Saturday, October 16, 2010


You know that stack of quilt magazines and books that you've collected over time because there was A project in it that you wanted to do. If you are anything like me then you know that feeling all to well. You see one thing you want to make and you purchase the book (I use to be the same way with music, then itunes came along) thinking oh I'll find something else I like in here. Well I got a copy of Camille Roskelley's book for my birthday and in all fairness I had to share my thoughts on this with you. I spent two day just looking through the book. I read some of the commentary which is written in a similar down to earth way as Camille's blog. I haven't read all of it yet but I can tell you unlike a lot of books where I just read the pattern I'm working on I will be reading this one cover to cover and probably more than once.

I would however like to ask Camille what part of this book is suppose to simplify my life. Maybe because of my need to come up with solutions for a few more Christmas presents, my quilting ADD, and because I'm this close to finishing the front of my Freshcuts Square Dance quilt another project is taking shape on my sewing table. I'm afraid this is the only sneak peak of the project that you'll get until after Christmas because while I'm not positive I have a pretty good idea that the recipient reads my blog from time to time. So far the hardest part about this project is that since I cut my pieces from fat quarters I already had instead of using a charm pack it took me a while to do all of the cutting. Otherwise I would say this is a project that could probably be completed start to finish in a long weekend. Some of you faster quilters could probably even do it in a day.

In other "stupid news" I figured out today what was wrong with my rotary cutter. A while back I changed the blade. Everything was fine but it was leaving this fuzz everything I cut. Even my dad commented to me about it. I just put it away and used another one. Today though when the blade in that one needed changing I decided to change the other one instead thinking maybe I had just gotten a bum blade or something. Turns out having two blades on your cutter at one time makes fuzz. I know it's these little things that make you all wonder how I've made it as long as I have.

This little cutie came to live with me as a birthday gift from my friend Mary. Turns out our birthdays are only about a week apart. See I told you guys I have some of the best online friends ever.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Full Circle

Today I am celebrating my 30th birthday and my mom and dad surprised me with a pretty cool gift. Way back around this time last year I joined my first online quilt block swap. Beth hosted a scrappy Christmas block swap using a tutorial from Elizabeth. We were each paired up with 3 other people and sent them 2 blocks each. The blocks were made from Christmas fabric and the selections chosen were from a large variety. Along with the blocks we made for our partners Beth also gave us the option to make an extra block or two to donate to charity. This of course was before I was overwhelmed with bee blocks and swap packages so I had extra time and made a few blocks to send for the charity quilt.

Fast forward to the earthquake that hit Haiti earlier this year. At that time Beth asked us if it would be okay to auction off the quilts to benefit the relief efforts. Of course we all said yes and the auction began. At the time I remember thinking how nice it would be to have one of the pieces with one of my blocks in it. Sort of sentimental memorabilia. I remember telling my mom the pieces had gone up for auction but I don't recall telling her my thoughts on wanting to own one of those pieces. One with my block in it in particular.

Now my mom is like me or maybe I should say I'm like my mom in that when I get someone a gift I get so excited about it that I want to give it to them right away. Not that this is a bad trait but it makes shopping in advance for holidays next to impossible, sometimes even costly. So imagine my surprise when we were opening gifts tonight (I say we because my brother's birthday is next week and we had a joint dinner and celebration) and I opened a box from Beth to my mom. Of course I recognized her name right away. After all she was the swap mama for my very first swap and I happen to be in a few flickr groups with Beth and am a follower of her blog so I knew exactly who it was. I just couldn't imagine what my mom could have gotten from her. So there you have it, the story of the tree skirt that I helped in a small way to create, that holds a special place to me, and that made it's way back to me as a piece of sentimental memorabilia.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Block That Almost

Did Me In

Way back at the start of July (yes I know it's October, don't judge me) Lydia sent along this great Happy Campers fabric and asked for a star block to make a concert quilt for her and her husband. At that moment I was pretty caught up on my bee blocks so I got started right away. Back in February at the Quilt Show I went to with my mom and dad I had picked up a few new tools. Well I LOVE my Tucker Trimmer, it makes those half square triangles so much easier to get just right. At the same time I had bought the wing clipper but I hadn't tried it out yet. I made up the first 4 flying geese blocks for the block and they turned out perfect. I was so excited I thought this was going to make flying geese into something I didn't mind so much. But then went I made the next set of four in the other color way something went really really wrong. I sewed something backwards and ended up with a seam on the front of my points. Okay that wasn't such a big deal I could try again. So I made another set of four. No way, they were all wonky and not even close to being the right size. I couldn't even use them because they weren't even something I could pretend to trim to the right size.

