Pages

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Slow and Easy Wins the Race


When summer rolls around,
there often isn't a lot of sewing time on the docket.
I know, for me, grabbing snippets of sewing time
has to satisfy that innate passion.

Sew a strip together here, pin blocks together there,
press those seams quickly before you head out the door;
and it amazes me how much I can accomplish.

First things first.
I finally finished my green Paper Lanterns quilt.


It was a very windy picture day,
so over the wood pile it went.
It blew off as soon as I snapped this picture,
so I didn't even attempt to photograph the back.
But it's cute!  You'll just have to believe me.

I chose to quilt it with white Aurifil 50 wt. thread
using the Serpentine Stitch and it was the perfect choice.
Thank you, Stephanie, of Loft Creations, for another fun pattern!!

When an elderly quilter in N. Tx went into an assisted care facility,
her fabrics were offered to her quilting guild.
There was so much fabric, it filled one stall of a two stall garage.
While I was visiting, I was invited to "shop"
and here is one result of that booty:


by Missouri Star Quilt Co.




 Except, I worked with an assortment of fat quarters,
scaled down the size of the blocks,
and ended up with a 40"x 50" top.
I used my walking foot and multicolored thread for the quilting.

It will be winging its way to Massachusetts on Monday
as a new baby (gender yet unknown) quilt 
for a very special young couple.

I will share one more thing, 
and then I'll save the rest for another post.
I think one of the reasons I'm getting a lot accomplished
even though I'm not marathon sewing,
is because I've made these trays for traveling 
from one station to another.


My sewing machine still lives in the kitchen
but my cutting station and the ironing board are in a different room.
I picked up a couple of plastic trays from the 
not-a-dollar-store-anymore,
and glued a layer of batting to the bottom.
It measures 10" x 14".
I can load them up and go from the cutting table,
to the sewing machine,
back to the ironing board,


and even into the living room
to work off my lap
while I watch a show in the evening!

Plus, they can be stacked on top of each other
even with projects laid out on them,
and tucked away when it's time to tidy up.

Okay, one more thing, since these blocks have shown up.
Here are some on my design wall.
already constructed.


I believe it was Adrienne of Chezzetcook Modern Quilts
that was destashing one summer,
and I was the lucky recipient of all her unwanted fabric.
The other day I was rifling through my fabrics,
which are still packed up for the winter,
and my hand pulled out this fabric that she must have used
to back a quilt.
There was enough leftover for me to construct 20 - 9" blocks.
With a coordinating border or two,
it should work up into a fun crib size quilt!
Quick, easy, cute, AND so far, free!

Had enough?
Okay, I won't tell you about cleaning the oven yesterday.
It was quite the experience.
I think I remember doing it before.
Once.

Hope you're doing well
and having as much quilty fun as me!

~karen




Friday, June 9, 2017

Secret Sewing Revealed


It is my delight and extreme pleasure 
to finally be able to reveal
the 2017 Atlantic Canada Row X Row Experience
designed by Linda Coolen Smith
in collaboration with Karen Chase,
the best little fabric shop in Halifax, NS.




I was very honored when Linda asked me to test her pattern
for her Halifax Row X Row On The Go,
"To and Fro".

I'm not the best pattern tester, 
because I usually just look at the picture,
refer to the cutting requirements,
and take off sewing without looking back.




I had to concentrate very hard 
to make sure I followed 
the very well written instructions 
to the letter.




These photos were all taken at the same place
at the same time.
Guess where you stand determines how saturated the colors are.
Just so you know, the blue is the same throughout!




Anyway, picture quality aside,
job well done, Linda and Karen!
I enjoyed paper piecing the smokestacks in Tufts Cove 
on the Dartmouth side of the Halifax Harbor,
and appliqueing the office towers at Purdy's Wharf.
The most fun was appliqueing the
(one of five)
and the accompanying seagulls.
Well, that, and machine quilting it!

You can visit 
the Atlantic Canada Row by Row Experience 
Facebook page to see more rows, if you'd like,
by clicking right HERE.
There's quite a variety!
It's always interesting to me to see how
each year's theme is interpreted!

Thanks for stopping by!
~Karen




Thursday, June 1, 2017

Adding a Little Color


Spring in the Atlantic Canadian Maritimes 
is often synonymous with 
relentless rain and lingering cold temperatures.
Even if the sun comes out, the winds are bitter cold. 

And June isn't getting off to a very good start.  
It can't last much longer!
Can it?

So, what do you do when it's windy, cold, 
and usually wet, day after day after day?

You work with the brightest, 
most colorful fabrics in your stash, of course!

Luckily, I had a fat quarter bundle 
of rich, brilliant Free Spirit Solids 
just screaming to be used, 
and a Preppy the Whale pattern calling my name!

I have been working with two colors at a time, 
and making four whales at a sitting.
This is only half of what I've accomplished so far.




I am chain piecing this project, 
and making a scrappy leader/ender quilt at the same time.  
I like to play the 'don't break the chain' game 
and see how long I can sew without starting over.

I'm also participating in Lori Kennedy's FMQ-a-long
over at The Inbox Jaunt.
I was fortunate to have a little box full of bonus HSTs 
leftover from another project to prep.
I need all the practice I can get!




This has been knee replacement week for The Ranger,
and I'm a little behind on my sewing,
so I guess I'd better 
get back to work!

Happy June!


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

More May is for Makers

There has been a lot of sewing going on in my house,
but not very many finishes!

Wish I could show you a picture of my new design wall!
But there is some 'secret sewing' on display,
so maybe next time.

