Sunday, March 25, 2012

Miss Bee March!!!

X marks the spot!  A fun improv block, simple enough for the most timid yet you can play with the angle for a little more flair.

Hi there, 
It is me! Jessica-- fabulous procrastinator extraordinaire.  I am going to interview myself for the bee post!

Hi Jessica, Can you tell us a bit of your quilting history and experience?

Oh sure, my grandmother is a prolific quilter.  She has made quilts that are to be USED my whole life.  I don't remember a time when I haven't had a little quilt or throw to snuggle under that she has made.  Just the other day she told me about some bird squares she was embroidering--- I HAD to say that I would LOVE them to come to my house--- all the other cousins have snagged quilts this way! (maybe they really will fly my way!) 

I started my first quilt at 19, is was a horrible hand-sewn attempt at "A trip around the world" pattern. It was a "lovely" mix of garage sale rayon, canvas, polyester.  I couldn't figure out why it just wouldn't lay flat?  It was ugly, frustrating, and slow going so it didn't get finished and got pitched years ago.  A few years later, at 21, my friend Alison showed me this awesome SHARP pizza cutter thing-- I wouldn't have to cut all those squares by hand?!!!  The Rotary cutter and rulers changed my life.  I was still a fabric miser and didn't really understand the merit of a consistent 1/4" seam... But now I was a QUILTER!!!

Wow Jessica, that sounds really fascinating.  What does quilting mean to you?

Quilting is a vacation for me.  It is an art escape into numbers and pretty colors.  It is figuring out a way to continue a design so that it is pleasing to the soul.  It is just for me-- an outlet of "frivolity" that takes me away from all the "shoulds" and "have-to" things in regular life.  Finding this blog as a young sleep-deprived mom changed my life.  And THEN the fact that she would write back to be after I commented on her posts ---- quilting & friendship--- the Internet FINALLY was of use to me!!

OK, Jessica, enough.... Why did you want to join a bee? and why THIS block?

I love seeing what people can make if they are not attached to the fabric.  I like to see what I come up with when somebody gives me colors that are beautiful, but not in my normal palette.  In Bee's, it is freeing and a little scary to cut someone else's fabric--- and THERE IS A DEADLINE!  Without this, I might never finish anything!!

I want to do a simple improv block to challenge some of us to try making some thing free-pieced.  I used my ruler in these only as a guide to make a straight line.... hmmmm, I wonder what a curvy x block might look like?!  Also, I had yards and yards of the white flowered background and I need to make some space in my craft room for me to walk around, right?!  Movement is a good thing.

On to the tutorial, I couldn't find just the one that I wanted to link to, so I thought I would give it a go myself.  Thanks to instagram, it was SUPER easy to upload the pics to flickr.  I love when technology actually makes things easier!

1) Start with a square-ish block of fabric, your choice of dimension (can be rectangular for those of you feeling adventurous).  (for those of you wanting a size, try 5"x5" for a small one to stack in a 4-patch,  or 9"x9" for a large one)
2) Make a cut.  Using your ruler as a straight edge, slice through the "square" at a pleasing angle.  The only way to do this wrong is if you make yourself bleed.
3) Insert your "X" strip and sew both cut sides to it.  I found that having the strip on the bottom (it was cut on the grain so is not stretchy), gave the bias edge on the top some stability so that it didn't go wonky in unexpected ways.  I also used a few pins in my bigger blocks so that they would stay straight and I could zoom them through the machine.
4) Take the assembled block back to the cutting board to make you next cut.  Line up a pleasing angle and slice away!!!
5) For a "straighter" block I make sure to line up my pieces according to the line of the "X".  For a crazier block, don't be so precise.
6) Iron the seams towards the center (colored strip) and the block lies nicely flat.
7) Straighten up your block. I don't need the blocks to be a perfect square, but I do LOVE 90 degree angles in the corners!
8) Another one that I made, this one has a little more flair!

Please use what I provided as you see fit, but feel free to use your own scraps in Black, Grey, or Red as the "X" strips.  You can make one, make a few... whatever you like.  I found that after I made one, I liked it so much that I made a few more.  I will put them all together like a big puzzle when we are finished!  Thanks SO much!  Bzzzz bzzzzz bzzzz!


