Saturday, January 30, 2016

Pocketful of Sunshine Pattern Release

Let me just say it's long overdue.  But I'm still doing a happy dance at the release of my first quilt pattern!  You've seen this quilt before:

I made this last spring.  I blogged about it here.  It's the second version of Hidden In Plaid Sight which I made in the winter of 2014.  Both were stitched and quilted on my Bernina Artista 180.

I used Hidden In Plaid Sight as the sample in the Craftsy class Dot to Dot Quilting with Angela Walters, as those charm squares are perfect places to practise those designs. ;-)  When I uploaded photos to the class site, I had a few people ask me for a pattern.  I was pretty surprised, in a most pleasant way.

The pattern is now available through my pattern store on Craftsy here!   It is free.  Hidden is a little bigger than Pocketful, but once you have the pattern, it's pretty easy to make it bigger.  A humongous thank you goes to Jasmine at Quilt Kisses, and Judy at Quilt Paradigm who proofread the pattern for me.

I have a couple other patterns at the in-process stage which I will upload once I'm finished them.  Watch for a pattern for Blue Ribbon Stars in two sizes (again I got requests for a pattern, and that makes me smile) and for Dayna's Shadowed Stars quilt of which you've seen glimpses.

Craftsy is doing it again...tempting us to purchase gorgeous fabrics at terrific prices.  They have a sale on all weekend, where you will find some pretty amazing deals.

There is yardage, there are precuts, there are kits...and more.  If you click through from here, or on the images, and make a purchase, I do get a small commission on your purchases, since I am an affiliate.  Thank you so much!
Check this out! Whoa...
Tula Pink's butterfly quilt is on my bucket list; click here to see the kit.

 Thanks also to those of you who asked for a pattern (I never thought I'd be doing this one day)!  Enjoy the freebie!

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Midnight Mystery Flimsy

So glad I took a couple of photos yesterday as it has poured all day today.
I haven't been exactly in love with the way my colours fell into place in this quilt as it's been coming together, think I'd have preferred switching the darks and lights, but that is part of the fun of doing a mystery, right?  However, seeing it full frontal, wink, I think it's kinda purty!

I absolutely love Cheryl's pattern, and it was fun puzzling over how it would all come together in the end.
Always fun to get that "stained glass" effect
I shopped my stash for it, using leftovers from three totally different projects: a bed quilt, a lap quilt, and a table runner.  The runner and lap quilt were gifts; the bed quilt is mine. I didn't have enough of the taupe fabric, so added in a cat-themed ivory, to go with the Buggy Barn cat-themed red fabric.

I have a small tip that I figured out for sewing over places where there is a lot of bulk:
I found, after several of these intersections, that rather than pinning exactly AT the aligned points, it was more efficient to pin twice, once just before and once just after that crucial point.  The presser foot did not get so hung up on the top of the point and I could use the pins to help feed the fabric through.  Yes, I very carefully sewed over the pins.

While I was busy finishing this yesterday, Rocco was busy racing around all afternoon with his new best buds at Camp Bow Wow.

First he had an interview, which he passed with flying colours.  He met two other dogs first so they could see how he got along with others...


He sat.  He laid down.  He stayed.  All the while having the two new dogs sniffing around him.  He was rewarded with a treat or two.

Then he got to go in Indoor Play Yard 2, where he sat down to catch his breath for all of, hmmm, 3 minutes for the rest of the afternoon until we picked him up at 4:45!
I downloaded their app where I can check the webcams anytime, (webcams are available through their website too) and where I also found out that there are many many Camp Bow Wows across the US.  I am not an affiliate, but I sure am happy we found them, and that they are so close to us!  Rocco will definitely be going back for more fun daycare sessions.

