July 2010 Stitch & Bitch

I love our Stitch & Bitch days! Sometimes I get some actual sewing done, but more often than not I just jump from one thing to another – answer a question here, design a quilt there, give opinions of fabric choices, and, of course, TALK. I got a tiny bit accomplished last Saturday, once I figured out what I wanted to work on. I always get more done if I decide what to work on BEFORE people arrive. Because Mickey is leaving at the end of the month, I decided to finish the “baby” quilts for two of her grandchildren, since she’ll be driving out there. (Baby is in quotations because her granddaughter is five or so.) One top is already done, and just needs to be quilted. I hadn’t even started the other; in fact, I hadn’t even decided what to make. Mickey said her granddaughter liked purple, pink and bright colors. I pulled some fabrics, then decided to do a simple nine patch and snowball quilt. Although I didn’t accomplish a lot on Saturday, mostly just cutting fabric, and a few long strips sewn together, last night I finished the blocks, laid out the quilt, and started sewing the blocks together. I should finish it tonight or tomorrow, then I “just” need to get it on the frame and quilted.

Here’s a goal: I will quilt those two baby quilts before Mickey leaves at the end of the month. (If it means that Mom is hand stitching the binding while she drives out to Washington state with Mickey, so be it!)

And since Pat is going to visit her new grandson in California, I’d better add those two baby quilts to the goal list, too. Yes, I said two, because I have a finished top for their five year old daughter, too. Deadline: First week in August.

While I’m at it, I might as well quilt the top for Jean’s oldest granddaughter, and start making quilts for the two that are on the way – both of her daughters are expecting.

Hmm… I’d better get it in gear.

Okay, on to the original purpose of this post – photos from our Stitch & Bitch! Lisa and Jean couldn’t make it, but the rest of us had fun (and pizza) in spite of their absence. (Thanks to the neighbors for baking the second pizza for us – our stove is dying!)

Here are photos from our show and tell:

Becky's Flower Garden
Becky’s Flower Garden Mini Quilt – isn’t it adorable? She’s pointing out that she tried Karrie’s straight line quilting technique – you can see it if you look veryclose.

Becky's Table Set
Becky’s Table Runner and Placemats (Pat’s being a smart ass behind her, but that’s nothing new.)

Becky's Windmill Quilt
Becky’s GORGEOUS Windmill Quilt. She started by sewing squares together, then used a template to cut them apart, then sewed them all back together.

Pat's Basket Quilt
Pat’s Basket Quilt – This woman just sews and sews and sews – every month she has multiple tops to share. She’s always making us laugh, but this month I got her back. She was bragging about how many things she had for show and tell: “Ask me how many things I have. Go ahead, ask me.” So I asked. “THREE,” she said, holding up three fingers. “Well I have THIS,” I replied, holding up just one finger. Guess which finger! She roared. We’re a very casual group.

Pat's French Braid Quilt
This is Pat’s French Braid Quilt. Last month Lisa was working on a French Braid, and Pat asked about the project. Pat is a sponge – show her a new technique, and next month she shows up with a completed project.

Pat learned about String Quilts from Jeanne the month before, and this is what she brought on Saturday:

Pat's String Quilt

Gorgeous, isn’t it? She’s going to quilt it on our frame next month (assuming it will fit – the thing is HUGE!)

Mom's Baby Mother Goose Quilt
Mom’s Mother Goose Quilt – Mom’s been working on this embroidery project for a month or so, and she finally finished all of the blocks. You can’t see it well, but the thread is variegated, and it’s really pretty.

Mickey's Doll Quilt
Mickey’s Patriotic Doll Quilt – Isn’t this the cutest thing?!

Pat's Saggy Baggy Elephant Softy Block
Pat’s Saggy Baggy Elephant Softie Block – She found a pattern for making blocks, and the Saggy Baggy Elephant panels were the perfect fit. (I love the Saggy Baggy Elephant!)

Karrie's Random Reflections Quilt - Fandango
Karrie is our newest member – she’s the recipient of my Flying by the Seat of My Pants mini quilt from the Modify Tradition Swap. She is our quilting “rock star” – this is her first Moda Bake Shop project. It’s called Random Reflections, and is made from Kate Spain’s Fandango line. Check out her tutorial on the Moda Bake Shop blog. She also made the quilt using Eva fabrics from Basic Gray:

Karrie's Random Reflections Quilt - Eva

Karrie's Swap Quilt
Karrie also showed off a beautiful little mini pinwheel quilt that she’s sending off to a very lucky swap partner.

Be sure to check out Karrie’s blog, Freckled Whimsy. She will have another Bake Shop announcement soon, I’m sure. We got to see it, but it’s super secret for now. (Here’s a hint – we all loved it!)

Finally, here’s our first finished Basket BOM top, from Jeanne:

Jeanne's Family Basket BOM

Isn’t this wonderful?! I love the color selection – black and red and white is classic, but that little pop of acid green makes it extra special. Jeanne posted on her blog, Grey Cat Quilts, the morning of our Stitch & Bitch (or was it the night before? She was up sewing Very Late), but she didn’t post photos because she knew I’d be checking her blog. I think that was very mean of her, but I’m glad I got to see it in person. She has a couple of projects in the works that I’m anxious to see, including her Japanese Disco Ball Quilt.

Before you think that I didn’t have anything to show, Mom and I were able to retrieve the Framing Squares quilt from the neighbor in time for the show and tell portion of the day.

And that’s it! I’m already looking forward to our next group. I always walk away so inspired and motivated to quilt. That’s the best part of quilting with friends.


Basket Block 10

Ahem… well…
I…uh…got a little…

Off track.

It happens to me far too often.

Anyway, when I received a comment today from Sharon asking (very politely) when the next block was going to be posted, I took it as the kick in the backside that I needed. Thank you Sharon! I’ve posted the newest block in the sidebar, but because I can’t make WordPress do what I want, it is in the second position instead of the last position. I made it bigger, so it would stand out a bit, but I’ve also posted the link here (click on the block for the PDF):

Block 10

I would also like to thank those of you who voted for the setting options. Setting 6 was the clear winner, with 10 a not-too-distant second. I’ll be writing instructions for those, and if any of my family and friends quilting group wants to do one of the other settings, I’ll post that as well. Here are the settings:

Setting 6
Setting Option 6

Setting 10 (4 versions, depending on fabric placement)
Setting Option 10a

Setting Option 10b

Setting Option 10c

Setting Option 10d

August Quilting Day

Yesterday was a busy, busy day. We had our August quilting day with a record NINE people attending who either worked on projects or showed projects they had been working on. We’re still squeezing into the basement, so I apologize now for the less than stellar photos. Lighting isn’t great for photos, although I have tons of lamps set up at the workstations.

Lisa wasn’t able to attend last month, but this month she brought her Challenge Project. It’s absolutely adorable – I think the smallest squares are 3/4″. Unfortunately, she said “never again!” (We’ll see about that…)

Lisa's challenge project

She also showed her amazing Criss Cross quilt – she finished it as a summer quilt, so it’s tied without batting. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and it’s only her third quilt (and her first bed quilt). I love how she went with a dark background, which really emphasized the sparkle of the light blocks. I wrote the instructions for this, and they’re available here.

Lisa's show and tell August

She also made a valance to go with it:

Lisa's show and tell August 2

Finally, she made this wall hanging:

Lisa's show and tell August 3

We’ve created a monster!

Our newest contributor is Nancy, my mom’s aunt. Nancy has been doing embroidery and cross stitch forever, and she made this pretty baby quilt:

Nancy's show and tell August

A couple of weeks ago, she asked my mom for some suggestions on how to put together a quilt from just a few embroidered blocks. They talked about several possibilities, and Nancy chose to frame the embroidered blocks and add alternating snowball blocks. I think the bright colors she used really emphasize the stitching on her main blocks. With the addition of a pieced border (and possibly one or two plain white borders to set it off) this will be a fabulous twin size quilt.

Nancy's show and tell August 2

Nancy's show and tell August 2 close up

Mom is working on a winter wallhanging with pieced blocks and framed snowman blocks. It’s adorable, although she’s a bit frustrated with the work. The pieced borders on the snowman blocks are really difficult to get just the right size. It’s becoming a chore, but she’s much better at meeting goals than I am, so this will probably be completed before our next meeting.

Mom's show and tell August 2

Mom's show and tell August1
(So that’s where I get the pinkie thing from!)

Karen brought the completed top for her bright quilt. We got together a couple of weeks ago and really blitzed on this one. We had it finished except for the two borders. The inner triangle border was a challenge, but Karen got it all to work out. Mom was a little iffy on this one, but now that the top is done she really likes it. Karen will tie this quilt, and it then it will be raffled off.

