Friday, March 30, 2012

Cute Little Baskets

I thought many of you would enjoy seeing some of the little baskets quilts that quilters in my Yahoo group Small Quilt Talk made for my One Small Quilt a Month Challenge this month. They are all outstanding and I'm glad everyone had so much fun with this pattern from my book Remembering Adelia.

My version

Jan's quilt

Marian's quilt  . . .

. . . and her mini version.

Karen's quilt

Val's quilt

Sue's quilt

Look at Merilyn's cutie!

Sandi's mini-basket quilt

I love that they are all so creative and unique.

Making 12 quilts this year is going to be a real challenge I know but I hope you are having some fun too. And even if you can't make all 12,  join us for a couple of them and you'll still be ahead in this fun doll quilt game we're playing. My part in this challenge is easy, all of  my quilts are finished LOL.  Still,  when I see some of the ones you've all made I want to make more - in all different colors . . . .

Perhaps I'll add more photos of the group's quilts tomorrow. Then, on Sunday, April 1,  I'll give you the pattern for the next quilt we'll be making - for April. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Little Orphan Blocks

I stumbled upon these little antique "orphan" blocks at a shop awhile ago and bought them to see if I could maybe find them a home in a simple doll quilt.

They're not "special" or fancy but maybe that's exactly why I fell in love with them. Kind of like the scrappy puppy that leaps into your lap and then your heart, licks your face and follows you home.

With the right setting and lots of love, I think they'll do just fine. At my last workshop in IN, I met someone who buys old quilt blocks and then carefully takes them apart and uses the fabric to make her small quilts. What a good idea.

The little four patches are my favorites.

They're so simple but so adorable, I think. I have to trim them first so they're all the same size. They almost look like they were made by a child so that's half of an antique doll quilt, right?  The hard part is going to be choosing the setting.

I immediately started fooling around with fabrics for settings and this indigo came out to play.  But I'm not sure if it will win or if perhaps something else will.

If you have any interest in using orphan blocks in a quilt, here's a great book by Tricia Maloney that will inspire you to begin.

Lots of great ideas. Hmm, wonder what I should so with my orphan star blocks?? I have this exact bench and a star quilt would look very cute draped on it.

If you only have ONE old block that you love and don't know how to set it, take a look -

Isn't this an adorable runner? The perfect setting for one special block.

*  *  *
Speaking of one-block wonders, I finished the handle on my basket quilt for this month's challenge but have not gotten around to quilting it yet. Isn't that always the story? If you still want to participate in my monthly challenge to make 12 small quilts this year, better get going. I've heard from some that you can make this one block basket quilt in a day. It took me a couple of hours over a couple of days, mostly because I played with my fabric for so long and couldn't decide on the borders.

All ready to quilt. Just need to sit down and DO it.

If you are resisting this quilt because the appliqued handles leave you feeling panicky -  never fear. I got my new (June) issue of American Patchwork & Quilting in the mail on Saturday. It has some solutions to help make this easier, including using rick rack or fusible web for the handles. Plus, a beautiful pink and brown basket quilt designed by Betsy Chutchian to go with those handles.

Remember, this is your last reminder to finish up the basket quilt from Remembering Adelia for March before we begin a new little quilt for April.

I will try to post the new pattern on Sunday or Monday.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sewing & Quilting Expo

I've been pretty lazy about blogging lately. Nothing much to write about. My daughter is home for Spring Break this week and we've been spending a little time together. We shopped a little, she bought a long peasant dress (they're in style again! Can you believe it?) and then spent time making herself some jewelry to go with it for Spring.

I gave her a turquoise star ring I've had since I was her age (wore it with my long peasant dresses, of course). If I can't get her to quilt, at least she likes turquoise. That's something we can share . . .

I tried to get her to go to the Sewing & Quilting Expo near Chicago with me today. Not a chance. So I went alone and mostly just browsed for a few hours.

Ever since the International Quilt Festival moved from Chicago to Cincinnati last year I've really missed going to a big Spring show. This one was very small in comparison but it was better than nothing. There were a few vendors I was happy to see and there's always something to buy. I hope there will eventually be more quilting booths, especially ones with reproduction fabrics.

More sewing than quilting booths -

But still, quite a variety -

Oh yeah, a little something for every BODY . . . Meet Susan the Bra Lady. She does Tupperware parties for bras. See how she can help you look 10 lbs thinner. I was intrigued and took her card. I was NOT going to try on a bra behind a curtain at a quilting show. Puh-leeze!

A few of my favorite booths would NOT let me take photos. Oh well, these will have to do. Stencil heaven below -

Here's what I brought home with me -

Just a few fat quarters. I didn't really see too much reproduction fabric I absolutely had to have.

More packages of precuts, yay! (You know what a lazy girl I am.) The ruler is for my Dear Jane blocks. I made a few more blocks by hand last week. I've been using the ruler with yellow lines and it really makes my eyes crazy. I think this one will work much better for tracing the patterns onto the fabric when I hand piece. Also, Jeana Kimball's quilting and applique needles.

A couple of new stencils.

This fabric probably shocks you, huh? But I'm a sucker for puppy prints and I had to have it. I've got something special planned but you'll have to wait until April 5 to see what it is. I'm not saying any more. Just be sure to come back in April.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Antique Charm

While I was in Indiana last week for a workshop, I stopped in Zionsville, IN, on the way home. It's a charming town with cobblestone streets and lots of little shops.

One store had a nice variety of beautiful hooked rugs, made by a local craftsperson (I didn't really want to call her a  "hooker").

As we walked along the streets, I lamented to my husband that it would be nice to be able to drop $500- $1000 for some of the  things I see at antique shops (one rug I adored cost $1200), but we both know that right now that's a little frivolous with 2 kids in college.

I am often asked if I collect antique quilts and most are shocked when I say that I do not. What! A quilt designer who loves antique quilts and you don't have a stack of them?! Again, it would be nice to buy old quilts on a whim anytime I wanted to, but I justify it by saying I don't really ever see that many antique quilts that speak to me strongly or that don't cost an arm and a leg, quilts that I love and have to have and cannot live without. Usually, when I see one I like I just end up reproducing a small quilt based on it and that suits me just fine.

As soon as I said that, we walked into another shop and didn't get far past the door when I pulled this blue and white one out from under a stack of nothing-special quilts. Lesson: ALWAYS look under piles of textiles . . .

For some reason, it spoke to me -  "Oh, look at my indigoes and shirtings!"  But I was pretty sure I couldn't afford it. So I asked the price and then walked away and forgot about it.

We went to a few other shops, saw a few more quilts,

Nothing struck me.

 We ate lunch, stopped at a gallery -

And, wouldn't you know it, all the while I couldn't stop thinking about my blue and white quilt. MY blue and white quilt, she said . . . LOL.

So I went back because by now I know how it goes - I will probably never see a blue and white quilt quite like this one again and if I didn't grab it now while I was here, I would regret it. I'm getting much better at jumping on impulses. The clerk smiled. I offered her a little less than she was asking and SHE SAID YES! Granted, I still think I probably paid way too much and don't even know how old it is - probably more vintage than antique -  or if it was worth what I paid, but I felt okay with that because I really didn't care. I didn't buy it for the investment - I fell in love with it and that's all that matters. Now if only I had a nice place to display it . . . away from prying puppy paws.

Reminds me of Spring!

*  * Another REMINDER *  *

If you are making the small baskets quilt for this month's challenge, your pieces are cut, right? You should put them together this week/weekend. Take it piece by piece and you'll get there. If you don't have time for 12 baskets, make 4, make one, whatever. Still counts as a quilt for this month.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Indiana Workshop

I just came back from Indianapolis, IN, where I taught a workshop to make one of my favorite quilts - the Orange Peel Quilt that's on the cover of my book Remembering Adelia. (This is also the book we're using to make this month's quilt. See end of this post and previous posts below).

It was the first time I had taught the class using the starch and no-melt Mylar template method of applique and it was definitely a success. Even those who typically used the needleturn method for their applique tried this one and were pleasantly surprised at how much easier it was to get nice sharp points on their peels.


It was a very relaxing workshop -  no machines needed -  all work by hand for a change. I really enjoyed seeing how everyone's peels turned out and the colors they used. 

Christine is using up some blue and light scraps left over from another quilt to make hers.

Workshops are always fun because they give me a chance to connect with some of my fans on an individual basis and make new quilting friends. Plus, they almost always bring cool things to show me -

A sweet bonnet sewing case made by someone's mother (Or grandmother? Sorry, I can't remember.).

Ann joined my Small Quilt a Month challenge and has already finished the quilts for January and February.

Another sewing case that tickled me . . .

Have to make one of these pocket organizers.

It's fun to play with the peels . . .

Gail is making a baby quilt from the pattern and her peels are all pastel prints.

Trish has one block done!

After the workshop, my husband and I stopped for lunch in a small town north of Indianapolis and had a chance to visit a few antique shops. I'm excited to show you what I bought - next time.

*   *   *

Working on your small Civil War Baskets quilt for this month's challenge? If you are doing that quilt with me this month, this is your  reminder that you should have already picked out fabrics for your baskets and cut the pieces, whether you are making the 12 baskets quilt (same as in the book) or the 4-basket quilt (sketch is in the Files section of my Yahoo group). Try to piece a few blocks together this week if you can find a little time.

Before I left for Indiana, I had time to finish one basket block and then surrounded it with sashing and borders. It turned out very sweet - who doesn't love baskets? - and is the perfect small quilt if you don't have time to make the larger one but still want to continue with a quilt every month. Did not take me long at all and now just have to applique the handles and finish.

Such a sweet little basket . . .