Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Seven Things

Somebody thinks I'm versatile! That's got to be a good thing, right....being able to do many things? Hmmmm......I wonder if that includes starting new projects before finishing the old ones? Well, of course it does!! That's got to be why Linda from Flourishing Palms nominated me for The Versatile Blogger award.  I'm honored and promise to CONTINUE having many projects going at the same time!!! Along with the badge of honor came a request to reveal seven little known facts to my lovely readers.  Only seven!!? Here goes......
                              Top 7 Little Known Facts About Lollyquiltz:
                                           (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)
   1.  I made my own prom dress during Home Ec. Class in high school. It was turquoise. ( I still have it!)
   2.  I have a degree in Home Economics Education but never taught school. Unless, substitute teaching counts, that is. 
   3.  I'm allergic to Sunbonnet Sue and fuchsia but not poison ivy.
   4.  I piece almost every quilt in grey, tan or white thread no matter what color the fabric.
   5.  I once had an orange sewing machine. My mother and husband gave it to me when I graduated from college. My daughter is still mad at me for giving it to my LQS when it quit working. For free.  They fixed it! 
   6.  My oldest UFO is the first quilt I ever made (before taking lessons). I was so dumb. I sewed rick rack onto a big piece of white fabric to create the squares and then machine appliqued pictures from a coloring book onto the white space. It was for my first born child. He's 33! (Beat that!?)
   7.  I once cut off part of my index finger with my rotary cutter! Seven stitches. It is still numb! Be careful!!!
I'd like to pass the Versatile Blogger Award to a few other bloggers who seems to be able to do many things (including become a new pattern designer!): Jennifer of That Girl....That Quilt, Joan from Wishes, True and Kind, Beth from Love Laugh Quilt, Megan from homemade ginger, and Kodie of cheepmomma.
I'm looking forward to learning seven things I didn't know about these gals!!

My fall decorating included throwing this quilt onto my dining table. Isn't the Baptist Fan quilting so awesome? I wish I could say that I quilted it myself, but I'm just not that versatile I guess!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hexie Beads

Slowly but surely, my little hexies are turning into something more than just a box full of pretty shapes.  After making 400 hexagons from all the dots I could find in my stash plus some checks and stripes, I decided to separate them into colors. It worked out fairly well that there are at least 19 or 20 of each color category, These five strips represent what I've gotten sewn together so far....two white strips, one red , a turquoise and a light green. Hanging from a tree branch, they remind me of a beaded curtain!
Five down, fifteen to go!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Welcome Autumn!

It's the first day of Fall!.......cooler air, less humidity, beautiful trees and bushes, mums, pumpkins, of all----quilts on the bed and to cuddle with on the couch!
Here are a couple of favorite fall quilts that we use at our house..............
Scraps of fabric in neutrals and medium tones were put together randomly to create this log cabin quilt.  My kids were still living at home when I sewed the blocks for this quilt.  I remember them handing me fabrics to sew together in hodge podge fashion. The strips measure one inch finished with gold centers to pull everything together.  To me, this type of quilt never goes out of style!
Another family quilt that makes me think "Fall" is this Bulls Eye quilt. I remember the fun day that I put these blocks together with two friends, Robin and Becky. Each of us had done some sewing at home first, making blocks by stacking three free cut circles and then top stitching them onto a neutral background.  At my house, we cut each of our circle blocks into  fourths and traded parts, sewing the parts back together to create the pieced blocks you see in the picture. Every time I use it, I can't help but try to remember which parts were made by whom!
Even though my fabric choices have changed in the years since making this quilt, it is still close to my heart. Many washes later, it has a raggedy look that only gets better with time! 

