Monday, July 25, 2016

Holiday Wishes Winners

Thank you all so much for participating in my Holiday Wishes Giveaway!  It was great fun to be able to give away such a neat book.
The winners have been notified via email and will be receiving their books shortly.
If you did not win, but are still interested in the book, you can get one HERE.

I had fully intended to have another block from the Midnight Clear quilt to post about, but that is not where my focus led me this weekend.  How many times have quilting plans fallen through because there was just something else you wanted to work on?  Too many to count for me!

And, unfortunately, what I wanted to work on this weekend was just some pattern testing that I cannot share just yet.  ;)  I can, however, share the new thing I tried!  Hand binding.

Since the beginning, I have always used my machine to bind my quilts.  I tend to make larger quilts (at least lap size) and trying to bind by hand was always a bit intimidating.  I never really learned to sew by hand and this was  a big leap for me.  I had my test block all done and quilted with a pretty variegated thread and I wanted to hang it on my wall.  "It's just a little test block," I said to myself, "If I mess it up terribly, I can just toss it."  So, I used my machine to sew the binding to the front, then pressed and clipped it down.

I got out my needle and thimble and did a YouTube search for hand quilt binding.  It turned out pretty nice.  My hand did cramp up a little bit and I dropped my needle on the floor once, but overall not a bad experience.

I might try to hand bind my next finished quilt.  I like the way it looks and it is a change of pace, as well as a new skill to perfect.  Sometimes you just need to put a good TV show on and curl up on the couch.  If I had a porch with a good view, I would be out there, but... TV it is.  :)

While testing this block, I knew I would need scraps and it has been awhile since I have dug to the bottom of my scrap bag.  I just love making quilts with scraps.  When I first started quilting, you could find me at a quilt store sitting on the floor filling gallon plastic bags with scraps.  There were a few semi-local stores that had huge baskets full from classes that sold "all you can fit" bags.  I was in heaven.  Now I usually have enough of my own scraps to make things, but I make so many scrap projects that I only have one bag full and it is pretty picked over.

I don't separate my scraps at all.  One inch pieces go in with two inch strips and red in with white, cotton in with flannel.  It is a mess. Especially when I dump the contents out on my bed and start digging. It might be smart to separate them, but I rarely look for a specific piece.  I usually just start cutting and sewing.  I do have a box full of 5 inch  squares and another with 2 1/2 inch strips because I was working on a project and didn't get around to completing it.  I should just dump those in with my other scraps so I can see them every day.

I have a couple of quilting friends that always send me their scraps.  :)  I gasp every time I see them throw away anything larger than 3 inches.  Do you keep all your bits and pieces?  Or do you toss all of the leftovers?

Happy Monday and Happy Quilting!
I will be linking up with:
Let's Bee Social 
Linky Party Tuesday
Needle & Thread Thursday

Sunday, July 17, 2016

New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

In May of 2016 I started a blog.  It was something I had thought about for years.  Finally when I found a name for my blog I decided I had to do it.  If not now, then when? I barely had more than one post under my belt when I found out about Linky parties, more specifically "Let's Bee Social" over at Sew Fresh Quilts.  I mentioned that I was new and Lorna kindly got in touch with Yvonne for me and introduced me to the New Quilt Bloggers group.

I was so excited by the invitation to join the group and I signed up right away.

2016 New Quilt Bloggers

This group has been so amazing.  I have always found that the quilting community are among the most generous, kind, and friendly people around.  They will always welcome a new member to their tribe, instantly recognizing a common passion.  So, a huge, huge THANK YOU to our hosts:  Yvonne, at Quilting Jetgirl, Cheryl at MeadowMist Designs, and my hive leader Stephanie at Late Night Quilter for giving us all this opportunity to learn more about the things we love (quilting and blogging) and to make some really wonderful friends.

They separated us into hives and I was placed in The Hive Sewciety.

Late Night Quilter

Make sure you check out the other posts on this week's blog hop:
Sharla @ Thistle Thicket Studio
Stephanie@ Quilt'n Party
Katrin@ Puppilalla

Check out the bloggers from the other hives too!  You can find them, and the past week's bloggers on each host site linked at the top of my post.  All of the posts are pretty great and most of them have great quilting and blogging tips.

