Monday, November 23, 2015

And the winner is...

Such an exciting week this has been! I hope you've enjoyed visiting each of the blogs for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Volume 12 block designers...I know I have :o) It's always fun to learn the inspiration behind the design of a quilt block ~ and how the designers come up with ideas. Such talented ladies they are!

If you make All Points North 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!

All Points North quilt block

For the magazine drawing I asked readers to tell me what is their very favorite quilt block. Wow did I find a wealth of inspiration in the blocks you've named! I'm going to see if I can use one of your favorites to come up with a new variation. The stand out favorite is the humble log cabin block. Whereas this block has a lot of versatility with regard to layout I'm not so sure about finding something to actually change about the block itself. But you never know...I've already been sketching! I'll keep you posted :o) 

I used the Random Number Generator to pick a winner for an issue of 100 Blocks Volume 12 to be sent directly from Quiltmaker's. 

The winner is No. 72!! Hooray!! I've sent Joye an email to let her know she is the magazine winner from my drawing.

Thanks again for joining me as we celebrate 100 Blocks Volume 12! 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!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Blog Tour ~ Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 12

Welcome quilting friends! I'm so happy to have you visit my blog :o) Quiltmaker's blog tours are always a good time ~ you're sure to find lots of inspiration as you visit all the stops!

All Points North is the name I chose for my block, and you can find it in 100 Blocks Volume 12 as block No. 1186. About the time I was planning a new block to submit to Quiltmaker's I was admiring all the Nordic snowflake blocks that were cropping up around quilting social media sites, so I used that basic block design as my jumping off point. My block is a cross between the snowflake block and a Tulip Lady Finger block. I combined dimensions from the snowflake block with the piecing method of the Tulip Lady Finger.  Then, as has become my design method I evaluated the negative (background) areas to see what I could add to the block and ended up with the chevrons.

All Points North ~ designed by Debbie Martin

My goal was a block that would create a secondary design, or a totally different look when repeated across a quilt top. In order to see what it would look like as a complete quilt top I inserted a photo of All Points North into Google Slides. Then I copied and pasted multiple times to create a mock-up of a top.

All Points North Quilt Layout
All Points North ~ quilt top mock-up

I was delighted to see that when the block is repeated over the quilt top the background almost becomes the noticeable pattern and the Tulip Lady Fingers become the background! So fun!!

My quilting sketch book ~ drafts of All Points North
My typical design process begins with my grid paper composition notebook and a package of colored pencils. I sketch out my idea and begin coloring. If you look at this page you can see I used half-square triangles the first time I added the chevrons. The second time I changed to flying geese.

I also experimented with the placement of the chevrons. I chose to keep them closer to the edge of the block (top drawing) since my goal was to create a secondary design. I thought this would be more evident if the chevrons matched points when multiple blocks are sewn together.

Once I have the design finalized I draw it again on 12" square Quilter's Rule paper so I can see what it looks like at full size. Doing this helps ensure I cut my fabric to the correct dimensions when I make a test block.

Full size sketch of All Points North

Here's a picture of All Points North the first time I made it. If you look closely you can see I used the half-square triangles for the chevrons. It was after making this test block I decided to switch to the flying geese in order to reduce the number of seams.

All Points North using traditional fabric

Maybe seeing how a piece of grid paper and colored pencils are all you need to design a quilt block has inspired you to try your hand at design. If so, I hope you'll let me know! 

Quiltmaker's is generously giving one of my blog readers a free issue of 100 Blocks, Volume 12. To be entered into the drawing just leave me a comment telling me what is your favorite quilt block - maybe I will use it as a jumping off point for a new design :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 Sunday evening, November 22.

I hope you've enjoyed stopping by :o) Don't miss out on all the other blogs featured in the tour. They can be found on Quilty Pleasures blog.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Log Home *sweet dreams*

You probably noticed that my blog posts vary quite a bit in frequency. My best intentions are to blog on a somewhat regular basis, but sometimes other things tend to crowd out blogging. Lately these other things have been designing our new home and experiencing a book hangover! {Definition of book hangover: when you've finished a book and you suddenly return to the real world, but the real world feels incomplete or surreal because you're still living in the world of the book - quote Urban} In the past four months I've read 15 novels written by Earlene Fowler and enjoyed every single one of them! I really did feel a bit lost when I'd finished the final one.

Today I thought I'd share an update on our log home. As I've mentioned in the past, my husband and I are dreaming {and planning} on building a small log home on land we purchased several years ago. When you look at the gravel road on my blog header you can see where we will be building. Our land is on the right hand side of this road. We've spent the last eight months working with a builder on the design of our home.

