Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Working on the At the Fair Mystery Block of the Month Quilt

So last week I finished up my triangle Christmas quilt (I'll post pictures later) and have been working on the At the Fair Mystery Block of the Month Quilt.  I LOVE the first block and wanted to give you a sneak peek at the blocks for January.

The large block measures 36" square.  After making it I decided that the second block for January needed to be less intense and made the 8" bow-tie block.  I love bow-ties.  They are so classic.

I am using a mix of Micheal Miller Cotton Couture and they are great - such a smooth hand.

One more artistic shot.  If you want to participate in the At the Fair Mystery Block of the Month click here for more details or sign up here.

Linking with Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Monday, December 1, 2014

At the Fair Mystery Block of the Month 2015

It is no mystery that I love going to the Iowa State Fair every summer.  Love it!  The first time I went I was taken by the tiled quilt block frieze that runs around the exterior of the Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center.  I fell in love with it and decided that some day I would reproduce some of the quilt blocks in fabric.  That day is today and you can join me too!  It is going to be epic!

The At the Fair Mystery Quilt Block of the Month is based on the 26 of the tile quilt blocks on the exterior of the Exhibition Center and measures 96” x 92”.  The blocks range in size from 36” to 8” square.  On the first of each month in 2015 you will receive, via email, a PDF file with clear, detailed instructions for two or three quilt blocks.  The instructions will include color diagrams, pictures and foundation paper piecing templates, when necessary.  The quilt blocks will be made largest to smallest to make best use of fabric.


When I started drafting the blocks for the quilt I quickly realized that they would need to be different sizes.  Some of the simpler blocks can be made in the smaller 8” size while the more detailed blocks require a much larger size to make the piecing manageable.  What started as a necessity quickly became the base for a unique quilt layout.  There is nothing boring about this quilt!  Over the course of the year we will make:  1 – 36” block, 1 – 32” block, 5 – 24” blocks, 3 – 16” blocks, 15 -12” blocks and 11 – 8” blocks.

Full and detailed instructions for setting the blocks will be provided in December 2015. 

Fabric requirements:

For the At the Fair Mystery Quilt you will need a total of 14 yards of fabric.

If you wish to use the same background in all of the blocks you will need:
·         7 yards of background fabric
·         7 yards of a variety of solid or print fabrics (yard cuts of two or three fabrics recommended)
·         1 yard of binding fabric
·         3 yards of 108” backing fabric

Pick fabric that you absolutely adore!  You will be working with this fabric all year and you will not want to work with fabric that you think is just ok.  Large scale prints will be appropriate for the jumbo blocks and smaller scale or tone on tone prints for the smaller blocks.  I would recommend including some solids so that there is a clear contrast in fabrics, especially for the smaller blocks.  For background fabric, choose a solid color that contrasts well with your prints.

I will be using Michael Miller Cotton Couture in the following amounts:
  •          7 yards Bright White
  •          1 yard of Shell, Turquoise and Sail
  •          ½ yard of Apple, Limeade, Sea Foam, Clementine, Tangerine, Berry, Bubblegum, Mango and Lemon
  •          1 yard Clementine for binding

Skill Level:
Adventurous!  The variety of block patterns and sizes will keep this quilt interesting, but there are only a few basic techniques: half square triangles, quarter square triangles, flying geese and foundation paper piecing.  All techniques will be thoroughly explained with step by step photos and illustrations.


A flickr group has been created for this quilt along.  Post pictures of your fabrics, blocks and finished quilt at: www.flickr.com/groups/fairquilt.  I can’t wait to see them!

Cost:  $35 for the entire year!  If you sign up after January 1st all previous months' PDFs will be emailed to you within 24 hours.  Sign up here!  You are going to love making your At the Fair Quilt!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Emily's Pinwheel Star Tutorial

About a month ago my 14 year old daughter Emily was playing around with EQ7 (I love seeing them get into quilt stuff too!) and came up with this design.  I really liked the pinwheel in the star and decided to make it up into a 12" block to go with my other Meadowsweet star blocks.

I thought other people might like to make it too, so here is the tutorial:

To make a 12" finished Pinwheel star, cut:

4 - 3.5" squares
4 - 4" squares
1 - 4.5" square

1 - 4.5" square

4 - 4" squares

 2 - 4" squares

Cut the 2 of the print squares on the diagonal.
Cut the 4.5" white and pink squares into quarters along both diagonals.
Draw a line along the diagonal of the four white 4" squares.

Lay out the white, pink and print triangles as illustrated.  Sew the white and pink triangles together.  (Tip:  Feed the triangles into the machine blunt end first.)  Press.  Sew the print triangle onto the pink and white triangle unit.  Press and trim to 3.5" square.  Make sure that the seams all run into the points.

