Monday, May 31, 2010

Hexie Swap 2

Peonies 1

Look what arrived just before I left for the coast on Friday!

Hexies from Shelly 1
A package from Shelly (Pink Punk Boutique) with my hexies for the Handsome Hexie Swap!

Hexies from Shelly 2
I love this gorgeous zippered pouch for making hexies on the go!

Hexies from Shelly 3
See!  Plenty of room for hexie papers, needle, thread, fabric....

Hexies from Shelly 4
She sent a variety of basted hexies, and I don't have a single one of these fabrics!  It will be fun to slowly add to these with scraps for a true charm project -- no duplicates!

My copy of this book -- won in a Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway in April -- also arrived.

So, I packed up my hexies, book, quilting supplies, and some peonies.  
What else would I need for a great weekend at the beach!?!?

Peonies 2

Don't forget to come back for the Charming Month of June:  a charm pack giveaway each week!

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Friday, May 28, 2010

Hexie swap

I have a new obsession: English paper piecing tiny hexagons!  I joined the Handsome Hexies Flickr group, which is a great place to go for a little hexie inspiration, and then joined a swap that is a spin-off from that group, Handsome Hexies - The Swap.  The swap involves basting 25 hexies for a swap partner, and I hope my partner likes these Anna Maria Horner Good Folks hexies.

If you look closely at the basting stitches, you can see that initially I took more and smaller stitches.  I really wanted them to be crisp and neat and not fall apart.  After making several and going back and looking at other photos online, I realized that I could take bigger stitches and still make sure my corners remained snug.  I made two stacks -- one for my partner and one for myself.  I think I have made at least 70 so far in all!  My little packet of 100 1" hexagon paper pieces from Fabric Depot seemed like so many at the time, but now I'm trying to figure out when I can make a trip back over for more, more, more.  Yes -- I definitely have a new obsession.

Monday, May 24, 2010

On a scale of 1 to 10...

  • How beautiful is this Tula Pink Tail Feathers fabric from her Plume line?
Although I had already fallen in love with Plume, I had never really gotten a good look at this particular fabric.  I noticed it on Lisa's blog (vintage modern quilts), asked her about it, and she offered to send me a fat quarter!  How nice is that?!?! We came up with a little swap.  My package arrived today, but hers is still in the mail.  Hope it gets to you soon, Lisa!  Thanks for the great swap!
  • How awesome is it that I won this Plume jelly roll from Tula Pink?

For lots of Plume inspiration look here and here.  You won't be sorry!

  • How weird is it that while I was giving away 42 Amy Butler Charm squares, I bought 60 more on Ebay?
I think $4.25 was a steal!  I laughed when I opened the package and saw how disorganized they were.  Do you think if I had paid $14.25 instead of $4.25 the Ebay seller would have stacked them more neatly?    

  • How sad is it that I lost my camera with all the pictures of the last Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting on it?  It wasn't the fanciest or most expensive camera in the world, but I saved up for it, watched for sales, and even used a coupon!  Losing my camera made starting the PMQG blog that much more difficult, but it is finally up and will be a work in progress for awhile.  Come visit us here: to read about our charm swap, pot holder swap, and show and tells.

  • How fun will June be?  I am declaring it the Charming Month of June.  What does that mean?  Wait and see.
With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Friday, May 21, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Spring 2010

Molly's Wonky Log Cabin

Molly's Wonky Log Cabin - on the fence

Molly's Wonky Log Cabin - Close up

If you have followed my blog for more than a nano second, you know that my ratio of quilt tops to finished quilts is about 10:1.  And that is why I am choosing a quilt that was finished last September for the Blogger's Quilt Festival (Spring 2010).

This quilt started -- like so many of my other quilts -- as a whim.  I noticed the John (aka Quilt Dad) was leading a wonky log cabin quilt-along on Flickr for the Old Red Barn Company, and I thought it looked like a lot of fun.   So I jumped right in with both feet and began cutting and organizing strings and combining them with strings that I already had in a couple of baskets. 

Wonky Log Cabin Quilt 003
Samantha and I frequently differ on the proper use of strings and baskets.

Wonky Log Cabin 001
This was a good start, but I ended up needing more fabric and had to order some online.  I had a lot to do while I waited for the fabric to arrive.

Wonky Log Cabin 003
My first wonky block!

Wonky Log Cabin 004
The blocks were so fun to make and began to multiply quickly.  My son walked by at one point, watched me carefully place my ruler just so, and then angle it and make my cut.  He smiled and commented that I was really having fun making things crooked.  Oh, yes I was!

Wonky Log Cabin 005
I made several blocks at one time (assembly line style), choosing several centers, then adding the first log to each, then a second log to each, etc.  It went pretty quickly that way.  I made the mistake of stacking some of the blocks on top of a string basket and look who re-purposed it!

I don't remember when exactly, but at some point in this early process, Molly asked if the quilt could be for her, and I agreed -- as long as she could sneak it away from Sammy.

Wonky Log Cabin 006
I added four final logs in white to each of the 25 blocks to function as wonky sashing.

Wonky Log Cabin 015
The quilt was machine quilted by Karen Walker (Stitches).  

When I posted a picture of the finished quilt on Facebook, a friend teased that I should send it to her, prompting Molly to post this on my FB wall:

"... Also, some woman named "Brigitte" (if that is her real name ;)) is trying to steal my quilt! You will have to tell her how precious your quilts are and that if she wants to get her hands on one she has to call dibs long before there are pictures of it up on facebook. I have found the most effective time to snag one is during the piecing stage. I love you!"

So true!  For me, making the quilt is all about the design process, with very little thought as to the purpose or destination of  the finished product.  Clever girl!

Wonky Log Cabin 017
This is a close-up of the back.  It's hard to tell, but notice the little bits of turquoise in the leaves that coordinate with the turquoise on the front.

I think this is Molly's favorite quilt.  And this is why I so enjoy making quilts for her -- because she truly loves, values, and appreciates them.  And I know that because of her handmade quilts, her dorm room looks a little homier, she stays a little warmer, and she sleeps wrapped in her mother's love every night.  

Wonky Log Cabin 020

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Drumroll, please....

Happy Cottage Quilter 
is the winner of the fabulous Amy Butler charm squares!
Something tells me they are going to a good home!

Thanks so much to all the friends old and new who visited my blog and participated in the giveaway!  You may remember that I said that June is a pretty special month for me at least 4 different ways, so I just may have to have several giveaways in June!  Watch and see!

Now I must hurry off to get ready for the Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting tonight!  And the theme is...Charm Squares!  More later....

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Charmed, I'm Sure (a giveaway)

It's time for Sew, Mama, Sew's May Giveaway Day, and my contribution is this set of charm squares.  Forty-two different 5" squares of Amy Butler fabrics from a variety of lines (Gypsy Caravan, Ginger Bliss, Charm, Belle, Lotus, Daisy Chain).  Just leave a comment and you are entered.  It's that easy!  The winner will be randomly chosen on May 20, and I will ship internationally.  

What can you do with a set of charm squares?  
I asked several Flickr friends and blogging buddies if I could share photos of their lovely quilts for inspiration, and they generously agreed.

Believe it or not, this was Pam's (Flickr name: flint knits) very first quilt.  Simple but beautiful (and look at those Amy Butler fabrics!). I wish my first quilt looked like this! Check out her Flickr photostream to see other crafts and her beautiful knitting! 

Charm Squares Baby Quilt by Oh, Fransson!
This is Elizabeth's (Oh, Fransson!) Charm Squares Baby Quilt. Wondering how it would look in different fabrics/colors?  What about this one or this one?  You can access Elizabeth's free tutorial for Sew, Mama, Sew here, and if you're interested in efficient ways of making your own charm squares (which are fun to swap), see her recent post here.  Elizabeth is leading an activity on charm squares at this Thursday's meeting of the Portland Modern Quilt Guild (see button in side bar to the right) so come back later in the week to hear all about that.

far far away squared quilt top by filminthefridge
This beauty, featuring Heather Ross'  Far, Far, Away,  is by Ashley of Film in the Fridge.  Ashley not only makes amazing quilts, but she is a wonderful photographer as well.

Daisy Chain Quilt top by HazelnutDesigns
Look what a simple four patch plus white sashing creates!   For even more eye candy and inspiration from Cristin (aka Hazelnut Designs), visit her blog, Sew This is My Life.

Values Quilt Tutorial by Sew Katie Did
So many of you have enjoyed my value quilt, which I made in a quilt along led by Katie (Sew Katie Did), who does absolutely beautiful work!  Charm squares can easily be made into half square triangle units, especially when you have a tutorial to follow.  Thanks, Katie!

