Saturday, June 30, 2012

Finish-A-Long Second Quarter Finishes

The Finish-A-Long sponsored by Rhonda from Quilter in the Gap has once again been a great motivator. First quarter, I had an awesome 3/3 finish rate. Not quite so high this quarter, but I did finish projects that I really was anxious to finish, so I'm feeling pretty good.

So I had 4 projects on my list this round. First up was Hopscotch. I had half the blocks made, and an appointment with my long-arm quilter. 
I was able to complete the blocks, get this to my quilter and back, and finish this fun quilt up just in time for the Bloggers' Quilt Festival. The pattern is by Camille Roskelley, and I confess I'm as pleased as can be by this new-to-me palette and my first triangle quilt.

Next up was a pile of left-over hst from my Swoon and Sparkle quilts, which I wanted to use to make something for the Festival of Half Square Triangles
I was thinking of something with lots of negative space, but once I took the hst to my design wall, I swirled off in an unexpected direction, and came up with Spiraled.
I'm probably as proud of this project as any of late, pleased that I was able to come up with my own interesting design, loving the contrasting palest of gray borders (Pearl by Northcott Colorworks), and succeeding (not without frustration!) some angled matched binding. This mini was downright fun.

Also on my FAL list was pulling my Solstice Star blocks out and finishing them into a quilt.
Solstice Star Series complete
I really had no plan for them, but in the end went out on a limb, adding lots of solids, and created The Stars of Summer. (Click on the title to see more photo-shoot pictures; go here for a tutorial on the matched binding.)
The Stars of Summer

Last on my list, and I knew it would be a stretch . . . was taking my 4x5 blocks and making a quilt out of them. At the time, I had 12 blocks, and was in the process of receiving blocks from the third round of the 4x5 modern Quilt Bee.
4x5 modern quilt bee - Q4, Hive 1 blocks received! 4x5 Blocks Received
So I got my last 6 . . .
4x5 blocks received!
and made 2 more to bring my number of blocks to 20 . . .
Criss-cross Triangles Just Passing Through
I am making great progress on this project, but it's definitely not a quilt yet. Remember this debate? Well, I've made a decision and am currently framing all of these colorful, modern blocks.
So my finish stats are 3/4 for round 2. Not bad, but I need to keep sewing!

2012 Finish-A-Long
I'll be linking my finished projects up to the Finish-A-Long Second Quarter Linky Party!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Some Random Bits

Some randomness to share today . . .

In following along with the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop, Lori from adventures in fabric shared about her favorite quilting tool - "The Binding Tool".

I took the time to watch the video Lori shared, and kind of think this little tool will help me with joining those testy binding ends, hopefully achieving a smoother finish. Anyone else ever used it?

A shout-out to my daughter Rachel who blogs at Snippets of Sweetness. She's a member of the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild and two of her mini quilts will be displayed in their upcoming exhibition! Cool, huh?!

Have you seen the awesome bag Terri of sewfantastic came up with by tweaking Jeni's Drawstring Bag with exterior pockets? She shared it as part of Purse Palooza, and she tells you all about it in her post on Sew Sweetness. In fact, there have been oodles of awesome bags throughout Purse Palooza and I wouldn't mind trying some of them eventually.

Speaking of bags - Jennifer of Knotted-Threads also tested the "Read" Book Bag pattern I showed you earlier in the week. Isn't her version fun?

Michelle's pattern is now available for sale on her cityhousestudio etsy shop!

And  on a foodie note, Pioneer Woman posted Grillin' Recipe Contest winner videos. Perfect timing for those of us in the U.S., with July 4 (Independence Day) right around the corner!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

About that Binding

The first time I did it, it was on a whim.

But I was compelled to do it again.
Completed FTLOS2 large item

It just seemed right to do it again.

And last week, I did it yet again.

I guess when it comes right down to it, you'd call it "matched" binding. Basically, I make binding strips in different colors, approximating the size of what they need to cover and match. Then I trim and add as I get to the next section. Ie. Machine-stitch, measure-cut-add another color, machine-stitch....continue. Matching binding at a 'straight' seam is about 150% times easier than at an angle, which I did on quilts #2 and #3 above. So let's start there!

Measure around your quilt and jot down how many inches of each color of binding you will need, allowing yourself at least 6-8" extra in length (more if you will be adding in any particular color more than once, like I did with the white binding in the picture above). Cut and prep binding as you usually do.

Now begin sewing binding on just like normal, stopping a couple of inches before the change in color. 
With the binding laying flat, mark where the colors meet, then measure and cut 1/4" past that. Basically, you are just giving yourself a seam-allowance for adding on the next color.

Stitch the two colors together, right-sides together with 1/4" seam and finger-press seam open. (Normally I piece binding with a diagonal seam, but to get that right-out-to-the-edge look, it'll need to be straight.)
Just keep sewing around your quilt, repeating this process while adding your matching binding strips.
All stitched on and just finish as you normally do. (If you machine-stitch your binding from the back, it should work the same way!)
So there you go . . .
If you try this method, be sure and tag with #matchedbinding and tag me when you post on Instagram!

A {summer} Table Winner!

A Quilter’s Table

With June nearing a close, the Tuesday at the {summer} Table event is officially over. It's been great fun to have many of you link up recipes and table-related projects, and simply chat about the table. Thank you!

Several of you responded to my invitation to make potholders along with me this last week. Look at this array of kitcheny goodness!

I love the variety of styles!

Sooooo, I guess I should announce the winner of the {summer} table prize, huh? Well, according to the random generator, it is . . .
Susan of the The History Quilter, who shared a recipe for Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Pudding as link-up #32. Congrats, Susan! Susan is a frequent contributor to Tuesday at the Table, and in addition to quilting and  enjoying time in the kitchen (and garden), is a quilt podcaster. So get acquainted with her if you aren't already!

Hope to see you back next Tuesday, when A Quilter's Table will host a new event for the month of July! 
A Quilter’s Table

As always, even with a picnic theme, any recipe or kitchen/table project or story can be linked up! And July 4 (Independence Day for the U.S.) is next week, so if you have any holiday food/projects, that would be great! So the fun continues . . .

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

W.i.P. Wednesday

I'm feeling pretty good as W.i.P. Wednesday rolls around - having a finish I'm really pleased with, a couple of new small projects done, and blocks pulled out of the stash! Definitely can't complain about that! 

Completed projects
Solstice Stars - What started as "Solstice Star" blocks was transformed into The Stars of Summer {full post}, and I must say, I'm tickled with the finished quilt, plus really enjoyed playing with some of the elements.

"Read" Book Bag - It was a pleasure to help Michelle of City House Studio by pattern testing her book bag pattern {full post}. 

Zakka Style Sew-Along project #13: Patchwork Pot Holders {full post}

I chose a block for my month (July) of the Modern Blocks Bee and sent off fabric! The block I chose is Binary by Angela Pingel. This picture doesn't do it justice, but the background is KONA Ash, and I chose a variety of cool solids to send my bee mates. Pretty exciting stuff! 
Binary - MY block in the Modern Blocks Bee

I decided to go for it and made a page on facebook for A Quilter's Table! It seems like a fun avenue to share more quiltyness and maybe even more discussion. Feel free to stop by!

Ongoing projects
4x5 Quilt - I dug my blocks from rounds 1, 2, and  3 back out of the closet, and have them pressed and up on the design wall to see them all together. Sorry that Blogger seems to be having trouble uploading pictures right now, so the short of it is, I need two more blocks to have enough for the quilt top. So I made "Criss-Cross Triangles" by Amanda Sasikirana, and "Just Passing Through" by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. I think you'll agree they are great additions to the blocks I already have from my bee mates. {here, here, and hereFraming is cut, and this quilt is my project of the moment.
Criss-cross Triangles

 Just Passing Through 

And Tuesday at the {summer} Table ends tonight, so if you have a summer recipe or table/kitchen project you want to link up, do so soon! And take a peek at the links - so many great recipes and several quilted projects, including a rash of awesome potholders! A random winner will be announced tomorrow, and I have a new theme planned for July, so stay tuned . . .

Upcoming projects
* more Zakka
* QWERTY variation
* a quilt to coordinate with my Christmas tree skirt - Christmas in July??
* scrappy Metrolink
* Plus quilt for my sister-in-law - waiting to see her palette
* Tutorial for pieced binding
* Always Bee Learning July block NEW
* EZ Dresden Challenge project - maybe?? NEW
* baby quilt - fabric on its way NEW

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday where Felicity is hosting today, while Lee is taking a well-deserved break.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday at the {summer} Table

Wow. June has just flown by, Tuesday at the {summer} Table is drawing to a close, and summer hasn't even hit Seattle yet. That's beside the point which is you have through tomorrow, Wednesday, June 27 to post about a summer recipe, time around the table, or a table-related project and link it up right here. On Thursday, I'll choose a random winner from the link-ups and send them a box full of goodies.

