The Brown Bag Special

The Modern Quilt Guild I belong to, the Pecan Valley Quilt Guild, offers each month a block challenge, and every other month a Project challenge.

Each challenge is run by a volunteer. I volunteered to do the project challenge a few months ago, and mine spread out over a few months.

I offered up the Brown Bag Special. It’s a program I designed specifically for groups, and we had a lot of fun with it.

You start out with a fat quarter, and end up with a finished project, and you don’t know ahead of time what that project will be, or who will have worked on it.

Here’s how mine came out:

I started with the red polka-dot fat quarter, and ended up with this wall quilt/table topper.

My two helpers were Teresa and Donna. And I helped two other people in the group.

I really had fun quilting mine. It was a small piece, so I got to play around with some designs, yet didn’t have to cover an entire large quilt.

Here’s the back:

My Cowboy asked me how come I made the edge zigzag . . . I said: “Because I ran out of fabric.” And that’s the honest truth. I would have made it square if I’d only had a few more scraps, but instead, it came out a bit unusual, and I like it because of that.

At the end of the challenge, those of us who had our projects finished showed them to the group.

Here are pictures of how some of the projects turned out. We had a little bit of everything!

Jean made a purse:

Janet made a table runner:

Jessica made a purse, and TWO matching clutches to go with it — very inventive!

Teresa made a table runner:

Jeanette made a table runner:

Norma made a table runner:

Michelle made a table runner:

Janeen made a wall hanging:

Barbara made an entire LARGE quilt! She was dubbed the overachiever for this challenge:

If you’re interested in presenting this project challenge to your own quilting group, the Brown Bag Special program is available in my Etsy Shop. It comes complete with everything you need to know to easily run the program for your group. There’s also a second version called Brown Bag Special II. It’s run the same way, just makes a different block pattern.

Published in: on June 19, 2012 at 5:47 pm  Comments (3)  

Friday Night Sew-In for June

I barely found out about this one in time!

I haven’t participated in a few months.

Something else always seems to come up.

But tonight . . . I’m home, I’m settled in, supper’s over, chores are done, and I’m fixin’ to sew!

Guess I’ll be back later to let you know what all I got done!

If you want to participate, too, just hop over to Heidi’s and sign up.

Published in: on June 15, 2012 at 6:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hearts, Friends, Etc.

Yesterday I blogged about finishing my January Challenge for the Modern8Create group I belong to.

Well, I have my February Challenge finished, too. I just didn’t want to show it to anyone until the recipient had seen it.

Our February Challenge was to make a heart and gift it to someone who needs it.

At the time, my friend, Stephanie, was going through some rough and overwhelming stuff (she’s a very very busy lady), so I thought she could use a heart with some encouragement, so I made this for her:

You can read more about how I made it in my post about it on the Modern8Create blog. I go into a bit of detail on how I created it.

You can read what Stephanie has to say about it HERE. She has much better pictures of it than I do, if you’d like to see other shots of the quilt.

With this project, I’m only (I think) 3 challenges unfinished. I’m doing them all, some of them just take longer than others (read: I get overzealous with the challenge). And I have finished 17 projects this year so far (on my way to my yearly goal of 100).

How’s your year going?

Are you taking on any challenges?

Published in: on April 25, 2012 at 10:48 am  Comments (2)  

Inspire

I belong to an online quilting group called the Modern8Create.

We have our own group blog where we each take turns offering a challenge to each other every month, and post about the work we’re doing on those challenges.

The challenges are fun, they make me do things I’d never think of on my own, and they make me try new techniques and new ideas.

And it’s all very inspiring. Not only to work on the challenges themselves, but to see how each of the other 7 members of the group interprets each challenge as well.

In January, we were challenged to pick a word for the year, and make a quilt using our word.

It took me until February to come up with the word I wanted to use.

Then I had to actually execute the word in fabric.

But I’m finally finished with my January challenge, and here it is:

You can read more about the process and how I made it over on my post about it on the Modern8Create blog.

You can also see all the projects that all 8 of us are working on regularly. Go get inspired!

Published in: on April 24, 2012 at 9:15 am  Comments (2)  

The Happy Tree

It’s time for my block in Kim’s Home Sweet Home Quilt-Along! Woohoo!

Kim asked several designers to design either a house or a tree block for her Quilt-Along. Since there seems to be lots of houses so far, and there seems to be lots of piecing so far, I chose to do an applique tree . . .

The Happy Tree

Easy pieces, bright colors, and no perfection required!

Let’s get started, shall we?

Click HERE for the downloadable file with the full-sized templates and printable instructions.

You can use whatever method of applique you prefer to attach the pieces to your background. The templates are full-sized, but you do need to add seam allowance if you use a method such as needle-turn. It is not necessary to reverse the templates for fusible, unless you just want to reverse the tree trunk so it will look exactly like the picture.

If you’ve never tried needle-turn applique, and would like to, here’s a link to my tutorial on how to applique leaves: How To Applique a Leaf.

First, you need a background to put your tree on. So choose a fabric for your “ground”, and a fabric for your “sky”.

