Thursday, March 31, 2011

Favorite Things Friday (again)

So Ms. Pyjamas hosts this wonderful FTF and you have to know, it's a great way to meet new bloggers and to enjoy a little bit of fun insight shared by others. Take a look and link on up with your own favorite thing.  You can't go wrong.

In thinking about this week's FTF, I had a few random quilt-related FTFs and then I would see some great food commercial and I thought about comfort food and doing a mosaic of it for you. I decided I'd spare us all that until next week and this week, I'd focus on a few quilt-related favorites.  They are small items but are no less important than any one large favorite.  So, without fanfare and without many pictures (okay, any pictures) here are my things.

It is a favorite thing when I am sewing and my machine gets louder and louder and louder.

It is a favorite thing when I run out of the color of thread I'm quilting with and I only have about 10 inches of quilting space left to fill.

It is a favorite thing when I don't plan ahead, cannot find a proper binding, there's a snowstorm outside and I promised the quilt would be in the mail yesterday.

It is a favorite thing when I start 16 projects and never finish one.  It's really great for this slightly-OCD person.

It is a favorite thing the quilt starts so pretty in my head and looks like crap when it's put together.

It is a favorite thing when I don't have time to blog like I want to.

It is a favorite thing when I don't have time to quilt like I want to.

It is a favorite thing...

when I get to say Happy April Fool's Day.

Cheers! Beck

Monday, March 28, 2011

Paper Piece QAL - Week 2

ACK! I just realized in the post below I talk about this being a 9x9" square and it's not! It finishes at 9.5"x9.5".  Please translate that when you read 9" below.  My apologies. To those that have already printed and enlarged their patterns, it's OKAY to finish this out using 9x9 inch squares. It just means more leftover fabric instead of not enough.  I'm sorry for the inconvience.

I'm sorry this post is a couple days late. With it being quarter end at work and March Madness here, I lost 2 days of the week to other stuff.

This week: Pattern preparation and cutting.  Say it with me, "yea!"

Preparing the Pattern:
1) Pring this pattern.  Use THIS LINK, not the picture below (and disregard the "A" in front of the letters, it means nothing).  I've set it up so if you print both pages at your normal printer settings (for normal 8.5"x11" paper), it should come out to look like each sheet pictured in the link.  You may have to "download" it first but it should still print as 2 pages. 
For my friends using A4 paper (thanks for asking Shevy!) I am not sure how to advise you the best way to print. There is another link below, a JPEG of the entire block but it prints (for me) as a 6"x6" square instead of 9"x9".  Here's the JPEG link.
UPDATE: Ms Pyjamas of Australia states she printed this and it came out at 6.75".  She then enlarged it by 31% and it came out to be 9" blocks.   Just get it as close to 9" as possible without going over too much and make all your blocks the same size and this will still work out with fabric requirements.

Once you print, fold one side on the line and tape the folded part to the matching line on the other sheet.  THEN MEASURE IT, please.  Each block should print up at 9"x9" with both sheets.

2) Put the block under one piece of tracing paper and using a ruler, trace all lines onto tracing paper (including the block outline). Add the numbers to the sections on your tracing paper.
3)  Now, you can repeat step 2 for all other pieces of tracing paper (if I have a 4-block quilt, I'll do that but if I have a 35 block quilt, I follow the following approach) or you can line up about 6 - 8 pieces of tracing paper ("TP" now b/c I'm tired of typing it) and pin them together securely.  Then, with the thread OUT of the sewing machine, use the needle to punch lines through all layers of the paper to create perforated line patterns on the other TP pieces.  If you have a machine that yells at you when you are trying to work without thread (like mine) the other alternative is to use the tool below and do the same thing, puncture each TP piece. However, you can only do 3 or 4 at a time with this method. 

If your eyesight is poor, I recommend following direction # 2 above. 
The last alternative, print the # of blocks you need from the printer. I only use this occasionally b/c (a) it's thicker paper and makes tearing away more difficult and (b) it uses a lot of  paper and ink.
4) Once all sections are marked with perforated lines or actual, drawn lines, be sure to number them all.  Pay attention and be sure you don't accidently turn blocks upside down before numbering.   Set aside. 

Cutting the fabric:
NOTE 1: Since there are so many options, I'm not breaking cutting down by each quilt. I'm giving you the cutting requirements for each block. You determine how many pieces you need by the # of sections in each block x the number of blocks with that color scheme. In one version, I have 3 yellow blocks.  3 yellow blocks times 2 sections of the medium, dark yellow = 6 med., dark yellow pieces total.

NOTE 2:  Reminder, once we are done, there will be waste from the fabric cuts. This can be reduced with PP practice but because we have newbies, I want to be sure struggling with angling fabric is NOT part of this QAL. Plan to pass your scraps to a friend who likes applique if you don't applique yourself.  That's the best advise I can offer.

A) Cut fabric for sections as listed below.
Section 3 = 5 1/2" x 10"
Section 8 = 5 1/2" x 10"
Sections 1 & 5 = 4 1/4 x 8 1/4"
Sections 2 & 4 = 4 1/4 x 8 1/4"
Sections 6 & 7 = 4 1/4 x 8 1/4"

Examples of cut sections for my yellow blocks.

B) You can cut borders now if you don't already have them cut and (please refer to week 1 post for the measurements you need) but I always wait until the end to cut those. I tend to measure better.

That's it for this week, folks. Next week, we will begin piecing. I will post every Monday from here on out! Let me know if you have any questions and please remember to post progress on our Flickr group. :-)


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Progress on the quilt to Japan

I've decided to name this quilt, "Flowers for Japan" because, as it turns out, that's what it is in fabric and spirit.

This came together as quickly as I thought it would. I started Saturday, at about noon, with this.
Thanks to my Go cutter, 2.5" strips were cut in an hour. (Let me preface the rest of this post now by saying the top plus border could have been completed in one day if I started Sat. morning like I intended and didn't get stuck with my eyes glued to March Madness basketball games.)
Strips were put together in sets of 6 and sewn.

The set width ended up measuring at 11.5" so I cut them at 11.5" to make square blocks.
I ended up with stragglers. I have 3" cuts here and may or may not use them as a pieced border. I'm still deciding.
Currently, this is the top. As I said, a border (or two) will be added today and then probably a simple meander quilting & machine binding tomorrow so I can get this in the mail this week.
On a side note, I received the new Keepsake Quilting catalog in the mail and there is the picture of this quilt kit:
I laughed and the hubs agreed that in this household, that was a quilt for me, not him. I'm the chips & dip, sports, hotdog/hamburg, person and he likes more traditional quilts.  An hour or so later, it was confirmed when I laid out the Flowers for Japan and he commented he really liked the colors and look of that quilt. A lot.

Sometimes, life is funny that way.
Cheers! Beck

Monday, March 21, 2011

Winner, a must go to link, & a little weekend progress

First, the winner of the weekend giveaway, as determined by, Commentor #9:

deborah said...

I don't have a favorite fabric line, since I mainly work with scraps (yep..I love just a big mix) but I do like Sunkissed.

Congratulations Deborah! I'll hook up with you over email and get that turnover sent out this week!

Now,  I came across a link for this survey in blogland and HAD to share it. Piecemeal Quilts is having a survey based, in part, on comments to a post she wrote a few days ago. I encourage all of you to go take a look at both posts and answer the survey questions. They are quick and it will be interesting to see the overall results.  For me personally, I learned I've got quite a range of know-how under my belt (whether I'm accomplished at it, that's another story!) and where I used to say I was a tentative intermediate, I now KNOW I'm an intermediate level quilter or maybe even an adventurouse intermediate. Felt good.

If you still haven't signed up for the quilt along, WHAT are you waiting for? Go HERE and get the supply list. I promise it won't take too much time during the week. You can do it... and since I'm not above bribery, I will be giving somethign away to a lucky participant. So grab my sidebar button, spread the word and join up today. (That's my best sales pitch... I feel pushy but my brain knows it wasn't pushy.  Thank goodness I'm not in sales for a living or I'd starve.)

Finally, a little weekend progress. Here are the two stars for the Just One Star campaign.

In progress and I'm afraid I did something very wrong b/c measurement seem way off. I decide to suck it up and sew to see what it will look like anyway. There must be a reason they say to cut it this size.  (Gee, trusting a pattern, go figure.)

 Hmm, not bad. They want to trim and square it up so this is what I am sending along this week.

Cheers! Beck

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Nat'l Quilting Day - Giveaway and Charity Announcements


I missed this last year so I'm glad I'm paying attention this year because it means I can do the following 3 things:

1) Announce my participation in three charity events
2) Announce a GIVEAWAY!
3) Link a couple other giveaways I've seen out and about today.

First, I am going to participate in the following three events. I've been "meaning" to do something more this year on these lines but have not made much an effort. As part of this Lenton season, I've decided it's important I do it now and stop waiting for a good time.

