Thursday, March 27, 2014

3rd time is a charm....


Unfortunately, it's actually the 5th, 6th, or 7th time!  I'm talking about irons!!  I have the worst luck with irons.  I know I've cried and whined about it many times before...but it's just something that bugs me sooo much!  LOL  My "big" iron has held up remarkably well (knock on wood!)...it's been almost TWO years ago that I bought it.  I'm sure I'm jinxing myself here...but I usually only get about a year out of an iron, no matter the price.

Over the past year, I've had issues with my smaller "travel" or table iron.  I use it on a side table next to my machine for smaller projects or for times like now when I'm working on a paper pieced project like the Points of Pride quilt.  I had a small Conair red iron that worked great for a about 6-7 years, but truthfully, I only used it when I went to workshops or retreats.  One day, the steam function stopped working.  Did I mention I love steam.  Must.have.steam.  :)

Then I went through one or two others and just didn't like them.  They didn't steam well, caught the edge of the fabric, etc.  Finally I found this one and it worked well for about six months.  Then with no warning...kaput!  No heat.

Ugh...back to Amazon I went.  I think I've tried all the "travel iron" options that pop up when I put it in the search box.  So, this is the next victim option....made by Hamilton Beach.  It had decent reviews (none of them get all favorable).

It's a bit bigger than the last few I've tried and the handle is a little funky...but if it does the job, I'm good with it!  I'll let you know how I like it after a few days of giving it a try! 

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle


Monday, March 24, 2014

Points of Pride

I pulled out an oldie but goodie and decided I'm going to seriously focus on this one to get it finished!!  This is called Points of Pride and was featured in the August 2010 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting.  I knew right away that I -had- to do this quilt...but I think I've been a bit intimidated by the time investment it's going to be.  I lugged it back and forth to retreat a couple of times, but I've never really put 100% effort into it.  Now is the time!!  I know it's not going to be a fast project, but if I just stay consistent working on it, it will be done eventually!  I have 12 of 64 blocks finished, so I definitely have my work cut out for me!  I think I need to take Dori's advice (from Finding Nemo) and instead of counting how many more I have left to do, I say, "Just keep swimming...just keep swimming! (or sewing, in this case)!  :)


 The blocks are paper-pieced and these are the "trimmings."  I can't bear to throw them out, so I knew I would need to find some way to put them to use!

That's when I remembered this little gem.  I picked up this pattern at the quilt shop in Indiana during retreat week one year and it's the perfect solution to use up all those lovely scraps!

Now it's time to buckle down and get 'er done!!

Happy Quilting!

~Michelle
Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hook(ed)

It's official.  I'm hooked on Schnibbles!  I'm sure you've heard of them by now...cute little patterns made with charm packs or charm size squares.  I've always admired the little quilts and even have plenty of patterns and books, but they were just put in that "some day" category.  I finally made my first one last month, which you probably remember was called Plan C.  I found out about the Schnibbles Parade held by A Quilting Life and Pink Pincusion and decided to join in!  Each month a different pattern is selected and for March the pattern is "Hook."  How appropriate...because I'm completely "hooked" on Schnibbles.  :)

"Hook" from Miss Rosie's Quilt Co

First thing to do...pick fabric!  I did not have two matching charms packs (I think most of the patterns use two), so I needed to turn to my "stash" to find something.  I had this nice little stack of blues and greens leftover from the 2012 Quiltville Mystery quilt called "Easy Street," and decided it was time to use 'em up!


Most were FQ size or a little less, so I ironed them up and cut them into 5" squares...and added a few 2", 2.5", and 3.5" strips to my bins as well.  The best part is, they are cut and ready to be used and not stuffed in a box anymore!

This pattern looks complicated...and it is complicated to a degree.  But...if you follow the very well written directions, it's not difficult at all!  I was really pleased with how well it came together.  A 60 degree ruler is a must!  Here are all my stars...or half stars rather.  The directions have you assemble in rows as opposed to blocks, but that technique makes it possible to avoid any Y seams and that's a very good thing!!

Ta-da!  I'm so pleased with the end result!  I'm not used to using so much "white."  I'm usually drawn to neutrals that are off white or tan...so I wasn't sure how I'd like all the WHITE!  But it turned out fine!  I think it will make a nice baby quilt for a sweet little boy.


Of course, I tried to get an outdoor picture...but once again, the wind is a blowin'!  This picture gives an idea of all the seams!  So many seams!  And most are pressed open!  I love the little checkerboard border...

