Monday, February 27, 2012

No sewing today

My design wall is the same as a week ago, but I’ve made progress on the Texas Braid quilt. It’s grown to 6 panels, and I’m laying out the next two braids and I’m planning to wait until Quilt Camp next month to lay it out and put the panels together. I’ll have more layout room there, plus almost unlimited time to sew. I’ll also decide about borders there, too. (The two “burrito” shapes behind the strips are panels five and six; the ones on the sewing table are seven and eight.)

In the meantime, I’ll concentrate this week on finishing the next two panels. I’ve already tested my planned border. It’s square on point, and should fit nicely with the braids, It will necessitate a lot more cutting, but I think the overall design will be worth it. As usual with my scrappy quilts, I don’t have a deadline for this, so whatever it takes is what I’ll do. It will be done when I’m happy with it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Design Wall Feb. 20

I spent the day working on my Texas Braid quilt. As I mentioned before, I got the pattern from Bonnie Hunter’s Leaders & Enders book. I just love the look she gives scrappy quilts!

Of course, I changed it up some. I used 2 1/2 inch strips and adjusted the length to look similar to hers. I already had a boatload of 2 1/2 inch strips and not many 2 inchers. It made sense to go with what I already had. I’m using blues, both light and dark, and a cinnamon Kona Cotton. I have 4 braids done and I think I’ll need 8. Bonnie used 2-inch strips and her braids finished at 6 1/2 inches. My 2 1/2-inch strips made my braids finish around 8 1/2 inches (I think. I haven’t put them together yet.)

I wanted to use up my blue fabrics. I’ve always loved blue and I had a bunch. I’ve decided to use as many as possible in my scrappy quilts this year. Actually I started last year and am continuing the project this year. I haven’t seriously diminished the amount of blue, but I’m going to be working on it!
I started this quilt at a getaway in October, 2010, but put it away to finish more pressing matters. I think I can get it done before the end of the month if I stick to it. I now have a system that makes it pretty simple. I make 2 braids at a time. If you notice, they are mirror images. If I work on 2 at a time, I find I don’t get mixed up with the mirroring. The picture shows my cornerstone units on my machine bed ready to be attached to the growing braid. I press as I go. I tried finger-pressing, but I wasn’t happy with the results.

This is working for me, so I can see the end in sight. I even have a plan for borders. Bonnie didn’t use any, but I have a plan for a pieced border that I think will enhance the overall design.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Give and Take

Our local guild has a yearly Brown Bag Challenge. The committee puts out a sign up sheet about a month before the start. On the appointed day, participants bring in a brown bag filled with the required amount of fabric in the colors of our choice.

The committee pairs us up with another member and we each take home a brown bag of fabric and make a quilt.  Several months later, we bring back our finished objects and exchange them.

I’ve participated in almost all of the BBCs and enjoy the fun and the challenge of using fabrics chosen by another person.Our only requirement is the finished object has to be at least 36 inches on the shortest side.

At the top ot the post is what I came up with in the latest one, which finished at the February guild meeting last Monday.

It’s from a Bonnie Hunter pattern, “Hidden Spools,” which was fun and easy to make. I added a few fabrics to the mix, which is perfectly legal according to the BBC rules. It went to Betty.

I got to take home a quilt from Lorrie. She used my fabrics and added a few of her own (see a theme here?) Lorrie used a Schnibbles pattern called “Good Fortune” I love it! It’s gracing my dining room table and looks terrific!
This has been a very successful program at our guild. It’s been a great mixer, helping us get to know one another better.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Design wall Feb 13, 2012

I spent some time last week working on my version of Imperial Diamonds (from Fons & Porter's magazine). I'm calling mine Christmas Diamonds. I made these changes to the pattern:

1. I used charm packs for the larger diamonds instead of 4 1/2 inch squares.
2. I'm cutting the charms into fourths for the smaller squares for the little diamonds.

