Thursday, April 17, 2014

vertical blocks of color

This quilt started with 3 1/2 inch by 6 1/2 inch blocks of scraps and ended with 3 1/2 inch strips added to the side to make it wide enough.  I like the vertical orientation of the quilt.  I also like the simple quilting on it.  It's another big one.

Today is my last day of work before vacation.  So happy for that!  I'm hoping to get a lot of quilts worked on this week and have some fun too.  My little guy wants to go to the train museum and ride a train and to Sutter's Fort in Sacramento.  He's learning about California history in 4th grade so what a perfect time to visit some local history.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Accuquilt Block Design Contest

There's only a few days left to enter Accuquilt's Quilt Block Design Contest.  Every year the contest comes around and I think this is the year I'm going to enter and every year the entry deadline passes and I haven't designed a block.  Well, this year I have EQ7 and no excuse not to at least give it a try.  Except for the fact that I'm still struggling with saving a design and then trying to figure out where the program hides the saved designs!  I have no idea why that program is so hard to figure out sometimes.  One day it will be nice to me and I can work it just fine and the next, it puts the quilt designs somewhere and I can't for the life of me figure out what it is doing.  I had a great quilt block all figured out and then clicked on something and it moved the colors all around and the lines went every which way and made things all go crazy.  Surely it isn't user error! :)

Good thing I have vacation starting tomorrow at 3:11pm and I'm counting the minutes until that happens.

But, if you want to get in on all the fun and have a chance at winning some incredible prizes including thousands of dollars worth of Accuquilt merchandise (which is what I really want) and your quilt block on the side of the Accuquilt headquarters and a chance of going to the unveiling of your block design on the side of the building and getting a tour of the facility and getting to meet the president of the company and getting some other great things like a long arm quilting machine (now where would I put a 3rd machine?  Ok, kids, time to move out!  Well, you should probably enter.

If you don't have a computer program to help you design a quilt block, no worries, you can use paper and pencil or even sew a block and take a picture of an actual block you have sewn as long as it is an original design.

Then, get your friends to vote for you.  There's even chances for your friends to win prizes just by voting.

So, check out the design contest at and enter before May 1.  But, don't make your block better than mine.  I'd at least like to win 3rd place.  I could use some more Accuquilt Studio dies.  I keep going on the website and dreaming of all the great quilts I want to make.  If I would just get in the sewing room and actually cut up some fabric, I could make more quilts, but sitting on the couch dreaming is so much easier.  I'd love to have a second Studio cutter for our quilt days to get more kids cutting fabric even faster.  It's fun to plan how to spend the money.  Which means I really better enter this year!  I think you should too.  Don't let me win because there's no competition.  Good luck and let the best block win.
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more flowers

 I love the deep purple ones that are almost black!

 and this cactus teaches the less of bloom where you are planted.  My neighbor gave this to me about 5 years ago and I haven't put it in a pot yet.  It has sat next to the water faucet on this bucket lid where it blooms faithfully season after season.  It gets drips of water whenever I turn the faucet on.

 and these iris are so heavy, they just fell over and continue to bloom.  No matter what life throws at you, just keep blooming and showing your colors, no matter the circumstances.

And I have a few faithful roses.  I love this lavender rose.  It is very fragrant too.  Too bad my family has allergies and I can't bring it indoors.  But at least the neighbors get to enjoy it too.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Green Giant

This is a great scrap buster.  I used my Accuquilt Studio and the 3 1/2 inch strip die and cut up a whole bucket of green scraps.  I've been saving them for a couple years and finally decided it was time to use them up.  Then, I sewed them end to end and cut the first strip 60 inches long.  I just kept sewing pieces to each side of the original strip until I had 26 total strips.  It took about 2 hours to sew and another hour and a half to quilt.  I have a ton of strips left, probably enough to make another quilt.  And this was a small bucket of scraps.  I have a bucket of yellow, red, brown, blue and white/black scraps already sorted.  Looks like I need to get busy making more of these.  Plus that doesn't even touch all of the non sorted scraps.  I think this is what we may work on at our quilt day.  The kids can cut the scraps and sew the pieces together end to end and cut the strips 60 inches long.  Then they can pass the strips to the veteran sewists who can sew all the strips together.  I bet we can get quite a few quilt tops finished on our quilt day.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Think Big