There were only two things I tried to control with the colors...I wanted all the blue "blades" pointing the same way...but you'll see that I rotated 2 or 3 of them.  I also wanted each block to have a blue and a green...but you can see here that didn't work!  LOL  But then after I sewed this one together, I kind of like the two-tone version!

 I think this block is the culprit...I think that darker color was one of my "greens," but somehow it got sewn together as a blue.  Oh well...I wasn't willing to change it at that point.  Once again, no one will likely notice if I would just stop pointing out my booboos!!  :) 

I'm not sure when I'll have a chance to quilt this one...I have a few others in the queue that must get done.  We don't have any babies coming in the near future, so it'll be okay if this one sits for a while.  I do have lots more blue and green charms...I think I'm going to make a couple disappearing 9 patch quilts with those, so stay tuned!!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle
Monday, March 03, 2014

Horseshoe Trail Auction Quilt

I finally finished the auction quilt I've mentioned a few times.  Yay me!  I always kick myself for putting something off and then feeling "pressured" to finish it.  But now I can check it off my list and it's even a few days early!  

The Spouses' club on base hosts an auction every year to raise money for scholarships.  The scholarships are awarded to military dependents.  The auction items are donated by different organizations on base and also local and national businesses.

Our contribution is a quilt!  What else?  LOL  I chose to use fabric called "Horseshoe Trail," by Moda, as it has cowboys, horseshoes, etc, that I thought was appropriate for Wyoming.  :)  The quilt pattern is Yellow Brick Road by Terry Atkinson.  Originally, I was going to make it "bed size," but then thought it might be more appealing to bidders as a "throw" size.  So this one measures approximately 75" x 85"...but I made all the blocks for a queen size, so I actually have another quilt top, slightly smaller than this one, that I'll be able to use for a gift or something!

This morning, I took advantage of the bright sunshine to take it outside for a few pictures....

You might recognize this location from the pictures of my Tumalo Trail quilt back in November.  The terrain actually hasn't changed much except for a little snow covering, which is quickly melting away in this sunshine.  We have been blessed with a couple of days in the 40's...but that also brings the wind and the quilt would not cooperate!  (The backing looks very white here, but it's actually a beige with a little print)

 Most of the time it was like this....

Whenever I could, I tried to fussy cut the prints, especially with these horses....



 I don't do a good job, when using precuts (this was a FQ bundle), to remember to buy additional yardage for finishing.  I'll keep the FQ bundle for a couple years, then I can't find coordinating fabric anywhere, which is the case with this quilt.  I took the center of the top to the LQS and was lucky enough to find these two border fabrics and the binding fabric.  They were almost a perfect match!

 Just another shot of the binding...I love striped binding!

I really love this little fence...I have no idea why it's there, it's only about 20 feet long and open on either side, so it's not containing anything in or keeping anyone out.  But it's perfect for me to get some outdoor pictures.  I'll be sure to take some when everything is green!

This sign wasn't there in November...at least that I remember, but it's kind of in the way of my photo back drop!!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle

Sunday, March 02, 2014

16 Patch & Pinwheels

An update on the 16 Patch & Pinwheels quilt I mentioned in my last post.  (That's a tough name to say AND type!  Might need to come up with something else!)  I sewed up a few blocks today...and it's left me thinking, "hmmmm....am I going to like this?"  I do like the visual effect of the squares that pop out.  But something about it has me second guessing my choice of this pattern/fabric/colors....something!  I did determine that I should have up-sized the measurements...those are tiny 1.5" finished squares!  I wonder if it would have been better with 2 or 3" squares and bigger HST?  Big sigh....

I think I'll just sit on it for a bit...and maybe even look for some updated, fun greens to add in.  I does look kind of "camo" like, doesn't it?  I guess that's good since it's for a guy.

Just another angle...I need to make about a gazillion more pinwheels and 16 patches to make a queen size quilt!

Like a lot of you, we still have plenty of snow and cold temperatures.  You might have to click on the picture, but the trees have been covered in ice the last few days.  It's really pretty!

We had some backyard visitors...I never get tired of watching these guys!  I'm glad to see they are nice and filled out in the tummy area, if you know what I mean.  It seems to me, there isn't a lot of food sources available, but they must be finding it!

Today while sewing, Nick was watching the snow drip and melt...it was quite fascinating!

But he soon became bored and went back to sunny himself in the window!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle