Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Get Ready for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Vol. 9

Not an April Fool's joke! I have another block in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. This time in volume 9.


I'll be participating in the blog tour. My assigned day is May 1.


Be sure to join in the blog tour the week of April 28 through May 2 because all of the bloggers -- including  me -- will be giving away a copy of the magazine.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Born on the Fourth of July Quilt

Proof positive that I'm quilting Jackson and Brianna's wedding quilt

I took the leap and loaded Jackson's quilt onto the studio frame and began quilting it with the HQ18 Avanté. Now I know that I'm showing that I'm a beginning machine quilter by quilting it with loops and stars, but it is an Americana quilt after all.

I'm using rulers to quilt piano keys in the striped borders. That actually takes longer than the free-motion loops and stars in the center. 

Hmmm, I wonder which of my many quilt tops  will have the honor of becoming the second quilt I machine quilt myself?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Latest Quilt Top Finish

Yes, very simple. Even somewhat modern. Not my typical quilt style. But it was fun to make.

The image above is from Electric Quilt, but the finished top looks just like this. I imported jpgs of the Zen Chic fabrics (from Comma line) into Electric Quilt. The blocks were simple to make -- but it was a pain to match up the points between the rows.

I think it will be a great boy's baby quilt.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Time for another wedding quilt

One of my nephews got engaged a few weeks ago, and he and his fiancee have set the date: May 24. So that leaves just under three months to finish a quilt for them.

Luckily I have had a quilt top intended for him for several years, so it just needs to be quilted. Since he was born on the fourth of July, their quilt has an Americana feel. I believe it was a design by either Liz Porter or Marianne Fons. (It's been so long that I don't remember.)

The backing is a cream and blue toile that has an Americana theme as well.

So now the question is: will I quilt it or hire out the quilting? After all, I have a Handi Quilter HQ18 Avante that was "loaned" to me as a result of my employment with HQ. After 2-1/2 more years of employment, it will be mine-all-mine!

But I've  been shy to actually do a real quilt on it -- although I've practiced on orphan blocks. I think I'm just too exposed to fabulous quilting and I know my skills aren't anywhere near what I see on a daily basis.

I'll  be a student in next week's intermediate retreat being offered by the HQ studio educators, so I'm hoping I'll gain the confidence to quilt this myself. Fingers are crossed!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Learning to Live Without a Thyroid

Who would have thought that something as small in one's body would disrupt my life for several months??

Last fall I noticed that my hair was thinning, I was cold all of the time, and I had zero energy. (Hence no blogging and no quilting or stitching!)

I was already on a low dose of thyroid medication but knew there was something more going on. So a trip to the endocrinologist, lab work, and an ultrasound of my thyroid uncovered couple things.

My blood work uncovered extremely low vitamin D levels -- 7.8 (where 30 is the minimum they should be). So I began high doses of vitamin D -- which after about 6 weeks finally gave me enough energy to get through the day.

And, yes, the ultra sound showed that I had an enlarged thyroid with nodules. Could this possibly be the cause of my chronic cough that has progressively gotten worse over the past 7 or 8 years? At first it looked like the cough was solved. But gradually over the month or so since the surgery, I've started coughing again.  Not as much, but it's still there. ARGH! Hope I didn't go through this for nothing.

The decision was made and a month ago the thyroid came out. Surgery was pretty uneventful. But side effects of general anesthesia kept me from working full time for a couple weeks.

Now I'm adjusting to living without a thyroid -- I think I'm on the right dose of meds except I still  want to go to bed a 8:30 or 9:00 PM.

I finally got into my sewing room last Saturday and sewed one block. Hopefully tomorrow I'll  be a bit more productive with my rotary cutter and sewing machine.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Deseret Beehive Block Featured in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 8

Welcome blog hoppers!

I'm so happy it's finally my day on the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 8 blog hop! And even more excited to share my block with you. And to give you the opportunity to win a copy of Volume 8 from Quiltmaker Magazine! And guess what? I'm also giving away two additional copies myself!

Edited to add:  I randomly picked the three winners -- Jacklyn Grimm of WI, Sherry Book of IA, and Donna Cutting of Saskatchewan, Canada.  Congratulations! And thanks to all for stopping by and commenting!


Ta da! Here it is -- my beehive block named Deseret (which means honeybee). The instructions in Quiltmaker give you details for traditionally piecing the block with "sew and  flip" corners. Easy peasy!

The beehive is the state symbol here in Utah and I have always been fascinated with its shape and significance. When Brigham Young and the pioneers first arrived in the SLC valley in 1847, they chose the beehive as their symbol because they would have to be industrious and busy bees in order to make the desert "blossom as a rose".

I began collecting beehive memorabilia back in the 80s -- such as ceramic honey pots, folk art with beehives, you name it! Back then it was hard to find beehive tchotchkes, but soon you could find beehive stuff everywhere. (Did I start a trend? Probably not.) It wasn't long until I was receiving beehive-themed birthday and Christmas gifts. So now I have quite the collection. I even spotted a cloissoné beehive ornament while visiting Beijing, China a couple years ago. Yep, I bought it.

Well, back to quilting. Wanna see how I set this block into a quilt? Here's the first quilt I made featuring this block -- totally from scraps and stash. It finishes 48-1/2 inches square. This one was quilted by Catherine Timmons (Cat's Attic Quilting in Bountiful, UT) with a simple overall stipple.

I knew that not everyone gravitates toward dark and medium traditional fabrics like I do, so I also made the quilt using fabrics from a couple collections by Fig Tree. It's a bit less scrappy and I planned the placement of the fabrics in the setting blocks a little more precisely. I love how it turned out, even if beehives aren't supposed to be light green! This version was quilted by Sue Baddley using a digital design.

One thing you need to know about the beehive blocks in the quilts above. Unlike the instructions in the magazine, I didn't add a background strip along the bottom of the block. Instead I doubled the size of the background strip at the top of the block. I felt like it "floated" within the chain blocks more evenly

Here's one last variation -- but I increased the beehive block from 12 inches to 30 inches and created a medallion quilt -- complete with honeycomb hexagons and embroidered honeybees. This quilt finishes 68.5 inches square.

I think that the gold/tan and black jewel box blocks in the pieced border look like a bit like the iconic honeybee.This quilt was custom machine quilted by Jen Alexander. Here's a close-up of the quilting and the honeybee embroidery.

Be sure to follow the 100 Blocks Blog Tour through Nov. 15 at The Quiltmaker Blog Quilty Pleasures for inspiration, ideas, and giveaways galore! (I'm giving away a copy of my book Triple-Play Scrap Quilting, along with a color-themed 10-inch square pack of fabrics as part of Quiltmaker's prizes.)

TO WIN ONE OF THREE COPIES OF QUILTMAKER'S 100 BLOCKS VOLUME 8 (one from Quiltmaker or one of two I'm giving away): Simply leave a comment below! Deadline for entries is Nov. 16th at midnight. I'll do the random drawing on Nov. 17th and will notify the winner by e-mail. If you're the lucky winner I'll be asking for your mailing address so Quiltmaker can send you your copy of the special issue.

I invite you to become a follower on my Bountiful Heirlooms Facebook page so you are notified when a new blog post goes live.

Good luck everyone -- and thanks for visiting.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 8 is coming soon! And along with the eighth volume of this popular special issue is the equally popular blog tour.


And guess what? I have a block in Volume 8 and will be part  of the blog tour fun! My day is Thursday, November 14.  I can't wait to share with you my block, as well as example of how it works in a few different quilts.

I will be able to give away a copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume  8 to someone who comments on my blog post that day. Of course, it will be a random drawing.

I  have also donated a signed copy of my book and a color-themed set of 10-inch squares that could be used for one of several quilts in my book.

Be sure to visit the many quilters and sponsors who will be part of the blog tour that starts Nov. 11 and continues through Nov. 15.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Spotted on a Martingale Video

A week or so ago I watched a great video on the Martingale website about how to attach a temporary hanging sleeve to a quilt. It was presented by marketing coordinator, Mary Burns.

Here's the video:

Imagine my surprise when I spotted this at the end of the video:

Yep, that's the coordinated version of my Days of '47 quilt on the wall behind Mary.

So my quilt got its 15 minutes of  fame.

Have a scrappy day!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Cherish is the Word

American Patchwork and Quilting recently sponsored a Pinterest contest featuring their 20 favorite pillowcase patterns from the One Million Pillowcase Challenge. This pillowcase with a train appliqué received the most pins — and was the winner of the contest. Here’s a link to the pattern if you want to make your own version.

As one of the sponsors of the one million pillowcase challenge, Handi Quilter (where I work) was challenged to make our own version of the winning pillowcase. My main contribution was the polka dot fabric and cutting the appliqué pieces with the Accuquilt Go! fabric cutter.

Here's the Handi Quilter version of the pillowcase (which we quilted, of course).

That got me thinking about the quilt I made using that polka dot fabric. It's called Cherish is the Word and, like the other quilts in my book, there are three variations for the quilt. The polka dot version is the simplest of the three to make. I appliquéd each quadrant of the block onto a background square and then stitched them together like a four-patch.

The next version of Cherish had a couple changes. Besides the scalloped border, the appliqué piece in each quadrant of the block is appliquéd to a half-square triangle (giving the background of the block a little more interest). (I think this is my favorite variation of this quilt.)

But this quilt design started with the most complex version (which was much more involved). Hence the simpler versions above. This one used Amy Butler fabrics and has a more blended look -- which was my intent, but the extra detail kind of got lost because of the blended fabric choices.

Here's a close-up of one of the blocks (out of EQ7). As you can see below, there are small arc pieces on the two outside edges of the hourglass blocks.

I will probably make this version of the quilt again some day, but will use fabrics that better show off the details of the design. After all, if I'm going to go to all of that extra work, it better show up! Actually, looking at the block scaled larger like the quilt photos, it would be an interesting "big block" quilt featurong some large-print fabric. What d'ya think?

Have a great day -- and don't worry, be scrappy.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Latest Project

I was happy to be able to do some serious sewing on Labor Day. It had been ages since I'd spent more than an hour at a time in my studio.

So on Monday I was able to get about two thirds of the blocks done for a scrappy Ohio Star quilt, set with some alternate blocks in a unique setting. Then yesterday evening I was able to finish the rest of the blocks.

Here are the blocks laid out on my "design floor".

It always amazes me how looking at a photo always highlights where I need to make some changes. For example, the Ohio Star block at the far right of the 4th row needs a different center square that isn't so light in value. And the bottom-right star needs a center square with more contrast. But those will be easy fixes.

Next step is obviously sewing the blocks together to finish the quilt center, then gotta figure out what I'll do for the borders. I'm toying with a narrow red border (matching the 4-patches in the big "x") and then doing a pieced border that echoes the "x" as well.  I just need to make sure I have enough of the red and brown fabrics.

Have a great day!



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