Summer in the Air

Summer in the Air

Almost the entire Northwest is dancing in the streets as the past couple of days have been sunny and warm AND there’s no rain in the ten-day forecast.  AND it looks like a sunny and warm holiday weekend.  We’ve set some records for rainfall this winter so the sun is ever so welcome.

I finished the top of my Submariner’s Compass quilt using the RobinRuth books and rulers.  The smartest thing I’ve done for a while is to start working on it the day after I took the class.  There’s now a good chance I’ll remember how it works when I want to do other compass projects.  Robin’s books are very clear and there are videos on her website (robinruthdesign.com) which will be a big help.

My small quilt group is returning to a challenge we did some years ago for our first project.  We each made a medallion for the center of our quilt and included some fabrics and a few guidelines and sent it to make its rounds through the group and did not see it again until the top was finished.  (We could see all the other quilts as they progressed.)  The group was smaller then and not everyone knew each other well.  It’s a giant leap of faith to release control of something you’ve made to others and let them  add to and work on it.  Forget any vision you may have had when you made the center.  It’s like falling backwards and trusting that your friends and fellow quilters will catch you.  The new quilts started their journeys through the hands of dear quilter friends in April and we won’t see how ours turned out for a year.  I’ll work on part of every quilt, comment in the journal that accompanies each quilt while trying to imagine what will work best and what the owner will like.  The challenge is not in getting the quilt you want, but in letting go and receiving the gift of friendship that will be handed back to me next June.

Here’s my quilt from the original challenge:  I had no idea what to expect at the big reveal.  It’s one of my favorite possessions.

If you’re a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan, you’ll recognize the appliqué on the bottom.  It’s both fun and a little scary when your friends know you this well.  I can hardly wait to see what they come up with this time!

We’re heading into Red, White and Blue season.  The “Blue Star Mother” pattern will be on sale until the end of June.  Check the Shopping Page and consider what some of the other patterns might look like in patriotic fabrics.   I enjoy working with the colors and the themes of this season.  There are lots of patriotic quilts and craft projects I’ve worked on over the years.  I love bringing them out and making new ones.  I’ll show off a couple in my next post.

Enjoy the upcoming long weekend and be safe!

Keep quilting for fun.

Candy

 

Get Into Those Spring Colors

Get Into Those Spring Colors

Welcome May!  According to our weather person, spring will start tomorrow with some sunny and warm weather.  And may I say that it’s about time.  All the rain and cool weather have been tiresome, but everything here is the most gorgeous shade of vibrant green.  Sadly, this also includes the weeds, but I’ll get ’em over the next couple of (dry) days.

The tulips and hyacinths really went to town.  The hyacinths took kind of a beating during an unseasonable wind storm early in April.  They were listing pretty badly but continued to scent the front yard.

They’re about finished now, but the veggies and a few flowers will go in soon so the yard will still be busy.

I spent a chunk of April out of town.  As in 5 days gone, 3 days home, 5 days gone, 3 days home, 2 days gone.  I enjoyed every bit of my travels.  I am currently playing catch-up.  It seems that everything, including the dust just piles up while I’m gone.

Last week I spent a very fun day in a quilt class taught by Robin Long.  Robin teaches a really slick way to make Mariner’s Compass blocks.  She’s developed a ruler that makes the process both efficient and accurate with no paper piecing and very little waste.  Here’s the practice one I made in class:

Pretty nifty!  I was so encouraged that I started a quilt the next day.  Not  all the compasses have centers yet and aren’t sewn to the backgrounds, but you can get the gist.

I’ll post a picture when I finish.  If you’re interested in pursuing this technique, go to www.robinruthdesign.com and see her work, books, rulers and videos.

