Quiltmaker 100 Blocks

Quiltmaker 100 Blocks
My block is in the November 2015 issue!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Project Quilting  10.3  Bigger Than a Breadbox

This week’s Project Quilting challenge is size related.  It has to be ‘bigger than a breadbox’.  Which seems a little weird for a quilting project, amiright?  It turns out that the project doesn’t have to be 3D, it just has to be bigger than the footprint of a breadbox.  Which is about 8 X 16 inches. Who knew?  I haven't seen a breadbox since the last time I visited my grandparent's house.

I have to admit that I spent a few days kicking this one around in my head.  A tablerunner would fit the bill, but I started a tablerunner for the last challenge, and it didn’t work out well.  Actually, the tablerunner turned out fine; I just didn’t get it finished in time to submit it.  But I did finish it!  Yay!
Table runner that didn't get finished in time to enter into the Red/White/Blue Challenge

For this week, I first thought that I would make a fabric covered bin for my new sewing room.  Oh, I guess that I didn’t mention that yet – I have a new sewing room!  It’s a fairly long, convoluted story, that I don’t have time to get into right now, but I promise that I will post about it once it is presentable and I can take pictures. Right now, it is still in flux.  TL;DR - it used to be our family room. 

I did some digging around on the web for patterns or tutorials for fabric bins and realized that it wasn’t going to work. The fabric bins that I found were too small, or they were round. For my purposes, I wanted something like a box, not a basket.  I could have modified the instructions to make a bigger one.  But if I made something that met the size requirement for the challenge, it would be too big for the place that I wanted to use it.  So that idea went to the back burner for now.

I’ve been thinking that I needed a rug for the powder room that is adjacent to my new sewing room.  I have been seeing jelly roll rugs everywhere. Pinterest is full of them; there are tutorials online and they just seem to be the latest trend.  I had bought the pattern and a roll of the batting that is used to make them awhile ago.  But at the time that I bought the batting roll, I hadn’t read the pattern yet.  It turns out that the pattern calls for two rolls, not one…  oops.  I hadn’t gotten around to buying another roll, so it just kinda sat there.  Until now, that is!  I realized that I could use just half of a jelly roll and the one batting roll to make a smaller rug that would fit perfectly in the powder room.  Instead of an actual jelly roll, I used some of the leftover fabric from the new curtains that I made for the powder room and added some accent colors from my stash.  Voila – two birds with one stone! ^.^
My half jelly roll rug!  Approx 30" x 24"

Saturday, January 26, 2019


It’s been a really long time since I have posted anything on the blog.  Once my Scrap Addicts assignment was over, and I quit doing blog hops, there just didn’t seem to be a good enough reason.  Until now.

Somewhere in the rabbit hole that is the internet, I ran across a quilt challenge called Project Quilting. You’ve heard of Project Runway, right?  Well, this is similar, except Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn aren’t involved. And it’s for quilting projects, not clothing.  And it’s online instead of on TV.  And no one gets voted off. And no one gets a spread in Marie Clare magazine or their clothes featured at Nordstrom.   OK, OK, so it’s not really THAT much like Project Runway, but it is a challenge, and there are prizes!

Project QUILTING is the brainchild of Kim Lapacek, and she manages it on her blog, Persimon Dreams:   https://kimlapacek.com/project-quilting. Clicking on the link will take you to the page which describes the rules and prizes, etc.   

There are also some fun links with titles like “10 Reasons why to try Project QUILTING” and “10 Reasons why Project QUILTING is better than Project Runway”.  I also discovered that this is the 10th year, and there are links to all the posts from the previous years.  How did I never hear of this before?

This whole thing seemed like a great way to kick-start my quilting, which has kind of languished lately.  It seems like a lot of fun, and did I mention that there are prizes?

The first challenge that I am doing is the Red, White and Blue challenge, which runs from January 20 – January 27.  Why red/white/blue in January?  I really don’t know, but what the heck, right?  I decided that I need a new table runner for the coffee table in my living room.  I have themed ones for Christmas, Fall and Valentine’s Day, plus one that I use the rest of the year.  So I thought that my first Project Quilting challenge would be a patriotic table runner that I would use for 4th of July.

