Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Back to the machines

Hi everyone!  Long time no see!  I don't know what happened, but I didn't sew a stitch for about 10 days.  Just didn't feel like it. (Not exactly true--I actually hemmed and mended some clothes. The horror!) That ever happen to you?  Pretty sure everyone has a spell like that once in a while.  How do you get interested again?

Here's what got me going again:

Yep, I started making a bunch of Drunkard's Path blocks from my leftover hand-dyed fabrics.  I started putting together the Grandma's top and I finally found a border that I thought would go really well with it.  Here's a sneak peek of the border:

The border is 3 blocks wide, but until I put this up on the wall I forgot that I needed to cut some full squares.  I guess I'd better do that before I get too far along.  I need 76 of these babies, so it might be a bit before they're finished.  They're fun to make, though, and you can't say the border won't be colorful.

And what is that?

I'm not sure, but I *know* that can't be squares and strips for neutral 4-patches, because I am not making Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt. Nope. No.  Besides, I really hate making 4-patches, so you know I'm really not doing it, right?

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.  One really fun thing that I got to do over the holiday was meet up with Preeti of Sew Preeti Quilts.

Preeti (left) and me at breakfast.

It was so fun!  We had breakfast together and it was as if we had known each other forever.  She brought some show and tell and her quilts were even prettier in person.  And look what she brought me:

A zipper bag of my very own, filled with fun fabric just right for a grandson quilt! Plus some great-smelling sandalwood soap! It was so generous and kind, and I love it.  I'll be keeping my colored pencils in it, and there's some extra room for a little pad of paper too, so I can take it along in the car.  Thank you so much, Preeti!

I also got a chance to meet up with Nancy of PugMom Quilts, and her lovely husband Mike.

Don't we look like fun people?

It was so great of them to take time from their family vacation to stop by and see us, and I hope we get to do it again soon.  This is the best part of blogging--getting to meet people who are as obsessed as I am with fabric and the fun things you can make out of it.  I got to see some of Nancys great quilts, too, along with some works in progress.  We had a great time together!

Finally, thanks to everyone who has participated in the Gratitude Sale so far.  At this point, there's been about $250 donated to the three charities, including some donations I made on behalf of others.  Yay!  I decided to keep it open until the end of the year, so there's still time to head over and take a look.  

Hope you all are having a great week.  Now that I'm getting my mojo back, I'm ready to sew up a storm.  But I am *not* making 4-patches.  Nope.  Really.

Sharing at Let's Bee Social, Oh Scrap! and soscrappy for RSC16!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Gratitude Sale!

Hi everyone, and welcome to the Gratitude Sale!  It's the week of Thanksgiving here in the US, and I am giving thanks for all of the good things that have come to us this year.  It's time to clean out the sewing room and raise a little money for charity at the same time.

UPDATE:  I've decided to keep this sale open until the end of the year.  Congratulations to Tami, our giveaway winner!

I have listed the items for sale on three of the tabs above, right under the picture at the top of the blog. (Patterns are listed with notions.) There you will find all kinds of treasures to bless your sewing room and help you turn fabric and thread into fun quilty things. Those of you who read all the way to the end of this post will find a small Thanksgiving giveaway, too!

Let's get started!

Here's how it works:

1.  You spend some fun time picking out stuff you want from the tabs above.
2. Send me an email ( with your list.  **ONLY emails to that address count.  Comments on this post (or any other) will NOT reserve any items for you.**
3. I will check your list and make sure that everything you want is still available, then send you a friendly email with a total and anything else you need to know. 
4. You choose one of the charities below and make a donation in at least that amount.  Consider rounding up! Never fear, the items will be set aside with your name on them as soon as I get your email, so they won't be "sold" before you get a chance to donate.
5. You send me the acknowledgement or receipt from your donation.
6. I tote up your postage and tell you how to pay it.
7. You pay the postage!
8. I send your items!
9. We both do a happy dance!

It seems like a lot of steps, but it's really easy!  Additional information, some ground rules, and disclaimers are below, but for now, here are the charities I've chosen:

I've picked three charities for this sale, all of which are highly rated and use their donations very wisely.  We have donated to them many times and are confident in their integrity, but you can check any of these out for yourself on Charity Navigator or other evaluation sites:

Partners in Health, a global health organization. Right now they are dealing especially with the after effects of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. If you want to know more about their work and to donate, click HERE.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the primary research center for childhood cancer.  No child is turned away because of inability to pay.  To find out more about their work and to donate, click HERE.

Fisher House Foundation, a "home away from home" for families of military personnel or veterans receiving treatment.  There are 71 Fisher Houses in the US. To find out more about Fisher House or to donate, click HERE.

(For this one, you can donate either to the Foundation or to your local Fisher House.  Either way works!)

Additional information:

First come, first served.  I will go entirely by the time stamp on your email.  **ONLY emails to will count**  Comments on this post or any other do not reserve any items for you.

Please note that I'm not going to haggle over the prices. I think they're fair and I hate arguments, so please don't ask. 

