Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Early Morning, San Diego Bound!

It was SO SO SO early when I had to get up to head to San Diego!

3:30am and I do NOT get along!  The only time I come face to face with 3:30am is when I don’t want to.

I either wake up with a bout of insomnia when I don’t want it, and can’t get back to sleep no matter how hard I try,  or I have purposely set my alarm to go of at 3:30am because I am heading to the airport, and that makes me not sleep so well because I am afraid I am going to sleep right through it and miss my flight – so I roll over about every hour, check the clock…..and eventually 3:30am rolls around just when I am finally getting into deep sleep.

3:30am Monday morning was no different. But I drug myself out of bed, hopped  CRAWLED into the shower, packed the last of my toiletry stuff  into my suitcase and off we went.

DANG that’s early! Leave the house by 4:15 am so I can get to the airport by 4:45 to catch a flight that boards at 5:45 OY!

The picture above is the sun coming up as our small express jet flight headed toward Chicago. What is WITH this weather, EVERYWHERE?! I mean I’m glad Chicago is quite balmy, and not wet or snowed in –that is my big worry about winter travel, but it’s unsettling to have it be so unseasonably warm!

I had enough time to get to my gate for my flight to San Diego, and when I went through the check point to board, my boarding pass beeped!  Turns out I was upgraded – first class again!  But before you think it’s so wonderful, look at this photo…LOL!

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757 Bulkhead! Those are my feet up against the wall….that pocket is almost in my lap! LOL!!  There was a movie, but I couldn’t see it from where I was sitting, the tv thing came down in the aisle, and I was directly sideways from it. No matter! I did get a breakfast, and even better….I finished the hexie background section I have been working on since the August Alaska Adventure and it is now ready to join to the “Mother Ship!” I’ll get pictures of this later ---

I arrived in San Diego, Sandi met me at the baggage claim and we were off!

Let me tell you, this girl knows how to show me a good time, knows just what I need!  We dropped my bags off, and then out we went – for manicures and pedicures….girly time!

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It was only 11 am after all ….((4pm NC time, and I’d been up since 12:30am California time, my body clock is completely screwed up so just go with the flow!)) Here’s Sandi enjoying her pamper time to!

This was SO relaxing and so much appreciated! What a great idea to unwind before doing some sight-seeing!

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I’m being double timed!  I had one gal working on my hands, and one working on my feet…I said – “just wake me when you are all done!”

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Pretty toes in January!  Nothing better! And of course, with toes comes the need to walk around in flip flops in the beautiful California sunshine.  Sandi even let me borrow a pair of hers ((I didn’t even think to pack sandals….silly me!)) and off we went with our new pedicures and feet open to the soft January breezes to find some lunch.

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How about THIS for a place to sit? We had lunch at a place called “The Beach House” and it was wonderful!  We sat in the open air on the back patio and enjoyed watching people walk their dogs….there were people surfing and kayaking just within view.  Of course, WE were being watched too! Look at this guy!

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I haven’t posted food pics in a while…but how can you beat Jamaican Jerk Mahi Mahi tacos for lunch on the beach?  YOU CAN’T! These were yummy, and healty too..not breaded and deep fried, just seasoned and grilled and oh, so good!

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We drove down to La Jolla and took a walk to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.  Daisies in January!  SO beautiful!  This is my favorite picture from yesterday…it was so pretty out!

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There were all kinds of birds and seals along the cove….fun to hear the seals barking!  They love to sunbathe, and they just laid there….occasionally they would stretch and roll over..I knew exactly how they felt. By this time I was needing a nap too!

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Seals sunbathing….they know how to make the best of a good day --- just enjoy it!

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What a super day!  And today we are doing it again.  Sandi has plans to take me around ---Balboa Park was on the list, some other things too.  We are meeting up with the guild Ladies at 4:30pm and I have a lecture tonight and the rest of the week will be a blur. I’m glad we had a bit of extra time to enjoy the sun!
((Look closely --- I’m wearing FLIP-FLOPS!  In January, Y’all!!))

Free Pattern! Story-Time Stars

Quilt size: 46" X 46"
Block size: 8"

Click HERE for Printer-Friendly Version!

So many have written and asked when I was going to get around to uploading the direction for the little star quilt!

