Thursday, September 30, 2010

CQ Update #6...

As a reminder, I wrote this post before I left for my quilting retreat so I'm hoping I have a lot more done than this.  But here's my current progress on the never ending Crazy Quilt block.
Crazy Quilt Block

I'm now working on the fence in the lower right hand corner.  I know I want to put lots and lots of roses all over the fence so I started by adding the base of the rose bushes using 3 strands of DMC floss and a stem stitch.  I then added half a dozen roses, but didn't like the look of them.  So I took them all out.  I added more branches in another color of floss and started over with my roses.  I have 3 done so far and this is how it looks...

Patch #6 - Rose bushes

Each rose is made using silk ribbon in either 4mm or 7mm and using the Spider Web Rose stitch.  I'm liking the look of this much better than before.  I'll continue to add at least another dozen roses in several shades of red silk ribbon.  And then I have plans to add a couple of charms to it as well.  Hopefully when I return from the retreat I'll have finished this patch and moved on to the Hydrangeas.

Until later...

When people sin, you should forgive and comfort them, so they won’t give up in despair. 
2 Corinthians 2:7 (CEV)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mom's September package...

Note: All of my blog posts this week were written in advance.  I'm currently at a quilt retreat at the beach working on charity quilts.

Another month has passed and that means it's time to put together another package for my mom.  As I've said before, I'm making her a quilting related package every month this year for several reasons.  First, I love my mom and want her to feel special.  And who doesn't love getting a package in the mail?  As I've said many times before, I do!  Also, I want her to learn how to quilt and to love it.  She's not too far off from retiring and I see us getting together for our own little quilting retreats then.  And finally, too many friends lost their own mothers last year and I want to make sure I take the time and effort to really appreciate mine.

 Usually each month I make my mom a quilt, but this time Ive sent her a quilt kit instead.  The kit is from Connecting Threads and is called Twilight Stars.  (I don't know if you can purchase it from them anymore as I bought it at the beginning of the year always planning to give it to her.)

Twilight Stars Quilt Kit

I also finished the October Camelot Snowman mini wall hanging.  I thought this month's pattern was really cute and I didn't have to change a thing (unlike last months).  I was able to stitch it out in about an evening.

October Camelot Snowman Stitchery

I really like the cat and pumpkins on this one...

Closeup of the stitching

I already had a cute Halloween print in my stash to use for the border, tabs and backing.  It only takes a fat quarter to make them.

October wall hanging

This was the first month I've had to purchase buttons, but that's because I'm woefully low on orange buttons.  Except for Halloween, it's really not a color I use.  But I found some cute ones at JoAnns that are the perfect size to go with the black ones I already had.

Buttons and fly stitching

Can you also see the decorative stitching I used on the border?  It's one of the stitches on my machine.  I think it's called a fly stitch.

For the rest of her package, I included block 9 of the Imperial Splendor BOM, the second Winter Wonderland stitchery traced out, a pair of scissors and a decorative case to hold them, and a magazine.

The rest of her package

So that's it for another month.  I'm really going to try to find the time to make her a quilt for October.  I already have it all cut out and it will be perfect for fall.  But first I have to finish the Nature CQ, LeeAnn's quilt and the charity quilts for Interact.  But then, I should have plenty of time, right?

Until later...

Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. 
Mark 10:43 (MSG)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Update on the bathroom saga...

Note: All of my blog posts this week were written in advance.  I'm currently at a quilt retreat at the beach working on charity quilts.

Mr. Quilting Bug and I have been remodeling our master bathroom since April 8th.  And by that, I really mean my dear sweet husband has been working on it every weekend since that time.  I've shared a few progress pictures but it's been a long time since my last update so I thought I would bring you up to speed.

Let me start by reminding you of what it looked like before the renovation.  It was blue with blue marble counter tops.  Whatever was I thinking?  And it had a weird layout...

