Trying New Things

I am not sure what exactly is behind this but in addition to lace knitting, I have apparently decided it is time to do some free motion sewing. Or maybe attempt free motion sewing is a better term.

Monday I decided I really needed to make some Valentine’s placemats. Eight to be exact, well, seven but I rounded up. For the daughters and son-in-law and granddogs. I had a Jolly Bar (half a layer cake, a precut exclusive to The Fat Quarter Shop, in case you didn’t know) of the First Crush line which I purchased a few years ago to get the pattern that I used to make my Hearts of Flowers quilt. I used every bit of that Jolly Bar and a scrap of one extra fabric to do the tops of the placemats.

I have often thought that placemats are the perfect free motion practice pieces so I set up my machine for free motion quilting, practiced for a while on a practice piece 

And then I moved on to the placemats. I did learn a few things about me and free motion quilting.

  1. I do much better when I’m not trying to quilt densely. This is okay with me because I’m not a fan of stiff quilts.
  2. I do much better when I’m trying to fill a rectangle with motifs in straight lines. Also okay with me, but not always the shapes I have!
  3. I need lots more practice.
  4. Ditch stitching seems easier free motion quilting. Hmmmm!

Below are the pictures of the best three placemats, back and front. Not perfect, but a good start. I still have four more to bind – so much for having them for Valentine’s Day this year. Binding is today’s plan!

I ran out of diagonal red and white binding fabric after completing the first four placemats so I had to head to my most local LQS for something else. I found something and also this adorable fabric. I purchased half a yard and half a yard with a black background and half a yard of the matching floral. Just because I loved it. I may have to go back for more. And some of the glorious pansy fabric they had!

Quilt on!

Sorry on Sunday

I really need to apologize because it has been so long since I shared anything here. It’s not like I haven’t been doing anything to share, but I just haven’t been blogging. So let me share a little today.

I’ve been working my way through the Craftsy class (affiliate link warning!) Lace Knitting: Basics and Beyond with Eunny Jang. I am up to the final project now, a lacy scarf knitted with this gorgeous yarn.

Here’s a sample (unblocked) of one of the swatches I’ve been knitting. 

Knitting does not come naturally to me. It just doesn’t. I don’t think I’ll be a convert once I’m done, but I think I will be able to knit the shawl I started and failed, so that is a good thing. I think. Of course, I’m rethinking the yarn I got for that one, so stay tuned.

Maybe you’ve seen the pictures of various jelly roll rugs on Instagram. I got the pattern from the designer on Etsy (and that link is not an affiliate, just an ordinary share but you can also buy it at the Fat Quarter Shop). As we know, I have lots of jelly rolls! So I started one. Here’s the start.

I have also gotten to work on my Disappearing Pinwheel quilt. I got the rest of the pinwheels made and have started to make the blocks. Of course, I only have one made so far. And I accidentally destroyed one. Sigh.

And that is the current state of things. My plans for today include some Valentine placemats. And maybe more DPWs. And knitting. We will see.

Quilt on!

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Catching Up

Just because I haven’t been blogging doesn’t mean I haven’t been making stuff. Or acquiring things.

First there were the quilty Christmas goodies, a puzzle, a book, a table topper pattern and the Creative Grids mini Pineapple tool.

Next came the knitting fail. Remember how I am not a knitter but I’d fallen in love with this Craftsy Kit (yes, that’s an affiliate link)? And I was going to knit it myself with lots of help from my knitting friends? 

Yeah, well, I cast it on, knitted a few rows and ripped it out five or six times. This is what the last one looked like:

You didn’t really think that I was going to show you what it looked like five rows in, did you? Especially not five rows I repeatedly ripped back.

After that fiasco, I needed to feel accomplished at something so I made my first ever zipper pouch to contain the knitting supplies that Carolyn had so kindly lent me when I returned them. If we count this zipper pouch as a bag, I have accomplished one of my quilty resolutions. I made the bag a slightly strange shape because I needed to fit circular needles into it. It also, coincidentally, exactly fits Carolyn’s Bible.

However, I am apparently more stubborn than I originally thought about the whole knitting thing. So I decided to take a lace knitting class on Craftsy. I chose Lace Knitting: Basics and Beyond with Eunny Jang  (affiliate link) because it was on sale and I’m not a serious knitter. I just need to conquer this one thing. Seriously, now it is a challenge. If you are at all interested in lace knitting, I strongly recommend it. Eunny Jang is a great teacher and I’m learning a lot.

