Friday, March 30, 2012

Jelly Roll Race Night at our Guild!

Hi all!

I thought that I would share the program we had at our guild this week.  It was really fun and something that other guilds could definitely do!
First of all we wanted to make quilts for our local hospice and get the guild members involved.  When I saw the Jelly Roll Race video I KNEW this was something very doable for us!  Now I am not going to reinvent the wheel ;-)  The video is great and you should watch it first if you are unfamiliar with the process.  I'm simply going to tell you how I adapted it for a group to work on.
First of all, we asked guild members to bring in 3 @ 2.5" strips to each meeting.  Next time I would NOT do this!  I would ask for say 20 @ 2.5" strips all at one time because sorting the strips took A LONG, LONG time and it would have been much easier if they all came in at the same time.  I would also get a couple people to help sort the strips to lighten the load.
OR Buy 20 Jelly Rolls ;-)  Done!
That said - any time I had 8 strips of exactly the same fabric donated I kept those aside for binding.  I have those here that I kept apart as I will ask members to make the bindings next meeting.  Why did we ask for members to donate the strips?  To keep costs down for one; and, to get members involved and using their stash - wins all around!
All told we had 22 member donated strips jelly rolls so we needed that many sewing machines for the night.  We decided not to use irons since we are in an old building and I was worried about blowing fuses!  That said - you DON'T need to iron until the top is finished so this sped things up a lot!  i passed out a printed set of instructions (adapted from the instructions here) to each team if they needed help and I did a short demo before the race started.  I was able to leave one hour and 15 minutes of the meeting for the race but it would have been nice to leave an hour and a half.

We got into teams of at least 2 people.  Some teams had more.  One one side of the team was the sewer and they started to sew mitering the strips like you would binding. 
The second team member had a set of sheers and was trimming the excess fabric off with the sheers  No need for rotary cutters and mats - this was faster and less equipment was needed.

After the first pass the team members worked together to stretch out the strip and get the two ends together.  Each pass the team members worked together.  One sewing and the other stretching out the strip and helping the sewer manage the strips.  Again - if you're not sure what I am talking about her please check out the video!

The first top was finished in about 50 minutes!  We had a fat quarter bundle to give to the winning team since that could easily be divided among the team members.  In this case it was a team of two.

All told, 2 teams had sewing machine problems; but, by the end of the meeting we had 12 out of 19 tops completely finished!  And 2 more were about 5 minutes away from being finished!  We were all amazed at how much we accomplished on just ONE meeting - yey!

I asked members to please take the tops home to iron and bring them back.  Three members took the remaining jelly rolls home to sew and I heard back from one person that she finished her second one the next day - yey!


Here are our 12 tops from member donated strips!  Not bad huh?  We are purchasing backing and batting and asking guild members to quilt and bind them.  I will get that organized next meeting.

So, what do you think?  Pretty cool huh?  People felt really good about the evening and I only have heard great things about how much fun everyone had :-D  Would I do this again - yes!  But, I would implement the changes I had mentioned and get the strips all in at once.  It feels so good to have som much fun doing charity quilts.

So what do you think?  Is this something you would take to your guild?  Would you do it like this or make changes?  Any questions feel free to leave them here!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Book Review and a Give-Away!

Recently I have had the pleasure to read an amazing book called Finish Almost Any Quilt: A Practical Guide to Adapting Quilts to Finish as You Go by Marguerita McManus.  If you have been reading my blog for a while you'll know that I absolutely love Maguerita's book Crazy Shortcut Quilts!  I have taught her method many times in classes and everyone always loves it and the quilts always look amazing.  So, when Marguerita came out with her new book I couldn't wait to get my hands on it!

In her second book Marguerita explores more methods to finish your quilts using the quilt as you go method.  What I love about her method is that there is no hand-work involved at all!  Many methods of quilt as you go do a lot of hand trimming or hand sewing to finish the quilts off - not in this book!!  Her methods are easy enough for beginners to achieve success with.  Indeed, I have taught Crazy Shortcut Quilts to beginners and they have loved the method!

Since this book is self-published there are lots and lots of colour pictures that will really aid the reader.  Also, Marguerita has an amazing YouTube Channel with many extremely helpful videos.  Talk about great value!