I grabbed my bin of patriotic fabrics that were leftover from when I made the Red/White/Blue Stars quilt for the 2015 Knights of Columbus International Convention and started looking for ideas. (If you want to see that quilt, I’ve got a picture posted here: http://myquiltymusings.blogspot.com/2015/07/its-done.html)

I’ve got a bookshelf full of books that I troll through for inspiration, so I turned there first.  ‘Endless Stars – Strip Pieced Quilts that Sparkle” by Jean M. Potetz jumped out at me.  I’ve had the book for quite a few years, but have never made anything using the technique she developed. 

So, thinking that I had all sorts of time, I starting cutting strips and sewing them together.  I realized that I didn’t have enough of the white background fabric, so I started digging through my scraps to see if I had any of it in my strips bin.  Nope. And I didn't want to start over. 

OK - plan B.  I could use another white on white fabric and arrange it strategically so that it wouldn’t be obvious.  Good, but not great.  Moving on….

I realized that I also didn’t have enough of the red…. Grab another coordinating red, but how to arrange it? I wasted an evening drawing out several options, then showed the drawings to my husband.  He couldn’t tell the difference between the designs because the two red colored pencils that I used were too close in value.  So I decided to just use the new red for the middle stars and leave the older one along the edges. 

By this time, it is late on Friday evening and the projects need to be done and posted by Sunday at 1 p.m. Why did I think that I had all sorts of time? 

Realizing that I am going to be way too stressed out if I keep to my original project plan, I reluctantly put it aside.  It will be finished, but not by Sunday.  I still want to participate, but there just won’t be enough time to do the table runner justice.  Plus, I need time to remember how to post things on the blog and how to link things.  So a smaller, simpler project is going to be necessary if I want to get it done. 

While I was cutting out the blocks, I realized that there was quite a bit of waste with the technique.  You stitch fabric strips together and then cut out squares on an angle.  The cut off scraps are shaped like long right triangles.  I am never one to throw away any usable scrap, so I saved them.  When I realized that the original design wasn’t going to work, I grabbed the cut-off triangles and started playing.  Sewing the hypotenuse of two different colored scrap triangles together made rectangles, which are a lot more usable to me than the triangles.  The only problem is the rectangles end up being only about 1 ½ x 3 ½ inches, and rather wonky. That’s pretty small, but I thought that I could do something with them.   I sewed them together in two rows of six each, then sewed the two rows together.  Add some batting, a backing and some stitching and voila!  A small mug rug! There are no size restrictions for the projects, thank goodness.  It’s a lot less than what I had originally planned to submit, but, hey, it’s DONE!  And with a few hours to spare!

January 2019 Project QUILTING Plan B

Friday, October 13, 2017

Aurifil Designer of the Month

Is anyone else doing the Aurifil Designer Block of the Month?  The cool thing is that you make a block each month (duh...) and if you upload a picture of it to Pat Sloan's blog page, you are entered to win a great prize - a 12 pack of Aurifil thread.  All of this sounds really easy, right?  

September block
Wrong.  Making the block is the easy part.  Trying to actually get the picture posted is a pain in the royal you-know-what!! I have had no end of trouble uploading my picture to the site!

Here is the picture I took with my phone. I took a half dozen of them, just to make sure that I got a good one.  This one is decent because I didn't get any of the surrounding mess creative inspirational items in the picture.

So make the block- check
Take a picture - check.
Go to Pat's blog page - check.
Find the link to add the picture - check.
Figure out how to get the picture from my phone to my computer.  (Only took 10 minutes) -  check.
Click on the link to bring up the linky program - check.
Add the required info - check (as an aside, that takes about 15 tries to figure out what exactly is required!)
Click Done.  Uh-oh.  The program is telling me that my file is too big.  Seriously?  How do I make it smaller?  The program says that I can use Instagram.  OK, that sounds easy.  So I signed up for an Instagram account and spent another hour fussing around, trying to figure out the settings and how to post a picture. 

Go back to the linky thingy.  Fill out the required information (easier this time).  Click Instagram icon.  I get an error saying  "error_type": "OAuthForbiddenException", "code": 403, "error_message": "You are not a sandbox user of this client"}

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  What the heck does that mean?  Sandbox?  huh? 

Back to square one.  I give up for now. I was just going to take a few minutes to upload the picture  and it has taken me over 2 hours just fuss farting around  to try to get a stupid picture up on a blog! 

Maybe I'll just go buy some thread.  Sure would be easier!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Opposites Attract Blog Hop - Black and White Blocks

Hi everyone and welcome to Day One of the Opposites Attract Blog Hop!  

Do you have a quilting 'bucket list'? In other words, a list of quilts or quilting projects that you would like to make? I don't have a written list, but I do have a mental one. I basically have three requirements for a bucket list quilt - I want to learn the technique, I really like the way a certain pattern looks, or I want to try different color combinations.  I'm not sure that a certain color combination is a technique, and it certainly isn't a pattern, but it is something that I want explore, so I added it as a requirement. 

One color combination that I have been wanting to try is black and white. So when I first heard the title of this blog hop, I immediately knew what I wanted to do for it. Black and white! What is more opposite than black and white?

Two color quilts aren't new. A few years ago, there was a quilt exhibit in New York City of a collection of quilts from a woman who collected only red and white quilts. There were 650 quilts in the exhibition, and the collection included quilts from three centuries! It's hard to believe that there are so many red and white quilts! Take a look at this link:
Red and White

I was thinking about doing something similar for black and white quilts. Except that my collection will have to be a virtual collection, since I have neither the resources to purchase a bunch of quilts nor the space to store them! So for the time being, my collection is on Pinterest. I started a board to keep pictures and links for black and white quilts separate from my other all-purpose "Things I want to Make" and "Quilts" pages. Here is a link, if you are interested in seeing it: Black and White Quilt Pinterest Board

In the course of playing around with black and white fabrics for this blog hop, I've discovered that making black and white quilt blocks isn't as easy as you would think. For one thing, there are many different definitions of 'white'! Who knew? For example, milk is white, right?  But take a look at whole milk next to skim milk.  Whole milk is a creamier white, while skim has a grey or blue cast to it. But they are both 'white'. So you need to take a look at the undertone of the white fabrics that you want to use, especially if you are going to go scrappy. I found out from the owner of the local quilt store near me that 'white-white' is called 'optic-white'.  Be aware that, if you are going to use a lot of optic white in a quilt, any other whites in that quilt may end up looking gray or dingy.  

Similarly, there are variations in black fabrics.  A black fabric may look 'blacker' if there is less of a print and more solid black.  For instance in the picture with all the blocks below, the whirligig (my term, not sure what it is actually called!) in the block in the upper left hand corner really stands out.  In the closeup of that block, on the right, you can see that the whirligig black is almost solid, with only a few speckles of white.  The other black in that block has more of a white print, so it doesn't stand out as much.  

12 Black and White blocks
Whirligig Block

The two blocks below both use two white on black prints that are very similar in saturation.  I thought that the difference would be enough to make the pattern really stand out, but it didn't work.  When looking at them close up, the difference is obvious but from a distance, they mush together and blend in.  

Blacks blend together from a distance
Another example of blended blacks

You can use the differences in blacks and whites to your advantage, to help achieve dimension and definition.  If you want the blacks to blend together more, use one with more of a print and less solid.  Conversely, if you use a white with a black print, it can also help to either define that section of the block or help it to blend in.

The three blocks pictured below are a much better example of what I was hoping to achieve.  They show more of the definition that can be created by using fabrics with different amounts of black or white print to really make the design elements pop. 


I'm including the one below, not just because it is a great example of definition, but because I love it! I did some fussy cutting to achieve the center medallion look. Fussy Cutting is a technique I want to explore. Hmmm, another one for the bucket list?

My favorite black and white block so far!

Now, for the giveaway!  The friendly folks at The Fat Quarter Shop have generously donated a $25 gift certificate to be given away each day of the hop. To enter to win today's giveaway, use the Rafflecopter link below.  Good luck to everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 25, 2016

Deadlines and Dilemmas

In the last year, my extended family has grown rather quickly.  Three of our nieces and nephews have either started a family or added to their families. Which has created a bit of a dilemma for me.  I started a tradition with the first great nephew.  Being a quilter, I made him a quilt, of course. So 'of course', I 'have' to make his sister a quilt, right?  But  how can I make quilts for the two of them without making quilts for other nieces and nephews' babies?  That makes it sound like an obligation, but it is only a self-imposed obligation.  None of them expected me to make them a quilt, but I opened my mouth and told them I would. 
Not that that is a bad thing. Quilting (especially the piecing part) is one of my favorite things to do. It's just that all of a sudden, I have three baby quilts in process.  One of them is partially quilted, one is a top, and one is still being pieced.  I don't know about you, but sometimes, time gets away from me. I think that I am making good progress on something only because I am not looking at the calendar.  So I was procrastinating a bit, because I figured that I had lots of time.  Then yesterday we received an invitation for the baptism of the youngest nephew.

Oops, it is less than a month away!  A month where I will be traveling with my husband for the two weekends before the baptism, and babysitting my grandson another weekend.  Yikes!  All of a sudden, I am waaaaaaaaay behind! Because the logical thing to do is to give the baby his quilt as a baptismal gift, right?   But he is the youngest and his two cousins don't have their quilts yet. So how can I give him his quilt and not give the older ones theirs?  Especially since they will all be at the baptism.....

So I'm making this a short post, because I need to get those quilts done!

Oh, just a quick note - I will be participating in a new blog hop, starting in June. See the logo at the top right - it is going to be fun!



Monday, April 11, 2016

Online projects and losing things again.

I really wish that I had more space in this house, but since I don't, I use my dining room as the sewing room.  So, as I've mentioned before, every holiday and special occasion, the sewing room has to be converted back into the dining room so that we have a place for everyone to eat together around the table. Yeah, we could use tray tables in front of the TV, but doggone it, I have standards!  At least for holidays.  ;-> 

I usually have several projects on the go at the same time in said dining/sewing room.  So when I get bored (or frustrated) with one, I can pick up another one. And I almost always have a "thread-bunny" (a.k.a. Leader/Ender) project in the works.  And, of course, there are usually pieces/parts of various miscellaneous "stuff" spread around the room.  I call them "stuff" because they aren't really projects, but they might eventually turn into projects.  The "stuff" could be an interesting block that I saw and tried out, or perhaps a piece of a new novelty fabric that I am trying to figure out what to do with, or the latest quilt magazine that I haven't read yet.... You get the idea.  Stuff just accumulates.  

But it all has to be moved for when we use the dining room for its intended purpose.  Since Easter was a couple of weeks ago, I did the usual "pack-it-up-and-move-it" to someplace out of the way, but logical.  That's so I would remember where everything was when I needed to move it back.  Yeah, right. <SIGH>. I really tried hard this time!  But somehow, I still managed to lose a project.  

I've been working on at least 3 online projects, two baby quilts and the monthly $5 Quilt block from a local quilt store (The Quilt Company, in Allison Park, PA).  The online projects were fairly easy to find, since I had stored them together in a portable stack-able bin set (like theseand put them together. Yay, me!  So I found my 365 Block Challenge project, the Splendid Sampler blocks and the blocks from the Aurifil Designer of the Month.  I even found the $5 Monthly blocks from The Quilt Company. Which is good, because if you don't complete the monthly block, it costs you $5 for the next one!  If you do complete it and bring it in to show, the next one is free.  I like free ;->

The baby quilts were easy to find.  They are assembled, and just need to be quilted. So I just moved them to the living room and draped them over the back of the couch.  Voila, instant decor change! 

What I can't find (yet) is my Leader/Ender project.  And that is very frustrating, since I hate stopping and starting.  I try to chain piece whenever possible, and then I throw a Leader/Ender block through whenever I need to change from one type of block to the next.  I know that I will find it eventually, but ya know, it's just not worth all the time that I am wasting while searching for it.  I'd rather be sewing, and I know that it will turn up eventually.  And there is no rush, since there isn't a deadline for finishing it.  

I'll probably just end up cutting up scraps for another Leader/Ender.
In fact, the WPA Quilt-Along block just came out this week, so I think I cut up some scraps and use it as my new L/E.   Just what I need - another project! But projects are like potato chips - you can't have just one!

Here are the links for the online projects I mentioned above, in case you are interested in seeing what they are all about:

365 Block Challenge - one unique block a day, all year, and you end up making a 90 inch square quilt. hint - If you liked Dear Jane, you will love this!  It started on January 1st, but the designer is planning to repeat it next year.  So you can start now and pick up the blocks that you've missed next year.  She starts with simple blocks, and works up to more complicated ones so that even beginners can make this beautiful quilt. One thing to be aware of - the website is from Australia, so for those of us in the Western Hemisphere, the blocks are always dated with tomorrow's date. It's a little disconcerting until you get used to it. 

The Splendid Sampler - This is a project organized by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson.  There are 2 6-inch blocks released each week, one on Sunday and one on Thursday.  Each block is by a different designer, and there is a mix of techniques involved.   There are also bonus blocks and projects and tutorials on the different techniques on the website.  The layout for the finished quilt hasn't been revealed yet.  All the blocks that have been released are still available. http://www.thesplendidsampler.com/

Aurifil Designer of the Month - this is another one that Pat Sloan is involved with.  Each month, there is a 12 inch block released mid-month. Make the block, post a picture of it on the site before the next block is posted, and you are entered to win a box of Aurifil thread.  Each box has 12 spools! 

