Positive Mojo

I was so surprised when the Dresden Squared quilt I made from a Missouri Star Quilt Company (MSQC) pattern was picked up and mentioned by MSQC on their Instagram Show and Tell feed. All I can say is thank you for the love…nearly 2000 likes!  That positive mojo carried me through at least a week!

Dresden Squared with Border

Since my last post I’ve added a 5 ½-inch mitered corner border using the same fabric I will use for the backing and I like the size of the quilt better now. Ready to layer & quilt.  In all my quilting years I have never made a mitered corner border.  Two corners turned out pretty good and two were a tad puckered but not bad for a first attempt.   I also plan to try another first on this quilt top and do some of the quilting using rulers.

Family

Our family visit was so fun this past week with lots of visiting, sightseeing, lunch and dinners out as well as a few home cooked meals, and even though we had a couple of days with rain off and on we still managed to get in some pool time and walks on the beach.

I recently happened upon a family of Sandhill Cranes on the campus of the local university, such sweet fuzzy yellow chicks feeding with their protective parents. It was surprising how calm they seemed as I took the photo through my open car window.

SC Family

Work In Progress

As I mentioned above I did not finish my WIP #5 for April, the Dresden Squared quilt, but I did get a border added and that is progress! I will move forward to my WIP for May, #6 on my list of 12 for 2018.  This is another MSQC pattern called Butterfly Blossoms made with Haiku fabric by Moda on a background of white-on-white.  I’m in the process of prepping the top for quilting.  I plan to prep the Dresden Squared as well and I hope to finish them both in May.

Butterfly Blossoms

Scrap Happy

My April golden blocks for the 2018 Squared Away quilt along by Angela of So Scrappy and Mari of The Academic Quilter turned out pretty well considering I didn’t use the sunny yellow as suggested.  Here’s a look at January – April blocks in this quilt along.  The block for May will be revealed on Saturday May 5th and I can hardly wait.

AQS QAL

I also have three additional scrappy projects on my table this month. First, I made a few note cards using card stock, fabric, buttons & beads and finished 10 cards, a nice change of pace from my other quilting projects.  I then emptied my red scrap bin – I sort my scraps by color – and am contemplating making some blocks with the “crumbs”.  That is, sewing the smallest pieces together in a sort of crazy quilt style and cutting them to a uniform small block size.   I’ll write more about that later.  Finally, while sorting through my scraps I found two strip sets left over from another quilt project that I plan to make pot holders with for a hostess gift…for a dinner I am attending tomorrow!  Nothing like last minute projects to keep you up at night!

I do hope you are as happy with your April project results as I am with mine. I find it so helpful for my happiness and wellbeing to spend time on creative projects, or just take quiet time in my sewing & craft room to sort, organize, make a mess, and rediscover lost projects.  I don’t have to actually finish anything to feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  Until next time – happy quilting, happy spring!

Golden

On the first Saturday each month Angela of So Scrappy and Mari of The Academic Quilter suggest a different color or colors for the scrap fabric to be used with the selected pattern for the 2018 Squared Away quilt along.  For April the colors are sunny yellow and gold.  In a rainbow scrappy quilt it had to happen at some point, but I’m really not a big fan of bright yellows so my scrap basket options were pretty slim.  What I’ve ended up with are these dark and light golden shades rather than sunny yellow, but I think it will work.

Golden

 

During the first few days of April I finished my March blocks in shades of lime green and put them together with our first two months of light & medium blues, and purple & lavender and I think I like the look of how the blocks are flowing together. Can’t wait to see how the golden blocks fit into the mix.

 

Scrappy Walking

WIP Progress

My Work in Progress (WIP) for April as part of my 2018 American Patchwork & Quilting UFO Challenge is a Missouri Star Quilt Company pattern Dresden Squared and the top is….was…complete and ready for quilting, but I’ve decided to add a 5 ½’inch border using my backing fabric to make the top just a bit bigger.

