Monday, August 19, 2019

Country Spools



A few weeks ago I took advantage of a sale and ordered a new Accuquilt die. The day it arrived, I dropped everything and started cutting. The spool die is really cute and I can see that some of pieces will combine with other dies to create other designs. (As if I need more to do!)

Country Spools is 36” square, made up of sixteen 6” spool blocks plus sashing. I pulled red, black, white and grey prints from my remnant baskets. I liked the small center pieces but decided to switch things up by using squares and quarter squares for some of the centers. Tiny stripes for the sashing with bandana squares frame them beautifully.


I quilted across the sashing with white thread in a loopy decorative stitch. A small serpentine stitch was used across the block sections. Backing is black and white chevrons with binding in a paisley print.

Accuquilt dies used: 55180 Spool BOB, 55006 3 ½” Square, 55018 Value die (2 ½” HST)

Side note: Even though I've been sewing up a storm, I took time off over the weekend to celebrate with my husband...we've been married 46 years! Seems like yesterday that we were starting out in that little four room duplex.

It's been fun and sometimes crazy. We worked hard and learned as we went, always moving ahead together. Now we're retired and pursuing our hobbies. Of course, there's still work to do, like helping him repair fuel lines on the truck the morning of our anniversary. Yeah, I have mechanic skills as well as sewing expertise.

We are a great team and still enjoy each other's company. It's fabulous to have a loving partner to share life's adventures. I am thankful for every single day.

Love is: being Happy Together

Monday, August 12, 2019

Peaceful Stacks


Last week vintage, this week modern! 

I like to switch between styles because it keeps my ideas fresh. Variety stimulates and challenges my creative brain.  At least, that's my best theory...could be that I'm just spastic and can't stay focused.  

Half hexagons fit together easily with two triangles to form rows. Quick to cut and sew, Peaceful Stacks is 34” x 39” finished size. Cool ocean colors of blue-gray batiks and dots are combined with an aqua chambray background.  I quilted with aqua thread in a decorative stitch across the horizontal seams, adding a straight stitch between rows.  


Accuquilt dies used: 55437 half hexagon and 55429 equilateral triangle


Dream
in colors
borrowed
from the sea




Monday, August 5, 2019

Effie's Butterfly Garden


Effie's Butterfly Garden
I've done a series on my husband's grandmother, Granny Rose, her quilts, and my reproductions of those designs. Until now, I only had one of my own grandmother's quilts, a wedding gift. Recently a cousin sent me some old family photos, including a few pics of Granny Hill's quilts.

Effie's Butterfly Garden is my version of one of them. I made my block simpler so that I could use Accuquilt dies and sew it up more quickly. Her quilt and my block are pictured below. I may do another take on the design later using her kite piece.

Effie Hill quilt
Kaye's version

Vintage style 1930's and 1940's small floral prints, like the housedresses she made and wore, are featured with a natural muslin contrast in each block. Backing and binding are a larger floral print. I quilted with beige thread using a walking foot in serpentine lines that intersect to make simple flower petals.


I remember Effie Hill as a strong, independent woman who raised six kids during the depression. She lived and worked hard all her life on a farm in rural middle Tennessee. She grew a garden, cooked and canned, and somehow found time to sew and quilt. I surely must have inherited some of her sewing DNA.

Accuquilt dies used: 55010 5” square, 55735 2 ¼” x 4 ½” chisel, and 55147 2 ¼” half square triangle. I cut the 2 ¼” square from a strip, using the end of the chisel die.


I am thankful 
for the strength 
that lives in my veins. 
~K. Azizian

Monday, July 29, 2019

Peach Mango Mist


I bought a new Accuquilt die during this month's sale and started cutting pieces immediately. Bow tie blocks are so pretty, especially this one with the tiny center triangles. I paired warm colors of peach, orange, coral and mango prints with cool shades of gray.

I added two borders: one narrow medium gray solid and an outer border of alternating peach and gray rectangles. Peach Mango Mist finished out at 44” square, great for display, table topper, or baby's room.

I quilted with light gray thread on top and white in the bobbin, using a meandering stitch. Quilting went quickly using the Flynn frame. I'm getting better at free motion stitching with practice. The backing is a white and gray circle print with a side border strip of coral.


