Sunday, September 11, 2016

Time Marches On...

Despite my best intentions I haven't really gotten back to blogging.  Truth be told I haven't done much sewing either but I have managed to stick to the #100Days100Blocks schedule.  I generally try to make 5 or 6 blocks at a time and try to anticipate my schedule...  some days it works out better than others:-)  Usually I can whip out a block in 30 minutes or less but some days I get caught up in agonizing over fabric selections.  

Since I've been so good about using my Tula Pink stash I rewarded myself with a fat quarter bundle of Slow & Steady.  I wasn't that excited about this collection because really, turtles?  Now I'm bummed I didn't get 1/2 yards.  I love the colors and there are lots of fun motifs for fussy cutting.

I'm so grateful for the suggestion from Giucy Giuce to convert my book to spiral bound at Staples.  I dropped it off while I was shopping for school supplies with the kids and for $7 I had it back the next day.  It is so much easier to have it lie flat while you're making your blocks and just keep it open to where you are.

I've made it thru the first quarter...  let's hope I can keep it going!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Lazy Days of La Passacaglia

We have had an amazing summer!  For once the weather and our schedules cooperated for lots of long, lazy weekends relaxing in Maine.  This meant not much time in my studio but plenty of time for hand work so I've made a lot of progress on my La Passacaglia.  I love that this is so portable - the perfect on the go project.

My La Pas made the rounds this summer with the final Hand Sewing Happy Hour at Quilter's Way,

movie night,

sewing nights with friends,

beach days,

Olympic fever.


and endless days by the lake.

It all adds up...  I've finished almost half of the cogs.  It's hard to believe school is starting next week but that will bring football games and waiting for practice pick-ups.  I'm getting prepped for a La Pas filled fall.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

100 Days 100 Blocks

Truth be told I'm not really a joiner.  Swaps, sew-alongs and such really aren't my thing but when Instagram started lighting up with my friends joining #100Days100Blocks I thought this might be just the thing to jump-start my fall sewing.  Anyone reading this probably already knows all the details but you can find out more from the fabulous hostesses, Sweet Little Pretties, Gnome Angel and Sunflower Stitcheries.

The challenge is to make all 100 blocks from Tula Pink's City Sampler book by Thanksgiving.  This is a perfect project for my carefully hoarded curated Tula stash but I'm also mixing in my beloved shot cottons and some other faves.  For now I've been sticking somewhat to the colorations and fabrics in the book but I suspect that will evolve as I go.

So far the blocks haven't been difficult but they are small, only 6" finished.  There are lots of tiny pieces to cut so this is definitely the time to break out the revolving rotary mat if you have one!  I've found it easier to strip piece some of the units before cutting them to size.

I'm also eternally grateful for the Happy Zombie Block Buddies Aimee and I made on retreat.  I hadn't used them much but they are perfect for keeping track of all these little pieces and staying organized.

And here is the proverbial first step...  Block 1.

Do you prefer to quilt with a crowd or do your own thing?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

In a Pickle

This isn't a sewing post but hopefully I'll be back to the grind soon:-)  We've been having an amazing summer which hasn't allowed for much time in my studio.  My Mom has been visiting the last couple of weeks and I asked her if she'd teach me to make her bread and butter pickles.  She usually brings me a couple of jars since I've been ruined for life against store bought but I thought it would be nice to have my own source.  This post is mostly a reminder to my future self so I don't forget the process but if you want to give it a try you won't regret it!

Here's what you need:
  • 3 qts. medium Cucumbers
  • 3 medium Onions
  • 1/2 cup Pickling Salt
  • 2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 1/2 cups Sugar
  • 2 Tbs. Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp. Celery Seed
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric
Wash the pickles, remove the ends and slice them about 1/8" thick.  Peel the onions and slice those also.  It's so fast to use a mandolin slice the cucumbers and onions and it keeps them consistently sized.  Just do your self a favor and invest in a safety glove...  I had to learn the hard way:-(

Put the cucumbers and onions in a large kettle with the pickling salt and cover with water and ice.  Let stand for 3 hours then drain.  Rinse to remove the salt and drain again.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Add the veggies and heat to simmering.  Don't boil!

