Deeply Into Summer

Deeply Into Summer

I walked into one of my favorite fabric stores today and right up front and center, what should I see?  Christmas Fabric.  And lots of it.  I’m not ready!  I get it.  If one is going to create some fabulous projects for Christmas (and I mean for 2017), one should probably start now.  I know that Christmas in July is a thing; it’s just not mine.  It kind of reminds me of back-to-school supplies on July 6 in the variety stores.  It’s just too soon.  There’s a fine line between WAY too early and a day late and a dollar short.

It did remind me, however, that it’s time to start Fall and Halloween projects.  The new fabric’s been out for weeks and I still have about a million yards from years gone by.  As I’ve said before, (at least I think so; okay, I’m pretty sure) the biggest problem with Fall and Halloween fabrics is that the prints are so cute, one (me) doesn’t want to cut them up into tiny pieces.  I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.  So, how about this?

The picture blocks finish at 5 X 7 inches, so it’s possible to use up some  smallish scraps of fun fabric.  It’s also layer cake friendly.  I’ve done some repeats on the quilt above, but if you stay in a somewhat limited palette, you could make all the pictures different.

And yes, it would be great with Christmas prints for the make-way-ahead crowd.

The plan is to have the pattern posted by Tuesday, August 1.

Today, I’ll pick my first tomatoes of the year.  The Sweet Million plant is really going to town.  There’s nothing like meaty, sweet tomatoes from your own yard.  Or Farmer’s Market tomatoes, fresh from someone else’s farm.

 

This is one of the top reasons I love summer.  Also, warm evenings, bare legs, the smell of newly cut hay, and fresh fruit.

So what’s on your quilting list for the week or the month?  Comment on the post, send us an email, include a picture.  We’d love to know what others are working on.  Share us with your quilting friends.  And, of course, keep quilting for fun.

Candy

 

Let the Quilting, Fusing, Dyeing Begin

Let the Quilting, Fusing, Dyeing Begin

Summer is here, the garden is in and my sewing machine is in the shop for its yearly checkup.  Apparently June is tune-up-your-sewing machine month as it’s been in the shop for two weeks and it’s just now ready to come home.  Since today is a Friday in the Summer, I’m not going to retrieve it until tomorrow.  I find that about 2 pm Friday afternoon, about half the population takes a stupid pill and hits the freeway.  It should be a lovely weekend so there will be lots of traveling to lakes and beaches.

Sunday, Barb and I head for the hills, (literally) when we drive up to Sisters, OR for a week of quilting topped off with the Outdoor Quilt Show on Saturday.  Sisters is located on the east side of the Cascades at the edge of Oregon’s high desert.  It’s a lovely setting for both Quilter’s Affair classes and the Outdoor Show.  I’ve been going since 1993 except for a year when we vacationed in Europe and the year my son got married.  This year I have four days of classes and a day to just hang around.  There’s a lot to be said for the relaxation of just hanging around.  In this day and age, people don’t do it so much and I think that’s a shame for both adults and kids.  Enjoying a day, taking it all in, is good for the soul.

On the left, the highway through town is closed on the day of the show.  On the right, quilts are hung on the outside of most of the buildings in town.  How can you not love this?  Also, being with friends and not cooking or cleaning is always good.

For the first year ever, all my quilting stuff is packed up and ready to for Sunday.  Clearly, that’s because the sewing machine is gone (although I could’ve borrowed Barb’s) and I found the need to clean the quilting studio.  Who saves tiny bits of fusible web?  Not to mention some weird junk that I have no idea what it does?  The good news is that it’ll be ready to roll when I get back.  This year I’m doing a fusing class, quilting with rulers and painting on fabric.  Barb will be dyeing fabric and making tote bags.  So much to learn, so little time.

         All packed up and ready to roll (left). Just a small mess in the background.       For me, this is neat.  Just a little more quilting to do on Submariner’s Compass.

I’m already thinking about fall.  I have a couple of ideas in my head and will get lots more inspiration this coming week.  Now I’ll go bake some cookies for my housemates.

If this post has issues, please know that I couldn’t preview it and hope to have the problem solved quickly.  I love the internet, but it’s always something.

Have a wonderfully fun and safe Independence Day weekend.

Keep quilting for Fun!

Relaxing Summer

Relaxing Summer

Just so you know, I’m aware that the two words in the above title are mutually exclusive.  Oh, there will be times when it’s possible to sit outside and sip iced tea or a margarita.  But on the whole, there is more gardening, more traveling, more cleaning (the dogs bring in lots of bark dust and little sticky things), and more daytime to do the things we want and need to do.  The good news for many of us is that we have more energy when we enjoy more sun.

My vegetable garden isn’t in yet, but will be soon.  I find it pointless to put in veggie starts in May and watch them  just sit there and shiver for a month.  Also, I don’t garden much when it’s 50 and raining.  I have standards.  Here’s a picture of what will be veggies next week.