Dies used: 
55768 and 55769 4 ½” finished bow tie
55107 2 ¼” x 4 ½” finished rectangle



By the way, today's post is late because I went out for a leisurely breakfast with my favorite guy. A date with my husband is first priority, even after all our years together.

Be happier!
Spend more time
with the people you love,
doing the things you love.

Monday, July 22, 2019

I Shall Wear Purple


The fabric that inspired my latest quilt is bright, cluttered, and loud. I bought eight yards of it at a closeout sale in 1995...yeah, I know, but it was only 25 cents a yard! I've used it for backings and in scrap quilts.

I chose a granny square design to showcase individual prints used in the material. I cut 2 ½” squares with Accuquilt, then sorted them by pattern. I added red, blue and purple blenders as the four center squares, with light beige prints for the triangles.  Layout was done in Electric Quilt 8.  

original fabric
The sashing is a grape Quilters Candy chambray from Connecting Threads. Binding and backing is the original wild and crazy fabric. Quilting in a medium purple, I used a straight stitch horizontally and vertically across each square. Then I added the wide zigzag stitch on the sashing.

I Shall Wear Purple
I am so pleased with the result; it finished out even prettier than I expected. The 44” x 54” size is handy for naps or display.

Jenny Joseph's poem, Warning, has encouraged many of us to keep our playful nature alive. I Shall Wear Purple seemed like the perfect name for a granny square quilt made by an old lady whose favorite colors are purple and red.

So, go out and do something unexpected today and don't forget to wear purple.



Monday, July 15, 2019

Bear Hunt


Here's an old fashioned block arranged in a modern way. I sewed 6” traditional bear paw blocks and added triangles on each side to set them on point. Then I laid out vertical rows, alternating the direction each time. These bears don't know which way to turn!

My background fabric is a pretty arrow design from Wilmington Prints, also used for the narrow outer border. I chose navy, turquoise, aqua, green, and gray fabric remnants for the paws. Everything was cut with Accuquilt, using the value die and triangle die 55002.

Backing is a cream and white tone on tone circular design. I quilted using a walking foot, with off white thread in a random wavy pattern. Bear Hunt finished out at 45” square. It would also look great in a single row as a table runner. I really enjoyed working on this, and used up more remnants too.

Bear Hunt

Useful Notion: Sometimes long borders can stretch as you sew them, causing uneven sides. For this quilt I cut short border pieces and added them to the outer blocks before I sewed each row together. That kept my rows square and even.


It's not the heat, it's the humidity.
Well, honey, I think it's both!





Monday, July 8, 2019

Summertime Girl

Summertime Girl

It's officially summer here in Tennessee: 99% humidity, triple digit heat index, daily thunderstorms, and no way to control my unruly naturally curly hair. 

Call me crazy, but I'm staying in my air conditioned sewing space stitching quilts.

Fun summer prints -- cats, owls, popsicles, and straw hats -- share space with bright colorful stripes, checks, and dots, all pulled from my overflowing scrap collection. This is a definitely girly quilt for a summer baby.

This time I combined three Accuquilt dies to make a rectangular block that I saw last year in a quilting book. I don't remember which publication, but I sketched it in my inspiration journal. I attached 4 ½” triangles on a center square, and completed the rectangle with two 6 ½” triangles.

I sewed six of them together horizontally and stacked them into three rows, then added the dotty border and backing. Summertime Girl is 40” square. Quilting is a scallop stitch done diagonally in white thread.


You know I'd do anything for you...
except leave the comfort
of my air conditioned home




Monday, July 1, 2019

Spirit of Liberty


I'm celebrating the USA with this week's design, in honor of Independence Day. Made with Accuquilt Parallelogram (55004), it features red and navy prints with white 3 ½” half square triangles on each end to make a rectangle.

I grouped six of each color to form blocks and alternated them to make a strip. Sashing between rows is 3 ½” wide red and navy diamond print on white background. I quilted with white thread in a free motion looping pattern. 

Spirit of Liberty

Binding is a red and white stripe. For backing I used the diamond print but didn't have quite enough left for the length, so I added a row of red and blue 6½” AQ tumbler blocks about a third of the way down.  


Spirit of Liberty is 42” x 48”, but you could make it any size you like by changing the number of blocks or rows. I used EQ8 to play with other layouts before finalizing this version. A table runner using only one strip of blocks or cheerful place mats might be nice.

Celebrate the holiday and be safe!