Match the white 4" squares with the remaining print and yellow 4" squares and make 8 half square triangle units as illustrated above.  Press and trim to 3.5" squares.

Lay out all of the squares as shown.  Sew together into rows.  Press.  Match seams and sew the rows together.  Press.


Such a cute block.  I just need to make a few more for the quilt!  Have a great Thanksgiving week!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Real Life/Quilt Life Balance

So, I haven't touched my sewing machine since I posted my mile long WIP list last Wednesday.  Kind of a bummer.  I have drafted some blocks and dreamed/planned different quilts and quilt-alongs (like I need anymore projects!)  but no actual sewing.  And yet I still feel fairly guilty about my "quilt life" interfering with my "real life" responsibilities.   Do you ever feel like that?

I guess I feel like I should have everything under control/perfect in my "real life" before I focus on my quilting.  Like the leaves from our 11  (!!!!) trees should be raked and disposed of, the wallpaper that I started to strip (5 layers!!!) should be finished and painted, the floors should not make your feet stick and the dishes done before I lose myself in sewing.  Logically I know that those things will never be completely done.  There will always be something for me to do/clean.  I need to find a way to balance and integrate my sewing so that it complements, not overpowers, my everyday responsibilities and vise versa.

This week I decided to move my sewing stuff back down to my basement sewing room.  I had moved everything upstairs while I was writing the book but now that I don't have to sew all-the-time it is kind of a pain to get it out to sew for a few minutes and then put it back.  So I have spent the last few days popping downstairs for a bit to clean and sort my sewing room.  My plan is to run down there for a few minutes (or more!) everyday to do something/anything creative.  I might not be able to put a lot of time per day into sewing, but goodness knows I could replace my Facebook "brain breaks" with a sewing "brain breaks" instead.

Dealing with scraps was my first priority.  There were tons of scraps in piles all over the sewing room.  After folding and storing the larger scraps (fat 1/8th and larger) I sorted the smaller scraps by color.  Then I admitted that I never really use those smaller scraps, so I decided to cut them up into rough hexagons for a future English paper piecing project.  Maybe like this one?  This morning I worked my way through the reds.  It was fun to see fabric that I had used in other projects again.  Any piece that was too small to cut a hexagon piece out off was thrown away.  Yes. Thrown. Away.  With the exception of a few strips that I will hang onto just in case I feel the need to make a string project.  Oh, who am I kidding?  Once I am done I'll give away the scraps to whoever wants them.  :)

Just taking a few minutes this morning to cut up those red hexagons gave me a fabric fix.  Here's to taking a bit of time each day to enjoy some fabric beauty.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Works In Progress - The Unabridged Version

Yesterday At the Heart of Quilting, a local long arm quilting store, needed someone to pretend to be a customer while Channel 5 made a commercial for them.  I was more than happy to oblige, especially since they said I could bring in a quilt to quilt while they were filming.  Sweet!  It was all low key and fun.  I love free motion quilting on a long arm and told them that when all of my kids were in school that I wanted to come down to Des Moines all the time to quilt.  Since time was limited, I brought my smaller I-spy quilt did a large all over flower design.  The quilting really shows up well on the back.  I used minky fabric for the first time as a backing.  It is awesome!

I have been getting a lot done, but I still feel like I am drowning in projects.  So I want to get old school WIP Wednesday today and make a comprehensive list of my WIPs.  I didn't think there were this many....

Needs Binding:
1.  I-spy quilt
2. Hexagon Christmas pillow

 Needs Quilting:
1.  Megan's Star quilt
2.  Christmas triangle quilt
3.  Star Flower quilt
4.  Diamond Christmas pillow

Needs a Border:
1. 1930's Sampler
2. Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt

Needs to be sewn together:
1. Yellow/purple triangle quilt
2.  Tree skirt

Needs a few more blocks and to be sashed and set:
1. Meadowsweet star quilt
2. Dresden plate quilt

Fabric that I want to do something with:
1.  Jelly roll of Kona solids
2.  Jelly roll of Lotta Jansdotter fabric
3.  A rainbow pack of vintage sheet fabric

Need to get rid of:
1. Coral and black baby quilt top
2. Brother's blue quilt (totally messed up the quilting on that)

Quilt Ideas:
1. Iowa State Fair Quilt made with solids
2. Simple patchwork with my special "sweet" fabrics
3. Fun improvisation (multiple ideas there)
4. Selvage pillows/quilt/skirt/etc
5. Scrappy hexagon quilt
6. Christmas pillow with selvage trees

12 active projects and tons in the wings...I think I have enough to keep me busy for awhile.  :)  What have you been working on?

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things...

I usually rather like the fall, but this year I haven't really been feeling the love.  I've just been plain old grouchy.   But the sun is shinning today and there are so many good things around me.  Here are a few of my favorite things....