The coral poppies really went to town.  I was afraid they’d be pretty seriously abused by the cold weather last winter, but I’m happily wrong.  The California poppies (aka “weeds” in my dad’s book) do just what I want:  provide color between tulip and veggie seasons and require no care.

Every once in a while I go through my stash and just re-stack the fabrics.  They get messy when I pick through them and creating a neatness makes me feel more organized.  It also reminds me of what is hiding in there.  A couple of weeks ago I rediscovered some fabric that I bought three years ago.  The collection is called Handmaids by J. Wecker Frisch.  These are funky and a bit steam punk and I bought several pieces.

I love the mix of color and black and white and the funkiness of it.  The problem is, what does one do with these pieces?  These squares measure about 7 ½ inches.  There was only one thing to do – update “Harry’s Halloween” and make a quilt.  The collection also includes some black and white rectangles to which I added a bit of color with sharpies.

This was a project that I couldn’t wait to get out of my head even though more than one top is waiting to be quilted.  The top is almost finished and here’s a peek at how it turned out.

It’s not all sewn together, but you can get the drift.  I’m planning to hang it in my studio.  Doing this reminded me that this sort of project needs some organization.  I will be posting some pictures and additional instruction on the How To page for those who want to make Harry’s Halloween and its relatives, Mother’s Halloween, Harry’s Alphabet and this quilt, Sewist’s Delight.  While some parts of the quilt get changed, the basic idea remains the same.  The Harry’s Halloween pattern will be specially priced until July 10.  As always, if you have questions about patterns and instructions, we are happy to help.  Email us at motheronabroomstick@gmail.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Ella just celebrated her 10th birthday.  She has absolutely no clue that she’s an “older dog.”  Actually, I’m not sure she thinks she’s a dog.  Perhaps an ever-youthful, furry person.  This picture was taken at Easter at Nana’s house. Ella and Toby love going to Nana’s house.  Nana scratches their ears and tells them how beautiful and smart they are and how she wishes they would stay longer.  Of course, they don’t get her up at six in the morning.  Funny how that works out.

I’m off to finish “Sewist’s” and clean up the big mess I made choosing background fabric.

Enjoy Summer and keep quilting for fun!

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:

.

 

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:

img_1624

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.

dscn1549

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

img_1606

to this

dscn1543

And a close-up of the flowers and quilting.

img_1633

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.

dscn1546

 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

Happy Hallowe’en

Happy Hallowe’en

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

img_1277 img_1270 img_1286

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.

img_1280

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.

img_1293 img_1304 img_1295

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 –

img_1297

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

Quilt for Fun and Happy Hallowe’en!

Candy

 

Halloween – Quilt for Fun

Halloween – Quilt for Fun

Yesterday was a nearly perfect example of a gorgeous fall day:  calm winds, cloudless blue sky and temperatures in the low 60’s.  It was the kind of day that I could’ve lived sixty times in a row.  Today is still warm and the morning was sunny.  Now high clouds are thickening up and we’re looking at a week of rain.  Swell.  The good news is that I will quilt more because I won’t be tempted to wander outside.

I made good use of lovely yesterday.  This is what 99 planted tulip and hibiscus bulbs look like.

img_1239

I’m actually kind of a fan of instant gratification, so next spring seems a long way off.  There are another 99 on the other side of the brick walk.  When they’re colorful and smell like spring, I’ll be glad I took the time to plant them.

About the only things left in the garden that are blooming are the dahlias.  They might be the showiest low-maintenance flower ever.

img_1241

I spent last weekend at my quilt guild’s fall retreat.  It’s a good way to get to know other quilters that you see every month, but never really get to talk to.  The retreat center has good food, nice people and a huge, well lit room to sew in.  Out the windows we see things like this:

img_1233

And this:

img_1232

Also, I didn’t have to let the dogs out, start dinner, or throw a load in the washer.  Always a fun weekend.  Did I finish anything?  Actually, no.  But I made some serious inroads.

Halloween has come to my house.  I used to do a lot of decorative painting.  I still do a little, but there is just not enough time to do it all.  I painted this from a pattern about 20 years ago.

img_1243-1

I have some postcards with similar images that are dated from the early 20th century.  They show lots of witches and jack-o-lanterns and black cats and tend to be more sweet than scary.  I love this holiday for lots of reasons, but mostly because it appeals to my inner eight-year-old.  This is the same child-woman who read Harry Potter books in record time.  The possibility of some magic is a feeling I hope I never lose.  We can all use a little magic in our lives.

If you’ve been living in a cave, you might not know that I have a pretty large stash of Halloween fabric.  In the spirit of denting it, just a little, I’ve started a quilt that I found in the Quilty Easy Modern Quilts magazine (Winter, 2016).  On page 66 a quilt called Giddy Gridlock is featured which told me it needed to be a Halloween quilt.  I have lots of cute prints that I don’t want to cut into tiny pieces and this looks like just the thing.  So here’s my start.

img_1252

Here’s to all of us who love out hats and boots and brooms!

Quilt for fun!

Candy