Loose Threads

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! 

I really appreciate all of you that still visit my blog in spite of all of the "dry spells".   It's a drizzly day here to the point that it looks foggy out.  It's a perfect day to spend in the sewing room.

You've seen this quilt here on my blog before.  I had it quilted last year by my long arm quilter.  It is made of red and white string blocks.   You can see the heart motif that he put in the border. 



Below is the drawing from my Electric Quilt file.  You can see the breakdown of the blocks a little easier.  You can make the string blocks any size that you want.  Here is the link to my string block tutorial.  You can also get there from the tab under my header.

You could also use squares and half square triangles to make the quilt if you don't want to make string blocks.  In that case you would need the following:

 6 red squares
2 white squares
40 half square triangles (half red-half white)

My blocks measure 8 inches, but you could make them any size.  I know it's too late for this year, but if you are in a Valentine mood you could start today and have the quilt finished for next year.


Here's a better look at the string blocks in the center.  I used any and all reds.  The whites range from pure white to creams, and I even used some shirting pieces.



I love the photo below.  It was taken at my husband's family farm. This was taken before it was quilted.



Here is a smaller version using 3 inch (finished) blocks.  This is a table topper size and finishes at about 18 inches.  You can find my tutorial on how I made this table topper in my blog post here.  
It includes more on how to piece the string blocks and cut them into half square triangles.



Here is a close up of one of the string blocks.  I quilted this after watching Leah Day's Heart Paisley video.  I love her videos because she does her example on a square, and she shows you how to get on and off of that square and fill the entire area.  She has lots of videos on line if you just search.



Here is the same table mat using 3 1/2" unfinished squares and half square triangles.
For this you will need:
6 red squares
2 neutral squares
28 half square triangles

You can find more detail about this version of my table topper in my blog post here.



Here is the pattern for the table mat drawn in Electric Quilt.


The pattern for this little Valentine quilt and the Valentine table topper pictured are both available for sale in my Etsy shop.  The little quilt below fits on a wire table stand.  I have one of the Sunburst Dresden Table Toppers for every season, and there is one in the center of my table all year.  The patterns are also available at Back Door Quilts






I'm not sure what the Valentine plan is, but I bought each of us one of these.  I thought this was a better option than having a whole box of chocolate here . 


Are you all watching the Olympics coverage like I am?  There is not only the network coverage, but there is a cable channel that covers some live events.  It's NBCSN.  The problem with that is the time difference, so to watch you have to sit up into the wee hours of the morning because they won't let you record on that channel.   So I'm a bit sleep deprived, but I'm getting some stitching done in the evenings. 


Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

I hope you are finding some time to stitch today.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

My 2017 Quilts

Hello Everyone

Writing this blog post is like back in the day when we wrote snail mail letters back and forth with a friend - days before we had email.  The letters came every week at first.  Then they came every other week, and then eventually it ended up that those weekly letters turned into a form letter stuck in a Christmas card.  I think when you write less often, it is harder to figure out where to start.  That's where I'm at today.  I didn't plan to be gone for so long, but I've had two bouts of the flu since Thanksgiving.  Both times I ended up with an infection and an antibiotic.  I'm trying to take it easy and slow down......some.

Right before I got sick this last time after Christmas, I pulled everything that wasn't nailed down out of my sewing room which is the room that should be our guest room.  It is about 11' X 12'.   I put everything out into the entryway, great room, and on the table and that is where it stayed until recently when I began to feel better.  I was going to start with a blog post with those photos, but I lost my nerve.

So I decided to start with the quilts that I finished in 2017 instead.

This is my version of Brinton Hall.  The pattern was published in Quiltmania magazine No. 82. 


Here is a closer look at the center.  Instead of the applique' flowers in the pattern, I chose to do broderie perse flowers, and I added some embroidery flowers and leaves.  This center was so much fun that I was kind of sad when I had finished it.


This quilt is just something I made up.  I still love making string blocks.   Here is a link to the string block tutorial on my blog.  You can also find it in the tabs under my blog header.


This quilt was machine quilted by Paul WyCoff.  

This is my Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses quilt.  I finished these 16 blocks, sewed them into this small quilt, and machine quilted it on my home machine.  I still have more block kits prepped so who knows where they will end up.  You can find my tutorial here on how to fussy cut your Lucy Boston blocks so the outside round forms a square.  That link is also under my blog header.  