I'm delighted to share with you
my only recent finish.
It's a new pattern released just today
by our very own,
Linda at Scrapmaster
and Karen of Sugar Free Quilts


My version:




I chose to reverse the 
center row of arrows,
    because I ... 
...well, because I just did.

I finally broke into my 
coveted box of  Cotton and Steel 2015 prints 
that I'd ordered 
from Craftsy awhile back.  
The gray print backing
is from Red Rooster.

I echoed around each arrow 
with a gray Auriful,
and kept it pretty simple. 





My daughter saw a picture of this on my design wall
and laid immediate claim to it before it was even completed,
so I guess it will be winging its way to TX soon.

May is for makers!
Check out this great pattern!
Support our designers!

Have a fantabulous day!
~karen


Monday, May 8, 2017

May is for Makers

Yay!  It's May!
Given the fact that time passes much too quickly, 
I'm not one to wish it away.
That said, I've never been so happy to see a month arrive!
It's been pretty cold up here, and I've had about enough!

Not to mention that May is for Makers!
I've completed two flimsiest just in time to share,
But let me apologize for the pictures up front.
The forecast for the week is dismal,
so there is no sense waiting.

Many of you know I'm a naturalist,
and when Barb of Bejeweled Quilts published this pattern,
I had to have it.
A day trip to Joshua, Texas to shop at Batiks Galore this winter,
a few days at my trusty old Kenmore,
 which, by the way, is parked in front of the wood stove,
And voila!




There isn't enough fabric left over to piece a backing,
but there's just enough to make a matching tote bag, 
so guess what's next on my list?

And while I'm in a blue mode,
I just had to make this charming wall hanging



I was pretty pressed for blue fabric, not being a blue person
and having very little in my stash,
but I managed to find two pieces that would work for a trial run.
The lighter blue is a poly blend (how did THAT get in there?)
and didn't play nicely, but I managed.
What color fabric do you lack in your stash?

I think it would be delightful if Allie could design a whole set!
I just love the font she chose! Not only is it pleasing to the eye, it was fun and easy to applique.

Whenever I machine applique, whatever stitch I choose to use,
I always take the time to pull my beginning and ending threads
through to the back and tie them off.
It gives a nice, smooth finish on the front.

Today, my plan is to quilt these up on the Janome.

I hope you'll take a minute to visit these two ladies
to see what other beauties they've designed!

Enjoy your day,
whatever your weather!

A big hello to Fran!
Hope you're staying warm, dry, and safe!

XO,
karen

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dressing Up Granny

How often we read about quilters finding inspiration everywhere, from nature to bridges, floor tiles to ceiling tiles, even fruit and vegetable displays at the grocery store.  And that's true for me, too, and I snap all kinds of pictures, but never do anything with them.

Well, the other week, I was at a local drug store, and in walked an elderly lady, dressed to the nines in skinny black jeans and coordinated accessories.  But, what stood out the most was the shocking pink swatch of hair at her left temple!  I watched her move about the store and she was a real pistol, and I thought, "Why NOT dress up granny?"

So, I came home and I did!  

I love making Granny Squares, 
as evidenced by this picture of my 
scrappy leader-ender project from over the winter.


Here are the first two grannies I came up with.


I decided I would keep the consistency of the white line throughout all my blocks.

The next one is ready to sew up,
which I will do leader-ender style while I work on another WIP.


I'm having fun trying to think of creative ways to 'Dress Up Granny'
and look forward to working on these,
one block at a time,
as the spirit moves me,
over the summer.

I have no idea where it will go from here
or how long it will take!

Happy Quilting!
XO,
Karen


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

One Monthly Goal March Finish


It's time for


And I did finish my green paper lanterns flimsy.
However, I packed it into my luggage before photographing it.
Sorry about that!
But I'm on the road, now, so it isn't going to happen.

Before leaving TX, I made a Diaper Clutch from a tutorial at LemonSqueezyHome. I've made several of these because my sweet friend in Houston asked for one when she had her first child 7 years ago, and she STILL uses it. Whenever she needs a shower gift, she asks for another.  Her husband told me that it's all he brings when he has the babies out.  I surmise that carrying a diaper bag isn't always the manly thing to do!


There's little that frustrates me more than turning a project right side out, then having to try to manipulate a mere quarter inch to fold under and finish.

I thought I'd share my trick, which is easy enough to do, and produces crisp, clean finishes with that professional look.

First, I measure out an extra quarter inch in the seam allowance to be turned, giving me a 1/2" seam allowance.

Next, I pre-press it, but open it back up and pin it as I would normally do.

Then, I just stitch around my project, whatever it might be, and turn it right side out like always.

Finally, I am able to fold in the seam allowance neatly and accurately to close up my hole.  It comes out perfect every time!

You may also notice that the bottom corners are rounded.  Rather than clip those curves, I take the pinking shears to them.  Makes a nice smooth corner!




Just prior to heading north, we visited our Houston friend and had a wonderful time, especially with the kids, including a very cold visit to the Houston Zoo.


The baby loved his pillow case.


The 4 year old wanted to try her hand at crochet!


And the 7 year old wanted to 'learn to knit'!
She finished a hat before we left!

Be sure to visit Patty
to see everyone else's monthly accomplishments!
Let's make this linky party
a real party!
I know each participant will appreciate your visit,
and it's a great opportunity to meet someone new!

Enjoy your day!
I won't complain about going from 80+ degrees
to only 39!

XO,
Karen