Pint Chip Challenge – Have You Ever Made a Mini-Quilt?

My quilt guild is having a paint chip challenge. I didn’t know what that was, but soon found out. There are two cards, each with four very different color combinations printed on them. I chose this one, which was actually the better of the two in my opinion. It’s all so subjective.

The other had a lot of brown in it and some orange. Although we had rules, we didn’t have to stick to solids only, and the measurements didn’t have to be exactly 22.5″ x 22.5″, but it did have to qualify as a mini quilt. I looked at so many books for inspiration.

And to throw one little monkey wrench into this project, I came to the party a month late. In other words, chop, chop – I have to make this in a hurry. That said, I found all the fabrics in my stash. Yay!!  I did buy Fun-Size Quilts; 17 Popular Designers Play with Fat Quarters, compiled by Karen M. Burns, from 
Pins and Needles in Mt.Kisco, NY.

I chose this pattern, because I thought it would be fast and easy. It measures 17.5″ x 22.5″ but I am going to make it a bit wider to finish at 22.5″ x 22.5″.

The gray will be the background and the squares and rectangles will be in the teal fabric, with white markings, the light blue solid and this pink and gray leaf print fabric. This is now my 4th WIP. Let’s see how fast I can get this done. Wish me good luck.



Great Blowout Sale at Winter Creek Cloth

Dana from Winter Creek Cloth is having a huge blowout sale this week. I am a big fan of stores that offer discounts, reward points that apply to future purchases, ongoing sales, and end of bolt discounts. I am even a bigger fan of stores that make it easy for me to know about those sales and specials, by providing them with my e-mail address. Then the announcement comes right into my e-mail box. 


Each are full yard bundles. That’s how much I loved these fabrics!!




Vignette – Orchid Colorway



Vignette – Aqua Colorway


I promise I will be writing my update and review of 30 stores that help fabric buyers with great sales in about 2 weeks, (around the first week of June), and will continue to update it biannually. Also with that will be the updated list of sources and stores for out-of-print fabrics.

I was happy to find Winter Creek Cloth. A few weeks ago Faith at Fresh Lemons Quilts posted about this fabric line, Vignette by Laura Gunn. The colors and the prints were unique, modern with just the right touch of femininity for us. My husband loved them too, yay!! I knew I would find a pattern and use it. I had a hard time finding the entire line in many of my go-to online fabric shops.

I called Michael Miller Fabrics and they suggested I contact Winter Creek Cloth. Luckily, Dana the owner, had them at a great price. And as I am revising my online and brick and mortar shops that offer good deals, I asked her discounts she offers her customers, and I was impressed.



Here are the details of this great sale;

5-day Inventory Blowout Sale Monday, May 18, through Friday, May 22 

Fabrics are on sale at 20%, 30%, 40% and 50% off
Patterns are at 25% off.
Holiday fabrics are at 50% off.
Pre-cuts and bundles are at 30% off.
And they have a bits and pieces category.

Bloggers Quilt Festival Spring 2015 Entry

I was so excited to see the hand quilting category in Amy Ellis’s Spring Bloggers Quilt Festival. Her blog, Amy’s Creative Side has been sponsoring this festival for several years. She runs the festivals during fall and spring quilt market. There are many wonderful online stores and vendors who offer prizes to the winners. 

I finished hand quilting this single size bed quilt in January, 2015. It took about a year to complete. I worked on it off and on.





Hand quilting is not as difficult as most people think. Once I got the hang of it, I really fell in love with it. It puts me in a very zen mood. It does take a long time to do, and I machine quilt most of my quilts. But I always have one on the side to do by hand. 

I like having something to hand sew when we’re watching TV, or listening to music. And, although it’s a bit cumbersome, it is portable!! I bring it to the pool in the summer, and work on it in the warm sunlight between swimming, reading, and visiting with my friends and neighbors.

The pattern I hand quilted on this piece is called the Bishop’s Fan. It’s one of my favorite patterns. The curves are very gentle, and it softens a quilt that is pieced using all straight seams or is angular. 



I try to make my stitches as consistent as possible. But this is hand work, and it’s not always perfect. The imperfections really do give it a hand made feel. Over the many years I’ve been hand quilting, my stitch length and spacing has soared – practice really helps.

It’s easy to see the fan shape in this photo. I mark the quilt before I begin the sewing using a template bought from a store, and use a number 2 pencil. I wash the quilt when it’s finished, and the pencil markings that haven’t worn off come right out in the wash. 

I used Prescencia Thread 60 wt., hand quilting thread, which is my favorite. I chose a neutral color that would show the stitches and pattern, but don’t scream with color and overshadow the fabrics and distract from the overall pattern of the quilt.

There are many types and brands of “quilting between needles.” I mostly use Colonial Needles, number 10. They also make a hybrid needle, which I use too. The eye is bigger, but the shaft of the needle is skinny, so it quilts through the three layers smoothly and easily.


It’s easy to see the stitches on the front and back in this photo. I love this backing with the little hearts.

I dedicated it to our cat Emma. She sleeps on it when it’s on the couch. We use it too for naps, and sometimes when we watch TV or read.

Check out all the beautiful quilts that other quilters have made. Click this link to link-up up with Amy’s Creative Side Bloggers Quilt Festival, Spring 2015. I promise you won’t be disappointed. The quilts can be entered into one or two of several categories during May 15 – May 21. You can vote for your favorites beginning on May 22. There are many great entries to inspire and delight you, and you’ll enjoy discovering new blogs and quilters.  

http://i2.wp.com/www.cookingupquilts.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/BQF.png

Happy Quilting!!

Sam Johnson and The Blue Ribbon Quilt

Thank you for bearing with us through our technical issue with Blogger. I found out that you can only create 20 pages in Blogger, and unlimited posts. So by mistake, I created pages for the blog that weren’t necessary. I just needed to create additional posts – learn something new in computer world every day. 

Last week was National Library Week. I belatedly am going to share the post I planned for the end of the week. One of my all time favorite picturebooks is about quilting and teamwork called Sam Johnson and The Blue Ribbon Quilt, by Lisa Campbell Ernst. Even thought it was published in 1983, I think it’s a classic. The cover gives the reader a clue that it is an old-fashined story.

One day Sam Johnson finds a hole in his blanket, and successfully, patches it up. He shows off his beautiful work to his wife Sarah, who is a quilter, and she is not all that impressed. Sam decides to learn how to quilt, and falls in love with it, much like a lot of people we know, lol. 

He asks his wife’s quilting bee if he can join, and they say, “no.” Sam finds some other men who try quilting, enjoy it, and they form a men’s quilting bee.
 Both bees decide to enter their quilts into a competition at the state fair.


The men work hard on their Flying Geese quilt.

The women work hard on their sailboats quilt. At first they think the men’s bee is silly, and men can’t really quilt. After a few weeks, they begin to doubt their original thoughts.

The day of the fair, both bees travel to the fair in different horse drawn carts. A big gush of wind topples the carts over and damages both quilts. So what do you think both bees decide to do?  SPOILER BELOW.

They feverishly work together and re-stitch the parts they could save and create the Flying Sailboats Quilt.

And together, they win the blue ribbon.

Happy Quilting!!  And enjoy the weekend.

Another Web-Based Color Tool and a Fabric Give-a-Way

Last weel, I wrote about Design Seeds design-seeds.com a great color palette tool for quilting, home dec., etc. There is another web site I often use, that I really like, and want to share with you too, Color Scheme;
Scheme http://colorschemedesigner.com/,
and you can even download it to your iPhone as an app.

On the right of the homepage, it has a color wheel, where the user can set the color choice by moving a dot onto any shade of the color wheel. On the top left menu bar, the user has six choices; monochromatic, (1 color), compliment, (2 colors), triad, (3 colors), tetrad, (4 colors), analogic, (5 colors), accented, (6 colors). Another dot is added on the color wheel, as you chose more colors options, such as the tetrad. The user can manipulate manually those dots on the color wheel, to provide more color options on the color board to the left. Unlimited choices and options are available. It’s very easy to use. Playing with it, will be a lot of fun and useful.

