Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Winner!

True Random Number Generator  73Powered by RANDOM.ORG
Thanks SEW much for all your comments and visits to my Island Batiks Sock Hop Blog Hop post!  I really appreciate it.
Joyce was comment #73, and I've sent her an email to get her address.  
She'll win these fabrics.  

Thanks again for visiting!  I do hope you come back soon.  I'll have new things to show, and more fun planned.  

And, as many know, the North East US had a huge snow storm.  Luckily, in the mountains of Northeastern PA, it wasn't as bad as predicted.  Between the clipper and Juno, I got about 8 new inches of snow since Sunday.  Not too bad for us, but parts of the coast are devastated.  Hugs and prayers for them.  I hope you are all safe and warm, and hopefully enjoying a quilt!  Have a great day.  I'm off to get a mug of hot chocolate.  


Monday, January 26, 2015

Last Chance!

Today is your Last Chance to enter to win this 3 YARD selection of Island Batiks fabrics!  

The cat print is a full ONE YARD piece!  The other 4 are half yard cuts.  

If you haven't tried Island Batiks, you are in for a treat!  The fabrics are such a high quality, and the prints are gorgeous.  

Go enter HERE.  Leave a comment (or 3) if you haven't already visited.  Winner will be announced Tuesday!  

Thanks again for joining the Hop!  I do hope you visited the other bloggers, and especially Island Batiks, to get inspiration and a chance to win fabric or other prizes!  

Comments on this post will not be eligible for the prize.  I'm only selecting from comments on the original post.  Thanks again for visiting!  


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Quiltsy Team Mug Rug swap

I'm a member of the Quiltsy team on Etsy, a sellers team.  We share just about everything in the chat thread, like good friends in an international quilting guild would.  Yes, international. I chat with Astrid, in Mauritius, and Steph in Australia, and Paula in Ireland, and Cathy in Hawaii, and many members from all over the US and Canada.  We all share a love of fabrics and thread, and quilting, and fiber arts.  We cheer on each others sales, and support the shops of our friends, as well as their family lives, and professional accomplishments.  I consider these women and men friends.   In 2013, we learned one of our members had lost her house in Superstorm Sandy.  Many sent her tools and fabric to replace her lost stash, and we collected quilt blocks and made a king size quilt and a large lap quilt to comfort her as she rebuilt.  Another member was diagnosed with breast cancer, and we sent a prayer shawl and a quilt to comfort her as she battled.  She's now cancer free.

Later in 2013, I asked for about 6 quilts to augment the ones I received from Quilts of Honor, to be presented to Veterans at the West Hempstead Kiwanis, my brother's club.  The team came through.  Some just made blocks, and others made tops, while others quilted them. The Vets were very touched by the quilts, and I was so proud to be a member of such a generous team.  

We've also made group quilts, and done swaps.  The current swap is for a mug rug.  A mug rug is a small quilted mat, smaller than a place mat, where one can place a cup of coffee and a snack.  It's larger than a coaster.  Members were asked to sign up, and the coordinator paired us up, one on one.  I was paired with Barb, of Down Home Designs. Through our chats, I've learned many things about Barb, and her family.  She loves vintage stuff, and collects vintage sewing machines, like me.  She and Mike have been married for about 40 years, and she often cares for her grandchildren, and they have cows.  Mike loves vintage cars, and often posts photos on Facebook, which I love seeing.  

So, I needed to design a mug rug for Barb.  She's making one for me.  What fabrics do I use?  I know she loves 30's reproduction prints, and I have a small collection.  I plan to make a Double Wedding Ring quilt with them, but I also adore the Dresden Plate block in vintage fabrics.  I decided to look through my Quilt In A Day patterns, knowing I had at least 2 that featured Dresden Plate designs.  I used the Mini Dresden Plate pattern, since it starts with a 6 1/2" block.  Since mug rugs average between 5 and 8" tall, this was perfect.  I cut tiny wedges out of 8 different fabrics.  Each wedge, when stitched, measured 3/4" wide at the widest, and was about 2" long.  