In Finish Almost Any Quilt Marguerita explores how to quilt almost any blocks quilt as you go using a regular domestic sewing machine.  You do not need a long-arm or different sewing machine to use these techniques.  I think this is great because so many quilters get intimidated when they look at a whole quilt top and think they can't quilt it on their own.  Because you are only quilting one block at a time you can easily quilt the entire quilt, block by block, without struggling and pushing and pulling the quilt through your machine.

I teach machine quilting classes and many quilters would love to use their walking foot more if it was easier to maneuver the quilt around.  Using quilt as you go methods we certainly can!  I really like how Marguerita shows quilters that they can use their walking foot to quilt straight lines or gentle curves that would be difficult to do if you were quilting the entire top as a whole.  By quilting block by block it is easy to use your walking foot and let it set your stitch length for you.  On the other hand - it is extremely easy to work on your free-motion quilting skills when you only need to quilt a small block instead of tackling a whole quilt!

From the back cover:

What's Different from Other Books?
There are no patterns in this book!  It teaches you how to finish what you have and how to choose adaptable patterns for future quilts.  This book gives you permission to be imperfect, how to "make do" and how to fix and finish what you've created so far.

How great is that!  The book focuses on the method of quilt as you go rather than providing you with lots of patterns.  In fact, it picks up where most patterns/books leave off when they tell you to "quilt as desired" but don't give you directions to do it.

So, to top all of this off Marguerita has offered to sponsor a give-away to one lucky reader!  Want to win a copy of Finish Almost Any Quilt: A Practical Guide to Adapting Quilts to Finish as You Go?  This is easy:
  1. For one entry leave a comment and tell me why you would like to win this book?
  2. For another entry go and follow Marguerita's blog and come back here and tell me in the comments.
  3. For a third entry Follow my blog and tell me that you do!
  4. For a fourth entry go and "like" Marguerita's Facebook page for her books - it's a great page!
Each comment is your entry!  If you only leave one comment - you will only get one entry!

Also, please make sure that you are not a no-reply blogger!!  If you come up as anonymous then I have no way to contact you!  Make sure that you follow the link on the right side of my blog to find out if you are a no-reply blogger.

Ok let's do the draw on Sunday to give everyone a chance to enter!

GO! for a Star QOV Blog Hop

Hi all!

I wanted to share this great upcoming blog hop with you all!  So the easiest way to do this is just to copy what Marjorie from Marjorie's Quilting Bee wrote about it!  I think that this is going to be a great hop with lots of amazing bloggers.  There's going to be some great prizes and some great stops!  Click on the links to find out more information!

One of the Quilts of Valor coordinators, Tink Linhart and I have worked with Accuquilt and Aurifil and are having a QOV Challenge during April and May. Information about this Challenge is listed below. But to be very concise – our goal is to challenge as many quilters as possible to make a QOV, whether it be a set of blocks, a quilt top, or a completed quilt – and submit it by May 31 so that it can be given to an active duty service member or Veteran who has served in a war zone.
We are having a blog hop April 2 – 6 to kick off this challenge and will have some great prizes for giveaways. We’d like to inspire as many quilters as possible to join us. So mark your calendars for the blog hop and mark your calendars for time to make a quilt.
And there will be prizes for those who complete quilts for the Challenge including Aurifil thread, fabric, and the grand prize is an Accuquilt GO!™ Baby and five dies of the winner’s choice.
I will be blogging from April through May about Star blocks and will be showing you lots of quilts made with stars. I hope you will send me some photos of your quilts too so that we can create a whole gallery of star quilts.
If you’re a blogger, please grab the blog button on the right and add it to your blog to promote awareness.


Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed your visit. Come again soon.



Sunday, March 25, 2012

Scrap Busting with Log Cabins!

I made a bit of a mess today and I liked it!

I pulled out my bin of 1.5" scrap strips and decided to do some sewing since I felt like sewing something but I didn't really know what to work on.

You can see how I arrange my strips.  I use those plastic shoe storage containers to arrange my scraps.  In this bin I separate them by light and dark and I put my little 1.5" red squares into a different container.

People ask me if I deal with my scraps right away or save them up.  I used to leave them and then deal with them at one time.  Now, however, I deal with them right away!  If I have potential strips I pull out my Go! cutter and 1.5" strip cutter and cut them down to size, put them into their bin, and put the bin away.


