Sunday, February 26, 2012

Best Ever Quilt Retreat

All my bags were packed...
and I was ready to go to my first ever Quilting Retreat---hosted by the Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild (BAMQG).  I was nervous and unsure as to what to expect, pack or which projects to tackle.  But I went with an open mind, an ambitious stack of projects to start, and my chair (which was the envy of all the other attendees) and had a fantastic weekend!  Here are just a few highlights...
Goodies Galore:  At check in we each got a quilted zipper pouch filled with thread, needles, BAMQG fabric swatches, hardware for a few easy projects and chocolates---which seemed to have mysteriously disappeared over the weekend?!?  ;-)

Big open sewing space---which was rarely this tidy/organized.  I sewed from 2 pm -11pm on Friday, 7 am-1 am (OMG!!!) on Saturday and 8:30 am -2:30 pm on Sunday

Fun activities, contests, games and cool give aways.  I won this awesome book for completing a quilty word find the fastest!  Go me!

Fabric Fixes:  3 opportunities to shop for fabric--1 of which was just 2 feet away from my work station (so very tempting!!), free fat quarters and a stash swap.
And my quilting progress:
Sewing organizer/scrap basket to hang next to my machine

Cathedral window block using my newly won book and converted into a reversible totebag
3/4 of my blocks for my sparkle punch quilt
And while I didn't come close to finishing the quilt...I have lots of scraps to show my progress!
And best of all...I met some amazing, talented and truly generous fellow quilters...can't wait till the next retreat!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Demystifying Bennie

Bernie's first few days home fluctuated between pure sewing bliss and extreme frustration trying to figure out all her capabilities--ie.  how to thread her and use the automatic needle function.  I doubted my worthiness to own such a machine.  But I bit the bullet and signed up for a Bernina 8 Series class to learn all her intricacies...and learned A LOT!!!!  I was actually surprised to see that many of the functions covered in class I had already explored and figured out on my own...but there was still much to take away from the class.  I know now how to open her up to discover a bird's nest of missing threads...of course, just as the instructor walked by to my horror!  Fortunately, she wasn't there when I uncovered all the dust bunnies hiding down near the bobbin case...phew!  Although, these discoveries reaffirmed my need to take the Care of Bernina 8 Series so I can keep her purring for years to come...

Despite some hiccups last night I do feel more empowered to utilize her many features and functions to enhance my quilting projects...and I don't feel so unworthy of this fine piece of swiss engineering!
Discovering Bennie Awesome Abilities
Side note:  My back/ribs are sore from lugging this beast to and from the classroom!  At least I got my workout!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

McCalls Mystery Quilt Step 2

In fairness--I assembled the second part of the McCalls Mystery Quilt Challenge soon after the new March/April issue arrived...but a nasty bug has halted my quilting and blogging. 

But without further are the updated blocks...
Mystery Challenge Blocks
I am anxious to see how these and 2 other fabrics will end up in a lap-sized quilt in the final installation?!?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Scrappy Valentine's Day

Today's Valentine's Day was celebrated with Doug, all 3 pups and scrap quilting!  I had several scraps/strips leftover from the Texas Two Step quilts recently I decided to do something with them before I packed away the fabric or moved onto a new project.  For some of the smaller pieces, I made 11 postage stamp blocks...

Sample Postage Stamp Blocks

9 More Postage Stamp Blocks laid out for a pillow or tote bag?
Then, I cut and assembled lots and lots half square triangles out of the remaining scraps to form some funky blocks...
Just a few stacks of the 224 half square triangles sewn today!

Funky block in pinks and red prints all laid out ready to be sewn

And a few in green waiting to be sewn
I hope you all had a scraptastic Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Baby Thaddeus Twister

I'll admit, I really love these twister quilts.  They are so versatile and fun to make.  So when two of my friends had baby boys around the winter holidays--I needed to make some quick baby boy quilts fast!  Side note--nearly all my friends have had baby boys so I am running out of cute baby boy quilt ideas. 

So I ordered some baby fabric charm packs and incorporated some leftover 5" blocks from other projects...and got to work at a Quilt Guild Sew Day.  I made such great progress during the sew day and at home during the next two days--but then took a small hiatus...but its finished!
Baby Thaddeus Twister Quilt-Front

Backing featuring cute frogs!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

No more label-less quilts!

Last night, I tackled quilt labels...many thanks to my favorite quilt shop offering an entire class on quilt labels!  The owner/instructor provided so many great examples of fun, creative and easy to make quilt labels to finish any quilt...then gave us the opportunity to design/make a quilt label during class.  I was suprised at how easy it was, and all the possibilities...and loved seeing what labels were crafted by fellow classmates.  Feeling inspired, I came home to finish my class sample for the Texas Two Step quilt...

My first legit quilt label
and then proceeded to make another quilt label to complete a baby twister quilt I am in the process of adding the binding...
Quilt label #2
After last night's class, I solemnly swear to never gift a quilt unless it is properly labelled!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sewing with Family

Oh my goodness--I've been going, going, going...but not much sewing, sewing, sewing!  I was preparing for my mother's visit...and then decided to bring home this little bundle of cuteness and energy... 
Meet Panda
Needless to say, I've been busy getting her acclimated to her new home, housetraining and monitoring the other two dogs' reaction to their new younger sister.  She loves exploring her surroundings with her nose and her teeth--even the sewing studio.  So it was a bit of a challenge getting any sewing done with her running around... 

But I finally did get some sewing done...with mom!  We made some canvas totebags for friends and family.  Theses are heavy duty bags that are fun to personalize for the recipient:  Cleveland Indians fan, spiritual/church member, fisherman and woodworker!  I hope they all enjoy their bag as much as we enjoyed working together assembling all 4!