Sunday, September 29, 2013

Metro Rings Class Report

On Saturday, Pat and I are took the class Metro Rings at Quilter's Way in Acton. Quilter's Way is a lovely store filled with bright, contemporary fabric, including some of my favorites such as Kaffe Fassett and batiks. They had lot of great polka dots and black and white fabrics as well. They also have a small stock of flannel, minkee and rayon fabrics.

Pat and I shared a table. Half way through the class we decided to approach the class as a team project. Pat's shoulder was hurting, so she was having problems cutting. I love to cut and Pat can sew like the wind, so it was beneficial to both of us. I squared up her blocks while she sewed mine together. The technique involves making the blocks oversized and then trimming them down using a special ruler designed for the pattern. Pat did a little cutting and I did some sewing so we would be familiar with the whole skill set needed for the project.

There were six of us in class. Everyone used a different color palette. My blocks are the
turquoise background with the black and white prints. Our teacher also put her blocks on
the design wall, which is why there are seven color combinations shown here.

Here is Pat sewing merrily away!

Ironing in progress. I LOVE the quilt in front of the ironing board.
I told Pat NOT to let me sign up for it. It is a Block of the Month,
all hand work in wool. It was gorgeous!

This is what I was able to finish in class. I really like my color combination.

Pat and I both matched the colors we chose for our quilts.
Hers is the yellow and grey behind our heads.
Pat and I had a fun day together. The curved piecing wasn't too hard to do. I preferred to pin mine, although the teacher suggested that I try it at home without pinning using some scrap fabric. The pattern recommends using a lot of starch, which will help control some of the bias edges in this pattern. I really like the way mine is coming out, so I will have to keep working on it.

Hope you had a good weekend! It will be October 1st (and my brother Jeff's birthday) on Tuesday! Can you believe it?

Pugs and kisses,

P.S. Adding links on Sunday to Link a Finish Friday and Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Adding another link one week later to CrazyMom Quilts.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Little Thursday Night Sewing

I haven't seen my Thursday friends in a month. First, there were the Jewish holidays, then an evil client who scheduled a meeting from 1pm to 5pm, Pacific Time, knowing full well that it was 4pm to 8pm, Eastern Time, where three of us had to conference in from Massachusetts. The following week, the quilt meeting was suddenly rescheduled to Wednesday evening. At last, a Thursday without a conflict!

Pat and I are taking this class, Metro Rings, on Saturday at Quilter's Way in Acton.

Pat is making hers in yellow and grey so it will probably look just like the picture above. I am making mine in black and white and using turquoise for the center of my rings. My quilt will either be amazing or give people seizures. Before class, we had to make five strip sets with five different fabrics in each.

Homework done!
For those of you who read my blog regularly, there is no need to be snide and point out: 1. That I just took a quilt class last week; and 2. The Bali Bedrunner pattern is awfully similar to Metro Rings. In my defense, I'd like to point out that they are two completely different techniques and the quilts will be quite different from each other when and if I ever finish them. Besides, I'm keeping an awfully lot of people in the quilting and fabric industry employed. Also, all of the black and white fabric in the photo above came from Nancy's House of Fabric, aka My Stash.

Here are two t-shirt quilts that my friends recently completed. The one below is Fifty Shades of Grey, Part 2, made by my friend Pat. You can see Fifty Shades of Grey, the original, and read the story behind her two quilts here.

Next up is my friend Beth. This is also a second quilt in a memorial series. You can see Beth's first t-shirt quilt here (scroll down about half way through the post). This is a smaller version. She backed this one in fleece (and didn't use batting) to make it nice and cuddly.

Lovely job girls! I know that the t-shirt quilts will be family treasures.

Stay tuned for more exciting quilting adventures!

Linking up with Can I Get A Whoop! Whoop?, Link a Finish Friday, and Crazy Mom Quilts.

Pugs and kisses,

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Welcome Back Sue!

Joannie and I were so happy that Sue has rejoined us on Monday nights in the Studio. She has been away the whole summer at her vacation home.

Naturally Sue did not return empty-handed. She showed off her two tote bags for Sadie's Dream for a Cure. Also, she has gotten all of us addicted to Wint-O-Green Life Savers, so she brought a new supply for the Studio along with some York Peppermint Patties. Marion, you better hurry over before we eat all of them.

