Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Vote Now at Blogger's Quilt Festival, 2016

Now's the time to look at and vote for your favorite quilts in the Blogger's Quilt Festival 2016 at Amy's Creative Side.  There are lots of beautiful quilts in 11 categories.  I think you should go look at them and vote (until September 30).

You can vote by clicking the little heart in the upper right corner of the thumbnail image.  Once you've voted it will turn red.

Below are direct links to the quilt categories.

If you see a quilt you'd like to nominate for Viewer's Choice, copy the link for the thumbnail below the quilt image and paste it into the form here.

It's been fun to see so many quilts on display at this festival and I give Amy a hearty thank you.

--Nancy.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Dark Strings for Blogger's Quilt Festival

I'm entering this quilt I call Dark Strings in the Scrappy Quilts category of the Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2016 Edition at Amy's Creative Side.  What a fun way to see quilts other bloggers have made, especially bloggers whose blogs are new to me.

I had an abundance of strings and began sewing the dark and medium ones together.  They are not all the same width.  My only criteria was not to have strings of the same fabric touching as I sewed lengthwise.


The blocks are 6" square and I used 2" squares on the corners, then sewed them diagonally.  The finished quilt measures 64 3/4" x 85 3/4".

The batting is Soft n Crafty 80% cotton / 20% polyester.  It hand quilts easily and puffs up nicely after a turn in the washer and a spin in the dryer.


You can see other entries in the Scrappy Quilts category here.  Any blogger can enter two quilts before Monday, September 26 at 11:50 pm. EDT.  Voting begins on Sunday, September, 25.  Click through and have a look at all the categories.

Thanks for visiting.

--Nancy.
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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Red Wings for Blogger's Quilt Festival

It's quilt festival time and I'm entering my quilt, Red Wings and Stars, in the Fall 2016 Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side.  Thanks so much for organizing and hosting this festival, Amy.  It's such fun to see bloggers' quilts I would have missed because I don't know about their blogs.

I designed the pattern for Red Wings as I went along.  It was made over several years' time, a block one week, several blocks another week, then the blocks were laid aside for a while I decided layout and sashing.   I've already written many posts about the making of this quilt.  I'll just share a few details in this post.

The blocks finish at 9 1/2", the blue sashing at 2" wide.  The whole quilt, after washing and drying, measures 62 1/2" x 86 3/4".
Red Wings and Stars scrappy quilt

I used Soft & Crafty 80% cotton / 20% polyester batting.  It was easy to hand quilt and I like how it fluffs after washing and drying.
Red Wings and Stars scrappy quilt

The weather has been too warm to use it but I'm sure it will be warm and cozy when cold winter winds blow.

I'm entering this quilt in the Large Quilt Category of the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Click the link to see other quilts in this category.

Red Wings and Stars scrappy quilt

If you'd like to enter a quilt, too, the deadline to enter is Saturday, September 24, at midnight EDT.  The categories include mini quilts, small quilts, large quilts, applique quilts, art quilts, hand quilted quilts, home machine quilted quilts, modern quilts, original design quilts, ROYGBIV quilts, and scrappy quilts.  Go to this link to get all the information and links to each category.  Prepare to be inspired!

After Monday, September 26, you can return Amy's Creative Side to vote for the quilts you like best in each category.

Thanks for visiting.
--Nancy.
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Friday, September 16, 2016

Quilting in Progress on Morning Stars - OMG Finish for September

When I quilt without marking a pattern on the quilt I call it "free-motion hand quilting."  I can do it with Baptist Fans but I'm not sure how well I would do with a more complicated pattern.


When I quilt this way I don't worry too much about things like that little crooked first curve on the green block.  (It's taken me a long time to overcome my tendencies toward perfection.)  Once it's washed and dried no one will notice that little crook on this baby quilt (unless they go over with with a close eye).

I decided against the monkey fabric for the back because even after a third wash it seemed scratchy.  I found the fabric below earlier this week and decided it would be fine.  It's super soft.


Choosing fabric, layering and basting this quilt, and beginning the quilting was my goal for the September OMG (One Monthly Goal) challenge at Red Letter Quilts.  I'm linking to One Monthly Goal Linkup: Celebrating September Finishes! to celebrate.  Thanks for hosting, Heidi.

Today I'm linking to Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and to Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts.  Thanks, ladies.

I hope you have a great weekend, whatever you do.

--Nancy.
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Monday, September 12, 2016

Basket Play

I made a basket pattern and cut out some plaid baskets to applique. 
I originally had a neutral background behind the baskets.  Neutral is my go-to, safe color for nearly every quilt I make so I decided to be a little "brave" and try out colored fabrics behind the baskets.

I'm just playing around here.  No commitment to backgrounds, to leaves, or to flowers.  The only commitment is to the baskets, and their shape may evolve.  I've been stitching around the edges of three baskets and have found that the two cut on the bias are more challenging to stitch, but I like how they look.  (Only one is shown here.)

My first thoughts for these baskets were plaids and autumn colors.  I pulled both from my shelves and also scraps from my small scrap box.

I don't know where these baskets are headed but I'm enjoying playing and trying out possibilities. 

I'm linking this post to
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> Moving It Forward at Em's Scrapbag
> Main Crush Monday #38 at Cooking Up Quilts
> Design Wall at Patchwork Times
> Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilts
> Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River
> Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story

Thanks for visiting.   Wishing you a good day.

--Nancy.
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Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Good Time for a Nap . . . + Brave Quilter

. . . is when I'm too tired to think straight.  I often try to keep going but if I'm doing anything that requires making decisions I just give up and go lie down.  It's a nap or nothing gets done. 

I needed a nap today.  My younger daughter left this afternoon after a six-day visit and my older daughter and her husband and my grands (Malachi, 4; Olivia, 2 1/2; and Isaac, 7 months) left on Tuesday after a busy, almost hectic, four days.  I love having all of my family here together no matter how crazy it gets.  I also end up tired beyond making sense of things by the time everyone leaves.  It's times like these that I realize I'm no longer young (no matter what my brain tries to tell me).

Needless to say, I did nothing on the quilting front over the holiday weekend, nor the week before while I was preparing for their visit.  I hope tomorrow I'll have a little more energy and focus.  Unfortunately, tomorrow is Friday and I don't start projects on Fridays.  My mom used to stay, "Never start a project on Friday that you can't finish on Friday."  As a child and youth that never made sense to me because, after all, there was the whole weekend ahead to work on the project.  But I've since found that when I start something on Friday my enthusiasm wanes by Saturday evening, even if I began knowing it was a long-term project.  Perhaps there's a subconscious expectation of not finishing planted by my mom?

(Okay, to be honest, I've set myself a sub-rule for this no starting on Friday thing, just in case you're wondering.  If I can successfully finish all of one step in a bigger project I allow myself to begin on a Friday, such as cutting out all the pieces for one quilt block; sewing a quilt block till it's finished; cutting out a pattern for a dress; layering and basting a quilt; etc.  That usually works.)

So tonight --Thursday!-- I cut out a little basket to applique.  (I was in advance of Friday by an hour or so.)  I don't have any specific result in mind, just the idea to applique an autumn-ish basket and flower, and maybe several baskets. 


On Saturday I'll resume my quilting efforts in earnest:
  • thinking about my Gwenny medallion and "something fishy" for the last border
  • finding/making backing for the Mornings Star quilt for Baby Isaac
  • cutting and sewing more Buckeye Beauty blocks
  • appliqueing this basket

Just out of curiosity:  When do you decide it's time for a nap?  And, do you start projects on Fridays?  If so, do you have success finishing them if they take longer than one day?  I suppose there probably aren't any other moms who planted that idea in their children's brains, are there?

I'm going to link this post to Brave Quilter for September at Pink Doxies.  I expect to make several of these basket blocks.  My "brave" this month will be pushing myself to use something other than a pale neutral background, i.e., a safe background, on at least one or two of these blocks.  I may or may not like them but at least I will have tried something different.  Thanks for hosting, Julie.

Happy Friday to you.
--Nancy.
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Saturday, September 3, 2016

September One Monthly Goal

My One Monthly Goal (OMG) for September is to find/make backing for this quilt, then layer, baste, and begin quilting it.


I found fabric with stars online and showed my husband.  It was a small print with stars in colors similar to this quilt (except that there were yellow stars, too).  He thought it was too busy.  But he did like the fabric below with monkeys.  (Please note that the photo below shows a much smaller section of fabric than the quilt above.  The proportions are not accurate.)

While I'm fine with the monkey print I'm not thrilled with the feel of the fabric.  It's not soft and seems a little coarse for a baby quilt.  I'll wash it again and if it softens up I'll use it but if it doesn't I'll choose some other fabric (or piece several other fabrics) for a back for this quilt.

And that's my goal.  Find others' goals at One Monthly Goal: September Goal Setting Party, a link-up hosted by Heidi of Red Letter Quilts.  If you'd like to set a goal yourself and joint the party, I know you'd be welcome.

--Nancy.
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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Star Border on My Gwenny Medallion Quilt

You'll have to look closely to see the stars on this border:  I used five different fabrics with stars which, combined, have more than a thousand stars, but they're all small and in the light/medium color range.

Choosing the fabrics for the border was easy enough but choosing how to incorporate stars was a real challenge.  The center has star-like flowers and the first border has liberated stars.  I didn't think repeating either in this border was a good choice, especially after trying so many options.  I posted about my first idea here.  Below are some other ways I considered incorporating stars. 







 



I thought about stars during the day, considered possibilities, then laid out my idea.  By bedtime I was certain that I'd found the perfect border.  When I awoke in the morning and looked at the border I knew it wasn't right -- yet.  Over and over again during the month I repeated this cycle.

Several of the border options seemed too decorative, others seemed patriotic (red/white/blue--which I don't have anything against but just not for this quilt), and others just seemed too confining.

I wish I'd taken a photo after the border was sewn and before I added the star points, but here it is now.  The way it's hanging doesn't enhance the quilt itself....

Another view....

Two good things:  the quilt is still close to square and still nearly flat.  I stitched the border on, then unstitched where I wanted to add the star points, appliqued them on, then restitched the border to the center.  I don't know how concerned I should be about it not being perfectly flat but I'm concerned enough that I'll probably try to fix it.  (Maybe I should have started with an 8" x 10" center and I would have had more control?)

I'm writing this before the last border is announced.  When I learn what that is and if I think a change in this border will enhance and go with the center and the next border I will have no qualms about changing this border.

I can't help but feeling that this medallion quilt along is a little advanced for my skills!

I'll be linking to Lori's post at Humble Quilts when she opens the link-up.  Go there to see several dozen ways that others have interpreted the borders for this quilt-along.  It's lots of fun to see the variety.

--Nancy.
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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Right Brain, Left Brain, Quilter's Block


There are times when I'm making a quilt --especially one that isn't a specific block pattern-- that I make decisions as I go along (for example, the Gwen-inspired medallion quilt).  Occasionally there are times when my brain gives me no ideas for the next step and I get stuck, stopped completely.  I can't come up with the next idea, the next step, the next shape, color, pattern, the next anything.  I assumed it was just me and how my mind works.  But maybe not.

I happened onto Mary Lou Weidman's book, Quilted Memories: Celebrations of Life, when I was at the library the other day.  She wrote something I found really interesting.
     I have read everything I could find about creativity over my lifetime.  I have also read a lot about writing and what is called writer's block.  Writer's block is similar to what many quilters go through when they start having doubts about their design.
     Whether you know it or not, this is the battle of right brain vs. left brain.  Both sides of the brain have their own roles.  Left brain is in charge of analytical traits, reasoning, and math.  Right brain likes play, design, and creativity.  Now, we need both our right brain and our left brain, but there is something you may not know.  The left brain likes to take over in some people, and in others the right brain takes over.  When  you go to work on a quilt design and you start thinking "I can't do this!  What made me think I can design my own quilt?" that is the left brain saying, "Hey, let me take over, let's do something I like to do."  Many people follow the left brain and give up.  But if you can challenge your brain and give it a few right-brain exercises, you can get into right-brain mode.
It's not just me!  And since she includes some right-brain exercises to try I should be able to get past my occasional "quilt block."  The book also has a section called, "How to Increase Your Creativity Quotient" in which the author offers an annotated list of a dozen suggestions.  There were lots of good ideas but I was especially pleased with her suggestion to "Start more than one project."  Do quilters really need encouragement to do that?! 

Maybe your library has the book and you can see the whole list.  (I don't want to violate copyright and include it here.)  Mary Lou blogs at Mary Lou and Whimsy Too if you'd like to see some of her work and read more of her ideas.

Do you ever get "quilter's block?"  If so, how do you get past it?

I hope you're having a good weekend.

--Nancy.
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Friday, August 26, 2016

Scrap Hot Pads

A cut off strip from the end of this too-long quilt became four, double-sided hot pads. 

quilted hot pads

Last Saturday I cut the strip into pieces, put them back to back, and machine stitched the binding around the edges.  During this week I hand stitched the binding to the reverse sides.  They came out of the dryer today measuring about 6 1/2" x 7 1/4".  Both of my daughters want to take them home.

Finishes being in short supply around here so I'm pleased for even small finishes.  A finish is a finish, right?

I'm linking this post to Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, ladies.

I hope you have a great weekend.

--Nancy.
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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Fabric Acquisition

A few months ago I won a gift certificate for Mad About Patchwork from Leanne at She Can Quilt for a post I linked to Scraptastic Tuesday.  What a sweet surprise.  If you don't know, Mad About Patchwork is a Canadian company that sells primarily modern prints and solid fabrics.


My purchases, above, top row, left to right:
Strawberry Fields: Summer Bouquet in Stone, fat quarter
Strawberry Fields: Strawberry Blooms in Stone, fat quarter
Strawberry Fields: Daisy Blooms in Strawberry, fat quarter
Silver Linings: Bloom in Cream/Charcoal, fat quarter
Farmhouse by Fig Tree & Co.: Calico Blossom in Tomato, one yard

And bottom row, left to right:
Strawberry Fields; Sprigs in Sand, fat quarter
Kaffe Fassett: Shot Cotton Nut, fat quarter
For You: Combo in Orange, fat quarter
Kona Biscuit, fat quarter
Kaffe Fassett: Shot Cotton Apricot, fat quarter
Cotton Couture in Cinnamon, one yard

This was my first online fabric shopping experience.  What an adventure.  Whenever I'm in the presence of bolts of fabric at a brick and mortar store my mind imagines all the possibilities instead of staying focused on the purpose of my visit.  I often leave with one or two fat quarters because I just couldn't decide.

With an online gift certificate the only option is to use all of the gift certificate at one time or not use it at all.  I spent time browsing through all the possibilities at Mad About Patchwork.  I favor vintage and antique fabrics which narrowed down the the selection but I found ones I like quite a lot.

Checking out was interesting.  The fabric is sold by quarter-yard units.  I was uncertain whether two units would give me two fat quarters or half a yard but no worries because there was a place to leave a note as I finished my order.  I was also baffled by the conversion from Canadian dollars to U.S. dollars but noticed a place to click to change between the two.  At this time U.S. dollars can buy more than Canadian.

The colors on the website were close to accurate but I was a little disappointed by that solid tan on the bottom row.  I was aiming for a putty/grey color similar to the background on the upper left fabrics.  From the online photos that was the color I thought I was purchasing.  (Gosh, isn't Kona nice fabric?  And Cotton Couture, too.  They both have body without being too thin or too stiff.)

I don't have anything in particular in mind for these fabrics but I notice that six of them -- those apricot/peach/coral fabrics and the flowers on the grey background -- look really good together.

I also won a gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop.  Most of their fabrics are about $10.00/yard.  I was excited to think that I might be able to choose 10 fat quarters with the gift certificate, but when looking more closely I realized that the Fat Quarter Shop sells only half-yard pieces of individual fabrics.  If you want fat quarters you must purchase them in bundles.  (I don't understand why a shop named the Fat Quarter Shop wouldn't sell primarily fat quarters....)  Anyway, I'll save that shopping experience for another week.


My last recent purchase was BasicGrey:  Juniper Berry, on the left above.  I went into a relatively small local fabric shop to look for backing fabric for the Morning Stars quilt.  I didn't see any I thought would work (it's such a scrappy quilt without modern fabrics) but I didn't want to walk out without purchasing something.  I'll use it, I'm sure.

I'm linking this post to Fabric Frenzy Friday at Fort Worth Fabric Studio.

Happy day to you!

--Nancy.
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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Quilt Leftovers - Slow Sunday Stitching

I recently cut off the end of a quilt (because it was just too long) but I couldn't make myself throw away that quilted strip.  It laid around until recently when I realized I could cut it into smaller pieces, layer two together, and bind them.  VoilĂ !  Hot pads.

The strip was long enough to make four double-sided hot pads.  I sewed the binding on by machine and today I'll hand-stitch it to the reverse side.

Side one:

Side two:

Talk about scraps!  I just can't throw anything away.  I wouldn't give these hot pads as gifts -- they're just utility hot pads -- but I'm happy to have turned that waste strip into something useful.   

I'm linking this post to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.

I hope you have a peaceful, restful Sabbath.

--Nancy.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

A Finished Top

It's been a long time between finishes around here so I'm pleased to have one this month.  This is based on "Morning Star" but I didn't measure the triangles that create the stars so they're not exact.

Morning Star quilt with liberated stars

When I was cutting squares and rectangles it seemed like I kept cutting more and more greens, more greens than any other fabric, but now that I look at the photo of the quilt green does not seem to be the dominant color.  Maybe it's just that the reds are brighter and the greens are more muted....  The colors are not exactly evenly dispersed but I think the stars overpower the background colors.  It would be less obvious if the quilt were larger but it is what it is.

I didn't measure it before I folded it but it should measure at 43 1/2" x 50" or thereabouts.  I hope to get it layered soon so I can begin hand quilting it.

I'll be devoting the rest of this month to my medallion quilt.  I've taken to calling it "Little Miss Medallion."  She seems to be just as particular as some little girls.

I'm linking this post to August Finishes: OMG Linkup at Red Letter Quilts.  At the beginning of August I declared my intention to choose a pattern for a baby quilt and begin.  I'm pleased to have not only chosen a pattern but to have also finished the top!  Thanks for hosting OMG, Heidi.

I'm also linking this post to
> Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.
> Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday (TGIFF) at The Quilt Journal
> Show Off Saturday at Sew She Can
> finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts
Thank you for hosting, ladies.

I hope you're enjoying life.

--Nancy.
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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Almost a Quilt Top

I've been cutting and sewing, snipping, ironing, then cutting and sewing some more.

Squares, rectangles, triangles....  It's such a scrappy thing with prints, plaids, plains, in greens, reds, blues, and browns, all together in the same quilt.  I love scrappy quilts for babies.  (Well, let's just be honest:  I love scrappy quilts period.)

All that sewing and finally, blocks are becoming rows.

I hope to have a finished top by the end of the week.

I'm linking this post to
> Building Blocks Tuesday at Quilter in the Closet
> Fabric Tuesday #284 at Quilt Story
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> WOW at Esther's Blog
> Let's Bee Social #138 at Sew Fresh Quilts
Thank you for hosting, ladies!

I hope you're enjoying fabric, family, and live in general.

--Nancy.
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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Two Things

First.  Too much of a good thing is just too much.


That blue border is very scrappy.  There are at least half a dozen different fabrics but there are many, many more pieces of fabric.  I think it works.  But now that I'm thinking of another border made of several different fabrics, I'm not so sure more scrappy will make this quilt better.  Maybe too much of a good thing is overload, maybe just too much.  (Of course, there are several considerations yet for this border, the narrow border between it and the cabin border (color and width), and the stars.  Where are the stars?!)  Have I mentioned that I don't know what I'm doing with this quilt, or where it's going?  Even so, I'm (mostly) enjoying the creative challenge of it.

Most who are making Gwenny-medallions aren't posting about them until they've finished the current border.  Is that a "rule" for quilt-alongs?  I hope not because here I am with two "non-progress" posts in two days.


Second.  That voice in my head.

Are you like me?  Do you have a voice in your head that sometimes tells you negative things?  The disdainful little voice in my head tells me things like, "You'll never succeed at that.  You'll never be good enough."  Or, "Who do you think you are, trying to accomplish something like that?"  Or, "You may have talents/skills/abilities, but that's not one of them."  Or maybe one of the worst, "You always mess things up and you'll do the same with this."

I rarely have trouble silencing that voice.  I know whose it is and its purpose and I focus on other things, other grander purposes than the negative.  But there are times -- when I'm learning something new or challenging and haven't quite mastered it; when I'm pushing to finish something by a tight deadline; or when I'm tired or don't feel well -- that I have a little trouble ignoring the messages.  Today was one of those days.  I know it's because I'm tired and because I feel achy (which I hope is because I'm tired or slept in an uncomfortable position).  I know I'll feel better after a good night's sleep.  I'll have a better outlook and perhaps I'll dream of a great border idea, or maybe I'll just see the quilt differently when I'm not tired.

At times like this I love to remember this quote by F. Enzio Busche.
When you are physically sick, tired, or in despair, steer your thoughts away from yourself and direct them, in gratitude and love, towards God.
What grand direction, worth heeding and following.  He has more to say, which you can hear in the brief video below.


I'm so grateful for so many wonderful blessings, including the freedom to choose creativity.

I hope you have a pleasant, restful Sabbath.

--Nancy.
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