Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Walking with Mother Nature

Even with the heat wave, I've been trying to go on daily afternoon walks. Some days I manage it, some days I don't.
I come across more than a few deer. This this skittish doe.
And this buck that figured if he stood really still I just wouldn't notice him.
My front garden has continued to bloom.
And bloom.
I love seeing these wild, and not so wild, things on my walks.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Zippy Wallets

A friend asked me to make a small wallet for a little that had lost his.
I pulled these fabrics from my collection and we chose Noodle-head's Zippy Wallet Tutorial.
Because making three doesn't take that much longer than making two, or three, and I had to cut a 5" wide strip of each fabric to mix and match, I cut enough to make three. I also have plenty of zippers (I used 5" zippers as that's what I had on hand) since I seem to order them by the pound from ZipIt Zippers.
When it was all done, I had three cute little pouches ready for giving. I like simple projects that end in a great item and this is one of them. If you want to try out small pouches and zippers this is a great one to try out.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Charity Quilting

Last week I dropped off five quilts with the Annapolis Quilts for Kids.
One quilt was this string block quilt I pieced and quilted. No matter how many of these I make I still have scraps. Want to learn about string piecing? Check out Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville blog for some great tutorials.

2017 Charity Quilt Count: 25

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What is in a Name?

Darling Husband has a quilt made by his grandmother. 
It is old, worn, and well-loved. Sadly, it is beyond time to throw it out. 
But what are these blocks? Blocks made with fabrics from the early 1950s, sewn entirely by hand. What is the name of this block? I wanted to find the answer to this so I set out across the internet in search of some answers. 

It isn't quite a Crown of Thorns, and it isn't quite an Single Wedding Ring or English Wedding Ring. Those blocks are constructed the same. Only color placement is different. In truth, I went down the rabbit hole on this one a couple times. In the end, I picked the story I wanted to tell. 

Marcia, the amazing quilter of Quilter's Cache fame, has this block described twice in her even more amazing collection of quilt blocks. If you are a quilter and have never visited the Quilter's Cache I recommend you stop what you're doing go there right now. This post will be here when you get back. 
Crown of Thorns block

From the Quilter's Cache I found the the Crown of Thorns block. The assembly is the same as my block, just the color placement is different. Second is Wedding Rings 2, again, the same assembly, just different color placement. I looked around the internet for a couple evenings and could not find this block put together with an obvious plus in the middle of the block. 

I did more research and found some wonderful history about this block. I found this block has been around for over 100 years. It has been called Saw Tooth, Odd Scraps Patchwork, Crown of Thorns, Wedding Ring, Single Wedding Ring, and English Wedding Ring. You can read more about this block from Quilt History Tidbits or from The Quilt Index.

It was published in the Chicago Tribune in 1933 by Nancy Cabot. You can learn more about that from Moore About Nancy. And if you want to know who Nancy Cabot was (hint, that isn't her name) I recommend you check out Illinois Quilt History.

There is also a Nancy Cabot made modern group over on Flickr if you want to see what some of her blocks look like in modern fabrics.

There is also a tutorial for this block on Fat Quarter Shop's YouTube. It's really good and you should check it out if you are a visual learner. 
At one point, I made this block from an issue of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. In that issue the block was called Saving Grace submitted by Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew! You can read more about that quilt in my post from 2015. The quilt is made with a single, super-sized block and the effect is perfect for a baby or toddler quilt.
Ultimately, I was forced to just make the block I wanted to make. I'm not sure what to call it. It isn't a Wedding Ring block but it will make an awesome quilt someday. I'll find a good name for it and I'll let you know what I come up with.

What would you call this block? Do you have a favorite vintage block?

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Mermaid - Part Two

I made the time to get coloring with the Inktense Blocks and Inktense Pencils.
I colored with the blocks directly onto dry fabric and used the pencils to fill in finer lines and areas I wanted especially dark or intense.
When the fabric is dry, blending on fabric isn't that easy so I tried to lay down layers that could be blended when wetting the fabric.
Working with the blocks is messy business. Take this into consideration if you don't want "artist hands". The inks aren't staining on skin and clean up was as simple as soap and water. There is a danger of transferring this ink onto the fabric.
I got way, way carried away with the colors after I had started to wet the fabric and blend the colors. If I do this again, I won't add those background colors, I'll keep the focus on the mermaid, or whatever the subject may be.
The colors blended nicely and I was able to use the white to add highlights after I wet the inks. I really like the effect. This is another reason I'm sorry I colored the background. It just takes away from the mermaid. This image is when the work was still wet.