Of course, I had returned Carolyn’s knitting equipment so I had to get something with which to knit. I found a complete set of bamboo knitting needles and accessories at Amazon, the affiliate link is below.

Here’s what I got:

So, yes, I have still been doing some knitting. Mostly practice swatches, but I’m actually enjoying it. We will see how long this lasts. This isn’t my first go round with knitting. I learned to knit as a child and made a few things (including the world’s weirdest Christmas stocking for my oldest nephew), but I never really enjoyed it. We will see how this goes.

Of course I haven’t forsaken my first love. I have put the borders on the Christmas Jelly Roll Race. I don’t have finished pictures, but here is the fabric I used.

I finished Clue Two of the On Ringo Lake Mystery. I’m taking a break from that to work on Charlotte Hawkes’ Summer Stars on Fawn Lake Mystery, but I only have pictures of the On Ringo Lake Clue 2.

I have been working on hand quilting the 2009 Designer Mystery BOM. Here’s the block I finished most recently. Yes, most of it is stitch in the ditch.

And my husband brought a few of his mom’s collector’s plates up from the basement so that we can start trying to sell them. I don’t have much hope that they will sell for much if anything, but I do need to start listing them on eBay. Here’s the pile of them in the living room. And that’s what I’ve been up to. What about you?

Quilt on!

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Books on Monday – Millefiori Quilts 3

Good morning! I am so sorry that it has been a full two weeks since I last blogged. I will try to remedy that with another post later today or tomorrow. But today it is time for a book review. Although it is kind of a no brainer book review.

Today we are looking at Millefiori Quilts 3 by Willyne Hammerstein. And, yes, that link is an Amazon Affiliate link to help support the blog.

Why do I say this is a no brainer book review? Because either you love Willyne Hammerstein’s quilts like I do or you don’t. If you love them, you will love this book. If you don’t, you won’t. That makes sense, right? And if you love them, this book is awesome eye candy, even if you never make one of these quilts.

Because the book itself is published by Quiltmania, it is sturdy and very well constructed. Unlike Millefiori Quilts and Millefiori Quilts 2, this one is completely in English. And it is still an expensive book, but well worth it in my opinion. There are 18 beautiful quilts in this book. All of them are stunning and use tiny pieces.

Other than being totally in English, the biggest difference I see between this book and the other two are the fabric choices. Some of the choices here are bolder and less muted, with more contrast. The directions also seem to be a little more detailed than in the previous books. Because of this, unless there is a particular quilt of Willyne’s that you want to make (say, La Passacaglia), I’d recommend this book before the other two.

And here is an unsolicited recommendation for Inklingo if you are planning to make certain quilts. I don’t paper piece, so this is how I’m doing La Passacaglia. However, if you paper piece, you can also use Inklingo to print your pieces instead of tracing them. I highly recommend it!

So, yes, this is a strange book review. But this is what I have for today.

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Free Motion Meandering

Today we are looking at Free-Motion Meandering: A Beginners Guide to Machine Quilting by Angela Walters. It is available for Kindle as well as in paperback and the second link below is to the Kindle version. Both links are, as usual, Amazon Affiliate links that help support this blog.

This book was one of my quilty Christmas gifts, and my original plan was to post a review with photos of me trying these things out. That was before a bout of a cold hit and operating heavy machinery became a terrible idea. (Rotary cutters too, actually so only hand quilting has happened over the last day or so.) So you are getting the review, but not the demo pics. I think you’ll survive.

One could argue that there should come a point when one should stop buying/reading free motion quilting books and just do it. (This might have been one of the reasons that I was going to actually do some before writing this review!) However, the whole idea of just covering meanders of various kinds was one of the things that drew me to this book. I like the idea of just looking at one style of quilting at a time.

If you’ve ever read one of Angela Walters’s other books, you are already acquainted with her light (and relaxing) tone. This book is no exception. She definitely puts me at ease with her “you can do this” tone of writing.