Here is a small part of my 2" six pointed diamond quilt.  When there is a sunny day, I'll take a photo of the entire quilt because I don't think I blogged about it since I finished it.  It was just finished this past year.  This was quilted by Paul Wycoff.

 Brinton Hall is one of my favorites because I love hexagons.  It is another pattern from Quiltmania magazine 107-108.  The original pattern called for a row or more of blocks around the hexagon center.  I believe they were star blocks.  I liked the quilt just as it is, and I liked the border with it.  This was quilted by Paul Wycoff.  

This is a quarter Dresden blade pillow I did with embroidery in the sashing.  I just made this up and plan to write a pattern with the pillow and the quilt in the next photo.  

The quilt is a Dresden Hourglass.  I really enjoy using the Easy Dresden ruler.  I hate to think of how many years I had that ruler sealed up in its package before I ever opened it and made my first Dresden.  Now it's hard to stop.  I quilted this one myself.  

This twisted bargello has been in my stack of UFOs for several years.  It was there mostly because I didn't know how to quilt it.  So one day I just basted it and started quilting.  I made this by reading through a pattern I bought years ago, looking at a pattern in a magazine, and I ended up just doing my own thing.  

I sew with a group downtown on Thursday mornings.  We try to do a group project of some sort each year.  Last year we did Gypsy Wife.  Everybody did the blocks they wanted and as many as they wanted.   Some people substituted other blocks for ones they didn't want to do.  I had a bag of half square triangles so I substituted those.   This is my version.  I machine quilted this one.

The pattern for this quilt is from Pacific Rim Quilt Company.   These two color quilts are a manageable size and are a lot of fun to hand applique'.  You just pick a color of thread that works and stitch.    The background is a creamy yellow fabric hand dyed by my friend, Val, from Canada.  I machine quilted this one. I like to echo quilt, and these flowers seemed like a good place to do that.  

Here is another quilt that was in the UFO pile for a lot of years.   I believe this is from a book by Gai Perry about 1995 called Impressionist Quilts.  This quilt is made of all squares that finish at 1".  These were all put on a design wall and sewn together individually.  I machine quilted this one.


This is Alletaire the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt from 2016.  It was machine quilted by Paul Wycoff.  This is a photo of the finished top.



I love the design he did in the border.  


Talkin' Turkey is another Bonnie Hunter pattern.  I did the top over a year ago.  It was started in a Bonnie Hunter class that I took over in Cincinnati with my friend Michele.  What a fun time we had!


Here it is quilted although you can't see a lot in this photo.



This quilt is in Edyta Sitar's book Friendship Strips and Scraps.  I like this quilt.  No, it didn't use up much of my stash at all.



This quilt is made from Anita Shackleford's Ohio Collection book and some blocks were taken from 
Album Quilts of Miami Valley.  There were four of us that worked on our own version of this quilt and shared ideas and blocks and motivated each other.  Karen, Cathy and Lori and I had fun doing this project and sharing our progress on our blogs.  Karen even drew several of the blocks and shared her original designs.   


Paul Wycoff quilted this with an all over Baptist Fan design which works well with these blocks.

This is my version of  Holly and Mistletoe from the Blackbird Design book When the Cold Wind Blows.  The original quilt had a couple of applique' blocks in the center and the vase of holly was off center.  I like symmetry, so I put the vase in the center and left out the other two blocks.  The original border is all appliqued', but I've had this red and green fabric in my stash just waiting for the right quilt so I used it for the border.  


Here's a closer look at the center.  It is all hand appliqued'.


Here's what's for dinner tonight.  Chili really hits the spot when you don't feel well or even if you do, and we've eaten a lot of it this winter.  My recipe makes enough that we can have leftovers for a night - sometimes two nights.  That leaves more time for sewing.    Here's the recipe:

Chili
3 pounds ground chuck
1 large yellow onion (or a large and a small one) finely chopped
1- 46 ounce can tomato juice
2 cans dark kidney beans
2 cans light kidney beans
1 - 8 ounce can tomato sauce
2 heaping tablespoons sugar
4 heaping tablespoons chili powder
salt and pepper

Brown ground chuck and finely chopped onion.  Drain fat.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until desired thickness.  Reduce heat and simmer to blend the flavors.


That's it for now.  I'll try not to stay so long next time.