Here's the bin all nice and neat and easy to put away and easy to get out and work with.  If I take a few minutes at the time to deal with the bits it saves me a huge amount of time later.  I learned this lesson pretty quickly after I got my Go! and I spent a lot of time processing my scraps with my 2.5" strip cutter and my 2" square die.  Remember this mess a year ago? Nope - not doing that again!


The other thing I do is cut scraps directly into 2" squares for my leaders and enders which I love doing projects with!  Again, these get cut immediately after I am done with the fabric.  I learned that lesson too.  I have my Christmas scraps separated out from my regular ones and I do projects out of these periodically too.  Not sure what leaders and enders are?  You can check out my videos:

 Ok, so what am I going to do with the log cabin blocks???  I'm not sure yet :-D  I think that's why I like them so much.  You can do so many fun things with them. 

Like this!

Or like this!

I'm putting the blocks into the bin and will tackle them another day.  I'm log cabined out for now.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I FInished the Twister Baby Quilt!


Here it is!  All finished and I really like it.  I don't want to give it away - but what would I do with a baby quilt?  If you're looking for the tutorial on how to make this easy Twister baby quilt you can find it here.  I quilted this quilt using a 40 weight YLI variegated thread in a stars and loops pattern in the border and the middle.  And I used a 50 weight white thread in the white areas using a meander and loop pattern. 


Here's the back!  Isn't that a great fabric?  I have had this in my stash for YEARS now and I finally found a quilt to use it on.  I just love all the wizards!  It is an old South Seas Imports flannel print.


I think the backing really compliments the fabrics on the front.  The colours and stars in the feature fabrics look great when combined with the wizards on the back.  

But, I love that backing fabric so much I don't want to give it away!  I can keep it right?  To keep my knees warm maybe?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

QR Code Quilt!

Go ahead and give it a scan - you know you want to!


Cool huh?  It really works!  This is a QR Code quilt that will take you right here to my blog if you scan it with a phone that has a QR Code scanner.  

First I had to generate a QR Code for my blog so I found an online generator and got a code.  I printed this out and figured out a plan for the quilt.

I saw several of these on various blogs and thought that it looked like a fun project.  Most of the ones that I saw were pure black and white quilts but I wanted to use my black and white prints and I wanted it to still scan so I chose the darkest of my black and white prints.  I also pulled out all the scraps of white fabrics I had.

I pulled out my Accuquilt Go! cutter and my 2" square die (my fav!) and started cutting.   Since a QR Code is a 25 x 25 grid I needed 600 2" squares so I was very happy I had the die for this!  I cut up all my white scraps and my black and white prints in just a few minutes.

Next came the laying out process - this took a long time but it needed to be perfect or the code won't work!  It wasn't hard to do it just took a while ;-)

Next, I sewed the squares all together and held my breathe while I scanned the top with my Blackberry - yey it worked!

At first I tried to put a red border around the quilt but the red interfered with the QR Code scanner on my Blackberry.  Apparently the red will work on Iphones but I couldn't test this.  So, I pulled the red border off and just put a little 2" white border around it.

I used a white batting for this quilt so that an off-white wouldn't show through.  I quilted the quilt using a 50 weight thread top and bobbin.  And, I was lucky enough to have just enough black binding already made that was left-over from a previous project - yey!

So, does the quilt scan for you?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Barn Quilt Design Contest!

Hey everyone!  This is a great contest that I think everyone should check out and enter - so I thought that I would share the info here!

This Friday, March 16th, AccuQuilt will launch the 3rd Annual Barn Quilt Contest, and we wanted to give you an early start!
We will select one lucky Grand Prize winner to receive a prize package worth $3,450 which includes a $1,000 AccuQuilt Shopping Spree along with a trip for two to Omaha, NE to visit AccuQuilt's new headquarters for the public unveiling of the winning barn quilt design. You also receive two tickets to one of the Let's GO! Quilt Retreats for you and a friend. The Runner Up winner will receive a prize package worth $550, which includes a $250 AccuQuilt Shopping Spree and one ticket to one of the Let's GO! retreats. The winning designs will be proudly displayed on AccuQuilt's new home office. Plus, the Top 100 blocks chosen for the final judging will each receive $25 in AccuQuilt Rewards Points.

