Thursday, December 28, 2023

Best of 2023

Each year, Cheryl invites bloggers to join the best of year link-up and share their 5 best blog posts of  the year.   And the best part?  We get to define what 'best' means so my best of 2022 all correlate to some major things that happened in my quilting life and documented on my blog.  They are listed in no particular order.

Favorite make:

Each year I try to make a quilt that challenges my skills and gives me a chance to puzzle out how to best move image from paper to fabric. My quilt Echo fit the bill this year! Echo will be hanging in QuiltCon 2024 so more opportunity to celebrate my favorite 2023 make coming soon. Read more about Echo.

Favorite quilting event:

QuiltCon Atlanta! What a great time with friends and amazing quilts. My quilts Patent Pending and Decade were on display at the show! Patent Pending was a group quilt and it was such fun to grab a photo with some of the contributors. Read my QuiltCon recaps - Part 1 - My Quilts,  Part 2 - The Quilts, Part 3  - The Best Bits, and Part 4 - Final Reflections. 

Favorite Quilt to Quilt:

Islands in the Sky was inspired by Irene Roderick's quilts displayed at QuiltCon and her book Dancing With The Wall . This quilt sat on my design wall under construction for at least 6 months and you can watch the progress through these posts -getting started (mid-May) to making block (mid July) to combining block (early August) to Which Way is Up? (mid-September). The quilting is a mix of walking foot and hand quilting - such a fun adventure!

Favorite Bag Make:

Anna @noodlehead released a new pattern in February and I jumped on the chance to make the Haralson Belt Bag to bring to QuiltCon Atlanta. It was a fun make and this bag is used any and every time I leave the house to run errands. I love it so much that I want to make another! Read more about my bag.

Favorite QAL:

Summer is by far my favorite season of the year. I love to swim and hit the pool early every morning. I love sitting on the back porch in the afternoon to read or stitch. And I love the long days of daylight. Joining the #summerlovinseaglassal hosted by Kitty @nightquilter and Allie @exhaustedoctupus was an easy decision. Recognizing joy in daily life is a harder task than you might think but what a delight it was to focus on joy and collect seaglass pieces of fabric to help me remember all the moments. My Summer of Joy quilt hangs in my sewing room. Read more about my journey.

I enjoy participating in the link-up each year even though it is always tough to choose just 5 highlights.  You can find my previous yearly top 5 here: 202220212020,  2019,   2018,  2017,  2016

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Handmade Gifts for the Win!

I enjoy making gifts for family every year and felt really good about my gifts this year. My son got handmade stockings for him and his partner.

My husband runs each morning on trails through a park and reports each day on what animal crossed his path. Often the tales are about an owl sighting - he starts his runs before dawn every day. 

This owl was FPP and I had just enough scraps to pull it off in this fabric. Pattern was purchased from this Etsy shop.

My youngest is an animal lover and enjoys seeing turtles sunning themselves when they go biking so I made a softie!

This was a fun sew - I had the most trouble getting the eyes right but I think it worked at the end!

There are a bunch of turtle tutorials on YouTube (who knew?) and I used this one and the free pattern that came with it. Instead of snaps, I had stitched the shell around the turtle body. 

Lucky for me, they have also discovered the joy of handmade giving. I'm so very excited by these crochet softies! The top row is a Silly Goose (in a sweater) made for my middle daughter and a pickle ball paddle and ball for me! (I love playing pickle ball.) In the bottom row is a squirrel with a sweater marked #1 Nemesis for my husband - we had squirrels take the ripe tomatoes from our garden. Finally, Snoopy is for me. 

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Thursday, December 21, 2023

December Star

Several years ago, Frances 
@offkilterquilt released an novel in the form of a serial podcast called Friendship Album 1933.  

We were introduced to 5 woman - Eula, Bess, Dorothy, Florence, and Emmeline - who gathered together each week to work on their entry to the quilt contest for the 1933 World Fair. 

Since then, Frances has shared a new short story about one of the women set during the Christmas season.  This year we join Emmeline in 1919 in a story called Starry Night. For the last several years, I've put together a block pattern in celebration of the story. This years block is called December Star.

You can find the story and the free block pattern - written by me! - at QuiltFiction.

The block finishes at 8" square and the star points can be made with templates or with FPP. It is a very fun block to sew - the FPP way at least! - so I enjoyed putting together this table runner for my kitchen table.

The block pattern also includes the fabric requirements for a few settings. I love the secondary pattern you get at the corners when the blocks are set together. 

This first option is a 25 block option is throw sized and finishes at at 48" x 48".

This second is wall hanging sized, finishing at 21" x 21"

The table runner is made with 3 blocks and finishes at 30" x 12".

I can't wait to listen to the latest story!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Deck the Halls

Deck the Halls! I made stockings! Hanging by our chimney will still be the stockings the kids have had since they were babies. But everyone needs a stocking in their home so I'm sending my son one! (Colors are true in the photos below.)

No pattern - I just traced an existing stocking and added about 1/2" all the way around. I had a 1/2 yard of this wonderful plaid in my stash for quite some time - it was a print from Moda Sweetwater - and was happy to put it to good use to create two stockings.

The lining was set inside the outer piece. When sewing them together, I added a binding which I would fold around to cover the raw edge and add a bit of color too.

I found a fun (free) alphabet on Shiny Happy World. The letters were applied with fusible and then stitched with a straight stitch along the edge.

Some more secret sewing going on here in my sewing space that I don't plan to share until after gifted.

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Pickle Bird

Pickle Bird was my entry for this years QuiltCon fabric challenge. 

The design for Pickle Bird evolved in a improvisational process when playing around with half-rectangle triangles and drunkard path blocks with an initial intent of creating a version of a pickle block. When the final layout looked like a group of tropical birds sitting around chatting with each other somewhere on an island paradise (once you see it you can’t un-see it!), the name Pickle Bird was born.

The quilting is a combination of walking foot and big stitch quilting using a series of cardboard templates to mark the curve quilting lines.

I tried something new this year for capturing quilt photos and it worked really well. I hung a white table cloth from my quilting rack and then pined the quilt to the table cloth. Duck tape was used to get the table cloth reasonably taut and the setup meant I didn't need to worry about the background.

Creating a quilt with the fabric challenge fabrics is something I look forward to every year! Sadly, Pickle Bird won't be hanging at QuiltCon 2024 - 3 of my other quilts will though! - so I'm glad I snapped a photo of me in during my 'front yard' quilt show.

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Thursday, November 30, 2023

My Cork Firefly Tote

Some friends might say I've got an obsession for making bags and they would be right! I really enjoy the process and I like the variety to choose the bag I need for the occasion. My latest finish is the Firefly Bag in cork with modifications for size. (See my prior bags with this pattern in the project size and tote size.)

There were more than one bump in the creation process - read about the beginning of my bumpy journey here. I used some new to me interfacing for the bag and ended up with too much bulk in some areas which means my top stitching isn't as pretty as I'd like. I've debated a disassemble and trying again but have decided to embrace the bag just the way it is.  I never did try the rivets - too chicken about putting a hole in my new bag. And while I do like the using the white as my topstitching thread color, all my little bobbles are too visible so I will certainly go with a complementary thread color the next time.

My cork color choice of Ocean Blue was influenced by this print I wanted to use for the lining.

I didn't start out to make this specific bag pattern but I am glad that this is where I ended up. The bag is the right size for what I like to carry. In addition to making an entire bag from cork, I also tried some new techniques including adding purse feet.

I am confident I will make another new bag next year for no other reasons as to use up the supplies I purchased and didn't use for this bag!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Monday, November 27, 2023

100 Days of Scraps (Progress report 2)

Back in September, 100 days before the end of 2023, I started a 100 Day project to get all my scraps under control. (see that post) Now with less than 40 days to go, I can report some mixed progress - essentially I've managed to gather the scraps all in one place and either parcel them out for some projects (see that post), make some more placemats from orphan strips (above) and have consolidated the rest that I don't know what to do with into one plastic tub.

For some of my solid scraps, I decided to make improv-y square in a square blocks. I'm hoping to turn these into a large tote bag useful for hauling things back and forth to guild meetings and maybe sew dates with friends. These are filling up my design wall and making my sewing space look so happy.

I found lots of orphan 5" squares and am turning them into lots of HSTs for one - and hopefully 2 - charity quilts to be assembled in the new year. This is my go to project when I need some mindless sewing. I've started the cutting and trimming process but will likely save these for a time when I've got a good movie to watch!

I've given myself to the end of the year to figure out what to do with the rest. What ideas and suggestions do you have? How do you deal with leftover bits and scraps?

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Friday, November 17, 2023

Celebrating My QuiltCon Entries!

I submitted 5 quilts for QuiltCon 2024. (I've submitted 4 or 5 quilts the last few years.)

Echo was entered into the Negative Space category. This is by far my most favorite quilt I created this year. 

Originally created for the scrappy challenge, I ended up entering The Twist into the small quilts category after watching a MQG seminar where they said all accepted quilts until 120" circumference end up in Small Quilts and not the category submitted.

Mended Fences was my entry into our guild's yearly challenge. It pulled inspiration from a photograph of a fence on a beach. It was entered into the Small Quilts category. This small quilt is one of my favorite makes for the year.

Sea of Tranquility was my entry for the fabric challenge for QuiltCon 2023. Since it didn't get juried in last year, I decided to try again and entered it into Minimalism category.

I've one more entry to share - my quilt Pickle Bird which was entered into the Fabric Challenge category. I've not shared this quilt yet and intend to do so on the blog very soon.