So, a little about me.  I have been quilting for a few years now.  I couldn't tell you what made me decide to start,but one day I dusted off my old Brother machine and made this:

I was totally hooked.  I had so much fun that I knew this was going to be my lifelong creative outlet. This particular quilt was a gift to my mom.  Giving quilts as gifts has been a big part of my passion.  I think that there is nothing like seeing a child laying on a quilt you made them while watching TV, or knowing that when a loved one gets a cold they reach for their quilt to curl up with, or having your gift be a much needed comfort during naptime.  It warms my heart to know that these creations of mine are loved like that.  And that is why I quilt.  :)  Also, because fabric is pretty.  :P

I have only recently started taking decent photos of my quilts (I have yet to take them on a photo field trip), but I'll share a few of my favorite quilts anyway.

My very favorite thing to do is use scraps.  I love, love, love making scrap quilts.  The green and blue was a gift for my niece's 16th birthday.

Another scrappy one for a cousin that matches her wild and crazy personality.  :)

After quilting for a few years, I finally decided it was time to make one for my son.  This one needs a better photo for sure.  I love this quilt.  :)
I almost forgot, I found this wonderful design HERE at CoopCrafts.

My blogging tip:  Don't worry so much about what everyone else will like.  If you share what you love, then your personality and passion will show in your writing and photos and THAT is what makes a great blog.

My quilting tip:  Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things.  Not all quilting is perfection.  The learning and the mistakes are sometimes more fun than a super fancy, precise quilt.  And sometimes those "mistakes" will surprise you and make a lovely piece.

Question: How many quilts do you save for yourself?  Quilting is a gift giving craft.  Do you make things for yourself?  

Fun fact about me:  I have a bit of a scrap/junk addiction.  I love using material that other people would toss away.  I save (and use) upholstery sample books, 2" pieces of fabric, cardboard and Styrofoam pieces. It's fun, I like to reuse these things and make something useful or beautiful from them.  

Thanks for joining me on this wonderful quilting and blogging journey!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Quilt shops and Lavender

I have been so busy the last week.  Lots of quilting related things, but no actual time at my machine.
This last weekend, my Aunt Jacque came to visit me and we had such an excellent time.  She and I share a love of quilting and I am so grateful that we share this connection.  I could go on and on for pages about how inspiring she is, but I will just say that every time I speak with her, my appreciation for all the beauty around me grows ten-fold.

Part of the reason for her visit was the local Lavender Festival and Farm Tour.  More about that later.
When she arrived, we decided to spend the day going around to the crazy amount of quilt shops around Portland.  (note:  I might mention a name or two of different shops, but I am not receiving any compensation for it)

Our first stop was Fiddlesticks up in Vancouver, WA.  What a cute shop!  This is definitely going to be one of my go-to LQS's.  They were so friendly and we had a great time browsing the store.  Their display quilts were all so inspiring.  Believe it or not, this was the first time I had come across the Quilt Sampler magazine and my aunt explained it to me.  I will have to check out the next issue.

After leaving that shop and heading back down to Portland, we were distracted by IKEA.  LOVE that place.  I had been thinking about getting an actual sewing table or something better than the large folding table I was using.  I found the perfect tables there.  Shelves and drawers.  I haven't done any decorating yet, but you get the idea.

I think my favorite thing is that I can move them around and rearrange them or separate them. Totally inexpensive too!

We found one more hidden little shop called Cool Cottons where the lady was so helpful when we started picking out fabrics.  She had some very unique pieces there.  My aunt had found a pattern that she wanted to make and it was at this store that she found her jump off piece.  I found a couple too that I thought would be perfect for the mystery quilt I am doing with Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs.  I have since changed my mind on the mystery quilt fabrics, but I still love the fabric I bought.  I will just have to add it to my stash or find a small project for it.

The Lovely Hunt Meadow Flower in Blue by Lizzie House for Andover Fabrics & all I could find on the purple was Sparky & Marie by Jot Creates for Quilting Treasures.

