Sunday, September 30, 2012

Quilt Camp 2012

I - actually we - went to Quilt Camp last week in Iowa. 
Ready to leave home
Ray went along and rode his bicycle on some great trails. One morning he rode around Clear Lake and on toward Mason City - a total of 28 miles!

I got to quilt the week away at Country Threads along with friends - some new, some old! The first day I got to meet Jo from Jo's Country Junction blog. I've followed her blog for some time and am currently doing a Quilt Along with her each month.

Country Threads is just outside of Garner on a farm

with chickens, goats, cats, and dogs.

As in past years, we quilted upstairs in the barn.

But unlike any other year, there was construction going on at the house. It didn't really affect us - this is the view from up in the barn.

The little playhouse was still there and the chairs in the garden were wonderful because we had an absolutely gorgeous week!

I didn't take a lot of photos and most of the ones I did take aren't very good because the sun was so bright in the barn. 
The Illinois ladies minus me
The group was limited to 16 campers instead of 25 as in the past. It gave us a little more room to move around. We had one person from Wisconsin, one from Iowa, 2 from Minnesota, 2 from Texas, 5 from Ohio, and 5 from Illinois.

There were all kinds of projects being done. Everyone seemed a little more serious about sewing this year. Polly made these tiny little stars. I love them!

And this quilt required a great deal of paper-piecing!

Some weird things happened during the week. One of the owners had a death in the family, one of our campers had an allergic reaction and had to go to the ER, and the local lumber yard burned. Wow!

We took some time for shopping and eating too! The Illinois and Wisconsin ladies stayed at The Lodge in Forest City along with 3 of our husbands. We were about 15 miles north of camp. Every night the 9 of us ate together. We ate at Shooters Bar and Grill in Forest City twice - that's where we were on Ray's birthday and we'd definitely go back!

It was wonderful to spend time quilting with my friends made even better by the fantastic weather!

As I finish the projects I started, I'll share them with you.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Neat New Block!

While at Quilt Camp this year, I learned a new block. No one knows who first thought of this so I'm sorry that I can't give that person credit.

Start with 4 squares. You can use any size squares - I am using charm squares which are 5" squares. The four squares need to be different colors.

Sew the 4 squares into a 4-patch and press well.

Now for the cutting. Use 20% of the size of the original square so for a 5" square, use 1". For a 10" square, use 2".  My original square was 5", so I will be using 1". If you use a different number, the finished block will have different size pieces but it will work. 

Carefully cut 1" from each seam.

To cut the other side of the seam, move around the cutting table or move the cutting mat. This piece is upside down because I moved to the other side of my cutting table.

Now carefully cut 1" from the crosswise seam. When you are through with the cutting, you will have 9 pieces.

I have numbered them so I can easily refer to them.

Exchange the middle top and the middle bottom pieces - so swap pieces 2 and 8. Don't turn the pieces.

Exchange the middle side pieces - so swap pieces 4 and 6. Don't turn the pieces.

Rotate the middle piece twice - so turn piece 5 twice. The little blue square that was in the upper left will now be in the lower right.

Sew these 9 pieces together as a 9-patch, being careful to keep the pieces in the correct orientation. Press well. Square up the block to 8" or perhaps 8 1/2" if your squares were exactly 5" and your 1/4" seams are perfect. That's it!

What happens if you mix up some of the pieces - nothing really. The block will still look scrappy. If you want to keep the block with a pattern, follow the above steps. 

You can see the pattern below. Look at the red corner square and the other red pieces (arrows are pointing at the other pieces). Can you see the same pattern for the blue? 

The block is neat alone but you can put some together. Sorry the reds and greens aren't showing up in the right color in this photo!

Or you might put some blocks together with sashing. You might be able to see the safety pins - this piece is ready to be quilted.

Doesn't it look neat?! Everyone at camp loved it!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

An Army Baby

We have 5 grandsons and 13 great-nephews, and 2 granddaughters and 6 great-nieces. Blue is my favorite color so I enjoy making baby boy quilts but it is always fun to sew PINK!

