needing quilted!
Here are some of the tops that got completed:  NOTE:  I believe there were 59 quilt tops completed by 9 ladies in 6 days.  This is a very small sampling and these were made by others...
These blocks were part of a "sampler challenge" - use the same fabrics and make at least 5 different patterns, but make 2 of each of pattern selected.  Love how this turned out!

If I remember correctly, this is a modified version of the "Crossroads" quilt that appeared in the Blocks magazine from Missouri Star Quilt Company.

Simple half square triangles and they made a stunning quilt.

Strips and embroidered squares - easy, yet beautiful

what you can do with limited log cabin blocks..

This picture does not do this quilt justice.  This quilt is so bright and cheerful.

What you can do when you don't have quite enough for a full quilt - combine them!

Not a full set of designs (we like to use 10) so focus fabric comes though...

Isn't this lovely?!  I like the planned scrappiness of it.

What to do when you only have a couple blocks of each..  

It's hard to explain Sew Fest.... members who are not able to attend will send in 'filler (quilt) blocks', embroidered designs, fabric for sashings and borders.  Then those attending will also add to that mix and then it's all laid out on a table by colors, embroidered design sets, etc...  Then the attendees will take from the table and start assembling quilts.  Sometimes quilts are cut and pieced at Sew Fest from fabric that was sent.  The artistry that evolves amazes me every year.  I learn so much from the ladies who come.  We share tips and techniques, not to mention the 'tools' used for our craft.
Every year we try to come up with a theme for a gift exchange.  This year the theme was "Pamper ME".  The idea was to come up with something that the recipient would use just for them.  Surprisingly, the ladies said it was really a difficult theme.  They thought of lotions and potions but then the fragrances one might like another might not.  This was my gift to the recipient:
Love this fabric!  This is a book bag.

Inside I put a covered note pad, a tea wallet filled with a variety of teas, a zippered pouch filled with Jelly Bellies, one of those color books for grown ups with color pencils and made a journal using scrapbooking papers.

My idea was to sit quietly, enjoy a cup of tea and write in a journal or color a page in the color book.  Something to ease the mind and relax the soul...  I may have to make another one for me!

I received a lovely FQ of sparkly blue fabric wrapped around the Eucalyptus & Mint scent from Bath & Body Works line of Stress relief in the body wash and and lotion.  Very nice....

Hope you enjoyed the photos and maybe got a few ideas of layouts and maybe some projects for a gift exchange ;-)  
Until next time,

Katie




Thursday, June 30, 2016

Don't call it cr*p!

It's not a secret that I love thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales, etc...  The old adage "one man's trash is another man's treasure" is so very true.  
I like nothing better than coming across a box, bag, whatever of sewing stuff just thrown in it and buying the entire 'lot'.  Then I get to bring it home and go through the bounty/treasure.  There have been times when once I've gone through it, I have half of it or more being re-donated or trashed.   But I have to say, I've always gotten my money's worth!  I can not think of one time I've said, "well, that was a waste".  I've had friends and family ask, "what are you going to do with all that cr*p?"  But who do they come to for just the right clasp, snap, zipper, button, etc...  ?
Recently I had a project to make for a gift exchange and the monetary limit was set at $20.  The organizer told me I had gone over the limit and I told her no I did not!  The fabric used cost me less than $5 and everything else was constructed from what I had on hand and bought at estate/yard sales at pennies..  I was told that was cheating... WHAT?! Because I'm thrifty, I'm a cheat???  Oh well, call it what you want, someone will get a very nice exchange gift because I had cr*p on hand to make it... Photos forthcoming...