If you aren't comfortable donating online: Be aware that you probably will get more emails if you donate online.  This is how all charities raise money and is just a fact of life.  These three are pretty good about opt-outs, but if you don't want to, I will take your money and donate it (cross my heart!).  Be aware that you won't get a tax deduction, though.

If you don't want to use Paypal:  Paypal is MUCH easier and very secure, and you can use a credit card. But if you don't want to do that, you can also pay by check, either personal, cashier's, or money order. Send an email so that we can talk about it. I will send you my address, you send a check, we wait until the bank says it's cleared, I send your things. We both do a happy dance!

Shipping options: Well, shipping is a fact of life and I can't afford to send it all without charge, as much as I would like to.  We can talk about shipping options and prices when I tote up your order.  Your choices are basically between flat-rate envelopes and boxes and regular padded envelopes sent by weight.  I have a postal scale and can weigh your items and estimate shipping options when I send your total. (Even if you only order books, I'm not comfortable with media mail.)

Any other questions?  Either send me an email or leave a comment here.  I'll get back to you as quickly as I can!

This sale will end Saturday morning November 26 or when everything sells out (cross your fingers!).  Everything remainig will be donated to various charitable organizations--books to the library sale, for example.


Did someone say giveaway?  Yes!  What's a Gratitude Sale without something to be especially grateful for?  I am especially grateful for all of you who read this blog, so here's a small token of that gratitude:

Two fat quarters of Gardenvale, plus a blue fat quarter of a beautiful Kona solid!  To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this post with something you are especially grateful for this year.  This is open to anyone, and you won't even have to pay postage! I will choose a winner after dinner on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.  

The giveaway is closed!  Tami was the winner!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Eat and shop safely!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Layout auditions

Hi everyone!  How is your week going?  I've done a hundred things already this week and it hasn't hardly made a dent in my list! 

This week I am auditioning layouts for the Intricate Stitches quilt.  I know that I drew this all out before I even started, but now that the blocks are done I want to try something new and different with them.  Story of my quilty life--get halfway through the pattern and decide that I'd rather do it differently.  (As a side note, it's the story of my professional life, too.  I'll get halfway through writing something and have an even better idea so that I have to start over.) Anyway, here's the basic layout that I drew out a year ago:

Basic is the word for it, isn't it?  It's my intention to add some pieced borders like a traditional medallion quilt, but also to have plenty of space for the blocks themselves to shine.  What would we call that?  Modern traditional? Modernitional?  Heritage modern?

Here's the same blocks but in an on-point setting, what I'm calling the diamond layout:

This would give a lot of  more modern "wiggle room," but I don't really like it.  Too much empty space and not a great way to include any pieced borders. 

I thought I would like this one, which I call the crowded layout:

The string blocks and cut fabric pieces are stand-ins for some new, smaller blocks that I would have to make.  I really thought I would like this, but there is just too much going on.  Lots of white space and plenty of room for pieced borders, but just visually awful.

One more layout to audition:

I call this the modern layout.  I'm really surprised how much I like this one and how harmonious it seems.  Lots of space for the eyes to rest. I considered this for a long time and had it up on the wall for several days.  Ultimately, though, it doesn't fit with the vintage blocks or have the feel that I'm going for.  I do think this would be awesome with all one block in the two different sizes.

So, I guess we're back to basics!  Now to consider some other piecing that will bring these all together. I know that I will have to incorporate a lot of white space because this is already a riot of color, but I think the empty space will seriously enhance the blocks.

So which layout is *your* favorite?  Any good suggestions for pieced borders to consider?  I have a couple in mind, but I'm always open to new ideas.

Hope you're all having a good week!  Can you believe we're halfway through November?  Yikes!

It's almost here!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social and soscrappy for RSC16.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Failed finish

Hi everyone!  Is it getting colder where you are?  It certainly was chilly here this week.  I shouldn't be surprised, though, because it's November, right?  Winter is coming, whether we want it to or not.  I'm actually looking forward to some cold and some other things about winter, but I know there will be white stuff falling from the sky soon, and I'm not looking forward to that.  I have seen how badly they clear the roads here, and it's just not pretty.

Also not pretty?  The little quilt that I wanted to be my finish for this week:

This little quilt is cute, but it counts as a fail for me, at least for now. I finished this a long time ago and chose the backing and everything. It's time for it to be completely finished! I tried two new things on this quilt and messed up both of them.  I should stick to just one new thing at a time.

It all started with this:

Yikes!  What can that possibly be?  That, my friends, is all the quilting work I've been putting off for at least the last year.  Okay, maybe a little longer.  Some of these were tops from before we moved that I never got around to, so I just folded them up and packed them away, but most are from the last year at the condo, when I had no space to actually quilt them up.  Now that there's room, I have both of my machines set up *plus* a table just to quilt on, so I thought I would spend much of the next few weeks quilting these up.  I thought I would start with the smallest ones and work my way up from there.  Great plan, right?

