Wednesday, August 29, 2012

QuiltCon Block Challenge

When my friend Carolyn at Demanding Cat posted that her block was going to be featured on the MQG blog, I was only a little jealous, but mostly proud of her.  After church this evening, I checked my email (and left putting the kids to bed to my husband) and got my own email.  Now, I'm no longer green with envy.  Check it out tomorrow!  I can hardly wait.

Thank you so much for submitting a block or blocks to the QuiltCon Block Challenge! I'm truly overwhelmed by the beautiful blocks you made. 
I'm just sending you this e-mail to confirm that your block or blocks will be featured on the MQG blog tomorrow (Thursday, August 30). You can follow the blog during the next few weeks to see more fabulous blocks and be sure to check the blog starting September 24, for the announcement of the blocks that were selected to be included in the QuiltCon Raffle Quilt.
The blocks that aren't selected for the raffle quilt will be used to make bed quilts for the Austin Children's Shelter so, even if your block doesn't end up in the raffle quilt, it is definitely going to a good cause! We're currently looking for guilds interested in finishing one of the quilts for the children's shelter so, if you think your guild might be interested, please let me know.
Thank you, again, for participating in the QuiltCon Block Challenge!


Silent Night, Holy Moly Night

The charm swap has wrapped.  Other than figuring out international shipping on a package, I'm done.  Paypal won't release the shipping to me because I sent the bill as an invoice, and I don't have a spare $20 right now, but, overall, I'm pleased about the outcome of the swap.  I couldn't have met a better group of ladies.  They make all the sorting worth it.  If you plan on doing your own swap, don't start at 7 o'clock on night and expect to be done before bedtime.  Oh, no no. But, the packages are out of my hands and control now.  For sure, my next swap will go more smoothly, as long as my husband doesn't split when he sees me laying out over 100 piles of fabric. Many thanks to the ladies who participated.  I can't wait to see the projects that come of it!  Let me know if you blog it, and I'll pin it to our board.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

We Pin You a Merry Christmas

We're more than halfway there for the Christmas in July Charm swap.  I still have 24 spots open.  I know it's hard to get in the mindset of Christmas in July, but, really, now is the time to start planning your Christmas projects.  I have a lot of ideas for my charms.  I want to make another Cherry Quilt, like the I-Spy I did for Willa,  but this time, with all Christmas prints.  It takes 228 prints to do it.  I did a charm swap last year and another a 10" swap with Angela this year, so with this filled swap, I should have enough prints to get it done.  I'm not above begging, so Puuhhhleeeeze, won't you take a spot- or two ?

I've started an  Pinterest Board board to get you and others tempted to join the swap. I'd love for you to pin to it also. Contact me and I'll add you as a pinner to the board.  

Here are some other ideas that are on top of my "to do" Christmas craft list:

Lee made this tree skirt from the charm swap last year.  She is a no-share flickr member, so you'll have to click on the link to see it.  I promise, it is awesome.

Of course, once you have a tree skirt, you need to make stockings to match.

But, I have to say, that the cutest thing I've seen today in looking for projects, is this Santa Mug Rug.

So, what's stopping you?  If you'd like to join, but there is some little thing stopping you, contact me and maybe we can work something out.  Come join us and make your own crafty Christmas goodness.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Christmas in July 5" Charm Swap

The swap is now closed.  (Thanks SusanLee, and Jennifer.) 

Hello quilty world!  I have been more than a little absent from my blog, and from FLICKR.  With good reason- I had to pack up my house and move a total of 3 miles.  It was a lot of work, and I'm still working on unpacking, but I am getting there.

I have toyed with the idea of hosting a charm swap for about a year, and have finally decided to take the plunge!  I'm doing a Christmas in July swap.  This will be a 5" charm swap, and I'd like to give props to Ellison Lane for her "How to Host" a charm swap, and of course Care- who got me started on my charm swapping addiction.

{Since posting the swap, in a bit of irony, several on-line swaps have issued discount codes.  I have no connection to these shops. The discount codes may expire before the mailby date of the swap. Those codes are being shared by group members in the flickr group.}

1. For swapping charm squares, each of the 56 participants (1 being me) will purchase 2 yards of holiday themed fabric to be cut each into 5" charm squares. 1 yard = 56 charms. 2 yards= 112 charms

2. Choose a fabric that has a small print suitable for an 5" charms. Scale of the print is very important. If you are buying online, look for retailers that have the grid included in the photo of the fabric in order to give you an idea of scale. If your scale is close, you may need to purchase additional fabric in order to fussy cut the fabric. ( I've done this in the past, I do not recommend it.) Go with the smaller scale fabrics. Buy extra fabric if you are worried that you could make a cutting mistake.