Katie

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

accumulating fabric

I have been accumulating fabric and have not purchased one yard!  The lady that runs our local thrift store (proceeds go to our historical society/museum), found out that I do a great deal of quilting for charity and that I'm co-founder of Quilters for Comfort.  Since she's discovered that, anytime she gets a donation of fabrics, she calls me to come take a look.  If it's something I can use, she then donates it to me.  She had given me a large box of fabric and told me it was from the estate of one of her neighbors and there would probably be more.  I happened to stop at the 'estate sale' of her neighbor's as I saw some wicker chairs I was interested in.  While I was 'shopping' the estate sale, the neighbor's son started showing me fabric.  OMGoodness!  bolts and bolts of fabric!  Unfortunately, a great deal of it was drapery weight and something I just was not interested in.  The lady from the thrift store come while I was there and told him I was the lady she told him about that could use the fabric.  Long story short - I had to call my husband to come with the truck because I literally had a truck load of wicker and fabric!  This guy just started piling stuff up. He asked me one thing - that I finish a quilt (if I found any) and send to him.  He said he would like to have just one of his mother's quilts to give to his wife.  A friend came over the next morning and we started sorting and going through boxes of stuff.  When all was said and done, I kept 2 large totes of fabric as did my friend who helped me sort.  There was probably 75 yards of flannel on bolts of which I kept maybe 25 yards and donated the rest to another friend who makes preemie blankets for the children's hospital in Phoenix.  Another sewing friend came and took several pieces of sheer fabric, some for curtains, and some for lining Christmas stockings that she makes for the VA Hospital's Christmas party.  So anyway, with that all sorted, I found 3 quilt tops that had already paired with backing and batting.  One quilt top that had gotten wet and the mildew had eaten away at the fabric.  I was sad to have to dispose of that top...  Then there was a hand sewn quilt top that I believe might have been made by this guy's grandmother.  He had told me she made quilts by hand and there might be one in the stuff.  Well, here are the quilts I finished:






These quilts are not perfect (neither am I) and the Sunbonnet was a 'rough edge' applique that was a challenge to quilt, but they are done and I will send them on to him.
Here is the hand sewn quilt:


I love the pattern!  These are large blocks - I didn't measure but I would say 18"...
I am not going to quilt this top as I don't hand quilt and I just feel this should be hand quilted.  I will send it along with the other quilts.
Oh, just to share - the bulk of the fabric from this estate was mostly (I'm guessing) from the 1980's.  Just judging from the prints and colors...  And a lot of 'polished' cotton.
I am thankful for the fabric that is donated to me and when it's something I don't think I will use, I always try to find someone else who can use it that I know will appreciate it.
Hope you all have a good day.

Katie

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sometimes things just work...

In a previous post I showed some pictures of a block I was working on for a 'special project', well here's the completed quilt:
 and a close up:
The story behind this quilt - a QFC member became ill while on a visit to her son.  She was told to see her own doctor when she got home after spending 5 days in a hospital.  Long story short, they told her she may have cancer.  Cathy B. (my counter part from QFC) had these embroidered angels leftover from a previous 'angel quilt'.  I pulled fabric, made up the blocks and sent to Cathy with all extra fabric.  She assembled the quilt and returned it to me for quilting.  The recipient of this quilt had it in her hands in a little over 2 weeks!  From PA, to AZ, to CT... And, I'm happy to say the recipient has been now been told she does NOT have cancer but is undergoing further testing to find out what is going on.
Another lady from QFC sent me some leftovers.  These were wide strip sets that had been angled cut:
 I separated the strips to give me a 4 strip set and measured to get a square cut.  Some strips only yielded one square where others yielded 3 or 4.  I paired those strip squares with a red I had, sewed around the outside edges and cut "X" diagonally.  I ended up with 9½" squares once assembled.  When I pulled a few to get a picture, I discovered I ended up with a secondary pattern that I just love!  This was not planned, but I sure like the way it worked out.
Some of the QFC ladies are also working on row quilts.  Sort of like a Round Robin quilt where you pass it around, except we're doing rows and the finished quilt will be donated.  We're finishing up a couple jungle theme quilts now and starting a Farm theme and Mystical theme.  I started the Mystical and here's my row with a close up:

I have had these designs for a very long time and I'm sorry to say I do not know where I got them.  The letters preceding the numbers on the design are DS so not sure if that's a help.... 
So, these are the projects I've been working on.  In between the Quilters for Comfort projects, I try and work on scrap projects.  I have a couple that I've decided I just want to be done so instead of quilts, they will be table toppers.  These are paper pieced projects I started and as much as I do love paper piecing, I find I don't have the time to devote to getting a full quilt done.  Just too many other things I want / need to finish.  I also pulled 2 'in progress' quilts that I want to see done.  Then I will probably have at least 6+ quilts waiting for quilting.... 
Guess I better get busy!
Wishing you all good health and safety from these storms that our country is experiencing...

Katie

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Almost a year ago...