P.S. If you are feeling REALLY adventurous I LOVE these "X" blocks!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Granny Squares and a Sew Day!1

Do you want to learn how to make this adorable block?

Granny Square Quilt Blocks

Granny Square by Blue Elephant Stitches

Without the puckers...with perfect seams...

(Granny Square by Denise : )...puckers and all)

Me too! 

Come to Sew Day this Saturday 3/24/2012 from 10:00-5:00 at Our Sewing Room and you can find out.

We will follow this wonderful tutorial from Blue Elephant Stitches and you and I can all learn to make this block.  (I may have already tried my hand at it) 

To try your hand at 1 scrappy block you will need:

 12 - 2.5" squares of background color

8 - 2.5" squares of print or solid scraps for the outer ring

4 - 2.5" squares of print or solid scraps for the inner ring

1 - 2.5" square for the middle square (if you want to add a 3rd color here)

strip piecing a granny square tute

Here is also a tutorial for strip piecing this block by I'm A Ginger Monkey

This would be great for a quick quilt top. 

Check out both tutorials for fabric requirements for more than 1 block.  This will be just a short demonstration that you may/may not choose to participate in, so don't forget to bring your own projects and we can spend the day


See ya Saturday!1

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


There is SO much snow and my birds have flown the coop!!!  

The meeting tonight is cancelled due to FREAKISH spring snow.  We are still getting together on Saturday for a SEW DAY 10- 5 at OUR SEWING ROOM.  Come sew with us, bring your bee blocks in, get your bee blocks back-- maybe even figure out what the heck "Modern Quilting" really is.

Stay warm and Quilt on!


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Something Green!

1. Green Amy Butler purse, 2. cathedral windows green block, 3. 9 'Green Britain' and 1 'Austerity Britain' Union Jack Wall Hangings, 4. Green Caterpillar Pincushion 1, 5. green + brown + cream pillows, 6. green & blue plaid purse, 7. Opposite Stripes Mug Rugs, 8. More moo, 9. Closeup of Shamrocks, 10. spicey mitt, 11. green zelda pillows, 12. Needle Book, 13. green felt bird closeup, 14. green sewing machine block, 15. Green half apron, 16. crafting 365: 271 new dog

Wait, did I miss the meeting this month?!!  I keep asking myself that question...

No you didn't! We are meeting this year on the THIRD Wednesday of the month.... that is right.  Now, I have got it, hopefully you all get it-- and I won't be sitting at EWEB alone this next week!

Are you sick of Green yet?  Did you get pinched yesterday?  I am sick of nutty weather and that is about it.  I am still thinking of what to make for the swap this month.  I have A LOT of green fabric and that always gives A LOT of possibilities.  I am kinda into those hexie snack mats-- I could get out my tri-recs ruler and give one a spin!

This month in addition to the swap and Show and Tell we are going to talk about what "Modern" quilting is to US as a guild.   It seems like sort of a grey area for a lot of us-- I know what I read on the MQG blog, and then different definitions that pop up in articles--- BUT I want us to come up with a definition that is true to US as a group.   We have had the WHO ARE WE tab saying "TBA" for too long.  Just so that you all don't run away screaming-- It still will be fun.  I thought that we could bring our hand sewing projects and work and CHAT--- Just like in the old days!

1) Something Green SWAP (if you so desire!)
2) Notions of "Modern" quilting
3) Bee blocks (Wanda can't wait!!!)
4) Handwork project

If only you could see me.... my joy at remembering to post is causing my legs to dance an Irish jig!


Remember also that our first SEW DAY of 2012 is THIS Saturday from 10-5!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Open house at the EVQ!!! GORGEOUS QUILT ALERT!

I just read this in the paper this morning... EVQ is having an Open House this Thursday (3/15).  Bill Volckening is showing some New York Beauties that he has collected.  I believe they are from the Beauty Secrets show that I was able to photograph last September.  The quilts are AMAZING and quite gorgeous.  GO TO THIS MEETING IF YOU ARE ABLE AT ALL! They are that good.  I will be posting my pics on my blog later today---YIKES!  I am late to pick up my boys!!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Leap into PAPER-piecing!!

