Monday, December 30, 2019

Daydreams


Fun and color were on my mind when I designed this week's featured quilt. Using up some of my scraps is a happy bonus. I cut crossed canoe blocks and 5” squares in shades of aqua, red, blue, yellow, orange, green and purple with gray contrast.

I laid out the design in EQ8 software so that I could experiment with color placement. Daydreams is 45” x 54” in size. Backing is a white and gray wide print. I quilted with gray thread in a scallop stitch.

Accuquilt dies used:  
Crossed Canoes 55181
5” square 55010



Final 2019 project count is fifty-one. I've enjoyed sewing each and every one and though I always want to keep them, I have gifted a few.


I'm looking forward to the new year, even though the temperature here in Tennessee has been unseasonably warm. 

My 2020 quilt to do list is growing quickly, but first I'll take some time this week to organize the sewing room.

As for other resolutions, I say make a few, break a few, but always live the life you choose.


Monday, December 23, 2019

Festive Pillows

Blazing Star pillow

I have a confession to make. These pillows are made with dies that are Christmas gifts. During Accuquilt's Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, my sweetheart of a husband suggested that I order dies for my presents. So I did. He's the best Santa.  

When they arrived, I had to check to make sure they cut properly, right? Of course, they worked perfectly so I wrapped them with our other gifts. But then I had test pieces lying around. What to do? Make pillows!

I've wanted Blazing Star (55051) for a while and it sews up beautifully. Red, cream, black and gray for high contrast shows off the design with a holiday flair. I added a border, and what a pretty pillow cover it makes.

The second die is Snowball (55330). I sewed two 6" blocks in red and aqua, then added matching nine-patch blocks made from 2 ½” squares. I'm calling this pillow Vintage Charm.

You'll see more of both these dies in larger projects once I get to open them on Christmas Day.  

Oh, and in case you're wondering, yes...as a child I was sneaky and sometimes peeked at my presents before Santa came.  

Hope everyone has a peaceful, happy holiday.



Monday, December 16, 2019

Merry Trees


This small Christmas quilt is so cute! Diamond shapes and triangles are arranged to form rows of little trees.

I used Hattie's Choice Accuquilt die again to cut the red and green shapes, then added half square rectangles on each side. A bright border of red with green dots just sets it off. 

Backing is a holiday print of nested squares. Using green thread, I quilted in serpentine stitch horizontally and vertically.  Nice for a wall hanging or table mat, Merry Trees is 23” x 35” in size.

Accuquilt dies used:  
Hattie's Choice 55220
3 ½” x 6 ½” half rectangle triangle 55411 


I'm enjoying a simple, quiet Christmas season. No parties, no nonsense, no drama. We haven't wanted to shop (except a bit online), so we avoided the pressure to buy just for the sake of a sale. It's empowering to ignore others' expectations and satisfying to do what you like.

Remember, it's your Christmas,
so march to the beat
of your own little drummer boy



Monday, December 9, 2019

Crossroads

Crossroads

Simple quilt blocks are quick, fun to sew, and easy on the eyes. This one uses 2 ½” strips with 4 ½” squares to make a peaceful snuggle quilt in a classic style.

Cool blue and white prints in medium and light shades from my stash coordinate well with the grey and white border and backing. I quilted with white thread along each seam.

Crossroads finished size of 43” x 51” is just right for a comfortable recliner nap.

By the way, my lovely fabric from the beach is inventoried and filed away in baskets and cabinets, just waiting to be chosen for the next quilt. So many ideas!



Monday, December 2, 2019

Oasis + Fabric


oasis: something that provides refuge, relief, or pleasant contrast


As I hinted last week, we've just returned from a seven day trip to my favorite oasis – Alabama's gulf coast. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offered sunshine, balmy temperatures, and an escape from daily routines.

The highlights:

Morning and evening beach walks. Calming sound and scent of the waves. Amazing sunsets. It didn't take long for me to slow down to beach time.

Outstanding meals, including “the best fried shrimp in the entire civilized world” at Doc's Seafood (it absolutely is!), Parmesan Encrusted Flounder at DeSoto's Seafood Kitchen, fried whitefish with corn fritters at Mikee's, and a perfectly awesome bacon cheeseburger at Duck's Diner.

Touring the wonderful exhibits at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, plus the bonus of Blue Angels flying down our beach daily.

We shopped at thrift stores, local shops, a giant flea market, and …. FABRIC STORES! As usual, I filled a grocery cart with quilting prints at Fabrics by the Pound in Summerdale, AL. 


A & E Fabrics in Pensacola started their Black Friday sale early (50% off); so many beautiful designs that it was difficult to choose! It was my first visit, but I'll be back. My stash has grown by another 67 yards thanks to encouragement by my tolerant, generous husband.

