Friday, December 12, 2014

The Cotton Robin: start your engines!

Here's last call for the Cotton Robin. It's not too late to join in, so shoot me an email if you want to participate. I won't do my spreadsheet until sometime towards the end of the month, possibly with assistance from some eggnog.

Here are the basic instructions; relevant dates can be found at the Cotton Robin blog:

  • You will make a center block, which may be square or rectangular. It may have maximum dimensions of 9.5" x 9.5" or 8.5" x 10.5" (unfinished dimensions) 
  • The challenge this year is to use color in a way that you haven't tried before or which is out of your comfort zone -- for instance, "low volume", monochromatic, new combination of colors, all solids, etc. 
  • You will send the block to me with $2 in cash or stamps or chocolate to defray my postage costs for the next mailing.  (I'll be sending you my mailing address)
  • You may include a very small amount of extra fabric (no more than 1/4 yard), a quilt label, and/or some words about your likes and dislikes -- all of these are optional.
  • I will then send you someone else's center block,to which you will add a pieced border, following the color clues from the center block and any notes the maker may have provided.
  • You'll then mail that block-plus-border to someone else.
  • You will receive another project in the mail;  to this you will add a second border. 
  • Then you will mail the block-plus-two-borders to another person.
  • You will receive a final project in the mail.  You will add batting and backing and quilt this and bind it.  It’s nice to include a hanging sleeve as well.  You will mail the finished quilt along with the label (if there was one) to its original maker.
  • Please keep in mind that the finished quilt shouldn’t be bigger than (approximately) 20” x 20”, so size your borders accordingly, and remember to leave enough “space” for a second border when you are constructing the first border.  You can include plain strips if needed or desired for sizing or decoration, but the main borders should not be plain strips!   
  • Please do not add any embellishments (beads, etc) to the borders – you may add them when you’re doing the quilting, if you wish.  
  • Please do not use any fabrics in the borders that cannot be washed and ironed or that are especially prone to ravelling ... we've had issues!
  • You will not post any photos of your center block or borders here or elsewhere -- but you may post "teaser" photos of the borders without the center block showing, or with color changes, etc.  Please email me a photo of the finished quilt before you send it "home".
  • You will email me or post to the blog when you send something and when you receive something, so that I can keep track!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Still more tops!

I'm on a roll -- I finished another top last night!  This one used a Moda charm pack called "Gypsy Rose" -- not at all my usual thing, and I have no recollection of buying it... but I love how it worked perfectly with that half-yard of Kaffe Fassett as sashing. (this was adapted from a pattern called "Jumping Jacks" by Sue Pfau -- in a book called Quilts from Sweet Jane)

And this one was a  bit of "stunt sewing" a couple of months ago for Sam Hunter -- her new pattern is called "Faster 14" -- once I put a border on it, it should measure about 54" x 68". I'm not thrilled with my mishmash of 14 FQs, but the pattern was quick and fun to do.

Next up ... cherries!

do I hear a robin?

It's beginning to feel a lot like another Cotton Robin... for 2015.  I'm thinking there should be a little more challenge to it this time, so here it is: 

I challenge you to start with a color theme that you haven't used before -- could be something monochromatic, or "low volume", or all neutral, or just a combination or color that's out of your comfort zone.  Of course the borders will then follow along with what you've started!

So who's out there, and who's ready to play?  Check out the cottonrobin blog for updates.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

another top

I figured that since I was going to box up a couple of quilt tops with backing to send to Quilts Beyond Borders, I might as well whip up a third one -- I'm all about trying to reduce my stash these days...

This was from a pattern called "Giggle Box" (where do designers come up with these names?) from a year-old issue of Quilty magazine.
Super quick to put together! I made this a bit smaller than the original; it measures about 48" x 58".

I don't really like the "tone" of Quilty -- it's a bit too adolescent and cutesy for my taste -- but it does often have a pattern or two that catch my eye.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

more tops...

I've been working on some oldies -- scraps & stash -- and have 3 new tops to show for it!

First up is a little top made from a charm pack labeled "Fresh Squeezed" -- so I'm calling this quilt "Citrus Heights" (which is a city in California, and probably a few other places). It came from a pattern on the Moda Bake Shop blog a while back. It's about 38" square.

This next one started with a raid on my box of 2" squares -- the blocks are 7x7 pieces and overall the quilt measures about 48 x 65. I recently discovered a group called "Quilts Beyond Borders" and this is going to be donated to them.

