Monday, November 28, 2016

Baby shower goodness

How fun it is to find just the right pattern when needing to make a gift. A few years ago Julianna, of Sewing Under Rainbow, shared a paper pieced tutorial for the Not So Spring Deer. This deer, to me, looks like a young buck, and therefore perfect to honor the upcoming arrival of a certain little mister :o)

Paper pieced deer wall hanging
The "Not So Spring Deer" paper pieced pattern as a wall hanging

This little man's mama is creating a woodland setting in baby's nursery and using neutral colors with a touch of blue. The geometric print from Kate Spain's Good Fortune line seemed the perfect print for paper piecing as the densely printed pattern blurs well where the paper pieces come together. Looking through my stash I found a nice variety of medium dark gray fabrics to round out the project.

Quilting process shot
30 degree diamond quilting

I wanted the solid gray background fabric to have a dense quilting that did not extend into the borders. To accomplish this I layered the deer panel onto the batting; then used a ruler to mark 30 degree diamonds, and the edge of the walking foot to quilt the lines approx. 1/2 inch apart. Each time I came to the deer I cut the thread, knotted it, and wove it in. After the quilting was finished I stitched the borders onto the batting.


Half inch 30 degree grid quilting
30 degree diamond quilting

The dense quilting does a nice job of making the deer stand out from the background. A thin blue 1/4 " border adds a nice frame, and then some fun polka dots to enhance the young look of the buck.

Perle cotton button hole stitch
Perle cotton buttonhole stitch
Somewhere I remembered seeing buttonhole stitch used to sew down binding. I thought this would add a nice hand-stitched look as well as a texture, and I just happened to have the perfect gray perle cotton on hand! I love how it looks, but was surprised at how hard it is to do buttonhole stitch through cotton; definitely hard on the hands. I don't think I could do this on a larger quilt.


Envelope style back
Envelope style back

I found two more prints in my stash which are just the right shade of gray to finish out the mini quilt. For the back I opted to go with an envelope closure; this allows the mini to be used either as a wall hanging, or a pillow. Using fun prints makes the back just as show-worthy as the front :o) Projects like this are so much fun! I love finding just the right fabrics and considering each little detail.

Paper pieced deer as a pillow
Not So Spring Deer as a pillow

 I'm praying for the safe arrival of this sweet little boy, and blessings for his mama and daddy as they experience the joys of their first baby.


Friday, November 25, 2016

Cabin update & contest winner

I've been thinking that's it's time for a cabin update! Would you like to see how our Katahdin Cedar Log Home is coming along? Join me for a tour :o)

October 30, 2016 Progress
Loving the green shingles and window trim!

This picture was taken about a month ago. Our builders, Cabin Run Construction, are doing such a nice job! The roofing is complete and all windows are installed in this picture. The log walls are ready for the finish/protective sealer to be applied. We've decided to go with Perma-Chink in the Cedar colorway; this seems like a natural choice since our home is built with cedar logs from Maine.

Full glass door on right side of log home
Door into great room

This side door leads into the great room. I'm sure we'll use it a lot for fire wood :o) I'm so glad we decided to wrap the decking around the side of the house. The original plan was to just have a front porch and a back deck. But once we saw how the land would be graded around the house we opted to have this decking to connect the front and back. It's one of my favorite features.

Living room sliding glass door
Sliding glass door on back of house

From the living room to the back deck we opted for a sliding glass door instead of a swinging patio door. This decision was based mostly on my thinking that a sliding door takes up less floor space to operate.

Back decking
Deck off the back of the house

We kept the deck off the back of the house a cozy size. This picture shows how it covers the patio door leading into the lower level. Both panels of the patio door are functional in order to allow large items to be moved in and out with ease. We won't have a carport or garage for awhile so the lower level will need to store kayaks and garden equipment. Since the back is the shady side of the house we had a concrete pad poured under the deck to prevent a muddy mess.