Yesterday was the last day of favorite season, by the way. I ended it with a bang and a thrill in getting to meet up with one of my "invisible friends", making her a new real life friend!  You see us above in front of a bright summery quilt at Harper's Quilt Shop in downtown Overland Park, Kansas.  Linda and I began exchanging emails not long ago when I began reading her blog, Flourishing Palms. I can't really recall how we found each other but I remember commenting once on how much we have in common.  When her daughter recently moved to Kansas City, it was not long before we arranged to meet for coffee and some shopping.  I don't think the air was silent for more than a heartbeat in the two hours and a half hours that we spent together.  She is so cute and just as much fun to be around as I'd imagined. Linda has a wonderful ministry called Stichin' Mission where she teaches women how to make quilts at no charge, only asking them to consider donating that first quilt to charity. She's already given away over 600 quilts to children around the world through her ministry! What a difference she is making in this life!
 Thanks, Linda, for a lovely afternoon. Oh, and I'm so glad that you didn't turn out to be a 15 year old boy masquerading as a quilter or something! That would have stunk!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bright Hopes Whirligig Tutorial

Two words..... Partial seam.  That's the secret to making these fun blocks!  Since several have inquired about the construction of the blocks I recently made for my 3x6 Block Party Bee, I thought I'd work up a little tutorial just in case you'd like to try making a block with a partial seam.  It's easy peasy, I promise!!
  Linda tried to help me with the name of this lovely block and found a similar block, but without the sliver of fabric separating the sections, called Bright Hopes.  I'm calling my block Bright Hopes Whirligig.

To make a 9 inch block you will need 4 rectangles 3.5 in. X 6 inches, 1 square 3.5 in. X 3.5 in., and 4 strips 1 in. X 3.5 in. 
Sew the 1 inch strips to one end of each rectangle.  Press seams toward the strip.
Next, lay out your block next to your sewing machine to help you keep the piecing in order.
Take the center square and flip it onto one of the rectangles with right sides together.  Stitch from the edge stopping about half way across the square.

Now work your way around the block attaching all the other rectangles to the center square with complete seams. Finger press the seams toward the center block as you go. (You can give it a good press at the end with your iron!) 
When you get to the fourth rectangle, you will be able to sew it onto the center square because the partial seam in the first rectangle leaves it "flopping" open.
Complete the partial seam by sewing to the end of the attached rectangle.
Press the seams toward the center square.

The nine inch blocks can be set side by side or bordered with two inch strips to make 12 inch finished blocks as in the first picture.  See, I told you, it was easy peasy!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bee Blocks

Whenever I make blocks for one of my virtual bees, I am hoping that the receiver gets a big bright smile on her face when she opens up the package! Here are a couple of blocks that I just finished for my quilting friends........
Beth belongs to the Nittany Block Party and is making a lovely quilt of half-square triangles. She mailed squares of white Kona and enough prints to make one block. She asked us to make a second block using fabrics from our stash.  This quilt will be a bucket load of eye-candy. She plans to set them side by side.  I can't wait to see the finished product!
Twelve gals from my Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild are participating in a block exchange each month.  Paula gave each of us a fat quarter of the cute blue bird fabric and asked for a wonky star as her September block.  I had fun digging into my orange fabrics to create this twelve inch block.  You may recall that I bought some of this exact bird fabric a while back to make a dress for Lula, my grand daughter.  Didn't happen!  Oh, well, there's always next spring. Maybe Jane will want one too! 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

More Quilts4Hope

Unexpectedly, I had the privilege of sharing some Starbucks coffee with a woman I've been wanting to meet for some time now! Her name is Chantal and she is the founder of New Hope Homes in Rwanda, the home for orphaned and abandoned children where the Quilts4Hope projects were sent in July. This evening, Sara Groves, a Christian recording artist, is performing a benefit concert at my church to raise money toward building another house for ten more children and their caretakers. Chantal will be taking three more quilts home to Rwanda with her for the last three little ones who have come to live at New Hope Homes. I thought that you might like to see two of them before Chantal packs them away in her suitcase.
This  picture does not do justice to the beautiful colors Vicki used to create this striking strip quilt.  The black fabric is perfect for an African quilt with it's bright, stylized horse designs. I love the quilting she did on the borders.
I dug into my bin of 2.5 inch strips to create this bright scrap quilt using a Moda Bake Shop pattern called Random Reflections by Freckled Whimsy. The pattern calls for using a jelly roll but it was easy to substitute my precut strips and some Kona yardage I had on hand. I even found a length of "doggy" fabric for the backing and leftover binding in royal blue.
 Tightly spaced loopy quilting looks so wrinkly good when it's washed and dried, I think!
Maelie thought she might want to take the quilt home with her, but I told her that no, she already had a quilt from Lolly.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September Already!?