Everyone needs a break from routine life now and then, even retirees! Find your oasis and plan your escape.




Monday, November 25, 2019

Seaside Carnival


As soon as I got my latest Accuquilt die (on sale!) I grabbed some scraps and started cutting. Bright turquoise and sunny yellow colors with crisp white are perfect for contrast to show off this pretty design. They remind me so much of my favorite place, the beach.

I sewed four Hattie's Choice (55220) 9" blocks together and added a coordinating striped border to make a cute table mat. These pieces are small, but easy to sew. Backing is bright yellow with white dots. I quilted with white thread 3/4” apart from the center out, in quarter sections, creating a nice geometric pattern. Seaside Carnival is 21” square.

I already have several more ideas sketched out that use this die but they may have to wait...this one made me hear the beach calling. I'm headed there 'cause I need sea therapy and toes in the sand.  There will be plenty of inspiration for new quilts, a couple of fabric stores to visit, and lots of fresh seafood.


This Thanksgiving week I am grateful for being able to live the simple life that I love, surrounded by those who genuinely care for me. I'm glad I learned to let go of things, people, and situations that don't bring me peace and happiness.

🌟  Count your blessings! 🌟 


Monday, November 18, 2019

Hazelnut Latte

Yummy colors of cream, chocolate, bronze, and black go together fabulously, don't they? I've had these coordinating fabrics for a while, just waiting for an idea to take shape. The fabrics usually let me know how they want to be used; it's entirely possible that I'm a fabric whisperer.  

The design is my version of Jen Kingwell's Flutterby block, adapted to use Accuquilt dies and resized to nine inches. Layout done in Electric Quilt 8 gave me yardage and number of pieces for each fabric, so cutting and sewing went quickly. 

I chose a stone and cream geometric print for backing and binding. Free motion quilting in a meandering stitch with cream thread was done on my Janome Horizon MC 9400 with the Flynn frame. 

Hazelnut Latte is 44” x 54” in size, just right for snuggling on a chilly day with a riveting book and a cup of hot coffee.

Hazelnut Latte (EQ8)

Accuquilt dies:
3 ½” x 6 ½” half rectangle triangle 55411
3 ½” square 55006



Monday, November 11, 2019

Naptime

Naptime

I just finished this adorable little quilt for a friend's new baby boy. Blue and white gingham, dot, and star fabrics surround fluffy cloud fabric centers. 

Sweet dreams, little man!

I alternated Sawtooth Star and Puss in the Corner blocks, then added a 3” border. Naptime finished at 42” square. Backing is a larger gingham check. I quilted with white thread in a straight stitch, one inch apart.

As usual, I designed in EQ8 and cut with AccuQuilt dies. These wonderful sewing tools make creating quilts a delight. I often get carried away and lose track of time. The other day my darling husband cooked dinner so that I could finish up a project. He's a keeper!

Accuquilt dies used:
6 ½” square 55000
3 ½” x 6 ½” rectangle 55005
3 ½” square 55006
3 ½” half square triangle 55009
3 ½” x 6 ½” flying geese 55456



Monday, November 4, 2019

Stargazer

Stargazer

I've always loved lone star quilts but never got around to making one until now.    

Stargazer features shades of purple, orchid, and amethyst framed by a dusty aqua floral print. Using my Accuquilt LeMoyne Star (55453) die, I cut the entire die with each fabric to save time and material. The center diamonds were all I needed for this quilt, so I set aside the other pieces for a later project.

I used EQ8 to arrange the colors, calculate the fabric needed, and number of pieces to cut. Laying the quilt on my design board helped me keep the sections in order. 

It looks more complicated than it really is. I sewed rows of three to make eight large diamonds, making sure to press so that the seams would nest. 

I added triangles cut to fit each side and sewed two of these together makes a quarter section square.  Four squares together, and it's done!

I quilted with light purple thread in a straight stitch, following the diamond sides. Binding in the darker purple frames it up nicely.  

This happy wall hanging is 28” square and fits perfectly between the windows in my sewing room. I'm delighted with the results and added a larger version to my ever-growing project list.

Surround yourself
with
beautiful things




Monday, October 28, 2019

Star Island - Done!

Star Island

I'm finally back to normal around the house so this quilt is finished. I think it was worth the wait. Nine-patch blocks in light seaside colors of lilac, aqua, tan, and sage are lovely with the white star points.

Star Island is 45” square. I quilted diagonally across the blocks in a straight stitch, using a light lavender thread. Then I added serpentine stitching horizontally and vertically in the same color.

Can't you just picture it lying across a wicker chair in a beach cottage?

Accuquilt dies used:
3 1/2" Square 55006
3 1/2" Triangle in square 55027



Monday, October 21, 2019

Star Island, Part 2


I did get some time in the sewing room last week, but not enough to complete the Star Island quilt. I finished stitching the last few blocks, arranged them on my design board and sewed the quilt top. 

