Monday, December 31, 2018

Mystery Quilt: Good Fortune

Time to share my Good Fortune Mystery Quilt progress. Clue number six!
This is the stack of strings I pulled out of my string bin. It was almost enough to complete the clue. 
I only had to cut a few strips from my other fabric to complete this clue. I still have to pull the paper off the back, but I'm ready for whatever comes next!
The rest of the units are ready. 

Tools and supplies (affiliate links):
Creative Grids 6.5" x 24.5" Rectangle
Fiskars Rotary Cutter
Fiskars Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat
BLACK+DECKER Classic Steam Iron
Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion
Fiskars 8-inch scissors
Juki TL-2010Q
6.5" Easy Angle Ruler
4.5" Easy Angle Ruler
Companion Angle Ruler
Creative Grids 6.5" Square Ruler

Linking up with Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Monday Link Up. Totally go see what other people are making on the Quiltville Blog!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Charity Strings

Last week I shared my progress on some string blocks for Annapolis Quilts for Kids. As we near the end of the year, it is time for me to round up the last of my charity quilt finishes. 
I had made a collection of string blocks using primarily greens, too. I paired the string blocks with some fun 6.5" squares and sewed up a top. 
I did the same with the blue string blocks. I like to pair the string-pieced blocks with a plain block. This helps stabilize the string blocks since they are pieced on the bias. 
No fancy quilting for these simple quilts made with leftovers. Even the alternate blocks are leftovers, usually from backing fabric. 
Now I just need to get them trimmed and bound. These, along with a couple others, will be headed to Annapolis Quilts for Kids in the New Year.

I met my goal of finishing one charity quilt per week for 2018.

2018 Charity Quilt Count: 54

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Jewel Box Stars

I've been working on this quilt for several months. It's nice to have another finish for the year. You can read more about this quilt in my first or second post about the project.
When I loaded this quilt I didn't have a quilting plan. This happens more often than I care to admit.
I manage this problem by finding inspiration within the pages of a couple of Angela Walter's quilting books. Shape by Shape and Shape by Shape Collection 2 are great for finding the perfect quilting design to finish a quilt.
My favorite part about these books is the index of designs right in the first few pages of the book. At a glance I can see which designs will fit my quilt, the blocks, and which designs I want to explore further. I'm glad I added both of these titles to my quilting library. I use these books more often than I use many of the other titles I own.
The busy nature of the top, and the coordinating thread, makes it difficult to see the quilting on the front. This peek at the backing shows the texture created with the quilting.
I'm glad I decided to make this one. I'm considering making another. I do still have fabric.
Such a fun block that's great for skill building.
You can find the free pattern for your own Jewel Box Stars on Bonnie Hunter's blog.
I framed it with binding made primarily of a solid blue. That's one more for the pile of finishes for the year. I don't want a bunch of unfinished projects hanging around into the new year.

Tools and supplies (affiliate links):
Creative Grids 6.5" x 24.5" Rectangle
Fiskars Rotary Cutter
Fiskars Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat
BLACK+DECKER Classic Steam Iron
Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion
Fiskars 8-inch scissors
Juki TL-2010Q
6.5" Easy Angle Ruler
Creative Grids 6.5" Square Ruler
Shape by Shape and Shape by Shape Collection 2

Monday, December 24, 2018

Mystery Quilt: Good Fortune

Time again to share my Good Fortune Mystery Quilt progress. Clue number five!
This week made me question my color choices. Only for a little while, though. I cut my pieces using the 4.5" Easy Angle Ruler and the Companion Angle Ruler. These tools make cutting units like these a breeze.
Once I had pieced a couple of the units, I liked the colors just fine. The combination of these colors reminds me of my On Ringo Lake, Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt from last winter.
You can read all about my On Ringo Lake finish in this post from March 2018. Some of those fabrics have found their way into Good Fortune.
They are all stacked up and in the project box waiting for the next clue. I'm looking forward to how all these units go together in the quilt. Such a fun project to keep the winter funk at bay.