While I was going through the pots of snail mail that accumulated while I was gone, it came to me that I was looking at wonderful examples of color combinations in catalogs like Grandin Road.  The furniture, rugs and home dec items pictured give lots of hints about colors and how to use them together.  This resource has been hitting my mailbox regularly for years.  You probably have some, too.  You only have to buy one little thing to be engulfed in catalogs for life.  When you see a something you like, tear out the page for your inspiration file.  Then consider the colors, values and percentage of each color used.  If you don’t have an inspiration file, I really suggest starting one and checking it often.  You just never know what will light up a cool quilt idea.

Please keep our fellow quilters who are enduring severe weather in your thoughts and prayers.  Although I whine about the weather here, it’s very unlikely that I’ll be tornadoed or flooded.  I’m very grateful for this and send good thoughts to those whose lives are currently being upended.

We invite you to visit the rest of the site and sign up for our newsletter.

Keep quilting for fun.

Candy

 

Enter Spring

Enter Spring

Spring is officially here.  Here in the Northwest, spring weather means all the weather in one day.  Sun, rain, wind, maybe some thunder.  Because we’ve had such  record-breaking rainfall, many a back yard is pretty swampy, mine included.  However, the front yard is merely soaking wet and the tulips don’t seem to mind it much.  We’ll have plenty of color out there soon.  I’m fervently hoping the tulips will overshadow the weeds which have also loved the wet weather.

My quilt guild had a show last weekend and our small quilt group had a chance to show off the projects we’ve been working on for a year and a half.  We all had the same group of fabrics, though we could add some if we chose and the same blocks from the Tula Pink “100 Modern Blocks” book.  We each made at least 60 blocks although a few overachievers made more.  There are a few missing from the group below but you’ll get a taste of how different each quilt was.

It was such a fun project to work on and my fellow quilters are just the best.  It will be a while before I use lots of black again as it was a dust and thread magnet.  (Mine is the big X.)

I finished “Limeade Runner” (finally) and it’s perfect for the kitchen table during Easter time.

It’s just seven blocks from “Pink Lemonade” put together in a line.  And here it is at work already.

If you really look at the top right of the above picture, you might notice a furry photobomber.  She blends in so well with the couch, it’s easy to miss.

Here she is with her favorite toy.  She carried it around for about 20 minutes the other day.  That ball is  so far in there I’m not sure how she does it.

Ella’s not giving up her tennis ball for love or money.

Toby has perfected his “nobody loves me” look.  Trust me when I tell you, he’s our big sweetie.

Check our shopping page for a couple of specials.

Quilt for fun.

Candy

PS  Please share us with your quilting friends.  The more, the merrier.

Longing for Spring

Longing for Spring

How is meteorological spring looking for you?  I wouldn’t have known the difference from winter if I hadn’t been listening to the weather channel while I was quilting.  The fog, rain and occasional snow looks pretty much the same as it did two weeks ago.  So I put out Easter decorations just to brighten the house up a bit. I think it’ll help a little.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Outside

Inside

Confession time:  I’ve got more than a few UFO’s hanging around and it’s time to finish them.  Most are completed tops and many aren’t even very big.  Some are projects I started in classes and just never got around to finishing (which assumes that I can figure out how to pick up where I left off).  I’ll be working to finish or give away some of these projects over the next few months.  This does not mean that I won’t start anything new.  I will.  I’m still me.  I’m actually looking forward to finishing some of these quilts because I really still like them.  Since I won’t be working out in the yard anytime soon, I can concentrate on inside projects.

Actually the UFO thing sort of springs from a newfound need to simplify my life and thin the herd that has become “our stuff.” I was inspired by seeing a friend’s newly pared down closet.  In order for this not to be overwhelming, I just do a little bit a few days a week.  One drawer is so tidy that I open it daily just to inspire myself to keep going.  (Also, to admire my work.)

I’ve been working on a quilt from Karla Alexander’s book, “Dynamic Quilts with Easy Curves.”  It’s a gift for some old friends who have recently redecorated.  The new look is very modern/contemporary with mostly neutral colors.  As you may have noticed, I’m not exactly the queen of neutral.  I think I’ve met the challenge.  Whether I was victorious is another question.  I like it more than I thought I would, but am ready for a project with color.