The layers are now sandwiched and pinned, ready for quilting. Tomorrow I'll choose a quilting design and thread color. Final photos and details will come next Monday.

Camping for two weeks is wonderful, but there's a little work involved afterward to get back to normal. Unloading food, gear, clothes, and supplies takes longer at the end of the season since anything that might freeze has to come in. The camper got a thorough cleaning inside and out, then winterized for storage.

What else kept me busy? Two weeks worth of laundry. Putting away all the stuff we unloaded. The cupboard was nearly bare, so grocery shopping was necessary. (I put that off as long as possible; it is not my favorite activity.) Routine household chores.

Sometimes daily life gets in the way of quilting.


Monday, October 14, 2019

Campground Sewing: Star Island


You didn't think I could go camping without some kind of sewing project, did you? For our latest outing I created a quilt kit to take along. My inspiration was a nine-patch star test block that I made last year.


I selected light colors in soft green, lilac, latte, and aqua prints from my 3 ½” square and triangle leftovers and pulled other coordinates from my remnant baskets. After designing in Electric Quilt 8, I spent an afternoon cutting the pieces I would need with Accuquilt dies. All the star points are a simple white dotted print. Everything fit nicely into a storage container.

I loaded up my trusty Singer XL1000, the fabric kit and a sewing box of notions, and off we headed to Defeated Creek.


Taking over the dinette table gave me enough room to stitch, especially with my pressing annex. I wouldn't want to try to sandwich, pin and finish a large quilt in this small space, but sewing the quilt top was a breeze.

After a couple of days unloading and cleaning the camper, I'll finish up the quilt and show you the final results next week.

Camping in fall is usually great but this year temps went from 96 to 39 during our stay. Air conditioning and heaters were necessary.  We had fun anyway!

Is is a vacation if you're retired, 
or just another day in a good life?  



Monday, October 7, 2019

Cross Cut


This little quilt was fun to design and sew. I like small ones because they go together quickly. 

I cut signature block centers of brown, gold and orange prints from a 10” square precut pack, adding white corner triangles for contrast. Black and white prints make the center crosses stand out.

Nine squares made a 33” square finished wall hanging. I quilted in diagonal, horizontal and vertical lines with black/gray/white variegated thread, using a serpentine eyelash stitch.

Such a nice design with plenty of interest, this one will reside on my dining room wall for a while.  Now, on to my next idea!

Accuquilt dies used:
Signature 55781 Qube 9” companion
Half Square Triangle 55147
2 ½” strip 55017




Monday, September 30, 2019

Autumn Vortex

Autumn Vortex

The calendar shows it's fall, but the temperature says something else entirely. It has officially been the hottest and driest September on record in Middle Tennessee. Though endless summer sounds nice, I do not like ninety degree days this time of year.

I've stayed indoors, happily sewing with autumn colors: brown, black, gold, burgundy remnants with cream and white for contrast. This simple kaleidoscope block was cut with two Accuquilt dies. I combined the center sections of 4” triangle in square and kite blocks.

Alternating the dark and light colors creates a striking effect, much like swirling leaves. I pressed the seams so that they would nest together, which helps them lay flat at the center points. After sewing the 30 blocks together, I added borders in a black burlap print. 

Quilting with dark gray thread, I used a straight stitch to outline the overlapping octagon shapes. The intersections made an interesting star design. Borders were finished with a serpentine pattern. I chose Black Dimples 108” wide print from Keepsake Quilting for backing and binding. Autumn Vortex is 48” x 56” in size. 

Maybe soon it will get cooler. If not, I'll turn the thermostat lower so I can actually use some of these quilts. 

In the meantime, I'm drinking iced tea and listening to Endless Summer, the classic Beach Boys album.



Accuquilt dies used: Kite 55254 and 4 ½” Triangle in Square 55409




Monday, September 23, 2019

Celtic Chains


I recently saw a photo of this quilt online and I just had to recreate it. I don't know the name of the designer or the quilt block but I'm calling it Celtic Chains.

I drew it out in my design notebook, then finalized it in Electric Quilt (EQ8) for a small version. Later I'll sew a larger one.

I used precut remnants for the 2 ½" squares and half square triangles. My box of those was nearly full so that worked out perfectly. Cutting up remnants with Accuquilt dies takes some time, but sure makes it easier to create new scrappy projects. The only parts I had to cut were the 5" squares of white on white dotted fabric, using the value die (55018). I chose teal, aqua, navy, sage and light gold colors for the chains.

Simple squares and HSTs go together easily so it didn't take long to finish the 24 ½" square table mat. I used a teal and navy paisley print on the back and navy paisley for binding. 

For quilting, I made use of the Janome circular attachment to sew intersecting circles all over the quilt with white thread. This lovely mat now decorates the end of my kitchen bar.

