Wednesday, August 22, 2012

One Down, Two To Go!

 The school year has started here and it is amazing how much more calm and focused I feel with only half as many kids at home.  ;)  I managed to crank out Skill Builder Sampler quilt top #1 Monday morning while the two smallest played.  Only two more to go!

I have to admit that putting together the blocks and sashing is not my favorite part of the quilt making process.  However, it is rather necessary if one wants a quilt and not a pile of blocks.  ;)  I am not feeling so calm and focused that I think I will be able to write my own tutorial on sashing, so I will refer you to these two great tutorials which give two different methods of adding sashing.

Sashing Tutorials:
Adding Sashing the Easy Way
Learn How to Make Quilt Sashing With Cornerstones

However I won't leave you totally on your own.  Here are the fabric and cutting requirements for a layout like the one above::
  1. 1 1/4 yards of sashing material cut into forty-nine 2.5x12.5 inch strips
  2. Forty-nine 2.5 inch cornerstone squares.  (You can get 48 out of a quarter yard, so you will need a quarter yard of fabric plus one 2.5 inch square.  Or you can use scraps.)
I am going to leave you with some inspiration and a challenge.  Here are three We Can Do It! Skill Builder quilts that are all finished!!! 

Skill builder - all done
Cassie finished quilting her quilt last week!  Love the colors and layout!

Skill Builder #3
Mamma Thomps made three throw quilts using the Skill Builder Blocks.  This is her third and final quilt.  I love how the blocks seem to float on the dark background.

Vanessa was the first to finish her quilt and she hand quilted it!!!  I love the borders as sashing and the hand quilting is Amazing!  Great job!

To give everyone a bit of motivation to finish their quilts, we will have a We Can Do It! Skill Builder Quilt Show and giveaway the first week of October.  That gives us all just over a month to finish up our quilts.  We Can Do It!  Post pictures of your finished quilts in the flickr group.   Leave a comment here in the flickr group and a link to your finished quilt to participate in the Quilt Show and to be entered into the final giveaway.  

If you didn't finish all of the blocks and know that you aren't really going to make anymore, that's ok.  Take what you have and make a quilt out of it.  I don't want any blocks cluttering up your home and making you feel guilty about starting other projects.  ;)  

Thank you all for such a great skill building year! 

(For a complete list of all the Skill Builder Tutorials go here.)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

How Hard Can It Be?

Remember these lovelies?  Last time I checked in I was trying to decide what color of spacer hexagons to use between them.  I didn't think it would be so hard to decide, but I have been thinking about fabric choices for a good month.

I started my fabric journey by going to JoAnn's and picking out any fabric that I thought might look good.  These are the short listers.  My cart was Full!

I stacked all of the pattern books on one side of the pattern table and spread out.  Thankfully no one needed to find a pattern that evening.  :)  I took each fabric, unrolled it, laid the hexagons on top, stood back, took pictures, asked the opinions roving employees and still couldn't figure out which one was best.

There were some definite No Ways in the bunch.  Black and whites that made me loopy when I looked at them and solids that were just a bit too boring.  Here are some that made the very short list.

This was the best aqua in the bunch - it actually looks way better in the  picture than it did in the store.

Big black and white dot.  It made my eyes water a bit, but interesting.

A cross hatched print.  It looks ok in the picture, but I wasn't sold on the quality of the fabric or the print.  The hashes are kind of weird when you see them up close.

This black with mini white dots is what I ended up buying.  Then I got home and didn't like it.  Sigh.

More help was needed.  So I took the hexies to the Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild's July meeting which happened to be on color selection.  Perfect!  When Eva Marie asked if there was anyone who had a piece of fabric that they didn't know what color to use with, my hand shot up and we spent some time discussing fabric options.  One side of the room leaned more towards aquas and another towards blacks.

After another week of thinking about it, this is what I chose.  A black with an open circle in gray.  I still don't know if it was the perfect choice or not, but it was my husband's favorite fabric of the bunch, so when in doubt humor the husband.  :)

Here it is so far.  The black is a strong contrast, but I think some bright chunky quilting in perle cottons will soften the black areas.  Now I just need to make more star hexagons so I can make it twice as long and even out the sides.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Action Kivu


Have you heard about the fundraiser to help support Action Kivu over on Handmade by Alissa?  Action Kivu teaches women in Congo to sew so they will be able to have a skill to support themselves and their families and helps pay for children to attend school.  I have to say that Action Kivu is one of my favorite organizations to donate to -- what better cause could there be?  Check out the Action Kivu website to learn more about how the Democratic Republic of Congo has been affected by war and how Action Kivu has been helping the women and children who are victims of violence.

If the good feeling of donating to a great cause isn't enough, you will be entered to win some great prizes based on the dollar amount of your donation.  Here is the post with the prize and donation details.  More prizes keep showing up so keep on checking in with Alissa's daily posts this week.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fair Firsts

Yesterday we went to the Iowa State Fair.  It was so much more enjoyable than last year.  Much cooler (only in the 70s!! Notice that they started the day wearing sweaters?) and my husband was able to come too.  I can't believe I took the kids by myself on a super hot day last year.  I must have been insane!