Since March weather can be dicey most everywhere, I’ve decided to put a few of our springier and brighter quilt patterns on sale.  If the flowers aren’t blooming in the garden, we can just make them bloom in fabric.

Tulip Field

Spring Sampler

Singing Tulips

In Full Bloom

All four quilt patterns can be found on our Shopping page.  They’re pretty much guaranteed to brighten up any space they occupy.

Please share us with your quilting friends; the more quilters, the better.

Keep quilting for fun!

Candy

Teased by Spring

Teased by Spring

Last week we had a lovely, sunny day.  The kind of day that says, “Spring is just around the corner,” when it’s really not.  Mother Nature can be an awful tease.  Still, being outside in the sunshine is really refreshing.  Since then we’ve had a couple of nice days and lots of rainy ones, with more rain on the way.  Tell me, again, “how many more days until spring?”

We went to Utah to ski with friends week before last and managed to ski a bit before it rained.  This has been such an unusual winter for many of us.  The mountains of Utah were gorgeous as always and just getting out of Dodge for a few days makes the winter pass more quickly.

I finally finished my small quilt group project. All the blocks are from Tula Pink’s “100 Modern Quilt Blocks.”  All twelve quilts were made with the same blocks and colors.  To say they’re all different would

be the understatement of the year.  It was such good practice for very accurate cutting and sewing.  Each block finished 6 X 6-inches.  I made 67 Tula blocks (and parts of a couple more).  Everyone made at least 60 and at least one person made all 100!  There’s always at least one overachiever.  The quilting was a challenge as the quilt is kind of big, 72 X 76.  My next few projects will be decidedly smaller.

Speaking of smaller, I’m in the midst of another teapot quilt.  This one is mostly wool.  The basic pattern is the same as the last Teapot Quilt, but it’s a little different look.  I’m putting in a few stitches I learned in a Sue Spargo class I took last summer, ably taught by Tonye Phillips.  The pot is still looking a little naked, but you get the idea.

I’m attempting to use materials I already have,  I have lots of little bits of wool and felted wool, which work well.  The beads in the center of the purple flower are 2mm seed beads.  For $2.59 you get a little vial with about 2000 tiny beads.  I bought them for a class where I used about five.  I have enough left to last for generations.  If anyone’s interested, I’m happy to share.

I’m thinking about a poppy quilt for this summer based on this picture:

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Poppies always take me back to the flower days of the late 60’s and early 70’s.  I loved the bright colors and pink and orange together.  I also liked the clothes, although that’s a whole different story.

Time to get back to my teapot and maybe a cup of tea.

We’d love to hear your comments and follow us on Facebook.

Quilt for Fun.

Candy

 

 

Digging Out

Digging Out

We’re now back to weather that we  call normal.  The snow and ice are gone and it’s about 30 degrees warmer than it was a week ago.  The tulips are just starting to come up and we may survive winter.  The back of the house had lots of icicles.  One was 28 inches long!  Check out the bottom of this hanging basket:

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We’ve had wintry weather before, but icicles off the bottom of a hanging basket is a first for me.  Because we had such a lovely fall, I hadn’t taken old flowers out the the pots.  Of course, they’re all totaled except the pansies.  Those babies are tough.

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I finished Dancing Teapot today.  It came a long way from this

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to this

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And a close-up of the flowers and quilting.

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The teapot and decorations are fused, so it’s pretty quick to do.  I needed a little color to brighten up our rainy, winter days.  The pattern will be on the Shopping page tomorrow.

My next move is to make the teapot penny rug style.

Having some smaller projects that go quickly is really nice when there are some pretty big ones in the queue.  I have a couple of large quilts that “just” need to be bound.  As if that will take a half hour or something.  I also want to make some serious headway into my stack of unquilted tops.  (After all, it’s still January and we’re allowed to say stuff like this as if we have all the time in the world.)