Last week I bought the 6 ½" bow tie on closeout from Accuquilt. I wanted to make a test block, so I got teal and navy prints and whipped up a hot pad to coordinate with the mat. I added flying geese triangles to frame the square. Another pad was created with a block made of leftover chisels and 3 ½" HST.

All this is a perfect match for new non-stick bakeware that I found in a beautiful speckled teal color. Who said pans have to be dull and neutral? Not me! Now my kitchen has a bright look that makes me joyful!


I prefer living in color
~Daniel Hockney




Monday, September 16, 2019

Misty Autumn Fog


Muted fall colors make me yearn for cooler weather. It's still in the mid to upper nineties here, same as it was in July when I sewed this quilt. No rain, our grass is crispy and leaves are turning brown.  

This is an 1950's pattern called Gay Patches or Four Gay Patches by Laura Wheeler. I found the clipping in Granny Rose's sewing box. I located a similar design in BlockBase called Dog Tooth Violet. It was fairly easy to design with EQ8 software.  

I modified it a bit to use Accuquilt dies, making a larger 17" finished block. I only had to sew nine blocks to get a 52" square quilt that I named Misty Autumn Fog.

I decided on sage, brown, gold, cream, gray and dusty coral prints for the patches and a pale yellow dot for background. 

I quilted with pale yellow thread in a free motion meandering stitch. Backing is a cream and sage green plaid. If it ever gets cool enough, this will be a nice one to snuggle under on a rainy day.


Accuquilt dies used: 4 1/2" square and 2 1/2" HST (55018), 4" finished triangle in square (55409), and triangle 6 1/2" (55001)


Waiting to put away summer clothes until the weather changes...


Monday, September 9, 2019

Bad Computer

About a month ago, I bought a new laptop computer. I spent a week installing and updating software and copying files from my old one. I had everything just like I wanted. Then, poof! The bluetooth stopped working last Thursday; it just disappeared.

After a day of troubleshooting, reinstalling drivers, trying solutions, and talking to Deepak from Dell, we gave up. Thirty-six years of computer experience didn't help this time.  It is apparently a hardware failure of some kind. I am shipping it back to Dell for warranty service this morning.

I had to move all info off the hard drive for security.  So, whenever it gets back, I'll have to install everything again from my backups. 

So, no blog today. I've had enough for now. I'm taking a break from technology. I'll be sewing, cooking, reading a novel or two. Hope to be back next week.


Monday, September 2, 2019

Windswept


Have you ever had fabric beg to be used? Those leftover pieces from last week's quilt did just that. It kept telling me that all I had to do was cut some squares and center sections in white and I had a new quilt. Well, maybe it was just voices in my head, but I couldn't resist.

I used two Crossed Canoe sections and two 5” squares in each block. I tried several arrangements and settled on diagonal bands of color. Backing and binding is a tiny lattice print in pale lavender. I quilted with white thread in straight stitch rows 1 ½” apart.


The old fashioned prints work well with the modern tone on tone white print. Windswept is a sweet snuggle quilt, 45” square finished size.  The best part is that it only took 3 days to finish since I already had most pieces cut.  A bonus quilt!


Accuquilt dies used: Crossed Canoes BOB 55181 and 5” square 55010


Always listen
to your inner voice
💬
The world is giving you
answers every day.
Learn to listen.



Monday, August 26, 2019

Sunday In The South


This quilt block reminds me of the Sundays of my early childhood. Cardboard church fans with colored pictures on one side and the local funeral home info on the other. Hard wooden church pews, no cushions. Dinner on the ground, fried chicken, potato salad, homemade desserts. Everyone wearing their Sunday best with hats and gloves. Porch swinging in the afternoon. A nap under a beautiful quilt.

I've been wanting to make this one for a while. I don't have a Dresden Fan die, so I had to get creative. I used the center section of the Crossed Canoes die for the fan blades. Four of them make a quarter circle. After sewing the blades together, I added a yellow triangle, and trimmed off the excess. I pressed under the curved edge, appliqued the fan to the corner of a 6 ½” square, then carefully cut away under the fan section to eliminate bulk.

Sunday In The South
The blocks set on point seem to float on the green dotted background. Calico prints in pastel colors replicate the vintage feed sack quilts that I remember. I quilted with white thread along the edges of the squares, then added a floral motif on each fan. Backing and binding are a white and green print.

Sunday In The South finished out at 41” x 46” in size. This one took longer to sew, but I thoroughly enjoyed the process. A side benefit is that I cut the whole BOB die, not just the fan blades, so I have leftover pieces at the ready for another quilt.

Accuquilt dies used: Crossed Canoes BOB 55181, 6 ½” square 55000, 6 ½” HST 55001, and 2 ½” HST 55018



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




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