I might be out of QBL for a bit as my laptop is suddenly acting very weird and not letting me save my edited photos in picmonkey, which is why you are seeing these without "mmm quilts" on them, and Word keeps crashing as I'm working with shapes for the diagrams for Pocketful of Sunshine, a free pattern I hoped to release this week.  So close...  Of course my 3-year extended AppleCare expired earlier this month.  Hopefully the laptop, like its operator, just needs a good night's sleep to refresh itself.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social and WIP Wednesday.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sunday Stash on a Monday

Yum!  This is Fleet and Flourish by Maureen Cracknell, (check out that link for the quilt she just made using these fabrics--wow!) a 20-piece fat quarter bundle.  I will confess that in my quilting life of 20 years, I have only ever bought two fat quarter bundles of one fabric line, both of which were on sale.  Yes, there have been a couple others which were bundles put together by Craftsy, not of one line, and at an unbelievable deal.  When I first heard of fabric clubs, it was from Bernie, at Needle and Foot.  She got an Art Gallery 3-month Pink Castle Fabrics fabric club present for her birthday.  Aha! Christmas was around the I put it on my list.  My sweet daughter Dayna researched the idea, and made my husband buy it for me for Christmas.  We do not exchange gifts, much to my chagrin, but he says if you want something, go buy it.  You don't need Christmas or a birthday in order to get it.  Pragmatic is his middle name.  Still, I love a thoughtful surprise.

Back to the fabric.  I absolutely adore Art Gallery fabrics from the first one I purchased. Unbelievable hand! "Feel the difference" indeed.  I'll admit I would not have bought many of these if I was in a quilt shop, just not feeling the colour combinations here.  But they are growing on me, and since remembering that I wanted to do a Swoon quilt, I've decided these might make quite a lovely one.

Last week I took Dayna's quilt into my LQS to show the ladies and to check out if any of the fabrics I bought were still in stock, as I do not have a speck of the deepest purple left, which I'd like for the binding.  With a little help, I found it!  Only one yard remained on the bolt, and I took it.  They gave me 10% off too.
They absolutely LOVED the quilt, by the way.

Cushion Cover Saga
So you know I made the cushion that is on my Q1 list.  You also know that I inadvertently made it 20" instead of 18.  You know I started making a 20" mate for it since I have to cover two brown and red cushions.  You know that I am using scraps plus leftovers from my Tidal Lace pillowcases.  You saw the start of a plus quilt cushion cover in my last post.  10X10 would give me my 20".

Somehow, I had yet another brainfart, and half way through I was somehow doing a 9X9 grid.
Were I to be doing this in nothing but 2.5" squares it would not be a problem.  However, I was following the "dream big" quilt pattern in Camille Roskelley's Simplify book, and I was using 6.5" rectangles.  Now that I was doing a 9X9 grid, the 4.5" rectangles for the pluses on the end would be wasted.  Can't have that.
Ready for quilting
Live in the moment, yoga teaches.  So I lived in the moment, decided apparently my higher self wanted this plus design for the guest room cushion cover, and went with it.  Really, in the grand scheme of things, I've already admitted to needing now to make 5 cushions covers, 6 if you count Bella's little cushion she's commissioned, so no big deal.

No big deal at all.  Love it.
Ditch-stitched it horizontally while I thought how I would quilt it.  Decided to just do straight lines with the walking foot, so I first ditch-stitched vertically, which makes for a line across the short side of the rectangles.  Wasn't sure but did a row 1/4' on either side of the ditch and thought yep, it works.

For the binding I used a black striped Debbie Mumm I've had forever.  I'm so glad I brought it with me by chance! Did you notice pale green dove fabric left over from Brady's stocking? :-)
I had to include a bit of FMQ, so I stitched out Leah Day's fossil snail design in the centre of the white plus, and FMQ-ed my initials in the bottom right corner.  I used Isacord 4421 polyester in 40 wt for all the quilting on this cushion.

I didn't think I'd have enough of any turquoise or aqua fabric here with me for a back, but look what I found!
Butterfly Wings from Tula Pink's "Acacia" line
I must've bought a yard, probably a sale fabric, to use in my ongoing City Sampler, so I figured I could spare about 14".  I love how well it worked.