We are expecting a great-great-niece in November, the daughter of our great-nephew and his wife.
We found the fabric in West Des Moines and I designed this little quilt. It's about 45" X 45".
Ray picked out the main fabric with the butterflies and we found fabrics to coordinate. Then I just played with the fabrics/colors until this resulted.
Can you believe the theme for the baby's room is pink with butterflies!?! We really got lucky this time! Here is the back - a very soft flannel.
I just finished the machine quilting and put the binding on this week. The baby shower was a week ago but we weren't able to attend. So I'll put this in the mail soon - it's on its way to Fort Campbell.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Two baby quilts ready to donate

Two baby/child quilts are done and ready to go!

I started a quilt called Crumbs from 
Me and My Sister Designs in June. 
After working on the blocks, I decided that I really didn't want a 64 X 81 inch quilt. So I made two quilts each about 45 X 50 inches.

The first one is machine quilted in a motif called Paisley.
(Oops, I think I should have taken the photos during the day.)
The back is pieced. 
There really is no reason this isn't lying flat - 
I must be lazy!
I love the binding!
 The second one is machine stippled
Here is the back. It has the same binding.
I think these are going to University of Wisconsin Children's Hospital. This past spring a friend's 3-year-old son was treated there and received a quilt. He thought it was pretty special. Hopefully a couple of other kids would like these.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

FMQ Project - Catching Up!

I'm back! I have missed a few weeks at The Free Motion Quilting Project Free Motion Quilt Along. I have been following along - I just did not have a sewing machine while we were traveling and then when I got home, I didn't have a working machine. That has all changed - I am home - for this week anyway - and I have a brand new machine.

I love Paisley - I just used it on two baby quilts! I think I put my own spin on every quilting design and this is no different.

The first quilt is multi-colored.
Here's another photo - one of these days, I'll post pictures of the whole quilt.

Then the pink baby quilt which I can't show you yet so here's a peek at the back.

I have not tried Lava Paisley yet! I enjoy Paisley as much as stippling although it does take longer. I love the textured effect.

All of a sudden, I seem to have a lot of baby quilts to make - some years are like that!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge for September

The September Free Motion Quilting Challenge over at Insights from SewCalGal featured Paula Reid as the expert of the month. Paula has made some gorgeous quilts and has been featured on some quilting shows. 

Paula shared some secrets for quilting large quilts on a domestic sewing machine including her Fluff and Stuff technique and her room arrangement - both of which I already use!  She also said to get straight stitches, use a 0mm throat plate (I don't have one yet) and a Schmetz Denim/Jeans, size 80/12 needle (I just bought some). She then had us quilt a beautiful feather design. 
Now, why did I trace that on paper instead of using Don Linn's method? Getting all the paper off is a pain! Never again! You can see some pieces yet above. Below is the back.
This is the very first thing I sewed/quilted on my new Bernina. I can tell where I began and where I ended - I got better! And I'm getting much better! Just takes a while to get comfortable.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sewing Machine Saga ENDS!

Thursday was decision day! And it is a ...... Bernina 550 QE. (QE= Quilt Edition) It was a tough decision but I think I made the right one! 

I went to get my machine today and spent more than two hours with the owner of the store, Jane, and one of her employees, Kris. We covered lots and I still have lessons!

It was a big box FULL of neat things!
The machine fits in my cabinet but I do need to order a new cabinet insert and a new extension table. Oh, she is so shiny and new!
I think we covered most of the manual today but I did read it tonight anyway!
Then... I sewed some straight seams, I did a free motion motif that I have for homework this month, and I began quilting the other half of that pink baby quilt! (You can peek at it in the second photo above.)

It'll take some practice but:
  • I am learning to use the foot feed with my left foot (my right foot has nerve damage).
  • I am learning to use the knee lift.
  • I am learning to use the BSR - the Bernina Stitch Regulator.
  • I am learning to use the Start/Stop buttons so I don't always need the foot feed.
My learning curve needs to be fast - Quilt Camp is only a week away!

I'm thinking this old lady is learning some new tricks and I'm loving it!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sewing Machine Saga continues...

