New chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild!

Kentucky has a wonderful and rich quilting history, so it only makes sense we have a chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild to take that legacy into the future.

For all of you in the Louisville, Ky., area, join us for our first informational meeting.

Date: Saturday, April 27, 2013

Time: 10 a.m. to noon

Place: Among Friends Quilt Shop, 9537 Taylorsville Road, Louisville, KY 40299

For more information, you can contact me (Sandra) at onemillionstitches@gmail.com. I hope to see you there!

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An easy table runner and other news

I love the non-traditional colors here.
I love the non-traditional holiday colors here.

I wanted to share with you one of my favorite easy projects, a table runner I made that highlighted different-scale prints.

My friend who sent me the fabric for my current blog header, also sent me the fabric for this. (Don’t you just love friends who support your fabric habit?)

Like the other table runner, I didn’t have anything to add to this fabric (I think there were five fat quarters in the set), and cute as it is, I just didn’t want to try and make something bigger out of it.

I love blended blocks and I love that with this project you can’t easily tell where all the pieces join together – it almost looks in parts like it’s one piece of fabric.

Essentially, it’s just a nine-patch block made up of smaller-scale prints, next to a large-scale print single-piece block. I made the middle section from three individual border prints (cut in two repeat sections), which are the same width as the two blocks.

I kept the quilting simple, just some large stippling and some outlining and it was done!

In other news, I did spend time at my machine this weekend, still procrastinating on the quilting for my friend’s baby quilt.

Instead, I decided to do a little experimenting. I have a small, eight-inch piece of cross-stitch I had done many years ago that  was part of a bigger, unfinished piece. It was from a sampler called, “Cluny,” and I loved the combination of the white and blue backgrounds.

Photo from needlecraft.com.au
Photo from needlecraft.com.au

This sampler is pretty old, and back then, you weren’t as likely to find pieces that had a large area to fill in with stitches (like this one does) as you can now.

Instead of being stitched, the white part was actually a separate piece of Aida cloth, that you sewed onto the navy piece and then stitched the border.

I never got around to finishing the border, but had kept the alphabet part, figuring I could do something with it. Initially, I thought of turning it into the center of a medallion quilt, but to be honest, I just wasn’t sure I liked it enough for that — at least not with the fabric I have that would best go with it.

Propped by the front door to minimize my reflection and catch the last of the day's light.
Propped by the front door to minimize my reflection and catch the last of the day’s light.

So instead, I decided to turn it into a wall hanging. I’m still not quite satisfied with it, but it works for now. I might take out the pink band and just do the blue floral, or maybe I’ll get inspired for something modern to go with it. I love juxtaposing two totally different styles.

In the meantime, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Thank you so much for stopping by for a visit.

XOXO,
Sandra

Two finishes in one week

DSC_2062
I didn’t think I had enough bags to fill this half way, let alone stuff it, but I love how the fullness shows off the flowers.

Hard to believe it, but I actually have a second finish this week and even managed to update my blog header. I was able to bring home a sweet Nikon D-7000 from the office for the weekend, so I hope to get lots of good photos of some past finishes, as well as what I’m currently making.

I really don’t like using my camera phone for my blog, but what’s a girl to do when that’s all she has/can afford at the moment?

One of my favorite blogs to follow is over at In Color Order. I love Jeni’s projects and best of all, she offers a lot of wonderful tutorials for all sorts of things.

Late last week, she posted one for a grocery bag holder. I’ve always wanted to make one of these, but had never gotten around to it.

I’m glad I waited, because her instructions were so easy (she gives two versions and two sizes) that I was able to finish it in a few hours. So, for just a few dollars, I have a cute addition to my kitchen that I hope to paint and do a little refurbishing on one of these days.

(This is why you’re looking at a photo of the holder on my couch, rather than in the kitchen where it belongs.)

I did my version a little differently. See, a couple of weeks ago, I started a collection of black/white graphic prints for an eventual quilt or other craft project. What I didn’t notice, was that three of the half yards I bought were actually cotton duck and therefore kind of a light home decor weight, not suitable for quilting.

I plan to do my kitchen (at least this week) in black and white (white cabinets, black countertops, white walls) so one idea I had was to make a cover for my stand mixer. But the three prints weren’t big enough on their own and I didn’t like the three of them patched together.

Of course, I wound up not having enough of the white/black flowers (since it’s directional) to do her large bag, but I remembered some black duck I have from an old project that I was able to recycle — it even made the holder since I didn’t have the ribbon her tutorial called for. I like how the black base balances the white and the flowers, and because it was home dec, I didn’t need to quilt it.

This is how it got finished in one night.

I think I’ll make the smaller one sometime soon to keep in my closet to hold my bathroom trash can liners. And maybe I’ll take the other two pieces and attempt that stand mixer cover after all.

Thanks so much for reading and welcome to my new followers! I can’t tell you what it means to me that you’re here.

XOXO,
Sandra

P.S. — For those of you who saw my post about wool dryer balls and want to make some, I can tell you that while they do eliminate static cling, they definitely don’t soften your towels. Just something to think about before you decide to make them.

First finish for 2013

This is a project I started a few years ago. A friend had sent a few fat quarters and since I didn’t have anything else to go with them at the time that wasn’t spoken for elsewhere, I thought a table runner would be a good use, rather than dump them in my stash.

Sorry about the lousy picture quality - this was the best my phone camera could do.
Sorry about the lousy picture quality – this was the best my phone camera could do.

I made the star blocks and sashing pretty quickly. I even did the back and the quilting on the first star, but on the striped lines of the sashing, I decided I would outline each line, and I got bored pretty quickly with all the stopping and starting and changing of stitch length. So, the runner lived rolled up on a fabric dowel for a few years in my closet.

When I felt insecure doing the quilting for the baby quilt I posted about awhile back, I thought of this runner and how it would be a perfect project to work on to get my confidence back. You can’t see it in the photo, but there’s stippling in the light-green area around the stars, and that’s what I thought I’d do on baby Audrey’s quilt. Looking at what I had done a few years ago looked pretty good, which gave me the courage to try again.

I can’t say my stippling abilities have held up too well over the years, but it was at least good enough to not have to rip out. And while working on it, I decided I’d probably do straight-line quilting on the baby quilt anyway.

Do you have projects like that? You’re all set to do one thing but by the time you get to it you’ve changed your mind a million times? Maybe that’s a dumb question to ask anyone who does crafts. 🙂

Here’s a look at the back — nothing fancy, just using as many leftovers as possible. The few small pieces I have left over I’ll save and maybe use them in a pixel quilt like this one I saw on Kati’s blog, “From the Blue Chair.” It’s a great blog, definitely worth following! You can see another pixel quilt she did here.

I love how the straight lines turned out - probably what made me change my mind about stippling the baby quilt.
I love how the straight lines turned out – probably what made me change my mind about stippling the baby quilt.

Now that I’ve finished the runner and am so happy with it, I’ve got my first handmade Christmas present all ready to go. And I think I now have the confidence to tackle baby Audrey’s quilt and get it done, too.

Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out my first finish for 2013.

XOXO,
Sandra

Oh my stars!

I started this table runner a few years ago with fabric sent to me by a dear friend in Alaska. A few fat quarters of coordinating fabric was just enough to make something pretty and useful.

However, I got a little over ambitious when it came to quilting it (I decided to do lines along each of the dark green vines, which meant a ton of start/stop quilting), so it wasn’t long before I got bored and put the runner in a drawer for a few years.

The runner is made up of three of the sawtooth stars, framed by the vine-like fabric.
The runner is made up of three of the sawtooth stars, framed by the vine-like fabric.

Before I got this out, I had tried practicing my stippling, etc., as well as some new techniques I learned in my Craftsy class, using an old pillowcase with some extra batting pieces. It has been awhile since I’ve done any free motion quilting, and I wanted to get some time in before trying to complete Audrey’s quilt.

What. a. mistake. Not the practice part, the results.

It seems sheets and pillowcases, etc., are woven differently than the cotton used in quilting, which is why my stitches were the worst I’ve ever done and the thread kept breaking. (In a recent post, I thought it was my machine.) I remembered the runner and decided to try my hand at it.

I’m glad I did, because as much as I LOVE my Craftsy classes and seeing all the gorgeous photos of quilts at QuiltCon, it does get a little intimidating. But looking at the table runner helped me realize I could stipple pretty well not so long ago and with some effort and determination, I could conquer my fear and live to stipple/FMQ again.

Sorry, didn’t mean to get all “Little Engine That Could” on you.

In other news, my post on the wool dryer balls got a pretty good response for a new blog so I thought I’d show you what they look like now after a few loads of wash:

Ignore the hard water stains on the ironing board cover, please!
Ignore the hard water stains on the ironing board cover, please!

I think my favorite is the one in the middle, that somehow got just a little separated enough to look like a round head with a helmut on it. I still haven’t noticed any dramatic reduction in drying time, but they work like a charm on removing static cling, and my skin seems to be much happier without dryer sheets. If you try them, I’d love to hear how they work for you.

I’m so glad you could stop by for a visit!

XOXO,
Sandra