Sue is working on the cutest little quilt made up of conversation prints featuring all different snack foods: cookies, gum drops, candy, Whoopie pies, Mallomars, donuts, and more. She has a vast selection. She found a lot of them here at eQuilter. I will have to take a picture when she comes back next week. I suggested that she find a toothbrush fabric for the back!

Welcome back, Sue, we missed you!

Pugs and kisses,

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bali Bedrunner Class Part 1

On Saturday, I took the Bali Bedrunner class at Heart in Hands with my friends Joannie and Nancy D.  It is a two session class. Saturday was session 1 and session 2 will take place next month. The class was taught by Ginny Radloff, who is a certified Judy Niemeyer instructor. Ginny has made more than 36 of Judy's intricate paper-pieced designs. I am in love with Judy's bed size double wedding ring pattern with appliqued flowers, but thought maybe it would be smarter to start with something hindsight, perhaps a place mat?

On Friday night, before the class took place I was having serious second thoughts. First, I hate paper piecing. I've done it before and it is tedious, plus half the time the fabric never covered the section correctly. Or the paper ripped while sewing was in progress. Second, not only was this class about paper piecing, it was INTRICATE paper piecing with curves. Third, there was homework to do before class. Cutting, lots of cutting, mostly paper, but some fabric too. I picked up my kit and my homework about a month before the class started, but of course, I waited until the week before class started to begin. At least I didn't have to pull an all-nighter.

Paper foundations make a lot of mess.

The classroom at Heart in Hands is spacious and bright.
The pattern has about a zillion pages. If I had taken a closer look at it before class, I NEVER would have signed up. As you do your homework, you are instructed to put the various pieces and foundation papers in five labelled plastic bags. I began to get a little nervous.

Here is my friend Nancy D. I think that her beautiful blue
batik shirt would look nice in my quilt. Don't you agree?
The classroom at Heart in Hands is sunny and bright. Each student got her own table, which was great because we were all able to spread out. We got there early and I was able to sit with Joannie. Heart in Hands also offered a fabric kit for the class, and they selected gorgeous rainbow colored batiks. Drool!

Ginny was a GREAT instructor with lots of enthusiasm. We started off by making some of the curved ring units. Using Judy's techniques, which were a combination of strip piecing and paper piecing, the curved sections were fairly simple to make. The foundations are printed on newsprint which was easy to sew through. If you've never done paper piecing before, you are actually sewing on the paper and the fabric is underneath.

Some paper piecing tips: use a size 70 microtex needle and
a short stitch length. On my Janome, I used a 1.8.

I also liked this foot on my machine because it was
clear plastic with a red arrow that aligned with my needle.
The red arrow made it easier to see for my aging eyes.
After my all-day class, I have seven of the "A" rings nearly complete.
I think that I only need to make 36 more of these units.
But wait, there are "B" rings to make too!
I also finished two triangle shaped pieces. Yippee!
True confession time? To my surprise, I LOVED the class. The instructions are extremely detailed, and once Ginny demonstrated the various steps, everything fell into place. Judy's methods are ingenious, yet logical. Is it possible that I will become a paper piecing addict?

My only suggestion was that the class would have been more digestible if it were broken up into shorter segments. After a full day of instruction, my brain was full and I was exhausted. I am definitely bringing a bag of M&M's to session 2 to keep my body sugar going!

I'm not sure if Joannie was enamoured of the class as I is seriously going to cut into her place mat making activities, especially if she does all the homework we now owe for session 2. She has already recruited her elderly mother into working in her nefarious place mat making sweat shop. How else will the next 127 Christmas place mats get made? Unfortunately for Joannie, only Santa has elves.
Joannie is all smiles here, but this was the start of the class.
Like all good classes, it required that I add some new tools to my collection.

I really like my new Add-A-Quarter ruler. It does exactly what it says--
you use it to add a quarter inch seam allowance when you are trimming.

And I have a new glue pen with a refill.
We will be using this in session 2.
With only a month before session 2 starts there is A LOT of sewing homework to do for my class. Next month we will be putting our bedrunner together. I hope that I like sewing curves as much as I did the paper piecing.

Did I mention that I'm taking a new quilting class with Pat this coming Saturday? And there is some homework to be done...

Can a girl ever have too many unfinished projects?

Linking up with Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday, Esther's WOW and Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday. On Friday, I am linking up with Can I Get A Whoop! Whoop?, Link a Finish Friday, and Crazy Mom Quilts. I am enjoying visiting all the other wonderful blogs from these great linky parties! Please say "Hi" if you come for a visit.

Pugs and kisses,

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Birthday Mike!

Today is my darling husband Michael's birthday! Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Last year we celebrated in Austin...

This year in Boston...

Today was all about food. We slept in until 9am, late for me, on the early side for Mike. We went to the 50's Diner for breakfast. The birthday boy indulged himself with three poached eggs, home-made hash, and an English muffin. I had my "usual", aka, chocolate chip pancakes and a chocolate milk.

In the true spirit of "in sickness and in health," Mike and I have been sharing a cold for the past week and a half. Mike is still congested, and I have a nagging cough. Today, I was simply exhausted, so when we returned home for breakfast at noon, I took a nap with Elvis and LarryPug. Mike and Romeo watched the New England Patriots trounce the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I got out of bed at 4pm.

Tonight I surprised Mike and took him to Blue Ginger for dinner. If you are a foodie, you will know that this is Ming Tsai's restaurant. We have talked about trying this place since we started dating five and a half years ago. We had a lovely evening. Mike had the lobster for dinner and I had the lamb chops. The food was delicious and the service was excellent. I won't say that it was expensive, only that the tip was more than what I spent on breakfast this morning.

Another happy birthday to my friend Kim G!

Pugs and kisses,

P.S. Stay tuned for my adventures on Saturday in the Bali Bed Runner Class with Joannie and Nancy D.!

P.P.S. Joannie and Dan win the prize for best birthday message left on the answering machine. We love you both--but hold onto your day jobs and stop dreaming about a recording contract.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Baby Logan Strikes A Pose!

Here is baby Logan at six weeks old posing on his nautical quilt. Look how big he is getting! Such a cute little man...I haven't gotten to meet him in person yet. He lives about six hours away from me. I may have to take a road trip...

Notice that Logan is wearing a nautical-themed onesie
to compliment his bedding ensemble.

Logan looks a little grumpy in this photo. Maybe he needs a nap?

You can read more about baby Logan and find out who he shares his birthday with here.

Have a good evening!

Pugs and kisses,

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Waiting for Dahlias

Last September my yard was awash with a rainbow of dahlias. I went back to see if I had done a blog post, but there were only two photos showing you the last of them in October. This year, I bought about a dozen new varieties to add to my dahlia bed.

This season has been sorely disappointing. So far, I've had three dahlias bloom. All of the plants appear to have come up and some of them are finally starting to bud, but it is late. Of course, the weather has been wacky this year. My bulbs started coming up in late December.

Small pink and yellow dahlia

Small yellow dahlia
Medium size red dahlia
Meanwhile, my neighbor Stefan, who lives two doors down, has this magnificent specimen in his front yard. It has been blooming prolifically for at least two months.

I love how Stefan's dahlias match the pumpkin color of his house.
Their front door is painted "nacho cheese yellow" -- his wife Jackie's choice.
Enormous rust colored blossoms!

As a consolation prize, my hydrangeas are still gorgeous and overflowing with flowers.

I finally had to break down and cut them because they were obscuring the path.

These are white hydrangeas. They turn a kind of rusty color as they age.

I brought the ones I cut back inside and put them in water.
Inside the house they look green!
These are my blue hydrangeas. They are past
their prime but still so pretty.
One last blue one!
If the weather holds, perhaps I'll have dahlias for Halloween!

Have a good evening!

Pugs and kisses,

Belated Sunday Sewing Report

This past Sunday, Joannie, Marion, and I put in some time in the salt mines, I mean sewing room. In contrast to past weekends where we've done a lot of fabric shopping, this Sunday, we vowed to take a break for lunch only.

Before the girls arrived at 10am, I went over to the Studio and organized it for an hour, putting away my lovely purchases from previous weeks, shown here and here. Marion arrived promptly at 10am. She decided to make a little zipper pouch that I had featured in my blog about Rachel's birthday bag. It is a free pattern from Moda.

I spent my morning pinning bindings on blankets to sell in our Etsy shop. I got four of them pinned and ready, and then decided it was time to sew.

Realizing that my brother Jeff's birthday was coming soon and that I had purchased Star Trek fabric back in February to make him some pillowcases, I got to work. Pillowcases are my "go-to" gift. Everyone loves them and they are easy to make.

Two Star Trek pillowcases for my brother Jeff.
Live long and prosper dear brother!
Joannie joined us mid morning and brought along her never-ending pile of place mats. I think she made two dozen Halloween place mats last year, and still had some left over to put binding on.

Joannie and Marion are all smiles showing off their finished projects.

