May 21st, 2018 by amy

Aloha, y’all.

I have a confession. Sometimes I make ugly quilts. On purpose. Not for nothing though. That would be crazy, right? 

You may be asking yourself, “Why would anyone intentionally make an ugly quilt?” Believe it or not, there are several reasons. When I made Churn Dash Aflutter, I was living in Alaska with my two daughters while my husband served an unaccompanied tour in Korea. Money was tight so I challenged myself to create a quilt top using nothing but my stash. I wanted to make the kind of quilt my great-grandmother might have made. Something practical and warm using whatever materials were at hand. I had a small amount of one gorgeous fabric, the butterfly print, and that became my starting point. From there, I focused mostly on color, so some of the other fabrics aren’t true quilting fabrics, but they do kind of match. Also, I didn’t have a good quarter-inch seam at that time so my churn dash points are cut off. Lesson learned. Overall this quilt is ugly, yes, but it has its good qualities and I love it despite everything, because of the memories it evokes.

My latest finish is ugly as well, but it’s also quite beautiful in it’s own way. I call it Found Treasure. I didn’t even make most of it. A stranger did. See, I have this quirk. I cannot leave fabric at a yard sale or thrift store. If I find it I buy it, and occasionally I score real treasures, like these colorful strips – sometimes called Chinese coins. 

When I pulled them out of the bag, I thought, “How sad. Someone spent a lot of time making these strips and for whatever reason, didn’t finish them.” I set them aside for months but kept thinking about them – and their maker. Finally, I knew I had to finish this unknown woman’s quilt. Maybe her spirit was compelling me. Maybe I’m just weird. Whatever.

It took me several months to come up with a design, then a few more to sew the top. I set aside the finished flimsy for over a year, but eventually, I got started on the quilting. I worked on it here and there until this month my quilt guild had a day-long sew-in. That gave me just the time and motivation I needed to “git er done.”

I have a name for my ugly quilts. I call them Picnic Quilts. They’re the kind I don’t mind taking to the beach or on a picnic – if I EVER decided to go on a picnic. Which I probably won’t. Ants. Flies. Need I say more? But that’s what I call the quilts anyway, because Ugly Quilt is an over-simplification for these wonderful, beautiful, slightly unattractive creations.

Have you ever made a Picnic Quilt? I’d love to see it.

[NOTE: Better pictures to come in a few days. It was too late when I finished to get any good ones and I just couldn’t wait to write about it. :)]

 

Posted in Churn Dash Aflutter, Found Treasure, Scrap Quilt Tagged with: , , , ,

April 20th, 2018 by amy

When it comes to quilting, I love all the things. I WANT all the things. I buy as many of the things as I can afford, and maybe a little more. I justify this because I don’t buy jewelry. I wear flip flops almost exclusively, so I don’t spend much on shoes, and my annual budget for makeup is minuscule. I am mostly a low-maintenance gal, except for this one area.

As I was sewing today, I was thinking about my most favorite things of the moment and decided you probably want to know about them too, so here they are in no particular order…

Dritz Quilting Crystal Glass Head Pins I’ve never been infatuated with a pin before now, but these are just gorgeous. The picture doesn’t quite capture their luminescence. A friend had some at a recent sew-in and – after deciding it would be rude to steal them from her – grilled her like a cheap steak until she told me where to buy my own. I included the link above so you don’t have to resort to desperate measures.

 


This current WIP, which was a UFO for a long time, but which I recently got back into. I should finish it this month and it will only have taken two years. Yay. I call it Chaos Theory and I adore it. Is it bad form to tell people how much you love your own work? I hope not, because I just can’t help myself. I love it. This is Block 15 of 16, so I’m almost there.


Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea, 50 Tea Bags This tea is not technically a quilting supply BUT… I’ve been drinking the shit out of it while I quilt and it’s damn good, so I’m counting it. It’s also a hell of a deal over on Amazon. I bought three boxes and I’m thinking about buying more just in case there’s an unexpected zombie apocalypse or something. I mean, anything could happen at any time and I like to be prepared.


Accuquilt Studio Dies Working on Chaos Theory has made me appreciate my Studio cutter more than ever. All those 2.5″ squares and half-square triangles would take eons to cut with scissors or a rotary cutter, but with these two dies I can cut enough squares for several blocks in about 10 or 15 minutes. 


Modern Quilt Magic: 5 Parlor Tricks to Expand Your Piecing Skills – 17 Captivating Projects This book by Victoria Findlay Wolfe is really, really great. Look at this pillow I made from it. It’s so cute and even though it has partial seams, it was super-easy thanks to VFW’s wonderful instructions. As soon as I finish Chaos Theory, I am going to make a king-size quilt to go with my new pillow. Hopefully in a more reasonable time frame. BTW, I also love her double wedding ring book. I haven’t attempted that yet but she gives me hope I can do it one day.

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

April 2nd, 2018 by amy

Happy Easter everyone. All two of you. 🙂 Love you, Mom. Haha. My audience may be small right now, but I have faith…

Anyway…it’s been a busy weekend quilting-wise and that means it’s been a GREAT weekend. 