Dresden Squared

My WIP project for March, my Great Grandmother’s Dresden Plate quilt top in need of repair that I didn’t make any progress on because of my trip to Indiana, is still on the table and I’ve pulled out some of my old hand quilting tools to make the necessary repairs so it can be quilted, finished, and passed back to my mom for my sisters. Thank goodness I save everything (really honey – it’s a good thing)!  I’m using my old template plastic, template marking pencil, quilter’s disk for adding a quick ¼-inch seam allowance on all edges including the curves, and I also used my newer Dresden template tool from Missouri Star Quilt Company that I used on my Dresden Squared WIP – mixing both old and new to accomplish my goals.

I used a pencil to trace an existing Dresden blade from the quilt to paper, added the seam allowance, and traced the finished pattern onto template plastic for the final template I will use to trace and cut my repair fabric. I’ve decided to use the 1930’s reproduction fabric from my stash because I thought it would blend better with the existing print fabric rather than the vintage solids.  Slow but sure progress.

Twins

My brother and sister-in-law, honey’s twin siblings, are coming for a visit next week so I’ll be out and about more than usual. Hopefully we’ll be doing a little cooking, catching up with each other’s lives, swimming, and enjoying the great Florida weather, but I still have high hopes of working on a project or two when time allows.  It is a gift for some, a learned skill for others, managing to keep up with quilting projects as life moves on.  Obviously I do not possess the gift, but I keep pushing forward to improve my skills of accomplishing quality of life and quilting goals.  What better way to live our lives than to embrace current activities in our lives and with our family, treasure our creative passion, and blend the two until it becomes second nature.  Bliss…

I hope you have some special quilting projects in mind for April and that you might find your bliss…let’s check back in a week or so and see how things are going. Until then, happy quilting – happy life.

 

 

Calm Happy Peace

So I’ve finished the month of March without completing any of my quilting goals and yet somehow I still feel calm, happy, and at peace, probably because the house is clean, laundry done, honey and I have been cooking, and we had a lovely Easter luncheon today with three guests ranging in age from 84 to 90 complete with fine china, silver, cloth napkins, and interesting conversation. So I will begin April hopeful that I might complete my April quilting goals plus a little extra to make-up for March!

Here’s a wonderful photo of the cross outside our church decorated by members at the beginning of Easter Sunday service with palm fronds and flowers. A stark difference from the image on Maundy Thursday with the cross in the dark and draped in black symbolizing the tomb in which Christ was laid after the crucifixion.

Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed. Alleluia!  Happy Easter.

Easter Cross

 

Home

 

I had such a wonderful visit with family and friends in Indiana. I did a little mending for my mom and sisters, and believe it or not this little helper is my mom’s cat Poppy who looks like a twin to my cat Oliver even though they were strays who found us both about 100-miles apart.  Also like Oliver, Poppy is not a very helpful helper.

mend

Landscape Quilting

During a few hours of down time at my daughters I went to the public library and enjoyed a book on The Art of Landscape Quilting by Nancy Zieman and Natalie Sewell.  While the book and the art of this style of quilting is certainly not new, it is new to me and I think I would like to pursue it further.  I noticed I’m already looking at fabric in a different way that includes considering landscape and garden possibilities.

Book

Quilt Retreat

The Mystery Quilt Retreat was so enjoyable my last weekend in Indiana. We started about 7:00 on Friday evening and worked at our own pace until about noon on Sunday. We had the largest group ever at the Retreat this year with 46 quilters at the beautiful Canyon Inn at McCormick’s Creek State Park – the first state park in Indiana.

The Retreat also coincided with St. Patrick’s Day and National Quilting Day on the 17th and the Inn had a quartet performing folk tunes and Irish songs that created a great atmosphere as we dined on Irish food and drink that evening in the dining room.  Here are a few photos of the Oak Room where the Retreat was held.

I managed to complete my top despite the hours I spent visiting with friends I hadn’t seen for almost a year. The pattern was called Spinning Wheels, which we didn’t know until the end, and I really like the color contrast of my jelly roll strip sets and the red and gold fabrics.  I’m a little less enthused about the green batik I chose for the border, but I’ve decided to finish the quilt as is rather than replace the border.  A wise quilter gave me a bit of advice at the pressing table, “Sometimes what we think will work does not, so we either need to embrace it or give it away.”  My top is on the left.  The beautiful top on the right was completed by Kim and was made with Grunge fabric…lovely.

