Saturday, January 30, 2016

OMG! January's Accomplishment & February's Goal

I'm not exactly sure how it happened but I think I may have stopped time. That's the only explanation I can come up with as to how I managed to exceed my One Monthly Goal for January. Knowing how far behind I was on my Midnight Mystery Quilt, I set an almost reasonable goal of making my 24" square blocks but there were a lot of them to make - 12 in all.

This past month was very challenging for me health-wise, having a flare-up of vertigo and a cold on top of it. I honestly didn't expect to get my blocks finished in time but somehow I even managed to get them pieced together!

This top is already almost too big for me to photograph even with laying it out on the floor and standing on one of our kitchen barstools.

But wait, there's more! I want to add 2 borders - one skinny dark blue one and then a wider outer border (probably cream, but I want to audition the other colors before I decide). So that is going to be February OMG goal - to get those borders put on.  Of course, borders are my worst enemy. Some people dislike binding their quilts -- for me, it's borders. I find them so tedious. Maybe that's why I have at least one other UFO that's over a year old just waiting for a border.  That's going to have to be a goal for another month though. Right now, I'm determined to get this mystery quilt finished!

Friday, January 29, 2016

A Friday Finish - MQG Name Badge

When I joined my local Modern Quilt Guild back in October, I saw so many cute name badges and I knew that I eventually wanted to make one for myself. Now that I've gotten proficient in paper piecing, I found this sewing machine pattern and made one.

The pattern was a bit small so I enlarged mine to 120% and my name tag is 5" x 5".  I left a bit of space so that I could put my Orlando MQG button on it and if I ever get a national MQG pin I can add that as well (our guild was out of them, so not sure how I go about getting one).

I used a variety of threads for the free motion embellishments (black Aurifil for the sewing machine details, Sulky yellow embroidery thread for the spool, and Isacord for my name). Since my husband attends various conferences and media events every year we have an abundance of lanyards in our house. I used 2 clips from an old lanyard to make my own.

Voilá! I cute little name badge for me to wear at our monthly quilt guild meetings. This is my first finished project for both Bee, Myself, and I and the 2016 Finish Along.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Closer Look at Thread

I knew there was a reason why I liked Aurifil thread. I just didn't know what that reason was until now. Well, I knew that it produced much less lint than other threads but it wasn't until I came across this blog post from Owen's Olivia that I really got it. You know the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" -- it's definitely true in this case.  Definitely check out this post when you get a chance.

Photo courtesy of Owen's Olivia

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Stash Bee Gate Crashing

Since this was my month to be queen for Hive 3, I decided to gate crash hive 9 and make a block for Yvonne from Quilting Jet Girl. Very creative block and one that will make a visually stunning quilt.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bee, Myself, and I

Even though I don't go crazy participating in a ton of quilting bees, I still seem to sew a lot of things for others and my own little projects tend to fall to the wayside. That's why I decided to join Carla from Granny Maud's Girl and participate in the Bee, Myself and I selfish sewing bee.

Each month I want to set time aside to work on a project that is just for me. It can be quilt blocks, wall hangings, embroidery work, whatever I decide as long as it's for myself. I have a variety of quilts in progress so I want my selfish sewing to be more about smaller projects.  Here is the list that I've made so far:

  • Modern Quilt Guild name badge
  • Sewing machine pad with pockets
  • 1 or 2 mini wall hangings for my sewing room
  • Holiday ornaments wall hanging
  • Sewing machine dust cover
  • Table runner or placemats (or both!)

I've already started 2 of these projects but unfortunately I've been hit hard this month with a cold and a recurrence of BPPV (vertigo). The worse of the symptoms have passed so I'm hoping to make some progress this weekend.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Holiday Wreath Tutorial

Here is a tutorial that I created for the 2016 Stash Bee (hive 3) but I wanted to host it somewhere here on my own blog as well. I originally found this block from Popular Patchwork but I changed the size. Enjoy!

Holiday Wreath Tutorial

This block will measure 14.5" (unfinished) and is made up of half square triangle (HST) blocks and hourglass blocks (sometimes referred to as quarter square triangle (QST) blocks). If you're comfortable with making these, then you're going to breeze through this. But don't worry if they're new to you -- I'm going to walk you through everything step by step. Also, I've made this precut friendly, using 5-inch charm squares.

What You'll Need:
  • 8 colored 5-inch charm squares - these can be green, red, a combination of both, or a cheery holiday print.  This pattern works best with at least 4 different fabrics, or you can make each charm square a different fabric. 
  • 8 background 5-inch charm squares - I have a large stash of low volume charm squares so that is what I used for mine. Cutting note: if you're using yardage instead of charm squares, 4 of your background squares can be cut to 4" x 4" as these will be the corner blocks.

Step 1 - Making Half Square Triangles with Colored Prints

We need 3 sets of colored HSTs so choose 6 prints and pair them together, placing right sides together.

On the first pair, draw a line down the diagonal of the square.  Sew a 1/4 inch on either side of the line.