Tools and supplies (affiliate links):
Creative Grids 6.5" x 24.5" Rectangle
Fiskars Rotary Cutter
Fiskars Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat
BLACK+DECKER Classic Steam Iron
Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion
Fiskars 8-inch scissors
Juki TL-2010Q
6.5" Easy Angle Ruler
4.5" Easy Angle Ruler
Companion Angle Ruler
Creative Grids 6.5" Square Ruler

Linking up with Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Monday Link Up. Totally go see what other people are making on the Quiltville Blog!

Friday, December 21, 2018

String Piecing Charity

After I made some of the units for Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt Good Fortune, I decided to pull out some of the strings for charity quilts. These are leftover bits that I've collected from many of the charity quilts for Annapolis Quilts for Kids.
I grabbed the blues, the phone book pages, and got stitching. String piecing is a chaotic process. It makes quite a mess but is totally worth it.
After a couple hours of work, I had pieced enough to pair with alternate blocks. Want to learn how to make some of these yourself? I recommend you head over to Bonnie Hunter's String Piecing Primer to learn the hows and whys of this method of using up those leftover bits.

Tools and supplies (affiliate links):
Creative Grids 6.5" x 24.5" Rectangle
Fiskars Rotary Cutter
Fiskars Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat
BLACK+DECKER Classic Steam Iron
Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion
Fiskars 8-inch scissors
Juki TL-2010Q
Creative Grids 6.5" Square Ruler

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Jewel Box Stars

I finished up the piecing on my Jewel Box Stars quilt.
This is a free pattern by Bonnie Hunter. You can find the block directions in the free patterns section of her blog. I've been working on this quilt for a few months. It just looks like a bunch of progress because once you get all the units done things seem to pick up speed. Sort of like that snowball rolling downhill.
I pieced the smaller blocks into these huge 16" by 16" blocks and put them up on the design wall. I didn't spend too much time moving them about. Scrappy is fun!
I finished piecing the top in time to catch the shop small Saturday deals at Spring Water Designs. Remember, backing fabric doesn't count when you're on a fabric diet.
I designed the label and stitched it onto the backing. Now all it needs is to be quilted and bound. Maybe over the holidays when I have some time off.

I may have to make this block again. I still have fabric!

Tools and supplies (affiliate links):
Creative Grids 6.5" x 24.5" Rectangle
Fiskars Rotary Cutter
Fiskars Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat
BLACK+DECKER Classic Steam Iron
Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion
Fiskars 8-inch scissors
Juki TL-2010Q
6.5" Easy Angle Ruler
Creative Grids 6.5" Square Ruler

Monday, December 17, 2018

Mystery Quilt: Good Fortune

Time to share my Good Fortune Mystery Quilt progress. Clue number four!
This week we did a little string piecing. At first I wasn't very excited about this prospect, but I dug out some of my strings and made up a couple. I decided I really liked the effect and they went together pretty quickly.
So quickly that I reached my goal, plus a couple extra, rather quickly. I might add string piecing back into my after work routine because it is so satisfying to put together fun blocks and units with what would otherwise be thrown in the bin. 
And an update on clue number 3! I pieced the last of the half-chevron units and continued to work on the tiny half-square triangle units. 
These tiny units don't leave much room for error, but there are so many of them that after a while you get pretty good at cutting and stitching them. 
I'm caught up and ready for the next clue. 

Tools and supplies (affiliate links):
Creative Grids 6.5" x 24.5" Rectangle
Fiskars Rotary Cutter
Fiskars Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat
BLACK+DECKER Classic Steam Iron
Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion
Fiskars 8-inch scissors
Juki TL-2010Q
6.5" Easy Angle Ruler
4.5" Easy Angle Ruler
Creative Grids 6.5" Square Ruler

Linking up with Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Monday Link Up. (Link will be active after Bonnie's blog goes live and I get home from work to activate the link.) Totally go see what other people are making on the Quiltville Blog!