In dog world news, Rocco loved his day yesterday. He finally got to meet the two Great Dane girls that glide by our house nearly every morning, off leash, owner puffing on his cigar as they plod slowly along.  Rocco can either hear or smell them ages before they appear; it's uncanny.
They had a very serious nose-to-nose and nose-to-nether-regions first meeting
These girls have easily 100 pounds on little 65-pound Rocco.  Sweet, gentle giants they are.  Molly the brown one is 5 and Minnie, the black one is 3.  They are miniature horses!!

Not quite the size difference as the Great Dane girls and Rocco, but you can see the first cushion is a fair bit larger than this latest one.  I'm so happy with both of them.
I love how even though I have a plan, my Q1 List, and another handwritten list of projects I've brought, to keep me focussed, that I still often wander, yet always with such fun and fabulous results if I do say so myself. :-)
Speaking of fabulous:
I bought these at Aldi's on Saturday. "Product of Mexico"  Red Sun Farms.  That sounds familiar...
If you look under the barcode, near the body of the butterfly, you will see their address: Kingsville Ontario!  They have greenhouses and farms in all three NAFTA countries, which explains the Mexico and Ontario labelling.  Last year we bought Campari tomatoes grown in Kingsville, the year before that, cucumbers from Harrow, our neighbouring town.  Interesting.  Obviously some sort of trade agreement.  I'll gladly take a taste of home!

Linking up with Molli Sparkles.
and also with Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts because I am crushing on (as my daughters would say) on these turquoises as well as Fleet and Flourish.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Tidal Lace

Wiithin days of writing out my Q1 FAL 2016 List, I have one checked off!  Sit back and enjoy, or zip down through all the photos (there will be a lot) and leave, doesn't bother me, because I am so happy these are done!  And yet... (yep, there is an "and yet...")

It started with the Tidal Lace fabric which I bought last winter to make pillowcases. I wanted the panel to be the vertical edge of each pillowcase.  The first surprise was that this fabric is an aqua to coral ombré, and coral is not really in my wheelhouse. Still I love loved the fabric, so I bought it.  The second surprise was that 2 yards would not make pillowcases the way I had envisioned.

They say to keep your brain young and vibrant, you must use it much like keeping your body in shape, exercise.  Well I did a marathon.  My brain thanks me.

First I googled pillowcase images.  Millions of hits.  Hit "Custom" (who knew you could do that?) and voilà! I saw really interesting pillowcases, the first few of which had either a monogramme, or an image of some kind, centred on the case, not on the band! Lightbulb. What if I centred the panel area on the main part of the pillowcase?
It took a bit of courage to make these cuts!
Yes!  I would have enough to make two pillowcases with a band AND I had 21" left with which I could make a cushion cover!!  Doesn't take much to keep this girl happy.
I trimmed 2 1/4" off the selvage side of the panel, and left 6" on the opposite side.
From here I just needed to cut 6.5" strip off the remaining fishnet part of the fabric and sew it to the other side of the sea creatures panel.

Success! I now had a 26.5 X 41" panel
The reason I had to trim off a 6.5" strip is that had I not, the other side of my pillowcase would have ended above the lacy pink edging you see above, and I wanted to keep that as part of the case.

Laid down a Kona Snow strip for the band. Yep!  I'm liking it...kinda...
Quilts "talk" to me, as I know they do to many of you.  This pillowcase went, "meh."  My brain was running on a runner's high right about now, and I suddenly thought, "What if I FMQ-ed some of the tidal creatures on the band?!!"  I got SO excited!  That bubble-in-your-gut (not from eating dairy products) that makes one feel a sort of caffeine-jittery excitement got me vibrating with creative energy, and I started stitching this:
Traced one of the starfish from the panel, put a piece of batting under the fabric, loaded Isacord, and went to town.
This was the result!
Those of you who have read my blog for a bit know how much I love All People Quilt's Roll It Up pillowcase pattern.  No exposed seams.  I used it to make this pillowcase.  I did have to zigzag (left my serger in Kingsville) the seams where I pieced the panel parts.  No biggie.