The first stop was the Fabric and Threads exhibit to check out the quilt block contest winners.  Here are all the blocks that were entered into the competition.  After the fair they will be made up into a quilt and raffled off at next year's fair.

Here is mine!  An honorable mention!  

I was quite proud to be in the top 6 blocks.  There were some real beauties.

The smocked dress I entered won a blue ribbon.  Which I am proud of ...but I think it was the only one in it's class (Child's Smocked Garment Size 3-12).  So if you want to win a ribbon with minimal competition, the smocked category is for you!  ;)

Another first was our 3 year old deciding that she could go down the slide all by herself.  It was only 3 feet tall, but she was so proud (and so was I - going down the slide with her is getting very old).  She went down at least 30 times before we left the play ground area.

It was also our first time getting the free boiled egg on a stick.  Sooo much more fun than a regular boiled egg and everyone ate their yolks - another first.

We made it up to the Cultural Center for the first time this year.  We stuck around watching glass beads being made, pots being thrown and eating lunch long enough to participate in Art Attack (free art activities for kids).  I loved being up there in the courtyard.  The weather was lovely and it wasn't crowded at all -well compared to the rest of the fair.  Very relaxing.

Looking at and petting animals rounded off the day.  I love the little calves!  It was a lot of fun, but my belly and back were glad to rest on the couch for the rest of the night after a long day of walking around.  ;)

What is your favorite part of going to the fair?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cutting Fabric For the Heather Ross Swap

My camera has gone absent-without-leave - grrr.  There is a $1 reward for anyone who finds it, so keep your eyes open.  ;)  Hopefully it turns up soon because I have a little red wagon and wheelbarrow full of tomatoes I would like to take pictures of, not to mention a birthday party tomorrow and the fair later this week.  This week is not the idea time for the camera to decide to take a vacation.

But the point of the missing camera story is that I am going to do the tutorial on how to cut the 9x9 inch squares with minimal waste for the Heather Ross Swap without pictures.

Step One:
Unfold the yard of fabric completely.  Fold the fabric in half the opposite way, so that the selvages are folded back on themselves.  Instead of the selvages being opposite the fold, as fabric normally comes off of the bolt, the selvages will be on either side of the fold.

Step Two:
Trim off one of the selvages.

Step Three:
Starting at the newly trimmed side, cut off four 9x36 inch strips.  You should have a remaining scrap of fabric that is approx. 7x36 inches.  (Much better than a bunch of 9 inch scraps.)

Step Four:
Cut each 9x36 inch strip into four 9x9 squares.  Measure your strip before you start to know how much wiggle room you have.  Some stores give you 36.25 inches when you order a yard and some stores cut off a more generous 37 inch yard of fabric.

Step Five:
Package up your 16 squares and send them to me!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Heather Ross Fabric Exchange

When I participated in a charm swap of Japanese fabric last year, I got a few Heather Ross prints in the mix and I LOVE them!  I decided that I wanted to feature a bunch of Heather Ross prints in a quilt, but buying a fat quarter of each of my favorites started to add up Very quickly.

So here is the plan:  A Heather Ross fabric swap!!

The Details:

  • Each participant will buy 1 yard of Heather Ross fabric.  It can be any of her old or new prints.
  • Fabrics acceptable to swap are all Far Far Away lines, West Hill, Mendocino, Munki Munki and Nursery Versery. Please no Spoonflower fabric so that the weight and fiber content will be consistent and no Crafty Chloe. 
  • They will cut the yard of fabric into sixteen 9x9 inch squares.  I will post a tutorial on how to do this.
  • They will mail the cut fabric and a self addressed stamped envelope to me by Sept 1st at the latest.  This date is non-negotiable as I will have a baby around the 13th of September and I want to have all of the packages mailed back before then.
  • If they wish to have the fabric mailed directly to me, I will cut it up but will keep the 4x36 inch scrap of remaining fabric as payment.   They will still need to mail me a self addressed stamped envelope (or teach me how to charge a payment though paypal - I am completely clueless).
  • I will mail out a package with sixteen different 9x9 inch cuts of Heather Ross fabric as soon as all the fabric is received. 
  • In order to make sure that none of the prints are duplicated, please post a picture of the fabric you purchase on the Heather Ross Fabric Exchange flickr group.  Prints in different colorways are ok - in fact, I would love to get all three color ways of the cowgirl fabric.  Please look at the flickr group page before hitting buy.
  • To sign up for the exchange, leave a comment below.  Make sure I have your email address so I can email you my address and communicate any other details to you.
  • There are 15 spots open for the exchange.
Let me know if I have forgotten any details.  I can't wait to see all of the beautiful Heather Ross goodness!

PS.  The Fat Quarter Shop has some Far Far Away III fabric on sale!

All spots have been filled.  If any open back up I will let you know!  Thanks!