Starry Sky Mug Rug

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This summer, my niece Abby, let me have one of her hand-thrown mugs, of which I was thrilled to get (I love hot chocolate).  I meant to send her a little quilted mug rug in return, but that project seemed to get stalled for one reason or another.  But last week, I decided not one more thing would be done until I finished it and sent it off.  (Sometimes you just have to give yourself a little talk.)

I used the Starry Sky block pattern, by Kylie Kelsheimer (a downloadable pattern from Craftsy).  In this new version of her pattern, she has three sizes, and the 6″ size is perfect for a mug rug.

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My niece likes to go hiking, and lives up in the Northwest, so I used colors of purple mountains, green hills and aqua-and-blue waters.  I bound it in navy.

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I used an agate-stone looking print for the back, one of my favorites lurking in my stash.

It took me a couple of hours from start to finish.  It’s a paper-pieced pattern, so all the star points are sharp and it goes together easily.  I kept a photo of the block near me when putting the pieces together, to keep myself straight.

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I listened to the latest Bruno, Chief of  Police book, The Resistance Man, and that kept me going.  Then I ran it to the Post Office, and off it went.  I hope Abby likes it.

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A couple of days before I’d made Simone’s blocks for the Gridsters Bee, a wee bit late, but she forgave me.

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And then I got right on October’s blocks for Joan, for the Gridsters Bee.  She asked for a black-and-white New York Beauty block, with a touch of solid color.  Hope she likes these.

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I liked this old photograph of women sewing, found on the website for the National Gallery of Ireland, reminding me of my travels (I’m finally over the jetlag).

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Here’s your reminder: the perfect is the enemy of the good, Stephan Pastis style.  As some long-time readers know, I believe in this quote and used to keep it on my syllabi when I was a teacher.  Sometimes it’s good to just be *good,* and not strive for perfection.  Hope that idea helps you “lead a sane and balanced life.”

Northern Star Medallion Top Finished

 

Northern Star Quilt TopIt was a lot of mind over matter, but I finished the borders, worked out the measurements and sewed everything together.  There seemingly was a big canyon between where I was last post and where I am now: getting it ready to quilt, but really, it wasn’t that hard once I settled down, stopped freaking out and followed Melanie’s advice.

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I finished the Gridster Bee blocks for Linda for August.  I like her idea of lots of churn dashes all the same size, but in a variety of fabrics.  If you head to our hashtag on IG, you can see that Linda has already received some of the blocks.

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The same night I finished the Northern Star Medallion top, I stepped outside to see this.

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We drove up to the top of our neighborhood to see where the smoke was coming from–way over yonder in Orange County on the left bumpy mountain.  California is burning up, and it’s only the beginning of August.  When I first moved here 27 years ago, we only had fires in September, just like clockwork.  Every year there would be one big one, and then it would be done.

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Tonight the fire map looks like this and it’s not even September.  Oh yes, we also have an earthquake map, a smog map, but we don’t generally have snow or flood or tornado maps, like some of you do.

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This morning I had to have a couple of stitches taken out from a recent procedure, and the doctor was about to throw these into the sharps container.  When I asked, he gave them to me.  I washed them up and put them in my sewing supplies–those tweezers are great for grabbing the end of the seam of an HST to keep it from going wonky, and I’ll find a use for those scissors. Yes, I’m still sewing on my hexies.  I think I’m halfway there.

 


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Look at that yucky sky in the background–seems like it will be a good idea to stay inside and start quilting!

Gridster Bee Begins 2018

Carol kicked off the Gridsters this year, doing a little throwback to fall, for she said she wanted to make herself a quilt for autumn.  She asked us to use this tutorial from The Cloth Parcel. I had fun finding orange fabrics that would work, and picked up some bold orange Grunge dots to work into the pumpkins.  She had mailed us the navy Grunge for the background, and after I finished my first pumpkin, I found I had enough for another, so I sent two.  These come together quick and easy, so if you are thinking ahead…or behind…it would be a fun quilt for fall.

July’s Gridster Bee Block

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Here’s the block I made for the July Gridster Bee, for Carol.  It was a fun make, made easy by this tutorial from Sara Noda.  (She also has a blog post on her completed flag quilt.)

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I also dragged out my hexagon quilt, and got started again.  Here is Rosette #7, isolated (above), and below as it looks sewn into the quilt.  I took the blocks and quilt rosettes with me on our recent family trip — since we had a lot of driving time — and was able to get the rosettes sewn together and one more completed.Millefiore Rosette #7I’ve totally revamped Rosette #8, because frankly, everyone on the Facebook page was having real troubles with it, so I thought I would have a go at creating my own hexie arrangement.  I’m choosing fabrics for it now.

Road to California 2018 classes

I also picked my classes for Road to California 2018 (above)…

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…and my classes for QuiltCon 2018, too.  Anyone else going?  Are we in the same classes?

Film Quilt1And in case you think you only need fabric to create quilt patters, Sabrina Gschwandertner acquired a collection of old instructional films on the textile arts and has been creating quilt works of art.  I will spare you the mumbo-jumbo about quilting from the LA Times, but here’s the article if you want to read it.