Key Dates to Remember
o Contest Entry Dates: March 16th – April 9th
o Winner Announcement: AQS Quilt Show & Contest in Paducah, KY (April 25-28) by quilting celebrity, Ricky Tims
o Unveiling Date: June 22nd, with a special presentation by quilting icon and TV personality, Alex Anderson

How to Enter:
No purchase necessary to enter, entries submitted via the "Submit Your Entry" button on the AccuQuilt
We can't wait to see your beautiful blocks. Good Luck!

AccuQuilt - Barn Quilt Design Contest - Enter Now!

You just need to design the block!  Cool huh?!

Good Luck everyone!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Look What I Found!

A box of goodies stuff!

I found this bin on a shelf and opened it and look at all the stuff that was inside!


A rug hooking canvas, a whole bunch of various scraps, some small rag quilt blocks and an applique project - WOW!

That was just the top.  Then I uncovered some half poinsettia blocks with lots of red half square triangle (HST).

Here is a partially pieced and traced Pineneedles Designs project.


And, a Zip-Lock bag full of Oriental 2" squares and 4" squares!  Wowzers! I'm not really sure what I had planned for these.  I was thinking of making another scrappy spool illusions quilt with them but the 4" squares don't quite fit on my 3" finished HST die :-(  If I do that I'll have to do my HST the traditional way :-(  Or - brain-wave - I could cut them all into 3.5" squares!  I have the die for that!  Hmm, I don't know - any ideas?

I remember doing all of these things but I forgot where I put them!  Guess I found out!  See, this is why I don't like to put things away.  I lose them when I put them away because I forget where I put them.

I cut all the scraps into 2" squares for leaders and enders - so that's done.  I'm not sure what to do with the rest of it though.  The orientals look really nice together - hmmm.  The applique project I might comeback to in the summer when I can sit outside and hand-cut.  I have no idea what to do with all the Christmas HSTs though.

Some-days maybe it is better to leave the box closed LOL!

I wanted to share this with all of you!

AccuQuilt and have teamed up to give you the ultimate experience for International Quilt Day! 
Join us March 16-18, 2012 as we celebrate all things quilting!
*Visit community for FREE and watch more than 100 shows hosted by Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims featuring the Top Quilting Teachers in the world
*Explore classrooms, unique tutorials, inspiring slideshows, and much more
*Enter the contest to win amazing prizes from companies you know and love—here a sampling of the prizes you can win:
  • A BERNINA 550 sewing machine (yes! a new machine!)
  • Gammill's Deluxe Chair—perfect for sewing at any machine
  • Fantastic assortment of books from AQS Publishing, plus a 1-year membership to American Quilter's Society
  • A selection of inspiring quilting books from C&T Publishing
  • AccuQuilt's GO! Baby die cutting machine, GO! Value Die, GO! Birds die, and a 6x12 Cutting Mat 
  • Bundle of 41 fat quarters from Ricky's Blended Solids collection, compliments of Red Rooster
  • Box of silk threads from Superior Threads
  • One of five DVDs from Why Quilts Matter
  • One of five Stitched: The Movie DVDs
Plus, you'll have exclusive access to an episode of Why Quilts MatterStitched: The Movie, and many other sources of excitement and creativity in The Quilt Show community. Simply click here to get started. Enjoy, and we look forward to celebrating with you!
Pretty cool huh!??  I know that I'll be checking it out!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Scrappy Spool Illusions is Finished!

I decided to pull out my latest leaders and enders project and load it onto my machine quilting frame!

I love the way that it turned out!  I love the way that the pin-wheels and 16-patches look like spools set on-point.  I also love that it is scrappy!  And, that it is out of my stash.

Here is a close-up of the quilt on my frame while I was quilting it.  I did a very loose spiral quilting pattern that I free-motion quilted using a 50 weight thread top and matching bobbin.  I wanted the quilting to be looser so that the quilt wouldn't be stiff.


Several people on my Facebook page asked how the quilt was put together or for a pattern so I will do my best to break it down here.  You can see that the quilt is formed from pin-wheels - 15 going one direction and 16 going the other.  Can you see how the alternating pin-wheels form a line and become the tops and bottoms of the spools?  The other block is a 16-patch of alternating colour and white.  The pin-wheel directions alternate rows - one row goes one way the next row the other way.

