Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Harry Potter

I have been making my first paper pieced blocks. And they are all Harry Potter. They are for my sister in-law's birthday quilt. Laura will be here Friday and I'm still working on getting this back pieced!

Hogwarts crest

I was going to try some simple paper pieced blocks first, but here I am, totally out of time! So in I jumped. These are all FREE from Jennifer Ofenstein at her web site sewhoooked. She has a ton of patterns - not just Harry Potter.


We all love Harry Potter and have been going to the midnight parties since 2003, when Naperville had their first one. The whole downtown area streets are closed and most of the shops turn into Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.

Caleb in 2003

Caleb and Kenton in 2005

Laura in 2007

For the last book in 2007, it was a little nuts, as things are prone to get here in Naperville. But we had a fun time getting sorted and hanging out all afternoon until the midnight release.

Golden Snitch

She and I even went out the next night, just the two of us, to my favorite local Italian place - with our books - and silently read all through dinner! The waiters totally understood.

Mail Owl (he still needs his eyes at those purple spots)

Just last month we went to the Museum of Science and Industry - they have the traveling Harry Potter exhibit. It is filled with props and sets from all the movies. No pictures allowed!


I almost died when they had all the Weasley knits and I couldn't snap a picture! The detail in all the props is just amazing. Go see it if you have a chance.


I hope she enjoys these Harry Potter blocks on the back of her quilt.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Working Wired

I have three projects I'm trying to get done by Thursday. Only one is finished right now...
In a marathon session, I finished quilting my niece's quilt. I decided to stitch inside each square with writing 1/4", then stippled all the rest. It took a long time to navigate around all those squares! It is already boxed and ready to return to Ohio.

A quick picture of my new Far, Far Away since I don't have a quilty photo

A couple things I learned while doing that quilt. My sister in-law is a hand quilter, and she hand basted everything together with long, running stitches. I thought it would be fine, but it was a nightmare on the machine. I kept catching the stitches on either the needle screw or the presser foot lever. I ended up pulling out the basting and pinning before I started to stipple.

Second, my dream machine would have a huge, endless bobbin CONE! I should put my engineering degree to work and come up with something that would avoid the need to constantly swap bobbins in and out. I'm sure Amandajean would love that, too. (Go visit her newest quilt that needed 18 bobbins if you haven't already.)

This is what kept me awake and going during that night of quilting .... you know those tasty chocolate covered espresso beans that some shops add to the top of your cup? I have myself a whole box!

I eat them by the handful! I love Trader Joe's.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Week 8 nine patch

And I got out a pretty platter that my Uncle, who is a geologist, gave me for a wedding gift long ago. It is made from a large piece of quartz and holds my waiting pile of blocks and edge squares so nicely.
I'm going to start squaring them up - I haven't done any yet!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tool Time Tuesday

(edit - this was supposed to show up tomorrow morning - I guess blogger doesn't want to wait!)

I turned my dining room into a sewing space and have decided to cover one wall with quilts. I hung two so far.

I found these 3M Command strips at Target. They are made to hang frames - I bought the small size which hold up to 4 pounds. I use other Command products all over the place, I love them! So I was excited to try these picture hangers.

They are like plastic velcro, and seem quite strong. Instead of using the peal-and-stick stuff on the quilt side, I just slip stitched the strip to the top two corners. Since they are long, if you stick one up and it is a little crooked, you can adjust it. You can see that it is flush with the binding, so it hangs nice and flat and you don't see the strips at all.

What I like best is that when I have more quilts to add or just want to change the arrangement, the strips will peel off and move without any holes in the wall! I have had these two up for over a week, so they seem to hold very well.

I'm going to have fun filling my space!

Summer Rhythm

I finished piecing my Cubic Rhythm top.

....in between Lacrosse games

.....and new friends.

(Mr. Toad out for a 'walk' in the grass)

Friday, June 19, 2009

An almost win!

Last week I showed you the three sets of fat quarter bundles I designed as part of a contest on The Fabric Shopper.

My fun set of Sugar Sprinkles was chosen as an honorable mention! The set will be listed on Whipstich with my name. How cool is that?! One of the things I am most unsure about is color and pattern matching, so I was very excited.

I actually pieced most of that set together myself last week and bought several fat quarters from her shop. I'm now on the hunt for more candy-colored oranges and pinks to make a wonky star quilt like this wonderful creation by Georgia McDonald. Takes your breath away, doesn't it! (I think I need a clothes line just for pictures like this!)

But for now I have given myself a deadline to finish two projects. One will be a gift and the other is our summer picnic blanket that would be best done before the summer is done!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Quilting Help

I've been asked to help machine quilt a top that my husband's sisters pieced, so I thought I would ask all of you for some suggestions.

This was made for my niece, and everybody had written/decorated a square. A couple of squares have iron-on photos. As you can see, things aren't lined up directly in one way or another.

So, I was considering stippling, but wasn't sure what that would do to blocks with writing. I think there are too many to just not quilt on them. The back is a pink ballet slipper pattern, so whatever I do, it should just blend in there.

It is boxed and on the way here from Dayton (they are only about 30 minutes from The Fabric Shack!)

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Fun

On Sunday, while trying to find other quilt shops in the Chicagoland area, I came across one that is so very close and I had no idea it existed! I talked Becket and Kenton into a trip over on Monday and was pleasantly surprised to find a little gem. The boys happily played with the blocks set out for kids while I rummaged through their pile of fat eighths (I told the boys I would be fast and wouldn't wait for anything to be cut).

Tucked in the corner of a strip mall, it's a wonderful and bright shop - buzzing with a surprising number of customers - VERY friendly shopkeepers, and a good sized collection of my kind of prints. In the back of my mind I'm thinking I would like to work part time in a shop - this would be the place! I picked out these goodies.
And I loved these little cupcakes - it's the only piece I didn't recognize nor does it have the selvage info. Anybody know it?

We had a crazy amount of rain today. Except for a bit of flash flooding toward evening, it was a wonderful summer rain - warm and thunder free. I told the boys they were free to run and splash if they liked. The oldest and youngest rushed for their swim shorts and headed out.
I tried to catch some of the fun from the front door.
But I had to venture out with the umbrella once they found a huge puddle in front of the neighbor's house.
Before heading in, I found this beautifully perfect egg that blew from a tree and landed on our stone out front.

Week 7 nine patch

A fun group - they looked like they were floating as they sat on the tips of the grass.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mini Quilt Monday #2

My second mini quilt. It is about 11" x 16" The little hour glass blocks started out as some of the my extra 2.5" squares. (As I work on the nine patches, they seem to be growing in number exponentially!) So, those finished blocks are an inch and a half square.
I usually use Gutermann thread to do the quilting, but this time I used cotton machine-quilting thread. I wanted it to show a little more on the linen.
The embroidery is the first one I did since childhood. I pieced together some of my favorite bits from Aimee Ray's Doodle-Stitching book.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Treasure found

As I was folding all my fabrics, I found an embroidery test piece I did on linen last summer. I thought I would make a perfect mini quilt. I should have it ready for Monday!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Before....regular, never-used china cabinet and plastic bins of fabric with in-progress piles
After....the fabrics were neatly folded in the bins, but I couldn't SEE them. This is better!
I have the pile of fat quarters, some pre-cuts, a pretty display of some Neptune, and favorite novelty prints on the right side.

Here at the bottom are quilts-to-be that I have already pulled specific fabrics for.
One more opposite...the Halloween swap nine patch next to a quilt along nine patch. It looks like a giant!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Fabric fun!

The nine patch quilt along has been so great!

I am happily cutting into fun fabrics, and I am starting to become comfortable pairing fabrics.

I have been surprised by how great some combinations turn out.

I used my new found skills for some fun....I had a grand time making some fat quarter packs with the new contest at The Fabric Shopper. You go to Whipstitch Fabrics and make your own dream fat quarter bundle from her stock.

I made three:
Sugar Sprinkles - like the colored sugar the boys top their oatmeal with!

Cool Lake

Through the Garden Window

Of course, then I couldn't get those pink and oranges out of my head, so I ordered the Sugar Sprinkles!

Week 6 nine patches

But first, I was so excited to find that I had won a Sewn Launch giveaway! This one is from Threads of Conversation. She is going to send me a quilt pattern and some fabric - what could be better than that?!

The Sewn site is up now and I visited this morning. It's awesome - go have a look.

For my nine patch blocks, I took advantage of last week's extra block and have only done six for this week, but I think they are a great bunch!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Mini Quilt Monday and Sewn Launch Give-Away

The binding was sewn during the Lacrosse game Saturday and I love it! This mini quilt really brightens up the kitchen table. So quick and fun - plus a great way to try out new techniques - I will certainly be doing more!

And now, with help from the random number generator, the winner of the fun pattern for Bonzer is:
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:107
Timestamp: 2009-06-08 12:13:42 UTC

I had so much fun visiting all of your blogs! I hope you have enjoyed reading mine. At this rate I am not too far from a 100th post giveaway!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Candy Corn Anyone?

A fabric shack delivery of yellow, orange, and cream for my Halloween Spooktacular candy corn.

And a fun pair for the nine patches. I really love that Joel Dewberry sunburst.

Plus just a few random bits for me! Have a great weekend.