Frustrated I put the block away thinking I would just come back to it in a few days and everything would be fine. Well when I looked again I realized I only had enough fabric for one more attempted and if it wasn't right I wouldn't be able to try again. So I let that block sit there for a while. To be honest I was scared of that block. Scared because I didn't have any more Happy Campers fabric should I have another Epic Fail. Scared because I didn't know what the solid was and I was quickly using all I had in these failed attempts. Scared because I just didn't want to mess that block up any more. Well the other day I took that block back out determined to finish it and get it back to Lydia. Partly because I didn't want the block to conquer me, partly because I felt guilty for getting behind on my bee blocks, and partly because I just wanted to get the pieces cleaned up from my sewing space. Whatever the reason I managed to get the flying geese made with little trouble. I did however do it the good old fashion way and not with the wing clipper. I'll give him another chance someday but this was not that day. I started to assemble the block but when I went to trim up the center square I was feeling good that it ironed flat really well and all the points matched up. But as I was looking at it something just didn't seem right.

Yup leave it to me to sew the two pieces on upside down. Of course I didn't notice it until I had both side pieces on. So I pulled out four seams and redid the center square. After that I didn't have anymore trouble with this block and I think it looks pretty good as a finished product. But boy was that block rough. I can laugh about all of these silly mistakes now because the block is done. I hope you can laugh at all of these silly mistakes too. Sometimes I think that people who maintain blogs only share the things that go right. We don't get the chance to see the mistakes to often but I appreciate the fact that quilting is something I am learning to do and I believe the only way to really learn something is through trial and error. I'm not the only one sharing mistakes this week, be sure to check out this post for a good laugh and one of those that is something I would totally do moments.

I moved my sewing area into the spare room in our house over the weekend. Better than the dining area that is connected to our living room that I previously occupied. Well I realized I would really like a trash can in my sewing space for all of those little scraps and threads. I went looking for something really cheap but because I am a Target shopper the cheapest trash can I could find was $10 bucks. Not in this budget! Instead I found this "jar" in the bathroom section for 3 bucks. I really like it because it has a lid but the hole in the lid is just about the perfect size to slip those small pieces through.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Let's Talk About Bees, Man

Quaterfoil Block for Rebecca
August Modern Tradition Bee

About this time last year I saw a lot of blogs talking about the wonderful adventure of quilting bees. The great friends you could make, the fun of making and swapping blocks for 12 months, the ability to try out new techniques on a single block and not a whole quilt. Being overly zealous as usually I found myself joining a bee, followed by a few more, and then to top it all off I started one of my own. Through out the last year these bees have been amazing. I have gotten to try things I never would have tried on my own. I've made some of the best friends in the world and even if I never get to meet them in person I know they are amazing women.

Around the world star for Lydia-July Modern Tradition Bee
This block almost made me give up sewing,
check back for more on that later.

So why talk about bees now, well along with the good always comes some level of frustration. A year ago I wish someone would have told me to slow down and take it easy. While bees are a lot of fun they are also a lot of work. Imagine how busy you are at any given moment in your life and then ask yourself how many blocks can I make in a month that aren't my own choosing. See sometimes people pick easy blocks for bees and sometimes they pick really hard blocks. Sometimes you have to make things a few times before you get it right. Sure playing with other peoples fabric is fun but it can also be stressful if you make a mistake and can't find what you need to correct it.

Purple Bali Pop Blocks for Leah
October Circuit Bee

I'm not saying don't join a bee, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I'm just saying before you go signing up for 5 of them (like I did) think about the amount of time you have to commit to the project. I'm slowly digging myself out from the blocks that I haven't returned to my fellow bee members. And as I catch up I've been thinking you know it really wasn't fair for me to have this block for so long. I sure hope they weren't in a hurry to finish this. And even though I know a lot of my bee mates are in no hurry and I try to communicate with individuals and bee mama's when I'm running behind on things it still makes one more thing for someone else to keep up with. So ladies I'm sorry if I sent you bee blocks late or if yours are in this stack going out on Tuesday and are behind but I'm glad I could share with those of you looking to join a bee a few things to consider.
Churn Dash Blocks for Heather
September Modern Tradition Bee

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Freshcuts and Love Notes

I've slowly been making progress on the Freshcuts Square Dance quilt top. I think it gets a little more wonky with each row that I add. I knew there was some discussion about this over in the flickr pool and I'm starting to think I am going to have to try out some of these backup techniques. Overall I am really happy with the way this one is looking. I had planned to make a pieced back for this one from the pieces of Freshcuts that with the help of my mom I have picked up here and there but now I'm thinking I might back it in a snuggly soft minky or flannel so I can have a little bit of spring in the middle of winter. I can't decide if I want to keep it light as a spring quilt or make it into a fall/winter quilt. What do you think?

In other news the hubbs scored some big brownie points this week when I pulled this sandwich, complete with love note from the fridge for my lunch box. Isn't that sweet. I had planned to post this earlier in the week but got busy, nothing new there. Since I already got called out by one of my west coast friends on flickr for working on bee blocks at 2am today be sure to check back later for another post with some finished bee blocks.