October 30, 2016 Progress
Quadra-Fire Wood Fireplace

In the great room the living area is to the left and the dining space to the right. We had a wood burning insert installed in the fireplace for maximum efficiency. This unit has an internal fan and a burn time of up to 16 hours. We are going with native field stone cut to a thin veneer and hope to do a rough hewn mantle. That big pile of wood to the right is actually cedar paneling. Katahdin log homes are built using what they call the energy envelope system. The inside of the house will be lined with rigid foam insulation and then covered with the cedar paneling. So, it looks as if you are seeing the inside of the logs, but it's actually the cedar paneling. This greatly increases the R value of the walls.

Interior partition walls
Looking the other direction...

When you turn around and look the other direction you can see the other rooms of the cabin. On the upper level there is a guest bedroom to the back with a loft and 3/4 bathroom in front. On the lower level the kitchen will be to the left with the front entry hall/mudroom and master bathroom behind. To the right is the master bedroom, laundry closet, and a small office. That yellow LVL beam will be encased to make it more attractive :o)

This is pretty much where we stand right now. We'd hoped to be moving in by the end of the year, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen now. We've been busy picking out appliances, fixtures, and flooring. The decisions are both fun and a bit stressful; knowing these products are expensive, and must last a long time puts pressure to make wise choices.


Okay - now for the results of the Quiltmaker's 100 Block Volume 14 drawing! The Random Number Generator chose No. 18! The winner is Bonnie and she sent me her mailing information which I've forwarded to Quiltmakers. Congratulations Bonnie!





Thank you all for celebrating my block, Order in the Court, with me. If you end up making one I'd love it if you'd tag me! I've already submitted a design for inclusion in Volume 15 which will be published in the spring ~ wish me luck :o)

Order in the Court
Order in the Court by Debbie Martin

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 14 Blog Tour

Welcome friends! It's one of the most wonderful times of the year - Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks blog tour! Twice a year I relish sitting down with my computer and a hot cup of tea and blog hopping to read about the creative inspiration behind the blocks that appear in Quiltmaker's new issue. I bet you love to do the same thing and that's why you're here :o)

I am so thrilled to have my block, Order in the Court, included in Volume 14. Can you see how it got it's name? It should look like a cousin to the block known as Courthouse Steps.

Order in the Court
Order in the Court

Order in the Court came about as the result of a challenge I put together during Quiltmaker's Volume 12 blog hop this time last year. I asked visitors to tell me their favorite quilt block when they left a comment, and said I may use that as a jumping off point for a new design. Far and away the favorite block of most was the log cabin. I previously submitted a block, Flowers for the Cabin, to Quiltmaker's Volume 13 designed around the log cabin block; you can read more about it here if you're interested. In keeping with the challenge I tried everything I could think of for another design with a log cabin block, but just couldn't come up with anything. I was starting to think I'd have to move to something else for inspiration. Then, I got to thinking about the Courthouse Steps block, and how it's a sister to the log cabin block. Ahhh...Courthouse Steps. Now this block showed some promise.

After sketching out some ideas I started cutting fabric. I knew I wanted my block to have a fun little center, but wasn't sure just what it should be. Here are a couple variations I tried:

First attempt at a new design
My first attempt included a small friendship star in the center with contrasting fabric

Since star blocks came in a close second to log cabin I thought a simple friendship star might work for the center. I also thought I'd like to use contrasting fabric to really draw attention to the center, but this just wasn't speaking to me.

Second attempt with a shoefly center
Second option was to use a small shoefly as the center; still using high contrast colors


Next, I thought a small shoefly in the center would be cute. I do like this, but the colors were just not right so I set the block aside to ponder more options.

Order in the Court
Final version with a square in a square center - just right :o)


Home one day because of a snow storm, I pulled some pretty fabric scraps in softer colors, and sat down to play with them. The always versatile square in a square came about, and seemed to be just the right center for this Order in the Court block. Although, I bet if I changed out the fabrics any of these three options would work fine.

Order in the Court Quilt Top
Order in the Court as a quilt top

Here's a picture to give an idea what Order in the Court would look like as a quilt top. Pretty fun! Rather than looking like courthouse steps it turns out more like chunky plus signs. Don't you love how the look of a block changes when you combine them? I don't have any special software, so this picture was made in Google Drawings by just copying and pasting.

How about a giveaway?! Quiltmaker's is generously giving one of my blog readers a free issue of 100 Blocks, Volume 14For a chance to win leave me a comment telling me about your holiday sewing - do you enjoy making homemade gifts? Are you an early starter, or a last minute crafter? Any good go-to gift ideas you want to share? :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, November 19.

Well friends, thanks so much for stopping by and letting me tell you all about Order in the Court. I hope you soak in a lot of inspiration as you visit all the blogs on the tour. You can read about the tour and find links to the featured blogs on Quiltmaker's blog, Quilty Pleasures

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'.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Quilts in the Queue

From time to time it helps me focus if I list and write about the projects I need to make...and finish :o) I don't know about you, but I can get quite distracted by all the pretty quilts on Pinterest, Instagram, flickr, and just online. Next thing I know I'm buying fabric and starting a new project on a whim, and the things I need to get accomplished are pushed off. While it is exciting to start new things, and spontaneity is fun, I feel much better when I stick to a plan. So here goes...

First up is a pillow for a baby shower. This sweet silhouette is call the Not So Spring Deer and is a paper-pieced pattern from Julianna of Sewing Under Rainbows. A woodland theme with a color scheme of gray, white, and a touch of blue was the objective for this little quilt. I just finished the pillow top and have a plan for hand quilting on this. I'd like to find a soft flannel to use for the pillow back.

Not So Spring Deer - a paper pieced pattern
Not So Spring Deer

Right after that baby shower a fourth sweet one is on the way in my nephew's family! I have free reign to pick a design and colors for this baby quilt. Last year a friend of mine gave me some vintage quilt books she bought at an auction. One of them, Quick & Easy Quiltmaking, published by That Patchwork Place, has a fun quilt named, The Fleet Is In which features tall ships. This is another pattern that I knew I'd love to make, so the occasion of a new baby is perfect! I think these bright fabrics will bring it right up to speed with a more modern look.

The Fleet Is In - a tall ships pattern
The Fleet Is In by Nancy Martin

Finally, October was my month to choose the quilt design and destination for the Faith Circle of do. Good Stitches. We are making a Quilt of Valor for a very special young soldier. I'll be writing more about that later, but for now I thought I'd show the pretty blocks the members of Faith Circle sent me.

Triangle Blocks made by the Faith Circle
Quilt of Valor blocks

I asked for half-square triangles and solid blocks measuring 8-1/2" square using Americana colors. My goal is to make a quilt that looks similar to this beautiful design by Ara Jane, and made by the Love Circle of do. Good Stitches.

Okay friends - this is my accountability post :o) We'll see how well I do staying on task! How about you? What are you working on that needs to get finished?

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Time to retire the tomato

I've never been big on pin cushions. I know some quilters make them, swap them, and collect them. Nope, that's just never been me. In fact, I've had the same humble tomato pin cushion given to me by my grandmother 30+ years ago when she gave me a sewing machine. It's one of those tomatoes that had a strawberry on a string that was used to sharpen pins. Well, the strawberry is long gone, but the tomato has endured.


My tomato pin cushion 

Actually, I don't even use a pin cushion as I'm sewing. Once I start pulling pins and using them I switch to a little magnetic platform that came from a museum gift shop as part of a toy. I really like to use this while I sew because I can just drop the pins on it and don't have to be concerned with sticking them into a pin cushion. However, I don't think it's a good idea to store my pins on this platform because it's too easy for them to get brushed off accidently.

do. Good Stitches~Faith Circle~October Blocks
Handy little magnetic platform

Yesterday, my local quilt club had a sew-in day. One of the ladies who attended brought a few small items she had made to give away. She had an assortment of adorable chicken pin cushions...I couldn't resist :o)

I love the sweet fabrics :o)

Check out that crazy hair!

Complete with a sassy tail!

Can you blame me for retiring the tomato? I do believe a chicken pin cushion this cute needs a name, don't you...any ideas?


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.