Meanwhile, I've really been enjoying the recipes and projects that have been posted this month. And I even have a dessert to share. In all honestly, I seriously can't believe Tuesday at the Table has been running for over a year, and I've never shared this, my *most* requested recipe! (Hubby thinks cakeballs is the *most* requested, so I guess it's debatable.) Anyway, this is a great one for making ahead (it's even better!), and for a crowd, plus it's soooo easy. And it just happens to be our 'stand at the fridge & eat' favorite!

Easy Chocolate Toffee Crunch Poke Cake  
(commonly known as "Poke Cake")

  1 package  plain devil's food cake mix -- (18.25 ounces)
  1 1/3 cups water
  1/2 cup vegetable oil
  3 large  eggs
  1 cup  caramel ice cream topping
  1 container  frozen whipped topping -- (8 ounces) thawed
  1 cup  toffee-flavored chips

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Lightly mist a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside. Place the cake mix, water, oil and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping the sides again if needed. The batter should be smooth. Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing it out with a rubber spatula. Place the pan in the oven. Bake the cake until it springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, 32 to 37 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool. Poke holes, 1 inch apart, in the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon. Fill each hole with caramel topping. Let the topping settle into the holes, then go back and fill them once again. Using a rubber spatula, spread the whipped topping smoothly over the top of the cake. Sprinkle the toffee-flavored chips evenly over the top. Cover the pan and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 12-15 servings if you're lucky.
Thanks for joining me for Tuesday at the Table's {summer} feature. Hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Zakka Along Week 13 :: Patchwork Pot Holders

What kitchen can't use new potholders? Mine sure can, so I've been looking forward to making some zakka style. The pattern, by retro mama, was easy to follow, and a pair took just a few hours.

Though I wasn't sure what purpose the 'interlining' served, and since I didn't have the suggested fabrics, I added a layer of Warm & White along with the Insul-Brite. If I make these again, I'll probably piece random fabric strips together for the front, rather than cutting them to be specific widths and lengths - that was the most time-consuming part of the whole pattern. I machine-quilted randomly spaced, with some wavy lines and some straight.
I followed the pattern and used single-fold binding for the back 'pockets', and stitched them completely by machine. For the binding around the pot holder's edges, I did my normal double-fold binding though (2 1/4"), finishing off with hand-sewing because I would have felt deprived if I hadn't! (Check out retro mama's post with updated instructions for applying the bindings. I saw this after I was done, but in case you are still stitching . . .)
These have just the right sturdiness, and they are already in my kitchen drawer, ready to be put to use!

Unfortunately, Penny from Sew Take a Hike wasn't able to share about her project today, but sew-along hostess Lindsey will soon, so I'll add a link to her post when I see it did - here. Revised to say, Lindsey's are SO fun - you won't want to miss them!

Linking up with LRStitched and Little Quilt Monday.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Testing . . . 1, 2, 3 . . . Testing

Last year during the For the Love of Solids Swap, Michelle of City House Studio made the most darling book bag for her partner. So when she asked for volunteers to pattern test the book bag for her a few weeks ago, I was more than willing.

The "Read" Book Bag calls for a little paper-piecing, but mostly basic sewing. For the 'books', I chose some favorite fabrics, along with a few that signified special meaning for my family - a 'sewing' book (scissors), a foreign language book, and a 'cookbook'. The background was done in KONA Ash, and the 'bookshelf' fabric is Quilter's Linen in Stone.
Paper piecing was just required for the "read" letters - 4 small blocks, so it went pretty quick, and was fun to do scrappy. I used many of the fabrics I'd used on the book side, plus added what I needed of other coordinating fabrics so no two were repeated.
Since my books and letters weren't as bold as they could have been, I decided to go a little brighter for the lining and inner pocket.
The book bag was really an enjoyable project, and I'm glad I was able to help Michelle out by testing her pattern and giving some feedback.
What a fun and useful little project! Thanks Michelle!