Friday, December 14, 2018

White Elephant Sewing

At my workplace, we do a white elephant gift exchange every year during the December holiday party. We do a big potluck, eat lots of shared food, exchange gifts, and have a great time outside work. I really enjoy the white elephant gift exchange. It's competitive good fun. We set the limit at $20 but you can really stretch that if you are crafty and use fabric you got for free (see this great video from Professor Pincushion about Aunt Betty to learn how that happens).
Making things often goes quickly if you're making more than one of something. I had this fun Star Wars print I picked up in the remnants bin and it needed to become something that wouldn't hide all that large print. I used the Green Bag Lady pattern, available for free on her blog. There is also a video tutorial if you're a more visual learner. The Green Bag Lady does give-aways almost every week on the blog and on the the Green Bag Lady Facebook page.
Some projects just seem to need all the tools. This quick project was no exception. I used the serger for quickly finishing the seams of the tote.
I used the Juki TL-2010Q to finish the hem at the top of the tote. And a bunch of tools for measuring, marking, cutting, and pinning that are at the bottom of the post. 
I finished the two totes in about an hour from start to finish. 
The Marvel tote is larger so it will fit this knife set. Last year I gifted this knife set with an embroidered apron. You can buy a similar Cuisinart Knife Set on Amazon for less than $20. I have the Cuisinart Printed Knife Set (closer to $25) and love it. I use the small knife almost every day when preparing salads.
Because I wanted to wrap the present as little waste as possible, I used two totes. One from the Green Bag Lady that I won in a give-away, and the fun Marvel print one I made using gifted fabric. 
I used the Green Bag Lady tote to cover one end, then shoved the whole thing into the larger print tote.
I'm ready for the white elephant gift exchange.

Tools and supplies (affiliate links):
Creative Grids 6.5" x 24.5" Rectangle
Creative Grids 6.5" x 6.5" square - to cut the corners of the tote for boxing
Fiskars Rotary Cutter
Fiskars Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat
BLACK+DECKER Classic Steam Iron
Fiskars 8-inch scissors
Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion
Juki TL-2010Q
Pilot Frixion Erasable Markers - perfect for marking in the seam allowance!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Travel Knitting Kit

When I travel, I usually take along a simple kitting project to keep my hands busy during flights or long drives. This means I may need a few knitting tools. I want to share my kit so you can see what I have and carry regularly. I've never had a problem flying with this kit in my carry-on bag. I only fly domestically in the United States, so your mileage may vary. 
I always have a project bag dedicated to my travel project. It helps me keep the yarn, needles and kit separate from the other things in my carry-on bag. This knitting project bag will easily hold two 100 gram cakes of fingering yarn, the working project, and my knitting toolkit. I made the knitting project bag using Noodle-head's free Open Wide Pouch pattern. I use the medium size but make the bag as tall as it is wide (12" by 12"). The rest of the construction is the same. I usually travel with a circular needle that has wood needles. This is the Knitter's Pride fixed circular, size 6, 32" cable.
Inside the kit are several little bits and bobs one might need.
Inside that little tin are several smaller bits and bobs
All of these things fit inside the clear cosmetics bag I picked up at one of the big-box stores several years ago. This clear makeup bag is about the same size and would work just as well. 

You might need something not in my kit. You might not need everything that's in my kit. Don't be afraid to travel with your knit or crochet project. Even if you don't travel very much, you can still put together a really useful kit for your project so you aren't stuck without a tool to keep working. 

Tools and supplies (affiliate links):
Knitter's Pride fixed circular, size 6, 32" cable
Size E crochet hook
Paper Mate Ink Joy pens
Clover Locking Stitch Markersblunt tip scissors
Large eye needles 
Knit Picks Interchangeable knitting needle set
Clover Yarn Threaderclear makeup bag

Monday, December 10, 2018

Mystery Quilt: Good Fortune

Time again to share my Good Fortune Mystery Quilt progress. Clue number three!
This time we're making chevron units. I've learned over the last few mystery quilts that I can cut and piece these the most accurately if I make a template of the chevron piece. How do I do that? I cut a piece of paper the size required for the finished unit. Then I use the 4.5" Easy Angle Ruler to trim that piece to the correct parallelogram shape. I tape that template to the back of my 6.5" Easy Angle Ruler so I can easily put it over the top of my strips and cut the parallelograms quickly. I can also trim the points off to make it easier to line up the corners. I cut the corner pieces using the 4.5" Easy Angle Ruler. You do have to play with placement to make sure you cut so the trimmed corners match up with the parallelograms. I had my background fabric (the black on white print) turned upside down when I cut these. If you prefer to trim those points before sewing it doesn't really matter which way you cut the corners.

I won't give sizes for this unit at the request of the designer. If you want to know the measurement, you'll have to go to Quiltville and find the answers for yourself.
I cut all the pieces for the chevron units and set them aside to cut the part of the clue. 
I again used the appropriate size strips and the 4.5" Easy Angle Ruler to cut stacks and stacks of tiny triangles sets. I was so happy to find some more black-on-white prints and the right color turquoise in the right size strips in my strip bin. Those pre-cut strips made this step go a little faster. I also had some triangles leftover from another quilt that were already cut and just had to be paired with the turquoise triangles. Bonnie also has a great video tutorial on how to use her Essential Triangle Tool to make half-square triangle units. 

I'll be piecing these forever!

Tools and supplies (affiliate links):
Creative Grids 6.5" x 24.5" Rectangle
Fiskars Rotary Cutter
Fiskars Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat
BLACK+DECKER Classic Steam Iron
Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion
Fiskars 8-inch scissors
Juki TL-2010Q
6.5" Easy Angle Ruler
4.5" Easy Angle Ruler
Creative Grids 6.5" Square Ruler

Linking up with Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Monday Link Up. Totally go see what other people are making on the Quiltville Blog!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Mystery in Black and White

Since I picked up backing during the after Thanksgiving shopping craze, I decided I should load up my 2018 Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild mystery quilt. I've been trying very hard to keep working on finishing things instead of starting things. I think it is a challenge for every creative person.
I quilted this one with a wavy hand-guided design with a few swirls to fill in some of the arcs. More wave than swirl overall.
I had some time this week to finish the binding. A finished quilt is a happy quilt.

As part of my quest to buy less fabric I'm going to try to keep track of my fabric shopping in the new year. It will be interesting to see how much fabric comes in to my studio compared to the completed projects.

Tools and Supplies (affiliate links):
Creative Grids 6.5" x 24.5" Rectangle
Fiskars Rotary Cutter
Fiskars Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat
BLACK+DECKER Classic Steam Iron
Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion
Fiskars 8-inch scissors
Juki TL-2010Q
Creative Grids 6.5" Square Ruler

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Cherry Christmas

This is the last installment of the Get It Done UFO Challenge 2018.
Way back in September the Get It Done UFO Challenge was number 11. What is number 11? That would be Cherry Christmas. A tumbler quilt top constructed as number 3 for 2017 UFO challenge. It still needed to be quilted and bound. Crazy how some of these projects just seem to hang around. 
I needed the project box that was holding the completed top so I pulled it out and loaded it up. That's a fair reason to finish a project.
These quilts go together quickly and really are a satisfying finish.
I didn't get fancy with the quilting on this one, but it is quilted. After a couple washings it should be perfectly cuddly.
I really like this one. I might wash it and put it on my couch. Quilted in November. 
Binding finished in December. I completed all 12 of my UFO Challenge quilts this year. I think I will have a hard time coming up with 12 for next year. 

Tools and supplies (affiliate links):
Creative Grids 6.5" x 24.5" Rectangle
Fiskars Rotary Cutter
Fiskars Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat
BLACK+DECKER Classic Steam Iron
Fiskars 8-inch scissors
Juki TL-2010Q


Warm and Natural Cotton Batting, 90-Inch by 40-Yard