Monday, June 24, 2019

Granny's Garden Walk

Granny's Garden Walk

Are you ready for another Granny Rose block? She had two completed samples of this one in different sizes. The nine patch block is based on 54-40 or Fight design, but has been known by several names over the years. In 1939, it was published as Garden Walk; in 1969 it went by Bird of Paradise; some call it Grandmother's Star when colors are arranged to emphasize the star points.

Mine is a 12” finished block, and as usual, I used Electric Quilt 8 to design and Accuquilt dies to cut the pieces. The 2 ½” square value die for center and corner four patches and the 4” finished triangle in square die went together perfectly. 

Lydia Rose's Garden Walk blocks

I chose four 1930's era colors in two shades each: sunny yellow, luscious lavender, true blue, and grass green, with white for all the triangles.

Granny's Garden Walk is 48” square. I arranged the colors diagonally and decided not to use sashing between the squares. I like the secondary design where the corners come together. 

Quilting was done with white thread, using a walking foot to stitch lines in a lightly flowing wave pattern. Backing is a tiny lattice print in light lavender and white; binding is white.

Start to finish, this took me seven days, working on it several hours every day. I still had time for walks, housework (basics only), and errands.  

A week of sewing = one happy quilter!

A day without quilting
probably won't kill me,
but why take the risk?




Monday, June 17, 2019

Sparkling Jewels


I am having so much fun adapting vintage quilt blocks to Accuquilt dies! Today's design, Sparkling Jewels, is from Progressive Farmer Magazine. Granny Rose probably clipped it in the 1950's but the design has been seen since the 1930's. You could order the pattern for 15 cents. 

I used these dies: Kite, 2 ½” square, and 2 ½” half square triangle. I added the HST to the wide end of the kite and cut extra sides to make the border pieces. It makes a 12" block. Using EQ8 allows me to set the block sizes, edit and draw cutting lines, and experiment with color choices.

My test block was good, so I added a border and made a quilted cover for my sewing room desk chair. I'll add more contrast for the kite sides next time. A larger Sparkling Jewels quilt is on my ever growing project list.

I recently bought BlockBase software, adding 4400 blocks to my EQ library. BlockBase gives alternate block names and publishing dates. I will never run out of options now! I'm designing much faster than I can sew.  

I get so caught up that I have to set alarms to remind me to eat and get in my daily walk.  


The ultimate dream in life 
is to be able to do what you love 
and learn something from it.

++++

If you are not doing what you love,
you are wasting your time. 
~Billy Joel


    Monday, June 10, 2019

    Sampling Designs

    Fancy Flowers pattern

    I see design ideas everywhere. Magazines, blogs, Facebook, Pinterest and nature are my favorite inspirations for color and block layouts. 

    Lately I've been experimenting with Accuquilt dies to reproduce vintage blocks. My resources are Granny Rose's clippings from Progressive Farmer magazine and Nashville Tennessean newspapers. I also search online for photos of vintage quilts.

    Lydia Rose block
    Before starting a new project, I usually sew a test block to see how it will look, especially if it is new to me. I also use EQ8 to design and test color combinations.  If that block doesn't end up in a quilt, I keep it in my sample drawer or make something useful out of it.

    I found Fancy Flowers in Granny Rose's pattern shoebox, complete with templates and notes of how many to cut of each fabric. She also had one completed block in a lovely yellow, green and navy color combination.

    Fancy Flowers - my version
    My scrappy version is cut with Accuquilt Lemoyne Star, 4½” half square triangle, 2½” square and strip dies. I made an 18½” table mat with the sample, quilted with several decorative stitches. You may see this pattern again in a larger quilt.

    I am thankful to Lydia Fort Rose for her quilts, and to Hazel Rose Ireland for saving these bits and pieces of patterns and scraps. Using them to sew new quilts brings me joy.

    Monday, June 3, 2019

    Double Time

    Double Time

    Bright crayon colors outlined with white give this quilt a happy feeling. I created double hourglass blocks using two Accuquilt dies: 6 ½” and 3 ½” half square triangles. I had this design idea while working on the small hourglass quilt a few weeks ago.

    The border is made up of 2 ½” squares with 2 ½” x 4 ½” rectangles, also cut with AQ dies. I quilted in white thread, using a decorative stitch on the sashing and outlining each square with a straight stitch.  Backing is a blue and white tablecloth check print. Binding is blue and white dots. Double Time finished out at 41” x 51” size, lovely for a wall hanging or child's quilt.