Additionally if the user chooses random palette, on the upper left of the menu bar, the program will provide you with random palettes. Very cool tool.

On another note, our monthly give-a-way, from our very generous sponsor, Cuts of Cotton, is a black and white bundle of fabric. (A little irony for a post on color).  The fabrics are really pretty and of course work well with so many projects. They would be a great compliment with reds, if you are working on something for Valentine’s day.

In order to be eligible to win this bundle, you need to sign-up for the blogs and facebook pages for  http://www.cutsofcotton.com/  and hudsonvalleyquilts.com. Please let me know that you did in my comments box. Also, please leave your e-mail address. This give-a-way ends at 12:01 AM, on Friday, January, 24th. I will announce the winner on Friday morning, right here on the blog. 

If you would like to tell us where you are from, we would love to know. As the Northeast heads into another very cold, and week, and more snow tomorrow, tells us about the weather where you live.

Good luck.

Happy Quilting, and have a great week.

Building Stash Without Breaking Your Budget Part 1

I love to buy fabric. Don’t all quilters? It’s hard to say no the this…..

 It’s always hard, isn’t it?  

Stash building is a somewhat serious topic $$, but is also so much fun. I truly believe in Social Responsibility in the business world, and it was a required class when I was in B school. That said, I gonna get the serious part out of the way first.

Suze Orman, who I’m sure most everyone has heard of, taught me how to budget.

I read three books when I was young and followed the rules. I do save, and pay our savings account first. Every year I set up a quilting budget, which includes; 

1. Sewing Machine Maintenance. 

2. Replacement of essential notions; i.e. rotary cutter blades, thread, pins, batting, needles, thimbles, template plastic, books, patterns, rulers, seam rippers, and marking pens. The list is endless. Think of all those little things you need in order to enjoy using your fabric in quilts and other projects, and make a list. Refer to it often. Add to it. some things you won’t have to replace every year, such as a cutting board, which you’ll probably replace every ten year.

3. Embellishment supplies if you use them.

4. Classes, Conferences and Guild dues. 

5. All sewing issues relating to the use of your computer such as the printer, ink cartridges, and paper. And last but not least…. 

6. FABRIC.

If you are new to quilting, this can seem overwhelming. All fabric shops online, or brick and mortar, have sales. For example, the store I used to buy most of my fabric from, which is sadly now out of business due to retirement of the owner, had a huge, blowout sale every February. I spent less during the rest of the year, and saved for that sale, so I could really enjoy it and not walk away with buyer’s remorse, or guilt. 

As you go through your first year of quilting, take note of the stores you like and purchase from, and when they have sales. You can always ask the owner, or send an e-mail to an online store, asking when they have regular sales. Note those dates on next year’s calendar, and set your yearly fabric binging accordingly. I promise, you will look back and feel proud of your fabric purchases, and that you are not in debt. 

Some brick and mortar shops have key tags. 

Each denomination indicates how much you purchased. For example, if I spent $43.00, the cashier would punch a $25, $10, and another $10.  (They round up or down closer to where your purchase falls).  When the tag is filled up, it’s generally worth $25 of free purchasing. And if you save those tags for a sale, those savings will really add up.

I really like those stores, and tend patronize them more than any others that don’t offer that cool discount. They tend to appreciate the repeat customer like myself, and I find that to be good business sense. It builds loyalty and that shopkeeper will get to know you, and be more likely to help you find a “must have out-of-print fabric,” or that exact shade of citrine that you need, or your favorite special sized needle.

Big chain stores such as Michaels, AC Moore and Joanne’s are good for stocking up on notions. They have a lot of fabric and many sales. Sometimes the quality of fabric may not be as good, but if at the end of the bolt there is the name a manufacturer printed there that you know and trust, then you shouldn’t worry. 

I tend to always buy fabric that is always 100% cotton, and sometimes some little linen. I like to know if something spills on it, it can go in the washer and dryer without shrinkage or other misdeeds sometimes caused by household cleaning machinery. Seriously, I don’t buy what I can’t afford to pay off in full each month.

