Saturday, April 23, 2011

Getting the Work Done to Get to the Fun

Today I had a visitor, but I still had a deadline to meet.  So she decided to keep me company in my sewing room and "help me work".

While Grandma played with fabric, Elsie played with buttons and pincushions...literally for hours.

All of my pincushions are beautifully decorated now :)  (Excuse my messes in the backgrounds, I'm definitely in work mode)

And fabric scraps are so much fun for dress up.  Note my "super secret" quilt project blurred out in the background (sorry I can't show it just yet, ~ Elsie has been sworn to secrecy).

Then when the work was finished, it was time to die some Easter Eggs!

 Colors, and stickers ~ she's quite thorough. 

Now we're all ready here for the Easter Bunny's visit.  Happy Easter to all!

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Winding Ways

So yesterday I cut out all these odd pieces for a quilt.  The neat thing about this is that I did it all in under an hour! ...And as a bonus, pieces are complete with little registration points cut right in, and the corners are pre-notched to do away with the "dog ears" that are normally produced at the edges when pieced. 

These were cut so easily with the Winding Ways die for my AccuQuilt Go! cutter.  It is definitely much easier and faster than cutting these pieces out the "old fashioned" way ~ I'm a pretty traditional quilter, and in the past I would have cut out cardboard templates...probably from an empty cereal box much like my ancestors, traced them a bunch of times, keeping track of how many I've done, and then cut them out with scissors.
...I would have then tried to find the perfect place to store my little template set for when I wanted to cut more out in the future, but would never again be able to find them, and would have to make more templates every time I wanted to cut this block again ~ but that's another story :/

Anyway, this is the die after I marked lines over where the blades are with a sharpie marker.  I plan to make another quilt in the future using all scrappy fabrics, and this way I can easily see where the blade edges are for the least fabric waste.

When laying your mat over the die, make sure that the little hanging whole is not over a cutting blade underneath.  There are two sides that have a large open area on the die that has no blades, just make sure that your mat hole is over that area.

All of the AccuQuilt Dies come with a free pattern.  I found the directions, although concise, to be quite clear and easy to follow.  Good tips are given, and if you follow the pressing directions that they suggest, everything lays really well.  This Free Pattern can also be found on the AccuQuilt website along with a bunch of others.

Here are the basic steps that I followed to piece the Winding Ways block.  Match the registration marks.

They give the tip to work with the concave curved piece (curve going inward) on top, and that is a great tip.  Everything falls into place much better that way for some reason ~ and I did try it both ways just for the heck of it.  It stitched up fine by just pinning at the center registration marks and one on each end.

...however if your are a "Pinner" like me, and don't mind spending the extra time, feel free to add more pins ~ no one will fuss at you, honest.  Do whatever makes you enjoy the process more, after all that's why we quilt, right?


Then the little "between wedges" get added on to the first "quarter unit" of the block.  Here you can see that I sewed right over my pins (another personal preference).  I use the "slow and go" method when doing this.  (Yes, this is a different fabric than the first picture, but still the same blue/white combination, I was working on a couple of blocks at a time, kind of chain piecing them.)

Sew two quarter units of the piece together with a wedge piece in between to make half of the block.  Do this twice. 

Then you sew the tiny little end of two wedge pieces together, and press this seam open.

This gets sewn all the way across one half of the block, matching the center seam, registration marks and edges.  Again yes, I have a lot of pins on here, and you can use less if this makes you cringe.  In full disclosure, I did use less pins as I made more blocks, this was my first one that I photographed, and I think I needed the extra security :)

 Sew the two halves together.

Here is how the back side looks with all of the seams pressed as instructed.

And here is my first Winding Ways block pieced on the sewing machine.  It went together really easy for curved seams and I am completing each block in about a leisurely half and hour.   I know that Red/White quilts are in vogue right now, but I have been in a Blue/White phase lately, so I'm making mine with a bunch of different Blues, but the same White/Blue alternate fabric. 