WPA Quilt-Along - This is mostly local group in the Western Pennsylvania area, but there are some online only members.  A quilt block is released in April, and the idea is that if you make one block a day, by the beginning of August, you will have enough blocks to make a queen size quilt.  There is no pattern, just a concept.  So you can make your blocks in any size, any fabric, lay them out in any orientation, add blocks, modify the block, etc.  We have a picnic at the beginning of August at a local park to show off what we've accomplished.  The admission to the picnic is 'at least one completed block', so no pressure! The variety of projects is always amazing!  If you want to check it out, it is a Yahoo! Group. Go to  Yahoo, click on Groups and search for wpaquiltalong.  It is a closed group, so you need to ask the moderator for admittance. You can tell her that I sent you ;->

Oh, and the stackable bins - I have no affiliation with the company, I just love those bins.  They are the perfect size to keep the pattern, fabrics and completed blocks together.  I think I have about 20 of them.  But that's another post...

Friday, March 25, 2016

Vinnie Loves Maude

A couple months ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a pattern testing group for a quilting acquaintance of mine, Beth Helfter.  We've actually never met, but I feel like I know her.  She was a member of the Quiltmaker Magazine's Scrap Squad the year before I was a Scrap Addict for that same magazine. And I participated in her pattern testing group last year, as well, so we've had some interactions.  I admire her slightly-off-the-wall humor, and I appreciate her relaxed attitude toward quilting. "Perfection is overrated" is a oft-repeated mantra in her blog, Quilting Hottie Haven. 

This year, the project was a scrappy one - right up my alley!  We were instructed to use scraps of "modern" print fabrics  and "low-volume" backgrounds.  Modern was defined as "if you've bought fabric at a quilt store in the last 4 years that isn't a 30's or Civil War reproduction, a novelty or tapestry-like border print, it's probably fine".  LOL! check, got it.  

But what the heck is "low-volume", I wondered?  Beth said that she meant "modern-feeling prints or tone on tones on white, off white, grey, or light pastel background."  I admit that this was the hardest part of the project for me. What is modern-feeling?  I didn't have a lot of grey, which has really been in vogue for the last year or so (and thus is modern, right?) A lot of the pastels that I have are reproductions, which she didn't want for the 'modern' prints, so I was guessing that they would also be off limit for the backgrounds!    

Off to the quilt store I went, so I could discuss the topic with the owner and the staff.  I came away with a better feeling of what I needed.  And, of course, some low volume background scraps. ;->

One of the cool, little known features of the quilt store I frequent is the scrap bin.  The bin contains cast-offs and small cuts, left overs from the owner's projects, etc.  And it also contains a box of gallon sized plastic zipper bags.  You can stuff the bag as full as you want (as long as you can still 'zip' it!) for a given price.  I think the current going rate is about $10.  If you are good at it (which I am, of course), you can get a couple of pounds of scraps in the bag, which is about 3 yards of fabric.  

As usual, Beth's blocks challenged me to go outside my comfort zone.  That's one of the cool things about doing pattern testing - you can really learn some things that you would have never tried.  In this case, Beth had us using the stitch and flip method of making corners with one inch blocks.  Yep, you read that right, ONE INCH!  The good part about that is that I didn't need to mark the stitching line before sewing them.  The stitching line was so short that it was easy to stay where I needed to be. The bad part is that I kept losing those tiny blocks!  I was finding little one inch background blocks everywhere around the house for weeks afterwards. Which reminds me - don't wear flannel or fleece while you are sewing.  You become a walking design wall with little pieces stuck everywhere....just saying.

Beth got a lot of mixed feedback about the sizes of the pieces - some people loved them, some hated them.  So in her final pattern, she gives directions for both a 10 inch block (using the 1 inch squares) and a 20 inch block, which uses 2 inch squares.  Either way, I think you will love the pattern!  

Here are my tester blocks, one before it was sewn together, and the other is of four blocks set 2x2. I like the setting, but Beth came up with a really unique one that you'll love!

You can see pictures of it on her blog.  And as a bonus, for today only (March 25th) it is available on Craftsy for only $5! Here is a link, check it out!