No stranger to the Retreat is twelve-year-old Lainie who finished her third quilt while attending this years Retreat with her grandmother. Lainie is a joy and so at ease with other quilters; I believe this may be her third year to attend this Retreat.  Here she is all smiles with her quilt nearly finished, and although she usually machine quilts her tops she has decided to tie this one.

Lainie

On Saturday afternoon a group of us drove into Spencer to Unraveled Quilt Shop for a special shopping trip including a discount coupon!  My best friend opened this shop almost two-years ago and even though I have moved it is still my favorite local quilt shop.  Her fabric selection is the best I have seen in a small shop, great color and design choices with a touch of whimsy.  I smile every time I step in the door.

The Retreat is also located near Bloomington Indiana and the restaurant options are exceptional. On my last weekend I had the opportunity to have lunch at a Turkish restaurant called Anatolia, a wonderful buffet, and dinner at a French restaurant called Le Petit Café.  There are also Thai, Indian, Cajun, Burmese, Korean, Japanese, Farm-to-Table, and many other wonderful choices, a culinary treasure in the heart of South-Central Indiana that should not be missed by anyone living or traveling near the city.

So I’m happy to be home, recovered from a bad cold I picked-up along the way and feeling pressed to finish my goals for the month of March in less than a week. I’ll let you know my progress next time.  Until then, smile and laugh – it’s spring!

Back Home Again in Indiana

I have made very little quilting progress this week as I prepared to be gone for my Indiana trip on Thursday to visit family and wrap-up at a Mystery Quilt Retreat. I’m ready for the fun and inspiration of seeing my family and quilty friends.  Honey is staying home to hang-out with the pets and hold down the fort.

Feelin’ Groovy Finish

The binding is finished, the quilt is washed, and it is all packed and ready for the trip to Indiana for gifting. I really like it – which means I can either be sad to be giving it away, or happy that I’m gifting something that I really like.  I choose happy!

Feelin Groovy Finish

Squared Away Scrap Sampler

The block for March in the 2018 Squared Away Rainbow Scrap Sampler quilt along designed by Angela of So Scrappy and Mari of The Academic Quilter is called Red Cross and it is to be made in shades of bright and lime green, colors in my personal color palette! Here are the fabrics I chose for my blocks, and I will again use white as my background.  I’ll work on these blocks after my trip.

Squared Away Fabric for March

If I am able to post while I’m gone I will, and I certainly will take photos to share at the Mystery Quilt Retreat. Until then, I hope March holds many quilting opportunities for you.  Take care and happy quilting!

White Horse

I can’t count the number of times I remember handing out this familiar advice, “If you fall off a horse you have to get up and get right back on.” Well, I fell off my horse and my whole body aches, not to mention I haven’t gotten back on the horse yet.  Now, the horse I’m referring to is my white quilting chair, with wheels, on a slippery bamboo floor, with me sitting there leaning over to the floor to lay down a clamp-on lamp that just came apart.  I hate that lamp.  Next thing I knew – boom – down I went.  Oh, it wasn’t serious, and I’m not avoiding getting back on my horse out of fear, I’m just aggravated – with that lamp I’ve had problems with for years, with my chair and the slippery floor, but mostly I’m aggravated with myself for not being more careful and letting my wounded pride get the better of me.

It appeared I was handling the situation by avoidance. Friday I finished a book I had been working on for a month, Saturday I went to the movie theatre in the afternoon and later cut fabric in preparation for an upcoming quilt retreat.  But what I really needed to be doing was quilting so I could keep up with my goals and quilt along progress. So Saturday evening I hopped back in the saddle, snapped the reins (that would be my power switch), and meandered across the hills and valleys of my quilt top and off into the sunset.  By Sunday I had another top quilted with one more top to go for February – which happens to be enormous even though I cut it down and I’m pretty sure it won’t be finished until March.  Pictured below for a better visual of the calamity – my white horse and my arch nemesis, the clamp-on light.