I hope you are finding some time to stitch today.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Sew With Us Baskets

I'm sewing a few baskets along with Barb at Fun With Barb blog and Kelly at Pinkadot Quilts blog.   I'm not really starting a new project.  I'm just making a few blocks.  And, that's how I get into trouble.  When I last visited my friend, Michele, she gave me some triangle paper that she wasn't going to use.  I saw Barb's blog post about making these cute pieced baskets, and the triangle paper didn't have a use yet.  


This was my first basket.  I used a piece of muslin for this trial block.  I'm not sure if it shows in the photo, but there are spots of dirt on this block from my iron.  More on that later.........

This is my drawing with the cut measurements to make this block.  Note:  My triangle paper says my half square triangles finish at 1 1/2", but I trim them to 1 3/4" so they will really finish at 1 1/4".   I am going by one of the Dear Jane Mottos:   Cut it big and whack it off!


I have several more of these baskets kits prepped and set aside in baggies.  My friend Pam has told me many times about the advantages of cutting blocks and making kits so whenever there is time to sew, I can just grab a baggie and go to work.  It has only taken me about 20 years to take her advice!



We had a nice Thanksgiving with family here at our house, and we have a lot of our Christmas decorations up already including our outside lights.  Things have come to a grinding halt here because I have a cold and a lot of congestion.  It's nothing earth shaking, but right now I'm at the point where my ears are stopped up and I just want to rest my head somewhere.  So I've stopped sewing on the baskets for now, and I'm doing hand sewing.....mostly sewing hexagons.

I'm linking up with my friend, Judy, at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.blogspot.com for Design Wall Monday. 

I hope you are finding some time to stitch today.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Giggleswick Class With Di Ford

I returned late Sunday afternoon from another wonderful retreat up in Shipshewana, Indiana.  I have been especially excited about this retreat, because I attended a dinner/lecture on Friday night with Di Ford and an all day workshop Saturday on her Giggleswick Mill Sampler.  I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was to be able to take her class.  She is just wonderful.  She signed all of our books and posed for photos.  She said she planned to come back.   I really hope she does.  

The photo below is my center block from class.  It was in and out of my bag several times, and some of the basted flowers came off so it will need a bit of tweaking (and ironing).  I was pretty tired when I started to applique' the top pointed part of the vase.  It took me awhile to realize that I should have sewn the  the stems down first.  It needs some work, but you can get the general idea.  In class we cut the flowers to broderie perse from our fabrics.  Di worked with individual groups doing needleturn applique' and English paper piecing while others worked on their center block.


The photo below is the center of Di's quilt.  If you compare the two, mine looks like someone forgot to water my flowers, and they have wilted a bit.  If you look closely at the photo below, she has added 3 pentagons with yellow centers that she has fussy cut .  They add a little color to the bouquet.  They could also be added where you have an empty space in your work.  


Below you can see the fussy cut pentagons a bit better.


The photo below shows how she pieced two sections of the wavy border fabric together horizontally to make the main part of the basket.  

This is a close up of the border around the center vase.  She has applique'd flowers that extend over the seam allowance around the wavy border print.  These are things that might not stand out to you when looking at the photos in the book.  Some of them I didn't notice standing in front of the quilt until she pointed them out.

She worked some on hexagons and 6 pointed stars.  Some of them are from her line coming out soon called Maling Road.  


We usually are in Shipshewana the week before Thanksgiving, so we aren't there for the Christmas parade followed by the tree lighting ceremony in front of the Blue Gate.  There were 6 of us that braved the cold and walked down to the end of the parade route to watch.  It was hard to get photos of the parade because of the crowd, but here are a couple of my favorite parts of the parade.  This float was really well done with lots of lights and misfit toys.



This one might be a bit hard to see, but it is a red and white striped cement truck decorated with lights and a Santa up on top.  It was reported that there were 10,000 people in town for the parade.  It was hard to get anywhere on Saturday.


I did manage to do some shopping at Lollys......   



and Yoders.


I love this display at the Blue Gate Restaurant.  Almost all of these pieces were lighted.  


I love this lighted cardinal vase on the crocheted doily.  

One of the highlights of my trip was meeting two ladies that read my blog.  Carolyn from California stopped me on my way into the Blue Gate Garden Inn.  She recognized me from my blog.  Those of you that write a blog know what a warm feeling it is to have a stranger recognize you and stop you on the street to say that they read and enjoy your blog. 

I also met Pat from Thoughts From Taylor's Outback blog.  We barely had time to say hello.  And, I didn't put her name together with her blog until she emailed me a couple days after we met.  Both of you ladies really made my day!!!

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

I hope you are finding some time to do some stitching today.  

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