Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Blue Sky Quilts x 2

Blue skies looking at me.  Nothing but blue skies do I see.

If you were around for yesterday's post about my love affair with Instant Pot, you may recall I also mentioned a love affair with Laundry Basket's Blue Sky for Andover Fabrics.  Actually, David fell in love with these beautiful prints first and together we decided to purchase a yard cut of all the prints (he wheeled and dealed with a local quilt shop, Country Roads Quilts, one of our favorite shops).  Our goal was to use this fabric line to create a few new quilt patterns.

After a few weeks of back and forth we settled on a new smaller quilt measuring 48" (pictured above on the right), a larger quilt measuring 64" (not pieced together yet) and of course we had to make a version of our pattern Star Bloosom (pictured on the left).

First let's take a closer look at the newest quilt.  It was super quick and easy to piece together.  Best of all I think it will look wonderful with a good ol custom quilting job.  I'm just itching to get started. 

I just love all those prints!

We still need to give this one a name.  We all know how much I love a quilt along.  I am toying with the idea of offering this as a free online quilt along if enough people are interested.  In my head we will piece the top together in sections, then after it's together, I will walk you through the quilting process, so you can literally quilt right along with me if you want.  We will go slow and tackle the quilt small sections at a time.  Hopefully, it will be a fun way to give free motion a try if you like and at the end you will have a finished quilt.  Guess I will just kind of wait and see what the feed back is on this one.

Next up is Star Blossom, I just had to.  Star Blossom is my and Dave the Quilt Engineer's first pattern release, available in my Craftsy store for purchase and download.  The owner of Country Roads Quilt Shop expressed an interested in selling our pattern in print version and asked if I would have a sample of the quilt.  Since we purchased the fabric from her store and she has the entire collect (minus one bolt, she sold out of it as soon as she got it in), I thought this would make a wonderful sample for her, when we finally have print copies (fingers crossed within the next two weeks).

Have I mentioned we are in love with these fabrics?  There is something so calming and classic in these prints.  They work wonderfully together in a quilt and would also mixing nicely with other lines.

I can't wait to get these quilted up and start on the pattern for the bigger quilt.  I'd love to share it with you now, but I think the fabrics need to do the talking.  

Back to the Instant Pot...I know I'm a broken record...not only did it allow me to piece these two quilts but...

These two little puppies found me as well...aren't they just Dog Gone Cute!

So with that, I will leave you with these...

"Never saw the sun shining so bright,
Never saw things goin' so right, 
Noticing the days hurrying by,
When you're in love my, my how they fly.
Blue days, all of them gone.
Nothing but blue skies from now on."

Thank you Willie Nelson, Edyta Sitar from Laundry Basket Quilts, Andover Fabric, Peggy at Country Roads Quilts  and Dave the Quilt Engineer.

Today I'm linking up with Linky Tuseday, Let's Bee Social and Midweek Makers.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Favorite New Quilting Tool and Blue Sky Fabric

She had high hopes.  She had high hopes.  She had high apple pie, in Blue Sky hopes.  Okay, maybe that's not quite how that song goes, but that was me this weekend.

About a month and a half ago, David, scored us a deal on yard cuts from a LQS of every print (but one, she sold out) in Andover's Blue Sky fabric line.  We were in love with the blues and creams.  But what good is a truck load of fabric if you don't do something with it.  So for the past few weeks, we have been working on possible design ideas to use these babies in.  The sky was the limit (yup gonna be a punny post, look out)  So this weekend, rotary cutter sharp and machine threaded I was ready to embark on a piece-athon and put together two of the three quilts we came up with.

Let's pause there for just a second (or two).  That brings me to my new favorite quilting tool...

The Instant Pot.  I know, I know.  This is technically not a "quilting tool," but I swear it is.  Some of the best quilting tools are technically not quilting related at all.  Instant Pot is turning out to be a time saver, there for, time saved means more time for quilting.  That's like finding time in a bottle!  Or rather a pot.

I discovered this magical kitchen device, during my trip to Julie's house (Pink Doxies) over the 4th of July.  She made us some of the best BBQ ribs I've eaten for dinner one evening.  While chopping some broccoli, she began telling me about the wonders of Instant Pot and how easy it is to use.  Basically, it is an electric pressure cooker.

Now, if you are like me, I instantly had flash backs to my mom, yelling at me to stop running through the house, because if you bounce the giggly thing off the pressure cooker on the stove by running, the pot will cause the house to explode!  Causing my fear of pressure cookers and a twitch in my eye just hearing the word.

But the tale that Julie spun, slowly relaxed the twitch in my eye and replaced it with a curious gleam, like a child in wonder.  A device that could cook food in a fraction of the time of an oven or crock pot.  I was in!

Quilting Life confession, and it pains me to admit this, but my family eats out/fast food way way more than we should.  Why?  I could makes excuses until the cows come home, but honestly, after working all day, running back out to the store after I get home and just poor planning on my part, most nights it's easier to just pick something up on the way home.  Who wants to eat a home cooked meal at 9PM??  I hate talking about it because it makes me feel bad.  I know we could be eating healthier.

So on Amazon Prime Day, I noticed the 8 quart Instant Pot was on sale for $40 off.  This was just enough to make me order it; a promise of home cooked meals and time saved.  So this weekend started my new cooking adventures and no eating out.

On Saturday, for a quick lunch between mowing and power washing the house, in less than 15 minuets, my family was snaking away on spinach artichoke dip.

Then a few hours later, after a 50 minute pressurized stay in the pot, we were enjoying wonderful pulled pork sandwiches (sorry no pics).  Sunday, brought about a few left overs from Saturday's cooking and chicken fettuccini alfredo cooked in less than 20 minutes.  And the sauce didn't come from a jar!

And when I was finished cooking, really all the clean up required was the dishes we ate on, and the Instant Pot itself.  I promise I'm not a paid spokes person for Instant Pot, but I'm a huge fan of anything that can help speed things along and give my family more healthy eating options.

With all the time saved this weekend, I was able to piece two quilt tops using the Blue Sky fabrics, but I think we will talk about those tomorrow.  I promise they will be worth the wait.  For now, I just want to give my new "quilting tool" time saver its own little day.

Do you have any favorite non-quilting quilting tools?  A favorite little gizmo that saves you time and allows you to do more of what you want to do...quilt.

Today I'm linking up with Main Crush Monday.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Plan Ahead Projects

So, I'm kind of in denial that it has been almost two weeks since I last posted about my quilting adventures, but the last two weeks have found me relaxing and not doing to much of anything and it has felt great.  I did manage to have four days off in a row (a very rare thing for me) over the July 4th holiday and Julie from Pink Doxies generously invited my little family of three to head her way and spend the weekend with her and her family.  This was not my first time meeting them in person, you may remember we ventured her way back in October when she hosted the Quilt Bloggers International Retreat.

I'd love to share a ton of pictures with you from my visit, but (are you setting down?) I didn't take a single one.  Gasp!  No, it was great, not everything needs to be documented.  I think we only took one picture and Julie posted it to Instagram.  It was a weekend of talking, laughing, eating and (again are you still sitting?) very little sewing. Quilt bloggers not quilting???  We talked about projects, had great conversations about quilting quilts, but mostly we all relaxed.   There was laughter talking about our small towns, beautiful fireworks with the best pop corn and lots of bully rubs and ear scratches for the Doxie Girls.

We cannot thank Julie and her family enough, for allowing us into their lives and spending time with us.  I return from my visit with my batteries recharged and ready to be creative.  I wish I could bottle a little bit of what I call "Julie Sparkles" into a jar so that when I'm starting to feel low, I could sprinkle some, like magic fairy dust, and just feel renewed and excited.  Until I figure out a way to do this, texting will have to do.

So, quilting wise, what in the world have I been up to?  I have a few quilts all basted and ready for me to start quilting on.  Most of my QAL's are all caught up and I don't really want to start piecing any new projects, so what's a girl to do?  I have three quilts bouncing around in my head that I have fabric for, they just need cut and pieced.

So this past week and weekend, I spent some time creating pre-prepped project bags (aka future Works in Progress).  Think of these as the frozen crock pot meals everyone loves to pin on Pinterest (but if like me, never actually make).  When I find myself in the mood, with a little time on my hands, I can simply reach in my tote and pull out a precut block and piece my little heart out.  So what exactly do I have...

9 Sugar Skull blocks

12 Dog Gone Cute little puppies

The first 19 of the 25 Sewcial Bee Sampler Blocks

Now even if I only want to devote time to just a block a day, everything is ready and waiting for me.  All I have to do is set down and sew it up.  No pressure.  No timeline.

Changing gears just a bit, on our way home from Julie's we passed through Beth at Cooking Up Quilts stomping ground and stopped at the local quilt shop there, Bolts and Quarters.  I couldn't leave the shop without obtaining a few goodies.  I finally picked up a set of Handi Quilter Oval B quilting rulers and cannot wait to give them a try.

I also snagged some fat quarters to add to my Moda Modern Building Block Stash (the large cut came from my local quilt shop).  After petting Julie's finished version of the quilt, I'm dying to piece mine!

Beth wasn't able to meet us at the shop, so I had to settle for the next best thing...her quilts :)  If I couldn't snap a picture with Beth, I took selfies with her quilts.

David and Spinning

With all the talk about quilting, purchasing of fabric, and cutting of fabric, did I manage to piece any fabric??  Well of course I did.  I wouldn't be a mad (crazy not angry) quilter, if I didn't.  I made a little bit of time yesterday to start piecing on the sashings (Charlotte's Web) for The Children's Library Quilt.

I LOVE this Windham Fabric print, Literary Overdue Yesterday.  I had to have this in the sashing.  I chose fabrics that matched the date stamps to create the square in square blocks.  Here's to hoping that it doesn't make the quilt to busy and that it compliments the blocks...fingers crossed.

So that wraps things up on this beautiful Monday in my neck of the woods.  This post has bounced around all over the place, but I think that's just the excited energy I'm feeling.  Let's all go create something today!!!  (even if it's a mess)

Today I'm linking up with Main Crush Monday, Let's Bee Social and Midweek Makers.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Caught Up With Time To Spare

With the end of June approaching in just a few days, I am happy to report I am currently caught up on all of the QAL's I'm participating in.  I'll be honest, I figured I would be so far behind right now, I wouldn't be able to recover, so not being behind is quite the pleasant surprise. 

Above are all the 2017 Aurifil Designer BOM's as of today.  Each designer is helping us work our way around the color wheel. We started with the top left block in blue and this month's block color way was red orange.

The block is called Star Shine and it was designed by Sarah Maxwell.  You can read Pat Sloan's interview with Sarah here

Next up, was Pat Sloan's The Children's Library block for June, The Princess and the Pea.

After all the crazy triangle action in the Aurifil block, these simple squares where a pleasure to work with.  I do believe instead of a block, next month she will be releasing the block setting instructions.

Moving right along, I had one block to make this month for Cindy at Stitchin At Home's Medallion Quilt.  My head was spinning (but in a good way) making half square triangles for the Pinwheel Block.

Here she is with all of her friends.

I am loving me some purple and green in this quilt.

Then I moved on to the last quilt along Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilt's Jolly Christmas Quilt, which had three blocks I needed to catch up on.

Christmas Wreath

Holly and Berries

and Christmas Ornaments

Ever since the second block of this quilt along, one particular block has been eating away at me.  Possibly the most simple block in the quilt...The Mitten Block.  As the other blocks come together it bothers me more and more.  The fabrics in the mitten are too close to the background fabric and it just looks dull.  So I sucked it up and made a second mitten block.

The bright blues of the block on the right makes me HAPPY!!!  Bring on the snow!!  Oh, wait it's like almost July and hot outside.  Got a bit carried away there.  But now, I can let this block rest until it is ready to be pieced into the quilt and I promise I will stop glaring at it and only smile when I see it.

Have you ever redone a block because it just drove you nuts??  I can't be the only one.  Does it technically count as a "squirrel" since it has been eating at me for months now, driving me crazy?

So what will I do with myself for the next four days, since I'm all caught up??  Probably going to quilt a baby quilt I just finished piecing and maybe start on a second one I have been commissioned to make.  That sounds about right.  Hope everyone has a wonderful quilty week where ever you are.

Today I'm linking up with Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, and Midweek Makers.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hive Crashing

One of the many things I enjoy reading about in the online quilting community is Hive Crashing.  What is that you ask?  It's when someone who is not in a particular quilting bee hive, decides to make the chosen queen for the month's block and send it to her.  I like to think of it as the quilting version of toilet papering a house, cow tipping or snipe hunting, only its a guten prank (good prank, for those non The Office junkies).

So this month I decided to jump right in and crash Helen at Midget Gem Quilt's bee hive.  Helen is the Queen Sheba of her hive this month and she chose the Quatrefoil block and posted a link to Blossom Heart Quilt's tutorial for making it.  Her colors were blue and orange and the inspiration for this block came from the blue sky and orange light filtering through a window, how cool is that???