Isn't that just adorable??  I had fun sewing those tiny pieces together.  It's not often that I work with miniature size blocks.  I usually like to go large.  But, this is for a friend, whom I've never met in person.  I made the rest of the Dresden Plate ring, appliqued it to the block, and added a side section to make the block about 6 by 9:.  I layered and quilted it, and had a brainstorm to also make one for Mike, just because.  I had fabric with vintage cars on it, so I made a border, and quilted that, also.  

Here are the finished mug rugs. 

Detail of some of the quilting on Barb's.  

I had fun making something special for a friend!  I do plan to make other mug rugs to sell in my shop, and would love to participate in another team swap like this.  If you need inspiration for a new project, try making something for a friend.  

I'm so excited that I can share this!  I kept it a surprise until Barb got her mail today.  She said Mike was very happy, and already using his under his coffee mug.  She loved hers, as well.  I'm just so glad I made something they would both enjoy.  

Have you made mug rugs?  If you look on Etsy's Quiltsy Team for mug rugs, you'll find some fun ones.  If you can't make one, buy one!  It's a great way to add a little color and a smile to your snack time.  

Thanks for visiting!  


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Today's news

Hi!  I want to thank all my new followers on the blog.  The response from the Island Batik Sock Hop Blog Hop has been wonderful.  I'm truly honored by all the positive comments on my bed runner.  

A note about the furniture store:  My bedroom is lavender.  My quilt is purples and lavender ( it's the one in my header).  My bedroom furniture is a mix of furniture I refinished, and fabric covered tables, and I don't have a headboard.  I love my bed, and my room suits my purposes, but it's NOT suitable for photographing a teal and olive brown bed runner.  I asked another local friend, and her room is purples and grey.  The idea of asking to take some "lifestyle" photos in a furniture store was born more of desperation (and snow on the ground) than creativity.  It worked out wonderfully for me, as I'm happy with the look of my quilt on elegant furniture.  I do suggest you call your shop, first, and ask permission.  The first place I called said I would need permission from their corporate office.  Rich at Ashley Furniture in Wind Gap was very helpful.  Most often I can use my guest room twin bed for photos, but in this case, with a queen size runner, I needed a queen size bed.  So, I made some calls, and got lucky. 

This is what I've been working on this week.  

First, I wanted to do the Aurifil Designer of the Month Mini Quilt.  One of my goals this year is to work on piecing accuracy.  I LOVE the block that Gudrun designed, and picked 2 batiks, one a rich purple, and the other a grey, to create this block.  The directions were good, (just check your margins before printing, I lost a few lines in the header/footer) and it was fun to do.  

Here's my version of the top.  I'm hoping some inspiration will strike and I can get this quilted, and hang it in my PURPLE bedroom.  I have just the spot for it.  But this is a challenge piece, and entries posted to their Flickr page have a chance to win Awesome Aurifil Thread!  It really is the best thread. 

On Tuesday, I took a ride to Tunkhannock, PA, to Endless Mountains Quilt Shop.  Jeannette had decided to close her shop, and I'm sad about that.  It was a great shop, and I loved visiting for past NE PA Shop hops, as well as Airing of the Quilts.  I was able to pick up a few pieces of fabric, before she closed the store.  These were priced at $4 a yard.  The woman in line before me got quite a few pieces I would have purchased, but I'm very happy to add these to future quilts, or a tote bag.  I picked up the Cigar print for Christine, though.  
These average about 2 yards each (some were end of bolts).  Thanks, EMQ, for being a great shop.  