From your ground fabric, cut a strip 4″ x 13 1/2″.

From your sky fabric, cut a piece 10″ x 13 1/2″.

Sew the ground to the sky along one long side. Press the seam toward the ground. (Pay no nevermind to the fact that my sky has a seam down the middle of it. This is the piece of fabric I wanted to use, darn it, and it just wasn’t wide enough, so I fixed myself right up by piecing it. The seam won’t show so bad when I’m done anyway. Feel free to do this your ownself if you have to.)

Next, using the templates from the downloadable PDF file, make a template for your tree trunk.

Cut out your trunk, and position the trunk on your background fabric. Pin in place.

Sew it down. I left the top edge of mine unsewn, since I’ll be overlapping it with leaves and the raw edges will get caught under them. No sense doing any more work than you have to!

Now you’re ready for all those leaves. Make your leaf template . . .

. . . and cut out 40 leaves from scraps.

Now, for the fun part. Just scatter your leaves randomly over your background however you want them, and stitch them down (or fuse them down). If you need fewer than 40 leaves, then scatter some on the ground, or leave them out. If you want more leaves, then just make more. Your tree can be however you want it to be.

When you’re all done with the leaves, press your block gently from the back side, and trim it to 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ square. It’s now ready to use in your quilt.

I hope you enjoy making this tree for your Home Sweet Home Quilt, and if you make one, please be sure to post it in the Home Sweet Home Quilt-Along’s Flickr Group so I can see! Thanks for visiting, and enjoy the rest of the Quilt-Along.

Published in: on March 13, 2012 at 9:42 am  Comments (8)  

I’m Still Sewing!

I sewed all last night.

And by “all last night”, I mean till midnight.

It was the Friday Night Sew-In after all!

But . . .the thing is . . .

I’m still at it!

Our guild is having our annual retreat this weekend, and oh, my goodness, am I ever having a blast!

It’s fun to quilt and sew anytime, but when you get together in groups and have all that uninterrupted time, it’s just that much better!

I’m getting so much done! This will really help my block count for my 350 Blocks Project, let me just say that right now.

Before I packed up my projects for the retreat, I was thinking (I’ve been doing a lot of that lately — it’s the treadmill’s fault!). But I was thinking . . .

If I make all these blocks, I’ll just have piles and piles of blocks.

At some point, they’re gonna all need to be set together into their respective finished projects, right?

So I figured I’d better bring some of those along to work on at this retreat. And that has been my goal — to turn the piles of blocks into finished tops.

I’ve finished three tops so far, I’m working on a few more, and we still have tomorrow!

Here’s one of them: This one is made from my Stripper’s Delight pattern, which you can find on my Free Patterns page.

Here’s another one, a Jelly Roll Race quilt top to donate to charity:

And look what I’m working on now! I have all the blocks finished and am finally setting this together, and I LOVE IT!!!!

Now, when they’ll ever make their way onto the longarm is anyone’s guess, but hey! — one step at a time, right?

I’ll be back later to tell you all about the retreat . . .

Published in: on February 19, 2012 at 12:24 am  Comments (8)  

Perfect Timing

Tonight it’s time once again for the Friday Night Sew-In.

I’ve been missing them lately, because I can’t keep track of what day it is.

But this one has perfect timing. Why?

Because I’m leaving this afternoon for our guild’s weekend retreat.

Not only will I be sewing all night tonight, but ALL weekend as well!

I’ll be back later to report on what I get done.

Meanwhile, you should join in, too, and see what you can get done during the Sew-In tonight. I know you have something that needs working on . . . don’t try to deny it.

Published in: on February 17, 2012 at 7:13 am  Comments (4)  

News From the Studio

There’s been a lot going on here so far this year.

First off, I’ve been working on keeping up with my 350 Blocks Project. My goal is to make at least 350 quilt blocks this year, in an attempt to eradicate some of my UFOs and slower-moving WIPs. It’s not too late for you to join in if you like. You can read about it here: The 350 Blocks Project.

Earlier this year, I created and donated a pink cowboy boot Christmas stocking to a cancer benefit for a lady named Jodie. I recently heard from the organizers of the event, and the benefit raised double what they expected, and my Christmas stocking brought in $58 for their cause! I’m so thrilled that it helped out so much.

I’m trying really hard to get the studio whipped into shape (aren’t I always?). Michele from Quilting Gallery, has teamed up with Pat Sloan and created The Learning Center on the Quilting Gallery web site. For February, they’re talking all about how to get organized and set up your space. One of Pat’s suggestions was to remove everything from an area, and then put back only what belongs there. I tried that in my computer corner. It worked, and I love it! Now to tackle a much harder area next. But I’m skeered . . .

I also forgot to take any before pictures, so hopefully I can remember to do that with the other areas, and I’ll post some before and afters so you can all see just exactly what I am dealing with here!

Back before Christmas, I participated in one of Sherri’s Mystery Monday projects. This is what I made, and I finally got it quilted and bound.

It’s ready to use . . . however, I have to say that it’s my own special form of insanity to keep making table toppers and table runners when I don’t even own a table! I’d like to participate in another one, but I simply can’t take the time right now. But you can if you want, and you should go check it out!

Back in November, I joined a knitting group. The group is affiliated with the Christian Church in the town next door, and they meet there once a week. While everyone can work on whatever they want, members of the group also make and donate prayer shawls, prayer throws, and baby items within the community. Up till now, I’ve been working on my own things, just to get back into the swing of knitting, since I hadn’t done it for so long. Last week I began my first prayer shawl. All I can say is: I hope they’re not in a hurry for it!

I also picked up a skein of yarn to make a scarf for my oldest daughter. She has asked me to make her one, yet she lives in California, so I’m not sure why she needs it. Probably just so she’s not outdone by her sister that I’ve already made one for! Needing a certain type of yarn for the fringe on said scarf, the gals in the knitting group informed me that there is a yarn shop in the nearest big city and I should check there. (This is as dangerous for me as a quilt shop, as I’m sure you can imagine!)

As luck would have it, My Cowboy had to go to the city the other day, so I tagged along with him and got to stop in at the yarn shop. It’s wonderful! It’s called Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe, and I wanted one of everything. Here’s what I bought to make fringe with . . . I can’t wait to show the girls at knitting meeting!

Oh, and one last thing before I go . . . The Farmer’s Wives are starting back up again, after a bit of a hiatus surrounding the holidays and start of the new year. So if you’re in on that, like I am, hop over there and check it out, and get back to farming! I’m behind right now, but I’m more than happy to keep going, because I can count them into my 350 blocks for the year!

And that’s what I’ve been up to . . . how ’bout you?

Made in Cherry Quilt-Along

I’m joining this.

Don’t try to stop me.

It’s already too late.

I’ve already chosen my fabrics.

I’ve already cut some pieces.

I’ve already started sketching out quilting designs for when the top is finished.

It’s too late to stop me.

But . . .

It’s not too late for you to join me!

“Made in Cherry” is a pattern designed by Sarah Fielke, who designs for Lecien Fabrics, and if you want a kit so that you can use her St. Ives fabric that she originally designed it with, you can go visit her blog for information on that.

Chelsea, from Pins & Bobbins, is hosting the quilt-along on her blog, using Sarah’s pattern. You can find all the information HERE.

Go on! Go check it out! It’s awesome . . .

I’m using scraps for mine, and hoping that it uses up lots of them. I’m also making it big, so My Cowboy can have it when I’m done, and he won’t complain that it’s too small for him to cover up with!

And so it will use up even more scraps . . .

Published in: on January 22, 2012 at 2:56 pm  Comments (6)  

Need Something To Do?

Here are a few of the things going on right now out in the online quilting world.

See if there’s anything that catches your eye, and jump on in. The water’s fine!

My pal, Victoria, is hosting Color Interviews on her blog. She’s talking to a different quilter each week about color. If you’re inspired by color, or want to be more so, then go read what her interviewees have to say about color and how they’re inspired by it.

If you’re interested in learning how to do hand needle-turn applique, then I’m hosting a Quilt-Along on my other blog you might be interested in. “Bouquets for Hazel” is a 4-block applique quilt with some piecing added in, and the project runs for 6 months (and it’s free). I’m posting tutorials every day or so, outlining all the steps (in detail) of how I do applique. It only began on January 9th, so you’re not behind yet.

Last year, I managed to find time to get in on one of Sherri Falls’ Mystery Mondays quilts. Sadly, I haven’t had time since to do another one, but she’s still hosting them, so I may yet get to jump in again. If you love a good mystery, and can handle one easy set of instructions every Monday, you’ll want to do one or more of these.

The Prairie Moon Quilts Wild West Scavenger Hunt is still going on. It’s an online game you play at your own pace, getting a portion of the quilt instructions each time you answer the trivia question correctly. When you’re all done, you have a finished quilt top. The pattern is free, and you can play for fun or . . . play for prizes! The game runs until the end of January, so go check it out.

Kim, of Crafty Apple fame, is hosting a Home Sweet Home Quilt-Along. House and tree blocks by 16 different designers will be featured over the next few months. I’m one of them, and my block will be featured in March. In addition, Kim is the organizer of “Project Quilting“, and Season 3 has just begun, so you might want to get in on that, too. There are lots of prizes — good ones!

A collaboration by Quilting is Murder and Quilting Gallery brings you the Quilting is Murder UFO Challenge, on now and running until February 11th. Finish up a UFO, and you have a shot at some fantastic prizes! I’m still trying to decide which UFO I want to finish for this one . . . I’ll keep you posted. I’m sure you, too, have at least one UFO you could finish up for this one, don’t you?

And . . . finally . . . if none of the above suits you, you can go to Quilting Gallery’s Big List of Quilt-Alongs, Swaps, Bees, and other projects for this year to see if you can find something over there. And as my grandma would say, “If you can’t find something there that suits you, then you don’t have anyone to blame but yourself!”

Published in: on January 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm  Comments (2)  
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