Sunday afternoon:
Guest room.  The more I see this in there, the more I think we should have painted the master this colour and not the pale green and grey we did...
This is the reverse side of the pillowcases:
See the horizontal lacy edge?  :-)
Monday this happened:
To some oncoming walkers, two pibbles and a rottie can cause a reaction like the parting of the Red Sea...
Not much sewing, in other words.  However, we had a great walk after my yoga class along the Sarasota Harbour, out to the little island, and up to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, a little over 3 km/2 miles.  The cushion was still simmering in my brain, rest assured.  I wanted to incorporate leftover waves fabric from my Cloud 9 quilt along with leftover Tidal Lace.  It took me longer than I anticipated to come up with a pleasing design.  I decided to make 4-patches alternate with 4.5" squares of the waves fabric.  Here comes the first "and yet..."  Where is the Tidal Lace?  Um yeah...  There are oh, six 2.5" by varying widths patches in the outer border, and a couple 2.5" squares in the centre.

Somehow I got the waves fabric going as the main fabric, not the Tidal Lace.  By the time that dawned on me (what happened to your marathon-running brain? you too) I was committed to this cushion cover.  No problem.  This one is going in the guest room and those Tidal Lace pillowcases are going on MY bed in the master bedroom, so I will create TWO cushion covers to cover the boring chocolate brown cushions on our bed, and I should have enough to make two, right?  Went to the panel, thought a bit more, and cut out two 8.5" squares as the starting point for the two new cushion covers for my bed.  Realized, um yeah, guess I now am making three cushion covers...
Thinking maybe offset with log cabin strips surrounding them...or hourglass blocks beside these with strips above and below...hmm
Okay, back to the cushion cover at hand!  However, don't you agree that the 2 yards I had that were not enough for two easy pillowcases, but now have somehow provided enough for 2 pillowcases, patches for a cushion cover and the starting point for two more cushion covers with still lots of fabric left to play with, is just SO COOL?!!  Quilters get this. Quilters live this.  "Make do" becomes "made do and have enough for more!"

So the 4-patches and 4.5" squares were okay, but only measured 12" and I needed 18" for my cover.  I did not take pictures for this building process, and I should have.  I decided to do a white lattice between the units. It brought me to 14".  No problem; I created a 2.5" by varying widths striped final border: 18.5".  Yes.  No.  Houston, we had a problem.  It was like my stomach feels, not bubbles of excitement, but the feeling I get on twirling rides like merry-go-rounds, blechh, when I looked at the 4.5", 4-patches, and 2.5" borders all smooshed together.  The quilt said, nooo.  So I added a narrow 1/2" white border. A bit better.  It now said it needed a frame of sorts, darker.  Enter the teal.  Yessss.  Now the problem is that it measures 20.5".  I like my cushions stuffed, firm, not floppy, kind of like a pair of jeans.  They must fit, not sag, especially on the rear end, right?  I did not know how to solve this dilemma, other than trimming off an inch of the 2.5" border, and that did not look right, nor did I want to lose any.  When faced with a problem, quilt: (notice one L separates the word "quit" from "quilt"?!!) Ditch-stitched and then put on the free-motion foot:

Following the waves; too much fun!
Still contemplating that damn too-wide, but not too-wide because I like it just fine as is, border.  Got two opinions (how I love this QBL), one from Judy who agreed don't trim 1", maybe just 1/2".  The other opinion from MacGyver, who said, yep trim it.  My gut and this quilt said, noooo.

Kept quilting.
Time to make the call.  To trim or not to trim. Laid it down, stepped back, and this happened.  But of course!

Bella said, "It's lovely! Can I have it? Purrr-ease? You forgot to bring my cat cushion you do know."  Well, she is right, I forgot her little pouffe, but no way was I giving this baby to her, although I guess I should make her a little princess-type cushion...  Bottom line, I couldn't trim it.  Lightbulb.  We have some more brown cushions that came with our couch that are brown and red and ivory.  Not a fan anymore, want lighter brighter colours here.  Would this cushion cover fit those??

Oh yes.
I had too much fun FMQ-ing the starfish on the pillowcases, so I had to freehand one on one of the white squares, and then had to do a shell on another.  Some water-evoking back and forth around these babies, and some dot-to-dot for the 4-patches on the diagonal, waves in the untrimmed(!) borders, and finally straight-lines at 1/4" in the white lattice and she is done!

