Friday, September 30, 2016

Meadow Mystery--I'm caught up!

I love, love, love the OMG goal-setting link up hosted by Heidi of Red Letter Quilts.  This month, I made piecing my goal.  Primary goal was to finish cutting and do all the September piecing for the Meadow Mystery hosted by Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs.  I was successful!

I am using batiks for this mystery, and 2 of the "fabrics" are scrappy.  I am a little concerned about the lack of contrast, but I will wait to decide if I need to make a change until I get further into the mystery. Each of these four blocks has a different purple fabric.  The bright green mottled is the same.  The thing about batiks, though, is even when a big piece is obviously a certain color, you lose that definition when you cut it into smaller pieces. But like I said, I'll wait and sew.

There were also some HSTs with the green and the background fabric.  They will presumably be used later in the mystery.  I don't have a picture of those, but they are pieced and trimmed and ready for the next step.

I also hoped to get some piecing done on my niece's quilt and to make some more butterflies for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, as I am desperately behind on that. I got 2 more double rows made for my niece's I Spy quilt, bringing me to 5 completed of the 8 needed.  And I finished 1 butterfly.

This is the picture I took to keep track of the layout; I will have an official picture once I finish the second green butterfly.

All in all, lots of piecing this month, and I made my goal of staying caught up with the Meadow Mystery.  Linking up with Heidi.

Monday, September 26, 2016

I Spy Green Dots

I back most of my Project Linus quilts with fleece and I much of the fleece I use is donated to Project Linus.  The only problem is that sometimes, I am limited by the size of the fleece piece.  That was the case with this quilt.

I picked out boy-friendly I spy squares from my stash and alternated with a green dot fabric that had been donated.  It felt small when I finished by I didn't have much more room on the backing piece.  I decided a cow border was what it needed, and I used up a piece of cow fabric also donated to our chapter.  The other ladies know I love I Spy so they often save me the novelty fabrics.

I did straight lines on the diagonal and free-handed them.  It's small but I'm pleased with it.  It's already been donated to my chapter.  This was on my Q3 list of goals for the globally hosted Finish Along (goal #18).
2016 FAL

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Alphabet Pins

Not that long ago, I clicked on one of those "10 great sewing hacks" posts and saw someone who had taken kids' alphabet beads and glued them to flat-head pins to make alphabet pins for keeping track of cut pattern pieces.  I thought it was a great idea, and promptly lost the link.  So I'm a bad librarian for not citing my source.  If anyone has seen this before and knows where it came from, let me know and I'll update.

Earlier this month, I was working on a pieced penguin block that will eventually be a birthday present for my son, and it has pieces through at least K, and I wished I had some of those pins. I was recently in the same shopping center as an A.C. Moore, so I bought alphabet beads.  Mine were $1.99 for a bag of 150 pieces.  I already had flat-head flower pins and tacky glue.

I made one full alphabet set, then I did 2 extras of A-E, because those are the fabric distinctions for the Meadow Mist Mystery and I've been working on cutting out that fabric.

I'm very pleased with how they turned out.  I can't wait to start a project that needs them!  I've got Hazel the Hedgehog on my "soon" list, and I just checked the pattern and those pieces go up to "S"!  So I should get to use them soon.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Quilty Adoption: 3 Orphan Blocks

Cynthia from Quilting is More Fun Than Housework has this amazing idea--create a place to give away quilty projects you are no longer interested in.  She does it twice a year, and I used the one in the spring to pass on some things that I had not touched in years.

I have 3 leftover blocks from my I Spy Pink & Gray Snowflakes quilt (not yet blogged about).  It's not a lot, but I know I'm not going to use them.  It would be possible to make more; the block is from the Snowflake Quilt Along on the Bernina blog. 

The adoption is for the 3 orphan blocks.  They are each 8 1/2" square.  I used Kona Snow for the background and I Spy fabrics in various shades of pink and gray for the blocks. 