It was fun that the color of some fabric I just bought matched the color of the leaves that fell the next day.  

Rainbow piles of fabric trimmings.

Mini gourds from my neighbor's garden and chrysanthemums from ours.

Two year olds who insist on dressing themselves in their sister's way-too-big boots.

Making fancy bread inspired by this viral facebook video.  (Post by Iris Cohen.)

And small town homecoming parades and five year old's who tell you that they didn't throw the candy they were given because "if you do, you won't have any candy at the end of the parade."   Words of wisdom.  :)  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pre-Order You Can Quilt!

After my last post, I checked Amazon and You Can Quilt! is available to pre-order!!!  
Order a signed copy in my etsy shop or non-signed on Amazon.
I will meet Amazon prices, but do need to charge shipping.  The planned release date is February 2015 and I will ship out the books as soon as I receive them.

This is getting real!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

You Can Quilt!

Here it is!  You Can Quilt!  
It's planned release date is February 2015!!!

Just like the original We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler, You Can Quilt! devotes a chapter to each major piecing skill.

Chapter 1:  The Basics (cutting, 1/4" seams and straight line blocks)
Chapter 2:  Half Square Triangles
Chapter 3: Quarter Square Triangles
Chapter 4:  Flying Geese
Chapter 5:  Wonky Piecing
Chapter 6:  Improvisational Piecing
Chapter 7:  Foundation Paper Piecing
Chapter 8:  Curves
Chapter 9:  One Patch Blocks
Chapter 10:  Applique
Chapter 11:  Inset Seams
Chapter 12:  Challenge Yourself!

My picture of the Flying Geese Blocks.
Each chapter starts with a simple block, followed by an intermediate block and ends with a more advanced block.  The idea is to start with a nonthreatening block and then to progress to the point where you know you could make any quilt that used that particular skill.  The instructions for the 36 quilt blocks are detailed, clear and beginner friendly.

I think this book is the most awesome quilting book ever!  (I might be a bit biased.)  But I put off sharing the book's cover for a few weeks for two reasons.  First, it features my "ugly" quilt :).  Second, this book is a must have for all quilters, not just beginners and I wanted to see if the cover could be altered to resolve those concerns.

I know AQS wants to market to beginning quilters, but this book is also perfect for all of us that are stuck in intermediate-quilter-land.  I had been quilting for years before I tried to foundation paper piece and I would never have tried to applique if it wasn't for my husband (read that story here).  This book is all about overcoming your quilting fears, trying out new techniques and building skills so you can make the quilts of your dreams.

This book is for you!  Your friend!  Your quilt group!  Everyone!

I will be sure post more information and sneak peeks as they become available!  Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 3, 2014

AQS Des Moines Quilt Show Recap

I had a lot of fun at the quilt show this week.  Somehow going to quilt shows always makes me think not really about the quilts I see (although they are Amazing) but about what I like and what I want to make next.

There were so many wonderful quilts, but my picture taking time was limited by my daughter.  I took her toy puppy for her to pull, the idea being that it would: 1. Keep her happy, 2. Keep her walking when she didn't want to be in the stroller (90% of the time) and 3. Because the puppy makes a small popping sound as it moves I could look at a quilt and still hear where she was and if the popping stopped or got too far away I could respond.  It worked ok.  :)

But the long and the short of it was that having a two year old with me made me have to be choosy about what quilts I took pictures of and I only took pictures of ones that I immediately "ahh-ed" over.

So here are my faves from the show (Some of the quilts are from the AQS show and others are from the local DSM guild.  I labeled the ones I had info for):

 LOVE the quilting

Love the solid red and white and the different sized blocks.

Love the log cabins mixed with blocks.  Very striking.

 Nice and graphic and scrappy.  Love the blues.

Cool quilting in the negative space.

Bright and fun.  The quilting was great too.

I want to make this type of applique quilt someday 

Here is the same quilt in a different colorway.  It uses my favorite color of blue for the background and I LOVE the fabric choices for these flowers!

The applique and quilting was perfect. 

 I loved the texture the serpentine stitch gave the quilt.

 I love rainbows and the quilting in the negative space was really fun.

 I really love wool applique.  I love the look and I love that you don't have to turn under the edges.  I don't like the price of wool.  Insane!  (Note the spiderweb quilting between the blocks.)

 Becca's favorite quilt was the one with the animals under it.  She stayed there looking at the animals for 15 minutes until I pried her away with the promise of candy from the vendors' booths.
I mostly like quilts with clear crisp colors (the exception being the beautiful wool quilts).
I like solid backgrounds.
I want to make an applique quilt like Aunt Millie's Garden.
I want to make a quilt with solids.
I want to make a quilt with different sized blocks.  (I already have an idea for this one.)
And I want to continue to improve my quilting.

What kind of quilts are on your bucket list?