“Bee Inspired” Every Day

Wow, it has been a LONG time since I last blogged! I have been sewing some, so at least I’ve got a thing or two to share. 

I don’t really have any “in progress” pics of this quilt, which is a gift. It’s on it’s way to the birthday girl, but I’m going to share anyway.  Shortly after our trip to Shipshewana in April, the husband asked me about starting on the gift for his mom. He had picked out a jelly roll, Bee Inspired by Deb Strain for this purpose. I found a pattern that I loved! Angela Walters used this pattern on one of the Spring episodes of The Midnight Quilt Show. I knew it’d be a good fit! It’s called On Point.


I was determined NOT to have to buy a background fabric, using what I had on hand. The pattern said 3 1/2 yards, I think, which limits my selection at home. Especially finding something to go with these colors! Weirdly enough I did have over four yards of the background, so that was destined for this quilt, I think. Husband approved too.

It was a wonderfully slow process, making this quilt. Lots of putting fabrics together, sewing long strips and not too difficult cutting. Each block reminded me of flying geese blocks, so the layout was fun, as I’ve never made a FG quilt before. I know! I’m going to have to change that one of these days.

Here are a few close ups of the quilting. I tried to make little arches and then echo them. They are not perfect but I enjoyed the process. I also used an entire spool just for the quilting! Plus part of another to finish it up.


Some of those stitches are really huge, aren’t they? Let’s say my camera is really, really close!


The texture is pretty neat. We chose a less busy backing, but I think it’s a good choice. Not too dark, not super light. Just right. 

I had some block halves left so I used one for the label. Being less original in naming the quilt this time, I went with the name of the line of fabric. It’s actually very appropriate for my MIL. I think she’ll like this quilt a lot. She loves butterflies! I think the bees are the stars of this line, so it’s a good mix.

This is something else I’ve been fiddling around with. I haven’t put a border on it yet, but I will at some point. I love the color!


For now, that’s about all I’ve got to share. We’ve got a few events coming up that will require some sewing. A baby girl will be joining our family (my brother and his sweet wife), finishing a wedding quilt, two more baby girls and a couple auction quilts. Yes, I’ve got a few things to do!


Bee 🐝 inspired! Quilt something fun this weekend!

LL

Log Cabin Race?

A week or two ago my dear husband surprised me with a Moda scrap bag! Well, I snuck it into his Amazon order, but he ordered it! And very sweetly presented it to me, what a nice surprise! So since then I was trying to see if there was something to be made without adding other fabrics. Lucky for me, the “scraps” were all from the same line of fabric! Most of the pieces were close to 32″ long and the width was about 1 3/4″ – 2 1/2″, so everything was very user friendly.


Yes, this is one of the blocks I made. But before I could do ANYTHING the selvages had to be trimmed off. This was actually a wee bit tricky. When one folds the strip to trim the selvage away, the strip will not lie flat, thus creating stubborn, nasty strips. No really, it was ridiculous.


I don’t know if you can see what I mean here. Notice the curve that leans? Well, I had a thought…about clipping curves at this moment. So I tried it. 


Would you lookit that!? Maybe this is just something everyone knows, but it was one of those {angels singing} moments for me! Those few clips made the strips lie down flat and behave! Ta daaa.


I did keep some of the selvages, just in case I make a quilt out of them someday. The little umbrellas are so adorable. And my strips are pretty darn cute too.

So I decided to use my favorite fabric, with the little fishes in all colors, for the centers of my log cabin blocks. Then I added the strips until I had three light and three dark. Whatever size the block ended up as would work, because I was really making this up as I went along.


After six blocks I really felt done making them, so I stopped. Even though they ended up close to the same size, they didn’t fit together just like that (snap fingers here). I had to add a strip, and trim a strip to make them all work together. And even after that, together they were not a normal size for a quilt. So I sewed my leftover strips all together, on the diagonal, and added them to the long sides.


I started with the most narrow strips, which added a few inches to the sideways measurements. I moved on to the middle sized leftovers, attaching them diagonally too, then on the sides. Finally the quilt was looking more like it could be a baby quilt.


I thought it could use a few more strips so I sewed the last group together. At this point I think I decided it needed some long strips on the “other” sides.


So this is it, done. At least as done as it’s going to be for now. 

A close up of the bunched up quilt and the strips. I called this a Log Cabin Race only because of the diagonal attaching of the strips and the willy nilly way I went about connecting things. Maybe there is another name for this, like “what a mess, get organized already” but that’s kind of long and goofy.


