Churning Fourteen

I purchased this pattern last year with the intention of choosing some nice modern fabrics to make my version of Churning Fourteen. In the mean time I thought it might be a way to use up 14 fat quarters of donated bright prints. So I dug out fourteen fabrics in very bright fabrics. I mostly found smaller prints to do some color play.

The pattern has very specific instructions on how to cut the fat quarters. There is almost no waste. That means you have to be very careful when cutting. One wrong slice and it's off to find a different fat quarter.

I cut my fabrics up without too much difficulty - after reading the instructions multiple times, that is. I worked on the blocks on my Wednesday quilt days at the Senior Center so it took me more than a month to complete the top.

I free-motion quilted this on my longarmer and machine stitched the binding on. It is ready for my next Quilts for Kids meeting.


New Pillowcases

Ever since I painted my bedroom, I've been trying to update everything in the room. There's new flooring, new curtains, new wall art and now I'm working on the bedding. I wanted some new pillowcases to accent the new colors of the room, but sticker shock at the store kept me away.

I used to think it was crazy to make pillowcases. With the price of fabric yardage, I thought making pillowcases was a luxury. Then I went to Macy's bedding sale only to discover that nice ones were more than $50 for two. Back to the fabric store I go! Not only was is cheaper to make them, the fabric choices were endless.

What fun it was to shop around for just the right fabric combinations. And I got lucky. I found this nice fabric in the clearance section of the fabric store. I added a complimentary solid for the trim and actually found some matching fabric in my stash for the cuff. I just love when things come together.

I made two pillowcases for my extra bed pillows and still had some leftover fabrics. My husband has this small pillow he received after his heart surgery. Back then he used it to put pressure on his incision post surgery and now he uses it to support his shoulder after his rotator cuff surgery. Although I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the pillow, it doesn't exactly match the decor in the room. So it got a makeover too. The leftover fabrics were just enough to make a pillowcase for the heart pillow too.


Row by Row Quilt

I finished sewing the binding on my row by row quilt today. This quilt went together quickly and easily. I used a jelly roll and some yardage to make this quilt.

Unfortunately it spent a few weeks half-completed on the longarmer since my poor machine stopped working in the middle of quilting. Everything is good now and as soon as the machine was repaired and back, I finished quilting it in no time. 

I quilted it using a pantograph called Folkart Flowers and Birds. It was a nice complement to the pretty flower prints in the fabrics. All bright and cheery. 

The pattern is from the February 2011 issue of  American Patchwork and Quilting. Making a quilt from an older magazine helps me justify keeping those old magazines around. Ha!

Folkart Flowers and Birds


From a Fabric Donation

In a box of fabrics that was donated to my church quilt group, I found some blue and gold print fabric neatly cut into 5" squares. There weren't many of them but enough to put together a quick lap quilt.

Among the donation I also found some blue yardage that compliments the squares and cut more 5" squares. I made a patchwork quilt top that needed a little pizzazz. So at the fabric store I picked up a 1/4 yard cut of some shiny gold fabric. It made a nice inner border. The rest of the blue fabric was used to make a larger outer border.

We get so much donated fabric that it's always nice to be able to complete a project using up as much of it as possible. And maybe if I dug deep enough I could have found something suitable to make the inner border but sometimes I just want a special touch.

I quilted it using a pantograph called Drift and I used high-loft batting that made the quilt really pop. It added a nice tough to the simple patchwork pattern. This quilt will go back to church to be donated to whoever needs it.


Getting Caught Up

I am so happy to have my Amara back. As soon as my dealer set the machine up, I went right to work. I had a half-completed quilt on the machine when it broke down, so I immediately finished it. That was my way of testing the machine to make sure it truly was working correctly.

Today I quilted a charity quilt that was due this past Thursday. I planned on turning it in to the church group at our meeting, but that was impossible since I hadn't had the machine for a few weeks. Luckily, the leader of our group will sew on the binding so all I had to do was quilt it. Now I will have to drop it off at her house. Here it is completed. I used a pantograph called Trumpet Vine. I like how the quilting shows up in the middle of the star blocks.

As soon as I completed the overdue charity quilt I loaded this one on my machine.
I used high-loft batting and I just love how the quilting pops. The pantograph is called Drift. I plan on stitching on the binding and turning it in when I drop off the other quilt. It's so nice to start getting caught up.

On a sad note, this is probably the last batch of tomatoes that I will blanch from my garden for this season. The weather has been cold at night even though the days are pleasant. It's just not warm enough for tomatoes to thrive any more. I'll be able to can a batch of stewed tomatoes and that's about it for this year. It's hard work but I enjoy the end result so it's worth it.


Postage Stamp Quilt Block Class

I am teaching a class on the postage stamp quilt block this Thursday. I thought this would be a good class for beginners who like to keep their scraps. Since I am teaching this to the church quilt group, I know we get a lot of donated scraps and this might interest someone who wishes to use them.

I started by making samples of each step. The first step is cutting the pieces so we could practice our accuracy with a ruler and rotary cutter. The second step is sewing 4 strips together.  After that we press the seams all to one side - another great lesson. Then we will turn the strip set sideways and cut into strips again. This will teach the class how to line up a sewn block for cutting. Then we will learn to nest seams as we sew the strips together to make the blocks.

I also made a sample with 3 blocks sewn together in order to promote the importance of pressing to one side.

I think this will also be a lesson in color arrangement. I want to stress that sometimes the print doesn't matter as much as the color. I hope the class gets some enjoyment in making these for themselves. I made sure they will have written instructions with photos as well. That's how I was instructed and it worked for me. Here's to hoping the class enjoys this!