I decided last-minute-like to make my daughter a little Easter gift so this morning before she woke up, I whipped up this little gem.

If you need a quick gift, you really can’t beat a nice zipper pouch. They are so easy to make and can be customized to the recipient. 

Step One The hardest part is picking out your fabrics, but that’s also the funnest part. (I know that’s not proper English, by the way, but proper English can be so tedious.) Aren’t these kitties the cutest things ever? That fabric is by Cotton Kobayashi. The black lining fabric is Ink and Arrow’s pixie dots.

Step Two Quilt as desired.

 

Step Three Add a binding to the top.

Step Four Add your zipper. Yeah, I could use some practice on that part.

Step Five Sew around the sides and bottom. Ta da. I like to add a little ribbon tab too. Makes it easy to grab and go. And it’s cute.

Those instructions aren’t exactly detailed, but let’s face it…there are loads of zipper pouch tutorials out there and I’m not in the mood to reinvent the wheel tonight. Sorry gang.

I also made a pillow…

And made great strides in quilting Found Treasure. But I’ll tell you all about those things next time. Have a lovely week!

Posted in Found Treasure, Scrap Quilt Tagged with: , , , , , ,

January 1st, 2018 by amy

News flash, People… narwhals are NOT fictional characters. They actually exist. Maybe you knew that, but until today, I did not.

Just in case you are even less informed than me, narwhals are whales with a unicorn-like horn. Google them. They’re fascinating.

So basically, I just experienced a paradigm shift. My mind has been blown. On one hand, I’m horrified I remained so ignorant for so long. On the other, I’m enchanted to learn these magical creatures are more than just a fairy tale.

My introduction to narwhals was an adorable quilting fabric by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller fabrics.

Out to Sea by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller

Perhaps you can understand my confusion. Who could guess these unicorns of the sea were based on real animals? Not I, my friend. NOT. I.

Now I am not a stupid person, but I’ll be the second to admit I don’t know everything. (My mother-in-law would be the first.) That is especially true when it comes to quilting, so one of my top goals for 2018 is to expand my skill-set.

I recently purchased Modern Quilt Magic by Victoria Findlay Wolfe and am going to spend the next few months learning to sew partial seams. I also want to continue my adventures in straight-line quilting using my digital dual feed foot. I had a great experience with that while working on Positively Scrappy.

Do you set sewing goals every year? If so, what do you have planned for 2018? Perhaps a lovely narwhal quilt?

Happy New Year, My Friend.

 

Posted in Did You Know, Positively Scrappy, Scrap Quilt, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,

December 25th, 2017 by amy

I love the week between Christmas and New Year. I enjoy reflecting on the past year and setting goals for the coming one. What’s amazing is that I’m not super depressed by all the goals I didn’t accomplish this year. The list is long, but staring at the face of a fresh, new beginning, I can’t help but be optimistic. Take a look back with me…

I was planning to go from size XL to size M by year’s end. That didn’t happen. In fact, I’m on the verge of XXL at the moment, but that’s okay. I’ll add it to my list for 2018.

I put 24 books on my 2017 reading list and read only 6 of them. That didn’t go as planned. Too ambitious. If I keep it at 12, I feel confident I’ll get it done this time. Probably. Maybe.

Happily, I did pretty well on my sewing list. I got my studio set up at my new house, which was a major accomplishment. I machine-quilted Positively Scrappy. And – just today in fact – finished my Girlie Mod quilt top. I also made significant progress on Chaos Theory, despite f-ing up several sections as I discussed here. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but… oh hell… that’s NOT a lot. It is, however, something, and that’s better than nothing.

SO…Merry Christmas, y’all. I hope you have an amazing holiday season and an even better New Year. I’m about to write down my 2018 New Year’s resolutions. They will probably be over-ambitious like always, but who knows. This could be the year I discover the secret of life, accomplish all my goals and become fabulously rich and famous. My last fortune cookie certainly gave me hope.

Until then, here’s my latest finish…Girlie Mod, part 1 of my 3-quilt Mod Squad series. I will be posting the pattern next month. In fact, it’s the first item on my 2018 resolutions list. 🙂

 

 

This finished at 60 inches square, making it a nice lap quilt. Another resolution that’s going on my list… learn to take better pictures. 🙂 Aloha, y’all.

Posted in Chaos Theory, Girlie Mod, Positively Scrappy, Scrap Quilt, The Mod Squad Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

December 18th, 2017 by amy

The person who invents a self-sharpening rotary cutter is going to be a multi-billionaire, no joke, and  I will be her biggest fan.

Today I trimmed a thousand half-square triangle blocks. It was really only 72, but it felt like much more, because I cut half of them with a dull blade. Sheer foolishness. Most of you probably are smart enough to change your blade as needed but I tend to be stubborn about such things. I mean, they’re so expensive for one thing, and I recently moved my studio so I wasn’t even sure where my fresh blades were located. 

Finally, I made myself step away from the cutting table. Sure, I had to search 20 minutes but once I found the blades and installed a new one, I was glad I did. I went from sawing through a chunk of wood with a dull blade to slicing butter with a hot knife. Amazing difference. So much so, I cut the second half of squares in less than half the time. 

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to never cut with a dull rotary blade, ever again. As a thrifty quilter, that statement makes me cringe a little, but hey, that’s what coupons are for, right?

I am still plugging away on Girlie Mod, the first in my 3-quilt Mod Squad series. I’m almost done with the quilt top, despite my crazy holiday schedule. Are you guys making time to sew? Are you using a fresh rotary blade when you cut? I hope so.

Aloha y’all.

Posted in Girlie Mod, Scrap Quilt, The Mod Squad, Thrifty Quilting Tagged with: , , , , ,

December 4th, 2017 by amy

Aloha, y’all. I was at my local fabric store today, and I realized – with no small degree of horror – that I’ve become Crazy Cat Lady. Oh, I only have one actual cat, but every time I go into the quilt shop, I come home with a new piece of cat fabric.

Just look at what I’ve done…

From L to R: Michael Miller’s Sassy Cats, Putitdepome’s Mico’s Design, Hi-Fashion Fabrics Pattern # HF-C4704 (from thrift store) and Timeless Treasures Pattern # CAT-C 3645

And that’s not all. Check out these cats from past projects.

You have to admit, though, they’re all cute AF, right? What’s your latest obsession?

Posted in Quilt Fabric Tagged with: , , , , , ,

December 1st, 2017 by amy

Aloha y’all. I just ordered the fabric for my masculine version of The Mod Squad and OMG… it’s going to be FABulous! 🙂 I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

Why am I so obsessed with yellow right now? I don’t know but this gorgeous mustard-colored Art Gallery fabric from the Hello Bear line, Buck Forest, was the genesis of the whole quilt. It’s simply stunning paired with teal and gray.

Like, say… this one.

Indah Batik, Herringbone in Pacific

The Indah batiks from Hoffman Fabrics are so scrumptious I wanted to buy them all. This one is the Herringbone pattern in Pacific.

I was reading another quilter’s profile the other day and one of her “dislikes” was batiks, and I was like, WTF? How can you dislike batiks? Seriously? Are there other crazy haters out there? I was shocked, because I love them SO much. They really speak to me, ya’ know? But…apparently there is at least one quilter in this world who can’t hear their voices. I feel bad for her. 🙁

Robert Kaufman, Maze Forest

Robert Kaufman’s fabrics are always a treat, and his Maze Forest is really going to man up my quilt. I tried to make myself go with mostly solids for this project but I just couldn’t do it. Once I started browsing on Fabric.com, I kept finding lovelies like the ones I’ve shown you and before I knew it, I had a cart full of prints. I did throw in one Kona cotton in Steel. As for the rest… you’ll be seeing them soon.

Until then, thanks for stopping by.

Posted in Accuquilt, Mod and Manly, The Mod Squad Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

November 6th, 2017 by amy

Can I hire someone to baste my quilts? Is that a thing? I want to do the quilting myself, but I do NOT love putting together that quilt sandwich.

Today was the day to begin quilting Positively Scrappy, so I eagerly spread out my backing, batting and quilt top on my sitting room floor. I gingerly lowered myself to the ground and began the tedious task of pinning it all together. It hurt. A lot. After all, I am on the dark side of 50, my knees are shot, my back aches and I’m fat. After a half hour I felt like I’d been doing intense yoga for several days.

I got about halfway done and said, “forget this crap,” except maybe with a little saltier language. I remembered that I had a can of spray baste in my sewing room. Praise the Lord!

I sprayed the remainder of my sandwich. What a hot mess! There is still fuzz on my fingertips from that little adventure. At one point I thought about taking it all over to the local long-arm quilter, but my daddy always said I was tenacious. He actually used the word stubborn, but I knew what he meant.

Here’s what I learned from this morning’s endeavors:

  1. I’m too old to crawl around on the floor like a baby. I need a couple more folding tables for laying out quilts.
  2. Pinning is painful and I have the bloody finger to prove it. If I try it again I’m definitely buying some quilt basting pins.
  3. Spray basting is sticky, messing and frustrating but it doesn’t draw blood, so there’s that.

How do you baste your quilts? Or do you hire a professional sandwich maker? Also, can you send me his number?

Posted in Accuquilt, Positively Scrappy, Scrap Quilt, Thrifty Quilting Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

November 6th, 2017 by amy

The Chaos Continues

I’m beginning to feel like this project will never end, so I have to remind myself of the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer, of course, is, “One bite at a time.”

Today I finished Section 12. I did Section 13 some months back, so I now have three left, notwithstanding the three or four I must redo as mentioned in my last post because of inaccurate seam allowances. I’m not counting those today, however, because… well, because I don’t want to. It depresses me.

Despite setbacks, I am quite pleased with how it’s turning out. I can’t wait to finish it and get the pattern ready for release, which I plan to do by the end of 2017. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. 🙂

 

Posted in Accuquilt, Chaos Theory, Scrap Quilt, Thrifty Quilting Tagged with: , , , ,