3. Fabric must be designer label, 100% cotton, quilt shop quality, holiday themed, fabric. No Hancocks, Joanns, Hobby Lobby, or anyone else who might have a flyer in your Sunday newspaper. 

4. Fabric must be from a smoke free home. Do not pre-wash your fabric. While this swap is not limited to modern fabric, please do not send the fabric that has been sitting unused in the corner of your fabric closet since 1990.   The Golden Rule applies to this swap: Send to others what you'd want to be sent to you. 

5. Cut your fabric into 5" squares (tutorial on how to cut fabric into charms by Elizabeth Hartman). In order to move things along on my end,  pair your charms (alternate fabric A, Fabric B, Fabric A, Fabric B.... 56 times), in a stack and put them in a ziploc bag. Here is an example of how I received Becky's fabric. 


6. Include your name and address on an index card and mail the fabric to me. (address to be sent via email once we have our 56 participants) 

7. Upload pictures of your fabric to this Flickr group and be sure to include the name and designer of the fabric. Before you buy your fabric, check the pool to make sure no one has beat you to the punch. 


Participants must include a prepaid self-addressed, stamped envelope along with their charms. Don't include postage you've printed from your computer.  A SASE flat rate priority mail envelope is the best way to handle postage.   I'm going for a quick turn around, so mail your package by 
 August 11.  (We still have some spots open, so I changed the mailby date a little. We're getting so close to filling the swap, and I want everyone who wants to participate feel like they can. If you're thinking of joining, just plan on being timely with sending your charms.)

Since this is my first swap, I have decided not to accept international swappers at this go around. International friends, please accept my sincere apology for excluding you.  In the interest of drumming up more swappers, I am opening the swap to international swappers.  I will invoice you for shipping through paypal.  In order to complete the swap expeditiously,  international swappers may have their fabric sent to me.  I will cut it for you free of charge, but if you want to add a FQ of any fabric in your fabric order - I wouldn't stop you ;)

Sign up by filling out  this form.  The swap will be run from Flickr, so you will need to join the group

7.19.2012We are full,   If you'd like to be put on the list as an alternate, please let me know. 

7.19.2012- 1 hour later.  A double swapper dropped out opening a spot for Jeanne- and maybe you?  

7.20.2012- We are full again.  Thanks so much to everyone for your participation and for the quilty world in helping to get the call out. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rainbow Cherry Star

I have two recent finishes.

Ada's Plus Quilt (just posted today)
Mackenzie Love

Making an I-Spy quilt playing with color has been something I've thought about since I started collecting I-spy charms.  After seeing two quilts (Flying Blind Cherry Star and B. Yazoo's I-Spy Version)  made using Sarah Fielke's Made in Cherry Pattern, I decided to go for it.  Of course, this is adding to my WIPs.  I have another top secret I-Spy quilt still in its infant stages using I-Spy labels from Crafterhours.  I'll not share that until I have something more substantial to show, but if you are into I-Spy and Spoonflower, Crafterhours is a place you should visit, just sayin'.

Onto the quilt.

There are 220 charms in this top, no repeats. I did this in one day.  The large square in the middle (100 charms) is one piece, and each triangle is a piece.  I'm thinking of using Kona Med gray for the background pieces.  I used 4 inch charms.  My collection of I Spys included 4 and 5 inch charms.  Lucky for me because I used the 5 inch charms to make the HSTs required for the color division.  The kids already love the quilt. It is destined for Willa, the curly headed kid at the top of the picture.  You'll notice a lack of orange.  I have several hundred I Spy charms, but not enough for orange to have its place in this quilt.  If I ever run an I-Spy swap, I'll suggest people look for orange fabric. 

Works still in progress.

Spiderweb quilt- this one is over a year old now. I did work on it this week in that I sorted through my fabric and sorted out some strips to be used in the quilt.  This was a bee quilt.  I also inspected the blocks and had to take out a couple that just aren't big enough to be used.  I've also decided not to make this a queen quilt.  I'm going to make a few more blocks and call it done. 

Houndstooth tubes- I don't think I've ever shared this one on the blog, but it is a WIP for my husband.  It's pretty cool, so I'll have to get back on that one one day soon.

Love you to the Moon- a word quilt.  

Shot cottons wonky log cabin quilt- another neglected WIP.  All the blocks are made.  It needs to be sashed and quilted.

