Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Little Lollies Update

This past Sunday I was able to finish all nine of the "Little Lollies."  They were fun and very quick.  Believe me, I was so surprised how fast I could put them together.  
My next decision that I had to make was how I was going to affix the "Little Lollies" to the white-on-white background.  There were three recommendations on the pattern:  top-stitching, machine applique or hand applique.  If I wanted to finish this quilt quickly, I will have to fore-go the last option, hand applique.  I went to my local quilt shop, Fabric Garden and the owner, Jill suggested that I top-stitch them.  It was fast and easy.  I have finished five of the nine and looking forward to finishing them this morning.

I stitched around the hole in the center of the "Little Lollie" first.  Any color will do so I used white on this one.  

I have one of those sewing machines that automatically cut the ends of the threads when you are done stitching so I used red thread on the edges of the red part of the blade and aqua thread on the edges of the aqua.

After I finish top-stitching the 'Little Lollies" down to the background, I will tackle the center of the blocks.  I will let you know how that works out.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Fig Tree and Company - Lollipops and Little Lollies

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a quilt kit, "Winter Lollipops" online from the Holly Hill Quilt Shoppe.  I have never tried a "Dresden Plate" quilt but I have always been intrigued by the pattern.  It arrived last week and I have been looking at the pattern and the fabrics and I had to try it!

The kit included the pattern, "Lollipops" 
(pattern by Fig Tree and Co.), a color copy of the quilt that was made at the Holly Hill Quilt Shoppe, an explanation of the requirements for their quilt versus the pattern from Fig Tree, 21 fat quarters of aqua and red Moda fabrics, white background fabric and white with aqua dot fabric for the sashing.

I like Joanna's patterns because they are well written and easy to follow.  There are some pattern designers that are not so easy to follow.  Once I realize who they are, I do not buy any more patterns from them.  Only you can figure that out by purchasing them and making the quilt.

This pattern has two versions of the quilt:  Carnival Lollipops (larger blades, 10 inches long) and the Little Lollies (5 1/2 inch blades).  The pattern in the kit is the Little Lollies version and has three rows of three Lollipops versus the one in the pattern that has four rows of three Lollipops.

Each Little Lollies has eight blades.  Each blade has one aqua and one red so that requires sixteen fabrics for one Little Lollie.  I had to make 72 blades total.

The method to make each blade always seemed difficult to me.  I read Joanna's directions on how to make them. It just seemed too easy to be true.  I was so surprised at how easy it really was.  The only difficult part of this was trying to make them look "perfect" and getting those points to be "pointy."  I finally decided after trying to get the first five blades to look perfect, I would let it go and try once to get it look perfect and go to the next blade.

This is the first "Little Lollie" that I have made.  I can't wait until I make the remaining eight done.  I will have to attach it to the background fabric using one of three methods suggested in the pattern:  top-stitching, machine applique or hand applique.  I can tell you with much certainty that I will not hand applique them to the background. 

I hope the remaining 'Little Lollies" will be as easy.  I will publish the results in the next few weeks.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Celebrating Christmas and finishing Hampton Ridge - Month 3

Yesterday was a wonderful day for our family.  All of my children are home and we went to my husband's brother's home in the Bay Area.  All of their children were in attendance, my mother-in-law, their aunt and we had an additional guest, my nephew's girlfriend.  It was fun and we even played a game, Cards Against Humanity after dessert.

Grandma and her grandchildren.

I finished the four blocks of Hampton Ridge of Month 3, this afternoon.  As I have complained about the two previous months, they are 7" finished blocks and small for my old hands but I keep on sewing them.  I will have a great quilt in nine months.

Blocks 9 through 12 - Hampton Ridge

Monday, December 23, 2013

Quilty Fun Sew Along....Caught Up!

Yesterday, I was three weeks behind on the Quilty Fun Sew Along.  I sewed like crazy yesterday, spent time with two of my children who arrived from college last week, went shopping for our Christmas meal and watched portions (the non-scary parts) of World War Z with my husband and son.  Phew, I am feeling very relieved that I accomplished much yesterday.

Here are the blocks that I was able to finish yesterday:

Week 5 - Flying Geese
Week 6 - Chubby Chevrons
Week 7 - Cocoa Cups
I went to the Jolly Jabber blog to find this week's project.  We have a two week break!  It isn't too late to join in the fun.  You will have a nice quilt, if you just try it.

I just received this book from Amazon last week.  I haven't had time to read it but I am very anxious to get to it ASAP.  It is written by three bloggers that I follow:  Katie Clark Blakesley - SwimBikeQuilt.com, Lee Heinrich - FreshlyPieced.com and Faith Jones - FreshLemonsQuilts.com.  It was just released and all three of the authors have been featuring some of the blocks on their blogs.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Beautiful wrapping paper and making some progress on the Quilty Fun Sew Along!

When I read that Kate Spain had Christmas wrapping paper at Michaels, I went to the closest one to my home and purchased four rolls.  They are all very beautiful.  My youngest daughter is home now and she is wrapping presents for me.

I am an admirer of Kate Spain's fabrics.  I now admire her design skills with the Christmas wrapping paper.  They are so beautiful.  My daughter loves the paper that is second from the bottom.


A couple of days ago, I wanted to try to catch up with the blocks on this sew along but I became mired in entering my new patterns into Pattern File.  I just finished Week Four - Sewing Baskets and I will work on Week Five - Flying Geese, Week Six - Chubby Chevrons and this week's project, Week Seven - Cocoa Cups.

The only difficulty I had with this week's project was matching the bottom of the sewing basket to the top of the basket.  I was not careful pinning them so they were a bit off and did not meet exactly at the point to make them look perfect.  I strive for perfection....hahaha, but that does not happen often.  I usually give up when I am frustrated and it looks okay.  That is what I did last night. 

It isn't too late to join the group to make these fun blocks.  All you have to do is order a copy of the book, Quilty Fun by Lori Holt from Fat Quarter Shop or Amazon.  The picture on the front of the book is the quilt with all of the blocks running the width of the quilt.  Every Monday, the companion sheets are published on Kimberly Jolly's blog, the Jolly Jabber.

These companion sheets give instructions on the number of each fabric that you will need to cut but not the specific dimensions.  You need the book to know exactly how to cut each fabric.  The blog tour allows us to follow each blogger as they make each block.  The sew along allows us to make a few blocks so that we learn a new technique each week.

The quilt to the right is the quilt that we are making on the sew along. It is very pretty.  I am using my stash to make it.  Many of the participants are doing the same.  Lori Holt is a fabric designer for Riley Blake.  Some participants are using her fabrics.  There is a give-away every week when you publish your blocks, on time, on Flickr.  I am obviously very behind so I can not win anything but that's okay.  Kimberly Jolly selects the winners and publishes them on her blog weekly.

Week One were the  Apples, Week Two were the Twinkly Winter Stars and Week Three were the Courthouse Steps.  I have weeks five through seven to finish.

I apologize for this photograph.  All my children are home and I can't turn on a light without them complaining so the picture is not great.

Organizing my patterns with Pattern File.

Several years ago, I joined Pattern File.  It on-line software to catalog all of your sewing patterns. It costs a small amount of money each month or you can pay for the entire year, whatever fits your finances.  The difficult part of this endeavor is entering all of the information on the patterns.  What I love about is that you can see if you have previously purchased the patterns.  You can look it up on your smart phone or mobile device (There is a mobile app required to download).  There is also a free trial to be sure that you like the software.  You can share your pattern information with your friends but I don't even go there because I don't know who else is using this software.


If you use sewing patterns, i.e. Vogue, Butterick, etc., there is an "auto fill" feature that will provide you with pictures of the front and back of the patterns.  If you see the pattern that is the same as the one that you are entering, you click on that picture and all of the pertinent information appears in the area that you usually entered yourself.  Unfortunately, most quilt patterns are not available with "auto fill."  Amy Butler's patterns have "auto fill" and it is amazing to see the information just appear in front of you!

I take digital pictures of the front of the pattern and one of the back with the fabric requirements.  This is very pleasing to me because I can see if I have purchased this pattern or not (I can't emphasize this enough) and if I find fabric that I want to use, I can look-up the amount of fabric I need to purchase.

It has been at least a year since I last entered the patterns that I purchased.  I can't believe it so it is taking me much longer to enter all of them into my computer but I know that I will be happy that they are all accessible on my iPad and/or iPhone.  I will be finished with the computer work this morning and I will be sewing again!

Monday, December 16, 2013

BUSY, BUSY Weekend!

I had a busy weekend.  I did no sewing but some organizing, again of my sewing area.  I purchased many patterns last month and I had to add them to my existing patterns.  I have a tendency to purchase a couple copies of a pattern.  In other words, I forget whether I already purchased the pattern or not.  I see the pattern, like the pattern and decide that I can't live without it, so I purchase it.  This is not a great idea.

Anyway, Saturday, we drove to Berkeley to visit our daughter and her fiancĂ©.  They sail around the bay and bring their bicycles with them and ride where ever they go.  My husband had a brilliant idea to purchase them fold-able bicycles for Christmas.  We were not sure when our future son-in-law was planning on going back East to be with his parents for Christmas so we drove down to Berkeley (a 1 1/2 hour drive from our home).

Sunday was so bad for us.  Our youngest daughter was to drive home from San Diego.  Her car had a problem and she could not fix it herself.  My husband tried to talk her through it but without the proper tools she could not fix it.  We drove to Kettlemen City (a six hour round trip from Sacramento), my husband fixed her car and we drove home.  

After that long weekend of getting very little accomplished, I am going to try to catch-up with my Quilty Fun Sew Along today and tomorrow.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A SURPRISE came in the mail today.

I won Day #7 of Kate Spade's 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.  I just received it today in the mail.  I want to open it when my husband arrives home from work!  I am so excited!

The giveaway on Day #7 was all Scrap-booking materials.  I am impressed that Kate designed all of these products.   She is amazing.  I am sure that the other products that were included in the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway were designed by her also.  

She has an additional day of giveaways that are still open to those who want to enter.  She is giving away fabric four days from now.  

A Jelly Roll of Solstice - 2014 Line of fabric
A Layer Cake of Solstice - 2014 Line of fabric
A Jelly Roll of Sunnyside - Current line of fabric

Go to her blog, the Drawing Board, http://katespaindesigns.blogspot.com/ and enter.  It is so much fun!
Thank you, Kate Spain!

Finally finished the Hour Glass top!

I have been working quite a bit at the local high school.  I have been administering/proctoring the MAP: Common Cause test to all of the 9th graders.  I've enjoyed it but I will not say anymore than, some of them treat me like I am their substitute teacher!

Today, I am finally finished one of the tops that I started before Thanksgiving,  the Hour Glass Quilt.  It is approximately a 28 1/2" square.  I started this last night and finished this morning.  It isn't a long project but I had to watch the "Sing Along" on NBC.  I love A Capella music.

I used a charm pack of Juggling Summer by Brigit Heitland for Zen Chic.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

San Diego Trip

Last week, my husband and I went to San Diego to visit our daughter.   We stayed at the Hotel Del Coronado to see the Christmas lights and decorations that we heard were very festive.

The hotel looked great and the Christmas tree in the lobby was beautiful.  Unfortunately, I did not take more photos of the tree.  The lobby for the rest of our stay was full of people taking family photographs beside the tree.

We went to two quilt stores in La Mesa:  the Country Loft that carries quite a bit of primitive patterns and fabrics.  It was fun to look at it all.  The second store that we shopped at was Rose's Calico Cupboard.  It has over 2,000 bolts of fabric.  It is so overwhelming that I usually do not purchase much.  They have a large room full of 1800 fabric, a large room full of books and patterns and many, many fabrics sorted by color.

This was the view from our balcony. It was fun at night, watching the ice skaters below and smelling the ocean in our room.  It was much too cold to keep the doors open.  The high during the day was about 53 degrees and the low was about 38-40 degrees.  Unusually cold for San Diego but warmer than Sacramento.

Friday morning we decided to go to a quilt store in Vista, the Fat Quarter Quilt Shop.  I loved the store because every nook and cranny was full of fabric, tools, patterns, rulers, etc.  It isn't too far off I-5.  It is on the way to San Marcos where Eleanor Burns' shop is located.  It has everything from Civil War fabrics to the modern fabrics that are so popular.

View of our balcony from the ice skating rink.