It's been almost a year now since I was approached about helping 'someone' with getting the Senior's Center here in our small town to making quilts for "humanitarian efforts".  I was asked to be available to help these "senior" ladies when this "someone" wasn't able to be there.  Long story short - this "someone" has NEVER been to any of the meetings!  Ever happen to you - you're asked to HELP only to discover you're IT?  I love these ladies and I love to quilt so it was a good thing.  
A couple years ago a lady from the QFC (Quilters for Comfort) group donated over 100 quilt tops to be finished for charities.  Due to some health issues she was no longer able to work at a sewing machine.  A few of the members from QFC has worked on these quilt tops and they've been donated but I still had a few and decided to take them to the Senior's Center for their use.  These tops were simple square or brick scrappy patchwork and the request was that the Senior's tie the quilts.  It's taken a year but the quilt tops I donated have been tied and they are wanting to make 50 more.  Problem is - these ladies are not quilters and many are not even sewists.  Bring on the usage of a rotary cutter and mat - never mind I won't go there....
So my solution - I'm going to start cutting up my scraps into simple squares and 'kit' up for the ladies to make simple patchwork quilt tops.  I have a love / hate relationship with my scraps and time for them to find a purpose and I think this is a good purpose.  This is my project for today - cutting squares.  It will be a good thing to work on while I do some machine embroidery - think I may have a plan... Now to get busy with it :-)

Katie

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tube block

Have you ever done a tube block?  Where you take the two strips and sew them top and bottom, then cut to get half square triangles?  I first heard/saw these done with the Wonder Cut ruler.  I jumped on the band wagon and got me one of those rulers.  I personally don't care for it but I've talked to others who love it.  It's a matter of choice.  Anyway, I needed to make up a set of quick quilt blocks and thought about the "Tube block" technique and pulled some practice fabrics to work on the right measurements for the size blocks I wanted to complete - sometimes my brain just goes to 'math dead' and I can't figure out the dimensions...
My first strip sets made blocks too big for what I needed the set for but I really liked the way they looked so made a complete set from my 'practice' fabrics:
These blocks measure 14" and I have a set of 12.  I'm thinking a solid color green to sash and border for a finished quilt...
If you've ever cut triangles from a strip, you know you end up with the odd ends.  I decided to play around with those ends and this is what I came up with:
These aren't sewn together yet... the little blocks measure 6" so this piece when sewn together will measure 27" X 11".  I will border it and probably use it as a dresser runner.  Then.. I had some of the peach and white strip that was longer than the green and peach strip so cut that up into 4-patches along with some squares of green and this is what I have:
This will measure 10 X 20 and will end up being used as a table scarf or something of that nature.
I'm glad I decided to use these pieces while I was in sewing mode instead of throwing them into the scrap tub.  
Oh, the blocks I 'needed' to get done - well, they're for a special project and needed to get sent to a friend to use with a set of embroidered angels:

The person who will be the recipient of the quilt loves bright colors and I have had this print in my stash for quite some time.  I liked pairing it with the Fairy Frost fabrics I had (more fabric I've had for awhile...)
You may have noticed that these blocks aren't the same layout as the green & peach blocks... The green & peach create a square and these obviously don't.  That's one of the things I really like about using this technique, there are several different looks using the same units...  

Wishing everyone a wonderful day,

Katie

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

this and that

While I've been in sewing mode, I started working on things for Sew Fest which isn't until August, but the way my ambition comes and goes these days, I take advantage while I have it:
 These blocks are my start to a "Sampler Challenge".  The QFC group was asked to make 2 blocks of 5 different patterns over a period of a couple months.   It was asked to use the same fabrics for all the blocks that will then be put into "sampler" style quilts at Sew Fest.
 These embroidery designs are from Windbell Embroidery.  I used a varigated red thread and wasn't sure I'd like where it went so pale as to be almost white but after I looked at the stitchout off the machine, I liked the 'softness' of it.  This year at Sew Fest we are planning on some more feminine quilts to honor our lady veterans.
This set is also from Windbell Embroidery.
My grandson is in the Air Force my plans are to put this block into a quilt for him.
This block is from Eleanor Burns book "Day & Night" which also comes with a 'specialty' ruler which is really just a triangle ruler with specific to this pattern markings:
You start with a strip set then cut left and right units.  There are some "bonus" cuts that are used for a small version of the star and also the 'spider web' block:
I don't have the corners on in this picture yet....  These were really simple to make and I am sure I will be doing more.

My youngest granddaughter is really into the Disney movie "Frozen".  Her room is decorated accordingly and she has the Elsa and Anna (fashion) dolls as well as other Barbie dolls.  So, thinking ahead to Christmas I've started cutting out doll clothes from my scraps of fabric.  It doesn't take much fabric for these small clothes.... 

Until next time, I wish you all well and much creativity.

Katie