“Color My World”

A wedding gift for a special couple. I’m assuming the groom is special, because I know the bride is awesome! I made this quilt earlier this year, to try a new pattern and use up some batiks. Honestly, I was not thrilled with it because I don’t like working with batik fabrics much. But! Oh my goodness!


Once I put a border on it and quilted it, oh I just love it. By this point I had decided (with her mama’s help) that it’d go to our sweet bride. I sent it off yesterday, before I decided to, you know, keep it. 

Once in a while I make something for someone else that is hard to let go of. This was one of those things, mostly because of the quilting. Here is a closer look at that.


Okay, it’s not perfect, but the overall texture is pretty awesome. Angela Walters says the stitches will get more consistent the more I practice. I’ve decided to believe her. 

The backing is a beautiful piece of fabric with its own texture. Pretty darn cool.


It was windy out when I took these pics but I was trying to get it done so I’d get to the PO by five. 

I hope the darling bride and groom have a perfect wedding and a wonderful life. They’re very special to us and we wish them every blessing.

Have a great weekend, friends.

LL

How to FMQ Like a NINJA

Friends, in the past few days I have quilted two new (to me) designs, and they don’t look half bad. Here’s a pic of the first one I tried last Sunday afternoon.


After watching Angela Walters Paisley Feathers tutorial about a zillion times, I felt like I had the idea of what to do and how. So I grabbed this from my closet, layered and basted and jumped in! Now, some of the stitches are pretty long, but practice will deal with that in time. The shape is mostly right and it looks pretty good. I was pretty pleased with myself.


Yes, big stitches….

When I finished I noticed the lovely texture and admired what I had done. I wished I had used a less busy fabric on the back, so the design would really show. But I’ve always been of the mindset that using a busy backing disguises errors. This time it did that but it also disguised the good stuff. Oh well.


Seriously, what fun!

So today I decided to try Flower Meander also seen in a tutorial by Angela Walters. It was loads of fun and giggling was happening because it was working! 


Again, the stitches are long but that may change in time. And my flowers are larger, but they still are doing much the same thing. This time the lucky recipient is a baby sized quilt I made earlier this summer. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this quilting design. Wait til you see the back!


Yes, big long stitches, I know! But lookit! Even the daughter thought it was cool. I think I’ve found my new “in a pinch” design!

Now, to quilt like a ninja, I think these are the keys to success:

  • No fear! Just do it. If you have something small to start on, use it. If not, grab a fat quarter and get it ready and Go. To. Town!
  • Read books! Watch tutorials! Figure out the best way for YOU to learn a thing and make it happen! Draw!
  • Don’t worry about messing up! Everyone messes up when something is new. Give yourself a break!
  • Have the right tools! Machingers gloves help a lot. I mean A LOT! Know your sewing machine well. (Tension, thread preferences, open toe foot, feed dogs down, etc)
  • Practice. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” All practice will be of benefit. Make placemats, or baby quilts. Start small.
  • Enjoy what you’re doing. It really is a lot of fun.


Give it a try, friends. You won’t regret it!

LL

“Deer One” 

Yesterday we had a baby shower for my sweet sister in law. The group was small, just seven of us, but it was lovely. One gramma, two aunts, three cousins and the baby mama! What a joyful time! We were told months ago that we were not to go overboard on the “pink.” “Some” is okay, but not like “you guys usually do.” 

Yes, friends, those were the words my brother and his lovely wife used. Anyone who knows us at all will appreciate the great restraint we used in all things for this event. Here are a few pictures of our table….


I know! Yellow gingham! And wood from the yard we grew up playing in! And a sweet little deer and flowers! It was pretty darn cute, even though it wasn’t pink! Nice food was eaten and yummy treats too, and some blessings for our baby and her sweet family. It was a fun day with family.

The quilt I gave this baby was started four years ago, when her brother was on his way. I started it with this great plan and then it just fizzled. I put it in the closet for a while (well, just shy of four years) and came across it after the announcement that he’d have a sister. I kept looking at it, thinking it needed something. 

Then I’d put it away again. Finally when I was shopping for ideas for the shower, I found the most adorable little stuffed deer…which then set the theme for the shower. And the quilt. If I could find a silhouette of a deer, I could appliqué (what? Who am I anyway?!) it near the tree. Yes, I fused a tree and leaves on there back in the day, they were trying to peel….. Anyway, I did and I did. It’s not perfect, that is always my disclaimer when giving a gift, but mama and daddy loved it.


This was very much a made up pattern. I set the squares and blocks on point, I was really into that four years ago, because I thought it added to the design. The pinwheel blocks are supposed to be either flowers or part of the sun’s rays. I had planned originally to quilt grass sticking up, and swirly wind and sunshine rays, but I didn’t. I just wasn’t feeling it, you know? So I quilted the organic lines, which has become my fall-back quilting choice. After quilting the entire top, about two inches apart, I asked a friend if that was “enough”. This is the same friend I told “more organic lines is always better!” when she asked me. Yes, she reminded me of this, and I did end up adding more. And it was the right thing to do! I’d even say, the better thing to do!  

Of course, being, well, me, I wanted to make something else for the baby, with just a “little bit of pink.” I decided to try to make a round quilt using Dresden “blades.” I cut them long, using fat quarters I’d had for a while. The quilt ended up about 54 inches across. I chose a backing and used leftovers cut on the bias, of course, for the binding. For all the mitered corners I skipped making a round quilt, I made up for it on the “Deer One.” ( Yes, take a look at those corners, all of them. 🙄)


Goodness, please excuse my messy sewing room floor! It’s all full of strings and loose threads, I KNOW your sewing space isn’t anything like that! 

I quilted something different in each “blade” which was not as clever as it sounds. I tried to alternate between something curvy and something pointy. Like swirls and zig zag lines. After about 15 I was looking up things to do. Thank you, Leah Day! I don’t have any in progress pics of either of these quilts, sorry about that. But here are a few of the quilting on “Circle of Life.”


Yes, I tried to do a flower in the center. It’s not horrible so I’m happy enough with it. The baby will love it and spit on it and drool so I think it’ll do. 

Here’s a shot of the binding and you can also see the back! It’s a very happy quilt, with “just a little bit of pink.”


Today I wanted to try the Paisley Feather quilting design. Angela Walters put a tutorial up on YouTube a week or so ago and I’ve been watching it over and over, trying to wrap my mind around how to do it. So I found something I had pieced some time ago and layered it and sat down to give it a try.

Oh. My. Goodness. I did it! Lookit.


Ok, it’s not perfect, but it’s not horrible either!


I think if I practice some more I can do this on a real quilt! Like a bigger one! 

Here’s the back.


I KNOW! Even my tension isn’t bad! So I would definitely recommend watching the tutorial over and over and over and then try it! It’s so fun! Even my daughter said it was “cool.” 

Isn’t it wonderful to learn a new thing? It really is.

Learn something new this week, friends. Even if it’s something simple.

You never know what you can do until you try.

LL

“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