Yvonne from QuiltJetGirl has started an initiative to #CelebrateMyQuiltSubmission.  I love this idea because it recognizes that it takes a bit of courage to actually submit a quilt to a show.  Acceptance and rejections letters will be sent by mid December.  Fingers crossed.

See my QuiltCon entry celebration post for the 2023 show and for the 2022 show.

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Bags, Bags, and More Bags!

I really enjoy making bags. IMHO, you can never have too many! After making my first Fifth Avenue Bag (see that post), I decided to make a few more. This first one is for my daughter for an upcoming trip to the land of the mouse.

I made another for a friend who paid me in fabric - we like to trade and barter all the time. 

Want to make one too? Check out the free pattern for the Fifth Avenue bag from Sallie Tomato.

My friend supplied the fabric for her bag and since I had some leftover, I also make her this fun pencil pouch using a free pattern from Noodlehead.

My final bag is a sweet little zip bag made from scraps - this one is for me!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Friday, November 10, 2023

Rainbow Spools - the Finish

In the summer of 2022, I created a quilt top using a free pattern from Fat Quarter Shop using their Rainbow Spools pattern. (See that post.)

I created the quilt with the intent of making it a donation quilt. My guild - Triangle MQG - donates quilts to children in the foster care system in a nearby county. Recently several LAQs have said they would volunteer some of their time to quilt member quilt tops and I took advantage of that offer! Meghan from @apieceofquietquilts did a wonderful job on my quilt. (Meghan was also the quilter on my Loves Me, Loves Me Not quilt.) 

The quilt measures measures 45" x 60" and used the fabric - Ruby Star Society Hole Punch Dot(You can download the free pattern here and checkout the tutorial video.)

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Sewing at Retreat

I was fortunate to spend last weekend at Wrightsville Beach in NC with some old and new quilting friends at my guild's retreat. The weather was absolutely amazing - sunshine and warm temperatures - which meant several walks each day along the beach. My room was on the 6th floor on a corner so I got to watch both the sunrise and the sunset from my balcony on Saturday.

I brought 8 projects along for the retreat. Project 1 was a remake of my Illusions quilt as I prepare to release a pattern early next year. On Friday afternoon, I managed to get almost all of the FPP done only to realize that I left two of the FPP papers back home in my printer. Everything got packed away and then I finished the quilt top yesterday.

Projects 2 and 3 were to make two more Fifth Avenue Bags - one for a friend and one for my daughter. I got all pieces cut out and interfaced and managed to finish the inset pockets. Sadly at this point, the tension on my machine went south. I tried all the things to get it working but ended up packing it away. (Finishing these bags will be my goal for November.)

My lovely friend Laura let me use her machine Saturday evening while she went off to a long dinner. I kept myself quite busy chain piecing HST (project #4). This is one of my scrap projects and I'm using a bunch of random leftover charm squares.

Project 5 was to make some postcards. I managed to make two which were gifted as a thank you to the retreat organizers as everyone signed. Sadly, no photo but I do have a photo of my work space, sans my sewing machine with my mini-wine chilling in ice.

Project 6 was to bind my charity donation quilt - it is hidden behind the wine 'bucket' in this photo. I need to grab some glamor shots of it soon. Project 7 was to make the shell for a turtle softie. I was able to do some of this work by hand so made progress even without my machine.

The one thing I did hope to work on but never did (project 8) was some improv square in a square blocks using my solid scraps. I carted them all along but left them in my car trunk. With a uncooperative machine, they stayed in the car trunk all weekend.

I'll be linking up with Anne Marie at One Monthly Goal.

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Monday, October 30, 2023

My 100 day Dance with Scraps (Progress Update)

My friend Sarah kicked off a 100 day project on September 23. Wanting a low pressure way to join in the fun, my goal was to sort through all my bags of scraps and sew them together to make blocks, throw them out, or put them aside for a very specific project. Whatever happens, my mindset is 100 day of play - sewing and playing with fabric without a goal in mind. (This is my first post)

First, I am happy to report that I threw away some scraps that were too small or too ugly. This is a hard step but it is done! All the rest are condensed down and reasonably sorted. Still a daunting task - pictured above is only some of them - but now they are visible.

Second, I trimmed all this random bits of white/cream solid fabric into 1.5" strips with the intent of making scrappy log cabins. There won't be enough to make a quilt but I hope to put the block to use on a future quilt back.

Third, I made some fall placemats. Two done and one more underway. The binding is scrappy and just a single layer (cut at 1.25" wide) and secured with a zig-zag stitch. I kitted together other scraps for other seasonal placemats too. 

I made some project bags to gift using my tutorial from a few years ago swapping mesh for the vinyl.

My next scrappy project is to make a large open tote bag to carry my gear to guild meetings. My dance with scraps continues!

I'll be linking up with Anne Marie at One Monthly Goal.

Have a wonderful day! Patty