Rainbow Diamond- I need to get on this one or I'll be paying shipping to Japan as my friends are moving duty stations.  Note to self- find out when

Scrappy Bentos- This was a swap block.  I love how it is coming together.  I might keep this quilt for myself!

4x5 bee blocks- Another bee quilt.  It's going to be a birthday present for my little brother.  I need to sash the blocks and think about what I'll use as the backing, and how to quilt. 

Willa's Birthday Quilt- will need to be bound when it returns.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Happy 6th Birthday Ada (Plus Quilt)

I've had two big finishes recently.  Mackenzie's D-Love Quilt, and Ada's Plus Quilt. Ada's birthday was on the 11th, and let me tell you, I cut it close.  Truthfully, Willa is still waiting on her birthday quilt.  The top is done and is being quilted by Angela ( <3 ). In order to get this one done on time, I carried the quilt with me and stitched on the binding whenever I had a free minute.   I decided to bind it in RK's Quilter's Linen.  I love it!  I got warnings that the red, and perhaps the pink would bleed, so I doubled up on the color catchers.  As promised, when I took the quilt out of the washer, the color catcher was bled upon.  I pulled it out of the dryer on the eve of her birthday.    

In addition to the SJ fabrics there are some Moda Crossweaves and Pezzy prints.  I'm still heart broken that the crossweaves are being phased out of production.  They are great solids!  I love texture and rich vibrant colors, and the crossweaves have both.  I used some of the Jewel prints from Lizzy House.  They make great "almost solids" and are perfect for a color quilt like this.  There is a LouLou Thi in there.  The hugs and kisses are very much like the Jewel prints.  All the dots are Michael Miller.  

I have no idea how big it is, but here is the front. I cut the charms into 4 inch squares instead of 4.5 inch squares most plus quilts utilize.  So mine is a bit smaller than most. I used smaller cuts in order to have some left over from the FQs I used to be used for the pieced strip down the back.  And as someone who has OCD (and not just the kind that people claim to have when they are picky clean about their house) using whole numbered cuts makes me feel better. 

On second thought, using the balloon print on the back was a little busy, but I love that little red-headed girl. Ada sends balloons to her twin in heaven pretty often, so I had to use it!  I love this print so much I've often thought about getting a tat of it.

I also scoured etsy to find a seller who had the fabric in order to make Ada her birthday shirt.  Each of my children have gotten a customized shirt for each of his or her birthday.  One day I'll make a t-shirt quilt out of all of them.  This is the 1st time I've customized the shirt to their birthday quilt.  Of course, this is only the 2nd year they've gotten birthday quilts. Willa has a love affair with poodles at the moment, so I could only have gotten her a poodle shirt.

 I have no idea how big the quilt is.  But some other details are as follows:  I quilted it with Auriful white 2024 I think.  You can't really tell from the finished picture, but the quilting is 1/4 inch from each vertical and horizontal seam.  I do have an Instagram of the in progress quilting.

Quilting. Do not disturb.

Ada is my last quilt in Sarah Jane's Children at play quilt.  Her new fabric collection is just as cute.  I can already see that I'll have to force myself to work on my sewing skills to make some dresses from the new fabrics, but as someone who isn't a huge nautical fan, I don't see any quilts coming from it.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mackenzie Love (Quilted in Memory of Aleah)

Thanks to the gang-buster lightening quick humming of sewing machines across America, Mackenzie's D-Love quilt will go out in tomorrow's mail.


There is a special little girl in Valdosta, GA that is very near and dear to the heart of my mother.  She is her best friend's granddaughter.  Her best friend became a grandmother to triplets 6 months old before my mother became the grandmother to twins.  While I've never met Mackenzie, the love that my mother and her best friend have for her is contagious.  Also, as someone who was the mother to a child with special needs, I can empathize with what her mother is experiencing.  I was dejected when I learned that Mackenzie had entered hospice.  I knew then that it wasn't a coincidence that I'd been placed in the heal circle at do.good stitches- a group making quilts specifically for people in hospice. Nicke does an excellent job of explaining our mission on her blog:
the HEAL circle will make quilts that will be donated to hospice patients and their families.
now, i understand that the role of hospice is comfort care and not healing but i hope the quilts we donate will help heal the hearts of the families.
When I started quilting, I had it in my mind to participate in such charity bees.  My Ada and Aleah had both been given quilts while in the NICU, from local groups, and from groups like Project Linus.  5 years after her death, I still appreciate the quilts that Aleah received in the NICU and PICU, so I know from personal experience that they can help heal, if only to prove that the journey isn't a lonely one.  After all the meals have been delivered, after all the cards have been received, after all the flowers have died, a quilt can serve as a lasting reminder that the life and death of someone important to you was important to someone else- even if that person is a complete stranger.

These "strangers" involved in the making of this quilt are:


I put out the call on the do good stitches, and also asked if the ladies of my Ba{m}S group if they'd like to be involved.  The response was overwhelming, especially since I asked for the blocks to be made in the week.  I added a few extra days for mailing.  It took me about two weeks to get the top put together and backing made, and to quilt it.  I'll admit that I did attach the binding by machine, partly for expediency, partly for ease. For shame!    The quilt top is made of thirty 12" blocks.


The top ended up being so big that I struggled with the back.  I'd planned to use 2 pieces of fabric that I had in my stash, but oops, it was a bit short, so I made 5 more 10" blocks to be placed in a strip down the back.    Some of the blocks had linen in them ( <3 ) so I used the opportunity to put some more linen in it!  Even with that additional piece, the fabric on the back was pretty close, but I got it quilted.


I love me some straight line quilting. My eyes just light up when I see quilts that have been straight line quilted, not in the ditch, but in some fashion that compliments the quilt.  The quilting for this quilt were inspired by some of the blocks.  The ones made by Kelligh have a lot of geometric overtones in them, particularly a rhombus- or maybe more trapezoidial.  Either way, I wanted to work that shape into the quilting, so I did a diagonal double through the quilt, and then quilted either side of the middle seams.  I'm pleased with the overall look of the quilt, and I am more than happy to send this off in the mail.  I do wish just a little bit that I had quilted the diagonal lines from bottom to top instead of top to bottom.  Does that make sense?  I like the look of the quilting on the back, and wish it were on the front.  Minor thing- but there ya go.

I'm so proud of the ladies in my bee, and seriously, did I mention this was the quickest turn around on bee blocks, (?) that I've decided to enter this quilt in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival  to hopefully be considered for the category of bee quilts.

As I mentioned, this quilt was made specifically for Mackenzie, but also for me.  I'm able to pay forward some of the kindness I received during the life and death of my Aleah.  For that reason, it is also special to me.  I hope to one day see a picture of Mackenzie with it.  I learned that women all over the world are more than happy to share parts of themselves with people whom they've never met before.  If you aren't a member of do.good.stitches- go- and get on that list to be placed into a group.  There is a link to the form on the linky in the sentence before this one. 

Getting Mackenzie this quilt before she leaves this earth to go and play with my Aleah was a top priority in my life, and I am so happy to have gotten it done.  Perhaps it is with more pride than I should have.  I'll confess, I don't cry much since Aleah died.  Not a lot of things compare to the ache in your heart once you've said goodbye to a part of you that you wanted so badly to keep.  The parents of children with special needs are often short-changed, because society can't imagine raising a child with special needs.  Death almost seems like a relief to them, whether people mean to imply it or not.  Now, I believe that my Aleah is in heaven right this very minute, and while that gives me hope, her death has never given me any sort of relief, and I would pluck her out of the sky right now if I had the opportunity.  I wouldn't make her "normal", but would love her with the unconditional love a mother shows a child- exactly how she was.  

Making this quilt has allowed me to heal a little, because I've cried a few tears in the process. I'm so sad that another mother with a child with special needs will go through this journey, and that people, will probably say things to her that should be left unsaid.   I hope this quilt comforts her, and that she knows that she isn't alone.  My heart aches for LaShaun like it hasn't for anyone in awhile.  I've avoided that ache simply by putting up a wall and just not looking over it. These things have just all worked together.  Mackenzie is so important to my mother that I just can't choose to not see it.  Having had been placed in the heal circle at do.good, I had, at my fingertips, a group of women who could help me get it done.  It was making the choice to get it done that was the hard part.  A simple email to Nicke solved that problem for me.  It was put into motion.  I learned while making this quilt that it is never too late to move forward.  If you are anything like me, quilting is a very personal time in which you get to do a lot of thinking, not about dinner tomorrow, or what a pig says, how a silent e works, who poked who first, or where someones night night might be, but that "selfish" sort of thinking you can't drown out with a boob tube or a book.  I knew that while making this quilt, I'd be doing that sort of thinking that I've avoided before. I got mad at people all over again.  I got over some things, just because it's time to let it go.  I shed some tears y'all.  It was very liberating.  That's why this quilt is special to me.  To all the ladies who've shed some tears with me, thank you so much for being a part of this process with me. Thank you. It has truly been an honor. 

Amy's Creative Side