I will ship within the United States.  There is no requirement on what you do with the blocks.  If you would use them, leave me a comment by the end of the day on Thursday, September 22nd.  I will choose a random winner.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Penguin Pillow

Ever since our first visit to a zoo in February, my son has loved penguins.  Other animals have since entered his heart as well, but penguins still rank among his favorites.  He turns 3 next month and I wanted to make him something, but not a full blown quilt.

And so I give you Penguin Pillow!  The pattern is from a free tutorial by Lorna @ Sew Fresh QuiltsIt's the 12" block, then I added borders to make it fit a 20" pillow.  The fabrics in the top are all Kona solids: white, black, citrus, pond, & clover.  It's quilted with the wavy line stitch on my machine.

The backing is Winter Wonderland by David Walker for Free Spirit.  Munchkin actually helped me pick it out.  He went with me to the fabric store when I needed a few more fabrics for an I Spy swap I did in June.  I knew at that point I wanted to make him a penguin pillow, so I was looking for penguin fabric that could do double duty. I told him to look for penguins and he found this one.

I hadn't made a pillow before.  I used a tutorial for an envelope backed pillow by Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts.  The only thing I did differently is I used a backing when I did my quilting.  She just uses the top and batting, but I knew this would be for a 3-year-old and I wanted it to hold up well to multiple washings.  I wasn't sure that would be the case if I used batting with no backing, even after adding the pillow back. I even got everything lined up going the same direction the first time--front and back--and that is not always the case!

The pillow form is Inner from Ikea.  On the trip to by pillow forms and other things on our list, Munchkin found a stuffed panda that had to come home with us.  Panda is now his favorite friend, so I think there is a panda pillow in my future!

I'm saving this for his birthday, so he hasn't seen it yet.  I hope he likes it.  I have decided that I want to eventually replace the bulky, oversized cushions on our couch with smaller pillows like this, so I think I'm going to slowly make us a menagerie.

This was on my list of goals for Q3 in the Finish Along hosted by quilt bloggers around the globe.

2016 FAL

Monday, September 5, 2016

September OMG

I love the One Monthly Goal link-up hosted by Heidi of Red Letter Quilts.  It's great motivation, it's great to see what others are working on, and it helps me finish things.  For this reason, I almost always choose to complete a project as my goal.

But right now, I am feeling very behind on several piecing projects.  The first is the Meadow Mystery, generously led by Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs.  I still have one of my five fabrics left to cut, and I haven't even touched September's piecing instructions.  So getting caught up is my September goal.
fabrics for the meadow mystery
I am also behind on my butterfly blocks for the rainbow scrap challenge and would like to get at least 2 colors completed this month.  And I'm working on an I Spy quilt for my niece.  She is visiting in early December, so I have a deadline for that one.  I have 3 rows completed now, and would like to get at least one more completed.  So it's lots of piecing for me this month!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Not just Queen for a Day, Queen for a Month!

I have been participating in the Stash Bee since January and I have been absolutely loving it. The first of each month is extra fun, because I get to see what that month's Queen has asked for, and therefore what I'll be making.

And now September brings my turn to be Queen Bee!  I'm super excited.  I've asked for bookshelf blocks from my hivemates.  As a librarian and a quilter, I've wanted to do a bookshelf quilt since I first saw one, and now I've got lots of other people helping me do it!

I know my tutorial will be "saved" on the Stash Bee blog, but I wanted a copy for me to refer to later, so I'm re-posting here.  This is largely for my own purposes; feel free to ignore beyond this point :)

Hello Everyone!  And a special hello to my friends in Hive 3!  I'm Emily, I blog at and this is my first year in the Stash Bee.  I have been absolutely loving it! I live in Charlotte, NC with my husband and our son who is almost 3.  I started quilting in college and never looked back!

So many folks have said they had a hard time picking their blocks, but I've known pretty much since I signed up what I wanted to do.  As a librarian and a quilter, the moment I first saw a bookshelf quilt I knew I had to make one someday.  And I thought it would be really fun to get bookshelves from many different quilters!

first block I made

Second block I made.  With a theme this time!
I made 3 blocks while testing. The first had no embellishments and took me 50 minutes.  The second, the monkey-themed shelf, took me 60 minutes before embellishments (fussy cutting adds extra time!) and 25 minutes for my embellishments, which included machine applique of an extra book, a book title, and the three bananas, for a total of an hour and 25 minutes.  The third block is based on the tutorial from Don't Call Me Betsy and includes a leaning book.  I did a lot more trial and error with this one, so don't have a time measurement from start to finish. It took me about 15 minutes to make the leaning book and less than 10 minutes for embellishments--machine appliqueing titles to 2 books.

Third block I made. I'm pleased with the leaning book.
Basic Details
Size: please make your blocks 13" high and between 13" and 16 1/2" wide.
Background fabric: solid white or off-white. (I used Kona Snow) 
Book fabrics: anything goes!  Great use for scraps!  I love novelty fabrics so if you have scraps of those, great, but honestly, everything will work in this.

Optional Embellishments & Variations
I would love one or more of the following embellishments or variations in your block, but these are completely optional, as I know I will love all bookshelf blocks.
  • Choose a theme for your bookshelf!  You see I did one with all monkey fabrics.  Anything goes here; the sky is the limit!
  • Add an object to your bookshelf. Anything you might put on a shelf.
  • Add titles to one or more of your books.  My one request here is that the words used be an actual book title.  I have seen selvages used for this and that is fine with me if the name of the line is also a title of a book.  The book titles in my examples are printed because I use printing on fabrics for my quilt labels and I've been using any extra space left on the sheet lately to print out titles of some of my favorite books.  Handwritten titles with Micron or similar fabric-safe pens are fine, too.
I do not have a preferred method for this block.  Your books can lean, stand upright, be stacked, or any combination.  I am going to show you how I did my first two blocks, but feel free to use whatever method you like.  My first two blocks are similar to this tutorial from the Craftsy blog. I also tried the mini bookshelf tutorial from Don't Call Me Betsy.  If "cut random book-sized strips" is intimidating to you, check out her tutorial.  She gives specific dimensions for her books. But keep in mind that her finished block is larger than Stash Bee guidelines, so you'll want to use fewer books and trim it to 13" high. I also found that cutting each book to a specific size took waaaaay longer, which is why my tutorial just has you use varying widths of no set size.

Additional Request
I'm shamelessly stealing this idea from Abigail in Hive 5.  I would love to add signature blocks from everyone who makes a block to the back of the finished quilt. If each of you would write your name & location on a square of solid fabric or muslin, I will turn them into signature blocks.  Please leave me seam allowance.  Thanks for indulging me!

And Now For the Tutorial!
Again, method is totally up to you, but here is one way to do it. This is for the most basic row of books.

Get your book spines ready. These will be strips of varying widths and heights. Lay these out in the order you like. I found it useful to take a picture at this point to refer to later.
line them up and when you like how they look, take a picture
Cut a long strip of your background fabric.  I cut mine 8" x WOF; if you have shorter books this may be cutting it to close, in which case do 10" wide.  You won't need the entire width of fabric.

Take your book spines and your background fabric to the sewing machine.  Place each spine face down against the background piece, and sew the  short end to the background piece.  Leave about 1/4" in between spines, and chain piece.
chain piece each book spine to the background fabric

 This is what it will look like when you have sewn them all to the background:
all sewn together!

Now line up your ruler and trim each book and the background sewn to it.
 Press each book piece.
Sew your books together, lining up from the bottom of the books.  This is where having a picture from before you started sewing helps!  Your backgrounds will not line up at this point.
books sewn together, before trimming
Trim your block to 13" high.

finished block
That's it!  Let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks so much, and I can't wait to see what you make!