Last but not least -- this top includes a little set of batik dragonfly squares that I bought at least 10 years ago. When I was in Hawaii in July, I saw a log cabin-type quilt made with another little set of squares in the middle, and it reminded me that I'd never done anything with mine.  It took me quite some time to figure out where they were stashed, but now I have the basis for a baby quilt for the next one that comes along.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

It's time once again to head over to Amy's Creative Side for the virtual quilt festival. If you follow the link and scroll down the page, there are links to all the separate category pages and information on how to vote for your favorites. 

Here is my entry -- it's from a pattern called "Quodlibet" (which can be defined as "a whimsical combination of familiar melodies") that I happened upon the last time I was visiting my in-laws in Madison, WI.

I'm really not sure what category to put this in -- so I think I'll just go with"small quilts" -- it measures about 45" square and the top is all batiks.

 Here's a detail of the straight-line quilting on the back:

and a bonus shot of the sunset a couple nights ago -- damn that telephone line!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fall Festival Giveaway

Another edit -- we have a winner, and it's Lisa Marie.  (I've sent an email...)

Edited to add another reminder: if you are a "no-reply" blogger, please be sure to give me your email address in your comment, or you can't win! (Dianne, this means you...)

Vicki is having a week-long giveaway on her site (but don't go there, because I want to win!) so I thought I'd join in...

Today's prize is this Amazing Radiance quilt pattern:
I bought this on a trip to Seattle a couple of years back; it's paper-pieced, and includes all the papers, untouched.

To be entered for the drawing on October 22, just leave me a comment, and make sure I have a way to contact you.

Friday, August 22, 2014

starts and finishes

These days, I pretty much consider something "finished" when I get the top done... quilting it is a bonus!  So I'm please to report a bonus this week:

This is "Canyon Dance" from a pattern by Tracy Trevethan.  It's Starr hand-dyes and a couple of African prints, all purchased at PIQF a couple of years ago. It's quilted with a spiral that expands gradually from the circular motif in the middle.

And I have a finished top to report -- this one was started up in the mountains a couple of months ago, and I finally got the borders sewn on.  It will probably reside in the flimsy closet until I figure out who gets it...

And finally, a new project that's  actually further along than this, now -- and you can see that I'm all over the map as far as color palettes go in this post!

This one already has a name -- A Squeeze of Lime -- and the blocks have now been sewn into columns.  I've been looking through books that have been on my shelf for a while, and picking out things to try with color combinations I haven't used before, or whatever else strikes my fancy on that particular day.  I have a ton of fabric on the shelves, and it's weighing on my brain -- so I expect there will be a few donation quilts in my near future, just to have fun and clear some physical and mental space...

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Blocks and Tops

It's been a while...

Hubby Al did the sailboat race to Hawaii again -- 3rd time, and he came in 2nd this time! -- and we spent a very "chill" week on Kauai. We played miniature golf at a course that is also a botanical garden, swam a bit, read a LOT, and of course I had to visit my two favorite fabric shops...

While he was gone I actually did very little sewing,  but I did finish up another scrap top:

This is from "Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework", and it's one of Cynthia's Scrap-a-Palooza patterns -- although I changed the setting around a bit.

I also made some progress on my Tula Pink blocks -- more of these coming soon!

I've been absent from the Block Lotto for a couple of months, but I like the August choice a lot and decided to raid my little box of 5" squares and jump in:

Finally, I saw a little quilt that Kate made recently and found the book she used, online, for about $1.50 so had to have it!   This is a different quilt from the same book -- it's Wonky One-block Quilts by Marlous Carter -- using some random brights from the stash.

Next up: crazy hearts, a binding project, and maybe quilting up a few of the smaller tops that are cluttering up my closet...

Monday, July 07, 2014

the robin is revealed!

Be sure to check out THE BIG REVEAL on the Cotton Robin blog here!

Here was the little block I started with:

and the super-cute quilt that came home to me!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Progress report

I've managed to finish up a couple of flimsies recently, although it's taken more than a week to drag the camera out for photos of them...

This is from a pattern called "Quodlibet:" that I found at a shop in Madison WI last fall. All the other versions I've seen have darks where mine has lights, and vice versa -- I just had to be different.

And this is the Crayon Box top I made from a Bonnie Hunter pattern while on retreat in the mountains last month; I think it came together pretty well!

Last but not least, an actual finished object. This was the Planet Patchwork Christmas
Mystery from last year (not much of a mystery, in my opinion) that was quilted most beautifully by Alethea Ballard.  If you look at the black triangles and the border, you'll see the yellow chrysanthemums she scattered everywhere. 

  I have another quilt that Alethea did that's just waiting for binding and then I'll show it off...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

2 graduates, 2 quilts

In keeping with my tradition that all my real and imaginary nieces and nephews get a quilt when they finish high-school -- I have two finishes to report.

First is for a "real" nephew -- this quilt has been mostly done for quite a while, but the binding just got added last month and the label went on yesterday.  It was made with him in mind, since for a while he was thinking about the air force (he already has his pilot's license).  I named it "Wild Blue Yonder" and it was quilted by Margaret Gunn.

For the second graduate, I was planning to give the wonky trees quilt that I've shown before, but after having it quilted I decided it was a little too whimsical for this young man... so I pulled out a sampler top made from Friday Block Party blocks and did a quick, minimalist spiral quilting job on it. Bound, washed & labeled, and will be gifted this evening!

One more finish, for me -- another pair of socks, made from Miss Babs in her "Perfectly Wreckless" colorway. I tried the "fish lips kiss" heel for the first time; I'm not sure if I like it yet, because it's been way too hot for wool socks here lately.


Friday, May 30, 2014


This is the last evening of my retreat in the mountains -- it's been a lot of fun, and insanely productive!  I think I've done about 2 months worth of sewing in a week...

Here's a new almost-done top -- most of the Rocky Mountain Puzzle blocks came from a birthday swap in
 2012; I found the layout in the "layout library" in Electric Quilt and then made 5 more blocks to make it all work.  It is eventually going to get a sawtooth border, but I want to sketch it out first to see how it will fit in.
 Do you remember what my box of 2 1/2" squares looked like before?  This it how it looks today; I've used up a ton of them, and plan to keep playing with them this evening to see how much more of a dent I can make in the yellow/blue/green/purple stacks.
 And what have I been doing with the squares? Making these 9-21-49 patch segments for what I think might become a new quilt for my bed. If you enlarge the photo, you'll see there's quite a variety of color within the blue and purple sections especially, but I love the way it all seems to come together.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

scrappy retreat

I took my box of 2 1/2" squares and a big bag stuffed full of 2 1/2" strips up to the foothills for a little quilt retreat with a couple of friends this week. (and a couple of other projects, too...)  We're staying in Arnold, which is a pretty sleepy town now that Memorial Day has passed.

My first order of business was the strips -- this is the "Crayon Box" pattern from Bonnie Hunter's wonderful site. It measures about 48" x 60" right now and will get a border or two once I'm home with my stash.  It used up almost all of my strips!

One of my "real" projects is the "Red Centre" pattern from Kathy Dougherty's book Making Quilts. I had cut the strips ahead of time, and it is going together really quickly -- the print fabrics are all Kaffe Fassett and friends.

 Somewhere around this point I used up the last of a big cone of Aurifil thread -- time for chocolate!

Today, in between sewing the other quilt together, I'm attacking the box of squares, which I've sorted by color now.  I'm going to do a version of "Growing Up Odd" which I found as a tutorial at Wedding Dress Blue.  I'm starting with larger squares, and each of the units will be monochromatic.

 My friend Catherine has been rotating between components of several projects, but this is the beginning of a Burgoyne Surrounded wallhanging that's on the design-batting this morning. I love red and white quilts...

And Kathleen was only able to stay for a couple of days, but look at what she accomplished!  (She did have almost all the pieces cut ahead of time)  This is a variation of "Soul Searching", also from Kathy Dougherty's book linked above.  She hung it from the balcony early this morning for photos.

Finally, lest you think we're all quilt and no play -- we did a hike in Calaveras Big Trees State Park yesterday and I had to do a selfie under one of the big trees! (Catherine, Kathleen, and me)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

scrap overflow

If you had a large shoebox crammed full of 2-1/2" square scraps (not to mention a rather large pile of 2-1/2" strips of various lengths up to about 18") -- what would you make from them?

(There's no way I want to sort through everything to see what multiples I might have of particular fabrics)

I have made a couple of postage-stamp style quilts in the past (small ones) and I've thought about just making random 36-patch units until I can't stand it anymore and there's enough for a quilt!  But I'm hoping my crafty readers might have some more creative ideas...