Karen's show and tell August

Becky had two show and tells – her completed Challenge table runner (last month the top was done, but it hadn’t been quilted)…

Becky's show and tell Aug

… and her INCREDIBLE Tumblers quilt. She bought this in a kit at the International Quilt Expo in Chicago this spring. There were a few bumps in the road – the pieces were pre-cut, but some of them were cut wrong. Fortunately, the vendor was wonderful and they sent her an entirely new packet of tumblers!

Becky's show and tell August 2

Finally, Mickey’s show and tell was this cute little bag from a pattern called Abby’s Treasure Box by This & That. Is this not the most adorable thing ever?!

Mickey's show and tell August

Once we finished the main show and tell, we talked about the next basket block. I had instructions written (okay, so I wrote them that morning – at least they were done!), but I wanted to make a block to check my math. I was able to finish the block (see previous post) and handed out the patterns as people left. You can download the pattern here or from the bar at the right.

Here are everyone’s basket blocks so far:

    Basket Block 1

Mom's Basket Block 1 Mickey's basket block 1 Becky's basket block 1 Lisa's basket block 1 Basket Blocks 1

    Basket Block 2

Lisa's basket block 2 Jean's basket block 2 Mom's Basket Block 2

Pat didn’t bring her second block, and Karen and I haven’t done either block 1 or 2 yet (but she has a better excuse). I’ll add them as soon as possible.

Several of the ladies (Mom, Pat, Karen and Mickey) worked on a new bag pattern from BarBee Designs. Barb creates the most awesome patterns – she calls them Pockets A Plenty bags for good reason. They purchased patterns at Quilts in the Park last week and were hoping to make the bags in time for the Quilt Expo next month. Becky didn’t have her fabric cut out so she worked on something else, but she’ll be making a bag, too. I cut all of the fusible fleece the night before, and everyone cut their fabrics at home so they could get to sewing right away. This is Barb’s newest pattern, a mini bag that has options for a single or double strap. The ladies are making the single strap water bottle version.

Lisa wants to make a bag, too, but she’d like to start with something a bit easier. I showed her the best tutorial I’ve found for making zippered pouches and she’s going to start with a makeup bag. I explained how to box the corners, in case she wants to play with making a larger zippered bag. We just need to talk about straps…

I actually managed to sew for a while, although I was slightly hampered by a small visitor we had. My cousin and her family are visiting from Washington state, and I had a few things that would interest a girl of her age. The most useful was a box of washable Crayola markers. I gave her a couple of “tattoos”, then let her go to town drawing on herself. She drew on me a bit while I sewed. What the heck – it washed off.

Tattoos from Raine

I figure I can blame this ugly picture on the markers, right?

Here are a couple of photos of Raine (who is a smart, funny, determined, and well-behaved little girl). It’s actual very appropriate that she be included in a post about our family quilting day. She was at our very first family quilting day, back when she was a newborn. We got together to make a wedding quilt for Nancy’s son, and Mom, Pat, Larry (her husband), Mickey, Jean, Grace (my cousin), Adam (her husband), Raine and I were all there.

She’s showing off her heart tattoo, and you can see a bit of the yellow elephant on her arm. This is the second round – she went to the bathroom and when she washed her hands she cleared most of her arms. The aunt who helped couldn’t resist cleaning off her face, too, although you can see a few purple remnants on her nose.

Raine showing tattoo

Here she’s “singing” into the fan. I used to love to do the same, to get that fun buzzy effect on my voice.

Raine talking in the fan

Although it looks like she’s airing her pits, she’s really just singing. She threw up her arms exuberantly, and I lucked out.

Raine airing pits

See how cute she is? Love the pigtails! No, she didn’t bring the toy. That’s a Jibba Jabber that I received for Christmas about 15 years ago.


Because the relatives were visiting, we invited the rest of the family over for a picnic. Unfortunately, it was hot and muggy, so we mostly stayed inside. It was nice to have so many people together, and hey, any excuse for my mom to make potato salad!

