Wednesday, October 11, 2017


It's been a strange and interesting week here.  Without getting overly personal, let's just skip on to the cool stuff.  We had drywall delivered Monday and it was all hung yesterday!  It looks so different in the basement now.  It's been a long time coming.  I looked back on my Instagram feed to see when I'd posted pictures of the start, and it was in January 2016.  It's still a long ways from being done, and they won't come back to mud it until next week, but WOW!

I loaded up my Paradiso #2 quilt on the long arm, and by myself, no less.  I really wanted to test out the dampener plates by working on a pantograph.  What a huge difference!  The laser never bobbled off the lines I was following, with the exception of the points.  The points look really, really good though.  It was really enjoyable.  The only issue I had was that the power box and cord were falling out occasionally.  That may be because I was using a different extension cord and I had a lot more stuff in there in preparation for the drywall.  I will update my Juki post with the current information too.

After that went so well, I decided I wanted to try something new from the front too.  So I loaded up my snowflake quilt from Threadbare Creation's mystery stitch along a few weeks ago.  I tried to do the repeating flower design freehand.  It's far from perfect, but I got in done in just over an hour and while the mistakes really stand out to me, hopefully they aren't totally noticeable.  I bound the quilt that evening, and here it is.  Oh my gosh, now that it's completely done, I see another mistake.  Argh!  Oh well, too late now.

I also finished up this Luna cross stitch over the weekend.  I'm unsure on it.
Here's a view of my work table.  I'm working on a swap.  Not sure if my idea is going to work out though.   :(
I also saw a new bird this weekend.  It is a yellow throated warbler.   I saw two flying around, but this guy flew into the slider, so he sat for a long time.
We also had a lot of bluebirds hanging out on our feeders, which is odd.  They typically eat bugs and worms, not seed.
And, while watching the warbler, I saw this hawk overhead.  
Until next week.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

MQX Midwest

I enjoyed my time at MQX last week.  I took two classes from Linda Hrcka:  one on feathers and one about how to use rulers, which was a hands-on (using a machine) class.  Both were excellent although I have a long ways to go on the feathers!  I also took a beginner basics class from DeLoa Jones and a trunk show with Teresa Silva.  Teresa showed us how to draw a lot of different designs too.  She showed us many of the quilts from her new book and I have to say that though the photos in the book were nice, I was so fortunate to see them in real life, because they were so much more amazing in real life.

Things I learned:  all three instructors use primarily Superior Threads and mostly So-Fine and Bottom Line.  They all prefer Quilter's Dream battings in most cases.  They use the Dritz blue and purple markers or Bohin (white only) chalk. Two of the three use Linda's rulers (The Quilted Pineapple) and they were sold out by the time I got to my ruler class with Linda.  Most of them don't change needles as often as you'd think.  Wondering which way the batting goes, or what is right side up?  The scrim side, which will look like it has an interfacing dot pattern on it and may be a bit shiny, goes down.  Trying out machines at a show?  Try making bumps, sort of like clamshell quilting, and see how the machine comes out of the valleys.  Make sure the stitching stays consistent (same stitch length) coming out. Also go from right to left in a straight line to see where the thread breaks.

I didn't find much to buy since many of the vendors were machine vendors.  I bought a few spools of thread, some extra pieces for my Leader Grips, and Teresa's book, which she autographed for me.
Linda Hrcka showing us some of her quilting.
Detail of one of Linda's quilts.
One of Teresa Silva's quilts.
Teresa's Lone Star quilt.
Teresa's business name quilt.
I took a few photos in the show.  The lighting was kind of odd, but it did really help the quilting texture show.  The way the quilts were hung, you could see many of the backs too.  I only had my cell phone with me, so these aren't great, but hopefully they are still enjoyable.

The special exhibit was the Cherrywood Lion King Challenge.  120 quilts were selected for the traveling exhibit.  The quilts are 18" x 18" I think.

Here are some other quilts I liked.  I unfortunately didn't get good enough pictures of the labels, so I've included them where I could.
Me:  "Is that George Michael?"  My husband's response to the picture of the quilt I texted him:  "Is that George Michael?"
Quilt is George Michael by Mary Menzer.
This is one of Margaret Solomon Gunn's quilts.
I don't know.
Ruby Splendor by Rhonda Stockton, quilted by Cindy Gravely
With Milk or Sugar? by Rhonda Adams, quilted by Jane Hauprich 
Galactica Supernova by Corrine Woodward
Soft Serenade by Suzy Webster 
I can't read the tag on this one.  :(  It was all black, white, and gray and really striking in person.
Blush by Cindy Seitz-Krug, quilted entirely on a sit-down machine.  Tag below.

Mini Wholecloth by Linda Read
My absolute favorite at the show--Birds Fly by Barbara Lies.
Back of Birds Fly
 Hope you enjoyed the pictures!  

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

How to Make an Eight Hands Around Block or Mini Quilt

Quite some time ago I mentioned I'd be doing a tutorial for the Eight Hands Around mini quilt that I made for the last round of #BCBarnQuiltSwapMini.  Time clearly got away from me, but here it is. The instructions are for a 6" finished quilt block or mini quilt.  

Cutting Instructions:

Aqua:  Cut (1) 4-1/2" square
                 (2) 2-3/4" squares
Green:  (4) 2-5/8" squares
Navy:    (1) 3-1/4" square
            (4) 1-1/4" squares
White:  (4) 2" squares
            (2) 2-3/4" squares
            (1) 2" square

All seams are 1/4" unless otherwise noted.  Fabrics shown are various Bonnie & Camille prints. White is Moda Bella.  No endorsement is implied.  

From here on, the directions for each step will be directly below each picture.
Here are the cut fabrics.
Mark the diagonal on each white 2-3/4" square.  Place one aqua and one white 2-3/4" square right sides together.  Stitch 1/4" away from each side of the drawn line.  Repeat to make a second set.
Cut along the drawn line.
Press each piece towards the aqua side. (Trimming instructions to follow in next step.)
Trim each aqua/white HST to 2".  To do this, place the 45 degree line of your ruler right along the seam, making sure  that there is enough to trim all the way around the square.  Trim the top and right sides.
Rotate the square and cut the two remaining (untrimmed) sides to yield a 2" square.  You should have four total.
Next, draw lines on the backs of the four green 2-5/8" squares.  Line them up, right sides together, with the aqua 4-1/2" square as shown.
Sew seams 1/4" on either side of the drawn lines as shown.
Cut along the drawn line.  Then press seams toward the green pieces.
Place another green square as shown, paying attention to which way the drawn line goes.
Sew 1/4" to each side of the drawn line.
Cut on the line.  Press toward green triangle.  This yields two flying geese.
REPEAT previous two steps to make another set of geese.
Time to trim!  Line up the center of the aqua triangle with the 1-3/4" line on your ruler as shown.
Make sure the horizontal 1/4" line of the ruler runs right against that intersection point.
Make sure the 45 degrees line of your ruler is parallel to the diagonal seam.
Trim the right and top sides of the flying geese units.
Flip the partially trimmed flying geese units upside down.
Line up the LEFT  side with the 3-1/2" line on your ruler.
Line up the bottom of the unit along the 2" line.
Make sure the diagonal line of the ruler runs right along your seam.
Trim the right and top sides of the unit.

You should now have four perfectly sized flying geese units, 2 x 3-1/2".
Next, draw diagonal lines on the wrong sides of your four white 2" squares.
Layer them as shown, right sides together, on your navy 3-1/4" square.
Sew 1/4" away from each side of the drawn line.
Trim on the drawn line and press towards the white triangles.
Place another white square as shown.
Sew 1/4" from each side of the drawn line.
Trim on the drawn line.  Repeat previous two steps to make second unit.
Press towards the white.
Time to trim!  Line up your ruler so that the 1" line is lined up with the peak of the triangle.
The 1/4" horizontal line should run perpendicular to the triangle peak and
the 45 degree line is parallel to the triangle's left leg.  Trim to the right and top of the ruler.
Turn the partially trimmed flying geese unit upside down.   Line up the left side of the block on the 2" line and the bottom of the unit on the ruler's 1-1/4" line.  The diagonal line of the ruler should run right along the seam.  Trim the block on the right and top sides of the ruler.
Repeat so all four flying geese units are trimmed to a final size of 1-1/4" x 2".
Line up your navy 1-1/4" squares, white 2" square, and flying geese units as shown. 
Sew the rows together.  Press the top and bottom rows towards the navy squares and the center row towards the white square.
Sew the rows together.  Press seams open.
Press the seams open.
Lay out your remaining pieces as shown.  Pay careful attention to orientation.
Join pieces of each row together.  Make sure all your points and seam intersections match.
Press seams OPEN!
Join rows.  Press seams OPEN!
Congrats, you've sewn an Eight Hands Around block!  You can either quilt it and make it into a mini mini quilt or just use the block for something else.  If you choose to go the mini mini route, I highly recommend Amanda Jean's How to Bind Tiny Things method.  It is seriously awesome!

Maybe someday I'll get this made into a nice, downloadable PDF.  At least I made it this far!  :D Have a great week; I'm off to MQX.