HQ Sweet 16

Feelin’ Groovy

I’m happy to have finished this ocean themed quilt I made last spring. It’s a pattern called Turning Twenty Feelin’ Groovy by Tricia Cribbs that my cat Oliver has been in love with ever since I got it out to layer for quilting.  I still have the binding to complete, which to me is the easiest part even though I do it by hand, and hopefully I can meet my “helper’s” expectations. It will be my third work in progress (WIP) finish of 2018.

Mystery Quilt Retreat

I have my fabric cut and ready for the Mystery Quilt Retreat in March at the Canyon Inn of McCormick’s Creek State Park in Indiana sponsored by Unraveled Quilt Store.  All I know now is we need one roll of 2 ½-inch strips, a dark fabric, a light fabric, and a border.  My roll of strips is Stained Glass by Paula Nadelstern for Benartex, the light, dark, and border fabric are from my stash and I have cut squares, rectangles, and width of fabric strips as directed by our first set of instructions.  I can hardly wait!

Mystery Quilt fabric

I hope February has been good to you and your quilting life, and that March holds even more joy and promise as we move closer to spring. As for me, I will not meet all of my goals for the month but I am hoping to finish the binding on two crib quilts as part of my 2018 American Patchwork & Quilting UFO Challenge, a partial finish of my #9 for February. The Feelin’ Groovy quilt was actually a WIP I ran across earlier this month that I didn’t even have on my WIP list, so I decided to finish it rather than add it to the list…a bonus finish for the month.

Sweet 16

When I was younger I had a charm bracelet and one of the charms I could hardly wait to get was my Sweet 16 charm.  It was my favorite charm and I still have that charm bracelet, but the Sweet 16 that’s my favorite now is my longarm quilting machine, a Handi Quilter Sweet 16 sit-down quilter with a 16-inch arm. Unlike a traditional longarm quilting machine and frame where the machine moves over the stationary quilt sandwich using handlebars, a sit-down quilting machine is in a stationary position and the quilt is moved under the needle.

HQS16

I have found using spray adhesive keeps the quilt sandwich together while I work. I use Odif 505 Spray and Fix Temporary Fabric Adhesive from my favorite local quilt shop Unraveled Quilt Store. I’m a relatively new quilter and mostly focus on an overall quilting design using light or grey thread so the focus remains on the quilt top design and not the quilting. I have a few rulers and will probably experiment with those later after I get a handle on my WIP’s.  By then I should be very comfortable with overall quilting!

My decision to purchase a Handi Quilter Sweet 16 was based on the following considerations, I could purchase from a local quilt shop owner, the machines were made in the U.S.A., Handi Quilter was designed by a quilter, the sit-down quilting machine required significantly less space than a traditional quilter and frame, and Handi Quilter offered free education via the Website and through Social Media. I have been very happy with my experience and interactions with Handi Quilter and I would recommend them if anyone is considering a longarm machine purchase at some point in the future. Please note that I am not affiliated with Handi Quilter in any way other than being a very satisfied customer.

Mystery Quilt Retreat

I am so pleased with my WIP and Scrap Busting progress so far this year but I fear I may have a set-back in March, although very well worth the effort that will be required to catch-up later in the month. I’m scheduled for an Indiana visit with family and a Mystery Quilt Retreat in early March.  Unraveled Quilt Store, my favorite local quilt shop mentioned earlier, is sponsoring the retreat at the Canyon Inn at McCormick’s Creek State Park in Indiana. A weekend of fun, quilting, sewing, laughter, food, and relaxation, I will be there with my daughter and my best friend and her daughter (my other daughter!) so no matter how much quilting we accomplish, or how little, we are sure to have an awesome time together.  Much needed fuel for the heart and soul!  I hope to have some wonderful photos and stories to share with you when I return.

What about you – any plans to attend a quilt retreat this year or a weekend with quilty friends and family? If so, I wish for you a time of fun, learning, and rejuvenation.  An alternative for those who can’t is to join an online quilt along.  There are so many available the most difficult part is deciding which one(s) to join.  I do hope you are finding time to enjoy quilting this winter, we are nearly at the end of February with spring just around the corner.  Happy quilting!