Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Last of the Ohio Star Blocks

Well, it's the last day of March but I made it!  I finished the last 16 purple Ohio Star blocks!  I feel like this project is never ending!  Though starting it in 2006 probably has something to do with that...

I've been trying to make progress on this long-standing UFO that will be a gift for my best friend, so I've been setting goals Patty of Elm Street Quilts and her monthly OMG (One Monthly Goal) linky party to motivate me to keep moving. March's goal was to complete the final 16 blocks.  I've done that, though I'm no longer in a hurry to finish it.  I was going to see my friend in May, but the reason was our 20th college reunion.  While it hasn't been cancelled yet, I am sure it will be.  So I no longer have that deadline, but I would like to finish it in 2020. At least now all the blocks are done!

March OMG Finish link-up is open!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Felt Food (first batch)

When Fire Monkey was two, we gave him an Ikea kitchen for Christmas.  He is now 6 and still plays with it, though admittedly it has been off and on over the past 4 years.  Lately, he likes to play restaurant.  Problem is, any play food we have was part of the initial gift, and some of that has disappeared over the years. (The pineapple, I remember, was a casualty of the Ivy Dog.) I suggested that we make some felt food and the Fire Monkey agreed.

And then, like families everywhere, we were all the sudden stuck at the house All. The. Time.  So we've been sewing up some felt goodies!  Here is our first batch: breakfast!

The bacon and eggs were inspired by this tutorial at The Gunny Sack but their pieces seemed small to me, so I drew ours freehand.

And then of course we needed donuts!  Fire Monkey has had donuts as the dessert for his last two birthday parties, so these were a must-make.  I used this tutorial and pattern from Skip to My Lou, though I used a slightly different method for stuffing so I didn't have to turn anything inside out.

Shout out to Kathleen of McMusing for suggesting that I put the sewing machine pedal on the table and have Fire Monkey push it with his hands.  Brilliant!  And he loves it!  Way better than trying to sew with him on my lap.  For all of these, he pushed the pedal while I controlled the fabric.  He knows how to make a knot on my machine and he watches for when to stop.  But his favorite part?  Using the tiny brush to clean my machine under the bobbin case!!!  Seriously!  He loves it, asks to clean the machine every time!

We used overlock stitches for the exterior seams on all our food--works great and I think makes them nice and sturdy.  The sprinkles on the donuts meant I taught him a new skill--hand embroidery stitches.  He got bored with them quickly but I think they look really good.

This is project #9 in my quest to complete 52 projects in 2020.  Since the felt food feast may go on for a while, I had to define what constitutes a project.  I decided that 6 pieces of food felt (ha!) reasonable, or a similar number that reasonably goes together.  In this case, there are six pieces that could all be considered breakfast.  We've got our next "set" almost done, want to guess our next food item(s)?  I think we'll have quite a banquet soon!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Aqua: Rainbow Scrap Challenge

March's color in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge hosted by Angela of So Scrappy is aqua.  I didn't have a lot of aqua strings, but I did find enough to make 3 scrappy log cabin blocks.

I have now made it through the first quarter of the year keeping up with Rainbow Scrap challenge!  That hasn't happened in a few years for me--let's hope I can keep it up!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Laughing Elephant--Make Us Laugh Blog Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Quilt Qwazy Queens blog hop, a celebration of National Quilt Day and the week surrounding it.  Thanks so much to Joan of Moosestash Quilting for hosting!

This year's theme is Make Us Laugh.  I struggled with the theme, because I kept trying to thing of a joke of some sort to put in a quilt.  And that just wasn't working for me.  So then I remembered a pattern I've been wanting to make that I think looks like what laughing feels like.  But Husband said that was too abstract.

I made it anyway.  I told him I planned to name it "Laughing Elephant."  He claimed the elephant isn't laughing, since the "laughter" is coming from his trunk like water and not from his mouth.  So I countered with those moments from elementary school when you laugh so hard that milk comes out your nose--clearly this elephant is laughing to hard that water came out his trunk!

fabric laughter!
So I hope the backstory of my elephant laughing so hard that it came out of his trunk made you laugh!  After all, that is the point!

The fabrics are all Island Batik.  The elephant is the solid gray.  In retrospect, I wish I used the new dark gray as the contrast would be better with the background.In person, the contrast is fine but it doesn't show up really well in photographs.  The laughter are all brightly colored scraps.  I sewed all the applique shapes with blanket stitch.The binding is Island Batik solid in fuchsia.

The pattern is "Paisley Splash" and is a free download from Windham Fabrics. I printed the splash pattern pieces on Heat 'n Bond EZ Print Lite sheets.  I did not use the layout from the pattern but instead played around until I found a layout I liked and then ironed it all down.  

You can kind of see the cross hatch quilting in this picture (above), if you look hard and ignore the wrinkles!  I did the quilting before adding any of the applique, including the elephant.

Laughing Elephant is my 7th completed project in 2020; my goal is 52 projects.

Be sure to check out all the quilters attempting to Make Us Laugh:

Wednesday March 18

Thursday March 19

Friday March 20
Monday March 23
Tuesday March 24

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

a utilitarian finish and giveaway winner

A few years ago, I started using a hot water bottle overnight when I had cramps.  Last year, I saw a few hot water bottle covers crop up in various places I follow and thought--I need one of those!  The hot water bottle helps a lot but I don't enjoy the plasticy feel of it.

Problem is I'd remember when I needed it, and that tends to be when I don't particularly have a lot of energy.  So  every month I'd get a reminder that I need to make a cover, and then promptly forget.  I finally broke the cycle!  I used a scrap of blue fleece and followed this youtube tutorial.  Ta-da!

Not the most exciting or pretty project I've even finished, but it's useful!  I do want to try one in flannel because I think the fleece is actually too thick and blocks more of the heat than I'd like. But this one is definitely better than the plasticy bottle feel. 

The water bottle cover is my 6th completed project in 2020; I have the goal to finish 52 projects. 

And I've been behind in announcing the winner of my giveaway from February's Island Batik Log Cabin blog hop.  Cecilia won 30 strips of the beautiful Catching Dreams collection, designed by Kathy Engle for Kari Nichols of Mountainpeek Creations.  I sent the package off on Saturday so Cecilia should have them soon.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Mr. Mystery (Awesome Ocean)

If you are familiar with the Awesome Ocean pattern by Elizabeth Hartman, you know that the block is not Mr. Mystery, it's Mr. Manatee.  Except as many people participating in the QAL hosted by  Kathleen of Kathleen McMusing have pointed out, the block does not look like a Manatee.  Personally, I thought it looked like an otter until my husband pointed out that it has a fin-like tail instead of legs.  So I think my best guess is seal. 

I picked and cut my mail body fabric before deciding they weren't actually manatees, so I used fairly light fabrics since that felt appropriate for manatees.  I guess it will have to work for seals, too.

There is now only one block left!  I'm starting to play around with layouts!

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Wildflowers --An Island Batik Challenge with AccuQuilt

The March Island Batik challenge is One Die Wonder, sponsored by AccuQuilt.  AccuQuilt sent each of us one of the BOB dies--Block on Board.  Our mission is to create a quilt with the block as the spotlight. 

I was sent the Hattie's Choice die.  Of the four dies chosen for this challenge, Hattie's Choice was my favorite and the one I hoped for!  I fully intended to create my own layout/design with the block. But when I went to AccuQuilt's webpage to check out the die and get some ideas, one of their patterns jumped out and me and I knew I HAD to make it--I loved the design, I loved the name, I loved everything about it and I knew I couldn't come up with anything that would make me happier.  The pattern is Wildflower and it adds a flying geese unit to the point of the Hattie's Choice fan for a stunning floral look.  And I could use my Go! Cube to cut the pieces for the geese units--bonus!

Hattie's Choice
The BOB dies are designed so that you cut all your pieces for a block in one run through the machine.  My favorite feature is that your dog ears are already cut off--no trimming!  The newest dies also have the pieces marked on the foam so you can follow along with your pattern and cutting instructions.

I was dying to use the new Island Batik solids and this seemed like a great pattern to showcase the deeply saturated colors.  I chose the Fuchsia, Amethyst, and Cobalt and looked for a basic or blender in the same color family to coordinate with each.  I used Petal, a soft pink, to go with Fuchsia and Dots in Sky to go with the Cobalt.  I didn't have a light purple among my Foundations fabrics but there were some great purples in my Stash Builder roll and I chose one of those to pair with Amethyst.  The background is the solid black.

I made a total of thirteen blocks--slightly less than the original pattern.  Mine finishes at 49" x 56".  I chose to name mine Wildflowers, using the plural instead of the original singular  title.

I did a large continuous spiral for the quilting, one of my favorite motifs.  And of course I marked the start using my bobbin holder as the template--it's a great size and it usually nearby!  I used Aurifil monofilament in smoke for the quilting--I have really come to love their monofilament; it's great for quilts with both light and dark fabrics.  All piecing and quilting was done with a Schmetz microtex chrome needle, 80/20.

I had enough Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 black batting left from last year's Modern Turtle Race to use for Wildflowers.  The black batting is so perfect for a quilt with a dark background, and there is no dulling or darkening of the lighter fabrics at all! 

Not a great angle, but you can see the quilted spiral really well in this photo
I wanted to use one of the solids for binding but didn't have enough of any one color left and I didn't want a scrappy binding for this--I thought it would look odd with the contrast between the binding and the background.  I had Aubergine from the basics collection and thought it blended nicely with the colors in the top.

