Monday, October 27, 2014

First Block Finished for Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM

This week is the week you've been waiting for! Jacquelynne Steves is releasing instructions today for the first block in the Sew Sweet Simplicity Block of the Month #SewSweetSimplicity.

She's having several bloggers construct the blocks so you can see what a difference fabric selection makes in finishing the blocks. Here's my take on Block #1:

I chose to leave the center without applique or embroidery because when it's time to piece the blocks together and quilt it, I want to do some nice free motion quilting in the center of the blocks. They make such a great focal point.

Plus, I was having a hard time deciding what I wanted to applique or embroider in the blocks. I'm a very visual person, so once all the blocks are complete, I'm confident I'll know what to include as my focal points. At least, I hope so!

The fabric I used is from the Soho Chic collection by Moda with a Kona Snow for the background.

Quilting Tip:  Jacquelynne's instructions say to press the seams open, rather than to the side. This is a little more time consuming, but results in a block that lays flat with no worries about which direction your seams are going when you sew the sections together.  As a longarm quilter, I usually don't like seams that are pressed flat. If I need to stitch in the ditch, the density of the longarm stitches can cut right through those threads that are essentially 'exposed' when the seams are pressed open. However, with this design, I don't forsee having to do any ditch work, so it's not a problem for me!

You can visit these other quilters to see how their blocks are turning out:

This was a fun block to construct and I look forward to seeing what everyone else is making. If you post pictures of your blocks, be sure to use #SewSweetSimplicity so we can all see them!


Linking up with Linky Tuesday,

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Vote For Sparkly Things

I normally wouldn't do this, but my daughter - my very talented daughter, I might add - is a jewelry designer in Seattle and trying to make a name for herself in the jewelry world. She has entered an international competition and her design is one of the finalists.

The winner is one who receives the most votes, much like our Bloggers Quilt Festival.  So I am asking, if you have just a wee minute, to check out her entry and vote for her, but only if you think it's striking and the best! 

It's a joy to see your kids make their way in life. This is just a small part of her journey. Thanks for helping her along! Oh - her name is Jessica Neiwert and her entry is the second one down. It's also interesting to read the story behind the creation of the pieces.

In Jessica's words:  "Voting is now open for the 2014 MJSA Journal Design Challenge! I, along with a number of other fine jewelry designers, conceptualized a special piece of jewelry using a spectacular padparadscha sapphire from Omi Gems. If you like my design, I'd appreciate you voting for it!! Please vote at:…/online_design_challenge_…/voting_form/

Voting ends on October 31, so vote today - thanks!


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sew Sweet Simplicity Winner

Thank you for all the great comments about your participation in other Block of the Month programs. It was very interesting to see that many of you (like myself in days gone by) have not completed some of your BOMs.  Life gets in the way sometimes, what more can I say?

But I'm glad to announce that the Random Generator has chosen a winner for the great PDF Pattern Bundle that Jacquelynne Steves is graciously giving away.  Congrats to lindawwww!  Check your email for prize verification.

The Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM begins Monday, Oct. 27, so there is still time to sign up if you haven't already.  And remember, it's free! No cost to follow along, and then end result is you might learn some new piecing techniques, and you'll definitely end up with a gorgeous quilt!

Just visit Jacquelynne Steves Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM.  And check back here Monday to see what I've come up with for my first block. 

Always quilt with a smile,

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Back To Nature

I've been very busy with my Day Job and longarm quilting for others this fall.  Truth be known, I'd quit my Day Job in a heartbeat so I could more fully enjoy quilting for others. My clients have such wonderful quilt tops - it's a joy to be able to embellish them with thread!

But even with my calendar filled to the brim, sometimes I think it's good to take a moment to just do something for me.  A month ago I pieced together a background and borders for a fun, fall table runner.  It sat in my sewing room for 30 days and 30 nights until I decided this week to just get 'er done!

The batiks for this runner came from a little kit put together by a nearby quilt shop that has recently gone out of business when the owner retired. The batiks are wonderful! But I didn't care for the leaf pattern that was included. I am not a pen or pencil artist, i.e., I can't draw anything worthy to save my soul! How I can longarm is quite beyond my comprehension.

So therein was my problem: how was I going to find a pattern for a leaf I liked? And then it hit me. Duh. I have four maple trees in my yard - why not just trace a couple of leaves from them?

And it worked! I've ironed them on and now, when I have a few more minutes, I'll machine applique around them, get it sandwiched and quilted, bound, and I'll have a great decoration for this fall and Thanksgiving. It might take me another 30 days and 30 nights to get that much done, but that's just about how long we have 'til Thanksgiving - yikes!

And to leave you on a bright note, we had our first frost two nights ago - that's unheard of for our area in the mountains. Typically we cross our fingers that our gardens will make it through Labor Day! My roses are still blooming, and I have new poppies unfolding and daisies and the lavendar is still fresh. So I clipped these roses so I could enjoy them inside. I'm not quite ready for Old Man Winter this year.

Quilting with a smile,

Linking up with Thursday's Favorite Things Blog HopNeedle and Thread Thursday,

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mountain Quilt Retreat: The Ties That Bind

Two weeks ago our quilt guild had the great opportunity to meet at a mountain lodge for a weekend quilt retreat. The 5 Bee Quilters Guild mustered up two dozen quilters to work on quilt projects, share stories, do some hiking and kayaking, drink more than a little fine wine, and enjoy the solace of the mountain's beauty.


Fog rising from Perkins Lake greeted us each morning on the way to breakfast.

Warning:  The following post is photo heavy.  Notice how a good time was had by all!

Can you believe how much I had to take just for two nights? Note: The dog stayed home :(

Fun times were had by all!

 Janet Houts (standing), co-author of Circle of Nine, Quilting A Circle of Nine, and Log Cabin Quilts: The Basics and Beyond, works on log cabin blocks made from Kaffe Fassett prints for a class she will teach next spring.

Needle, thread, thimble, scissors . . . and some good light make hand quilting a delight - oh, look - that rhymes!

Helping one another is a side benefit of attending a quilt retreat. Loads of ideas and good advice.

Ann Lynn shows off her nifty little basket she made out of 12-inch squares, some batting and some inspiration from the little class I instructed. Sweet!

Here's another example of the quilted basket by our guild president. Is she a jester or a jokester?

Concentration is the name of the game!

Shawn shows off the quilt top she started, and finished, during the retreat. This fun rainbow of scrappiness was put together with foundation paper piecing and went together in a flash! Oh wait - do I see another basket hat?

  Speaking of flash, no flash needed as Ann Lynn snaps a lovely shot of the lake one morning.

 Frost or no frost, Rose is out for a morning stroll around the lake.

 This was Shirley's first quilt ever! I quilted it for her, and she finished it up with the binding this weekend. Way to go, girl!

Fun times indeed, and the gift exchange was especially fun. But darn it all - someone stole this little notebook away from me!  Oh, well. We're already making plans for next year's retreat.

Always quilt with a smile,

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sneak Peek at Sew Sweet Simplicity Free BOM and Giveaway!

Fall is in the air and what better time to take on a new project than now?  Especially when you see this quilt!

Oops - that's not the quilt! That's a picture of my front yard. Autumn is in full swing around here and I just love the contrasting colors of red, yellow, green and blue, even with a little neutral tone in the house - the perfect makings for a quilt!
I'm participating as one of the Featured Bloggers for the Sew Sweet Simplicity Free Block of the Month Blog Hop sponsored by Henry Glass designer Jacquelynne Steves, The Art of Home.   And unlike some BOM's, this one is free! Just sign up and join us for the fun and prizes.

For this quilt I'll be making six blocks, but there are many options you can choose to make this quilt your very own. You can do just four blocks, or six like I am doing. You can include embroidery or applique in the center of the blocks, or just piece the blocks and let the fabric tell the story.  And you can choose to make the blocks into a lap quilt, table runner, pillows - whatever your heart desires.

The block designs are beautiful, and they work up well. 

I've been having fun selecting my fabrics, and finally settled in on Soho Chic by Sandy Gervais for Moda.  I fell in love with the rich teal color and the happiness the fabrics invoke.  Now I just have to dig in and start cutting.

The first block will be released on Oct. 27, so you still have plenty of time to sign up.  I'll be having several giveaways of books, fabric (did someone mention fabric?) and thread throughout the Blog Hop, as will the other featured bloggers.  So be sure to sign up today.

Did someone mention GIVEAWAY???  That's right - today I'm giving away this awesome bundle of patterns.  Entering is easy and you have two chances to win. Plus, it's open for International entries as well as US entries. This giveaway is open through Oct. 23.

1.  Leave a comment telling me if you have participated in a BOM before and if you finished the quilt.
2. Follow along with me here on my blog, on Facebook, or Instagram for another chance to win! Just tell me how you follow.

Fun times ahead! And you'll end up with a cozy quilt to boot! Sign up today and then check back on October 27 when we all get started.

Quilting with a smile,

Remembering All The Little Things

I have let my blog side away in lieu of posting photos and updates over on Instagram. For me, it takes less time, and is a faster way to doc...