And, I worked on the Quilt Shop Gal's January FMQ Challenge.  
I picked some lavender fabric, and lavender Aurifil 50wt Mako cotton thread, and used the inspiration from LuAnn Kessi's feathered heart post for my design.  I cut a heart shape from some large paper, and used a blue washout marker to trace the heart shape, and drew lines inside to help guide my feathers.  I haven't done many curvy feathers, so I really needed this practice.  Here's the finished pillow.  It measures about 20" by 22", and I just sewed the top, left an opening for turning and stuffing, and hand sewed that closed.  Outside the heart, I drew a frame around, at about 12 by 14", and did just a stipple in that area, then added another 3" frame, and did a feathered border in that.  Warm & Natural batting, and some muslin for the quilting part, and I used the same fabric as the front, on the back.  I'm pretty happy with this effort, and it's going on my PURPLE bed.  

I'm very happy with my challenge results.  Both pieces were good practices for my goals this year.  I do suggest you try the Aurifil mini quilt, as well as one of the choices for QuiltShopGal's FMQ challenge.  Let me know if you do!  I would love to see your work.  

Remember, the Sock Hop Blog Hop is still happening, and there's lots of fun inspiration and chances to win fabric.  I hope you've entered mine!  The details are HERE!

Thanks again for visiting.  I'll announce my winner soon!  I've selected some really pretty batiks, so make sure you leave a comment on the Sock Hop post at that last link.  

Have a wonderful weekend!  

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Island Batiks Sock Hop Blog Hop And Give-Away

Welcome to the Sock Hop Blog Hop!  I'm Maryellen, from Mary Mack Made Mine, and I'm honored to be an ambassador, and your host for today's fun!  

Don't you just love classic hits from the 1960's?  The collection of fabric I used for this hop is called Down in the Boondocks.  This song was a hit in 1965.  Here's a video of Billy Joe Royal's live version.  I loved that Island Batiks named the collections after classic hits.  What fun!

This collection from Island Batiks is just so pretty.  I love the pineapple print and the teals.  I used the following SKU's in my bed runner, featuring the Sister's Choice block.
Dark teal (fish print) 12146099.  Light teal floral 12142097  Cream with pineapples 121414101
Olive brown pineapple 121414104  Cream with grass texture 121416098 and Olive Brown Sea Grass 121411103 

The Sister's Choice block is also a classic, and so easy, but looks tricky.  I made mine a 15" block to make the math easy for a beginner, and to let the fabric shine.  Each square will be 3" finished, 3 1/2" unfinished.  You can do one, by making EIGHT 3 1/2" HST (Half Square Triangle) units and 3 1/2" blocks as needed, or make the runner that I made, with the directions attached below. This this could be a 12" block if you use 2 1/2" squares (and make a sampler quilt featuring all the designs from this hop).

Here's a photo of one block.

I picked both cream prints from my collection, to add a little more texture to the block.  The center 9-patch area uses the Pineapple in cream, and the outer blocks feature the seagrass pint.  

I had fun designing the quilting, too!  I used Aurifil 50wt Mako in 2324 for the background.  I did a circular feather in the blocks, like sea anemones, and waves in the sashing.  I used 2810 (dark teal) to quilt shell designs in the cornerstones, 5006, Light teal to quilt the feathers in the inner border, and 2372 to quilt the outer border.  5 bobbins were used, and no thread breakage in the entire top.  And not much lint.  I just adore Aurifil!  The colors work so well with Island Batiks, too!  

I also made a pillow, from the extra fabrics.  It makes a nice set to add a little color and warmth to your bed.  

The full pattern is downloadable on Island Batik's FREE Pattern page. 
Thanks so much to Katie for all the work you did to make that possible.  

And thanks, also, to Rich at Ashley Furniture Homestore in Wind Gap, PA for allowing me to photograph my quilt on your furniture.  

