Sunday, January 27, 2013

Meet Chickie and More Bee Blocks

I would like to introduce you to my new friend Chickie!

Isn't she cute! Yes, she is a kitchen timer... errr, a sewing timer in my world.

You see I have been thinking about sewing time, and I know that I am not the only person that has been thinking about this. I have read quite a few blogs recently where this topic came up at least briefly. I have read many times how you should devote at least 30 minutes a day to sewing. That's 30min/day = 4.5 hours/wk= 14 hours/month=168 hours/yr. Now that may be alot to you or not so much, just depends on what your projects are and what other committments are front and center in your life. 

I find I do sew that much - and more, but usually in a chunk of time, like one long session on the weekend. So my thought is to try out the 30 minutes per day and see if it is more productive, there is nothing that says you have to stop at 30 minutes. But if you are pressed for time 30 minutes is not that long - you can cut a block out, sometimes you can even sew a block up. So that is where Chickie comes in. She is going to monitor that 30 minutes for me and let me know when it is up, and then I can decide if I am going to continue on or not. 

My hope is this will make me more consistent and will allow me to finish more, which in turn makes it much more exciting and enjoyable. I'll let you know how it goes! Hey if it works, maybe I can use her to get my daily exercise in too!

The 4th quarter of the 3x6 Mini Bee is now over and I wanted to show you the blocks I received all together! The 6 blocks above are from Hive 13 which was a sampler hive--aren't they gorgeous! I love them! My colors were Raspberry, Aqua, Lime and white/grey. They are going to make a great quilt! The 6 blocks below are from Hive 2 which was a star hive. I used the same color pallette and look at all these great blocks! I am always amazed at all the different blocks/styles! Please forgive the awful lighting--so hard to get great pictures inside in the evening, during winter. The lighting really messes with the colors --more yellow, more purple vs lime and raspberry.

When you add in the two tester blocks I made shown below, there are 14 blocks, pretty good begining. I am joining one more quarter, and signed up for another Sampler Hive. That will give me a total of 20 blocks for the quilt, a good size to work with.

Hope you are have a great week! Happy stiching!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Text Me A Text FQ Swap


 Just a quick shout out for Plum Patchwork's Text Me A Text FQ Swap

Do you love text prints and would like a little variety? Well this is the place!  You can send in as many FQ's as you like and receive back the same amount but different fabrics.(May be some dup's depending on how many you send and what get's sent in the pool)

Probably the minimum to send given the US postage is 5 to make it worthwhile. 16 FQ's will fit into a US Flat Rate Envelope and you can use a legal size Flat Rate Envelope to fit a few more in for the same price! (New to me -just found that out!) International participants are welcome but ck the discussion re: postage -- Deadline to mail is 2/15/13.

So stop by on Flickr and get your Text on!  Just click here for the link! And spread the word! The more variety the better!  Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WIP Wednesday

It's Wednesday and that means WIP Wednesday with Lee over at Freshly Pieced

It has been awhile since I have linked up, and thought in the spirit of the New Year and self improvement, resolutions, and all that good stuff..... and because I have a ridiculously long list of things that I have in different stages of completion... er... some closer to beginning  vs completion that I would link up   The WIP master list can be rather intimidating. I am sure I am the only one with this issue..... ;)  

Regardless, let's jump right in as 2013 is off to an awesome start!

Here is my current - must complete- project for the week. (and actually this was on my WIP list previously) It is a commissioned baby quilt (my first commission :0 ) and it is for a beautiful little girl who is only a few days old--so sweet!
Cutting-- fabric is Animal Parade by Ana Davis

More fabric selections and blocks
The fabric and pattern was picked out by my client.
 Mom's request was for something with browns and greens, some pink, but not all pink!This fabric is beautiful, it has a wonderfully soft hand. It also has such fun, modern colors and prints!

The pattern is called Dancing Patchwork and can be found on Etsy here.
I am not affiliated with the maker but this was the pattern the client liked and I think it is very cute - especially for a baby quilt! It calls for a layer cake but I just cut from yardage and it works well. Easy to piece with fun results!

So  the goal is to finish it up this weekend and off to it's new owner!

Ok here is THE LIST for January:
1. Finish Baby quilt--it is going together fast and sooo cute!
2. Do. Good.Stitches Nurture Circle January Block-due end of Jan
3. Con't work on Modern Medallion- Handstitched Class
4. Modern Stash Bee Blocks for January (2)- due 2/15
5.Sugar Block BOM with StitcheryDiceryDock for January- due end of Jan
6.Paper Piecing Stars BOM with Don't Call Me Betsy for January- due end of Jan
7. Binding on Batik Flowers quilt for A Lovely Year of Finishes- due end of Jan
8. The Triple Zip Along with Debbie over on Flickr- this is going to be so Fun-starts Jan 28!
9. Finish my House Block for the Sew South group quilt for the Ronald McDonald House in Charlotte NC-- such a fun and worthwhile project! It is going to be sew awesome!