Now, this is the important part - see in the picture how the white of the 16-patch touches the white of the pin-wheel?  And, the colour of the 16-patch corner touches the colour of the pin-wheel - does that make sense?  If you flip the blocks you won't get the spool illusion.

OK now here are the details ;-)

You will need 

32 - 16-patches each containing 8 white squares and 8 coloured squares
     so 256 @ 2" cut white squares and 256 @ 2" coloured squares
(I cut my white squares before I had my Go!  But, you can absolutely use die #55022 to cut allll of those 2" squares - luckily all the coloured 2" squares were cut with my Go!)

31-  pin-wheels all together so you will need 62 sets of half-square-triangles (HST)
You can do your HST following your favorite method.  If you are doing your HST by drawing a line and sewing up each side etc you will need to start with 62 white squares cut at 4" and 62 coloured squares cut at 4"

If you are using a Go! you can use die #55009 Half square - 3" Finished Triangle or die E from the mix and match set and cut 62 sets of HST.

All the pin-wheels and 16-patches should come out to 6.5" square unfinished.

Then pay attention to layout and alternate the pinwheels every row.  Make sure that you lay out your quilt blocks first!  If you don't you might end up with a mess like I did and have to rip it all out :-(

I hope that you enjoy the quilt and if you make one please share it on my Facebook page so that we can all enjoy it!

Any questions?  Please feel free to leave them here :-D

Friday, March 09, 2012

Another Tumbler

A friend of mine made this tumbler quilt after seeing mine.  We both had purchased the same big block quilt kit (ie 10 quarter meters of fabric) probably 7 years ago and they sat in our stash   I made mine into a tumbler quilt and she liked it so much that she made hers into a tumbler too!  I had purchased two of the kits - yes two so my quilt is larger.


Notice the smaller tumblers around the edge?  How cute are they?  This is a great way to use up the remainder of the 10" strips  from cutting the large tumbler.  I think it is lovely.

I quilted it in a 40 weight YLI variegated cotton thread that worked wonderfully with the colours of the quilt.  I love this thread - it didn't break once while quilting and the colours are just wonderful.

Just thought that I would share!

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Easy Baby Quilt with the Large Twister Ruler


Here it is!  The tutorial that I have been promising for a while now.  If you have been reading my blog you know that I really <3 the Twister rulers.  I think that they are so cool and fun to use.  I also teach classes on how to use the Twister rulers.  One of the examples I show is a baby quilt that I created using the large Twister ruler - and my participants have been asking for a pattern - so here it is!

First, you will need to sew together a large 9-patch using 5 squares, cut 10", of one fabric and 4 squares, cut 10", of a second fabric.  Sew 6.5" (or 6" if you cut tight) borders onto this 9-patch.  

So far so good?


Here's where the fun starts!  Grab your large Twister ruler and start to cut the top apart again!  Twist each of the blocks a quarter turn to line up the outer edges and sew them all back together again - but make SURE that you keep everything in order or you won't get the nice inter-locking pin-wheels.


Here it is all sewn back together again!  Super cute!


Add a 1.5" cut first border - I used the yellow print.  Next, add a 4.5" cut border.  this will make your quilt top approximately 39" - 40" square.  This is my preferred size of baby quilt that I make.  It's large enough to be useful but small enough that you can still carry them around.

I love this pattern because, although it looks complicated and difficult to make, it is actually very simple and very quick to make!  Now I just need to quilt it.

This is the only negative to the Twister rulers - there is quite a bit of waste.  However, I just grabbed my 3.5" half square triangle (HST) die for my Go! cutter and cut up those off-white bits. I'm combining them with kiddie-print scraps to make a scrappy preemie quilt top - easy and very cute.  The other squares are approximately 5" so I think that I will make them into a smaller 9-patch and add some borders to make another preemie quilt top.  So, even though there is waste, the pieces are large enough that you can do something great with them.

So, what do you think?  Do you like my Twister baby quilt?  If you make one I hope that you will share a picture here or on my facebook page.

Happy Quilting!

Binding Update

Hello my friend! I'm motoring right along with my St. Patrick's Day T-Shirt quilt.  I took it off the frame a couple days ago and st...