The other collection I had was Dancing In the Moonlight.  I love this one, too.  Those purples are so rich!  But when I was choosing, I felt Down In the Boondocks played better in my design.  
So, about the give-away!  Leave me a comment for one chance to win.  Get a second chance (second comment) by following my blog via email.  And a third chance by "liking" me on Facebook.  You can leave up to 3 comments. 
You will win a selection of Island Batiks fabrics, including 1 yard of the cat print in the Boondocks collection.  3 chances to win one prize.  This will close on Monday, January 26 at midnight.  I need to contact you, so make sure I can reach you.  

Thanks for visiting!  I hope you went to the Island Batiks Blog and entered for their prizes, 2 complete collections! 

And, make sure you visit the rest of the bloggers, especially Island Batik.  They are giving away 2 bundles.  Some other bloggers have give-aways, too.  And inspiration.
1/12 – Island Batik – 
1/13 – Susan Vassallo Quilting Arts – Topsy Turvey Log Cabin
1/14 – Freemotion by the River – 54-40 in Running Water
1/15 – Beaquilter – Hunter Star in Crimson Tide
1/16 – One Quilting Circle – Flying Geese
** ME!! lol 1/17 – Mary Mack’s Blog – Sisters Choice in Down in the Boondocks
1/18 – Happy Cottage Quilter – Nine Patch in Johnny B Goode
1/19 – Kauffman Designs – Drunkard’s Path in Downtown
1/20 – Tamarinis – Pinwheel in Saturday Night Fever
1/21 – Bejeweled Quilts – Maple Leaf in La Bamba
1/22 – Six Gables Designs – Friendship Star in Full Bloom
1/23 – Purrfect Spots – Duck and Ducklings in No Particular Place to Go
1/24 – Inchworm Fabrics – Another Star in In the Summer Time
1/25 – Sew Fresh Quilts – Stepping Stones in Cry Me a River

Enjoy the rest of the hop, and thanks so much for visiting! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Let's go to the HOP!!

It's starting!  The Island Batiks Sock Hop Blog hop starts today!

Go visit Island Batiks to get the list of bloggers participating, and take the chance to win 2 gorgeous bundles of stunning batiks.

Come back on Saturday to see what I've done with this collection, called Down In the Boondocks.

Tomorrow's blogger is:

1/13 – Susan Vassallo Quilting Arts – Topsy Turvey Log Cabin

Get your chocolate malt ready, and find your poodle skirt!  You are in for a fun time!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Quilts have stories

Many of my quilts have a story.  Sometimes it's short.  Something like "I love this strip pack and these colors.  I think it will be pretty in this design."  and then I play with color order, borders, and quilting design.  The end.

Sometimes it's longer, or has an epilogue.  One of the "easy" quilts I made was purchased for a sister's new baby.  It was delivered to the family in time to take it to the hospital, and the new baby was wrapped in it.

Other times, a quilt begins with a story.  This quilt started that way.

This one started with the thread.  Alex Veronelli from Aurifil posted on Facebook about a new thread.  He wanted people who would be willing to test it.  I volunteered and received a package of linen thread.  It's a thicker weight than the standards I use (50wt and 40wt), but I wanted to try it by quilting with it.  

Since the thread was linen based, I was hoping to use linen fabric, but linen is expensive.  I discovered Robert Kaufman's Quilters Linen, and purchased a fat quarter bundle and some yardage from Hancocks of Paducah.  I chose the Yellow Brick Road pattern, because the linen looked masculine and the fabrics would look great with this design.  I got to work making the blocks on my vintage machine, placed them on the design wall, and then sewed the top together during the summer.  I added the borders, and got it ready to quilt.  I tried using the linen thread, but could not get the settings right on my machine.  The thread, although it feels strong, doesn't handle the stress from free-motion quilting.  Alex had already discovered this.  He recommends using it as bobbin work (which I can't do on my machine) or hand sewing.  I tested larger eye needles, denim needles, titanium needles, and topstitch needles.  I tried straight line quilting, as well, but the frustrations became too much.  I switched to Aurifil Mako Cotton 50 wt for the top, and 40wt for the borders.  

Here is some info on how to use this great thread.  