Before pictures of the bathroom

The first thing he did was to gut it.  Everything except the huge tub.  Our closet was inside the bathroom and when he took down the dividing walls, he found they were hiding the main plumbing stack vent, so he had to move that too.  (He's so very handy.)  The first picture shows the vent pipe sticking out of the middle of the floor...
Our bathroom gutted

And now I'm so pleased to report that we have a new working toilet and a working shower.  The shower has so much water pressure now (our old one had none) it might blow you through the back of it.  I so love taking a shower with lots of water pressure.  Of course, we have no window coverings right now so it's a little too revealing to use them.  The cabinets are in as well as the counter top.  The tile floor is done and he installed the light fixtures today.  I'm really loving how it's turning out.

New lights and steam shower

More lights, cabinets and counter top

New skirted toilet

It won't be too long before we can actually use it.  When I return from my quilting retreat, I'm going to concentrate on touching up the paint, finding the right tile for the backsplash and installing privacy film on the windows.  Mr. Quilting Bug still needs to finish the electrical for the shower, install the faucets and install the tile around the counter top and tub.  Woohoo!  I can't wait to use that steam shower!  I may hide out in my bathroom for a week enjoying all the new features.

Until later...

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."  
James 1:19 (NIV)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Twisted Rope progress...

Note: All of my blog posts this week were written in advance.  I'm currently at a quilt retreat at the beach working on charity quilts.

I haven't blogged about this quilt since May (I think).  It's a quilt I'm making for my good friend LeeAnn and it'll be king-sized when all is said and done.  I'm calling the quilt Twisted Rope because that's the name of one of the main blocks in it.  Here's the picture from EQ7 with the fabrics she's chosen...

Twisted Rope from EQ7

As part of my math obsession, I figured out that there are 931 pieces in it and 181 Snowball and Twisted Rope blocks.  To date, I have everything cut out including borders and setting triangles.  I've also finished piecing all 100 6" snowball blocks.

100 Snowball blocks

I'm bringing the pieces for the 81 Twisted Rope blocks with me and hope to make some progress on them as well.  It's not a hard block but does require partial seaming.  I'm really hoping to have this quilt top completed within the next 2 weeks, but God may have other plans.  We'll just have to see.

Until later...

The Lord has hidden himself from his people, but I trust him and place my hope in him. 
Isaiah 8:17

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Charity Quilts...

I've already mentioned that I'm spending the next 5 days at a quilting retreat with my bee.  Have I also mentioned this retreat is at the beach?  I know, lucky us.  This is the first of two retreats we have planned for this fall.  The purpose of this first one is mainly to work on charity quilts to be donated to Interact, a woman's shelter.

I've got tons of charm squares from swaps over the last couple of years and I thought this would be a great chance to use some of them.  Here's a picture of some of them sorted by color...

Charm square stash

I figure I have at least a couple thousand of them.  When I started thinking of patterns that use lots of charm squares, a Disappearing 9-Patch seemed the obvious choice.  I'd made this one for my mom earlier this year...

Disappearing 9-Patch quilt

There are tons of tutorials about how to make a Disappearing 9-Patch block, so I'm not going to rehash it here.  If you've never made one and are interested in learning how, just do a search in Google.

I designed a simple quilt in Electric Quilt 7 using this block.  I love designing quilts in EQ7.  It's so easy to draw a complete one in a matter of minutes.  (If anyone would like the EQ7 project file for this, let me know.  Although you might not get it until I get back.)  So here's a picture of the quilt I came up with...

Disappearing 9-Patch charity quilt

As I have it drawn, the quilt will finish at 59" x 74".  Each quilt uses 108 charm squares along with sashing, inner and outer borders.  I've spent some time over the last couple of days putting together kits for it.  I've made 6 kits in 3 different colorways (green, blue and purple).

Kits for D9-Patch charity quilts

I'm not planning on making all of these quilts myself.  Any of the ladies at retreat who'd like to make one are welcome to them.  I also separated out enough charm squares for more quilts in red, orange and yellow if they'd rather do those.  I just didn't have a coordinating border fabric for them (and didn't want to purchase one).

Enough charm squares for 3 more quilts

It's such an easy pattern, I'm hoping I get at least 2 of the tops made.  I have another quilt I want to make for a child out of different fabric.  I'll have to let you know how much I actually get done when I get back.

Until later...

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and rescues those who are crushed in spirit." 
Psalm 34:18 (NLT)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Stash Report Week #38...

September 17- 23, 2010

I love reading blog posts with lots of pictures interspersed.  And I try my best to add them to my own.  But since I shared pictures of all my fabric purchases when I blogged about Stash Dash, I don't have any new ones for my report.  So instead, I'm going to add in some pictures of my pets that I took today.

As you're aware, I bought a good amount of fabric this week.  I had to go back through my posts to count it all.  I bought a total of 5 charm packs which believe it or not is less than I expected.  That's a total of 3.75 yards.  I got Maison de Garance, Clermont Farms, Simple Abundance, Bliss, and Origins.

David on my ironing board

As for my yardage, I found that I bought some gradated fabrics (for appliqueing) - there were 3.5 yards of those.  A couple of landscape fabrics added to another 1.5 yards.  Several of my fabric purchases are destined for charity quilts I'll be making next week - those were 6.5 yards.  And the rest was a miscellaneous bunch and came to 4.25 yards.

Gabriel taking a nap

I pulled out the calculator to make sure I added it correctly (and to double check my results).  Yep, just as I thought, it's a lot more than I expected.  Somehow I bought 19.5 yards of fabric this past week.  Yowsers!

And although I worked on several projects this week (namely the Nature CQ), I finished none of them.  However, I do have a number of kits cut out and ready to work on this week and I expect to have at least a couple of tops done.

Sam (yes, she's still on a diet)

Purchased-this-week: 19.5 yards
Used-this-week: 0 yards
Purchased-to-date: 218.75 yards
Used-to-date: 328 yards
Net used: 109.25 yards

Until later...

"A man's wisdom gives him patience.  It is his glory to overlook an offense."
Proverbs 12:16 (NIV)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stash Dash Part 3 (Finale)...

If you're tired of reading about my Stash Dash adventures, don't worry, this post wraps it up.  Unless of course I win one of the prizes.  Then I'm sure I'll talk more about it.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned before what a math oriented person I am.  It was definitely my favorite subject in school and although I rarely do complex mathematical equations any more, I constantly have numbers running through my head.  For example, there were 8 shops participating in the Stash Dash this year so each stop represented 1/8th or 12.5% of the total.  So after Day 1, I'd gone to 25%, Day 2 was 62.5% and Day 3 I completed 100%.  Is anyone else like that or am I completely alone?

I also count all my errands on a given day.  Yesterday, I had 12, although 5 of them were quilting related.
  1. Gas
  2. Bank
  3. Recycling
  4. Sew Unique
  5. Bernina World of Sewing
  6. Wish Upon a Quilt
  7. Pei Wei (lunch)
  8. JoAnn's Fabrics
  9. Sam's Club
  10. Carolina Sew-n-Vac
  11. Acupuncture
  12. Groceries
It doesn't bother me to make so many stops in a day, but it does tire me out.  On the other hand, it woulf drive Mr. Quilting Bug completely bonkers to have to make half that many stops.  I'm thinking it's mostly a girl/guy thing (with the exception of Jan).

So back to the Stash Dash.  I went to the final 3 stores on my list: Sew Unique, Bernina World of Sewing, and Wish Upon a Quilt all of which I'd been to multiple times before.  Although Sew Unique did just move, but only next door.

The new store for Sew Unique is very bright and open, but I consider them mostly a machine dealer.  Although they have some quilting fabric and notions, that's not their main interest.  However, I did find a couple of Daiwabo fabrics that will be great to use for applique.  I picked up a yard of each.

Daiwabo fabrics and Moses

I made the trip to these stores by myself so I didn't linger too long in each one.  I must say that the Stash Dash is a lot more fun when you do it with friends, but the timing just didn't work out for this final day.

From there I went to Bernina World of Sewing.  They also sell machines, but still carry a large selection of fabric and notions.  They gave everyone a free fat quarter for coming in and I also picked up a couple packages of batting.  The Quilter's Dream Cotton is my favorite brand of batting.

Purchases from Bernina

Then I went to Wish Upon a Quilt.  They carry tons of pre-cuts so I always feel like a kid in a candy store when I go in there.  Surprisingly though, I didn't buy any of those.  I picked up a cute owl panel to make a charity quilt next week and also a Sewline box to hold my assortment of quilting pens/pencils.  (I'm always digging around for them.)

Purchases from Wish Upon a Quilt

After I turned in my Stash Dash card, it felt good that I had finally completed one and that I had in some small way supported my local quilt shops.  But I wasn't done there.  I then headed to JoAnn's to pick up some border fabrics for more charity quilts I'm planning to make next week.  (In case you don't know, I'm going to the beach for a week with my quilt bee to make quilts for InterAct.)

Sashing and border fabrics from JoAnns

Do you see how much help my cats are?

Although not technically Stash Dash related either, I also went back to Carolina Sew-n-Vac.  I brought my sewing machine to them a week and a half prior and they were able to fix her up good as new.  (Or so I hope.  I haven't actually tried sewing on her yet.)  And while there, I couldn't seem to resist an Origins charm pack and a yard of a coordinating print (to go with the Greta pattern I picked up earlier in the week).  I also bought some more bobbins for another machine.

Moses and purchases from Carolina Sew-n-Vac

Tomorrow I need to update my Stash Report.  I know it's taken a hit this week, but I'll use a lot of fabric for charity quilts so I hope it will balance out.  These Stash Dash posts will be invaluable as I try to figure out how much fabric I actually bought.  Hmm.  I have a feeling it's going to be more than I think...

Until later...

"Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." 
Ephesians 4:26 (NIV)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Stash Dash Part 2...

On Wednesday I met up with a few friends from my quilt bee and continued my Stash Dashing efforts.  Our plan was to go to the shops furthest away, which for us were Thimble Pleasures and Elegant Stitches

Thimble Pleasures is in Chapel Hill, NC and carries an amazing selection of batiks as well as other fabric.  However their fabric is pretty expensive.  Most of it was over $10 per yard which is more than I'm used to seeing.  But they were having a pretty good sale on half yard cuts of fabric and I bought several.

Purchases from Thimble Pleasures

I also found some McKenna Ryan fabric.  I don't usually see those around here and she makes some gorgeous gradated ones like this...

From Thimble Pleasures

Both Moses and David are very helpful sorting and taking pictures of my purchases.

From there we went to Elegant Stitches.  I've heard that they do mostly heirloom sewing but I was pleasantly surprised to see they also carry a bunch of quilting fabric, books, notions and pre-cuts.  I picked up a Bliss charm pack and some half yard cuts of more gradated fabric.  I think it will be perfect for appliqueing leaves and other elements in nature.

Purchases from Elegant Stitches
Then Jan, being way more travel savvy than me, mentioned that we were really close to one of our favorite quilt stores, Plain and Simple Quilt Shop, so we headed on over.  They're not participating in the Stash Dash but were having their own sales running.  I bought some of their wool and a Simple Abundance charm pack.  (Can you tell I have a thing for charm packs?)

Purchases from Plain and Simple Quilt Shop

I caught David in the midst of a big nap today and managed to take his picture.
David napping

Until later...

"The Lord is near to all who call on him." 
 Psalm 145:18 (NIV)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

CQ Update #5...

Not a lot of progress on this the last couple of days.  Too many other things have required most of my time.  So here's where the block stands now...

Crazy Quilt Block

The only difference from my last update is the patch in the upper left hand corner.  It's a patch of violets.  I made the flowers using 4mm variegated purple silk ribbon and a Ribbon stitch.  The center of the violets are Colonial Knots using 4mm yellow silk ribbon.  After I stitched a bunch of the flowers in various sizes, I went back and added leaves using the Detached Chain stitch and Ribbon stitch with 4mm green silk ribbon.

Block #5 - Patch of Violets

After adding what seemed to be hundreds of leaves, I realized they were covering up too much of the petals and making them appear flat.  So I went back and added additional petals on top of the others to make them stand out more.

I'm practicing my Spider Web Rose tonight because I want to add a bunch of them to the fence in the bottom right hand corner.  I expect that patch will take a little longer to complete than some of the others.  If you remember, my deadline for this block was supposed to be September 22nd (or tomorrow).  Obviously that's just not going to happen, but Elaine has been very understanding about the delay.  I'd rather take a little longer and put my best effort into it then slap something together just to call it done.  Although I only have 6 more patches to complete, so it shouldn't be too much longer...

Until later...

"I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread." 
Job 23:12 (NIV)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Stash Dash Part 1...

Well it's that time of year again here in central NC.  Stash Dash time.  The annual pilgrimage of quilters from one gorgeous fabric store to another where we can ogle new fabric, enjoy discounts and win door prizes.  There are 8 stores participating this year and for those intrepid travelers who make it to every one, you have the chance to win a great grand prize.

Although I've joined in for several years, I've never made it to all of them within the allotted time.  But this year for the first time, they've extended the Stash Dash from 3 days to a whole week.  And I've got my schedule planned out to make it to all of them!  On Saturday, Jan and I headed out to the first 3 - Whistle Stop Quilt Shop, Carolina Sew-n-Vac, and Quilts Like Crazy.

Whistle Stop is a small quilt store in a small town, Selma, NC.  Distance wise, this store is by far the furthest away so we decided to hit it first.  Connie, the owner, has outdone herself in preparing for the crowds of Stash Dash.  Her shop was filled with shop samples, kits and new fabric.  I picked up charm packs of 2 new fabric lines, Clermont Farms and Maison de Garance.  I also picked up a couple of very quick patterns, Greta and Dora, by Me & My Sister Designs.  Each of them can be made in an afternoon with 1 charm pack and a small amount of other fabric.

Purchases from Whistle Stop Quilt Shop

Our next stop was Carolina Sew-n-Vac.  My machine is in for repairs and I was hoping it was healed by that time.  But no such luck.  However, I did participate in a demo for one of the BabyLock machines and started making a scissors case.  I also picked up another can of 505 spray as I used the last of it up on the pincushions I just finished.  If you've never tried it, I recommend this spray for not only embroidery but sewing as well.  It's a temporary adhesive and dissolves after a few days.

Stuff from Carolina Sew-n-Vac

After a nice lunch, we hit our final store for the day, Quilts Like Crazy.  This quilt shop has been under new ownership for about a year and a half and they've made some fantastic changes in there.  For one, they carry a lot more fabric and the personnel are also very friendly.  I finally broke down and purchased the Schnibbles Times Two book by Carrie Nelson.  If you aren't familiar with Schnibbles then hop on the bandwagon and check out Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.  I also picked up the Sweet & Simple Pantograph packet in the hope that it will encourage me to use my quilting frame more.

Purchases from Quilts Like Crazy

And at the last moment before checking out, my eye caught this fabric.  It will work great for several different things - tree trunks, wood grain, animal fur, etc.

Landscape fabric

And that completed the first day of Stash Dash for me.  This saga will continue on Wednesday when I plan to go to 2 more stores.

Until later...

"The Lord reached down from above and took hold of me; he pulled me out of the deep waters"
Psalm 18:16 (TEV)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

CQ Update #4...

Now that the seams are all done, I can concentrate fully on the individual patches.  I know what I'd like to do for most of them.  Or let me rephrase that, I know what I hope to do for most of them.  Here's my progress so far...