Once I finished with that I still had a few minutes to do something….and I noticed some blocks that were leftover from this project.


The leftovers have hearts and flowers and are not quarter square triangles. So I trimmed them up!


There aren’t really enough to make a quilt, not even a baby quilt, unless I put on a humongous border. So I’m thinking table runner or some small placemats. I laid them out like this.


Kind of a flying geese look. I didn’t sew them together, as I’m just not sure what I’m doing with them yet. They’re trimmed to 4 1/2″ so they are ready to be used! But now that it’s June, I’ve got some other sewing I need to get to. Summer birthdays, auction in September and any other reason I can find to put myself in front of the machine.

Have a nice weekend, friends.

LL

Why it’s absolutely okay to have a zillion projects going at once!

I believe this with my whole entire heart! I have good reasons too. When one has multiple projects going, one has options. My husband will tell you, I like options to choose from. When we go on a trip, I overpack so I have a choice about what I wear. It could be rainy and cold (thus jeans and a hoodie, maybe even a raincoat), it could be sunny and warm (Capri pants and a loose tshirt). 

The same is true of fabric shopping. There are SO many decisions to be made! One yard or two? Fat quarters or half a yard? The pink or the rose? (Yeah, that last one is easy….BOTH!) Obvisouly these are the fun ones. 

Working on more than one project at a time is not just for the easily distracted. This allows various projects in different stages of development being available at all times. Then one can choose exactly what one feels like working on. This is my favorite. If I feel like chain piecing, I start something new. If I feel like getting rows together, I find the blocks I pieced last time. If I want to add borders, I slap them on. If I have something small to quilt, I can quickly baste it and go to town. You get the idea. Usually after I have quilted an item, I want it done, so much of the time I will take care of that business too.

Options equal freedom, to me. Freedom to choose a project and finish it right away, or not. Freedom to let a project sit and wait, and not feel stressed about it…..oh, that’s priceless. I’ve presently got 15+ completed quilt tops in my closet. No guilt, no pressure, no worries. Hakuna Matata. I’ll get to them sometime. Works in progress are not bad words, people! 

And to prove it, I’ve got stuff to share. Various works in progress.

But first, some pics from our impromptu trip to Shipshewana! I love it there!

Two of my all time favorite places to go! 

While in the Davis Mercantile we went to Lolly’s to check out all the fabrics. FYI – they moved the FQ boat upstairs! Normally I choose, oh, about a zillion FQ’s. This time the husband cut me off at a dozen. I know! Then he started picking a few, throwing them into MY basket! So I may or may not have grabbed a few extra. The daughter was a bit of a snitch this trip. She’s gone over to the dark side. Oh well.

So here’s a nice big pic of the haul.


The FQ’s on the top of the pile are the husband’s picks. 😜 You may recall he loves Oriental fabrics, so we’ve got a few pieces of that going on too.  The next pic are a couple things for specific projects. Can’t say who they’re for at this moment, but obviously they will be Awesome.

I’ve not really worked much with solid fabrics, especially rainbow solids! I’m looking forward to that. The batik has such rich, bright colors, that’s going to be a lot of fun. Husband found both of these items.

The Bee Inspired fabric was chosen by the husband too. He’s got good taste when I can get him looking at non-Asian stuff. So this will be very fun to work with too. Bees, butterflies and limited color palette. Fun!

Here are a few other pics of what came home with us.


Okay, that “Old Guys Rule” fabric is so hilarious but we almost didn’t get it. It has a $@&;)! word on there! I’m going to work around that, but ooooooooh, I’m telling! My husband also chose the pink and brown border fabric, saying “Can you use this?” Isn’t that cute? Of course I can use that! I love the little Moda tins, I even moved my Alphabitties into the smaller one already!

Finally, some around town pics from the trip.

This gorgeous Bargello quilt is hanging in the Van Buren Hotel, which is where we always stay. It’s clean and the people are so friendly. 

We were behind this buggy for a bit. They drive on the shoulder of the road. I love seeing them and hearing the clip clip of the horses. Even if it’s raining, like it was when we left on Sunday morning.

The big bunch of buttons are in a chest in a store in the Davis Mercantile. I think everyone that goes in reaches in and moves them around. It’s just fun. 

Also in the Davis Mercantile, on the top floor, next to the candy store, was this beautiful quilt. I love the blues with the white/cream. The difference in the blue is so very subtle. The quilting was also just lovely. It was too high to get a decent close up pic. Sorry.

Finally, the plethora of projects on my counter right now!