I have one other project that’s been haunting me for many years.  Back in about 1983, I started a Christmas quilt.  I’m pretty sure the pattern was from Quilter’s Newsletter.  I finished the top and began hand quilting it.  I didn’t get very much quilting done, but vowed to finish the following year.  Cut to 2017.  That same unquilted piece has been hanging around all these years and I haven’t put one more stitch in it.  The backing is plain white and the batting is polyester and a bit fluffier than I like now.  So here’s the plan:  I take out the hand quilting (Luckily there isn’t much), and sandwich cotton batting and a more colorful backing and machine quilt it.  I really want to finish as I totally loved the fabrics and I want to use it at Christmas time.

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 I’m thinking my new mantra for the year will be “Fix it or fling it.”  This is not just about quilting, but about a lot of stuff I’ve accumulated over the years.  Because we haven’t moved in 27 years, we’ve tended to save stuff “just in case.”  I’ve decided that if I’m not using something, someone else should get a chance to.  So this will be my first “fix it.”

When I get to a “fling it” quilt top, I’ll post it here and on Facebook so that other quilters can get first dibs before I give it away.  Check us on Facebook and post any quilt top that you’d like to give away to a good home and we’ll see if we can put some “fix it” and “fling its” together.

As always, we ask you to share us with your fellow quilters.

Quilt for fun,

Candy

Snowmageddon

Snowmageddon

If you have ever lived in the Middle West, Northeast, or anywhere that gets real snow, try not to fall off your chair laughing.  Portland had big snow. This is my back deck for the last 3 days.

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Because our street (and many others) is basically a sheet of ice with a sprinkling of snow on top, we haven’t left the house since Tuesday.  I’m working on a major attack of cabin fever.  It’s not that I really need to go someplace; it’s that I can’t if I want to.  MUST GO SOMEPLACE.  A college roommate asked if I’d cleaned our my closets and tidied up my quilting space.  I laughed for a half hour!

Wednesday it was dark and snowy the whole day.  I wasn’t feeling very energetic so gave myself over to what my Grandfather would’ve called monkeying around.  I found this drawing that I did a couple of weeks ago about three minutes before I fell asleep.

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Silly, but fun.

Last week I used it as a basis for this.

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I drafted a bigger one as the original was about 4 inches high, gave it a handle and got going.

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Then it was time to dig into THE STASH.

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So far, everything is fused except the rick-rack,  which is machine stitched down.

To create a little depth, I used  a Prima Watercolor pencil (#137, olive green) at the edges of anything that should be a bit shadowed.

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One of the upsides of watercolor pencil is that it’s easy to lighten up with a damp paint brush.

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So here we are.  Now that I see the photo, there will be some minor changes.

I’m also going to try this with wool.  And maybe a tea cozy.  We’ll see how it turns out.

We would really love it if you would share us with your quilting friends.  The more the merrier!

Stay warm and quilt for fun.

Candy

PS  Got to the grocery store.  Cabin fever dealt with.

Holidays

Holidays

They’re here!  It’s “the Holidays” and they include everything from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.  All in all, that’s about six weeks of fun, stress, and stress to make it fun.  I love the idea of it all and am planning to relax and enjoy as much as possible.  If it could just look like a Christmas card of a cozy cottage with snow all around, gingerbread men waiting for Santa and a warm fire in the fireplace as opposed to chains on the tires, and a cancelled flight.  So here’s the new plan:  don’t go for perfection, go for fun.  Don’t do it all, do the parts you love.  Sound familiar?

So this happened yesterday.

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The forecast said a bit of snow in the morning.  It actually snowed on and off most of the day.  It didn’t stick and this is what it looked like this morning.

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 It did leave some serious snow in the mountains and ski season promises to be good this year.

I put the Christmas quilts up and Sweet Husband assembled and decorated the tree.  While I have some thoughts about a new Christmas quilt, it will wait until after the holidays.  I have a couple of projects with deadlines that need to be dealt with first.  With time running short, I recommend a table runner like our “Santa Says Hi” runner that can realistically be finished before the end of December.