Can it really be? I really had to get my act together to finish these blocks in time to meet the deadline of mid-September! That's when the blocks for the 3rd quarter of the  Virtual 3X6 Sampler Bee are supposed to be mailed out. I'm just under the wire and plan to visit the post office tomorrow. Before they travel, though, I want to give you a peek.
Does anyone know the name of this block?  Let me know if you do! I must have changed my mind 3 times before finally deciding to make this fun block for my 6 virtual bee members.  Actually, I was walking through a LQS and looked up to see a quilt made using this type of whirligig.  I got out a piece of paper and sketched it. My blocks are smaller and have a border. Do you ever do this? Oh, dear, now I'm feeling like I cheated.  What do you think?

Well, anyway.  Here they are.  Out of the six other members, four chose orange as one of their colors. What are the chances, I ask you!  The other two said, "Surprise me!". What are the chances, I ask you!
                  Tami from Nebraska wanted gray, green and orange and loves modern fabrics.

Ellen from Georgia chose orange, white and aqua.

Melissa from California is making a quilt for her 21 year old brother-in-law and wanted blue, gray and orange.

Rachel loves fresh modern looks and chose orange, white and aqua.  Hopefully, this block isn't as crooked as it looks in the picture! Ewww....

Jill, who likes bright happy fabrics and patterns was one of the "Surprise Me" gals. Can't get brighter or happier than red!

The other "Surprise Me" block goes to Michelle in California who is collecting blocks with a gender-neutral or boyish bent for making up some baby quilts to add to her stash. These owls are one of my favorite fabrics from the last year!

Well, that's what I've been up to.  That, and making another lap quilt to send to New Hope Homes in Rwanda.  I'll show you that soon.  It's a real stash buster  pattern!

In other important news...................
                                                                    HE'S A SHE!!!!!!!
                                               (Good thing we didn't name him, I mean her, Ralph!)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fitness Friday on Sunday 4 and a tutorial!

 That's the number of pieces of fabric I got to add to my blocks for the Improv(E) Your Butt fitness challenge.  I don't think I'll reveal how many weeks it took me to add that measly number.  I'm not very proud of it, that's for sure, but, hey, today is the beginning of a new week! The pretty weather is perfect for walking, so I'm planning to do better.
 A few weeks ago, I promised to show you how I am making the bricks I'm using to make my Improve(E)  quilt. Here we go: These are the bricks in all their glory.......(whatever) They measure 3.5 in. X 12.5 in.
Here's how I made them:  For each brick I need 1 brick fabric that measures 3.5 in. x 12.5 in. and 1 background fabric measuring  3.5 in. x 4 in.  I cut the background in two at an angle.( I vary the angle and measurement for each brick.)
Next, I lay the two background parts onto the brick, extending at least a half inch past the end of the brick. Note that the angled end is toward the inside of the brick.
Then I lay a ruler along the edge of the background piece and cut the brick at this angle.
Remove the cut-off section of brick from underneath the background. Flip the background over onto the brick and pin. 
Then stitch the background sections to the brick. (Sorry about the change in fabric there!)
After pressing, It's simply of matter of trimming the block to 12.5 inches and your done!

It only takes a few minutes to make each brick....a lot less than it took me to walk the three miles to earn the three pieces of fabric!
How are you doing on your fitness program?  You can join the Improve(E) challenge at any time!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Picnic Quilt

It's turned a little cooler....... just in time for the Labor Day weekend. Haven, Maelie and I got out the Picnic Quilt yesterday.
We haven't had much of a chance to use it lately in all of the heat and humidity of our midwest summer.  
I love this scrappy spider web quilt! It came to live with me one day as my husband and I were walking through an estate sale during the last half hour of the last day of the sale.  We'd stopped in just to see if there was anything good left.  As we were leaving the slim pickings in one of the bedrooms, I spied a glimpse of fabric peeking out from underneath the mattress of an old bed.  When my husband lifted the cushion, we found this little gem hiding underneath. With only a few minutes of the sale remaining we were able to snag the utility quilt for only $10! (We ran out of there before the seller could change his mind!)

      The quilt is perfect for Ritz Bits cracker picnics with little girls on a Sunday afternoon. 

                                            And maybe even a nap, if we get tired!