Here's where I went wrong--I almost always thread baste the old fashioned way.  I only use pins on tiny things where it doesn't matter that much, like mug rugs or very small wall hangings. Thread basting goes so much faster for me and works really, really well. It holds everything together nice and secure and I haven't had wrinkles in the back. But I thought I'd use pins here and just try it.  Yeah, here's what happened:

A big wrinkle!  Stitched in! There are a couple of smaller ones too. Before you ask, yes, I used a walking foot,  I smoothed everything, I checked the back all the time, and I used lots of pins.  I should not have wrinkles! What to do now?  Ripping it out seems to be the only solution, but the very thought makes me tired.

Here's my other mistake-- the spiral quilting.  It turn out looking pretty nice here, but I think I made it too close together.  It took forever and the top is very stiff. How far apart would you make your spirals?  These are about a half-inch apart, which seemed to be right for a small quilt. I was wrong about that. Again, ripping seems to be the only solution.

So, I was going to admit defeat and start on another one, doing something completely different (and more fun), but then this happened:

Siiiggghhh.  How does this even happen?  It's just completely unspooling. Time to pack it in for now.

So, that was my big fail for the week!  I did mean what I said earlier, though--I have to work my way through those tops.  Seems like a good project for the holiday period, doesn't it? We'll see how it goes!  I'm going to spend the weekend piecing together some batting and cutting some backings.  Hope you have something fun lined up!  If you have any good suggestions for my failed little quilt, let me know!

Sharing at Finished or Not Friday.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

An upcoming event

Hi everyone! Thanks so much for all the comments and compliments on the Autumn Jewels quilt from the Autumn Abundance blog hop!  The hop was fun and I still love how the quilt turned out.  Congratulations to Lori and Mary, who won the giveaways. 

I am sniffling on the couch with a cold today, so no sewing (cold medicine and sharp objects do not mix), so I wanted to spend a little time letting you know about something that I have coming up later this month, the week of Thanksgiving.  Here it is:

Yes, it's a sale!  But not like any other sale.  Let me explain:

As most of you know, we moved a long distance last year and then had most of our belongings in storage for a year while we lived in a tiny condo and got used to our new life.  During this year I had a very tiny stash and had to sew in the dining area (which wasn't even a room), which meant a lot of restriction on my projects.  When we finally bought a house and were able to get our things out of storage it was like Christmas.  I cried when I opened some of those boxes, especially the ones with fabric in them.  Really.

Yardage! Wrinkled but still great!

Very quickly, though, I started to be overwhelmed.  I have too much!  Plus I am acutely aware that some people have far too little of the real necessities, and I am really, really grateful for everything that we've been blessed with. So I started putting aside many things --books, notions, and fabric--that I know I won't use. (It's amazing how much more objective you can be when you haven't seen any of it in a year!)  I came up with an idea that will get these things out of my sewing room and will do some good for others who are in desperate need of things other than fabric. I am going to sell these things, but the money does not go to me.  Instead, I want to "sell" these things in exchange for a donation to one of three charities.  That is, you won't pay me, but instead you'll make an equivalent donation to one of the designated charities, then send me proof (like the receipt) that you did so.  That way you get to choose where your money goes and are sure that it went to the charity of your choice.  I'll tote up the postage, you'll pay that through Paypal, then I'll send your items.  You get some nice things (that you choose) plus a tax deduction, I get a cleaner sewing room, and some very deserving charities get some donations.  Wins all around!

Books and notions!

I've picked three charities for this sale, all of which are highly rated and use their donations very wisely.  We have donated to them many times and are confident in their integrity, but you can check any of these out for yourself on Charity Navigator or other evaluation sites:

Partners in Health, a global health organization. Right now they are dealing especially with the after effects of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. If you want to know more about their work, click HERE.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the primary research center for childhood cancer.  No child is turned away because of inability to pay.  To find out more about their work, click HERE.

Fisher House Foundation, a "home away from home" for families of military personnel or veterans receiving treatment.  There are 71 Fisher Houses in the US. To find out more about Fisher House, click HERE.

This sale will run the week of Thanksgiving here in the US, from Sunday through Black Friday, November 20-26. (You'll have your things before Christmas!  It's like a gift for yourself!) Anything left after that will be donated to various charities.  I'm willing to ship anywhere, but keep in mind that you will be paying the postage.  I'll have complete details when we start on November 20. I'm stocking up on flat-rate boxes and envelopes, along with some padded envelopes and tape.  Plus I'm photographing all of these fabric bundles, books, and other things!  Did I mention that there are some freebies also? 

Unopened fabric bundles!

I know this is a little weird, but let me know what you think!  If you think this is a good idea and would like to do something similar, I'm willing to consider a link-up, or at least adding a link to your blog to the sale page. My head's a little fuzzy (maybe a lot fuzzy), so I hope I explained it all okay.  And I hope you'll come back on Sunday, November 20, and get yourself some treasures! 

Sharing at Linky Tuesday and Let's Bee Social.