We picked up my sewing machine on our way home from the trip. I finally got to use it and it worked fine. I finished quilting the baby quilt that I was so close to finishing before we left. Then I sat down yesterday and began quilting a pink baby quilt. I was about 1/2 done and would you believe the machine died again!

So it is time. The question is still "What do I buy?". I'm just not sure but it is time to go shopping. I'm so unhappy with my Viking that I'll probably go a different direction. Janome or Bernina???? Oh, I hate this!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mail, mail, and more mail

We are home! Unpacked! Laundry done! And the mail - oh yeah, the mail. We had a lot of mail but the best were the boxes we mailed from Alaska! 

Did I really buy that many batiks?
I remember saying "no more buying fabric without a plan" and I remember thinking "I don't get to these shops very often!"
I've never seen striped minkee. There are a couple of baby boy quilts coming up.
Some of these might show up in those baby quilts.
I found a few patterns and thought I should try the Whisper Web.
I found the elusive Isacord thread, a finger rotary cutter and scissors that I've never seen. I just had to have that gadget in the box to cut chain-pieced pieces apart.
Oh yes, more batiks.
Ray bought some canned wild salmon and we fit it in!
It really was fun to open the boxes and see everything!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Statendam Cruise - part 3

We ended up leaving Haines about 5 1/2 hours late. They called a tug from Skagway to help get the ship away from the dock. The tug came and helped when the 50-knot winds finally began to die down. Our departure happened around 1:30 AM. We still arrived in Juneau on time - about 7AM - guess there wasn't much traffic and no speed limit!

It has been a really nice day- a few showers but lots of sun and little wind. The temps were in the low 50s.

We caught a bus and headed for the Valley – it is a number of miles out there. Thanks to some locals on the bus (the driver didn’t talk much) we got off at the right stop! A short walk and we were at Raintree Quilting.
It was definitely worth the hassle of getting there! It is a nice store with a great selection of fabric and very friendly ladies.

Here is part of the store.
I was debating how much I could buy since I had already shipped everything home. I found enough that I knew we’d have to make another post office stop - then they offered to ship it for me. The neat part is that there is no tax if they ship! So we will consider this as a day that I saved money!

We walked the whole downtown area this afternoon. Stopped at Changing Tides quilt shop downtown but I passed on buying anything. We also found the fabric part of Ben Franklin but again passed.

We did find a number of bears downtown. This fellow was pretty big!

It was a great night with comedian ventriloquist Mike Robinson, The Marriage Game, and The Indonesian Crew Show – I love the 1000 Hands Dance!

Our crew is fantastic. Each of them always has a smile. We talk often to one young man and asked about the name on his nametag: E G I that he pronounced as Eggie. He said that is the short version of his name. We asked for the long version. He said Scrambled Eggie or Eggie Benedict! We all laughed and he just kept cracking jokes! Our cabin stewards always want to know what we have done when we leave the ship. It is hard to believe that they sign on for 10 months, work 12 hour shifts 7 days a week, are always smiling, and enjoy their jobs!

In Ketchikan we went on the Herring Cove Bear Adventure for about 3 ½ hours. We were on a bus for 8 miles then we hiked in the rainforest. Ray and I were both in shirtsleeves. We walked over 4 swinging bridges
I really don't like swinging bridges!
with tree stands in-between and at each end. The bridges are 50 feet above ground. We saw 12 black bears! We were told there are no grizzlies on the island.

At the end of the bridges, we were on a board walkway and we were completely surrounded by bears. Twice, our guide put himself between the 9 of us and a bear. I think the closest bear was about 10 feet away! We all slowly backed up as a group and all was well!

There was an old boat that this fellow seemed to like!

Saturday was a wonderful day for cruising  - sunny, clear, and in the 60s. It was a great day watching orcas, humpbacks, and dolphins.

We were up early Sunday and watched our arrival in Vancouver. Sailing under the Lions Gate Bridge was pretty awesome – the bridge was all lit and it was still fairly dark out. The disembarkment process went extremely well as did our plane trip to Chicago. Tomorrow we will arrive at home.

It has been a wonderful adventure. 


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