Saturday, May 7, 2016

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Magazine Drawing Winner!

What an exciting week this has been! I hope you've enjoyed visiting each of the blogs for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Volume 13 block designers...I know I have :o) It's always fun to read about the design process of a quilt block ~ and get some layout options!

Flowers for the Cabin

If you make Flowers for the Cabin I sure hope you'll stop by my blog and let me know, or tag me on flickr or Instagram so I'll be sure to see it!

For the magazine drawing I asked readers to tell me about their sewing machines - what they like, what they don't like. I read about many great machines, from featherweights all the way up to mid-arm machines. Thanks for sharing your insights with me!

I used the Random Number Generator to pick a winner for an issue of 100 Blocks Volume 13 to be sent directly from Quiltmaker's. 

The winner is No. 110!! Hooray!! I've sent Karan an email to let her know she is the magazine winner from my drawing.

Our log cabin begins!

To add to the excitement of the week here is the very first progress shot of our log cabin! One of our future neighbors snapped this photo and sent it to us this morning! We can't wait to go by and see. Hopefully there will be many more pictures to share through the summer. 

Thanks again for joining me as we celebrate 100 Blocks Volume 13! I hope to see you stop by my blog again ~ If you are not already following Shadows of the Blue Ridge you can sign up using Bloglovin, Follow by Email, or Google Friends Connect. All these options are available on the top right sidebar. If you do, be sure to leave a comment so I know you are a new follower :o) Hope you have a great week!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Vol. 13 Blog Hop!

Welcome quilting friends! How fun to have you join me for the opening day of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 13 Blog Hop :o) I'm so thrilled to have my fourth block included in Quiltmaker's biannual collection of quilt blocks. To add to the fun my block appears on the cover - WooHoo!!

First, I'm so happy to introduce my block, Flowers for the Cabin. Maybe you can see why it has this name?
The intentional selection and placement of floral fabric = Flowers
The use of log cabin piecing to create the basket = for the Cabin

Flowers for the Cabin
Flowers for the Cabin

I have to say this issue of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks contained quite a surprise for me. I was not at all expecting to see this block when I opened my designer preview issue of Volume 13 about a month ago. You see, Flowers for the Cabin has a bit of a backstory which can be found here if you're interested.

Flowers for the Cabin makes a perfect springtime block using the light pinks and crisp white fabrics shown above. In my area of the country we have a huge celebration each spring called the Apple Blossom Festival and these fabric are perfect for it :o)

However, Flowers for the Cabin can easily become a basket of flowers suited for the harvest season by changing out the floral fabric, as shown in this example:

Flowers for the Cabin
Flowers for the Cabin

I think a Flowers for the Cabin block would make a perfect center for a medallion quilt. Or, maybe use it in a four-block arrangement like one of the examples shown below. I just pasted an image of my block in Google Slides and copies/rotated/added colored squares to create these mock-ups. 

Four-block layout options

How about a drawing?! Quiltmaker's is generously giving one of my blog readers a free issue of 100 Blocks, Volume 13For a chance to win leave me a comment telling me about your sewing machine: Love it? Hate it? Have your eye on a particular model? I hope to upgrade my machine in about a year and I'd love to have input on machines to consider :o) If you suspect you may be a "no reply" blogger please make sure to include your email address in your comment. I'll draw a random winner on Saturday morning, May 7.

Don't miss out on all the other blogs featured in the tour. They can be found on Quilty Pleasures blog. I can't wait to fix a cup of tea and enjoy the hop myself!

I hope you've enjoyed stopping by :o) I'd love to see you back here again. If you'd like regular updates from Shadows of the Blue Ridge consider signing up for an email subscription (top right of your screen), or you can find me on Bloglovin'.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Girly Tote

A short time ago my husband and I were visiting with a friend - she was telling us about an upcoming summer trip to the beach with her little granddaughters. My friend has seen some of the bags I've made in the past and asked if I'd be able to make bags for her granddaughters to take to the beach - you know, for collecting sea shells and other little treasures. I do enjoy making bags and the opportunity to sew with sweet little girl fabrics was very appealing to me :o)

Drawstring Tote
Lunch Bag pattern by Ayumi of Pink Penguin

Searching for a pattern is half the fun and I knew for certain I'd found what I was looking for when I happened upon the Lunch Bag by Ayumi of Pink Penguin. Ayumi wrote the tutorial for this bag back in 2010 so it's been out for several years now. Even though the pattern is called a lunch bag I think it makes a perfect tote for small children! The sweet drawstring top will help to protect the contents.

I was determined to use fabric from my stash and had a good time pulling options. I did feel like most of my fabrics have more of an adult-type of pattern on them so it took a couple days for me to find a mix I felt looked right for a child. I think these pink/coral fabrics fit the bill  :o)

I followed Ayumi's tutorial as written except that I made the outer bag body from one large piece of fabric instead of sewing two halves together. I do wish I'd thought to make the straps a bit longer - more like tote bag straps. However, this handle style will work just fine for small children. To give the bag structure I used fusible fleece on both the body of the bag and the handles.

Drawstring Tote
How fun to sew from my fabric stash!

I have a fun mix of pink and green fabric pulled for the second bag and can't wait to get started! More pictures to follow :o)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Surprises along the way

Every once in awhile isn't it fun how something totally unexpected happens? Just a fun little surprise out of the blue. Back on March 2nd I received an email from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks that one of my block submissions had been accepted for publication in the upcoming Volume 13 issue.

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 13

This email caught me off guard because I actually just mailed off a block for consideration in Vol. 14, but I had missed the earlier Vol. 13 submission window. I thought, "Wow! How fun that they accepted my block and moved it up to an earlier issue." This news caused me to very quickly design and send in yet another block that would hopefully be included in Vol. 14 which comes out in the fall.

Yesterday I came home from school (teacher, not student) and found the package of magazine issues Quiltmaker's generously sends to each block designer. I quickly started paging through the issue looking for my block. Boy-oh-boy was I surprised when I found it! I can't wait to share with you what I discovered! You'll have to join me on Monday, May 2 (kick-off day for the blog hop!) to find out :o)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Planning to use the precious

Precious: (of an object, substance, or resource) of great value; not to be wasted or treated carelessly. Google definitions.

Almost any quilter you talk to will admit to having some precious fabric in their stash...fabric they like so much that for some reason holding on to it makes more sense than using it. I, myself, have five collections of fabric that most probably fall into this classification: 
I'm excited to have a project I can't wait to get started on which will use my Kate Spain In From the Cold Christmas fabrics! Here are the fabrics I have from this line:

In From the Cold by Kate Spain

On the Moda Website is a collection of patterns for placemats, a table runner, and a gift bag featuring this sweet fabric line. I'm going to use the patterns for the little mugs of steaming beverages to make placemats of my own design, coasters, and possibly napkins to use for an upcoming bridal shower gift.

I can use other fabrics from my stash to round out the assortment. Here are some fabrics I pulled that I think will work:

Fabrics pulled from my stash

Wow it feels good to plan on using some of my precious fabric! I can't wait to get started...stand by for cute pictures :o)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Knitting ~ A new adventure

Knitting was something I never thought I'd take up; for some reason it just never really interested me. My mom was the knitter - I am a crocheter. It seemed to me that knitting was something that took one eons to build any skill at...and there was that dreaded dropped stitch...a problem you didn't have to deal with in crochet.

Knit dishcloths
Simple knit dishcloths

Every once-in-awhile I'd see a lovely something knit by a friend and think to myself that maybe it was time to give it a try. The thought never really lasted for long. About two years ago I purchased Simple Knitting: A Complete How-to-Knit Workshop, by Erika Knight when I had a great Joann Fabric coupon. It sat in my sewing room pretty much untouched.

Two things made me jump on the knitting bandwagon. 1) The older I get the more my body stresses out when asked to do repetitive motions. It is becoming harder to crochet for long periods of time for weeks on end. 2) As we prepare to move I am making a serious attempt to clear out "stuff" and my yarn drawer was in need of a good purge. Over the years I'd amassed several balls of Sugar & Cream / Peaches & Cream cotton yarn. I've learned from past experience that I do not like to crochet with this cotton yarn and wondered how it would be to knit with it.

Knit dishcloths
Colorful knit dishcloths

Small, colorful dishcloths seemed to be a great jumping in project! I can honestly say I am enjoying my foray into the knitting world, although I'm not sure just how elaborate I'll attempt to develop my skills. Each of these dishcloths allowed me to learn a different stitch, or practice a combination. The patterns are very beginner friendly. If you'd like to give them a try here's the details clockwise from top left:

Knitting needles
Knitting needles I found in my supplies

At some point in time my mom must have taught me a little knitting because when I was attempting to learn how to cast on stitches I discovered I already knew how to do it. I am always amazed by muscle memory. I also think we must have had some knitting lessons because I found these needles mixed in with my craft supplies - they show signs of wear on the tips. I honestly don't remember ever completing a knitting project, so maybe I never got much further than casting on, knit, and purl.

Knit dishcloths
Great texture!

It's been really satisfying to learn a new skill, and my wrists and hands are so happy with more variety mixed into the motions I'm asking them to do. The cloth created by knitting is so different than that from crochet and I like how it squishes and stretches. I'd say my venture into the world of knitting is off to a successful start :o)

What new skills are you learning? I'd enjoy hearing about them - leave me a comment :o)