Cut on the diagonal line (between your stitching) and press both HSTs. I like to press these to one side so that I can nest them later on. Repeat this with the other 2 pairs until you have 3 sets of HSTs like this:

Don't worry about trimming any of the blocks yet. I'll have you do that once we get all the units pieced.

Step 2 - Making Half Square Triangles with background fabric

Take your 2 remaining colored print charms and pair them each with a background 5" charm square. Just like before, draw a line down the diagonal of the square, sew a 1/4 inch on either side of the line, cut and press.

Step 3 - Making the Center of the Wreath

Select 2 of the colored HSTs and pair each of these with a background charm square. The HST will be slightly smaller than the background charm square, so just center it. You will draw your line diagonally on the colored HST bisecting the seam. Again, sew a 1/4 inch on either side of the line.

Cut on the diagonal line (between your stitching) and press to the background side.

These will become the center of the wreath. Set aside.

The 4 units that will make the center wreath.

Step 4 - Making the Hourglass Blocks 

We will now be pairing up the remaining colored HSTs (4) with the background HSTs to make hourglass blocks.

Place a colored HST right sides together with a background HST, lining up the seams. If you pressed your seams to one side, they should nest up together.

Pin in place and draw a diagonal line bisecting the seam. Sew a 1/4 inch on either side of the line.

Cut on the line and press seams open to reduce bulk. Repeat this for the other 3 sets.

You should now have 8 hourglass blocks.

Step 5 - Trimming the blocks and putting it all together

All of your block components are now sewn, so the last thing to do is trim them all to 4" square and sew it all together. Here is how I trim my blocks down to size. I use a ruler that has a 45 degree diagonal line on it, and lay that on the diagonal of the block and make sure that the 2 inch mark lines up with the center point of the block.

Once all of your blocks are trimmed down to 4" square, lay out your blocks as follows, adding your 4 remaining background squares in each of the corners:

I sewed them together in quadrants of 4, pressing all seams open to reduce bulk. Your finished block should measure 14.5" square. Here are a few other finished blocks in which I used 8 different colored fabrics for an even scrappier look.

I think this block can be used for a variety of different holiday projects - placemats, a table runner, a wall hanging, or some cute pillows. Oh, and maybe a quilt. :)

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Finish Along - Q1 Project List

Rhonda's [Quilt] Ramblings

I really want to establish a weekly routine of sewing and in keeping with my 2016 goals that I posted previously, I want to get more projects done this year.  That's why I'm going to make a specific list of projects that I'm hoping to finish over the next 3 months and participate in the 2016 Finish Along. Hey, maybe even a few of you will join me!


1. Modern Quilt Guild name badge.
The block is done but I still need to quilt my name and some of the sewing machine details, then bind it.

2. Stash Bee 2015 Quilt.

3. DIY Pelmet Boxes
This sad photo depicts what will hopefully become a cute pelmet box to go over one of my dining room windows. If I can pull this off, I need to make 2.

4. Pinwheel Quilt.

5. Sewing Machine Pad
I like the idea of having a handy place for my small scissors, seam ripper, marking pencils, etc. Here's the fabric that I've picked out for this project.

6. Christmas Ornament Wall Hanging
I'm really hoping to stay ahead of the game and get a 38" x 18" wall-hanging finished so I can actually use it next year. Here's a link to my inspiration and here are some of my fabric pulls.

7.  Mini Cathedral Wall hanging
Before I cut into the fabric for my parent's cathedral window bed runner (fabrics seen here), I want to make a practice one with some scraps first. Plus, it will be something nice for me to hang in my sewing room.

8. Teacher Appreciation Gift
Instead of waiting until the last minute this year, I'd like get this out of the way a little earlier. For my son's kindergarten teacher I plan on making another One Hour Basket to fill with goodies. Here are some of the ones I've made in the past. Lucky for me, I only need to make one this year, instead of 4.

Given the various bee blocks I'll need to make and some of the other projects I need to start, I think that's plenty of things to finish up by the end of March!

Monday, January 04, 2016

Mysteriously Not Sewing

We're in the final stretch of the Midnight Mystery quilt along, but I have to admit, my sewing on this project has been mysteriously absent. I'm almost 2 months behind but I'm going to do my best to get caught up by the end of January.  Here are my huge courthouse step blocks - they're massive at 19" x 19" and I love them!

Here they are with the other block units. 

I've gotten all of my geese pinned to my square in a square units so now it's time to chain piece them all so that I can get cracking on December's task of cutting up those courthouse blocks to construct the final blocks.

Let's do this!

UPDATE: I've just learned about OMG - the One Monthly Goal link up over at Red Letter Quilts. As a way to help me stay on task I'm going to participate. My goal - to construct my 12 final blocks. Wish me luck!!

Friday, January 01, 2016

New Year - New Stash Bee!

Hello and Happy New Year to Everyone!

I'm looking forward to a great new year and to kick things off I'm the Hive Mama for Hive 3 of Stash Bee this year. I'm the queen bee for January and I decided to raid my stash of holiday fabrics, asking my bee mates to make me some holiday wreath blocks so that by next December, I'll have a wonderful holiday quilt on my couch.

Want to see more? Check out the Stash Bee blog or you can check out my tutorial here.