Spring free quilt pattern
Any way you slice them, charm squares can make a simple but beautiful quilt.  This one is from Manuela (Katinka Brusselsprouts), and also features a free tutorial.  I can't wait to make one of these myself.  I'm picturing a wall hanging for the living room....

And last, but not least, is the fabulous Charm Bracelet quilt by Kate Conklin (Kate Conklin Designs).  
I bought the pattern as soon as I saw it and love to dream about making my own Charm Bracelet quilt with favorite fabrics (like Amy Butler) and choosing just the right framing and background fabrics!  You can purchase a copy of this pattern here, and take a look at her many other wonderful patterns while your there. 

Thanks again to Pam, Elizabeth, Ashley, Cristin, Katie, Manuela, and Kate! You've made today's post especially beautiful!

And, dear Readers, now that you've been distracted by all the lovely quilts, don't forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway.  Good luck!

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Updated 5/20/10 -- the giveaway has ended!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Coming attractions

Thank you so much for all the well wishes.  I am feeling better -- if not 100% -- and well enough to sew, which is always a good thing!  I am far from any finishes but keep plugging along on three quilts.  I finally have enough blocks today to spread them out randomly for sneak peeks into the quilt tops they will (hopefully) soon become.

Three very different quilts.  To me the hexagon quilt has lots of sass and energy, while the cross quilts are subtle and calm.  Who knows how they will evolve as I still have so many more blocks to add.

Be sure to stop by on Monday as I will be participating in Sew, Mama, Sew's May Giveaway Day!

A few days after that:

And in June I hope to have another giveaway to celebrate a pretty big month for me -- my birthday, my 25th wedding anniversary, and my one year blogiversary/one year Flickr anniversary.  I'm hoping to come up with something fabulous!

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Too sick to sew

The last thing I tried to do before the serious coughing and sneezing started was to finish this Dresden plate pillow.  Unfortunately, although I was pretending that I wasn't getting sick, my head was too fuzzy for math, and I cut the inner border wider than planned and the outer border too narrow for the pillow form.  

I also had a last minute change of heart and did not keep with my plan of all solids, including using Kona Coal for the plate center and background.  It was about the time I figured out that the whole thing was too small (although it will work with a smaller pillow form) that I realized I had a fever and should probably be in bed rather than sewing and making creative decisions.  

I hate being sick, and it always fills me with overwhelming anxiety.  Friends and colleagues keep emailing me, meetings are being scheduled, events are being planned, deadlines are looming large.    The world keeps moving forward, but I have been defeated by a lousy little virus.  So I am trying to think positive, not succumb to a pity party, and concentrate on getting better.  It is, after all, only temporary and nothing serious.  And all the real and imagined obligations and responsibilities? Well, in the words of Scarlet O'Hara, "I can't think about that right now.  If I do, I'll go crazy.  I'll think about that tomorrow."  Because, as she also said, "Tomorrow is another day."

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mini show and tell

I thought I would finish a quilt back or two today for the Spring to Finish challenge, but that never happened.  After spending a lot of time looking for good deals on fabric online without ever actually pressing that "buy" button and then grocery shopping, I didn't find any time for sewing until late in the afternoon.

I finished this Hope Valley 36 patch for a bee,

and these gnome homes for another bee,

and I finished a few more cross blocks.  Believe it or not, I'm actually running out of fabrics for each cross quilt and need to get more.  I still just can't make myself hit that "buy" button.
You should probably know that my beautiful daughter looked at me with her big eyes and flashed her movie star smile, and she will now be the happy recipient of the Nicey Jane + Essex cotton linen cross quilt.  It was only a matter of time really.

Actually, I did buy one thing online today -- the first issue of Fat Quaterly.
Seventy-eight pages of information, inspiration, patterns, articles, and giveaways! 

On Wednesday you saw that I am joining the Pillow Talk 3 Swap, and I am very excited about it.  I love the pillows that have come out of that swap in previous rounds.  Maybe I should make a practice pillow.  The only pillows I've ever made were the ones to match Molly's half hexagon quilt from last summer.

 I recently completed my first swap in a Flickr swap group.  This is what I received from Melanie (Crandons):
The swap was for the 1/2 yard of the Amy Butler fabric and the 1/2 yard of the FMF vines, but Melanie tossed in all these precious scraps!  Opening the package felt like Christmas morning, and I am convinced that no one could love or appreciate these scraps more than I!  And -- another believe it or not moment -- my first FMF ever!  It's about time!

And last, but not least, I prepped just a few more hexagon blocks for the ORBC quiltalong.

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan