Wednesday, April 22, 2015

It's My Turn! Have a Latte Hop

It's My Turn!

As with all of the blog hops hosted by Mdm. Samm, this one has been a pleasure.
Thanks Mdm. Samm for all you do 

and for Joan over at MooseStash Quilting 
for being our wonderful cheerleader! 

Have a Latte

Dan DiPaolo struck gold when he designed the 
Have a Latte line 
for Clothworks! 

It is so much fun and was a pleasure to work with it. 

Be sure to check out 
the rest of today's participants

Chitter Chatter Designs
                 Sew Peace to Peace
        Everyone Deserves a Quilt (Me!)
          Rainbows Bunnies Cupcakes

So what did I make with my fabric? 
Why a quilt of course!

A number of years ago I made a quilt I called Caffeine Chaos. I enjoyed making that quilt, loved the fabrics I used, and thought about revising that pattern for this hop. After some careful consideration, I decided that I was going to challenge myself to do something different. Besides, Caffeine Chaos is kind of negative and I wanted to do something a little more positive. hehehe

So, that's how Caffeine Clarity was born!


Have a Latte Blog Hop

I had an epic camera fail and was unable to upload my finished quilt  pictures, so all of the pictures posted today are pre-quilting.  :-( 
What's that you say? 
"Why didn't you just take new pictures?" 
That, of course would have been the easy solution except that the quilt is not with me. It's on its way to a friend's house who if going to use it for a project at her church. 
I could have stressed over this, but instead I poured myself a cup of coffee, sat down and decided that in the whole scheme of things, this really isn't that big of a deal.   

This quilt pretty much described my daily ritual. 

Notice the top row, the calmness. 

That's me sleeping and I'm sure I'm having some awesome dreams. 
I think I'm in some really deep REM pattern here. :-)


Have a Latte Blog Hop

Then, out of nowhere comes a jolting noise announcing that it's time to get up and start the day. 
ARRRRGGGGHHHHH!

Sometimes I hit the snooze button and even though I may fall back to sleep, it's not nearly as calm and peaceful as before. 


Have a Latte Blog Hop

Then that darn noise again, blaring at me to wake up and get moving!

I get out of bed and make my way to the bathroom to brush my teeth and shower. I'm starting to wake up and the shower certainly helps, but what really makes my eyes open and my brain start to function is the smell of fresh coffee brewing. 

Have a Latte Blog Hop

The aroma of the brewing coffee slowly makes it's way upstairs and my blurry eyes start to lose their redness and everything is becoming much clearer.

Awe! That first cup of coffee! So delicious and wonderful!

Have a Latte Blog Hop

It's quickly followed by a second cup, and life is looking good.

And finally, as I prepare for work and pour that "cup of joe" into my favorite mug to take with me, I start to feel giddy about how truly blessed I am and what wonderful people I have in my life. It's surprising how quickly I move in the morning and how quickly the coffee pot gets emptied. :-)



Although is isn't always easy, I like to find the positive and fun side of everyone and every situation and coffee certainly helps make that happen. (I think the big dot fabric is just plain fun - even without having consumed caffeine!)

Have a Latte Blog Hop

It's time to buckle down and get to work and coffee certainly helps keep me on track and get things done. 

But then there is that time in the late afternoon when I start to feel sluggish and my mind begins wander. I need to get back to business and get things done.

Have a Latte Blog Hop

So, what is a girl to do? 
Pour herself a nice big fresh cup of coffee, of course!   

Have a Latte Blog Hop

Awe, back on track!
Life is good!

Thanks for stopping by.
Grab a seat and treat yourself to a cup of coffee or other beverage of choice. 
You deserve it!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tip Tuesday! Selvages To The Rescue

"Tip Tuesday!" - Selvages To The Rescue

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired!
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I know I've done it and bet you have too. You start a project, have everything cut and maybe you've even started sewing; and then you have to set it aside for a while. "A while" can mean a day, a week, or even a decade!

So, when you finally go back to the project, you find that there was a mistake or that you've decided you want to increase the size but you don't have enough fabric. What do you do?

On the various quilting forums to which I belong, I've seen a number of people post pictures and asking if anyone has some of a particular fabric in their stash that they don't want or are willing to sell. Many times the post reads something like this:

     "In search of the following fabric. I need two yards but will take whatever you have. I started working on this project again after an eight year hiatus and decided I have to make the quilt larger because it was supposed to be for a baby, but that baby is now nine years old. I don't know the name of the fabric, the designer, or manufacturer because I cut off the selvage. ARRRGGGGHHHH! Can anyone help me?"

While I may not be able to help you find the fabric, I may be able to help you so that the next time you post something like that, you'll be able to provide more information and hopefully someone will have just what you need. Heck, you may even be able to do an internet search and find what you are looking for before you have to make the "begging post."

Keep the selvages, or at least part of them for all of your in-work projects. 

Save Selvages

If you need more fabric, it'll be much easier for you to do a search and much less stressful. Also, if you have extra, you may just be able to help out someone who is in the middle of their search for that illusive fabric.  :-)

And finally, when you complete the project, you can always make one of those cool selvage projects like a bag, quilt, or even a skirt. Check out this one or this one. Cool!

For even more selvage information and inspiration, go to out this Selvage Blog . You won't be sorry that you did. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Design Wall Monday

I've got another version of the Yellow Brick Road quilt on the design wall right now. This is a baby version and it's being made because I needed to have demo blocks to use while teaching a class.


Yellow Brick Road Baby Quilt

All of the blocks are made and I'll sew two rows together before the next class. During the class, I'll demonstrate how to sew the blocks into rows and then how to sew the rows together. And finally, at the last class, I'll demonstrate adding borders and discuss quilting options. 

 Click HERE to see the red, black and white version I recently made.

I really like using this quilt for a beginners' class and I'm thinking that this quilt will be one of my donation quilts for Hands2Help.


What are you working on today?

Check out what other quilters have on their design walls today.


Go to Judy L's Patchwork Times

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tip Tuesday! Have a Latte Hop

See below for the Have a Latte Blog Hop Info!


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"Tip Tuesday!" - Try Before You Buy

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired!
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There are so many options for us quilters in regards to notions such as rulers, rotary cutters, cutting mats, irons, marking tools, etc. I don't know about you, but I certainly do not have unlimited resources and want to make my quilting purchases worthwhile.

I'm sure many of you can relate to having bought a tool because the advertising/demo made it look so easy and you just knew that it would solve all of your quilting issues. (Ok, I'm exaggerating there, but I think you get the idea.) 

Take the case of a rotary cutter I bought a number of years ago. It was a perfectly good cutter and it really did look like it would reduce strain on my wrist. I read the reviews, which were all glowing and even my friend had one and absolutely loved it. How could I go wrong, right? I bought one and excitedly opened the package as soon as I got home and started to use it.

Well, to make a long story short, I HATED that cutter. I couldn't get it to feel comfortable in my hand and my cutting accuracy suffered. Thinking I was holding it incorrectly, I searched the internet for tips on using the cutter, but to no avail. I was holding it properly, but it just wasn't working for me so I gave up and put that cutter in a drawer, never to be used again. (I did eventually ask my friend if she wanted a "travel" cutter and I gave it to her.)

It was shortly after that experience that I started teaching and I made the decision to address this issue, as I wanted my students to spend their money on classes and fabric instead of tools they wouldn't use. I asked the shops to allow me to "soft sell" by having tools and notions available in the classroom for use and for me to use during my demos. I wanted students to see them in action and try them all. (It was kind of a hard sell to one shop because they didn't want to open the package, but they did it and are very happy they did.)

I also started "collecting" notions for teaching. For my birthday, I asked for various tools and notions. I bought them when they were on sale. I accepted them from friends who had them, but never used them. It didn't take long before I had my "teaching kit" filled with at least four different styles and manufacturers of rotary cutters, ruler and mats. I also have various marking pens, chalks, pins, glue sticks, etc. in that kit and it is with me for every class I teach.  

When I teach or when I'm sewing with a group of people, I allow them and suggest that they try all the different styles and see what works for them. As a matter of fact. I often suggest that my new quilt students don't buy supplies until after the first class so they can "try before they buy." Afterall, I would never suggest that they purchase a sewing machine without researching and trying it, so why would I suggest they buy any notions without trying them. I know for a fact that these trials have saved a number of students money, or at least it saved them from buying tools they don't like. (Of course many of them spent the "saved" money on fabric, but that doesn't count.)

The shops in which I teach are ok with me doing this, as they often benefit from these trials. Although it isn't my main goal when teaching, most of my classes end with students making purchases of tools that they had never tried before. The student is happy, the shop owner is happy, and I'm happy.

So, my advice is -Try before you buy! 

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It's Day 2 of the 
Have a Latte Blog Hop


Here are today's participants
Enjoy!

 April 14

Monday, April 13, 2015

Design Wall Monday and Have a Latte Hop!

Today begins the Have a Latte Hop and here's the full schedule.

I'm way down near the end on April 22nd, so keep coming back to check out all the awesome projects each day. 
This is a really fun collection and while I was waiting for my fabric order to arrive, my mind was swirling with ideas, and not just from the lack of (or too much) caffeine.  :-) 

Enjoy!


April 13

        April 14

          April 15
        
  April 16

  April 17

  April 20


  April 21


  April 22

  April 23


Now for what's on my design wall today...



This is my version of Moroccan Tile by Amy Smart 



I have the rest of the blocks ready to sew and then the fun of laying them out begins. Can you see where I folded each unit to find the center? That makes lining up the units so the two horizontal purple pieces line up accurately on the two sides of the longer vertical strip so much easier. (And that makes me so much happier!) 

My version is going to be a bit different, besides the obvious color changes. I don't think I'm going to border this, and because I'm using 25 Poems from Pebbles strips left over from another project, I have quite a few extra blocks. That means this is either going to be one big quilt or two smaller ones. (Don't you love the way I plan my quilts?) :-) 


The pattern is in Amy Smart's Fabulously Fast Quilts, which just happens to be the door prize I donated to the 2015 Hands2Help Challenge
(I had two copies of the book.) 

I'm also donating a cone of Sew Fine! thread by Superior Threads. It's color number 403 (Putty), which is a great neutral piecing thread. 

That's 3280 yards of thread! 
You can get some serious quilting done with this thread.  



That sure was fun and it's been a joy to read the comments and e-mails from people. It's such a great challenge and I'm thrilled to be a part of it.

So, what's on your design wall today?

Check out the eye candy of other quilters today.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tutorial!

I'm excited to announce that I am a guest blogger over at 


today as part of the 


and I've posted a tutorial for my All Boxed In quilt.

All Boxed In Tutorial

All Boxed In Tutorial

All Boxed In Tutorial

Check it out HERE and let me know what you think.  :-)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tip Tuesday! An Easy Sashing Technique

"Tip Tuesday!" - An Easy Sashing Technique

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired!
************************************************
Sashing with Cornerstones, Turtle Quilt

Avery's Turtle Quilt
(Yep, I just loved this picture and wanted to post it again!)

Although I find that I don't do it often, I like the look of sashing in a quilt. (Quite honestly I didn't realize that I don't do it often, but when I was looking for pictures I didn't find many.)

Adding sashing to a quilt separates the blocks and sort of spotlights them. Once I added the brown and beige frames to the turtle blocks in Avery's quilt above, the blocks were pretty big. I didn't want to sew the blocks side by side because that would be boring, but I also didn't want the overall size of the quilt to be too big. I added a narrow sashing and included brown cornerstones that were made from the same fabric as the first frame around the turtle blocks and I think it worked. (Please ignore the weird looking corners on the quilt picture below. The binding is sewn on by machine and not hand stitched to the back, thus looking like I have odd corners.) 
  
Quilt with Sashing and Cornerstones, Turtle Quilt

In this gorgeous star quilt made by Chris, the sashing and cornerstones are more proportional to the overall quilt size and the cornerstones pull all the scrappy blocks together beautifully. I LOVE this quilt! 

Scrappy Star Quilt, Black and White Quilt, Sashing and Cornerstones

Sashings and cornerstones can be basic (one sashing fabric and one cornerstone fabric) or they can be more complicated and pieced. In the quilt below, the sashing is just a single strip of fabric, but the cornerstones are pieced mini four patch blocks.

Patriotic Quilt, Red, White and Blue Quilt, Sashings and Cornerstones, Pieced Cornerstones, Pineapple Quilt

Here's a close up.

Patriotic Quilt, Red, White and Blue Quilt, Sashings and Cornerstones, Pieced Cornerstones, Pineapple Quilt

When I made this quilt, I made the sashing the only way I knew how. Piece the blocks, sew a sashing strip to the right side of the blocks, and then sew the blocks into rows. Next, sew the horizontal sashing strips to cornerstones and then sew the long strips to the previously sewn rows. It always helps to say a prayer and hold your tongue just the right way so that everything matches up just right!  :-)

Especially early on in my quilting life, that matching up part was tricky and I often wasn't thrilled with the outcome. Perhaps that's why I didn't make too many quilts that required sashing. I think I preferred to make more blocks or add extra borders to make the quilt the desired size. 

Then I went to a guild retreat and everything changed. Karen introduced me to a new way of adding sashings and cornerstones to quilts and I fell in love! (I know that many of you probably already know about this, but it was new to me and I thought it was the next best thing to sliced bread.)

Using this technique, the sashing pieces and cornerstones are sewn to the blocks and then the blocks are sewn together. You no longer have to sew long sashing pieces and hope that they match up. For me, it is much easier and I get better results.

Avery's turtle quilt was sewn that way, as was this quilt.

Scrappy Pineapple Blossom Quilt

And this quilt, with pieced sashing and cornerstones, was much easier for me using the technique.

Sample Quilt, Trellis Sashing

I was explaining the technique to my sister Ann last week and she found the following link that does a great job of demonstrating it. 


The only thing that is not mentioned here is the pressing. I press to the sashing whenever possible, especially if the cornerstones are pieced. Other than that, this is a wonderful tutorial from Val's Quilting Page.

I hope you'll remember this technique the next time you're going to sash your quilt. 

Enjoy!