Upcoming Craft Fair

I really need to do an inventory of my finished crafts. I've been selling a few things on Etsy and by word of mouth. So everything is in disarray from digging for things. It's time to get a handle on it since I have a craft fair coming up at the beginning of November. All of a sudden it feels like right around the corner.

I keep my crafts for sale in nice white bins. They are well protected and stay nice and clean. It looks like a small amount of stuff but you would surprised at what they hold. There are hours and hours of work inside these bins!

Here is everything from inside the bins. I have to mention the craft rack as well. My husband made it for me based on my design. This is our second version. We modified the shelves after using an original version and figuring out how it could be better. This version is made of a wood that is lighter which makes it easier to haul once it is folded up.

It is designed that when it is set up it is solid. Bumping into it does not create an issue at all. I have a Pinterest board with a photo of the craft rack on it and it has almost 10,000 shares/likes/saves. It it my most popular pin.

Believe it or not there are more than 50 table runners in that stack and 50 zipper pouches and little tote bags. There are burp cloths, baby blankets, super hero capes, aprons and more.  There are also dolls and boo-boo sacks filled with eucalyptus scented rice.

I forgot how many items I have. It makes me feel more prepared. I will make more over the next few months but I will feel less stressed about it now. Yay!

It was my granddaughter Avery's birthday yesterday. She wanted family over for cake at my house. She loves my dining room and plays in there all the time. So I set up her cake in there. My mother and sister came over and we all sang happy birthday to her. Her friend Kira lives next door to me so she was over with her little sister as well.


The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show

Here are photos from our annual trip to the Madison Quilt Expo. It's been renamed to The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show. I don't know if the change has anything to do with the passing of the amazing Nancy Zieman. The show always belonged to her (and PBS) and you could just stop by and say hi to her. She was always there and always pleasant and beautiful. And now she is sorely missed.

I took this photo because the maker is from Menominee, Michigan. That's where my husband went to high school and my mother is from there.
I know the maker of this mini quilt. Congratulations Sue on your continued success.
I like how the simple lines in the quilting give this quilt depth.
The Prince Challenge exhibit was here. I originally saw it in Houston. I love the creativity.
I took this photo because the quilt has a dragon in it. My granddaughter loves dragons.
I purchased one of these panels. I look forward to using this photo as inspiration when I quilt mine.
I was in Amsterdam in June. What a beautiful reminder of that trip.
 I find it incredible how the use of color in a block can create such a distinct portrait.
 I love quilts with house blocks.
I found this one so creative and in my house we love airplanes. 
Nice use of selvages. 
I love maple leaf blocks. 
I bought the pattern today at the show to make one of these. 
So pretty! 
Here's what I purchased from the vendor mall at the show. 


My Amara

Last week my longarmer just stopped working. It shut down in the middle of quilting a quilt. It was like somebody turned off the power. However, the room was still lit and everything else that was turned on was working. I immediately got to work troubleshooting and ended up on a message board where there have been reported issues with a specific circuit board in these machines.

Quilting ConnectionI called my dealer and we walked through her troubleshooting methods and she directed me to the tech support at Handi Quilter once those things didn't work. I went through troubleshooting methodology with the tech support people and then he asked me for the serial number of the machine and instantly he stated that the motor driver board needs to be replaced. Tech support was shipping the part to my dealer. Done.

I had to schedule an appointment with my dealer to get the board installed once Handi Quilter delivered it to them. They are very busy people. But very good at customer service. Since I recently started working at a quilt shop, the scheduled date for dropping the machine off was a day I had to work. My husband very nicely volunteered to drop the machine off since we would have to transport it in his truck anyway. There's no way that machine would ever fit in my little Mini Cooper...unless I put the convertible top down. Ha!

Here's my precious cargo headed to the shop for repair. I won't have the machine back until September 16th. I don't know how I will survive without her. I will have the machine tuned up since they will working on her anyway.  Good thing there's plenty of gardening and quilt tops to be made.

Speaking of gardening just look at the size of this cabbage. In order to get an idea of the size of this thing, I put my hand in the photo. It's huge!

We went to Six Flags Great America yesterday and I did a bad thing. I took a photo of the photos you can purchase of us on one of the rides. It grainy and blurry but here it is.
My granddaughter loves roller coasters. And I musts confess, I do too! Here are the two girls when we left Hurricane Harbor. 
Hurricane Harbor
Seeing as yesterday was the last day of summer vacation, it felt really to finish it off with a bang.


What's on the Design Board?

I've had this pretty bundle for a few years now and it's finally hit the top of my to-do list. I know it will be a bit of a challenge which is why I was in no hurry to make it. Although I enjoy honing my quilting skills for some reason, this one intimidated me more than most others.

I really struggled with the instructions for the center of this quilt. Once I completed the diamond sections, there was nothing that stated how wide the sections should be. So I was worried when I put it together and sure enough, one section was not quite right. So I am missing a point on one of the diamond pieces and after 3 tries to get it right I decided it was time to call it quits and just move on. Even though I added more borders to the center section, I still might unpick the center stitches and hand sew it back together in order to make the points better. I doesn't look half-bad from this distance though, don't you think?

There's not a lot of quilting going in these days since my longarner has to go to the shop. I will be taking it in right after Labor Day and won't be getting it back until September 16th. My husband thinks I will be going into withdrawal way before then. I disagree since I have so many other things to do so I guess we will see.

Yesterday morning I got up at 5 and took a walk around the yard. The sun was just coming up and it really made the flowers look pretty. Here are the sunflowers on the side of my vegetable garden. It sure took them a long time to finally bloom. In fact there are many more still to come. 

I also canned salsa last week and I have so many tomatoes that are ready that I will be canning another case of salsa at the end of this week.

It rained all day last Monday and just look at this guy. He knows what to do on a rainy day.