I WAS going to do it last weekend, but I got busy with going to retreat ---

I started wondering if I had taken enough pictures of the process to write the directions without having to make another block to show each step.  My Bernina is with Lisa getting a tune-up and as I write this, I don’t have another machine set up, so I grabbed my featherweight, set it up and set to making a sample with the novelty square that Laura had given me at retreat.

It’s a simple block --- a traditional Evening Star made with squares and flying geese units.  When it comes to the flying geese, my favorite method is using my 2.5” strips and my easy angle ruler and my companion angle ruler.  I get BOTH shapes out of one width of strip this way….

Of course, there are many methods for making flying geese, some using bricks and squares which give you cut off bonus units, or some using a larger square, and smaller squares to make two identical units – in which case, you’d have to make two sets to get the four geese that you need.

I don’t keep 5-1/4” squares or 2-7/8” squares on hand, which is what I would NEED to cut to make these geese with the square method.  Or larger, if you are using a ruler that has you cut extra big so you can sew haphazardly and then use the ruler to trim everything down to some perfect size later ---

But cutting from scrap strips already cut to size waiting for me in my Scrap User’s System drawers is what works for me.  So let’s get started on some stars shall we?  This quilt has 16 star blocks, each with a center square cut from a fun novelty fabric.

From Novelty fabrics cut 16 4.5” squares.

Choose three  different 2.5” scrap fabric strips in colors to go with each novelty square.
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From one strip, use the Companion Angle Ruler, and the 2.5” marking down the center of the ruler to cut 4 quarter square triangles. If you are NOT using the Companion Angle Ruler, cut a 5-1/4” Square, and slice it twice on the diagonal with an X to give you the 4 triangles needed.

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Using the Easy Angle and another colored strip --- Fold the strip in half with right sides together and cut 4 PAIRS of triangles, giving you 8 wing triangles with 4 in mirror image.

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You can see how the dog ear is cut off on these mirror image pairs, and this helps to line things up neatly when sewing the triangles on.  If you are NOT using the Easy Angle Ruler, cut 4 2 7/8” Squares.  Slice these once from corner to corner on the diagonal to give you the 8 wing triangles needed.

Can you see how the right hand wing triangle lines up with the blunt tip at the top of the goose triangle?

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Chain these through the machine…the outer corner tip of the green triangle will be OFF the edge of the purple triangle.  You can see it in both pictures above.  This is okay.  Press seam out toward the wing triangle and clip the dog ears.

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Now place the left hand wing triangles with right sides together on top of the goose triangle.  This time, sew from the bottom of the goose, toward where the triangles overlap.  Look at my finger…can you see how the flat edges of the “Missing” dog ears are lined up straight with each other?  This is important!  Match this spot!  If you do, you will get a goose unit that is nice and straight across the top when you open it up to press.

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Here’s my needle heading right for that corner…..right out where it needs to be!

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Voila!  Perfect goose!  You see how that is straight across the top of the whole unit with no “bi-level” thing going on?  This is as perfect as I can get it…easy cutting from strips I already have on hand in sizes ready to go, no drawing lines, no cutting sizes of stuff I don’t keep on hand, no sewing extra big and having to take hours to trim each unit down to size one at a time ----THIS is the method I like and why!  Repeat for all 4 goose units per block.

From 3rd 2.5" strip, cut 4 2.5" squares for block corners.

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Lay out block pieces as shown.  I like to sew my blocks together in continuous rows.  This helps me keep everything together, and I don’t get pieces turned around in ways they don’t belong.

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To start, place the top goose unit on top of the upper left corner square with right sides together, and stitch.  Fold the center square over the left hand side goose unit with right sides together and sew right onto it after the goose --- no breaking of thread here!

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Continue stitching, and sew that bottom goose unit to the bottom left square…..see this picture?  The first two rows are chained together, and now I’m going to add the top right square, the right side goose, and the bottom square to the block all in one continuous chain as well:

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Here I am getting ready to stitch that last square to the chained together block.

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The block is now sewn in rows across, with the three rows simply being chained together by the threads between the rows.  From this point I can finger press, or iron press, the units in the way I want the seams to fall, and then flip the rows together and stitch the two remaining seams.

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Story-Time Star block complete! Make 16!