Pack the pickles in to sterilized jars (I ran mine thru the dishwasher on the Sanitize cycle).  Fill the jars with liquid to the inside ring.  Run a butter knife around the inside edge of each jar to remove any air bubbles and wipe the outside of the jar with a paper towel to remove any liquids that have spilled.  Top each jar with a lid and loosely tightened ring.  You should always use new lids but you can reuse the rings.

Within a couple of hours you should hear the lids pop.  Any jars that don't seal after 24 hours should be refrigerated and eaten first.  For best flavor wait 2-3 weeks before serving.  Sealed jars of pickles should keep for up to 1 year.

Do you have a treasured family recipe you'd be lost without?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Swimming Along

We're in the lazy days of summer just swimming along with no set schedule.  We've spent a lot of time in Maine (with more to come) which means lots of progress on my La Passacaglia but we had a brief interlude of bad weather which sent us home early.  After 10 days with no TV the kids were ready to catch up on some screen time so I snuck off to my studio for some sewing.

My plan was to piece together the back for my Mendocino chevron but that seemed like too much work so I decided to just make a pillow with one of the leftover fussy cut mermaid blocks.  A square in square layout seemed obvious but I added a band of apricot to make the center block pop.  I thought it would be "fun" to challenge myself so I mitered the corners.

Pillows are great for picking thread colors and practicing quilting designs.  I love the way the turquoise thread pops against the orange.

I kept the quilting simple just outlining the pieces but did added a wavy pattern (Bernina stitch #4) in the Apricot.

Now that we're back at the lake I got a perfect morning to tack the binding and finish this one up.

I bought a truckload of zippers before Quilter's Way closed so I used my go to zipper closure tutorial by to S.O.T.A.K. Handmade for the back.

Swimming along with this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Pillow Stats:
Finished pillow is 14" x 14"
Fabrics: Mendocino by Heather Ross.  Michael Miller Cotton Couture Apricot
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in  Light Turquoise (2805).

Friday, July 1, 2016

Wave Your Flag...

Our summer is off to a blazing start so I've had very little time in my studio and what time I did have I didn't feel like basting the stack of flimsys I've got growing.  Unless you've been quilting under a rock you've seen Camille Roskelley's Stars and Stripes quilt lighting up the internet.  I've been meaning to make a July 4th quilt forever and I fell in love with this one, especially when I saw the beautiful one done by my friend Wife of Erp.  With the clock ticking a quilt seemed like a bit of a stretch but a single block pillow was definitely doable.

This reminded me a bit of my British Invasion quilt so I dug thru my Flower Sugar stash for some red and blue.  The block is super easy and whips up in no time.  The directions are written for FQs but since I was using yardage I wish I had just made a red/white/red strip set and then cut it to the lengths I needed.
I wanted to keep it simple with wavy quilting to mimic a flag rippling in the breeze.  I did the first row free hand roughly in the center and then just kept following the line back and forth using the edge of my walking foot as a guide.  I love the effect but I wish I'd exaggerated the waves a bit more on my first row.

I was short of fabric for the back so I decided an invisible zipper would be the most efficient.  There are tons of great invisible zipper tutorials out there but I used this one by Stop Staring and Start Sewing.  I like using a glue stick to hold everything together rather than pinning.

It's not quite invisible but I'm pretty pleased with my first attempt.

Celebrating with this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.  Hope you have a fabulous 4th!!!

Pillow Stats:
Finished pillow is 13" x 17"
Pattern: Stars and Stripes by Camille Roskelley
Fabrics: Flower Sugar by Lecien, Kona Snow, Spot On by Robert Kaufman.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Cotton Request.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in  Natural White (2021).

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

W.i.P. Wednesday: Kicking Off Summer

Today's our last day of school/my last day of freedom so I've been trying to get all my projects to a point where I can work on them with snippets of time.

I finished up this Going Coastal flimsy and after 3 trips to Quilter's Way for more fabric got a back pieced together.

I also finally cut into the Mendocino bundle I've been hoarding and made this chevron top.  Once my backing fabric shows up I'm hoping to get them both basted and ready for quilting.

And I've been prepping more La Passacaglia pieces for all those inevitable road trips.

What will you be sewing now that summer has arrived?