Shopaholics and Fabricholics are the same breed. Pay in cash if that helps you stay within your budget. But set a realistic budget, and stick to it. I know how hard it is to say, “no” and walk away from that pretty rose printed fabric printed on a yellow background, but if you don’t, down the road you won’t be a happy and productive quilter or sewist. Okay, I’ve said enough about this, but return to this post if you find yourself wandering off the fabric spending track. 

So with my very first quilt, I spent my money on the necessary tools and equipment to begin. I didn’t own a sewing machine, and wasn’t positive I was going to fall in love with my new hobby. So I bought a used Kenmore sewing machine for $80. It wasn’t until three years later, that I bought my Bernina 130.

I picked out an easy pattern, and had one of the shopkeepers help me pick out only the fabric I needed to make that first quilt, which was for a beginner’s class. Every week I would come a little early and look around at the amazing bolts of colorful fabrics, engaging prints and soothing batiks. I watched other buyers, and observed their purchases. I began to develop my own sense of style. 

I generally like smaller prints, and have a lot of yellow, purple and green. The first two are my favorite colors, but green seems to be my go-to color blender, and I’ve done a lot of floral applique quilts, including Honoring The Seasons. 
(See in Quilts tab).

I am always short on orange, and not because I don’t like i. It just isn’t what I am drawn to. I am branching out to more modern fabrics that are colorful and bold. My Modern Quilt Guild members are challenging me out of my comfort zone, which is a good thing. I am approaching buying modern and contemporary fabrics slowly, and picking and choosing carefully as I add these new treasures to my stash.  The same goes with solids. When i began quilting 20 years ago, solids were not so popular. Today, I am beginning to see and use them in a whole new way. I am collecting them during sales, and mostly as fat quarters. 

One big lesson I’ve learned over the years is that when any shop is having a major sale, I stock up on background fabric, because I will always need lot a of that. 

Part 2 is coming and I will write more about choosing those fabrics that will fill your fabric shelves and bins, that we call stash.

Winner of Box of Chocolate and Finished Teddy Bear Quilt

Congratulations to Sharon Eshlaman!! You are the lucky winner of a box of chocolates from Chocolations. Please e-mail me your e-mail address so we can send them out to you. 

\

I finally finished the Teddy Bear Quilt. The front and back look great, and smooth. I used the safety pin method for basting and haven’t done that before.

I’m really excited with how this baby quilt came out. It was a kit from http://www.keepsakequilting.com that was given to me to make for my grandson. I think it will look great in his room. One Christmas present finished!! 

More this week about the incredible progress of the quilting studio, and some great fabrics I just received from some sales, which I can’t wait to tell you about!!

Tutorial: A Favorite Time Saver – Chain Piecing

I love this technique, because it saves so much time, especially when you are sewing 90 squares for a king size quilt. After sewing the first few squares it almost becomes a zen like experience. And before you know it, you are done.

It definitely helps to start with a full bobbin, full spool of thread and a new sewing needle. I use a universal 80/12 or a 90/14. To begin the first piece, I sew a scant 1/4″ straight stitch across a small piece of scrap fabric. When I get to the end, I line up the ends with my first square. I sew across the two fabrics, and back stitch to lock the threads of my first block.

I continue sewing a scant 1/4″ seam down my block.

When I am almost at the end, I line up my next block, ends matching. Put the two blocks back under the presser foot gently, so the alignment doesn’t move.

When I get to the end of the first piece, I back stitch for a few stitches to lock the threads, and then go forward sewing onto the next block. Then I back stitch for a few stitches on the second block to lock those threads in place. 

Then continue sewing on the second block. I continue that way until I am finished with all the blocks, which in this case is 90 blocks, because this is a king size quilt. When I am finished, I carefully snip the blocks apart, before ironing. 

If you guessed that ironing the blocks is the next tutorial, you are correct!! Or as my British friends would say, “Brilliant.” 

I posted a short video on the Hudson Valley Quilt facebook page on chain piecing. For some reason it wouldn’t upload to the blog. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments box. Happy Chain Piecing.