Crazy Quilt Block

You can see in the upper left that I've added a tulip patch.  I got the idea (and instructions) from the Ribbon Embroidery & Stumpwork book by Di Van Niekerk.  She has a lot of great ideas in that book!  Here's a closeup of the tulips...

Block #4 - Tulip Patch

I stitched down oval beads for each tulip and then covered them with Ribbon stitches using 7mm persimmon silk ribbon.  The stems are Twisted Straight stitches using 4mm green silk ribbon.  I made a Grab stitch at the base of each Tulip before making the stems.  And the leaves are Twisted Ribbon stitches using 7mm wide ribbon.  The Tulips were really pretty easy to make.  And I added a Bee charm to the patch as well.

I'm spending the day tomorrow with a friend where I'll be working on this, so I hope to make a lot of progress on it.  I've already started on a patch of violets that I hope to finish.

This is a my sister's dog Abby.  She's 12 and an American Dingo. She had a very itchy nose at the time.

Abby scratching her nose

Until later...

"And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully"  
Ephesians 3:18-19 (NLT).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

CQ Update #3...

Still hard at work on this project.  I've finally managed to finish embellishing every seam on this small quilt block - all 13 of them.  And the silk ribbon I've been waiting on has also arrived so I have everything I need (I hope) to finish the rest of the blocks.

Before I share the last 8 seam treatments, here's a picture of the block as it currently stands.

CQ nature block

It's starting to look fuller now that the seams are done.  Next, I'll add a bunch of silk ribbon embroidery to the rest of the spaces.

For seam #6, I stitched a Chevron stitch using 2 strands of green DMC floss.  Then I added these pink flower beads to the bottom.

Seam #6 - Chevron stitch and flowers

For seam #7, I first added a back stitch with 2mm green silk ribbon and then wrapped it with a darker green ribbon.  But when it was done, I didn't think it had much pizazz, so I went back and added the beaded cluster to either side using a pink seed bead on top of 2 red ones on top of 3 green ones.  I think they look like little flowers.  I lost count of how many times I stuck myself with the beading needle on this one.  It was a tight space and I was all thumbs!

Seam #7 - Beaded flowers

For seam #8, I did a Looped Ribbon stitch down the whole seam and then added small seed beads between each loop.

Seam #8 - Looped Ribbon and beads

For seam #9, I was having trouble thinking of new things and found this piece of trim in my stash.  I simply stitched it down on both sides.

Seam #9 - green trim

For seam #10, I used 2 strands of light green DMC floss and stitched a Feather stitch.  I then went back and added seed beads to the tip of each feather.

Seam #10 - Feather stitch and beads

For seam #11, again I used 2 strands of pink DMC floss to make a bunch of Lazy Daisy stitches in a fan shape.  I also made a couple of Lazy Daisy flowers on the bottom row as well.  And I'm finding almost none of the seams are complete without yet more seed beads stitched on them.

Seam #11 - Lazy Daisy stitches and beads

For seam #12, I used 4mm yellow silk ribbon to make Cross stitches.  I then came back with a 4mm burgundy silk ribbon and made 2 Colonial Knots between each one.

Seam #12 - Cross stitches and Colonial Knots

For the final seam, #13, I used 3 strands of a light pink DMC floss and made 5 Straight stitches in a fan shape.  I then went back and added an iridescent seed bead to the tip of each spoke.

Seam #13 - Straight stitches and more beads

I learned a lot from stitching each of these seams and got the chance to practice some stitches I've never tried before - like the Colonial Knot.  I had some trouble initially figuring out how to stitch it, but now I find it easier than making French Knots.  The book I used as my design inspiration for most of the seams is "An Encyclopedia of Crazy Quilt Stitches and Motifs" by Linda Causee.  I highly recommend this book not only for ideas but also the how-to for each stitch.

So now I'm off to work on the rest of it, but first I'll leave you with a picture of David trying to sneak in the freezer once again...

David in the freezer

Until later...

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment" 
1 Timothy 6:17 (NIV).