Checkerboard Sashings:

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I set my Story-Time Stars with a checkerboard sashing that really gave the quilt life! I used solid black, and black/white prints, all from 1.5” strips.
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Because I was sewing from scrap strips in varying lengths, I can’t tell you how many “STRIPS” you need to make the 4 patches required, but I can tell you the number of 4 patches you need ---180!

Join a black strip to a light strip with right sides together and press fabric to the black.  Lay two strip sets with right sides together and fabrics opposing so that seams nest.  Cut the matched strip sets into matched pairs, with 1.5" sub-cuts, ready to be fed through the machine into 4 patches.

I do ALL my scrappy 4 patches this way, preferring to do all my matching up of pairs in the cutting process, rather than sit at the machine and pick “one of these…and one of these” matching up my units one at a time for each 4 patch.  That would take FOREVER! If you want more variety, match up shorter strip sets.  Do what you have to do to come up with the 180 4 patches required.

I spin the seams on the back of my 4 patches so they will nest each other easily.  Check out THIS TUTORIAL on how to feed your 4 patches through the machine, how to spin them, and why it is important that they all be fed and spun the same way!

Carefully study the picture above with the partial layout.  Notice that the sashings are each made of 4 4 patches sewn side by side.  Keep the 4 patches in the same orientation in ALL the sashing units.  All the sashing units are identical, do not rotate the 4 patches in any of them.  Make 40 sashings.  You will have 25 4 patches left over for border posts.

From scraps, cut 25 2.5” squares for cornerstones.

Lay out the quilt with the sashings and cornerstones the way you want them. Stitch the quilt center into rows, and join the rows to complete the quilt center.  Press.

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From Scrap 2.5” strips, cut 16 2.5” X 8.5” rectangles and 4 2.5” squares.

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Here you can see for the border how I placed the rectangles, the extra 4 patches, and the 4 corner squares to complete the border around the quilt. A black binding finishes the edge!

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Here’s the quilt as it came off the machine, ready for binding.

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Close up of some of the fun blocks.  I’ll definitely be making this quilt, or a variation of it again! It’s the perfect baby quilt, or for any quilt requiring novelty fabrics!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Cheddar Bow-Tie Link-Up! ((And Prize Give-Away!))

It’s time to share our posts of how we’ve come on our Leader/Ender Cheddar Bow-ties!

This Bow-Tie Bonanza went VIRAL amongst us after Lori, Randy & I spotted a terrific antique bow tie quilt while at the Sisters, Oregon quilt show last July!  I could hardly wait to get back to Randy’s house to start playing with the possibilities for this block, taking it even a step SMALLER than normal…how would these work with 2” leader/ender squares?

And can we do it as a challenge just to see how many we could amass throughout the year?

Remember how funny it was when I got a Letter from the folks at Mary Jo’s in Gastonia thanking me for their inability to keep the tangerine Prairie Cloth on their shelves?  You guys had it flying out of there!

I’ve watched over blogland since July----and some just couldn’t stand it – they had to make it a primary full time project right away, and soon full queen size ((And maybe bigger)) quilts were showing up, each as beautiful as the next --- and here I was feeling sorry for myself because I’ve been putzing along!

I HAVE been doing them, just as leaders & enders.  Just as I said I would.  The ones you see at the top of the blog are just the ones I was able to do during retreat.  You know, when you are chain piecing 500 gazillion trillion half square triangles, or little 4 patches….it doesn’t seem to do much to put one bow tie piece at the end of the chain before going to iron..but look..I now have TWELVE more than I did before I went to retreat!  They do add up!
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This is Laura's little basket --- and we had fun trading tie parts to match with our own cheddars, hers a print, mine a solid so we have each other’s fabrics in our own quilts! FUN!

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Here are some of hers spread out on the table top….one tie at a time, we can tackle this quilt!
No, you don’t  even have to use cheddar as the background.  Your bowties can even be LARGER, some are doing 4” blocks using 2.5” squares instead of our 3” ones using the  2” squares.  The important thing is that you are building units for a sweet and fun quilt in between the lines of your chain piecing!

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These are MY ties!  And I wasn’t sure how many were in here, so I took some time to count them, and pin them in groups of 10, making them easier to re-count again later. 

