Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Absent so long...

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but I had a busy end of the school year.  I was actually done teaching at the end of April because I had a surgery scheduled for early May.  That took a while to recover from...but now I'm doing well and I'm ready to move on to something new....and I retired from teaching, don't forget that part!!

So during my recovery, I spent a month studying for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board exam.  It is a national exam which certifies that pharmacy techs have some basic skills and drug knowledge.  Most people go to school or work in a pharmacy for a while prior to taking it, but not me.  After studying all day, every day, for a month, I took it and passed.  It was really a personal goal--to show that I was still capable of learning new things.  Twenty-seven years of teaching can turn your mind to mush...

Now I need to find a job at a pharmacy and get 500 hours of work experience to complete my Pharmacy Tech license for the state of Nevada.  Wish me luck!!

ps.   There should be more time available to quilt now that my studying is complete.  In fact, I'm going to go longarm a baby quilt today!!  It has only been loaded on the machine since Christmas break...LOL.  Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Rainbow pineapple...and remodeling plans!

I jumped on the pineapple block bandwagon and made a cute little mini quilt!

The rainbow squares finish at 1.5" x 1.5" so the whole thing only measures about 9" x 15"-- the perfect size for a wall of mini-quilts I intend to have someday!  I've been slowly remodeling my son's "mancave" in anticipation of his college departure in a year and half.  We had it tiled over Spring Break while he was away in New York on a band trip.  Why let the room go to waste when it could become another sewing room??  Yes, I already have two others upstairs, but this one would be downstairs....so it's different.  ;-)

I have a paint color picked out (kind of a duck egg blue/aqua/dinner mint color), and plans to chalk paint the corner hutch and credenza....and I must have a wall of mini-quilts!  All of his instruments will be gone, and his couch, and  all of his stuff....and most sadly, him.  I love him so much and wish he would stay and go to UNLV, but his musical dreams will likely take him from Las Vegas.  So very sad...but on the flip side, I'm taking this mancave and making an awesome sewing space!!!

The floors look like wood but are porcelain plank tiles--much cooler in Las Vegas during the summer--and easier to clean up after a marathon sewing day!!  We removed the carpet and he didn't even notice a change.   Plus, it is easier for him to roll around his tuba and sousaphone when he needs to practice.  He also taught himself the piano this year, and the bass guitar, and wants to tackle an acoustic guitar this summer.  ps...The blue tape is painter's tape applied near a step down into the cave so he gets used to noticing the drop down.  Because the tile in the cave matches the tile in the foyer, it is easy to stumble if you don't expect the step....

Not a very quilt-related post, but important just the same.  Happy Quilting!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Riley Blake Modern Minis...

I recently purchased about a yard and half of a Riley Blake Modern Minis panel print fabric.  The panel was a series of 4" squares punctuated with cute little sayings.  I quickly cut the panel apart into squares and matched up two colored squares with one text square.  I cut the colored squares in half diagonally and then attached them to the top/bottom and left/right sides of the text square.  I was able to trim them up to 5.5" x 5.5" squares.

Lots and lots of blocks were going to become a dog quilt, but then I thought they needed sashing....

These little sayings are so adorable....By this point, I realized the dog can't read the sayings and this quilt was too good/girly for him....

Remember phones with cords?  And wondering who was on the other end of the line?  And taking care with every picture you take because film is expensive and you had to pay for every single picture to be developed??  LOL...

I inserted some 1" finished sashing between the blocks, added some setting triangles and voila!  A baby quilt was made....and I know that babies can't read, but their parents can read, so the awesome text won't be lost on them...

A sexy, up-close shot of the blocks...look at the little camper!

"Choose Happy" is my favorite one!

Anyhow, I'm going to order some coordinating backing fabric and get this thing quilted up and put on Etsy.  But I think there are about 8 other quilts in the queue waiting for my lazy longarmer (me!) to get them quilted!!

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rainbow Shamrocks....

After making a bunch of green shamrocks from my Mini Shamrock Tutorial, I decided to try out a rainbow version.  This little block soon became a favorite and now I'm addicted to making them from my huge scrap pile...The squares are cut 2" and finish at 1.5".  The whole block is 6.5" unfinished!

So I kept on making more and more blocks and I'm at this stage.  It might stop here, as a 24" x 24" mini quilt...but who knows??  I still keep making more blocks so I could go a bit larger or maybe just turn them into mini-mini quilts or mug rugs...

Anyhow, this is what has been going on lately at my house.  Today I need to quilt up my green shamrock mini quilt and get it bound.  Maybe you'll see that one tomorrow!!

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Scrappy Shamrock Tutorial

During an online search for a shamrock pattern, I found this shamrock tutorial from QuiltingWorks.com, but it was for a 12.5" x 12.5" block.  I thought the basic idea was great and decided to scale it down to a 6.5" x 6.5" unfinished block.  I would love to ask permission from QuiltingWorks, but I can't find a way to contact them and it seemed to be a free tutorial with no credit given to the original designer.  I've seen other blocks like it from other sources, so I doubt it is a truly unique design, but QuiltingWorks is the place I saw it first.  A big thanks to them for the inspiration!

So after debating about it, I decided to give them credit for the design, scale it down, and write a tutorial with a bit less wasted fabric.  Here it goes....a mostly picture tutorial....

The block:  6.5" x 6.5" unfinished

Cut the following pieces:

(12) - 2" x 2" green squares
(1) - 1" x 4.5" green stem rectangle
(5) - 2" x 2" white background squares
(1) - 4.5" x 4.5" white background square

Arrange the pieces for the shamrock block as shown below.  Pull out the three inside squares that will remain 2" x 2" and the stem and background square--set them aside.  The remaining nine 2" x 2" squares will have one corner cut off in the next step

How to make the template to cut the corners:

From a piece of paper, cut a 1" x 1" square and cut it in half diagonally.  Tape one half of the paper square to the bottom of a clear acrylic ruler and use this as a guide to cut off one corner from each of the nine green squares.  To save time, stack several squares on top of one another and make the cut...

Next, cut the five 2" x 2" background squares in half diagonally and sew them to the corners of the cut green squares.

Here is another view of how to center the white triangular background piece on the cut green square...be sure that the two pieces are centered on one another (the white triangle tips on the left and right sides should be the same size).

Press the seams open and trim the squares to 2" x 2".

To make the stem unit, take the 4.5" x 4.5" background square and make a cut 3" from the left of the bottom right corner, and 3" up from the bottom right corner.  Place that triangular piece off to the side for now.  Rotate the remaining piece so that the cut you just made is horizontal and lined up along a grid line on your cutting mat--also, make sure that the top tip of this piece is lined up on a vertical grid line on the cutting mat. Make a vertical cut up to the corner (cutting the piece into two mirror images).  Use the grid on the cutting mat to help ensure that this cut is perpendicular to the first cut.

Sew the 1" x 4.5" green stem piece in between the two halves of the background square.  Press the seams open to reduce the bulk.  If necessary, trim the edge of the pieced unit so you have a straight edge prior to attaching the corner triangle.  Center the tip of the triangle in the center of the stem, align the bottom edges of the two pieces, and sew the triangle to the pieced unit.  Press the seams open.

Next, trim the stem unit to 3.5" x 3.5".  Center the 45 degree line of a square ruler up through the middle of the stem. Trim the top and right side of the unit.  Rotate it 180 degrees and trim the other two sides to square it up to 3.5" x 3.5"

Finally, layout the shamrock pieces into rows and sew them together.  Sew the rows to one another and attach the stem unit to the bottom two shamrock rows.  Press all seams open to reduce bulk.  The finished shamrock block should be 6.5" x 6.5".

I made several mug rugs from these little blocks for friends and family.  One thing I might do differently than most is that I use single fold binding for mug rugs, mini-quilts and wall hangings.  I cut the binding 1.5" wide--here is a tutorial for single fold binding, if you need it.  In my opinion, double fold binding should be used on quilts that will get a lot of wear and tear.  If a quilted item won't be handled very often, why waste the fabric on a double fold binding that only creates bulk around the edge of a small quilt??  Just my two cents...

Anyhow, I hope that you enjoy this tutorial.  If something doesn't make sense, let me know and I'll adjust the pics/words to clarify the process.  

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

All Kisses...No Hugs!!

In January I started a little EPP project for Valentine's Day using enlongated hexagons and squares.  It will be a mini-quilt when it is finished, measuring 22" x 22".  There will be 5 x 5 "x"s...25 total.

The fabrics used are a bit of #love, a little Miss Scarlett and some Natural Kona cotton.  I love EPP, but this pattern seems a bit harder than the diamonds and jewels I've used in the past.  Oh well, my goal is to finish it by Valentine's Day.  We'll see how that goes....

I did finish a couple of dog placemats for Buddy.  I found some scraps when I was cleaning out my sewing room and decided to make use of them...then I decided to do some simple crosshatching, which turned into a ridiculous amount of crosshatching for a dog item...


And though I LOVE my Juki, it doesn't come with a guide that can be attached to the walking foot for evenly spacing the crosshatching.  So I made a rigged guide from an expired insurance card to try to keep my lines evenly spaced....very hinky!  But an improvement from my last one made from cardstock....this one is actually laminated!!!

Juki--hear me now!!  I love your walking foot and perfect stitches, but I'd like an adjustable guide that attaches to the foot to help me with perfect crosshatching!!  Is that too much to ask??

But the stitches are perfect and Buddy is already enjoying his new mat.  Isn't that all that matters??

I'm getting closer to retirement...less than four months away!  Happy Quilting!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Swirl quilting...

I've been busy with work lately, but I did have a chance to do some longarm quilting on a little project.  I just did swirls...nothing fancy...

I still have a pile of tops that need to be quilted, so you might see more quilting in the coming months.  There really isn't a reason that I let them pile up...laziness??  Or maybe it's the damn Netflix??  lol...

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Valentine's Day Mug Rugs...

I dug out my bucket of Valentine's Day fabric and made a few mug rugs this weekend.  Two for me and Rebecca...

And a single Valentine dog for my happily single friend Denise...

I really do like making mug rugs...such a quick and easy project.  To make binding these little things easier, I use a single-fold binding (1.5" strip).  I found a tutorial on single-fold binding here at shecanquilt.  The only difference is I use a slightly bigger strip, but generally the method is the same.  This keeps the binding from being so bulky on a small, light-use item like a mug rug, or mini quilt.

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

BONUS POINTS Tutorial--A Layer Cake Quarter Log Cabin Block Quilt

After my Extra Credit jelly roll log cabin pattern, I always meant to make another quilt block with little pieces--but from layer cake squares.  I recently got inspired by these mug rugs that I use every day and basically ignored for years....lol.  The corner piece finishes at 2" x 2" and the logs finished at 1" wide.

After sketching a bit on some grid paper (every quilter's friend), I came up with this block.  I'm calling it Bonus Points because the pieces are small and you deserve some Bonus Points for taking the time to assemble blocks with little pieces....LOL...teacher humor, get it??  😊

Unfinished size:  9.5" x 9.5" (approx--depending on seams)
Finished size:  9" x 9" (approx--depending on seams)

Which looks like this when assembled...

I came up with a simple method for making one quarter log cabin block from a layer cake square and a bit of background fabric.  Once you add more layer cake squares, you get more variety in your blocks.  My first go around, I made a rainbow version with 12 blocks.  For this gradient method, I used two fabrics of each color.  ** I did use small scale fabrics that almost read as solids.

If you are going gradient, I'd recommend making blocks that are multiples of six (like 12, 18, 24, 30 or 36...etc).  Here are a few suggested quilt sizes for gradient blocks... it is available in PDF form here

Block Assembly:  First, stack several layer cake squares on top of one another for faster cutting (I do six at a time).

**Be sure not to make a cutting mistake--there is no room for error in the cutting ;-)  Cut all the layer cake squares in this manner and stack your pieces by letter.  There will be a 2.5" x 5" scrap of fabric leftover from each layer cake.  In a later post, I'll show you how I pieced those scraps together and inserted them in the backing fabric for a little added cuteness...

The pieces are lettered in the order they will be sewn into the block.  Start with piece "A" and add "B" to the right side.  Press the seam toward the "B" piece and then add the "C" piece to the top.  Press the seam toward the "C" piece, then add the "D" piece to the left....etc.  I always pressed the seams of the logs toward the outside of the block.

Depending on your seams, your pieces might not fit perfectly.  If you are using a scant 1/4" seam, everything should be spot on!  But if your seams are slightly bigger or smaller, your pieces will be a bit smaller or bigger when you attach them to the block.  Don't worry!

HINT:  As you add the next log, be sure to line the edge up along the corner where all the logs are meeting (the upper right corner--the one opposite of the "A" piece).  Don't worry about the jagged edge on the left side and bottom of the block--these will get squared up at the end of the process.

After all the logs are sewn together, it is time to attach the background pieces.

You will need two 2.5" x 7.5" background rectangles for each block.  From your background fabric, cut the required number of 2.5" x WOF strips and subcut into 2.5" x 7.5" pieces.  Each strip should yield 5 rectangles.

Sew one of the rectangles to the right side of the block and sew the other rectangle to one of the "L" 2.5" x 2.5" squares.  At this point, I pressed the seams open.  Also, I picked a "L" square that matched the color of the original "A" piece...but you can mix it up and put whichever "L" square you like in the corner...

For the final step, sew the top rectangle/"L" unit to the pieced block, aligning the seams of the "L" piece with the final log in the block.  Sew these together and press the seams open.

Finally, it is time to square up the blocks.  Ideally, if your seam was a scant 1/4" inch, you should be able to square up to 9.5" x 9.5".  If your seam is a little off, then you might need to square up a bit smaller or a bit bigger--no worries, the pattern is flexible.  My Juki has a "wide" 1/4" seam so my blocks squared up to 9.25" x 9.25".

I started squaring up in the corner with the "A" piece to keep as much of the logs as possible. Trim the top and right sides. Rotate the block 180 degrees and then trim the other two sides to your "square up" size.

Here is the finished block.

As for layouts, there are several possibilities...and more if you have more blocks!  These are a few I came up with on the fly...

I hope I covered everything in this tutorial  Watch for later posts as I try this in other colorways and larger sizes.  Honestly, with the cutting taking so little time, and the piecing being so easy, a baby quilt can quickly come together in an afternoon.  I love log cabin blocks and I hope that you have fun with this pattern.

Please send me pics if you make a quilt from this tutorial,  I'd love to see your quilts!!  Enjoy...Happy Quilting!