Island Batik asked the Ambassadors for pictures in our studios and I happened to be working on this one at the time, so here's a little peak of me sewing in my "studio" aka the guest room. 

The materials used to make this quilt were provided to me by Island Batik, AccuQuilt, Hobbs, Aurifil, & Schmetz.  

This is my 4th finish towards my quest to complete 52 projects in 2020.  (Projects may not appear in the order in which they were completed.)  I've actually had this done for a bit but wanted to wait to get photographs with some spring blooms.  After all, it's named after flowers!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Silhouette (Dust Off a Quilt Book Blog Hop)

It's my day on the Dust Off a Quilt Book blog hop hosted by Bea of Beaquilter.  Bea challenged us to find a quilt book on our shelves and make a project from or inspired by it.  It turns out that the emphasis was on the oldest book we could find, but I missed that detail!  I was focused on using a book I've had for a while and a project I wanted to do using that technique, but hadn't actually gotten around to making yet.  Here is Silhouette.

The book I used is Fabric Silhouettes: Quilted Treasures From the Family Album by Louise Handley.  The copyright date is 2006 but I've had it maybe 6 years?  I got it when the library I was working for at the time discarded some books that weren't being checked out.

My plan since I bought the book was to make a silhouette quilt from one of our wedding pictures.  First step was to pick a photo to use.  I decided on this one.  Our photos were taken by Wendy Waldron who runs the 1812 Hitching Post, a wedding venue about an hour from Charlotte in Harmony, North Carolina.  (Can I just say how much I love that we were married in a town called Harmony?)

Inspiration photo.  Credit Wendy Waldron.
Second step was to simplify the photo.  You can see that I took our friend Mark, who was our officiant, straight out of the picture!  I used my Crayola light box (birthday present from my husband and son and I love it!) to trace the silhouette.  I orgiginally tried to trace the arbor as well, but it looked weird.  My husband suggested that I instead use a frame of floral fabric to represent the arbor, and pointed to an example in the book that did something similar.  He was, of course, both absolutely right and a genius.

Two of the three fabrics are Island Batik, the center is Coconut and the inner border, silhouette, and binding are Navy, both from the basics foundation collection.  I wanted to use Island Batik for the floral border as well but didn't have anything with the colors that I hoped would capture the spirit of the arbor in the photo.  I went to my local quilt shop, Quilt Patch Fabrics, which carries Island Batik.  They had a few floral patterns but nothing with the color variety I was hoping for.  And then I saw this print and knew it was probably as close to perfect as I was going to get.  It's Painterly Petals from Robert Kaufman.

I chose to quilt it before adding the silhouette.  I used a 1" cross-hatch design.  I didn't want to use white thread because I didn't want it to be super visible on the navy, so I used Aurifil monofilament instead.

I didn't want to trace the image more than once so I used Heat 'n Bond EZ Print Lite sheets that can go in the printer.  I use a dark blue Aurifil thread and a really short stitch length to trace as close to the edge of our silhouette as possible.  I also stitched a line to give a little definition to my husband's arm.  I'm not sure if you can see it in the photo but I think it helped.

My original plan was to frame it but at the last minute I decided to hang it above the fireplace mantle instead.  My dad rigged this hanging system for me when I moved into the house.  It's held the same wildflowers wallhanging (predates the blog) for the entire 10 years I've been in the house--time for a change!  The bouquet of flowers on the mantle is from my wedding; I ordered felt flowers from Etsy.  My grandmother bought those candlestick holders for her & my grandfather's apartment when they were newlyweds; she gave them to me years ago when they downsized into senior living.  I really love how Silhouette looks hanging above the fireplace and this is essentially your view when you walk in my front door, though I intentionally framed the photo so that you don't see the toy storage below 🙂

Many thanks to Bea for hosting this blog hop and giving me the kick in the pants I needed to finally make this project!  I absolutely love it!  Make sure you check out the other quilters on the hop and Bea has giveaways, too.

March 2
March 3
March 4
The Darling Dogwood -- That's me!
March 5
March 6

Monday, March 2, 2020

Dust Off a Book blog hop

Bea from Beaquilter is hosing a fun blog hop this week.  It's called "dust off a quilt book" and the idea is to make something from a book that's been gathering dust on your shelf.  I think it's a really fun idea! I saw many of the posts last year and thought it was fun, so I am thrilled to be participating this year!

The hop starts today and runs through Friday.  My day is Wednesday, so be sure to come back and check out what I made!  I just put the last stitches into the binding this afternoon--cutting it a little close! 

Here is the schedule for the hop:

March 2

March 3

March 4
The Darling Dogwood -- That's me!

March 5

March 6