Just to make this fun….And shoot, if this turns out too easy, I’m going to be up a creek…but for the first person who can guess EXACTLY how many bow ties I have….I have THIS prize for you!

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Courtesy of the wonderful folks at Moda, a Summer Breeze charm pack in shades of blue, yellow and green --- let’s get our spring feeling on! 
This little picture gives you an idea of what other prints are in the pack…..so guess away!  Leave your comment in the comments section below telling me how many YOU think are in my basket!  You don’t have to have a blog to enter the drawing, but please leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win.  If you guess as "anonymous", and there is no way to contact you, we'll have to choose some one else.

If you see that someone ELSE has guessed the number you were going to guess, choose something else -- there can only be one person per number!

Be patient with me – I’m traveling this week, and my access to email may come in spits and spurts.  The FIRST PERSON to guess the correct number gets the charm pack--

Those with blogs ---

Please link your Cheddar Bow Tie Link-Up Below!

Remember that we need the url of your specific POST, not just the address for your whole blog.

To get the correct address in the linky-–right click on the title/subject line of the post you wrote about your quilt progress. Chose “copy link address” and paste this url in the form when you link.

You can also CLICK the title line of the post you want to link...and copy the url from the address bar at the top of your browser that way.

For instance, my blog address is  quiltville.blogspot.com but that isn't enough. I can't link to the WHOLE blog, I need the address of the post.

**NOTE**  You do NOT need to include the http:// when you insert your address into the linky!

If you link to just your whole blog, I’ll have to remove your link and have you try again because I can’t fix it FOR you.

We'll leave this open until MIDNIGHT eastern time Friday night to give you time to write your posts!
If you link up, feel free to let your facebook/twitter  friends know so they can come look too!  I’d love to see this page flooded with bow-ties!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Home Again!

Noon came.  We packed it up.  We left ---- each going our separate ways.  Camp Dogwood 2012 is history, and we wait for next year’s dates to be settled on and we will start plotting and planning again!

As with any group, some years more people are able attend, and other years --- there is a skeleton crew ---we know that quilting is what happens in and around our lives, and family things do come up. 

This year?  BONUS!  I think we had 12 of us there!  The only one missing was Sharon, and she was out of the country, so that is understandable ----but she was missed!

I took more pictures of projects to share ---but even more important than the quilts finished, are the people behind the needle!
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Lisa and Karen both remembered their trolls!  So did Laura!  Mine?  Uhhhh --- well remember the NEW DESK space?  I cleared off a bunch of stuff, set it in a box until I could put everything back where it belonged, and my troll got left home in that box.

 Whhhhhhaaa!  Next time!  I promise, next time it will come!  You will notice that Karen’s troll has her signature “Slime Green” for hair, and matches her shirt.. ;c)

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Mrs Goodneedle, and Muriel visiting and laughing during our last couple of hours…I should have taken more photos, but I was chained to my machine!  We did take time to take a group photo, hopefully that turned out, and Mrs G will post it for us!

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Carolyn was a busy scrapper!  It’s always fun to spend time with her. She is our coordinator and as usual, everything was taken care of for us to a T!

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Holly, do we have to confess to everyone that it took three tries to get you to stop talking while I was taking this picture? I think you look great!  So fun spending time with you at retreat too!

Everyone else had left…..but next time I’ll be better with the camera.  Projects worked on this weekend:

There are more that DIDN’T make it in…either because I was not quick enough with my camera, or just too busy to remember to stop and take photos! 

  • The sampler at the top is Laura’s – she worked on putting borders on. 
  • Muriel was doing beautiful faux trapunto on the applique batik quilt ---
  • The storm at sea belongs to karen!
  • Karen also finished the Christmas jacob’s ladder variation.
  • Lisa has been hauling around this appliqued leaf and star confection for so long we can’t remember WHEN she started it!  She put the last stitches in the top on Saturday!
  • Holly put together her wonderful spinning stars top --- the stripes in this are SO FUN!
  • Karen also worked at hand stitching her hexagon medallion to a black background piece.  It’s fabulous!
  • Lisa finished up this fun 9 patch variation quilt on Sunday morning, putting the last pressing in as it was time to UNPLUG the iron!
Such a great group of ladies and so much talent!  I just hope I can go again next year!