I made these things for my MIL. The colors had her name written all over them! I got these fabrics in a Moda Scrap Bag on Amazon. (As of yesterday, they had them for $12!!!) Anyway, I made a big weird bowl type of thing (apparently I have zero skill n holding the thing up to make a basket), a small hot pad and a few coasters. Practice makes perfect, and I still have some practicing to do!

I started making pineapple blocks right before our trip. I used leftover charm pieces at first. My first block was yellow, because that’s the “usual” color your brain goes to when we say “pineapple,” right?


It’s pretty cute. Since I had a few other colors available in the same line  of fabric, I made a few more. 


I know! Then I decided to go ahead and try it with the warm colors….


Yuck! Not crazy about the blues! At some point I made one in gray, and it’s one of my faves. Pretty weird.


I think it was right around this point in the process that I needed more colors! So I grabbed a couple more charm packs! I made these two yesterday, and I love them! 

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am just not into purple. I know it’s a color of royalty and rich and lovely, but it has never floated my boat, so to speak. But this purple pineapple is just way cool! And the black-ish one, it’s cool too! I did use some grays in it, but I think it really works. Besides, it’s what I had. If the whole thing was dark black only, it may end up a little “flat.” So this way it’s got some flair!

Maybe some of you recognize these fabrics as Lecien. I know they’re considered high end or something like that. I got the charm packs thru Massdrop some time ago. I found them to be thin, almost too thin. They fray easily too. Maybe it was a bad batch, but unfortunately I was not super impressed.

Finally, all my ducks in a row, or two rows.


With everything together, the blues don’t look as pitiful as they did alone. I’ve still got a few piles of charms to make more pineapple blocks, so I’ll continue until I have enough for a quilt. Then I’ll put it in the closet and do it when I feel like it.

That’s the beauty of having many projects in progress. It’s never boring.

So go ahead and start something new! Even if you haven’t finished what you’re working on! There’s nothing like the thrill of finishing a project, except for the thrill of starting one. Or seeing one come together just like you planned! It’s all pretty exciting, if you ask me.

Have a great weekend people! 

LL

7 Habits of Highly Successful Quilters

These habits are not endorsed by anyone in particular and are things you’ve probably thought or heard before. I am here to back you up! Consider this a “RIGHT ON, SISTA!” kind of article!

  1. Enjoy what you’re doing. The happiest and most successful (if you judge success by the amount of happiness it produces….and I do) quilters love the process. That little (or large) smidgen of joy when seeing the fabric for the first time! The idea that pops into the brain, the pattern that is just right! Cutting then sewing, borders then binding! It’s all got “smiling like a maniac” potential. If it isn’t making you happy, put it aside until it does. 
  2. It’s okay that your project isn’t perfect. No, I’m serious. For the most part, we quiltmakers create gifts. These gifts are usually given to people we love, or babies. Sometimes we might make something for an auction or raffle, but for me personally, five out of seven quilts leave my house. With that said, people we love are just not going to critique something we’ve made for them. Babies will spit up on a perfect quilt just as much as a regular one. No one is going to judge little imperfections. (This is assuming you aren’t making quilts to show.) Even raffle or auction quilts don’t have to be “perfect” because I will tell you something: the people who purchase tickets or bid on quilts often do so because they are not a quiltmaker. I’m not saying let every single mistake slide, I’m just saying cut yourself some slack.
  3. Be informed on new things. There are always new fabrics, new tools, new patterns, new layouts – – quilting is a business! It’s good to learn some new tricks, and see how well they incorporate into what YOU do. Recently paper piecing has come back into the limelight. Like. It’s. New. It’s so not new, but the designs are new and dare I say it, more modern. More what many young quilters want to do now. There are new templates, which are so much easier to use than cardboard ones. Anyway, new isn’t always bad, nor is it always good. It’s just recent. Learn as much as possible. Read magazines and books about quilting, watch tutorials all the time! Learn, learn, learn!
  4. Teach & share your knowledge. This doesn’t have to be a big deal. You don’t have to have a classroom full of students. When someone admires what you’ve made, offer to teach them to make one. They may freak out and run away, but they may say yes. My mother in law grew up watching her mother quilt. And I mean old school quilting. Cardboard templates, hand piecing and quilting, using scraps, the whole nine yards. When I started to quilt, she wanted to learn. We started slow and her skills have grown since then. It’s not the same as what her mom did, but it’s similar enough to feel the connection. I have a dear friend who started quilting when she learned she was to be a grandma. We share ideas and encouragement in this too now. Even if you’re new to quilting, you can teach. 
  5. Make time to quilt. Some days I feel like I hardly get any time to breathe, much less sew. But if I just take a few minutes here and there, I can accomplish much more than if I don’t. Time spent sewing is never wasted. The way I “do” my week changes how much time I get to stitch. I try to have a day that I stay in and sew. This means staying IN the sewing room for several hours, making a real dent in a project. This is how I prefer to work. If I can get two days per week like this, I can almost complete a top. But life always seems to require something of me, and the lovely stitch-time is put on hold. I dont have a perfect answer for this. Make time, take time, find time….it’ll be worth it.
  6. It’s okay to do things your own way. So let’s say you have a pattern that requires certain fabrics, templates, etc. Obviously one can “make” one’s own fat quarters. One can use fabrics they like, instead of following the crowd. As much as I LOVE the Swoon blocks, or the Snapshots blocks (a quiltalong Fat Quarter Shop did in 2015), I am not thrilled that the quilts look all the same. Let me say again, I LOVE THE FABRICS AND THE BLOCKS, it’s just that the quilts are the same colors. Now, it’s possible that some quilters just need some guidance in that. As they gain more experience and confidence, the ability to change things up will come naturally, I think. 
  7. Let it go (if it isn’t working). I’m serious on this one, people. I know we have time and money involved in our creation process, but there is a point of no return. When it doesn’t look like it should, check the instructions….if it’s salvageable, do what you can. If you’ve already taken it apart two or three times and the pieces aren’t playing nice, say goodbye. It’s okay to have a failure here and there. It happens to all of us, it’s how we learn what not to do. Years ago I started a “modern” quilt for a wedding gift. This was before Modern quilting and piecing was a thing. It was a disaster. I used non-cotton fabrics and in my head it really was going to work…but on the table, well, no. It was a ridiculous mess. Would it still read “mess” to me today? I’m not sure. If I still have it I’ll let you know. So be free to let it go if you must.