Next: Solids bee block for Feb (Erin has already sent out the fabric-- she is so on it!)

Whew! My goal was to join more groups (accountability there) and learn new techniques -- looks like I have made it there!

Good thing I have a couple of days off coming up! It is bitter cold here and just the perfect weather for staying in and stitchin' up a storm!

Have a great week!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Ribbon Stars

More 3x6 Bee Blocks off to their new homes today! Before the mailing deadline - always a good feeling! These are for Hive 2 - "Now Starring". Seems the beginning of the year is always super busy and I am glad to have these completed. I really enjoyed making them, they each have such a different personality-so fun picking the fabrics to go with everyone's request!
I used this tutorial from Lee at Freshly Pieced, which is great, and has lots of pics to help with the layout. These blocks finish at 12in.
For Andi who requested Orange, Grey and White with a touch of black

For Jodi who requested Aqua, Pink and Cherry Red on white

For Linda who requested the Green, Pink, and Purple the colors of a  Coleus plant
For Leonie who requested Purple, Orange, and Red on Grey 

For Tanyia who requested Orange, Yellow and Grey

For Dawn who requested Red, Black, White and Grey

I must say I really like them all but Dawn and Leonie's - the two on the grey backgrounds- just really popped! I really like them! Which is your favorite?
I hope these ladies enjoy their blocks and they fit with their planned quilts. Once I receive all my blocks I will be posting pics.

Back to the sewing machine! Happy Stitching!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Whirlygig Quilt Block Tutorial

As promised earlier this week I have prepared a tutorial for you!

This is for the Whirlygig block. This is an easy block and alot of fun! There is a bit of cutting but the block goes together quickly with chain piecing.

I reviewed a bit with this tutorial and I was totally inspired by SewCraftyJess and her 4x5 Bee Blocks here. I love the way she has put the whirlygig's together, and instead of using the white in between she has used another print. I did think about using my  'Lil Twister template/ruler but there is fabric waste with it so I decided to go with cutting my own templates. 

I tweeked my tutorial a bit as I had made these several years ago but in a smaller size. For this project I made my blocks to finish at 12 inches (12.5 unfinished). This means the 9 smaller individual blocks are 4in finished and 4.5 inches unfinished. 

Ready? Here we go!

As for fabric I used Kona white from a jelly roll - 2.5in strips and Kona grey. For the colors I literally pulled from my scrap bins or simply cut 2.5in strips. The pieces will be cut 2.5in by 3 inches.

First take a piece of cardboard (cereal box, cardboard from charm pac, anything fairly sturdy)
Measure a rectangle 2.5in x 3in and cut out. Next take your ruler and measure 1.25 inches in from the upper Left hand corner and mark. Now do the same from the lower right hand corner and mark. Connect your marks, and you should have a diagonal line as shown above. Cut on this line. You can change this up and make the diagonal more pronounced. It will give your blades more of a pinwheel shape - narrower at the base and wider at the tip.

Next take your template and cut your background pieces. You can cut 2 layers at one time to speed up the process. Just be sure if you are cutting your printed fabric that you cut with BOTH layers Right sides up. If you cut otherwise, as in right sides together or wrong sides together, you will get one set of blades that are backwards (yes, this happened to me- and I am a bit spatially challenged anyways, so it took me a moment to figure out what I had done when the pieces didn't come together!) I cut all nine backgrounds and put each in its own pile and then cut all of my prints and put one print on top of each background. that way you can just pick up each pile and sew otherwise the pieces can get scattered - after all there are 72 pieces to each 12 in block! Don't let that scare you off, it goes together quickly!

                                My cut pieces. You will match a print and a background piece.

 When you put them together to sew they will look off and not match up perfectly. This is the way it is supposed to be. Sew with scant 1/4 in seams and chain piece them. 
 Next open each piece and finger press seams so they alternate.  Lay out in a cross design. Piece the two top sections while nesting your seams. Next piece the two bottom sections doing the same. Again chain piece all of these sections. Finally sew the top and bottom sections together along your horizontal center seam, being sure to nest and match your center seams. If you find that you are having issues due to stretching (if cut on bias) don't be afraid to use spray starch to help with that. 
Ok now your should have one block approx 4.5in!  Repeat to make each of the other 8 blocks. Finally trim each block down to 4.5inches. I used a 4.5 in square ruler but it is not necessary, any ruler 4.5 inches or wider makes it easy to trim.
 Finally arrange all your blocks to your liking. Sew them together by rows. 
Top 3 blocks together; middle three blocks together; and finally the bottom 3 blocks being sure to match up seams. Then sew top row to the middle and bottom row to the middle being sure to match up the seams of the blades and the block seams.  And there you have it!

 I hope you enjoy making these!  I would love to hear from you and see your blocks if you use this tutorial. I think I see a project in my future using this block in a similar way as here. If you have any questions please let me know.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes 2013

What's this all about?  Do you have a pile of WIP's sitting, waiting, and waiting, for your loving attention for become full fledged quilt? 

It's ok! Many of us do! Now the question is how many? No, no, I won't make you count, but I do have an linky party for you -- may be just the "kick in the pants" that you need to get them finished!

Shanna over at FiberofallSorts and Melissa of bittersweetdesigns are hosting a linky party 
complete with prizes for completed projects each month of 2013!
It's easy! Pick one to work on -- any one, and commit to finishing it that month. You must link up a pic at the beginning and end of each month to be eligible for the prizes.  So hop on over to one of their blogs and link up!  If you have not done a linky party before there will be a tutorial on how to link up posted today!

Here is my project for January. It is a batik, raw edge applique quilt that I made many years ago during a very difficult time in my life. I actually named it Coming out of the Dark, and it reminds me of beautiful tropical flowers in a lush green setting. It was lost for a long time when I moved, and I was thrilled to find it last year! Now it needs the binding finished, so that is my goal for January. See it doesn't have to be a big goal just a committed finish ;)

We actually had beautiful sunshine today so I packed up my quilt and ran out on my lunch hour to a local park. Salomon Farm is actually a working farm that the Park District uses to grow vegetables and teach classes. But the important point today was that there was light! So I grabbed a picnic table and took a couple of quick pics!

Binding clips in place just waiting for some action :)

So, go choose one of those WIP's, hop on over, link up and grab a button! You may just win!

Bee Blocks!

Just a quick post on some Bee Blocks that are going out in the mail today!

These are for my friends in the 3x6 Mini Bee. Hive 13. This is a sampler hive, meaning we could pick what ever block we wanted to make. Each person designated the colors and background they preferred. This is a Flickr based group. It is called a Mini Bee because there are 6 members to a hive and a caretaker and you make a block for each (including yourself if you like) in 3 months time. There are many different types of hive: sampler, paper piecing, solids, 30's, a good variety! This quarter ends on Jan 15th, so if you are interested you might pop over and get your name in for the 1st quarter 2013!

Sorry for the poor pic, when I increased the size it distorted. Here is the "mini" version

On to the blocks:

For Angela

For Cathy

For Jessica

For Micci

For Meesh

For Tara

This is the Whirlygig block and finishes at 12in. I will be posting a tutorial on how to make this block tomorrow -- See you then!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Fresh New Year! Happy 2013!

Cheers! It is out with the old and in with the new!

New?? Notice anything? Why yes, Thank you! I love the fresh, new update to my blog! I hope you do to! I have wanted to put up a picture header forever but never had the time to sit down and do - make that - LEARN how to do it!

It took me most of the day today to update this blog, but I did it! I am so proud of myself, I had actually thought about hiring someone to do a new design but well, with my new sewing machine, and Christmas just past; not alot of $$ floating about and what there is appears to be headed off the "fiscal cliff" ;0  The fact that I am self taught at this blogging and tech stuff, I poured through many different tutorials to come up with one that actually worked and gave me the look I wanted :) And I am so happy with the way it turned out! I have added pages -- no, not alot of content on them yet -- but there will be! I have also updated my sidebar and added buttons for all the new things I am currently involved in or that I will be participating in! Lots of fun stuff going on out there!

Today I am linking up with Lilly's Quilts for Fresh New Sewing Day today and she asked:
 - What was your favorites of 2012?  
       -Favorite quilt?  Favorite block? Favorite quilt related anything?

Well definitely my favorite quilt related thing right now is my blog makeover.

Second is my favorite quilt of 2012, my Retro Flowers quilt. I don't think I will ever get tired of it. It was a challenge and took my sewing to a new level. And it turned out beautifully, one of those projects that translated from vision to reality (with just a few doubts in between). 

And as far as quilt blocks - well right now I am crushing on this Ribbon Star block from Lee over at Freshly Pieced. I am currently making them for my star hive of 3x6 Mini Bee. Here is my block in my colors. 

This so seems like a Sunday to me! So glad it is not, as it will be a short work week! Hope yours is too! Best wishes for 2013!