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Depending on the colors of your fussy-cut centers, you could go anywhere from traditional colors, to coral and olive green to apple green and purple.  What’s in your stash?

This is also the time of year when we start thinking about resolutions.  This year I’m going more realistic.  I want to get some new patterns out there and have them be available in a timely manner.  A Christmas pattern that comes out at Thanksgiving isn’t going to cut it.  The best way to accomplish this is to put in on the calendar, put it on the list and write it in ink in my planner.  We have some fun ideas and are looking forward to sharing them with you.  In the meantime, see what we have on our shopping page!

To all our quilting friends, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Quilty New Year!

Candy and Barb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Hallowe’en

Happy Hallowe’en

This is what goes on around here at Hallowe’en.

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The “tombstone” at upper left fell over when we had some wind.  Naturally, the mums had been planted about three days before.  As you may have guessed, the center mum was never the same.

The very unfinished quilt top is all from the Hallowe’en stash.  When this is finished, I plan to go right to spring so I have some new things to show.

The little tree is decorated with fall ornaments I found at a quilt show some years ago.

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This picture is not all I’d hoped.  I took it panorama style and had to limit pixels to upload it.  It’s kind of cool, but it bends everything a little.  The table is actually a regular rectangle.  Mona and Maynard spend October having their moment at my dining room table.  The rest of the year they hang out in my office.

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And yes, this actually is in my yard.  The witch has been a Hallowe’en staple for some hard years, but she survives.

The sock is from a wool class I took years ago.  It just pleases me.

I think the last one is self explanatory.

 

Sadly, it’s slated to rain on the Trick or Treaters on Monday, but the weatherman has been wrong before and I can only hope the kids get a break.

Next time I’ll talk about actual quilting.  I have lots of new ideas to try out soon.

In the meantime, here’s Toby –

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“Only two more days until all the kids come to tell me how cute I am!”

Quilt for Fun and Happy Hallowe’en!

Candy

 

October Color

October Color

It rained here last night.  The kind of rain that actually gets down to the roots.  It’s cool and cloudy and that fall smell is in the air.  It’s a mixture of wet leaves, wet dirt and not enough sun.  In the “olden days,” there would also be burning leaves mixed in and although I totally support the idea of clean air, I do miss that smell in the fall.  There are still lots of leaves on the trees . . . well, some trees.IMG_1221   IMG_1220

Same parking lot, same day, two directions from where I was parked.  Apparently, not everyone is on the same schedule.

 

There is still color in the yard.  The dahlias are going strong and probably will for a few more weeks.  Love those guys.  The hydrangeas are doing their fall thing . . .

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Except for the one below that’s still the color that most of them were throughout the summer.

 

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I’ve never owned any hydrangeas until about two years ago.  Now I’d like a yard full.

And then there is alyssum and one little geranium (the tiny pink thing at the top) that’s trying to hang in.  I just put the ornamental peppers in as they add some much needed bright color.

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I finally got the binding finished on Autumn Sunset.  The pattern is ready and actually pretty easy.  The video on painting highlights and shadows is still on the to do list.  That project will be a learning experience for me.

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The painting part is completely optional.  I just like messing around with it.  The pattern is available over on the Shop page.

I went to the Quilting Expo in Portland last weekend.  There were lots of really great quilts and I took a bunch of pictures.  Sadly, none of them is very focused.  Usually my phone takes great pictures, but I suspect I did snapped and went so quickly that it didn’t have a chance to focus.  Here are a couple that aren’t too bad.

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I enjoyed how the spiral, above, is escaping the edges of the quilt.

Now that it’s October, I’m all about Halloween.  This week most of the decorations will go up.  The outdoor stuff will wait a couple of weeks.

 I dove into the Halloween stash and made this cutie.

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What no home should be without.  The perfect size for my rocking chair.

Drink some cider, eat a pumpkin scones and enjoy this colorful season.

Quilt for Fun!

Candy