The book starts with an Introduction and then a section called “Why Meanders?” (This seemed like a very good question to me!) Then she moves on to a few basics of how to get started followed by a section called “First Stitches” that includes a few Frequently Asked Questions. Then it’s on to the various types of meanders she covers in the book. These are: the Basic Meander and the Loopy Meander (the two that I usually think of when the word meander comes to mind), the Swirl Meander, the Swirl Hook Meander, the Paisley Meander, the Leafy Meander and the Feather Meander (yes, I know, I don’t normally think of feathers as a meander but I can see how these are kind of). Her last section is Improv Quilting, which combines the previous designs. Each section has a few FAQs at the end of it, which I find very helpful.

I will admit that this is the second machine quilting book that has made me want to jump right in and get started. (The first was Walk.) I’m not sure why that is, but I’m pretty sure that within the next few weeks you will see some samples of meandering on this blog. Angela’s approach seems to be what I needed to get inspired and brave enough to try.

Quilt on!

2018 Finish-A-Long Q1 Goals

Whoopee! I wasn’t sure there would still be a Finish-A-Long this year. I know it must be a lot of work and I am incredibly grateful to the lovely ladies who run it. Imagine my delight when I saw Leeanne from She Can Quilt had a post to link up first quarter goals. Now to make some!

I usually hope for 5 finishes and, if I’m lucky, get one or two. So, here goes in the order I would expect to finish them.

  1. Christmas Jelly Roll Race – I have the inner border on and need to decide on and add an outer border, quilt and bind.
  2. Disappearing Pinwheels – I may have enough blocks already completed to make a throw sized quilt. We will see.
  3. Layer Cake Explosion – All the blocks are completed. Now I need to cut the rest of the background fabric and get it put together.
  4. The 2011 Designer Mystery BOM – All the blocks are completed. Next up would be cutting the finishing kit and putting it together.
  5. Getting to Know Hue – This is a huge reach. I have the gold blocks to make, the four appliqué blocks and the center star in addition to getting it put together, etc. Big reach. But I’ll try! 

So there’s my official list. Stay tuned to see how it goes.

Quilt on!

Deep Thursday Thoughts

Not really. Don’t be shocked. Deep is not me. It really isn’t. And not much progress has been made around here on anything.

My Clue #2 of On Ringo Lake is all done except I need to press and trim up 60 more of the flying geese. I should get that done today. Then I think I will take a short pause before moving on to Clue #3. It’s not like I’ve been keeping up or anything like that.

I need to cut the fabrics for Charlotte’s Mystery Quilt, Summer Stars on Fawn Lake. I haven’t even started that yet, although I do have a project box waiting for it. I think the first clue comes next week, Tuesday maybe.

Jaye from Artquiltmaker asked a question about the 2009 Designer Mystery BOM. I finished that top before I ever began this blog, or shortly thereafter. You can see a picture and read about it here. It has been patiently waiting on my quilting frame to actually be quilted. It made it onto the frame shortly before my youngest daughter got engaged in 2012. That meant it had to wait for the wedding quilt to be hand quilted and then it also had to wait through parts of each year as the church quilts took precedence, but I hope this year is its year.

I fell in love with a knitted shawl kit on Craftsy a month or so ago. It was less than $20 and came with teal yarn if I wanted that color so I purchased it. I do not consider myself a knitter. I don’t even really like to knit, but this quilt was so pretty and I know exactly where to go for help so I bought it. It is not an easy pattern (do I ever like easy?) and I have cast it on and knitted and ripped it out three times now. I was sure the third time would be the charm, but I’m pretty sure that ship has sailed. I’m not sure how many times I will do this before I look for a crocheted shawl that I like almost as well. Sigh. Here’s a link to the kit, not an affiliate link though. Just a link. It is stunning.

And those are all my deep thoughts. All of them. Care to share some of yours?

Quilt on!

2018 Quilting Hopes and Dreams

Here are my Quilty Resolutions for 2018. You will be able to find them in the sidebar throughout this year in a little less detail!

  1. UFO & WIP Finishes – at least two of these:
    1. Disappearing Pinwheels – I seriously need to do this!
    2. 2011 Designer Mystery BOM – I think this is currently my oldest UFO.
    3. The Christmas Jelly Roll Race – I don’t know how I didn’t finish it last year!
    4. The Jinny Beyer BOM – I either need to finish this or let it go.
    5. Getting to Know Hue – I’d like this not to be a long term project.
    6. On Ringo Lake – I don’t want this one to get to be a UFO.
    7. Layer Cake Explosion – I should be able to finish this one soon also.
    8. The 2009 Designer Mystery BOM
  2. Start (and finish if possible) at least one of the kits I have around the house.
  3. Make at least two bags.
  4. Organize all the patterns I have pulled out of magazines.
  5. Make some serious progress on La Passacaglia.

