Sunday, September 18, 2016

Pulling out an old friend

Do you remember this medallion quilt? I started it six years ago with thoughts of having it finished in time for our 25th wedding anniversary. 

It seemed like the perfect quilt to make because it married my interest in quilting with my husbands interest in the Civil War. Now here we are two short weeks away from our 30th anniversary and this quilt is still not finished. 

I still love the cozy use-me-everyday look of this quilt, and it has taught me so much about piecing. I really would like to get it finished. 

In October my local quilt club is holding an all day sew-in. This seems like the perfect opportunity to work on repetitive piecing, so I thought I'd pull this quilt out and get all the facric cut for the next couple borders - that way I can spend the day at the retreat sewing -  and ironing :)

I'd love to hear about a project you've had in the works for a long time, but still want to finish. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Acorns of all shapes and sizes

Late summer is always a fun creative time for me. My dear friend, M, has a birthday in August and I always have the best time making things for her. She and I both share a love for autumn so this year I thought I'd use the icon of all things fall-ish, the acorn, as inspiration.

Acorns of all shapes & sizes
Acorns of all shapes and sizes :o)

It all started when I happened across the super cute acorn patchwork pillow pattern by Bridgette of The Family Hearth. This is a great pattern for using up scraps of low volume fabric! I love the bold, graphic design! I made my pillow with a simple envelope style back.

Acorn patchwork pillow
Acorn patchwork pillow - pattern by Bridgette from The Family Hearth

For the quilting I used masking tape to mark simple diagonal lines in order to stitch an "X" through each square.  It's always so fun to quilt small projects because they fit in my Janome sewing machine without any tight pushing or pulling to get the quilting done.

After the pillow was finished I did a bit of searching for some acorn accessories to go with it. On Pinterest I found the pattern for patchwork acorn potholders made with fabric on the front and a dish towel backing.

Patchwork acorn potholders

These patchwork acorn potholders by Therm-o-Web are so easy to make, and again, scraps are the name of the game! I really like how the fabric squares end up on point in the potholders. I lined them with Insul-Bright to make them more heat resistant in addition to the dish towel backs.

Finally, I just wanted one more small item to tuck into the package and decided on the little crochet acorn. This pattern comes from Kristi of the blog Engsidrun. I was able to use scraps from some of my favorite yarn for these sweet little acorn.

Crochet acorns
Crochet acorn

I am fully aware that I probably got a bit carried away with theme gifts, but I had such fun that maybe I got away with it? Hope you enjoy the first days of fall! I know I will :o)

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Barbados Bag

A couple weeks ago I was chatting with my friend Kelley, the owner of our local quilt shop, The Scrappy Apple, about wanting a messenger bag pattern. Kelley pointed me to The Barbados Bag pattern by Pink Sand Beach Designs. It looked like a fun pattern and well worth trying.

The bag front allows for fun fabric combinations

I already had the beautiful Purebred paint-by-number roses fabric (by one of my favorite designers, Erin Michael) and thought it would make a perfect late summer/early fall bag. 

Finding just the right accent fabrics proved to be a bit of a challenge. I purchased a couple different options before finding just what I wanted was already in my stash. I ended up using the blue Woodgrain from Michael's first paint-by-number line, Lush. Also, the fun coral Figures fabric by Zen Chic. 

The front features a "hidden" pocket behind the Woodgrain fabric as well as a zippered pocket in front of it. 

Great pockets for stashing sun glasses!

The back has two long pockets.  I just love a bag with lots of organization :)

Inside I used Paint Chips, also by Erin Michael. I have a hard time envisioning how to use the Paint Chips fabric so I think a bag lining will be just right. The inside also includes two pockets-perfect for a cell phone and keys.

So happy to have found a great application for this Paint Chips fabric!

The pattern is well written with good descriptions of each step. There are a ton of pictures - one for every step of the process. All these pictures can look a bit overwhelming at first, but if you just follow the instructions one at a time it all comes right together just as it's written. This is the first time I've done a flat zipper as shown on the bag front and it was not hard at all. I did add a bit more top stitching than the pattern called for - mostly because I just really like the look of top stitching.

The pattern is written for optional swivel hooks on the strap which I chose to use. In addition, I wanted the strap length to be adjustable so I shopped around and found a slide adjuster in the same antique brass as the swivel clips. The finished bag dimensions are 11 tall by 10" wide x 2" deep.

Adjustable slide can be seen on the left side of the strap
I definitely would make this pattern again, and might even try making it an inch taller and wider.  All in all it's a great pattern, and it's so fun to pick out coordinating fabrics for each part! Tomorrow I'll start using my new messenger bag! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Christmas Placemats

Working with Christmas fabrics in the summer is such fun - and usually comes without the "must get this finished" stress of holiday sewing. A sweet young couple from my church is getting married this summer and of course that called for making some special placemats for the bridal shower :o)

In From the Cold Placemats & Coasters
Placemat and coaster gift set

This young couple are both avid coffee and tea drinkers so of course the In From the Cold steaming mugs patterns came right to my mind when I was thinking of what to make for them. Although I knew I wanted to make the mugs, I has no idea for the overall placemat design. After I got the four mugs made I did a simple Google image search for quilted placemats to find some inspiration. As soon as I came across the Lines in the Sand placemat pattern I knew I'd found the perfect setting!

How fun it was to pick just the right fabrics to pair up with the little mugs and cups. I used fabric bits from two of Kate Spain's Christmas lines: 12 Days of Christmas, and In From the Cold. So exciting to use some of these precious fabrics! They've lived in my stash for a couple years waiting for just the right project to pull them out. Although, I hardly made a dent in them. Here is a closer look at each of the four mats:

In From the Cold Placemats-steaming cup No. 1
Steaming cup No. 1

In From the Cold Placemats-steaming mug No. 1
Steaming mug No. 1

In From the Cold Placemats-steaming cup No. 2
Steaming cup No. 2
In From the Cold Placemats-steaming mug No. 2
Steaming mug No. 2

After the mats were stitched together came the daunting question of how to quilt them. I played around with some free motion quilting and did a bit of practice, but none of the designs I thought I could pull off seemed right for these placemats. I opted to go with one of my very favorite quilting patterns - grid quilting. I used the walking foot on my machine and did 1/2" grids. Looking at the mats I think it was a perfect choice :o)

In From the Cold Placemats-complete set
In From the Cold placemats and coasters

Once they were finished I did have a moment of thinking, "White placemats? What was I thinking??" but I think I'll let the bride and groom worry about that! Truthfully, I hope they just use them and not worry about the white. Wishing this young couple many cosy evenings (or mornings!) of toasty warm beverages :o)

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'.