Kathleen and her amazing paper piecing!!
So many options... so many directions to take this method...
Beautiful points... time and again!

Thanks Kathleen for a sharing your love of paper-piecing.  Some of her favorite patterns and aides come from Carol Doak, Peggy Martin, and Alicia's Attic.
Many times the unit that you start out with looks nothing like the finished block combination!
The most important thing that Kathleen told us... if you learn nothing else from this recap... is this
Printed side= Sewing side  

Blank side= Fabric side
Ok, just let that sit with you for a bit... let it settle in
Another way to use paper piecing methods-- is Foundation fabric!!!  Then you don't have to pick out all those pesky pieces of fuzzy paper. (just pretend that you can see that fabric I am holding up is the foundation for this great "Hunter's Star" quilt)
A lovely, complicated-looking quilt, made much easier using foundation piecing!!  Paper piecing can be done with many of the tools you use for regular piecing.  If you have scissors, a ruler, a rotary cutter and a sewing machine, you will be off to a great start!  Kathleen finds that the "add-a-quarter" ruler is a great help when trimming up your seam allowances.  I am sure that we will have plenty of time at the Sew day on March 24, to try some paper piecing.... some one will help you get started on the right path!  Remember: Printed side= Sewing side, Blank side= Fabric side----- Oh Yea!

Isn't it magical how 10 short minutes can change these, ho-hum, brown paper SWAP bags in to -----

This beautiful assortment of RED goodies?!

Kesch got a WHOLE mess of Bee blocks back!  They looked so pretty out there on the table, I swear I DID NOT put the missing ones in to my camera bag--- even though I really LOVE that Moda cross weave... nope, NOT in my bag!


A few of our members got together in October and decided to collect a pound of one color and then swap our half of that with a partner--- the results so far have been AMAZING!!!

Kesch vs. Agnes!

and they are hiding--- but that is Deanna and Wanda!!  I declare them all winners!!  Because they each finished a quilt!! (someday Jessica, someday!)

WAIT-- I did finish something!!  This little Doll Quilt that I started in 2010.  My husband said it looked Southwestern, and I just couldn't look at it after that.
(Me and my Southwestern Beauty!)
(Me and my Southwestern Beauty!)

Pat taught herself to applique with this Bunny Hill Designs pattern-- those squirrels are SO cute!

Wanda was on FIRE with another quilt finish-- a commissioned grey/black/yellow combo with a sweet pillow!
Kelly called this one "Simple and Finished is best!"
And it certainly was beautiful with it the addition of the BIG hand stitched squares in the owl blocks.
Another scrappy finish--- I just love that peachy pink in the alternate squares
so 1930's!
Denise brought in a colorful scrap quilt... I wonder if her scrap bins are getting empty yet?
Agnes shared her experience with a miracle potion.  She bought this quilt from a Designer... and the first time she washed it the reds and oranges gave off huge color halos in the white.  Broken hearted, Agnes went to her friendly neighborhood quilt store and was told that Synthrapol was just what she needed to turn her frown, back to a smile

Sure enough it did-- and now she's a believer!
Jen finished a quilt top designed by our own Katie Aaberg.  A fun block design that you can turn this way and that to get a fun quilt top for a little one.
Kesch was in super sassy mode, because she made not 1 BUT 2 awesome bags this past month (the superman one is so awesome that it blurred my shot!!)
She also finished a Super bowl -- jellyroll race quilt.  It looks pretty fun and I am sure that this activity will come back to play with us on an up coming SEW DAY!
Judy, with only ONE guild meeting under her belt, came back this month having finished 6 projects this month!!!  GO JUDY GO!!! This one, a lovely bag.
And this a beautiful rainbow rail fence variation!

WHAT A MONTH!!!   Great enthusiasm people!!  I needed to get together.  I loved seeing all that you made and getting a creative boost to LEAP me in to March!
Thanks again to Kathleen for the paper piecing demo!!