The next day, we had planned a trip to the coast.  We were not even on the road an hour when we decided to stop at a couple of shops along the way and boy am I glad we did.  We looked at the description on the website for Quilter's Corner Store.  They call it "A thimble full of lovely" and describe it as cozy.  We questioned whether we should stop at what was sure to be a small shop.  While indeed very small, it was probably one of the best quilt stores I have ever been too.  The customer service in that place was phenomenal.  We had a nice chat with the woman working and I regret not getting her name, but I will certainly be back there, so I will get it next time.  She showed us a bolt of fabric from the Simply Colorful II line and my aunt fell in love with it.  It was the Avacado Wildflower we later learned. We spent time at every store after this looking for the rest of the fabric she would need to complete the pattern she had purchased.  It was so much fun.  I think she is going to have a beautiful quilt and if I am lucky she will allow me to share some photos here when she is done.

We stopped at a couple more stores that day and the next day as well and we found ourselves discussing how important friendly, engaging customer service was in a quilt store.  Other stores as well of course, but it is especially important in local quilt shops.  Quilters are return customers for sure and for the most part enjoy talking about their quilting.  It is a pretty big deal if the people at the shop show an interest and visit with you on your comfort level.  What about you?  Do you prefer to just do your shopping and be left alone?  Or do you like when the shop clerks take the time to talk with you?

For the last day of her visit, we toured some local lavender farms.  We cut our own bunches and tasted jams and honeys.  It was a good day.  :)

Now that I have my new sewing table all built and my house smells of fresh cut lavender, I am ready to start getting some projects done. :)

You still have until July 24th to enter the giveaway for a Holiday Wishes book here.  Make sure to leave a comment and entry on the rafflecopter button.

I am a little bit late in posting this week, but  I will still try to link up with my favorites:
Let's Bee Social
Linky Party Tuesday
Needle and Thread Thursday

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Midnight Lemonade - Blocks 2 & 3 & A Giveaway!

Oh boy, it sure has been a busy couple of weeks. I hope everyone had a happy and safe weekend.

I have such an exciting week planned.  Tomorrow I am getting a visitor and we are going to spend an entire day quilt shop hopping around Portland.  I have not ventured out to all of the shops on my own yet.  Shop hopping is so much better with a friend don't you think?

Despite everything going on, I did get quite a bit of time at my machine.

I finished Block 2 and Block 3 of Midnight Clear from my Holiday Wishes book.  You can purchase the book HERE.  And stay-tuned because I have a surprise at the end of this post.

I am making my quilt in bright summer colors instead of the holiday fabrics, so I am calling it Midnight Lemonade, reminiscent of those hot summer days by the pool sipping on ice cold lemonade.  :)

I am loving these colors.  

Grrrr....More seam ripping to get those perfect points.  Only a few this time though.  One day I won't even have to think about it.  Practice makes perfect, right?  

This swirl placement was a complete accident.  :) 

I did not realize this photo was so blurry, but it was the only one I took of the finished block for some reason. 

 Starting on Block 3.  Points are looking good.

I don't remember where I read about this tip, but with these little pieces I have been placing them under a stack of old magazines after pressing while they are still warm.  It helps a lot to get that crisp seam fold.  Especially when you have a lot of seams coming together.  I think this method will be added to my "always do" list.

I couldn't resist taking this photo against the bright sunny window.  Isn't it pretty?

I am having so much fun doing these blocks that I thought some of you should join me.
The Fat Quarter Shop wants you to join in too.  They are giving me, not one, but TWO Holiday Wishes books to give away today.  Also, if you swing on over to their blog, they are hosting an entire blog hop with this book.  There are some great quilters doing the patterns in the book and it looks like so much fun! You can check it out HERE.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below.  The winners will be chosen randomly and the giveaway will close Sunday, July 24th. Make sure to leave an email address if you are a no-reply blogger so I can contact you.

Question:  Do you find that you quilt in seasonal advance?  Or in the theme of a particular season?
In other words, are you making your holiday quilts in July?  Or do you wait until the weather is cool and the holiday is near to be in that mood?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Today I'll be linking up with:
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
Linky Tuesday at Free Motion by the River
Fabric Frenzy Friday at Fort Worth Fabric Studio