House Plans
Design drawings for our log home

It's been a fun and educational process. We'd been dreaming of our log home ever since we started looking for land about seven years ago. As we searched for land we had two main criteria:
  • my husband wants to be able to hunt on it
  • I wanted to make sure it did not have a scary mountain driveway that would stress me out every time I drove on it
We were blessed to find land less than 20 miles from where we currently live. This allows us to stay with our current jobs, remain in our beloved church, and keep all the same service providers we've used for the past 29+ years. Our lot is just about a half mile off a well maintained state route. Neighboring homeowner's frequently comment on seeing bear, deer, turkey, wildcats, squirrel, and other small animals.

Work book to help plan your home
Last fall I attended a Log & Timber University in order to gain basic knowledge about the process of building a log home. One of the things they encourage is developing a priority list of features you'd like in your home. Then, as you need to make choices regarding what to include you have something to help guide your decisions.

While attending the log home show I met a builder/dealer for Katahdin Cedar Log Homes who works in the area we plan to build. A couple months later he came to meet us at our lot and look over the land. Both my husband and I liked him immediately. He has been a wealth of information and so patient as we've worked through many drafts of home plans.

One booth at the log home show is called the newsstand. Here you are able to purchase bundles of outdated log home magazines at a greatly reduced price. I've done this twice now. Most of the homes in the magazines are way too fancy and elaborate for our needs, but it is so helpful to look at things such as floor plans, kitchen & bathroom layouts, wall treatments (all log interior versus including other wall materials), porches, etc.

A few of the many magazines I've collected for reference

As with any custom home construction it is difficult to know what you want to actually afford without just jumping in and submitting a preliminary design to a builder for pricing. Let me just say I have a new appreciation for the fancy roof lines, custom windows, and elaborate floor plans we see all around us in builder/developer neighborhoods. We quickly found that plain and simple best met our needs.

When first having to face up to choosing between the dormer windows or the fireplace we've always dreamed of it was a bit hard. But, we tend to live in the practical world and found that after a day or so of lamenting that ALL our dreams cannot be included we were perfectly happy to whittle down to what we really want to afford. We had no idea how much time and doodling goes into designing a floor plan that both meets your needs, and fits into the footprint dimensions of a home...we've put many, many hours into this over the last several months.

Approximate location of our home

Anyway, at this point we are pretty much finished with our final designs and hope to be advancing to the next step of the process soon. I hope you've enjoyed this little peak into our log home journey. Hopefully in the near future there will be more excitement to share as we move forward :o)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Going on a barn see quilts!

Recently I had the opportunity to join a fun bunch of ladies from my local quilt group on a barn quilt tour. We spent the day traveling the Garrett County, MD barn quilt trail.  Oh did we have fun!

Circle of Life Barn Quilt
Circle of Life Barn Quilt

Our day began bright and early. The tour is about 2+ hours from where we live so we had plenty of time to chat and get to know each other better. On our way to the tour we stopped at the Spruce Forest Artisan Village. The buildings are all old cabins that have been restored and relocated to this village.

Ladies from my local quilt group

We quickly enjoyed the beauty of the village - going in a few of the shops to watch the artists at work.

Spruce Forest Artisan Village
A sample of the beautiful cottages!

From there we made a quick stop in Grantsville, MD at the Four Seasons Stitchery Quilt Shop - we couldn't pass up that opportunity! Everyone there was so friendly :o)

Then we began our tour of the barn quilts. I'll just leave you to enjoy the beauty of the countryside and the barns and see you at the end of the tour!

Double Pinwheel
Double Pinwheel Barn Quilt

Blazing Star Barn Quilt
Blazing Star Barn Quilt

Amish Dahlia Barn Quilt
Amish Dahlia Barn Quilt
Snails Trail Barn Quilt
Snails Trails Barn Quilt

Crazy Quilt Barn Quilt
Crazy Quilt Barn Quilt - in the SNOW in October!

County Fair Barn Quilt
County Fair Barn Quilt - appropriately chosen for this location! 

Delectable Mountains Barn Quilt
Delectable Mountains Barn Quilt
Flying Geese Barn Quilt
Flying Geese Barn Quilt - our favorite of the day!

Sallie's T Barn Quilt
Sallie's T Barn Quilt - Such a funny story on our visit to this barn!

Original Applique Barn Quilt
Original Applique Barn Quilt
Bonus Quilt :o)
A bonus quilt on a garage along the trail
LeMoyne Star Barn Quilt
LeMoyne Star Barn Quilt
Old Maid's Puzzle Barn Quilt
Old Maid's Puzzle Barn Quilt

Garden Maze Barn Quilt
Garden Maze Barn Quilt

A little corn maze fun!
We had to stop for one last group picture :o)
Now that you've seen these great barn quilts are you interested in making your own? If so, check out this informative article.

We didn't see all of the barn quilts in Garrett County - just those clustered together. This leaves us with the opportunity to go again and finish the tour. It was such a great day! I highly recommend filling up your car with friends and heading out on a barn quilt tour! 

I'd love to hear if you've done a tour where you live - or, which of these barn quilts is your favorite?