That’s it for the Quilty Resolutions. I don’t know how realistic these are since one never knows the future. But a person can dream!

What are your quilting hopes and dreams for 2018?

Quilt on!

2017 in Quilting

What a year this has been! I feel like I’ve been very productive this year, more than any other year. I have completed more quilts this year than I ever remember finishing in a year. I finished some longtime UFOs and I began and completed a few other quilts. I took part in a blog hop. One of my starts was a Saturday Sampler and I was able to keep up with it. I did some machine embroidery on a project, the Quinceañera pillows, which wasn’t exactly a quilt project, but new to me in many ways.

Before I get to the month by month diary I’ve kept, let’s look at the 2017 Quilty Resolutions.

1. Finish UFOs. Not necessarily all of these and not necessarily in this order:
2012 FQS Designer Mystery BOM – DONE
2014 FQS Designer Mystery BOM – DONE
Disappearing Pinwheel 😔
Two quilts from Kimberly Einmo classes – Lone Starburst is DONE. I decided to scrap Spinning Stars.
The Chrismas jelly roll race quilt. 😔
The Jinny Beyer BOM 😔
La Passacaglia – I never expected to finish this one but I’ve made some progress
2. Make the Craftsy kit quilt that I bought for our bed. 😔
3. Make some bags – at the very least one. 😔
4. Use some jelly rolls and layer cakes. (Started Layer Cake Explosion. Also started a jelly roll race.)
5. At least start the supersecret project I’ve been designing in my head for years.😔

January

  • Assembled Birds in the Air quilt top
  • Assembled Birds in the Air backing
  • Cut out fabrics for Surrounded by Scraps

February

March

  • Continued Getting to Know Hue
  • Began Clue Three of Surrounded by Scraps
  • Finished blocks for 2014 Designer Mystery BOM
  • Assembled center for 2014 Designer Mystery BOM
  • Second 2017 Finish – My Birds Are Geese (AKA Birds in the Air)

April

  • Completed Clue 3 of Surrounded by Scraps
  • Continued Getting to Know Hue
  • Two Layer Cake Giveaways

May

  • Started Layer Cake Explosion
  • Finished Surrounded by Happy Scraps
  • Finished the 2014 Designer Mystery BOM top
  • Made the backing for the 2014 Designer Mystery BOM

June

  • Made the binding for the Designer Mystery BOM
  • Continued Getting to Know Hue
  • Completed the 2014 Designer Mystery BOM and gifted it
  • Attended the Shipshewana Quilt Show with Amy, Carolyn and Stephanie

July

  • Started working on the Kimberly Einmo Lone Star
  • Worked on Layer Cake Explosion

August

  • Began Quinceañera Pillow planning
  • Continued working on Lone Star
  • Attended the Grand Rapids AQS Show

September

  • Started the Jolly Bar Jazz quilt
  • Brushed up on the machine embroidery skills
  • Made Quinceañera pillows
  • Bought a new, smaller sewing machine
  • Completed the Jolly Bar Jazz quilt
  • Took part in my first blog hop
  • Made a fall table runner
  • Started several other table runners

October

  • Completed four more table runners.
  • Cleaned and sorted the quilt studio/sewing room

November

  • Finished Lone Star Explosion
  • Finished the Nativity Wall Hanging
  • Made another table runner
  • And continued working on Getting to Know Hue and started adding borders to the Christmas Jelly Roll Race quilt

December

  • Began the Bonnie Hunter On Ringo Lake Mystery
  • Continued to work on Getting to Know Hue, started preparing the appliqué blocks
  • Used the cutting table as a wrapping station, thereby derailing much quilting
  • Began a knitting project. Yes, I know. I hate knitting but this shawl is gorgeous and the kit was on a great sale. Sigh. And I can get lots of help with it.

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Craftsy End of Year Sale

Yes, this is an ad for the Craftsy End of Year Sale. This is a supplies sale of up to 70% off your crafting supplies. It lasts until Sunday, December 31st at 11:59 pm MT.

Click here for the sale and to help support this blog!

And, yes, the big question is “Can Gretchen avoid spending money on this?” I guess time will tell. I’ll get back with you on that!

Quilt on!