I'm getting ready to head out to Kentucky for a visit with my Mom, and the two of us are going to Paducah next week!  I'm taking a bunch of the cut pieces with me and will be hand piecing some on the trip.  I'll let you know how that goes, and show you more progress on my quilt when I get back.

...And now I have the Beatles song, A Long and Winding Road, stuck in my head...

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tilling and Tooling on Tuesday

Spring has finally sprung here, and pots are getting filled.

Sprouts are sprouting.

Blooms are popping.

Little hidden treasures :)

 Garlic!

 Yes, we will eat our spinach...

...But then we'll have Strawberries on Ice Cream!

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sisterhood of the Traveling Quilt Progress

Remember a while back when I told you about The Sisterhood of the Traveling Quilt project?  (You can read back on it here in this post. )  Basically, members from my Quiltsy Team on Etsy, in honor of National Quilting Day in March, started making their own versions of a log cabin block, then sending it on to the next person in their assigned row.  The blocks, then the rows will all be sewn together to make one quilt made by many!  Well, the traveling quilt blocks are getting around, and I've received the North East Row in progress, and attached my block there to the bottom to complete it and she's ready to ship on to become a quilt!

But first to show a little corner of Maryland USA, and our home town where our humble little block originates, we snapped a couple of pictures in favorite places.  Here Heather was humoring me and posing with my block :)

We live in Savage Maryland, a little historic town located half way between Baltimore MD  and Washington DC.  Heather is standing on the Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge that spans the Little Patuxent River.  It was built in 1869 and is the sole surviving example in the world of the bridge system invented by Wendall Bollman in 1850, these were the first bridges built entirely of iron.  The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad used this and at one time there were 100 of them through out the United States.

The bridge was used to connect a spur to the Savage Cotton Mill which you can see across the river in the background in the photo (you can click on the photos to see a more close up view).   Savage Mill is still open today, but not as a manufacturing plant making cotton duck any more, but as a really cool retail facility with unique shops, antiques and artists.  The quilt shop where I worked, And Sew It Goes is located in the mill.  If you ever get the chance to visit Maryland, check it out ~ it's very centrally located right off the Interstate 95 corridor, and makes for a great day trip!

And of course I had to take a picture of our completed North East row in my favorite place on the planet ~ out in my garden near my Wishing Well.  Not much is going on in the garden just yet, only a few little things poking up, but the Wishing Well picture here on my website has a better garden shot.  Nothing says "Spring Water Designs" to me better than that :)

The NE row was made by:
Another Ghost Quilts  in Maine
With Hugs n Stitches in Massachusetts
Uniquely Nancy in Connecticut
Rooee in New York 
Ice Purple Penguin in New York
Handmade by Giovanna in New Jersey
Me  in Maryland

Anns Quilts n Stuff   in Oklahoma will put the rows together
Whimbrella in Texas coordinated the whole project


Thanks everyone!

You can check out the Quiltsy Team Blog for more adventures of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Quilt!

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Coloring!

I've been playing with colored pencils lately, and it's been fun!  I found these fun challenges on Spoonflower where you design a fabric based on a theme.  You know I like playing with the challenges ~ they stretch me to do something different than I'd normally do.  The current Spoonflower challenge contest theme is Rain, so thinking of Springtime (actually I was really pining for Springtime), my entry is called "Showers & Flowers".  You can go here and vote for your favorite Rain entry before April 13th. 

I actually have three designs on my Spoonflower page now.  The first one I did is called Rocking the Day Away.  I've been on a rocking horse kick lately, and have some other projects in the works using a rocking horse.  And that has a coordinate fabric with ABC blocks all over.  In Spoonflower you can click on a fabric swatch and then choose to see it in different sizes which is kind of fun to do.  The above views are roughly a fat quarter size.

My little drawings are a humble start.  I don't have Photoshop software (nor would I know how to use it if I had it...and I don't have the time to learn it right now, but maybe someday...), so like I said, I'm doing mine the old fashioned way, drawing and coloring with colored pencils ~ and it's actually been a lot of fun to get off of the computer and just create :) 

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Quilt Retreating


I just spent a few days with some very good friends, sewing up a storm on a Quilt Retreat!  It was a great couple of days playing with fabric.

I sewed the whole time on my new little toy ~ my first Featherweight.  I bought this from Starlyn to add to my little sewing machine collection that I have going, and it sews beautifully :)

And I finished my Buffalo Ridge quilt!  The blocks and flying geese were swapped with Mary and Starlyn a while back, and at the retreat I put it all together for a completed top.   (The pattern can be found in the book called Nickel Quilts).

Cappy, the hostess of our reterat (she offered up her little beach house in Edgewater MD for us), had the first finish with this beauty. 

Made with bandanas!  This is a UFO from I think she said the 1980's made from a collection of bandanas that she had amassed back when they were popular to wear.  The colors were amazing.

And since I like to use retreats to pull out UFOs, I also "finished" my Snowbound quilt.  It's from Bunny Hill Designs BOM last year.  I kept up with the BOM pretty well at the beginning of the year, but after finishing five of the snowmen applique blocks, I decided that five was enough, so this is how I set mine. 

For the Jo fans, here is Starlyn's first finish of the weekend ~ a little Courthouse Steps mini quilt from the Jo Morton Club at the shop.  There were many more finishes by others, some I snapped pictures of but they were blurry, and some I missed altogether.  And I had to leave the retreat early for some weekend fun with my little grand daughters, so I'm sure I missed seeing even more of the finishes. 

 But even when we weren't sewing, the views were wonderful.  

These sights were literally steps away from the house that we stayed in.  It was a lovely way to spend a few days ~ Thanks again Cappy!

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Some New Designs on the Newstand

The June/July issue of Quilt Magazine is starting to show up on news stands, and I have two designs in this one that I can finally show!  This happy one is called Pajama Party and is designed with the beginner quilter in mind.  It's a bright and fun pinwheel design that is perfect for a young girl, and with a little help from a loving grown up, it can be the first quilt she ever makes :)  It's made from the 'Lil Miss Cutie Patootie Springtime fabric collection from Red Rooster. 

The instructions for the coordinating pillows can be found as a free download on the Quilt Magazine website, and I'm offering kits that include the panel on my website

And as an extra bonus, I'm also offering a Free Pattern of the Panel Pajama Bag on my website.  It's a cute little quilted bag that can hang on a door knob or bed post to hold pajamas or small toys ~ and if you don't need it for your pjs anymore like me, you can use it in the mudroom to hold paper grocery bags :)  Click here for the current free-for-the-taking pdf downloads on my website.  

Design number two is called American Beauty, and is very appropriate for a summer issue!  Both of the quilts were long arm quilted by my friend Mary of Keep Me In Quilts, she always does such nice work!  This is a nice summer project, and the cutting for this quilt is also very Accuquilt cutter friendly for those of you who are looking for that :)

American Beauty is currently on the bed in my guest room.  I love the colors in this one with their reproduction feel ~ the fabrics are from the Heritage Prints collection from Benartex fabrics. 

If you like the fabrics, I have most of them from both of these quilts available, while supplies last, on the bolt here in my store for pillow cases and backings, just click on the appropriate fabric company name.  And better yet, I have kits available for everything pictured above!  

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Our Shared Project

Remember this perpetual sampler-in-progress that Heather was making from back in this post?  It was an old UFO that I had started, and she decided to resurrect and finish it.   Well she finished it, got it framed and...

 Ta-Da!!!

She even added my initials along with hers since we both worked on it :)

I love the frame that she chose, it suits it perfectly.  (Framing job was done at The Stitching Post in Catonsville MD by the way.)

For now it's hanging in my house since Heather doesn't have a good place to hang it in her current apartment.  We have an agreement that when she moves later this year, she'll get it for her new place ~ how's that for sharing :)

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn