Friday, July 26, 2013

Retro Rubies - The Remix and The Finish

If you have been following my blog, you have seen this fabric spread before.  Today I am starting on Andrew's quilt.  The pattern he picked out was Retro Rubies by Alyssa Lichner which is featured in the Spring 2013 issue of Modern Patchwork.  

I started reading the instructions the other day...whew, that girl went to some trouble to make that quilt.  I am basically lazy, first to admit it.  My mind got to thinking, why all that fuss, curved seams, piecing, not for me.  Don't get me wrong, if there was pattern involved and it was a complex pattern, I would be all over it.  But hey, this is MODERN patchwork.  So, I have redrafted the pattern and here it is for those of you, who like me, would enjoy this quilt with a lot less effort.

I will be posting photos as the work progresses so you can compare the results and see if you, like me, are all about the remix.

Here is the REMIX pattern in PDF format with further pictures and instructions to follow.

I am missing one color, which I will pick up this weekend when I'm down in Rocklin.  All my "petals" are cut, two of each color.  I cut them with the right sides of the fabric together so I cut two at a time and used the rotary cutter and a ruler, lining up against the edge of my template with the ruler to get a straight and accurate cut, then free handing the corners.  Now I will start stripping the fusible pelon into blocks.

With right sides together, (the bumpy side is the right side of the fusible in this instance) pin the four corners.  I pin inside the seam line area so I don't have to remove pins until after I am done sewing and I'm not stitching over any pins.

Cut away the excess fusible.  I use a ruler on the straight areas to make this quick and easy and free hand the corners.  This is much easier than trying to cut your fusible to the pattern and then trying to seam them together.

Clip your corners to the seam line, just like you do in dress making.  This will help them lay flat when you turn them.  Also clip your tips to eliminate the bulk in that area when you turn.

Take some snips or a seam ripper and CAREFULLY make a slit in the fusible.  Make it at least 3 or 4 inches long.  Turn your work right sides out now.

Take a wooden knitting needle or spoon or something with a blunt end and just run it along your seam line, careful to not poke through your fusible.

Turn it over and finger NOT press with your iron until you are placing this on your background fabric or you will have a MESS!

Stack of pellon next to the stack that's stitched.

Stack is ready for trimming.

Done trimming the last bit of excess pellon, ready to slit the pellon and turn.

Turned and finger pressed.  Stack ready to be placed on the background

Kona Cotton Ash for the background.

There you have it, this is up on my design wall and I won't press them onto the background fabric until I have them all made and can play with the color arrangement before the final pressing.  

I will use a ruler to line up my blocks before pressing, that way, everyone will look uniform.  This is a charming wall hanging. Andrew wants a throw size, so might be cutting a few more bits before I'm all finished.

Hope you enjoyed this remix!  Here is the finish...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ring A Ding Ding! And Some Baby Things!

How many times have you gone to the store, you get to the check out and they ask for that store loyalty card and you spend time digging in your purse while those behind you fume.  I decided that I don't need that kind of energy being tossed my way any longer. Today I dug a little key ring out of my craft drawer and punched holes in the corners of all my cards, slid them all on the key ring and I am good to go.  No more fishing through my purse in line.

I am working on a secret swap quilt right now, so I cannot share it online until the swap has taken place next month.  It has turned out really cute and I'm half tempted to make another one for myself!

My friend Brenda's daughter just had a sweet little boy.  He is very tiny and came early, mom has had some health challenges but they are both home and doing well now she reports.  I don't see her much these days because she has an acute case of baby love, understandable.

Yesterday I stitched up this little bib for him.  I am sure it is too big for him right now, but he will grow into it.  Michelle at work has been making a gazillion of these for her granddaughter and was kind enough to give me the pattern. 

Tons of fabric left over from this project, so this morning while I was surfing, I came across a cute pattern at Missouri Star Quilts and decided that was the perfect thing to make.  I will need to shop for a little border fabric and some flannel backing.  I'm not going to put batting inside, it's summer in Sacramento and this is a receiving size, the flannel will be plenty warm.

If you would like to make a quilt using this pattern, here are the directions in video for you from the Missouri Star Quilt Company:

I think this would be a fun quilt to make if you have some fabric that you really want to feature, or to make it in solids and show case your quilting.  Lots of possibilities.  

Too hot to go outside today, so I will be at my sewing table!  More to come...

All finished, a little bib, a burp cloth and a little quilted receiving blanket lined with flannel.  Sweet!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Come Celebrate Pioneer Day in Nevada City!

This weekend members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will enjoy festivities on Saturday July 20th, 2013 that commemorate the trek west from Nauvoo, Illinois to The Great Salt Lake Basin, which started in 1845.

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: “It is good to look to the past to gain appreciation for the present and perspective for the future. It is good to look upon the virtues of those who have gone before, to gain strength for whatever lies ahead. It is good to reflect upon the work of those who labored so hard and gained so little in this world, but out of whose dreams and early plans, so well nurtured, has come a great harvest of which we are the beneficiaries” (“The Faith of the Pioneers,”Ensign,July 1984, 3).

I have been asked to put together a display table on Pioneer Women and Quilting for the festivities that our Stake is hosting which will be held at the LDS Church located at 612 Hollow Way, Nevada City, CA , this Saturday, July 20th starting at 3pm. 

Open to the public, there will be delicious bar-b-que, activities for adults and children alike and we will welcome in those that have participated in the hand cart trek this past week.  

From 1856 to 1860, handcarts were a means of helping Latter-day Saints gather in the West.  These handcart pioneers faced many trials and hardships which required a great amount of faith, obedience, and sacrifice. By participating in handcart treks, today’s youth may begin to grasp the spirit of faith, obedience, and sacrifice these saints demonstrated. Some youth pull handcarts over the original trail; others reenact treks on land in their areas. 

Pioneer families that were making the journey westward endured untold hardships.  Each handcart had limited space for personal items.  A person assigned to a handcart had only 17 lbs allotted to them for personal items, bedding, clothing, etc.  Space was at a premium. Luxurious linens and ornate quilts would not have been taken along on this journey.  Quilts would have served a utilitarian purpose, warmth, bedding.  Fabric would have been difficult to come by on the frontier.  There would have been no way to really launder a quilt as you are trying to move along on a journey such as this. I don't imagine that there was much quilting going on during the actual trek.  Quilts would have been utilized to bury the dead along the way.  The Martin handcart company actually burned their quilts and blankets trying to lighten their load to enable them to move forward toward what they thought was certain rescue, only to have many in their company freeze to death.

Deuel Pioneer Log Home, one of the first homes built in the Salt Lake Valley circa 1847


Once the women arrived at their journey's end and they finally got about the business of setting up some type of home, they would utilize what they had to comfort their family and beautify their humble abode as they were able.  Small scraps of colored cloth would have been highly prized.  You can see an example of this in the quilt below, with small bits of colored fabric sewn in the Irish Chain pattern.  Each square but a 1/2 inch in diameter. 

Another favorite pattern would have been the Log Cabin pattern, with the typical red center of each block, signifying the hearth or heart of the home and the logs in both light and dark fabrics which would signify that there are always light and dark times.

Log Cabin Quilt made by Ellen Dougherty in 1870 in Illinois.

Again, the early quilts would have been utilitarian, to serve a purpose, they were not looked at as art forms until life became a little easier for the women pioneers.  Time was spent alongside your husband in the field planting and tending crops so that you could ensure your survival through the difficult winters.  They would have been preoccupied with building shelter and preparing for their own survival and that of those that would come after them.  People would be pouring into Salt Lake and would need food and shelter, there was much work to do and not much time for trivial pursuits.

I hope you will come out and join us in the fun this Saturday!  We will have some examples of older quilts, not from the 1800's but quilts from the turn of the last century and from the 1930's and 40's. There will be some fabric squares and you can try your hand at putting together an old fashioned 9 patch block with a needle and thread, just as your ancestors might have.  There will be some English paper piecing for those that would like to try that as well.  