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(PS Ignore the random “A” up on the right side)

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I actually wanted to see the movies, after reading about her and seeing images of her work.  Now it is lost forever.  Will we feel that way about the millions of YouTube videos?  I doubt it.  There is something about the tangible presence of film being cut up, the scarcity of that resource being destroyed to begin again.  But I do like looking at her works.  If you are in LA, the article has info about how to see this in the gallery, but the show closes soon.

And today is six months since my shoulder surgery.  I’ve seen the surgeon for the last time, finished my formal PT.  Now just the challenge of walking, getting back into some semblance of shape after sitting around, and doing the PT exercises on my own.

LASTLY, thanks to all who entered the OPQuilt Summer Book Giveaway (snazzy title, don’t you think?).

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Here’s another:

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Amy Friend’s Intentional Piecing, a look at using fussy-cutting to make spectacular quilts.  She has a range of stellar projects, plus some fun paper-piecing designs to sew into various quilts and hand-mades.  It’s signed by the author.

Again–leave a comment letting me know if you are interested in receiving this book in the giveaway.  I’ll notify the winner by email.

Update: Roxanne was our winner from the last giveaway. Thanks again for all who entered!

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February Bee Block for Gridsters Bee: Pineapple!

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IG: #gridsterbee

gridster-feb_4finalPineapple Block for Sherri for February 2017

This month, Sherri, of A Quilting Life, is our Queen Bee and she’s asked us to make her pineapple blocks.

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First step: make a mess of the sewing room pulling out greens to get the best ones.  (It also helps with re-organizing my messy shelves.)

I downloaded the free pattern, and also pulled up the post from Sherri where she makes her block, so I could glean any tips she had when she made it.

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She suggested we scroll through Jackie’s IG feed until we found the tutorial, which really helped me understand how we put these together (that’s a screen shot of her image above), as the pattern is a bit sketchy on details.  Click on the tutorial link to head over there.

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What confused me was that the pattern calls for cutting all the blocks the same size, different than what I would do if making half-square trianges (HST).  After reading the IG tutorial, I see that Jackie sort of “snowballs” on the white corners, instead of making HSTs.  She marks the line, and sews just inside of it–to the seam allowance side.  She then cuts off the excess.  One advantage of this method: there are no dog ears to trim!

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Yellows sewn: check.  Green pineapple crown sewn: check.

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One other difference in the construction of this block is that the low-volume white is added to the corners of the yellow block after it’s all sewn together, then sliced off and pressed.

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Ta-Done!

gridster-feb_4finalsigAnd here it is with its signature block–with yellow on one corner and green on the other–albeit a bit blurry.

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If you want to make a bunch and exchange them, Elaine’s Quilt Block Quilt Shop in Salt Lake City is having a swap of pineapple blocks–both in the yellow and in a range of colors.  Click here to go their IG page where they announced it.

Next month I am the Queen Bee–can’t wait!

Gridsters Bee • January 2017

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IG: #gridsterbee

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Susan of PatchworknPlay starts off our new year of our Gridsters Bee with having us make her some New York Beauty blocks.

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She sent us to a webpage (Ulas Quiltseite–it’s German) that had ten different New York Beauty blocks on it, and we could pick two different ones (if we were making two).

gridsterbee-january-blocksThere was even a block for beginners.  I chose Block #1 and Block #6.

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Helpful tip: These words mean that she split them to get them printed.  You may want to join the outer pieces together so there is no seam.  You’ll see what I mean.

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I always remember Leann’s tips for sewing curved edges together (her quick video *here*): it’s best to put the concave piece on top, and the convex piece on the bottom.  But since I had a curved shape with gazillions of pieces, I reversed it.  Don’t know if that made it harder or easier.gridsters-january-2017_3

The second block had another challenge.  If you go and look at it, you can see I was using striped material, and I didn’t want that stripe to tilt.  First piece on (above), and I don’t glue my foundation paper piecing, I pin.gridsters-january-2017_4

I marked the center of the lower edge of the piece (opposite its point).  I folded my fabric scrap in half lengthwise and line it up with both centers.gridsters-january-2017_4a

Keeping it in place, I fold back one side, mimicking the slanted edge that needs to be sewn.  I finger-press it.gridsters-january-2017_4c

Then using all my skills, I move this carefully to the other side of the unit, holding it up to the light to line up that folded edge where it needs to go.  Sometimes it’s easiest to note where the edges are and adjust from there.

Unfold it, being careful not to move it.  gridsters-january-2017_4d

Stitch on that line, trim seam allowances and continue on.  They all line up nice and vertical.gridsters-january-2017_6a

We make each other signature blocks, using a white 3 1/2″ square and snowball on two 2-1/2″ squares on either corner, using fabric from the blocks we made. (Click on the link to see a how-to, as well as how we’ve used our signature blocks: sometimes on the back and sometimes on the front of the quilt!)

The key to success:  IRON ON A SCRAP OF FREEZER PAPER to the back before writing, as it stabilizes the fabric.  I use a Pigma 08 to write.

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We always write our name, but other things to write could be:

  • IG/blog name
  • month/year
  • hometown
  • name of the bee or why you made the quilt

Looking forward to the rest of year with my Gridster Beemates!