I've finished the four units like the one above, and have started the five units that go between the larger squares. There's a lot of cutting and sewing still to go before I get the center done. Then I'll decide about the borders. The pattern calls for the same light background and dark diamonds for the second pieced border. I'm thinking about changing it up and using light diamonds and darker background.

I like to get my quilt center together before I make final decisions about borders. Sometimes it makes a difference. These are what some of the little diamonds will look like:
 This has been a fun project so far!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cold and snowy!

It's cold and snowy outside, so I'm staying inside today. We had a wonderful visit from my sister. She just left for the drive back to Indy and I know she'll be cautious on the roads. It's about 4 1/2 hours to her home, but she's heading for sunnier weather according to the forecasts.

As for us, we'll enjoy a rare day at home. DH probably will watch college basketball as long as there's a bouncing ball. I'm going to clean up some and then sew (I hope).

M and I picked out a pattern we want to sew at our getaway. I think I'll pull out some fabrics for it. Quilt Camp is the middle of March, so I'd like to get organized. The original is made with country-style fabrics. We're both thinking of using batiks to get a more contemporary look. I don't usually work with batiks, but I do have some so I'll see what I have in my stash. If that doesn't work, I'll probably choose something bright. (Imagine that.)

While she was here, we went to a nice yarn shop in Wooster, Calla Lilly Yarns ( She carries some wonderful yarns at reasonable prices. I bought yarn for a scarf I want to make. I need to finish my Liesl first, but that will be my next knitting project.

We also had a light lunch at Broken Rocks Cafe (, next door to the yarn shop. It's one of our favorite eateries. Wonderful, wonderful food in a neat atmosphere. We had crab chowder that was really good. Their desserts are outstanding, but we passed on that.


Monday, February 6, 2012

First Design Wall

I've followed Judy's Design Wall Mondays for some time now and always thought I'd like to join in, and today's the day.

This is a group of practice blocks I made for a bigger project I plan to start next month using Civil War reproduction fabrics. Now that I've done a few samples, I've learned several things that I will share:

1. Starch or pressing spray is a must for these blocks. I use a homemade pressing spray with starch in it and it made them pretty easy to make. The one I made before the addition of the starch was pretty wonky and I wasn't happy with it.
2. I probably will make the project using slightly larger triangles. The pattern calls for 2 1/2 inch equilateral triangles but I may go with 3 inches. I think it will be a little easier to work with. This isn't supposed to be an endurance contest, is it? Besides, they're sending me mostly 3-inch pieces of fabric, and I hate to waste fabric.
3. I didn't need pins on the pieced triangles, but I used pins while putting the blocks together. I didn't want to cut off my points and I (mostly) achieved that.
4. Practice will make perfect (I hope).

I will use this small quilt to practice my FMQ.

Thanks for looking! This is a very new blog and I appreciate your comments and feedback.
I'd add a link to Judy's site but I don't know how. I'll get that straightened out asap!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Hello, World!

Well, I've done it.

I'm finally taking the plunge and making my first post to my blog. Wow. I've been thinking about this for some time and today seems like a good one to start. I thought about starting on a "significant" day, but when? I missed the New Year, my anniversary and my birthday, so I decided to just do it.

This will be a place for me to share what I'm working on, whether it's related to my quilting, knitting or other crafting. I also plan to talk about books I'm reading occasionally, since that's a huge part of who I am.

Right now I'm working on several quilting projects: Imperial Diamonds from Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting (, Anita's Arrowhead from both Quiltmaker magazine and Anita Grossman Soloman's book (, and a Texas Braid quilt from Bonnie Hunter's pattern in her Leaders and Enders book. Today I began practice blocks from a block of the month from Homestead Hearth. It's a 60-degree diamond design from History Repeated by Betsy Chutchian and Carol Staehle. More on all that later.

On the knitting front, I'm close to finishing my Liesl sweater by Ysolda Teague and a pair of socks for a dear friend.

I'm reading The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon and The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie.

I'm amazed at how much I've learned just on this first post, and I'm sure I've a long way to go to be able to add all the goodies I see on other blogs that I read. Bear with me on this. I promise I'll learn what I need to know.