I also made two Little Mermaid pillowcases. One is for my hairdresser's little girl, the other one is for a co-worker's little girl.
On Saturday, I'm taking the Bali Bed Runner Class with Joannie at Heart in Hands Quilt Shop. I'm a little nervous...I may have bitten off more than I can chew...

Hope that you are having a great day!

Pugs and kisses,

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Quick Finish

I started this little zipper pouch on Monday night. I cut out all the squares after I finished the companion bag to the Toile zippered tote.

On Wednesday morning, I had a time dividend of 45 minutes before going to work. Since I work from home on Wednesdays, my commuting time is extremely short, from the bottom of the stairs to the top. I had a choice of taking a shower or sewing. Since it was a super hot day and I was already sweaty, I opted for sewing. Remember, only the pugs were at home to keep me company.

Forty five minutes was enough to sew all the pouch squares together and quilt one side of the pouch. They are 2.5" squares.

One completed side.

Side two, ready to be quilted.
Last night I put in a little more sewing time, about and hour and a half, and the pouch is now finished.
Here's a photo with me to give you an idea of
the pouch's finished size.
In summary, I spent about 2.5 hours making this pouch and the only cost to me was the zipper, since the fabric, batting, and thread came from my stash. I even had left over D-rings from making Rachel's bag last month. I like the size of this pouch and the pattern was easy to follow and extremely detailed. Next time, I think I will experiment with altering the size and shape of the squares and the finished pouch.

Are you going to make one? It was fun, although it doesn't make a dent at all in your scraps. But if you need a quick finish for some instant gratification, make a zipper pouch. And don't be afraid of the zipper.

Have a great day!

Pugs and kisses,

P.S. Added links on Tuesday to Freemotion by the River and ChrisW. Designs. Added links on Friday to Sew Many Ways, Richard and Tonya Quilts, CrazyMom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Doing Our Part

Last Sunday, Marion, Joannie and I made an effort to keep the Massachusetts economy alive and well. Yes, we went fabric shopping AGAIN.

First stop, Sewfisticated in Framingham
I was really please to find exactly what I was looking for at our first stop. I needed a turquoise background fabric for a class that I am taking in two weeks. At $3.99 a yard, I bought 8 yards. I bought a few other things as well...

They had a bin of 10 cent zippers. I bought 20 for $2.00.

I got a lot of goodies! Want to see what's in this bag?
Next stop, Fabric Place Basement
I bought this great bacon fabric to make pillowcases for my nephews.

I only bought the bacon fabric at Fabric Place Basement. However, right after our visit, Living Social offered vouchers ($20 for $40 worth of merchandise) and we all bought one (OK, so Joannie and I each bought two), so we have to go back. I mean, come on, if they want to give me free stuff, I have no argument!

I love this sign at Fabric Place Basement! It was not for sale,
although I have seen similar ones, albeit smaller ones, on Etsy.

Third stop, Jo-Ann Fabrics. I bought a 2014 calendar using a 40% off
coupon. Again, I'm proud to be doing my part for my country.
Fourth stop, Button Box Sewing Center. I was getting tired,
but summoned enough energy to buy a magazine.
Want to see what's in my bag from Sewphisticated? Aren't you glad you kept reading?

This will be a pillowcase for one of my clients. She is an 80+ year old lady,
still working, who has season tickets to the Steelers. She loves football!

Upholstery weight fabric, only $2.99 a yard. Too pretty to leave behind.
It may become a tote bag. Looking at it on my screen, if I
varnished it, it would be a gorgeous floor cloth....

Something wild. You know I can't resist an animal print.
The bottom two are upholstery weight.

Adorable music fabric to make a pillowcase for my
3-year old friend Lemi who loves to sing and play the drum.

This is the craziest fabric ever, but at $1.99 a yard I had to buy
a piece. It is three different prints, flames, hibiscus and bugs,
almost 60" wide. No idea what I'm going to use this for. The
saleswoman thought it might have originally been printed
for a manufacturer to do a run of boys' shorts.

What I went shopping for...the turquoise background fabric.
For those of you who think that I do nothing but shop, I want to let you know that Marion and I did sew for two hours on Sunday morning before we picked up Joannie to go shopping, because the fabric stores don't open until noon. So, it was a 2 to 1 ratio of shopping to sewing that day.

A miserable rainy day here today. It would be a great day to spend sewing, but I have to go to work.

Have a great day!

Pugs and kisses,