Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Accuquilt and Done!

Hello Quilters!

You haven't given up on me and my blog and I am so thankful!  I'm always torn on how to spend my time...quilting or blogging about my quilting.  I love doing both and so its hard for me to choose!  Of course, I always get to a point where there is something I've done that I HAVE to share so that sends me from the sewing machine to the computer!

So since the last time we visited I have managed to get a few things rolling...

I worked on my Old Maid BOM and here are the finished blocks for month 1

Aren't they wonderful.  I love the colors.  Some of them I didn't like at first, but cut up and put back together with the other ones that I love and they look great!

Now, one of my toys that I haven't blogged about is my Accuquilt Studio.

I got this as a Christmas present from my wonderful husband and kids.  I've been practicing and have decided that it's time to use it for my next quilt.  I figure my new Block of the Month Civil War Journals would be the perfect quilt to use for my Accuquilt Studio's maiden run!  The first step was figuring out what die cuts to use.  I got the "Bread and Butter" die cut set with the Studio but I needed a couple of different ones...namely the 2" square and the 3" finished Half Square Triangles (HST). 

This is the top and bottom of the die for the 2 " squares.

Now, one of the tricks of the trade is that if you think ahead and layer your fabric right sides together when you cut out the shapes they will be all set to sew together. 

This is the fabrics I need for the HST layered on the HST die.

And through the Studio it goes.  Sorry for dark pic but
there was too much glare with the flash.

Once it rolls through the machine (You hand crank it through)
 this is what you end up with:

HSTs with the ears already trimmed!  Yea!

Here they are all stacked and ready to be sewn. 

I chained these babies together!

 Ignore my icky ironing board. 
It's time for a new cover and just haven't bothered to deal with it!

Now, one of my biggest concerns about using the Studio was that there would be a lot of waste but as you can see it's not that bad- it just takes a little practice. 

And the time I saved!  Friend, I cut out 160 2" squares and 32 HSTs AND
chain-pieced the HSTs together in UNDER AN HOUR! 
And they were perfectly cut!  It was so easy and wonderful!

Here's all the pieces.

And here they are complete!

Civil War Journal Month 1
All 8 DONE!


Well, this was a great a visit. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!



Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oops, I did it AGAIN!..and AGAIN!

OK, well. What can I say?  I couldn't help myself! I saw it and I HAD to have it.  It was so pretty and the fabrics were beautiful and, and, and.... so, I did.  I started another Block of the Month.  This one is called OLD MAID and I saw it while I was at Bella Quiltworks in Tuscon Az.  It's the quilt hanging on the wall. 

Now the idea of this quilt is that each block appears twice except for one which is, of course, the OLD MAID!  To make it a little more difficult to find the OLD MAID, although there are two of each block, the pair are not made with the same fabric.  

Here are the fabrics for my first set of blocks.  Each month they send enough fabric to make 6 blocks and each block is 8" finished.

I got all the pieces cut out and ready for sewing...

No OLD MAID in this set!

Now, you may have guessed from the title of this blog that this is not my only new BOM, and you would be right...  I couldn't help it!

This is another Civil War Quilt called Civil War Journal.  Here's a picture of that one:

Isn't it FANTASTIC!  I just could not resist!  I haven't started this one yet.  I will in the next couple of days though!

Now, just to reassure everyone, I have not given up on working on my lists.  I have ordered some stuff for Gammil Bea and so that's in the works and I am anxious to get some quilting done.  But I have also finished Month 2 of my 1st Civil War Quilt- Civil War Tribute.  These are the fabrics used for Month 2

 And here is the finshed blocks..there are four of these in the quilt.

 So here is what I've finished so far:

 Not the greatest picture but you get the idea!

By the way, I had a brain storm!  I hate ironing.  In fact, my hubby asked me once to iron a shirt for him and I replied, "only if I can cut it up and sew it into a quilt block!"  (The key word there is "ONCE" :P )   Anyway, so I was ironing the fabric for my Civil War Tribute Quilt and I thought maybe I can iron a few (since I have them all).  The problem is keeping them ironed until I get to them.  Well, I got a skirt hanger and hung the fabric with the pattern.

It's great!  I've got 5 of them ironed and hung and waiting for my rotary cutter and sewing machine.

Well my friends, that's about all this time. We'll visit again soon!

Happy Quilting!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Longarmed and Dangerous

Oh my goodness!  I can't believe how long its been since we last visited!  It's been a crazy three weeks for me  but I have managed to get a few things done...

Did you know that I am Longarmed and Dangerous?  

Well. Meet my Gammill Bea. (Named after my Grandma Bea)

My Gammill Bea has traveled with me for the past 7 or 8 years. She has been a constant friend standing always at the ready. It's taken me a long time to get Gammill Bea's room all set up but I finally took an afternoon to get it together.  It's not totally finished but at least everything is just about in it's place.

So, now that Gammill Bea is all settled in I hope to put her to work really soon!

Do you remember my private little Phoenix Shop Hop? Well, on that shop hop I found a product that I thought I would give a whirl and let me tell you...I LOVE it!!

It's called Hugo's Amazing Tape.

I must confess, it was a little pricey...if I'm not mistaken about $15 but I think it was worth every penny!

This is how my cones of thread looked before Amazing Tape...

And this is after...

It's wonderful.  It isn't sticky...more like cellophane or plastic and you can use it on just about anything...including paper which is wonderful because I have a lot of Pantograph patterns that I use with Gammill Bea and this stuff keeps them from unrolling!  Fabulous!! It's reusable too so if I use a cone of thread, once I'm done I can use the same piece to close it up again.  Love, Love, Love IT!

As far my project lists are concerned, well, I haven't got as much done as I would have liked but as I said it's been a little crazy recently.  In any case I did manage to find the time to work on a few projects. 

I finished the Door-A-Doodle Snowman and Heart...two of each! I have only to finish the hand-stitching portion of the binding and they will be all set to go!  But, I have a little confession to make...
Along with the Amazing Tape that I bought, I bought a new project.  I know, I know.  I'm supposed to be finishing projects I already have but I couldn't resist!  I don't know about you but we eat a lot of flour tortillas in my house and I found a pattern to make a microwave tortilla warmer! 

The pattern called for a 13" circle. Now, whenever a pattern calls for a circle...I head for the kitchen.  There are a thousand circles in the kitchen of various sizes and I've yet to be disappointed!  I used a platter that I have never used for serving but it made a great template :)  So, now I needed something that I could use to make the template out of.  Normally, I would use cardboard but I didn't have a big enough piece.  My plastic template sheets weren't big enough either...What to do?!?!

Then I remembered that I had an old cutting mat that had been warped and out of shape.  This became my template material and it worked great!

 The pattern was easy to follow and went together really quickly and voila!  I now have a tortilla warmer.  This project didn't get put on my "New Project" list but since I finished it I don't really need to!  Whoop! Here's a pic of the finished project and the stuff I used to put it together.


I also worked on my Antique Rose Hand-Applique Quilt project but I didn't get as much done as I'd have liked...oh well.  I'll get to it, right?

Well, dear friends. I better get the house clean and the bills paid...
which is what I was supposed to do when I turned on the computer.  I'm so glad we got to have this little visit and I hope to hear form you all in the form of your comments.

Happy Quilting!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Quilt Math and Updates

Quilt Math?  Quilt MATH?  Yes, math.  You may or may not know that one of the many hats I have worn in the course of my life is High School Math teacher.  I have always loved math and quilting has a ton of mathematical applications. For example, if you want to make half square triangles where the finished square size is 2 ½ ", your initial square should be cut at 3 ⅜".   You have to add ⅞" to your finished square size.  Or, have you ever given thought to the fact that when piecing a quilt with a finished size of 80" X 80" if your seam allowances are off by ⅛"  your quilt will be 8" short!  Yep, quilt math is everywhere.  Now, fortunately, we really don't have to delve into the math unless we really want to- especially with the Internet to give us templates and answer all our quilty math questions- so why talk about it here? Well, my good friend and quilty buddy Michelle once told me that she no longer bought fat quarters but instead bought ⅓ yard cuts.  She does this because of the price of those fat quarters.  Well, that's been stewing in the back of my mind for a while now and so I finally sat down and did the math...

A Fat Quarter is a piece of fabric which measures
18" x 22". 


They came into being when some smart person realized that buying a ¼ yard of fabric

was too narrow to work with but buying more than a ¼ yard was too much.  So, now you can buy fat quarters at any quilt shop, in any fabric and most shops are willing to cut you a fat quarter from the bolt if you can't find one already cut.  Smart, right?  Well, that depends on how you look at it.

Here's the thing... Most fabric is going for about $10/yard these days.  So if you were to buy a ¼ yard you would spend $2.50.  But if you buy that FAT quarter yard-- they sell anywhere between $3.50 and $4.50 EACH!  If you pay $3.50 for the fat quarter you are paying $14 a yard for that fabric; $18.50 at $4.50 each!! And, if you ask the shop to cut you a fat quarter you still pay fat quarter prices.

Now as I was doing my mental calisthenics to justify buying those cute little fat quarters ('cause let's face it...it's our version of baseball cards or shot glasses) I thought: "Well, they have to pay someone to cut the fabric..." but they have to cut the fabric anyway and that is calculated into the price of the fabric already. Hmmm, "Well, they have to display, they have to turn on lights, they have to make SOME kind of profit..."  But, no. All that is already calculated into the price of the fabric.

Now a little more math...

Based on a 44" wide fabric (that we all know is actually 42" because of the selveges):

The fat quarter has an area of 396 in² (18X22) as does the ¼ yard cut (9X44).

A ⅓ yard cut of fabric has an area of 528 in² (12X44).

(⅓, ¼, fat ¼)

But a fat quarter is probably gonna cost you $3.75 - $4.00 where a ⅓ yard cut is gonna cost you $3.34 ($10 ÷ 0.33333). So, for a few cents LESS you get 132 in² MORE in fabric!  Of course, it can be more convenient if you find what you are looking for already cut into a fat quarter but I RARELY go into a shop and not buy something off a bolt so I'm gonna be spending some quality time standing at the cutting table anyway.

So, the moral of the story: Buy a ⅓ yard cut and make your fabric $$ go farther!

Well, that's the end of that quilt math lesson....now for the updates!

Remember Boo!.  Well, the piecing is DONE!  Here's the top:

Isn't it great!  I love how well all the joints came together!
Now, In October of 2010 I made this pattern called A "Door" a Doodle.  It's a kit by  The Whole Country Caboodle and it has separate little panel kits that you hang on the door quilt.

The date was not part of the original design but I didn't want that empty field so I added the date. I made another one that I gave away as a gift so now instead of making one panel for my "Door" a Doodle I make two.  Of course, the panels are part of the New Project Lists which means I am behind... no great shock there!  Anyway, I decided with the new year I want to get on top of it so...

Here is winter's Snowman A "Door" a Doodle (both of them)

They are constructed with Heat and Bond Lite and then machine appliqued. A little trick when using any fusible...  I hollow out the fusible so that it is only applied to the edges of the appliqued piece.  It keeps the project from getting stiff.  Here is a pic of the scarf the snowmen are wearing as an example

See how the fusible is only on the edges?

I also did the Heart A "Door" a Doodle as well!

Now to get them quilted and bound and on the door! :-)

Well my friends, thanks for visiting with me today.  I really enjoy seeing your comments here on my blog so feel free to leave a post.

Take care and until we meet again,

Happy Quilting!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Phoenix Shops

Today I write to you from Phoenix, Arizona.  My hubby, Dave, and I took the little (15 hour) road trip up to visit with Dave's dad while Dave's mom is away visiting Dave's sister...boy that's a bit convoluted :)  Of course the men immediately hit the golf links first thing in the morning so I had to find a way to entertain myself.  What better way then to go on my own personal shop hop?  Armed with a Google list of shops and my trusty GPS I headed out. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the Phoenix area, it's a bit sprawled out and consists of a LOT of little towns.  I figured I'd start with the shops farthest away and hop my way back toward home.

First up,

Cutting Edge Quilts is in Chandler, AZ and has a great location; lots of restaurants and little shops in the historic district.  Although the fabric selection was a little limited the folks were very friendly. By the way...In case you're wondering, that's Kilo (short for Kilometer) and he travels with me wherever I go. He doesn't mind having his picture taken so you'll find him in almost all of my pictures.
From Chandler, I headed to Tempe, AZ to

This is another small shop with friendly staff. 
However, the reason I traveled the hour south to these two shops was because of the third one...

