Sunday, April 6, 2014

Patchwork of the Crosses blocks... s l o w progress...

On the first Saturday of each month, six of us get together to work on our Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses blocks, inspired by Linda Franz.

By far, Barbara is way ahead of the rest of us in the progress department.   And she reigns as the "fussy cutting" queen!   Her plan is to make a queen size quilt, and she's looking at a five year goal.  It won't surprise the rest of us if this over achiever reaches her goal much sooner!

Most of the girls are using 1" honeycombs, but I have a reputation of going against the flow... I'm using 3/4" honeycomb shapes.  My fabric color choices are red, brown, beige, and a bit of black.  Fussy cutting is a bit more of a challenge because of the size of the honeycomb template.  My tentative goal is 16 blocks for a table topper quilt.  With only two blocks done, I have lots of time to improve with the fussy cutting!

The block on the white background is the first block I made, and it's ready for me to stitch the honeycombs together.  (Something that I thought I had already done...).  The block on the right is the one I completed on Saturday.  The fabric it's laying on will be my "path," or background fabric.  As with most EPP projects I undertake, I'm lovin' this one, too!
Time management has been an issue for me lately.   I'm way behind on reading blogs... I did some catching up earlier this afternoon, enjoying every minute of looking and reading about what all of you have been cutting, piecing, and quilting!  I would love to leave comments on ALL of the blogs I view, but time just isn't on my side.   In return, I don't expect everyone who views my blog to leave a comment.   I'm very happy if you do, but I'm mainly happy for the opportunity to share my adventures in the world of quilting with all of you, and if you are inclined to leave a comment, I'm extremely grateful!  
Happy April, and SPRING, to all of you!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

B I N G O prize!

Silly as it sounds, we play B I N G O at retreat.   We get just as excited for bingo as we do for completed projects!   In March, the Threads group enjoyed another spring retreat, and the B I N G O prizes were a big hit!  If you were lucky enough to win at least once, you may have gone home with machine needles, a felted coin purse, a seam ripper, a woolly scarf, funky socks, homemade hand lotion, homemade hand scrub,  crocheted coasters, amaryllis bulbs, binding clips, or this...

Sandra made a couple of these very cute and very handy rectangular pin cushions.  It nestles up to my sewing machine base... ribbon sewn on each long end wrap around to the back and tie into a snug bow.   So precious!   And who doesn't love a pinwheel block... especially in blue and white!!!

Thank you Sandra!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

It's been a while...

...since I've written.  Yes, to me, adding a post to my blog is like writing a letter.  And this one is overdue!

Spring Retreat came and went... three and a half days of blissful moments with my quilting friends!   Ten of us created our individual work spaces, sometimes spilling over one another, with scissors, needles, pieced blocks, and chocolate treats ending up in the wrong work space.  (Note to self... remember to discreetly hide the chocolate!)  I was a bad girl... I didn't take any pictures of the projects that were being worked on.  I forgot my camera... and even though I returned to my home in the evenings to sleep, I managed to forget the little bugger every morning when I headed back!   My trusty Canon Powershot is usually joined at my hip for these events, causing most of this group of quilters to hide behind a held up project, or run off to the ladies room when they see the lens pointed at them!  I'll blame my forgetfulness on a busier than normal month of March, and my aging memory.  But I can tell you that between a Christmas Pickle Dish flimsy, several Civil War mid size quilts, a couple of BOM projects, two casserole dish carriers, Lucy blocks, a knitted prayer shawl, embroidered tea towels, and a the beginnings of a new quilt for a grandchild, the days spoke RETREAT, loud and clear!

This was the first retreat I've ever attended without my sewing machine.  After many talks with myself in the weeks leading up to the first day, I decided to take just handwork... primarily my 3/8 inch hexie project, Stars in the Garden.  I finished piecing together the 8 half flowers and the 4 diamond shapes.  I chose my "path" fabric, and am now in the process of making the 240 hexies necessary to complete the garden. 

I am still very much enjoying this project... I have a long way to go until the completion, but it's been a fun ride so far!   The layout will probably change a time or two before I decide on the final "look."  I'm notorious for changing my mind...

Here's just a small heap of the "path" hexies.  I decided on the lighter of the two fabric choices I was struggling with.   By going with the lighter of the two, the stars and flowers will show themselves with a bit more pop! 


My mojo has slipped a bit since the end of retreat.  March has been a busy month and April will be the same, presenting challenges of balancing work, family, and me time.  So, it will be one day at a time... and what's important is that each day be enjoyable, be it at work, with family, or a little me time! 

I'm off to read blogs... or should I say the letters of many other quilters at heart!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Still playin' with hexies...

I haven't forgotten about my hexies stars and flowers for "Stars in the Garden," a project from the Spring 2013 issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine.   I started this project in January, hand stitching the 3/8 inch hexies along with two of my quilting friends, Nor and Carole.  Both of them are just about finished with their projects, while I'm still working on the half stars and flowers, and have yet to start on the diamond shaped fillers.  (I'm using my job as my excuse!) 

I need 5 more of the half flowers, and 4 diamond shaped pieces.  I haven't decided on the background fabric yet... there's still plenty of time for that decision! 

Here is a picture of Carole's...  I love her choice of fabrics and colors!

Carole will be sewing the flowers and stars together while visiting her daughter in Louisiana during the next couple of weeks.

Thursday will be the first of three days of Spring Retreat for the Threads quilting group that I belong to.  We meet at one of the members homes, converting her living space into a menagerie of sewing machines and ironing boards, with power strips and extension cords criss-crossing the floor to the electrical outlets.  (We blew a fuse one year!)   If you were a fly on the wall you would hear the hum of the machines, the hiss of the irons, oldies playing with some of us quietly singing along, (no choir angels in this group...), ahhhs and ohhhs over projects being completed or just started, and laughter... lots of laughter!!!  Because we are keeping it local, everyone returns to their home to retire for the evening... giving our hostess a few hours of peace and quiet... until bright and early the next morning! 
I need to get a few projects ready... not sure what I'll be taking to work on.  I'd better get busy... I don't want to miss a minute of the fun!!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Beginning Boston Blocks...

It must be the year for EEP (English Paper Piecing) in my house, and the homes of some dear quilting friends.  Ongoing projects involve 3/8 inch hexies, (3 of us caught up in the madness), 1 inch diamond paper pieces, (combined with applique, 2 of us are venturing into this project), to 1 inch, 3/4 inch, and 1/2 inch honeycombs!  (8 first timers to the Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses).  Only a few of us were able to meet this past Saturday for the sole purpose of stitching a few of the Lucy beauties, and we made the best of our time!  

The Lucy blocks require fussy cutting your fabric for some of the honeycomb shapes, to be combined with prints, stripes, and solids.  24 honeycombs make up one block... actually that's the variation we  chose.  Linda Franz's book, Patchwork of the Crosses, gives you variations from 4 honeycombs to 48 honeycombs per block! 

I want to show you an example of three different fussy cuts from the same fat quarter of a large scale fabric, used at the center of the block, or the cross.


It's amazing how different each cross of these three blocks will look when they are completed!  These are Barbara's... it just goes to show you what a little (or a lot!) of creativity can be achieved from the same piece of fabric!  Are they not gorgeous?  Barbara is using 1 inch honeycomb pieces.


Carole is using 1/2 inch honeycombs, as shown in the picture below.

Her center cross has nice movement to it with the floral design!  She is getting ready for a road trip to the Southern states, and has a good supply of fabric covered honeycombs to take along.  We are expecting her to return with many completed blocks!   (Note to Carole... try to resist sipping on a Pina Colada if you have a threaded needle in your hand...)


I decided to use 3/4 inch honeycombs for my Lucy blocks.  These are a bit more time consuming than those little 3/8 inch hexies I'm addicted to!  I managed to cover 24 honeycombs, played with the layout, and decided on the one pictured below.  Connecting the pieces together will take place during a future evening in front of the TV.

I have some practicing to do with my fussy cutting regarding accuracy... and I'll get it with future blocks!  I did discover that by using the smaller honeycombs, it's a bit trickier to fussy cut fabrics with "movement" onto the honeycombs, without losing the effect.  Oh, but I love a challenge!  

I'm copying both Barbara's and Carole's idea...

I'm building a nice supply of fabric covered honeycombs so I can "play" with the layout of future Lucy blocks.  When I was going though my stash of red, brown, beige, and black fabrics I was surprised at how many fat quarters and scraps I had that would work well together.  I'll keep adding to the ones pictured above, and be ready to play with various layouts of Lucy blocks in no time! 

I'm behind in blog reading... again!  What I wouldn't give for a few uninterrupted hours to devote to that feat!   Any suggestions???

Friday, February 28, 2014

I Got Mail ~

Nothin' is nicer than finding fun mail filling your mailbox upon your arrival home from work... on a FRIDAY!

I am the lucky recipient of six gorgeous blue fat quarters from Lori... a prize for being a participant in her recent quilt-a-long, Midwinter Blues.  Lori's quilt-a-longs are truly enjoyable.  Her instructions are excellent, and she includes plenty of pictures for those of us that benefit from visuals!  I would encourage all of you to join the fun!  To visit Lori's Humble Quilts blog, and to learn more about her quilt-a-longs, click here.  Thank you Lori... I have plans for my blues!

Tomorrow is the first Saturday of the month, and I will be joining a few other quilting friends to begin a new quilt project.  We will each be working on our own blocks, with fabrics of our choice, but bartering and begging to share fabrics is definitely allowed... and half the fun!  
The project has everything to do with this book...

... and will include these...  (I'm using the 3/4", the other are using 1")
... my fabric choices...

... primarily brown and red, with some soft beige, and a bit of black.
I tried to select both large and small scale prints, as well as fabrics with movement. 
Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Cross blocks are all over blogland.  Fussy cutting the honeycomb shapes can give unbelievable results to the look of the block.  Hop over to Pinterest and search "Lucy Boston blocks" to see what I mean!
I'm off to my sewing room to do a bit of block preparation for tomorrow.  What fun projects will you be working on this weekend? 

Friday, February 21, 2014

A February Finish!

Hot Cross, a Schnibbles pattern by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.  
Fabric - Historical Blenders - Collection for a Cause,  by Howard Marcus
Finished size - 36" x 36"

I couldn't be happier with my February finish!   My quilter, Aimee, did beautiful work with free motion quilting.  I asked Aimee to give it some curves, to soften all the hard angles of the design, and she delivered!!!

Lots of "stop and go" quilting... time consuming,
I'm sure.  Thanks Aimee... I love it!

As soon as I had the binding sewn on, the quilt found its way into the wash machine on the gentle cycle, and then tossed into the dryer the second the spin cycle ceased!   I was so anxious to photograph it and share it here!    I love that crinkly look!

More of Aimee's awesome quilting
and the magic binding!
Several months ago, at our monthly Bowties quilt night, one of the girls finished a quilt with "Magic Binding."  When I reached the stage of deciding on binding for this quilt, I knew I wanted to achieve the same look for my Hot Cross. 

This technique involves two fabrics for the binding, and the end result looks like piping, but not as rounded as typical piping.  The best part is there is no hand sewing... the binding is done by machine!  It's a bit more time consuming up front, but if I would have done the traditional binding, I'd be sewing it on still, instead of blogging about it! 

Here are a few pictures of the binding in progress, but if you are interested in learning more about Magic Binding, there is a terrific tutorial, with pictures, here.

This is a finish with a couple of "firsts" for me... the magic binding, and sewing with clear thread!  (I told you I'm still a novice!)  The final step in sewing the binding in place calls for stitching in the ditch... NOT my favorite!  But how forgiving if one uses clear thread!  

The weekend is here... I hope you all find some time to spend it with needle and thread!