Keep an eye out for the next segment when I put it all together into a tote bag.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Monkeying Around - A Baby Quilt

I call this colorful quilt Monkeying Around. I had a stack of coordinating prints in fun colors and Darling Husband requested a baby quilt for a friend that just become a new father for the second time. Babies are stressful. Making quilts for them shouldn't be. I cut a stack of 8.5" by 8.5" squares and set them up in a simple diagonal pattern.
The bad news is that the top was wider than 40" so I had to piece the backing. I like to say that I rarely piece a quilt backing, but it isn't as rare as I would like. I used some of the squares from the front and realized I would be cutting it exceptionally close if I didn't add another piece. I had this strip of fabric that was leftover from another quilt that was perfect. I try to always piece long sections like this with the grain going the same direction. It really makes a difference in the finished piece.
I quilted it with the humble but sturdy meander. The stitch density is loose enough for what should become an amazingly snugly quilt when washed.
The binding is this awesome stripe. I like a stripy binding. I also like polka dot binding, and diagonal binding, and scrappy binding. Maybe I have a binding problem.
I machine finished the binding for durability and a quick finish.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Mermaid - Part One

I took loads and loads of photos of this project so I'm breaking it up into a couple posts. The only thing I didn't take a photo of was the line drawing before I quilted over the lines.
First, I love this mermaid design from Urban Threads Embroidery. Second, I wanted to use my new Inktense blocks and pencils to make something really fun. I printed the hand embroidery design super-sized and used Crayola Ultra-Clean Fine Line Washable Markers to trace the design onto my fabric.
I loaded the fabric onto the long arm with muslin and low-loft batting (I think I used a remnant of Quilter's Dream Blend). I quilted over the lines of my traced design several times with a dark thread.
Then I shifted to a blending color of Superior Threads So Fine #50 and filled in the background with swirls and waves. This is my favorite thread for quilting. I also quilted another panel with swirls so I can make a tote bag with the finished pieces.
I washed both pieces after quilting. They aren't kidding about the Ultra-Clean Washable Markers. With nothing more than cold water I managed to wash out all the marked lines. I followed with a delicate wash in the washing machine. I used delicate because even though I basted all the way around the panels, there are still raw edges.
My stitching may not be perfect, but I like the overall effect.
Next step is to use the Inktense blocks and pencils to add color.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Piecing a Cherry Christmas

As you know, the May 2017 UFO Challenge was number 3. Spring Water Designs is keeping me on-track to finish so many things this year. I made great progress and finished the top during the month of May. 
I tried a new technique for making this tumbler design look scrappy without having colors and prints pile up.

I've seen several requests in quilting groups asking about design walls. I use Cheryl Ann's Quilting Design Wall (72" by 72"). The design walls come in various sizes, is free-standing once assembled so you don't need a dedicated wall, breaks down and is easily portable in provided bag, holds blocks and pieces for planning, is lightweight and can be moved easily if needed.
I finished the top just a couple days before the end of May. I have made the binding and picked up the backing for this quilt. Now to find the time to quilt it. Looking at this photo makes me question my piecing abilities. A little bit of wave in that outer border. I'm sure it will quilt out.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Knitting Update: Starburst

I shared a peek at this yarn I picked up last year at the Maryland Sheep and Wool FestivalFiber Optic Yarns Foot Notes Paint Box and a coordinating hank of Foot Notes Sock.
I cast on Starburst by Stephen West shortly before the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in May. I worked on it here and there over the following weeks. 
It is always so nice to get to bind off a shawl. I really like the cable edging on this shawl.
I blocked it rather aggressively. Those blocking wires really got a workout.
The shape is unusual, which is always fun. Short rows are always a favorite of mine.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Tempting Ewe Yarns

During the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival I always stop in to see the absolutely wonderful creatives behind Tempting Ewe Yarns.
These beauties always have something in the booth I want. Sometimes, too many things. This year I picked up two skeins of lovely yarn. I'm not sure what the plan is with the red, but I could not leave it behind.
I also grabbed these awesome F-Bomb stitch markers made by BritStitchery. I may have to pick up a set of the FYI stitch markers, too.
I knew exactly what I was going to do with that speckled yarn. It will join these two skeins of Tempting Ewe to become a Knit n Slide shawl, design by Stephen West.
I caked up all three and they are going to be great together!
I even manged to get it cast on during game night last week. I'm really enjoying this one. But I say that about all the Stephen West projects. I'm using Knit Picks Options Interchangeable Nickel Plated Circular Knitting Needles and Clover Lock Ring Markers for this project.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Countdown to Christmas

I got back to work on Countdown to Christmas. This time I loaded it up and got quilting.
I seem to be on a swirls kick lately. Not that swirls are a problem. They are a great go-to all-over or background fill.
This isn't a small quilt. I did luck out by finding a wide backing that matched the border fabrics so I only needed 2 1/8 yards of backing.
See how nice those swirls are? Now I just need to bind it and another quilt will be finished.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Dancing Leaf Farm

We're almost to the end of my short series covering the yarn vendors who supplied me with my Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival goodies this year.
Dancing Leaf Farm is always strategically placed near the entrance. This means it is often one of the last shops I visit. I usually stop in on my way out. Because one wouldn't want to leave with yarn budget unspent. This year I really splurged and bought five skeins of Sock Hop. I've been eyeing the Find Your Fade shawl and thinking I need to try something like that. I haven't caked this yarn, yet. You can be sure to see another update when I do, though.

Monday, June 5, 2017

In The Mail Monday

After watching what seemed like hours of YouTube videos about the Inktense blocks and colored pencils by Derwent, I took the plunge and bought them from Amazon.
My plan is to use these on a denim panel I quilted. I'll dedicate a post to how this turns out.
I also did a little shopping last week. I needed to pick up backing for the Cherry Christmas quilt and wanted to fill out some of my 1930's fabric. I tell my Darling Husband this is my retirement plan. I'm stocking up on this fabric now so I have something to do when I retire. I wouldn't want to run out.