Finally, a few pics of what I’ve been doing lately.


This is going to be a quilt for my niece who will arrive in August. When her brother (to be) was tiny I made him an owl quilt. I found these darling charm packs and knew she would also need an owl quilt! I was told not to use a lot of pink. Humph. 🙄

 Here is a pic of a gift I sent out last week. I’m not sure it’s reached the recipients yet, so no details here on that. Maybe after it’s delivered I’ll have more to say.


Love the colors!

Lastly, after watching Leah Day put together an adorable quilt using solids and polka dot fabrics. I had some! So I tried to do what she did (after writing about not copying, I should just shut up) but I could not get the layout “just so.” So I changed it!

This was after trimming a hundred zillion squares. Oy. Pretty though. (It’s the Hokey Pokey Crazy Quilt)


Leah Day used the pinwheel block along with another one, and the layout was really sweet. 

But I decided to use the little diamond shapes, just to make it my own.

It seemed to work out alright, even though I don’t have them all together yet. It’s coming along.

Well, I hope everyone has a good week! I’m hoping to have a sew day on Wednesday. It usually works out in my favor. 😉

LL

March was a BLUR!!!

First of all, I must apologize for neglecting my blog…..I’ve been doing a wee bit of sewing, but not too much sharing. Well, that’s only half true, I’ve been on Instagram! What a nice bunch of people! So if you’re friends (or whatever they call it) with me there, you may have seen these pics already. 

BUT, there’s a story and Instagram doesn’t have this scoop. 😉

So, I finally got the binding on my MIL’s quilt that she sent to me last year around this time. It’s not that it was hard, it’s just not my fave thing to do. I’ll be sending this one her way next week.


It turned out really nice, the colors are perfect and a striped binding is always awesome.

Once I finished the tall tales blocks (see the previous post) I wanted something that was not paper piecing. I found my Swoon blocks that I had started last year and made two more. 


They are completely sewn together now. I am not crazy about the fabrics anymore. How did THAT happen!? So I’m putting it aside until I either change my mind or need a quick “add sashing and borders and finish it up” project. I’ll get back to it sometime. Again, the Swoon block is very easy to put together, but the cutting! Talk about confusion. It’s probably me, but goodness, I double checked myself a zillion times.

Now, the estate sale haul! Yesterday there was a local estate sale and since it was right behind the grocery store, I stopped in. There was a pretty good sized selection of cotton fabric to look thru. The first lady who commented to me about it said, “I can’t believe someone measured all this!” I laughed, but I was glad that “someone” did!

So, here is the first pic.


I KNOW! Lorelie fabrics! Three of them have cats on them, but the Bathing Beauties! How cute is that!? I always enjoy fabric from this company, but I never buy it, I don’t know why! So excited to use them in something fun!

Next up are some fabrics that just needed to come home with me….


The “golds” are just lovely. I used up a lot of my yellow fabrics making that Minion quilt last fall, so it’s nice to get a few to mix in with what’s left. And the ones with pink, well, I like pink. I like it a lot. 

Next is a bunch of fabrics designed by Laurel Burch. See the Christmas trees in the pic above? Well, that’s the only piece that is seasonal, but the color in the others! So vibrant and bright! Lookit.


Cats, hummingbirds, butterflies and Christmas trees…. I don’t know what I’ll do with it, but I’m thrilled to have it.

I love love love this next group of fabrics! Especially the third one! And the second one! I dont know if they were meant to work together, but I love them! Gotta figure out something cool for them. Husband decided the first one looked oriental so it’s going into that pile.


Next are some batiks. I usually don’t go for batiks but the ones I brought home were just beautiful.


See? They’re gorgeous. So I WILL figure out a project that will make them shine! 

So as March comes to an end, I am feeling blessed. The husband spent most of the month in Ireland, for work. One would think I’d have had oodles of time to sew, but I didn’t. Life is busy and full and rich. 

I am so blessed.

Have a great weekend, friends.

LL

If you want to catch me on Instagram – – – @nettethequilter

😀

Tall Tales Block, it’s not you, it’s me….

Paper piecing, right? One of the things I did a lot of at the beginning of my quilting story (yes, pun intended!). Carol Doak was my hero as she taught me through books and whenever I could catch her on Simply Quilts. 

But people, it’s been a while. So now that I’m multi social media minded, I discover the Tall Tales block. It’s a BOOK! It’s got to be the most adorable thing I’ve seen in ages.  And yes, it’s paper pieced. As we are avid book readers, I really wanted to give it a try.

My first one:


Not bad for a first. And yes, those are the same fabrics from two recent projects. When I decided to jump in, I didn’t want to use something I cared about in case things went badly. Since I had these pieces laying around (they were about 12″ x 14) they would do to be my sample book blocks. 

When I make a bunch of the same block, whether it’s paper pieced or regular, I make one to see how it goes. See if there are quirks in the pattern, or if I miscut I’ve only done so for one block. This works for me. I like to have a little assembly line set up, so once the “sample” is done, I can go to town.

I am nowhere near town, friends.


These are most of my supplies, and block parts. Once I make a book block without having to unsew, I will assembly line the rest. I’m on block five. Geez. One at a time going on here……

As I’ve struggled along, I’ve remembered tips from long ago. The postcard trick (I’m using a bookmark), the add a quarter and add an eighth rulers that help with trimming.  Yes, now that I have only four blocks to go, I’m almost with the program.


Even though it’s been a bit of a challenge today, I like the blocks. A lot. Maybe things will go smoother tomorrow. 

I recently finished what I hope is my last tshirt quilt. At least for a while. A long while.



Have a great Sunday, friends.

LL

Why can’t I just save it?

Seriously people, what is wrong with me? I started a project the other day, my Circle quilt. I used a set of fat quarters that I had taken apart sometime last year. I made the binding for it yesterday and half-heartedly planned to layer and bind it today.

But I didn’t.

The leftovers from making a pieced binding, along with the bits from cutting the “Circle” blades were just staring me in the face with their odd shapes and crooked sides. 

I JUST COULDNT STAND IT!!!!!

So I cut them into ten inch squares, kind of making my very own layer cake…..

Then I cut them some more! And I made this!


I know it’s oddly shaped, I like it that way. This will be for a baby girl, sometime….

But I still had leftovers! Oh my goodness. I had cut all the ten inch pieces into the thimble shape, so what to do with the six I had leftover? 

Geez, I did this.


It’ll be a table runner. 

So I am left with really weirdly shaped pieces, especially after cutting out 2 1/2″ tumblers.

Yeah, I did. 

Now I’m pretty sure I can’t get much else out of the bits that are left. I will use them as starters and stoppers while I’m sewing, but I think that’s about all they’re good for.

Does anyone else just “use it up” so you don’t have to put it away? I feel somewhat ridiculous today. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this sort of thing. 

I will keep strips of fabric 1″ wide, leftover scraps that I can at least get a 2 1/2″ square from, leftover bindings and canvas-like ribbon (for gift wrap bows) that’s on charm packs or FQ bundles. And selveges, if they’re cute, colorful or funny.

No wonder my sewing space becomes a disaster zone so quickly.

Have a great weekend, friends!

LL