I've been online friends with Helen since the 2015 New Bloggers Blog Hop and I've been wanting to do something for her, this block was perfect.

So I ran to my stash and did a quick fabric pull and...

If you look closely, you can see the white backing for Free Fall at the top of the picture.

quickly commenced to cutting and...


And in a flash I had two Quarterfoil blocks to send her.

Hopefully, these blocks will work with all the other wonderful blocks that Helen receives. 

A side note to some of the fabrics used in the blocks; I think I used most of these fabrics in my recent 182 Solstice Challenge Quilt aka "the beast."  Last year I followed along as Helen created a wedding quilt for her son and his wife.  She called it Coulter Wedding Quilt aka "the behemoth."  The behemoth took on it's own personality and I called it a ledged.  After her finish, and since I was such a fan, Helen sent to me some scrap fabric from the quilt.  So, after finishing the beast I declared it must be the behemoth's cousin and now Helen has a bit of the beast with her.  I can't wait to watch as her quilt comes together.

Will I join a bee hive?  I'm not opposed to it.  It seems like great fun, but I'm not sure I'm ready for the commitment.  Will I hive crash again?  I think so, when the time is right.  Do you participate in bee hives?  Have you ever crashed a hive?  I'd love to hear about it.

Today I'm linking up with Finished or Not Friday Let's Bee Social and Midweek Makers.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Free Fall Finish

It's done! It's finished!  Free Fall!  This quilt was so much fun to make, from picking out the fabrics, right down to piecing it together.  Then came the quilting...I decided on good ol' straight lines with my walking foot.  Simple.  Easy.

Well, it should have been simple and easy.  For starters, I decided to put a small black border (like 1.5") around it to make sure I didn't loose any of my points to squaring up or binding (hindsight, probably should have used the gray).  I picked out a lovely white backing with large clusters of flowers in colors that match the floating leaves on the front.  At the point I was basting it together, I realized you would probably be able to see the dark prints on the front through the thin batting and backing.  I had plenty of the cotton batting and decided why not double layer it??  So I went for it, doubling the layer of batting to two, pinning and then baste stitching around the edge of the quilt.  Go me!!

I started stitching in the middle of the quilt using Aurifil #2610 Light Blue Grey 50wt and used the edge of my walking foot to space my lines, so they ended up about a 1/2"(ish) apart.  I knew the close stitching and extra batting would make this quilt a bit more stiffer, but that's okay, it's a wall hanging.  Things were going well until I was reaching the end of the quilt.

As you can see, I was ending up with quite a pucker...URGH!!!  I worked it out as best I could and stopped stitching when I reached the edge of the black.  I pulled her away from the machine and regrouped.  I would not abandon this project.

Over all it wasn't bad, but that pucker was FRUSTRATING.  What to do???  Instead of focusing on the panic of the pucker, I turned her around and started quilting the other side to buy myself some time before dealing with the problem, problem procrastination. 

Unfortunately, I just ended up with a pucker on that side as well.  My solution?  I'm sure there were much better ones to pick from, but I picked out the remaining basting stitches and quilted on.  I assume it was the extra layer of batting that was causing things to pull more and contort.  Maybe not, but that's the story I'm sticking with.

Here it is all finished on the floor.  Part of me thought about leaving it just like this and not trying to trim and square it up.  Call it a new type of quit finishing...really raw edge binding maybe?  Add a little more soft poof to your quilts? 

Figuring my new trend didn't stand a chance of catching on, I trimmed away and squared as best I could.  I didn't get a picture to share of what that first trimming looked like.  Trust me, somethings shouldn't be seen.  You are welcome (it was bad). 

So I sucked it up and trimmed some more, put a smile on my face and bound this quilt.  Wonky Donkey or not, I love it!

I love the pattern, I love the designer, I love my fabrics, I had a ton of fun creating it and created it with a bunch of really great online friends!!!  This quilt made memories and I will love her forever, bobbles, wobbles, puckers and all.  Best of all...she's finished.

A huge thank you to Sandra at mmm!quilts for hosting this QAL for us.  She did an amazing job writing the pattern and walking us through the steps to create it.  Sandra, I'm so proud of you and the success you have had with your first QAL!  Did you make the Free Fall Quilt?  Don't forget to hop over to mmm!quilts tomorrow to link up for Sandra's finished (quilted or pieced) linky party.  I can't wait to see what everyone made. 

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