Like I was making them (hey, what do I mean, 'them'; I was making ONE cushion cover for the taupe ugly cushion in the guest room! ONE!  I signed up for ONE on the Q1 list!  Now I'm making...let's see...freaking FIVE?!! or is it six? SIX!!!! I guess, if you count one for Bella)...sigh, anyhow, it fit like I was making them for the two couch cushions all along.

The back.
The waves are lined up pretty awesome, no?!  And yep the back is pieced too.  Didn't have a wide enough leftover of the waves fabric for a good 5-6" overlap, so I used leftovers from the backing of Parisville Weave.
Sidenote: I said to MacGyver last night, I am SO glad I brought down all my scraps this year.  Well, almost all.  I brought down all the Ziploc bags of small scraps (which are sorted by colour) and stuffed the two plastic Rubbermaid bins of blues and of greens into one large tote along with the Ziploc bags, also brought down all my strips that I have been keeping in a separate Rubbermaid bin, which is where I pulled these lovelies from.  I brought some (sniff, not a lot) of my larger rolled scrap pieces and smallish stash, like fat quarter-size.  It's like I get twitchy knowing I can't bring it all, and more twitchy trying to decide exactly what to bring.  I'm so glad I had this.  The reason I had the wave leftovers is because I knew I wanted to back "Finished is better than perfect" with it.  Love it when things just work out.

Sidenote #2: I do my backs much like Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts does, with the exception of not using a double-layer for each side of the back.  Must try that.  This works just fine, and I have cushion covers that are 15 years old or more that have stood up very well.

Covering the boring brown and red cushion:
Do not point out the earth-tones striped bottom cushion, nor the similar reddish-brown lanai cushions for these chairs.  Don't.
Here is a side by side comparison as to how much of a change can be created by just redoing cushion covers!
I know which chair I like best!
Here is a close-up of the quilting I did:
I haven't washed it yet, and I won't be until I need to.  It is a tight fit and I know this will shrink a little.
This starfish is quite a bit smaller than those on the pillowcases, so I didn't do as much detail.  I love it.  I loved doing all the FMQ on here.  Am I falling in love with mini-sized quilts?
Tish is doing her best to encourage this burgeoning love.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: original design
Size: 20.5" square
Fabric: scraps
Batting: Pellon Nature's Touch 100% cotton
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads: pieced with Gütermann, quilted with Isacord 100% polyester #4230 in 40 wt, and Essential from Connecting Threads (really love this thread, new to me, no affiliation) 100% cotton 50 wt in white.

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and TGIFF, and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework on Sunday for Oh Scrap!

AND with She Can Quilt for the Q1 FAL party!

'What are you going to make for the second brown and red cushion cover?' you are wondering, I know.  I already have one started.  Similar, but not too matchy-matchy.  Serendipity: there just happens to be one in Camille Roskelley's book Simplify, that I got out of the library again yesterday!
Always wanted to do a Plus Quilt.  May as well do a mini!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Thoughts for the Year Ahead

And a review for the year past.

First of all, I need to confess that I missed the deadline for the 2015 Finish Along. Poop!  I was so mad at myself.  I had 5 of 8 finishes off my Q4 FAL List.  Last year was my first time linking up with this Finish Along, and it is definitely a good way to shame motivate me into some sort of focus.  Without further ado here are the links, as I know you all want to check them out:

1.  Shift.  Callum's Bento Box quilt

2.  Fairy Steps and Half Hexie Wheelchair Charity Quilts

3.  Stardust Wheelchair Charity Quilt

4.  Creamsicle Wheelchair Charity Quilt

5.  Brady's stocking

and I even finally made one for Dayna, but it wasn't on the list.  There were a few squirrels that got made during that last quarter!

So I did not finish Dayna's grad quilt, but that is well under way to being done this month, nor did I finish the Autumn Half Hexies quilt, which won't get done until early summer since I didn't bring it with me to Florida.  The cows quilt did not get finished either, but the flimsy will be done this first quarter of 2016.  I think 5/8 is decent.