Our next quilting day is actually a no-sew day. We’ll be going to the Wisconsin Quilt Expo in Madison on September 12. We’re signing up for lectures and spending the entire day there. This is one of my favorite quilt shows – it’s big enough to be worth the drive, but small enough that you can see it in a single day. They have inexpensive lectures as well as several free lectures on the show floor. They also have a limited number of sit & sew classes that are reasonably priced. Their food is MUCH better than the stuff you can get at the big show in Chicago (Rosemont). Although this year we’re bringing our own, the provided food is well presented, reasonably priced, and very tasty. They usually have a small buffet of hot food, as well as individually priced sandwiches, salads and desserts. If you’re within a couple of hours’ drive from Madison, Wisconsin, check it out! It starts Thursday and ends Saturday. You can learn more here.


So I’ve (finally) made a decision on my Family Basket blocks fabric. I was having such a hard time because everything I pulled, while nice, didn’t jump out and grab me. Finally I decided to treat it as if I were making a quilt for someone else – something that I was going to give away. I didn’t have to love the fabric, I just had to be satisfied that it went together. I finally chose to do browns and blues, using the same fabrics we’ll use for our next neighbor’s kid’s graduation (next year). I’ll cut strips from the fabrics for the graduation quilt every time I cut fabric for my basket blocks. Now that the decision is made, I’m able to move forward. Here’s the fabric I’ve chosen:

Sandi's Basket Fabrics

I made my first block yesterday. It’s actually block #3 (you can download the PDF instructions here), but I wanted to be sure the instructions were accurate before handing them out. Seeing the fabrics in the block, well… I love them!

Sandi's basket block 3

I’m going to alternate the background of the blocks, light and dark. I’m not sure about the setting yet, but we have nine months to decide. I usually give them a few possibilities, usually sashing and a couple of setting squares, but this block screams for an on point setting, so I’ll have to work that out. I saw a beautiful basket quilt at Quilts in the Park last week that used one giant basket block in the center with other basket blocks on point around it. I’ll have to work on that…

Gawd, I hate having my picture taken

…aka, Family Quilting Day July 2009

Last weekend was our monthly quilting session and there is so much to show! A few months ago, I suggested a fabric challenge, like the Hoffman Challenge. I pulled several fabrics from my stash and we chose one as the challenge fabric. We could make anything we wanted as long as it included that fabric. It was a surprise, so no one could see anyone else’s project until the reveal. Here are photos of everyone’s challenge projects:

First, the reason for the post’s title – me, modeling my project:

Sandi's Challenge Sandi's Challenge Reverse

And yes, these photos are smaller because it’s my blog and if I want to post my ugly pictures smaller, I will.

Next we have Karen’s challenge project. Karen isn’t finished with hers yet, but she’s turning this into a bed quilt so we have to cut her some slack. Also, these are SO not Karen’s colors, so it was REALLY a challenge for her. Her Family Star BOM blocks are laid out on the floor further down this post, and you’ll see what I mean about the colors.

Karen's Challenge

Then there’s Pat’s project. Also not quite finished, she created a beautiful flower garden. Notice that each potted flower includes a piece of the challenge fabric.

Pat's Challenge

Becky is family by extension. She is Pat’s daughter’s husband’s mom. (I just like saying that.) They were talking about people being surprised that they got along with each other, considering the stereotype of mothers-in-law. I’m glad they get along, because I like having Becky in our group (even though she’s a bit camera shy – she’s looking down or away in most photos that include her). Here’s her challenge project:

Becky's Challenge

Finally, here’s my mom’s project, a two sided garden flag. Isn’t it adorable?

Mom's Challenge

She made it to put at the corner of the house next to the neighbors during their daughter’s graduation party. You remember… the one we made the Good & Plenty quilt for? Taking a slight break from the quilting day photos, here’s the bag I made for the quilt.

Good & Plenty gift bag

I used the reversible patchwork bag tutorial by Pink Penguin for inspiration. Next time I do one, I think I’ll make the drawstring holder thingies a little wider. They were difficult to pull on such a large bag. It’s probably the perfect size for a smaller bag like in her tutorial.

We were trying to figure out how to wrap it and finally I said I’d just make a bag for it. I assembled strips from the quilt’s leftovers, used the backing for the lining, and put this bag together the morning of the party. Best of all, it’s big enough to put a regular pillow in so she could use it as a sham if she wanted.

Here’s the graduate with Mom and I when we gave her the quilt.

Good & Plenty gifted

Laura was very pleased, in no small part because now she knew why her mom was stalling about redecorating the bedroom. They made a deal – if Laura decided to go to college locally, they would give her a bedroom makeover. Laura’s mom helped choose the fabrics for the quilt, so it all went together perfectly. Now she can finally have her room.

Okay, back to the family quilting day…

We did show and tell, and of course, everyone but me had something to show. I really need to sew more and plan less…

Karen found some partially finished embroidered pillowcases, and she picked up some fabric to go with them.

Karen's show and tell 1

Karen's show and tell 2

She also brought along a quilt top that we put on the frame – Mom quilted it and finished by the end of the day so Karen could take it home with her.

Karen's show and tell 3

Apparently, Karen’s had this top finished for quite a while. It’s a gift for a good friend of hers, Lala, who joined us for the day. Sorry, no photos of Lala – she was hiding behind all of the quilts that Pat held up.

Karen also showed us her completed blocks from our last quilt along, the Family Star BOM. You can see why I said the bright challenge fabric is not her comfort zone!

Karen's Family BOM

Finally, she showed us the fabrics she picked out for our current basket block quilt along.

Karen's basket fabrics

If you’ll notice in previous pictures, she dressed to match her new fabrics!

The next quilter is Mickey, mom’s youngest sister. Mickey just moved back to the area from Washington state, and has been living in a motor home for the past couple of years. She stopped quilting during that time, but now that she’s back in a larger house she’s going full force again. Here’s her first project:

Mickey's show and tell 1

She also picked up a cute fabric piece with the Quilter’s Alphabet on it, and a coordinating print.

Mickey's show and tell 2

Pat is Mom’s middle sister (Mom’s the oldest), and she’s our most prolific quilter. Every time we get together she has at least two projects to show! This time around was no exception. First, she found a needlework book from the late 70’s, early 80’s. She remembered Mom saying she wished she had a book with needlepoint stitches, so when Pat found this at a rummage sale (I think), she snapped it up.

Pat's show and tell 1
(See? Becky’s hiding…)

Pat’s blue and yellow quilt is made from a charm pack called Sunshine, by April Cornell for Moda. We all oohed over this one – both Mom and Karen have the same charm pack.

Pat's show and tell 3

She also showed this quilt – I’m not sure the pattern name, but it’s adorable!

Pat's show and tell 2

Finally, our newest quilter is Jean, Mom’s sister-in-law. Jean’s always been a wonderful seamstress, but she dipped her toes in the quilting waters when we got together to make a wedding quilt several years ago. She helped make the blocks for her daughter’s wedding quilt, then took a little break (if helping plan a wedding, managing a house and working full time can be considered taking a break), but she joined us a couple of months ago to work on a baby quilt. I think Jean’s our dark horse quilter – she’s building confidence, and once she’s sure of her skills nothing will get in her way. She could challenge Pat for the title of “Most Prolific.” Here’s Jean’s basket block:

Jean's Basket Block 1

She’s the only one of us who actually did the homework from last month! Karen chose her colors, and Pat decided on Batiks, but wasn’t sure how she wanted to use them. After bouncing ideas around, she decided to use ONE batik fabric in each basket block, using a white background. Because batiks are so varied within the same piece of fabric, she’ll still get a lot of movement without too much busy-ness. Once that was decided, she knuckled down and made her basket block. Here are her’s and Jean’s side by side – amazing what a different the fabric choices can make!

Basket Blocks 1

In the last week, Mom’s been working away at her basket blocks. She wants to go scrappy again (this is real progress for her, since she tends toward 3-4 fabrics per quilt). This time she’s going a little softer, and the two baskets she has finished are gorgeous! But that photo is for another post…

I’ve been struggling with my fabric choices. I thought I was going to use a 40’s repro as my inspiration, but, well, I just wasn’t inspired. I’ve avoided cutting the fabrics, and I finally realized this morning that I needed to make this quilt with the intention of giving it away. That way I can choose fabrics without the pressure of “loving” them. I decided to use the brown and blue color scheme that we’re doing for the other neighbor’s graduation quilt. He doesn’t graduate until next year, so we have some time, but we’ve already chosen the fabrics and pattern. As I cut the basket quilt blocks, I’ll also cut the strips for his quilt. This will give us a head start on the project.

Okay, having said that… I’m off to cut fabric!

(Sorry, everyone. My blog – only photos of ME get to be posted itty bitty.)