August 4, 2015

Charity Challenge - August

Here is my finished Cobblestones quilt from July.  Doesn't the dappled sunlight make it look pretty?  I had thought I might need to use yardage for the background, but I had lots of leftover scraps of Kona Snow, so I didn't - bonus! I quilted it with horizontal lines following the middle of the four patches and then the middle of each square in the four patch.

I made this quilt while on retreat with the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild - we had such a great time!  One little problem was that I forgot the walking foot for my travel machine. Using the regular foot worked out pretty well, but the quilting isn't as smooth as I would have liked.

My August Charity Challenge quilt is called - August!  I wanted to use a sunny blue and yellow color scheme and all I could think of was the blue sky and water and yellow sunshine of August vacations.  This is a fun, fast strippy quilt and I'm looking forward to digging through my stash for the fabrics.  These are all 2 1/2" strips, so if you have a jelly roll or roll up hanging around, that would be a quick way to make this quilt.  You can get the PDF pattern here.

I hope you are enjoying following along with my Charity Challenge!  How are your projects coming along?

July 24, 2015

Worldwide shopping!

I'm so excited that anyone in the world can now buy patterns in my Etsy shop!  You may recall that, because of the EU regulations that went into effect as of January 1, 2015, I had to stop selling my patterns online outside the US.  Well, Etsy (a little belatedly) will now help sellers deal with the EU regulations that most of us, as very small businesses, were not able to meet. (You can read my original post here).  I am thrilled to be able to return to being international!  This also means I'll be able to go back to accepting credit cards in my Etsy shop as well as PayPal.

To celebrate, I'm having a worldwide sale!  Buy PDF or paper patterns in my Etsy shop now through July 27 and get 20% off.

July 21, 2015

A lot of life going on...

It's been a busy summer so far and I haven't been spending as much time at the sewing machine as I would have liked.

All the things keeping me away are wonderful, major life events.  My son graduated from college in June and got married last weekend.  He and his wife did just about all the planning and organizing themselves.  Although, at one point it seemed I was spending a crazy amount of time figuring out what to wear to each event (dress, bag, shoes, jewelry,...)!  Their colors were pale shades of green and blue ranging from mint to aqua.  I was lucky to find the perfect long navy blue lace dress!

Everything went beautifully and they are so happy.  My son started a new job today too.  They are hoping to plan a proper honeymoon for next summer.

My daughter is starting college this fall, so that has taken lots of moral support and organizing time too.  We'll be going to orientation/registration next week.  She is on the dorm wait-list, so keep your fingers crossed that she'll have somewhere to live!  I've been helping her look through the course catalog to figure out what she might like to take (her major is undecided yet) and there are so many interesting options, it almost makes me wish I was going.  Of course, not really, as I love my quilting world, but there sure are a lot of fascinating things to study.

Well, that is probably enough rambling from me!  Let's see if I can get to my sewing machine in the next couple of days before I go to the Glass City quilt show.  How about you, are you getting any sewing done this summer?

July 17, 2015

Join me...

I'll be at the Glass City Quilt Commission Kaleidoscope of  Quilts next Friday and Saturday, July 24 and 25!  I love having a booth at a quilt show - it is so much fun to share my quilts and patterns and meet and talk to so many quilters!

I haven't done many shows like this in recent years, but last year I had so much fun at my own guild's show (which I have always done), that I decided it was time to add in some more guild shows.  The Kaleidoscope of Quilts is the only show this year that worked with my schedule, but I hope to do a few more next year.

The show hours are 10-5 on Friday and 10-4 on Saturday.  Admission is $6 for one day or $10 for two days.  You can find more info at

I hope to see you there!

July 14, 2015

Urban Chickens!

Claire of knitNkwilt was one of the most active contributors to my Sew Solid Sunday linky parties last year.  She was at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show on Saturday and sent me this great picture of her quilt, Urban Chickens, hanging there!  She used this fun tutorial by designcamppdx.  I love the combination of wonky and not wonky in the block and Claire made great color choices!  Claire's blog post about the process of making her quilt is here.  Thanks so much, Claire for sharing!

I was happy to learn that my quilt River Run (a version of Sedimentary) was also in Sisters with the quilts celebrating the 30th anniversary of Robert Kaufman Kona cotton solids.  I've always wanted to go to that show - at least my quilt got to be there.  One of these days :)

July 10, 2015

Straight line quilting

The quilting on Sedimentary pulled a bit -
quilted on my old machine
I've done a lot of straight line quilting over the years and it has worked out better on some quilts than others.  I've heard conflicting advice about whether you should alternate quilting directions or not.  I usually try to alternate, but it depends on the quilt and how the space I'm quilting is divided up.

Alternating quilting directions
So, I decided to do a test yesterday.  I cut out 2 20" square pieces of fabric and layered them with backing and batting.  I quilted one in alternating directions and one starting at the same side each time.

Quilting one direction
To me, the one direction piece looks slightly smoother, though the other piece doesn't have any puckers or places where the fabric pulled.  This made me wonder whether I had quilted the pieces along a different grain of the fabric - e.g. crosswise vs lengthwise.  I did not think to pay attention to that when I layered the pieces.  However, using the stretch test says this is not the case - both pieces appear to have been quilted along the same grain.

The quilting on Curried Plums
turned out great - also done on
my old machine
I also trimmed the pieces along the raw edges of the 20" squares and measured the results.  The one direction piece was slightly out of square by about 1/8".  Now, these are small samples, so if you were quilting a queen sized quilt and the distortion grew along with the size, that could be a problem.

So what have I concluded?  I can't say this test was definitive, but I will continue to alternate directions when I can to keep things square.  But I'm also not going to stress about going in one direction if the bulk of the quilt gets too much to handle.  Perhaps some of the issues I had in the past were more to do with tension, thread or needle problems.

How about you - do you alternate directions or not?

July 7, 2015

Not my usual...

I spent some time yesterday making these improv blocks for a swap I'm participating in.  Improv isn't my strength, but it is what my partner likes and swaps are about stretching yourself, so my challenge was on.

I had enjoyed playing with these triangles in Luke Haynes' class at QuiltCon, so decided to try them again for the swap.  Digging through my stash to find some nice, bright colors was fun,  I added a few solid blocks last night. (Sorry no pics as it was too dark by then to get a decent shot.)

While I like the random look of improv, I always feel like I end up wasting a lot of fabric.  Especially with triangles, I find it difficult to gauge how much fabric I'll need to add to get the block to the right size so I end up using some rather large pieces and then cutting them down.  More experience with improv would probably lessen this as I get better at "seeing" what the next piece of fabric needs to look like.

The swap is a mini swap and these blocks finish at 5", so I'm thinking I might make about 12 of them.  I'm toying with the idea of leaving one block without any piecing as well. What do you think?