See you out there!

Sewin The Blues For Andrew

My son Andrew was down to visit us a week ago, he has done so many wonderful things for us, I want to give back to him.  He is kind, thoughtful, generous and I have said this before, but it bears repeating, I am grateful to be his mother. 

I was looking through the Spring 2013 issue of Modern Patchwork and I asked him if he liked any of the quilts in the issue.  Andrew has a very modern estethic.  It was fun to see what he picked out! He loved this quilt by Alyssa Lichner called Retro Rubies. I loved the pebble quilting!

Are you surprised?  I wasn't.  He loves the 70's vibe and this reminds him of that era, the Nut Tree and Coffee Tree in Vacaville, a favorite stop along Highway 80 and their graphic designs, now no longer in existence.

Modern Patchwork magazine, I think it's one of my new favorites! You really get the bang for your buck, packed full of great ideas, not just quilts but other items as well.  Great instructions, pattens and lots and lots of full color pictures!

Now the discussion of fabric and colors.  I broke out my Kona Cotton Color Sampler and asked him to pick out the colors he wanted.  I don't want to guess.  And he quickly pointed to the range of blues that he wanted!  Yea!  

So Andrew, your fabric has arrived, here are your selections. Time to make any last minute changes before I get to cutting.

Andrew's blues on the Ash Grey.

More to be revealed!

Friday, July 12, 2013

My Husband Is Blind and I'm Moving The Furniture!

My Husband John

Monday, July 1st my husband went to see his doctor for a post op visit having just had a retinal detachment in his one remaining eye repaired last month.  He lost the site in his left eye 2 years ago, when a doctor failed to diagnose a retinal detachment.   Well, he get's down to UC Davis Hospital and they tell him it's torn again and he has to have emergency surgery at 11:30 that night. I won't go into all the gory details, it's a gnarley proceedure to say the least. I got him home Wednesday last week, without site in his eyes. We live at 2700 ft elevation so we have to stop every 500 ft of incline and wait for the gas bubble that they insert into the eyeball, to adjust to the altitude or it could permanently blind him. So it takes several hours to get home. Then he must lay on his right side to keep the bubble positioned where they need it to be for this particular tear to heal properly. This Thursday he went for his post op check up and the doctor is cautiously optomistic. 

John in the Grand Canyon

It has been a challenging couple of months for both of us. I feel like I'm over the edge, repeating: " lay on your right side, keep your head down, don't pick that up, don't bend over, keep your dark glasses on". All I do is nag, nag, nag...with the best of intentions. I want a good outcome. This and the normal day to day chores that he does to help around the house, that are now under my perview as well. Hauling the garbage can down the long steep driveway on Sunday night so the garbage man can get it on Monday morning. Taking care of our Insurance clientele, which means meeting with them on Fridays (my only weekday off) and taking care of the attending paperwork that is required in running our business. Instead of wisking out the door to work in the morning, now I must fix him a breakfast and lunch and some snacks before I go. I don't mind, I love my husband and I know he would do the same for me...but it's a work out.

Grandpa and Isaiah at the Foresthill House.

Our standing joke now is...don't piss me off...or I'm moving the furniture! He is navigating around the house well and tonight we even went for a walk down the street to the corner and back. He is in good spirits except for feeling house bound and like a little kid, looking for trouble to get into. Today was our grandson's 5th birthday and we called him and sang the Happy Birthday song for him, he loved it. And just before we hung up the phone our little 2 year old granddaughter said, "Hi Pa!" SOOOOO cute! Melted her grandpa. Life is good, we are blessed and I know that John will heal. We will know in a month if he will have his site back.  Prayers will be answered!  

Grandpa with baby Maliyah and 3 year old Isaiah

Maliya 2 and Isaiah 5

Friday, July 5, 2013

New Paper Piecing Pattern - Hexi Lotus

Here is a brand new pattern for you to enjoy.  I drafted this up last month and have made it in three colorways for current BOM's that I am working on.  I hope you enjoy it and please post your photos to our group in either Ipernity or Flickr.  I will put links to both below.

The pattern can be found by clicking on the button at the side of the blog titled Perfect Paper Piecing Patterns.  Please excuse the rough draft of this pattern.  There are three templates.  A-B-C  Make 2 copies of each template.  Yes I just reversed the one template and the numbers are difficult to read as they are backwards.  Just take a pencil and mark your numbers.  

Some notes about putting this block together
1.   Basic instructions for paper piecing can be found on the page where the links for the patterns are listed.  Just click on the button to the right of this blog.

2.  This block looks complicated but it's not.  You will be surprised.  Make all your pieces at the same time.  Cut all your #1's and glue them down, cut all your #2's and piece all of them at the same time and so forth. You will find that if you get in the habit of doing your paper piecing this way, you will quickly have a block.  Repetition helps move things along.  Making the same fold, cutting the same seam, stitching the same piece, rather than going one segment at a time.

Lay your segments out on the table and make sure they are in the proper places.  You will sew an A, B and C segment together, pressing the seams OPEN as you sew each one.  We you have two segments together, carefully tear out ONLY the seam allowance portion of the paper at the very center of the block.  This will help you avoid buckling, bunching and distortion as you sew the next pieces together.

4.   Each segment of this block contains a flying geese.  The corners of these geese are where you want to match up your blocks before stitching.  Put a pin through the corner where the seams meet and match it up to the same part on the next segment.  Keep your pin perpendicular and carefully place a pin elsewhere in the block to secure or scotch tape the edge.  We will go over this in class, but for those that are joining us online, I will try to work up a little video this weekend to demonstrate. 

5.  When you have completed two halves of your block, you will line them up with a pin in the center and a pin at each tip of the flying geese just as described above.  Secure with pins or tape and sew.  Press the seam open.

For those of you who want to do fussy cuts:

Make a template of that portion of the pattern that you want to focus on.  I use Vellum, or template plastic or what every I have that will work to that end.  It should be something that will hold it's shape and be translucent enough for you to see your quilt pattern.  Make sure you add a generous 1/2 inch around your template.  Yes the seams are only 1/4 inch but you will want to have some wiggle room to adjust your fussy cut.  

Find your design that you want to replicate and then place your template over that.  Draw on the template with a pencil some of the features of the design, this will let you match it up perfectly as you move the template around the fabric to cut additional pieces.  You can see this illustrated in the block above, all the flying geese were fussy cuts to create a "scalloped" effect.  And you can see it in the center star of the block below, using a zebra print and lining up the design so that the lines would meet in the middle.

I hope you will enjoy this pattern.  Be sure when you print it out to make sure that you set your printer to print exact size.  Do not print fit to page.  The block should finish out at 12.5 inches which will finish at 12 inches in a quilt.  

Share photos of what you have created!  You can share them at

And as always, if you have questions or need help, drop me a line I am happy to assist.

I haven't gotten much accomplished since our last class.  John had to go back into the hospital for emergency surgery on his eye again last Monday night at 11:30.  I got him back home Wednesday and he is resting comfortably.  It's been a challenging week, but we are never given a challenge that we are not capable of meeting with the help of the Lord.  I am grateful to all of my friends and family, here in Foresthill, around the state and those of you that are my online friends and family.  Grateful to my boss and my co-workers that covered for me on Tuesday.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers and your kindness.  

We were greeted by my son Andrew, who came down from Squaw Valley, when we arrive home and he fixed us an amazing BBQ with ribs, corn on the cob, cold slaw, macaroni salad, it was lovely!  While the BBQ was going, we made some homemade vanilla ice cream for desert.  Next morning he fixed us buttermilk waffles, bacon and orange juice before he left.  I feel amazingly blessed to have him as my son.  He is always thoughtful and kind.

I am working on the next PPP installment.  I think you will enjoy it!

Hey, I just saw this tonight and want to share it with you.  If you like prairie points on your quilt, this is quick and easy!  I think you will enjoy this little video tutorial.