    I put a tiny dent in my remnant stash with this one. It gave me an opportunity to sort and cut a few more scraps before I put everything away. I've been making an effort to clean up my space between projects. It's so nice to have clear tables and everything in its place!


    You never know
    what you have
    until you clean out
    your closets



    Monday, May 27, 2019

    Freedom

    Freedom

    Patriotic quilts in red, white and blue are so beautiful. I saw a version of this design on Pinterest and decided to whip one up on Friday. It didn't take very long to sew using 3 ½” squares and half square triangles cut with Accuquilt.

    Backing is a star print in navy, red, and cream.  I quilted with white thread in a straight stitch 1" apart.  

    Freedom is 12 ½” by 36 ½” and is hanging on my front door. I'll bring it inside after today so it won't fade, then hang it again for Flag Day and Independence Day. It could also be used a table runner.

    On this Memorial Day, I salute those who died defending our right to freedom.



    Monday, May 20, 2019

    Counting The Hours


    I teased last week about a triangle project. I really hate to waste fabric so I always keep boxes and bags of scraps. Only the tiniest slivers get tossed.

    Today's quilt, Counting The Hours, came from little aqua, green, white and cream remnants. I used 2½” half square triangles turned to make quarter square hourglass blocks. 

    It took a while (and a bit of patience) to sew the 952 pieces together, press them, and arrange them on my design wall. I didn't keep track of the exact hours, but I spent almost a week from idea to finished product. 

    I love the peaceful color scheme of this lap sized 39” x 47” throw. It matches other quilts in my collection. I quilted in serpentine stitch with a neutral green thread both horizontally and vertically.


    The best part is that I used material left over from other projects. These days I use Accuquilt dies to cut them into useful pieces when the boxes overflow. Every now and then I schedule a cutting session to manage and organize my stash. I store them in plastic shoe boxes and square containers labeled with the size and die name.


    "I believe the desire to make something out of nearly nothing is bred into my soul."  ~anonymous




    Monday, May 13, 2019

    A Little Tipsy

    A Little Tipsy

    How about a glass of sangria? Drunkard's Path block made this table mat just the right accessory for serving up a pitcher on Cinco de Mayo. I found two remnants of purple and stone batik fabric in my stash.

    This 19” square mat whipped up so quickly using Accuquilt dies to cut the pieces and binding. I added 2½” triangles in the corners for a different look. Precise straight stitch quilting with light stone colored thread outlines each piece. (I didn't drink the sangria until after I finished.)



    I used my brand new Janome HP2 Acufeed foot on this project.  Perfect quarter inch seams and no stretching on curves or bias edges.  Love it!

    Here's a hint about my next quilt: hundreds and hundreds of 2½” half square triangles. This should keep me busy for sure. Check back next week for an update.





    Monday, May 6, 2019

    Cottage Charm


    What a sweet soft quilt made for a country setting. I cut scrap pieces in neutrals and brights with Accuquilt 3 ½” square and 3 ½”x 6 ½” rectangle dies. 

    Making the modified log cabin blocks was my camping project, stitched on a portable machine while we were at Defeated Creek Campground in April.

    I finished it off here at home, adding 2” sashing in a pale spring green. Backing is cut from an old soft floral sheet. I mounted it on my Flynn Quilt Frame, free motion quilting in a meandering pattern with tan thread.


    Cottage Charm, 45” x 55” in size, could be the perfect accent to someone's shabby chic décor. Can't you see it in a log cabin or cottagedraped over a wicker chair or an iron bed?


    Beautiful things
    come together
    one stitch
    at a time


    Monday, April 29, 2019

    Meditation


    Calming colors of light aqua, cream and white give today's quilt a light, airy feel. I started with a 5” charm pack of aqua prints, cutting them with the Accuquilt signature block. I added 5” squares and triangles of scrap pieces and arranged them in a diagonal cross pattern.

    Backing is a white and gray print. I quilted ½” apart with white thread in four quadrants, following the diagonal cross. Meditation is 46” square.



    It coordinates perfectly with my recent queen size quilt (Cool Lagoon). Our master suite has been transformed into a calming retreat. With the addition of some ocean sounds, I'm falling asleep dreaming of the sea.



    Sky above

    sand below

    peace within


    We dream in colors

    borrowed from the sea





    Monday, April 22, 2019

    Indulgence


    I treated myself to a couple of birthday presents last week. First, I ordered a new extra large 30” x 60” cutting mat that fits my cutting table. This Martelli mat is commercial grade, reversible, and self healing. One side is purple, matching my décor. The reverse is a cheery yellow. The markings are crisp, with grids in ½” increments and numbered down the center as well as each side. You can even iron on it if you cover it with a good quality ironing mat.

    Next, I splurged on an ergonomic rotary cutter from the same company. The design is unique, with a cushioned handle perpendicular to the blade, making it easier on the wrist and hand. There are right and left handed models. So far I love it! It has an easily operated spring loaded safety guard, and can cut up to 15 layers at a time with less pressure needed. The blades are supposed to last 3 to 5 times longer than typical ones. Check the Martelli website for details on both items.


    Upgrades for my sewing space are apparently in process this year. There could be more. I spend a lot of time in here. Investing in better equipment, supplies, and accessories helps me enjoy the experience so much more. And that is a good thing!


    A treat is a small pleasure or indulgence that we give to ourselves just because we want it. ~Gretchen Rubin

    You have the freedom of indulgence. Be extravagant. Allow yourself to think and feel and do what you please and hopefully…everything you do will make your life better. Stronger. Enabling you to live in happiness. ~Michael Feeley


    Monday, April 15, 2019

    Milestones


    After a relaxing week at the campground, I'm staring right at a significant occurrence in my life. Yep, my 65th birthday is here; I have a Medicare card to prove it if you don't believe me.

    I have officially reached that milestone. I am OLD. Senior. Elderly. Antique. Mature. Over the hill. Maybe even wiser. I have learned at least three things in this adventure called life:

    1)  If it makes you happy, do it
    2)  If it doesn't, then don't
    3)  Go your own way

    Turning 65 isn't so bad, really. I'm not yet senile, ancient, a doddering old crone, or ready for the nursing asylum. I have added a few extra pounds but they smooth out wrinkles and might give me a bit of a cushion if I fall down. My bones are occasionally creaky but isn't that what Aleve is for? I am still sassy, curious, and eager to learn new things.

    There are nice perks to getting old. Senior shopping discounts save me a few bucks. I can eat early and get home in time for the news. Medicare costs less than my previous insurance. 

    If the weather is bad, I can stay in and read. If it's pretty, I can play outside. I can sew all day if I choose to. I don't have to drive at rush hour or care what anybody thinks. I have plenty of time to enjoy my home and the world around me.

    So what if I'm 65? It's just another milestone. Senior life is good. I've quit saying someday; instead I'm asking what about now? I'm looking forward to many more years of following my own path.


    Now that I'm old,
    I don't want people thinking
    “What a sweet little old lady”
    I want them saying
    “Oh crap, what's she up to now?”



    Monday, April 8, 2019

    Cool Lagoon


    This week's quilt is a big one...queen size for our bedroom. I chose fabrics in cool aqua textures, crisp white tone on tone, and a taupe and white print. I experimented with a couple of layouts in EQ8 software before finalizing the design.

    Accuquilt's flowering snowball die made cutting and sewing the curves nearly effortless, but it still took a day to cut all the pieces for 64 twelve inch blocks. Large quilts aren't done overnight, so I set aside time each day to stitch a few blocks. 

    Though patience is not usually one of my virtues, I enjoyed the process of working on this one. I used wide flannel for batting so it wouldn't be so heavy, then backed it with a white on cream circle print. White thread for quilting in a straight stitch made nice 2” squares in the aqua center sections. An uncomplicated quilting design made it easier to handle this big quilt on my Janome MC9400 home sewing machine. Cool Lagoon is 97” square.



    I added a pillow made from my test block, and still need to finish reversible shams, one side in aqua and the other in the cream/white circles. 

    A restful summery beach theme was my goal and I love the result. Taupe walls and sandy colored carpet in our bedroom give me the ability to change the look easily by using different colored bedding. 

    Decorating with quilts is versatile because their designs can either be the focal point or just compliment other décor. To me, they make a house feel like home.


    The ultimate luxury
    is being able to
    relax and enjoy
    your home.
    ~Jeff Lincoln