TODAY I'm going to make two stars. One in honor of my hubby retiring and one in honor of fellow bloggers' family members who are currently serving or about to serve.  I pray for you all and will do so until I am no longer here.

QUILTS FOR JAPAN (or this site)
THIS WEEKEND  I'm going to finish up a quilt. I will use the pattern from Old Red Barn's quilt along from two years ago b/c I know it will come together very quickly.
An additional link per the comments (THANKS LIBERAL SPRINKLES!) with MANY other options to help with relief for Japan.  Check it out.

THIS WEEK, I'll create a quilt for this event using the same Old Red Barn design.

I encourage all of you to participate in one or more events. We are a generous bunch and a little time is all that is needed but it brings such comfort!

I ordered some fabric through Inchworm Fabrics (love this little store, very responsive and reasonable prices) and it turns out, my order was large enough to qualify for a freebie. I love the fabric line and freebie but decided I would share it with one of you, instead or I would start something new instead of finishing what needs to be done!

To one lucky commentor, I'm giving away this turnover.  (Of course, international, standard shipping is not a problem!) 
All you have to do is comment and answer this question: What is your current favorite fabric line? 
   Bonus: Today, b/c I want to spread the word about the charity events, if you blog or FB about the giveaway, and come back and comment a second time you've done so, you've just given yourself a second entry.
Entries close 6pm ET March 20.

Last but not least, here are some links to other giveaways I've seen in blogland today.
Bejeweled Quilts by Barb - 10 packs (10 winners) of hand-made South African buttons -ends 3/22
Samelia's Mum - 2 giveaways -ends 3/25
Quixotic Crafter - charm squares -ends ?? maybe Sat. maybe Sun. (If you feel like it, to give me an extra entry, please let her know you linked to her through me. :D )

And while your in blogland, why not stop by SewCalGal's blog and vote for the 2011 Quilter's Awards!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dirty little secrets - FTF

It's St. Patty's day and being a good non-Irish woman, I use this holiday to pretend I'm Irish and further to celebrate the "just another excuse to party" day.  Also, it's a little early but I'm coming back on board with Favorite Things Friday and that is "Dirty Little Secrets".

Today I cooked corned beef and cabbage (with carrots, onions and potatos of course!). Thought my DD would hate it (hubs and boys were gone tonight) but we both LOVED it. She's even having a corned beef sandwich tomorrow!

This may not seem very newsworthy to you but truth be told, I thought I was the only one in a household of 5 that liked corned beef and now, since I have 1 more person who likes it, to me, that means I get to cook it more than 1x per year! HOORAY!

The hubs will have to deal. That's my dirty little secret #1.

Dirty little secret #2:  I had 2 glasses of wine tonight and I'm going on my third. Regardless of tomorrow being a work day, I'm thinking of drowning my sorrows in a 4th!

Dirty little secret #3: I am on Skype as Sarcastic Quilter.  I've been logging in lately by it's rare that my 4 friends are on. If you don't mind someone who looks like she doesn't know what makeup and hairstyling are, reach out to me. :)

Dirty little secret #4: I'm really enjoying the Live Destination Truth episode in Ireland on Syfy right now. I'm not sure if it's the wine, my mini crush on Josh Gates or both but I'm staying here tonight.

Dirty litte secret #5: I love college basketball but apparently, with my wine and the hubs gone, I like Josh Gates mroe and am watching Syfy instead of March Madness!

Dirty litte secret #6: I have no sorrows so I have no excuse with item #2.

Dirty litte secret #7: I read classic novels and fantasy sci-fi novels about paranormal things (look up Kat Richardson's Greywalker series to know what I mean) but then every now and then I read, *GASP*,  erotica.  You know, those freebies you can read?  Are you scared yet? Curiosity gets the better of me so I'll download a free thing sometimes.  Honest to God, sometimes I read it and think, really? People do that?  Other times I wonder... could I ever lay there as long as some of the freaking scenes they describe without starting to think about bills, tomorrow's to do list, the bathroom needing cleaning, the dogs needing a bath, did I sign up to bring snacks to the soccer game, etc.  I mean honestly ladies, you understand don't you? Erotica is nothing more than impossible fantasy to me because the second my brain is intrigued is the SAME SECOND my brain breaks it down by reminding me of reality. Then I laugh at how ridiculous it all is. I may think of myself as a pretty little, tight bodied 20-something but reality breaks it down to  the older, baby flabbing, lazy and strict sleep-scheduled 30-something that I am. 

Dirty litte secret #8: I thoroughly enjoyed grossing you all out with Dirty litte secret #7. It's not real folks. Wipe those dirty little images from your mind!

Dirty litte secret #9: I am very afraid I'll screw up the paper-piecing instrucstions for the quilt along even though I know you will still love me even if I do.

and lastly:
Dirty litte secret #10: hubs is out this evening and Josh Gates and Dirty litte secret #7 are my only comfort.  Now you know why I'm going to go and pour myself a 4th glass (see Dirty litte secret #2).

Got any Dirty little secrets you want to share? Come on... I won't tell anyone!

(ps - ETA that I stopped at 3. My body wanted water instead. What can I say, I'm no longer in college. :D)

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Q&A on Quilt along (and a widget!)

I'll post answers to questions for the supply list here over the next couple of days.

1) No need for lots of printing, you can do that but if you do, you need printer ink and paper, not tracing paper.  All you will need is 1 print copy of the pattern. Perhaps a friend will let you use their printer if you don't have one?

2) FQ's will work for this but you have to do your own math.  I tried to do it but found I was confusing myself and that meant the chances of confusing you would be great. To determine if you have enough FQ fabric, you can use the individual cut section sizes first listed. I am not providing cutting instructions, it doesn't matter which way you cut, it only matters that you get pieces for each section in the sizes I've indicated (and more on that next week.)

Now, if you want to let others know you are participating (or if you just want to help spread the word), I think I've acutally created a functioning button that you can add to your own blog.  See my side bar for the code. :)  It is linked to my blog as opposed to a specific post, but that's the best I can do for now.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Quilt along post #1, suppply list.

I am late in the day posting, I know and apologize but to make up for it, I'm giving you a few options, and a week and a half to pull your supplies together. Next quilt along ("QA") post will be the 24th of March.

First order of business. I do not know how to do the linkee thing so instead, I've created a Flickr Group for us.  Questions/discussions can be posted there, anyone with an email address can participate for free and no blog posts are necessary if you don't want to. Just post pictures as the weeks move along.  It's fun to see everyone's choices and progress in the same place. So, pop on over there and join up. 


Second order of business.  For all those participating (and posting their completed tops, not quilted quilt, just tops) at the end of this QA on Flickr, there will be a random drawing for a prize. Right now I have one prize (to be disclosed later but let's just say it's stash friendly) and if we have a big turnout, I'll add a runner up prize.

Finally, a supply list:
Rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat
Tracing paper (enough for the # of blocks you choose & figuring blocks will finish at 9.5" square)
Fabric as indicated below.

If you want to go scrappy: the measurements for each piece of fabric for the block are:
Sections 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, & 7 = 4 ¼”x8 ¼”
Sections 3 & 8 = 5 ½”x10”

Yardage for 24”x24” Easter table topper:
Section 3 = 1/8 yd each, pale purple & light purple
Sections 2 & 4 = ¼ yd aqua polka dot
Sections 1 & 5 = ¼ yd light green flower
Sections 6 & 7 = ¼ yd yellow polka dot
Section 8 = ¼ yd pink polka dot
Border 1 = 2 EACH, 1 ½”x19”, 1 ½”x21” strips
Border 2 = 2 EACH, 2 ½”x22” aqua, 2 ½”x25” green strips
             An optional topper choice: 4th of July?

Yardage for 44”x53” garden quilt: (This is the quilt I am doing)
Section 3 = EACH, ¼ yard pale yellow, ½ yd pale blue, ¾ yd pale green
Sections 2 & 4 = EACH, ¼ yd light yellow, ½ yd light blue, ¾ yd light green
Sections 1 & 5 = EACH, ¼ yd medium yellow, ½ yd medium blue, ¾ yd medium green
Sections 6 & 7 = EACH, ¼ yd medium-dark yellow, ½ yd medium-dark blue, ¾ yd dark green
Section 8 = EACH, ¾ yd dark yellow, ¾ yd dark blue
Green Border 1 = 2 each, ½”x46” & ½”x39”
Dk blue Border 2 = 2 each, 3 ½”x48” & 3 ½”x45”
                                    An additional color and layout options for this same size quilt.
Yardage for 44”x53” pink ribbon quilt:
Section 3 = 1 ½ yd pale pink
Sections 2 & 4 = 1 ½ yd medium pink
Sections 1 & 5 =1 ½ yd light pink
Sections 6 & 7 = 1 ½ yd dark pink
Section 8 = 1 ½ yd medium dark pink
Light Border = 2 each,  1½”x46” & 1½”x39”
medium Border 2 = 2 each, 3 ½”x48” & 3 ½”x45”
                       Other color/layout options:

Yardage for 51”x51” patriotic quilt:
Section 3 = 1 ½ yd ice pale blue
Sections 2 & 4 = EACH, ¾ yd light blue, ¾ yd red
Sections 1 & 5 = EACH, ¾ yd medium blue, ¾ yd medium dark red
Sections 6 & 7 = EACH, ¾ yd medium dark blue, ¾ yd dark red
Section 8 = 1 ½ yd dark blue
Red border = 2 EACH,  1 ½”x46”, 1 ½”x48”
Blue border = 2 EACH, 2 ½”x48”, 2 ½”x53”
                Layout and color options:

I would like to take a moment to say, you are welcome to create your own design. You are also welcome to use solids, tone-on-tone or print fabric. This is all about being enjoyable to YOU and you alone.

Finally, I would like to say the fabric requirements are generous. There will be leftover after we cut and piece. I do not want people fussing with angling pieces and getting frustrated. Just look at it as a way to save scraps for your (or a friend's) applique stash!
Come post your fabric photos at the Flickr group.  Can't wait to see what everyone decides on. :-)  My fabrics are posted here and here.  I hope you have fun with this and if you are new to paper-piecing, this is an easy start. If you are familiar with it, I hope you find the variety of layouts and colors inspiring to you.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I met someone!

I did. I finally met a fellow blogger in real life. I've Skyped with one before, actually, so does that mean I've already met one but now I've met one in the flesh, as opposed to, in real life?  Hmm...

Anywho, I met Barb from Bejeweled Quilts by Barb. Yesterday, after giving her various levels of threats that I'd show up on her doorstep unannounced, she finally relented and agreed to meet me at JoAnn Fabrics and lunch after. I took the day off work just so I wouldn't feel stressed and I could have plenty of time.  Then I was late, then I got lost (uh, yes, she's the one who's new to town but I'm the one who got lost... shut it). She was gracious and forgave me.  I knew I liked her.

I plotted, too. I have the quilt along coming up, and I wanted to be able to translate necessary fabric requirements into easy FQ measurements. I figured I'd use Barb as a sounding board for colors and helping me pick out the FQs.  That worked out for about 5 minutes when she then decided I wasn't worth the effort (I'm terribly unable to make a decision when confronted with fabric) and went over to horde the 50% off fabric bolts.  Seriously, I didn't even get to purchase off one of those, girl is evil...

Okay, okay, I misrepresent, I did show them to her and then she went off and deserted me. Sort of... she did return and feign interest.

ALRIGHT, she helped me and didn't desert me at all. geez... what do you think this blog is about, honesty or sarcasm?

I also was able to snag these fabrics on sale. Great for baby quilt backing or, since I got hom and my dogs have tried to steal it about 5 times, great for stuffed dog toys! The polka dots are going to be made into an erase board for my kitchen. Thank you, Shay, for the idea. I promise, though, I thought you had stripes, not dots on yours when I bought the dots. It wasn't until I came to link up, I noticed you had dots. Don't care, still doing it.
I had a wonderful time and hopefully, she did too. She's talking a good game on her blog about it so I choose to believe she did.  :-)  She even gave me a giftee, people.  Look how adorable this towel and hot pad are. I love them, and they will be in full display/use once I land in our next home. My kitchen is to be very colorful so they fit right in.
I love these little turtles and the fabric. Oh beautiful blues and aquas, perfect for the turtles. I am regretting not purchasing more of that Samoan fabric when I had the chance so now I'm just going to hop on over to her sister's store, Inchworm Fabrics, and see if any is left.

Lastly, before I forget, my goodies from the quilt show. All things considered, I did really well with "not spending". LOL

A book I learned about because the author was doing signings. I bought 2 and had both signed, one for me, and one for one of you (to be given away later).
Fabric for a couple kitchen wall-hangings for each of my brothers' kitchens.

A new cutter to create my own chenille. This will bring my baby quilts to a whole other design level, Lord help us all!
And finally, dyes for my Go Cutter solely for my mother because she's been wanting a Sue and Sam quilt for quite some time.
I will leave you with one last thought.  This product, the Paintsticks and stencils, are what I found, by far, to be the most intriguing and enticing at the show.  The possibilities... but I decided to let myself ponder it for a while. I'm not sure I want to go here yet. If you have some time, take a look. Let me know what you think.
Have a wonderful Saturday and I will see you later. I plan to have a finish or two to show, finally!

Cheers! Beck