Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Where's Waldo?

OK, maybe "Where's Lori?" would be more like it.

I've been hard at work on the new store blog (separating business from pleasure).  I'm pretty pleased with how it's looking, so I hope you will give it a peek.  The link is on the right.

Anyway, I HAVE been sewing, on a wide variety of things.
First, for a class sample, this simple table runner:

Then, another sample, this one for a beginning paper piecing class.

Both of those projects are very simple and straight-forward, so you might suspect that there has been more going on.  There has!  Here is the instigator of some TROUBLE:

Katherine McNeese LOOKS innocent enough, finishing the binding on one of her "Improv Log Cabin" quilts.  She taught the class at the shop for me last weekend and I couldn't resist joining the fun.

I had NO business doing this.  Have I ever mentioned how many unfinished projects I have?  I am making progress, now that I have learned to machine quilt my own small pieces.  I love to hand quilt, but I can't do it fast enough to ever catch up with everything.

Speaking of quilting, I have begun the quilting on the graffiti quilt that is due in January and may be on exhibit at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in February. I am much happier with "sort of straight lines" than I was the other day when attempting "perfectly straight lines".

(Those are my "Machingers", quilting gloves that really do make a difference.)


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Catching Up

As usual, I'm working on ten things at once.  I thought that I'd better show off my "cats" quilt, finished and bound.  It appeared on Saturday at the guild meeting in Rocky Mount, part of the "favorite things" challenge.  Didn't win.  I had a lot of fun making it, though.

There's going to be a "beginning paper piecing" class at the shop on Sept. 28. I've got all sorts of bits and pieces and random blocks.  I just finished putting together a little sampler of 6" paper pieced blocks.

What's next?  I'd really like to get back to my graffiti challenge today.  Here is where I left off last week:

Once I like what's on the design wall, it is TRICKY to figure out how to fit the parts together, what order to sew, etc.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

My Modern Quilt

I guess this would qualify as a "modern" quilt.  It didn't start out that way, but after I completed my improv log cabin blocks, I challenged myself to put them into a non-traditional setting.  I really like the clean look that the solid white fabric gives.

Then I had to tackle the dilemma of how to quilt this so-called modern quilt. I have admired quilts that were quilted with perfectly straight lines and decided to give it a try.  I probably won't do that again!  

It took so long!  Even though the over-all effect is good, the lines are not very straight, despite my best efforts. 

I love the back and binding that I found.

The only thread that matched the binding was this antique wooden spool.  I used my Thread Heaven and never had a snag or fray.

In other news, I continue to work on the graffiti challenge.  Here are a couple of progress shots from last night and this morning:

Sometimes I like it and sometimes I don't.  I still have a long way to go.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Under Construction

I'm back at work on the Graffiti Challenge.  After a sewing session on Saturday, here's what I had:

I have a vague idea of "windows and doors".  Tonight I framed a few more "windows" and rearranged things a lot.

It still needs a lot of work.  And a brain-storm or two.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Time for a Change!!

There's a new BLOG in town!

For Cotton Fields Quilt Shop BUSINESS information, schedules, fabrics, classes, etc. check out  (click on link in right-hand column)

I'll be able to keep business and pleasure separate from now on.  Keep coming HERE to see what I am personally up to in my sewing life ..... and now and then knitting, crafts and cats!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Graffiti Challenge

I'm putting the binding on both the "Cats" wall hanging and the "Improv Log Cabin" lap quilt, plus I've put together the plans for next week's class, so it's time to reward myself.

It's time to start the NEXT CHALLENGE.

A year or so ago, the Artrageous quilt group painted fabric together.  We attacked 2 yards of muslin with acrylic paints, rollers, stamps, and brushes. The fabric was COOL, but there wasn't enough of it to go around, so we sent off a sample and had fat quarters printed.  Not quite as vibrant as the original piece, but it is what it is.

We're calling it the "Graffiti Challenge" and our challenge quilts will be displayed together at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, Virginia next spring.  I've had too long to think about it and have tossed around too many different ideas.  Time to make up my mind and get started!

I pulled these fabrics this morning:

Let's see what happens next.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Snowball Blocks

I'm preparing a class sample for a table topper class that I'm teaching next week.  I've been taking pictures all along the way, and I thought that for my good deed of the day, I would explain the math behind  ... 


Snowball blocks are a nice alternative to plain blocks between pieced blocks, often creating interesting secondary patterns.  I like to be able to figure out my own measurements, instead of having to look for a pattern or template, so that is why I want to share this with you.

The block that I want to make is a 6" block.  6" is the finished size, so we will begin with a block that is actually cut 6 1/2" square.  Keep in mind that 1/4" seam allowances mean that pieces are cut 1/2" larger than their final size.

If I were making a 9-patch, I would cut nine little squares 2 1/2" x 2 1/2". That is the same size that I will cut the squares for the snowball corners. There is a little waste with this method, but it is much easier and more accurate than cutting an octagon shape and then trying to sew triangles to four corners.

With whatever fabric marker or mechanical pencil shows up best on YOUR fabric, mark a diagonal line corner to corner in one direction on the back of each 2 1/2" square.  My fabric was so dark that the black pigma pen worked best for me.  (DO NOT USE BALLPOINT PEN!)

Carefully line up a square on each corner of the background, right sides together, placing one pin in the corner out of the way, and another pin where the line of stitching ends.  Sew directly on top of the marked line.

Trim 1/4" beyond each sewn line.  Press the triangle corners out.  Ta da!!

Here is what I made with my snowball blocks.  One more project to be quilted, luckily it is a small one.

Apologies to the art quilters, crooked quilters, and PhD-in-math-quilters.  I like it all and sometimes it needs to be accurate.  Ha ha ha.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

And Then ....

After finishing the little table topper the other day, I made some FAT QUARTER CHRISTMAS TREES!  They are popular items.

Then I cut and folded about 100 more Christmas fat quarters to put into this box next to the check-out.  (Impulse buys!!!)

Then came the weekend.
Knit - knit - knit (no pictures)

This morning, I finally finished the straight line quilting on the "Improv Log Cabin".  Binding goes on this afternoon.  Class offered HERE on Sept. 21.  Call 252-948-0372.

One week from today, the next beginning quilt class will meet.  We are making the little table topper that I showed earlier.  I always manage to complicate things, so just for fun, I'm offering a choice of two sizes.  AND, I have selected fabric to make a new sample.

Oh, and with a little luck I'll find time to machine quilt the "CATS" quilt.  It is basted and ready to go.