Yep, you are reading that right...3 Dudes Quilting.  Now, as you probably know, the quilting world, until the last decade or so, has been a woman's world.  Of course, times have changed and you read about a lot of different men who have not only entered the quilting world but are very successful at it. I couldn't wait to see what these 3 Dudes had to offer.  It was a nice shop with great fabric selection. You know how when you go into a quilt shop the shop has taken on the personality of the owners?  Well, this shop was no exception.  Many shops have that comfy, quilty, homey feel...you know what I'm talking about.  This shop had a decidedly "business" atmosphere.  The 2 Dudes that were working in the shop were knowledgeable and helpful and provided great customer service in a very professional manner.  Everything from the layout of the store to the advice and instructions were efficient and logical.  I really liked the shop but it definitely had a different feel to it. 

The Bernina Connection is in Phoenix and a little deceiving when you first go in.  At first glance it seems small but as you move to the back of the store you realize it's bigger than it appears.

Now one of my favorite shops on this private hop was

 This shop was so nice that I took pictures of the inside

Isn't this a great shop!  Lots of fabric and tools without over-crowding and lots of LIGHT all which makes it easy to see everything. 

Not to be out done, there is the

Also in Phoenix, I have been to this shop a few times but it was in a different location and was very overcrowded which made it hard to see everything.  Now they are in this new location and what a difference!  Here's a picture of the inside...

Now it's not the best picture (all of these hop pics were taken with my iPhone) but believe me when I say it's huge! Definitely a shop to meet all your needs...they offer the usual fare...fabric, batting, thread, notions...as well as sewing machine sales and repairs, cabinets and mid-arm machines.  Excellent!

By the time I hit the Quilter's Bee, in Peoria AZ, it was getting a little late in the day and I was getting tired so it was a quick trip in and out.  Nice shop though.  Here's a shot of the inside...

They were very helpful and welcoming in spite of the fact that they were swamped! You can't see the other 10 or so people at the back of the store or the 4 standing in line at the register!

Last but not least...

So, I hit Sun Valley Quilts, Sun City, AZ, at 3:50 pm.  The shop closes at 4 pm so I am sure that the employees were ready to go home. But, one of my pet peeves is any business that advertises a closing time and then gets irritated when customers come in a few minutes before that time.  In fact, this shop turned their sign from 'open' to 'closed' at 3:55 and was noticeably upset when a customer walked in at 3:57 (all these times were by my iPhone...maybe their clock was set differently).  In any case, why get upset at a paying customer?  It's a nice shop with a pretty good selection of fabrics and in it's defense when I've been there before (in the middle of shop hours) they are helpful though not overtly friendly.

So, that was my own personal shop hop and here's what I have to show for it....

Now, you are probably wondering what all the plaids are about... I'm adding them to my stash because it is getting really hard to find them.  I like them and I hate that they are getting so hard to find!

In case you are wondering, here are the stats of that hop.... 119 miles, 7 shops, 31 items purchased.  I won't put down the dollars spent in case my husband decides to check out my blog :-0

Okay, so that was Saturday and while this is getting a little long I want to quickly share my progress on my UFOs...

Last time we met I had started the Civil War BOM and finished the 18' block.  I now have the 12" block done as well so month 1 is complete!  I contemplated working on month 2 but decided to change it up a bit so I pulled out a halloween quilt that I started last summer (but bought about 5 years ago) while staying at my BFF Brenda's house (Brenda is a non-quilter and cannot understand my obsession with all things quilting but nobody is perfect).  This quilt is called Boo! and is a Pieces from the Heart pattern. These are the all the blocks and I got them all done during the month I was visiting with her:

  The centers are fussy cut from a panel fabric with the exception of the witches hat block which I hand-embroidered.  Lots of 1 ½ inch squares!  Next step is the sashing

I've started constructing the rows but failed to take pics :-( Oh well, you know I'll be posting the finished project.  My other project that I have been working on is my "travel" project. This is a hand project that I take with me wherever I go. 

This is a finished block. There are NINE of these and I have finished two. Sorry, I probably should have ironed it before the picture but I hate ironing :p

Here is the block in progress..

The quilt is called Antique Rose and was designed by Robert Callaham and featured in McCall's Quilting Jan/Feb 2010 issue.  It's only 2012 so it's a relatively new project for me LOL.  I'm using a template free technique that I really like.  In fact, until I learned this technique I really hated to do hand-applique.  I have been inspired to bring this quilt and get-'er-done because my mom started it in November and already is as far along as I am!  Yikes!

Well, I guess this post is a little long so I'll close for now.  Please leave your comments and/or sign up to follow my blog.  I love seeing the comments and many of you are posting them to my FB page but I'd love to see them here!

Keep on Quilting!