 So these aren't the biggest quilts we've made, but they are big enough to cover teenage boys and they are in boy colors.  The brown one was made a while back and has waited patiently for the right time to be called into action.
This green one I made in about 2 hours today.  I used my greens box and pulled out every piece I had that was big enough to fit on my Take 5 die.  I only used the 8 1/2 inch square on that die and cut as many squares as I could.  Then when I ran out of my presorted scraps, I pulled out my bigger green pieces.  Stuff that was smaller than a yard, but bigger than a fat quarter, but has been sitting around forever.  You know, the stuff you have been saving for just that 'perfect' project.  The batik leaves fabric is an example.  So is the golf fabric.  WHy was I saving it?  I have no idea.  Then, I found the lime green fabric that was leftover from a backing fabric I had from a wedding quilt I made for my friend Nancy's son some time ago.  I cut it all up, no piece was left!  What?  Not save a little bit, just in case I needed it for the next project?  I am so used to doing that!  What was left was cut into 3 12 inch strips for the next quilt I also made today that is on the machine now.  Yep, two quilts start to finish in the same day.  Whoa, call the quilt police.  This lady busted some serious stash ladies and gentlemen!  And she made some big quilts for big boys!

All of these will go to Rhoda for binding this week and will be in the mail on Friday, fingers crossed.  I can see more of these color controlled quilts in the near future.  My friend Jenny's mom is super quick at putting together the 6 1/2 inch squares I give her so I'm planning on cutting up a whole bunch of my scraps and giving her these 8 1/2 inch blocks with the instructions to make them 8x9 so I will have more quilt tops ready for the next time I need big quilts.  I'm not sure how many we will be sending to Humboldt.

Long Arm Needles

Why do I wait until I REALLY need something like needles to order them?  I'm putting the link here, so when I REALLY need them again, I can remember where I ordered from.  I got 100, so it will be a few years before I need needles again.  I was hoping that I could use the same needles from my other machine, but of course, each machine uses it's own needles.

My machine got stuck again and I think the needle hit something underneath which caused the needle to get a  little burr.  I sanded it off enough that it works, but you can hear the needle as it goes in and comes out of the fabric.  Not a good sign.

I'm not one of the sewing purists who changes the needle every quilt.  These things are titanium coated and I quilt about 50 quilts before changing a needle.  I'd go broke changing the needle every quilt, plus, I'd be online ordering needles every week. :)  Who has time for that?

Instead, I need to be sewing quilt tops for teenage boys and grading lab books.  I don't even have time for that and it's my job.

And I woke up this morning, and ran outside to see if my iris made it through the night.  Sure enough, they are there, smiling at me.  I have one by the front door that is very fragrant.  The smell that greeted me this morning was overwhelming.  Such a lovely perfume!  I wonder if they sell iris scented perfume?  I will have to do some research.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

needing to make more boy quilt tops

For every boy quilt, I have about 10 quilts for girls.  Looks like I need to get in the sewing room and do some piecing.  I love just sitting and sewing mindlessly.  It is so relaxing.  I picked up a whole pile of quilt tops from Carla today and wouldn't you know they are all girl quilts too? :)  I guess we all like making quilts for girls!  Time to break out the Studio cutter and the blues, greens and browns and start cutting.  Good thing I have vacation coming up.  Too bad I have lab books to grade tomorrow.  We are having a quilt day over the Easter break though so looks like the focus of that needs to be sewing quilt tops for teenage boys.  I'll have to see if we have some flannel fabric in boy colors so we can make some rag quilts.  Those don't even need quilting to finish up.  Gotta love that!

Man it is windy here tonight.  The house is shaking and the windows are rattling.  My poor iris may not be there in the morning.  I knew I should have taken pictures today.  Almost all are blooming and were so pretty.  I even pulled a bunch of weeds this morning so you could see them better.  Oh, well.  I was able to enjoy them for a little bit.  Who knows, they may survive the hurricane force winds. says they are 30 miles per hour, but I'm thinking gusts must be up to 50 or more.  It's crazy out there!

Free digital quilting designs

 I'm still working on free digitized quilting designs.  You can download them at the link at the top of this page, or the top of the blog.
 It's fun to take a little scribble and see it stitch out on the machine.  I hope someone else can enjoy these designs as well.

Quilts from Carla

My friend Carla has the same long arm machine that I have.  She has helped me out so much and taught me much about quilting and life in general.  I'm so glad she is my friend :)

Today I went over and picked up these quilts and many more.  They need to be bound and will be sent off to Pennsylvania to the school stabbing victims along with several I've quilted.  I will be sending a dozen altogether.  That's pretty incredible, to be able to pull together a dozen teenage boy quilts in only a few days, but that's how we roll around here.  When we hear of a need, we make things happen.

 My friend Sandy is coming over tonight to pick up 10 quilts and will get the binding on by Thursday when Easter break starts.  I'm taking another 10 to my friend Rhoda's house and she will have those bound by Thursday as well.  We will be sending some quilts to Humboldt for the kids who were involved in the bush crash that happened a couple days ago.  Kids from Southern California were headed up for a college visit.  Carla's daughter attends Humboldt and this weekend is the day when kids visit and they get to show off how great the school is.  She says they are all having a hard time because many of them lost good friends in the accident.  We will be getting an address and shipping quilts to the families of those who lost kids and to the survivors.

 I'm praying that tragedies stop for a while because it is hard to keep up with all the requests for quilts right now.  I have some personal quilts I need to make.  My principal's daughter is having a baby and she just asked me yesterday for a pink and gold one.
 These quilts are the Take 5 pattern from the Accuquilt Studio.  The big square is 8 inches finished and the small squares are 4 inches finished.  The rectangle is 8x4 finished.  I love it because it cuts the whole block at once and sews up quickly.  Great for using up scraps and looks great too.
 A friend asked me to make her a t shirt quilt from a bunch of shirts she got at her old high school she taught at before coming to work at our high school.  I also need to make one for the lady who runs the blood drive every year.  I have been collecting blood drive t shirts for a couple years and need to start cutting them up.  I just need to find the time to do that.  Once I start, it will be an easy finish, just getting started is the hard part.

quilts for guys

 Why is it quilts for guys are so hard to come by?  Is it because I'm a woman and most quilters are women so we tend to pick out the girly colors?  We like the pinks/purples/bright colors that make us happy?  When the call for boy quilts comes in, I'm left scrambling to pick out the quilts that I can make masculine by adding darker borders or blue backing fabric to.
 These three will be headed out to Pennsylvania for the teenage victims of the school stabbing that happened this week.  Not only are boy quilts hard to come by, but make them teen or adult size and you compound the difficulty times ten.  I have to constantly remind myself to pick out male colors and make quilts bigger because guys need comfort too.
That's what I love about scrappy, strippy quilts so much.  They are perfect for guys or gals and they can go with any backing fabric, plus they use up lots of leftover bits that would normally go to waste.  Of course, they take extra time to make because they use up small pieces, but if you have a lot of volunteers to help you out like I do, many hands make for quick work of scraps.  We put these two quilts together at a couple of quilt days.  One day was spent making the blocks and another day was spent making the quilt tops.  Now, the quilts will be sent off to help comfort some kids who should be spending these days looking forward to prom and graduation.