I spoke with Alex at Quilters Take Manhattan in September, and he forwarded me the links.  Even though I had tried the needle size recommended, it was still too frustrating for my machine.  It would be wonderful thread for hand stitching, and is being marketed for hand work, hand quilting, or embroidery, rather than machine work, unless, like Teri, you have the bobbin case needed for bobbin work.  

So, I finished the quilt with cotton thread, listed it in my Etsy shop, and brought it to the craft shows I did during November and December.  It's a very pretty quilt, and the Quilters Linen looks like men's suits, but is a great cotton, with a little texture to it.  I thought the story would end there.

If you've seen me and my quilts in person, you know that I think the best thing about a quilt is how it feels to be wrapped in it.  I'll grab a quilt and toss it over your shoulders, and everyone says "Ahhh" when it happens.  The quilts are warm, but not hot.  They are soft and comfortable, and just make you feel good.   

This quilt has an epilogue, too.  I was vending at the Arlington Elementary school's craft show in December, 2014, in Stroudsburg, PA.  A few of the vendors were friends, so we were having fun, and posting it on Facebook.  The vendor with Partylite candles (sorry!  I don't have your name) posted, and her cousins from NJ decided to come to the show.  The wife came over to see my quilts, and inquired about sizes for table runners.  We discussed custom stuff, and then she looked at my quilts.  I pulled one off the rack and threw it over her shoulders.  She said, "It feels like a hug."  Her husband protested another "blanket" for his wife, and said he's always too warm, and she's never warm.  He said, loudly, that he would not purchase it.  I decided (a very bold move for me) to actually throw it over his shoulders, too, and he agreed; it felt good and was not hot, but comfortable.  Their son said it felt like a hug, too.  I thought it was unusual for a teen to admit that.  She pulled a few more off the rack, to look at the colors, and kept petting the Quilters Linen quilt.  She said she loved it.  Her husband looked at it, too, and she looked at him and said, "Do you think they will allow me to have this in the hospital?".  I said it should be allowed since it's 100% cotton.  She explained that she was scheduled for surgery right after Christmas, and would have a 6 month recovery time.  He said something about the cost, and walked away.  She petted it a few more times, and I reminded her that she could also buy it online, if she still wanted it later.  I gave her my card.  They went into the other vendor area, and I spoke to other customers.  

All of a sudden, the husband, a big guy, over 6" tall, and built like a linebacker, runs around the corner, almost knocking over Sharone's table, and tosses his credit card at me.  He says it's a surprise for her, and to hide it.  I process the transaction, and the Partylite vendor takes the quilt and hides it for her cousin.  One of the other vendors goes to keep his wife distracted while all this goes on.  A little later, the son comes to hide the quilt in their car (Dad said "under the seats as much as possible").  I provided a bag for it.  We covered the spot on the rack, in case she came back to my quilts.  

After the couple left, the Partylite vendor explained that her cousin was making a lot of noise about the quilt to the wife.  He was convincing her not to buy it.  He claimed that it was too expensive, and she didn't need it.  He was being rather abrupt and a little mean.  That was before he gave me his credit card.   That was all for show, to keep her from buying it.  The other vendors in our row were very impressed with him, after they saw he wanted to surprise her.  He wanted her to have it, knowing it would give her comfort and love during her surgery and recuperation.  I was told she had a leaking valve in her heart, and should be in the hospital already, but was holding off because she wanted to celebrate Christmas with her family.  At this time, I'm hoping she's had the surgery and is doing well, getting comfort from a quilt made with love and purchased in love, and that she feels the hugs that are built into each one of my quilts.  

I love knowing the stories behind my quilts, and the epilogues are the best parts.  If you need a hug, I hope you consider buying a quilt from one of the members of Quiltsy Team on Etsy.  I'm sure you'll find one that you will enjoy.  We all make sure there is love built into our quilts.  

Thanks for visiting.