Musings about the 2015 journey

When I look back at my Quilts of 2015 page, I realize this was the year of my own design.  Seven quilts were my own design, three placemat designs, and three makeup bags, one of which is published on Moda Bakeshop. That was one of two quilty goals last year, both of which I realized: getting a pattern published and taking a class in person with Angela Walters.  I also designed a brand new block for the Fabri-Quilt block hop, and opened a Craftsy store, where that pattern is free, and has been downloaded over 150 times!  I made 11 quilts for charity, 10 of which were wheelchair quilts that went to seniors in my county.  I joined up with linky parties new to me and expanded my circle of quilt blogger friends.  I always dreamed of one day meeting some of my closest ones in person, and that dream came to life when Julie of Pink Doxies and I got together that summer.  I was a part of the New Bloggers Quilt Hop, learning a few more tricks of the trade, and how-tos, as well as expanding my circle of quilt blogger friends.  As a former teacher, I believe wholeheartedly in lifelong learning, and I am proud of myself for taking on some challenges in the quilting world, thus growing from the learning that ensued.

So, half way through January, what are my plans and thoughts for 2016?

As a teacher, I had to write a professional growth plan, where I would make yearly long range plans with strategies as to how to realize these goals.  Good times...not.  Yet PITA as it was to write up and go through the interview about, that plan did provide a focus to each year, and a way to evaluate growth.  Therefore this post is going to hopefully do that!

Over the past few weeks, I have been keeping my notebook beside me, making a list as things come to me.  Here is what I envision for this next year, which is the fourth year since I left teaching, how can that be?

Quilting Goals
Main goals
1.  Submit a pattern of my own design to a quilt magazine.
This would build upon the designing I did in 2015.

2.  Open up an Etsy Shop where I can have a few quilts and "the" yoga mat bag for sale.

3.  Quilt a quilt for someone else.
I am not sure if I want to get into the longarming business, but there is only one way to find out.

4.  Expand my Craftsy Store.
I have one pattern ready to go but for a couple of graphics, so I just need to go through this tutorial and it will be available.  I have two more patterns that need typing and graphics.

5.  Make at least two quilts for charity.

6.  Finish watching Small Changes Big Variety, a Craftsy class I bought last summer but haven't finished.

7. Do a pantograph design on a quilt.

Personal Goals
1.  Walk 80 km per month, or thereabouts.
This is what I usually did all of last year, so that should be easy to achieve.

2.  Do Ashtanga yoga 3 times per week, and Yin yoga once or twice.
I started doing this last summer, and found an improvement in strength, flexibility and state of mind.  If I lived closer to the studio than a 50-minute one-way drive, I would be doing this 5 or 6 times per week.

3.  Watch more TV.
You read that right.  I am not a TV person at all, yet there are some shows that I love, and must make more of an effort to keep up with.

4.  Do more hand work.
This could be knitting or hand-stitching of some kind.  It could also be done while I watch TV, since it is easy to look up, and I don't need to look down when I knit.  Part of the reluctance to watch TV comes from feeling like I am 'wasting' time where I could be creating something.

5.  Read more books than I did last year (only read 24) and read at least one classic.
There's something to be said for NOT having a Finish Along quilts list, for just going where your whim takes you.  This is how my reading life evolves, and I love it.  However, I'd love to reread The Great Gatsby or Great Expectations, or read Pride and Prejudice (yep, never read it) Rebecca, or another of the great classics I haven't read but should.

Well it took 2/3 of the month for me to actually post this, even though it has been in the draft stage for a couple of weeks!  This post is going to be entered into a Craftsy Contest for affiliates.  You will notice a couple of Craftsy links which should provide me with a few bucks should you click through those or the one on my sidebar and then purchase something.  Thank you to those that have done this; wow, I more than doubled my November earnings, which you would laugh out loud were I to disclose them, but ha, all the pennies add up, and the adding up gets me more classes or fabric from them, right?!

In the meantime, I should be back in a day or two with a finish off my list!