Feeling Recharged

For six years now, I have traveled to Waite Park, MN in July to spend a few days with some of the best friends I have ever known; a group of women that felt like forever friends almost immediately after our first meeting. My Grubers Retreat is a non-negotiable event on the calendar. I’ve written about the joys of this retreat in the past; but really, words cannot explain what this week means to me and does for me emotionally. Group8                               L to R: Amanda, Rene, me, Mary, Michelle, Terri, Cindy, Shelly, Stephanie

Amanda produces like crazy every year–many things with her new fabric collection for Connecting Threads this year! She free-motion quilted like crazy, and she and I made micro quilts. Amanda2015CollageRene worked on a scrap vortex quilt most of the weekend. Her 51 Kisses quilt, made for her sister, Michelle, is fabulous. Go check out her MUCH better photos!Rene2015CollageI finished up my Rock Pools quilt top from a class I took in May (it’s Christmas fabric), and worked on my Quick Curve Ruler project from last year’s retreat! My micro quilt is at the bottom left:Doris2015CollageMary made us the adorable egg-cup pincushions (top right photo) with the smallest EPP hexies I’ve ever seen. She worked diligently on a Moda Bake Shop pattern most of the weekend. Mary2015CollageMichelle first joined us for retreat in 2011 (year two). She is Rene’s little sis, and at the time she was just a newbie to quilting. She has come a long way! The girl is obsessed with foundation paper-piecing (and the movie Pitch Perfect, which we watched as a group Saturday evening). The quilt on the top right is the beauty she made for Rene this year:Michelle2015CollageTerri is fun to watch work; she makes the most of her time at retreat. She goes back and forth between projects, starts new ones when inspired by something she sees (see the blocks at bottom right, inspired by one Michelle shared-in my collage above), her creativity is inspiring. She came prepared with her suitcase of fabric (LOVE IT!)… Also, she made us those beautiful Dresden coasters this year:Terri2015CollageCindy accomplished much more than I took photos of. I couldn’t resist snapping the pic of her with the matching Hello Kitty sewing machine! She made us all one-hour baskets with fussy cut license plate fabric–so fitting! A friend made the cute bag at the bottom for her, it’s just too adorable not to share:Cindy2015CollageShelly and I share a ride from Des Moines to Waite Park, about 5 hours in the car (each way). She’s afraid she talks my ear off, but I love the laughs, the sharing, the brainstorming…and she tells the BEST stories. She was working on some top-secret stuff, so not many pics of her work, but she was very productive! I’m still tickled pink that she made us those perpetual journal calendars in the pint box (it’s one of the first projects I ever added to Pinterest and I have YET to make one–don’t need to, now!):Shelly2015CollageStephanie sat next to me this year, I was amazed at how quickly she made the Mini Disco quilt in the Allison Glass fabrics (the back is just as beautiful, photo on bottom right). She worked on a Quick Curve Ruler project as well, a current QAL on the Sew Kind of Wonderful blog.Stephanie2015CollageEach year we make (or “outsource”) happies for each other. Seriously, it’s better than Christmas:Happies4I gave the Cotton & Steel charm packs and scissors key fobs this year, Anna Maria Dresden coaster from Terri, Perpetual Journal Calendar & flashlight from Shelly, Egg Cup pincushion from Mary, Work in Progress bag and pattern, and mini-charms from Amanda, fabric tray and chocolate from Michelle, Her OWN honey and “Sew Sisters” bag from Stephanie (and fresh Michigan blueberries!), License plate basket from Cindy, and Mug and mini-charms from Rene.

Every year I come home feeling recharged and inspired–Love my Grubers gals!

X & Plus Block — DOUBLE-SIZE!

In 2013, I had my International Stashes Bee make me X & + blocks, using Badskirt Amy’s tutorial. Her tutorial makes 8″ unfinished (7.5″ finished) blocks. The Bee members used a lot of text fabrics and bright colors, and I LOVE the blocks; but it’s still a WIP.

Then, I saw THIS quilt by Karen:

11246790656_cf895f368d_b

Karen of CapitolaQuilter

When I saw that photo, I was SO grateful that I hadn’t pieced my quilt top yet–because I want a quilt like that to hang on my high, cathedral-ceiling wall in my living room! So, I’m asking my Sew Sisters Bee to make me 15.5″ (unfinished) blocks to go with my smaller blocks.

Karen did a great tutorial for her big blocks, but hers finish at 24″–too big to be companion size with my 7.5″ blocks. Her tutorial includes a GREAT tip for getting eight bonus HSTs (it was definitely a “why didn’t I think of that?” moment!).

SO anyway… for me it was back to the drawing board, to figure out cutting sizes for a block to finish at 15″ (15.5″ unfinished). Here you go:

15″ X & Plus Block cutting:
Plus Center (navy floral) = two 3″ squares and one 3″ x 8″ rectangle
Plus Ends (green print) = four 3″ x 4.25″ rectangles
Background (text print) = eight 4.75″ squares
X (tree print) = four 6.75″ squares (THIS SHOULD ACTUALLY BE 4 DIFFERENT FABRICS, I cut mine from the same print because each piece of my fabric varied so much)
X&+Block1Draw a diagonal line down the center of the wrong side of the 4.75″ squares. Match up to a 6.75″ square, right sides together (RST), sew along drawn line:X&+Block2

Trim seam to 1/4″, and press open toward smaller triangle. Repeat for opposite corner as shown here to complete each corner X unit (your corner unit should measure 6.75″ square):

X&+Block3

TIP: You can chain piece all of the center lines on one side, then the center lines on the other side to make this go together a little quicker.

X&+Block4

Sew two 3″ x 4.25″ green print rectangle to the two 3″ navy floral squares RST, press seam open. Add a corner X unit to each side of the green/navy floral units as shown above.

Sew a 3″ x 4.25″ green print rectangle to 3″ x 8″ navy floral rectangle. Join three sections to complete your block. Square up to 15.5″ if needed.

Here is my finished block along with the smaller blocks from my 2013 Bee:

X&+Block5I look forward to getting this pieced together and hung on my wall!

(EDITED: Vicki pointed out to me that I had the block sizes mixed up (good catch!)–the post is now edited; my blocks are 8″ unfinished and 15.5″ unfinished).

Happy sewing,

Doris

 

What a Gem!

On Christmas Eve, this little pumpkin turned a year old:

Gemma 1st Birthday

She’s our grandbaby, Gemma. I started a quilt for her a while ago (Hubby and I picked out most of the fabric together before she was born) but I always give myself until the first birthday to finish and gift a baby quilt. In Gemma’s case, I gifted the quilt to her on her 1st birthday.

I used the Gem Block, lavender prints with a scrappy yellow background:

 Full Shot Gemma What a Gem Quilt

 Gemma What a Gem Quilt

I was trying to design applique into the front when I started this project, but I ended up adding an appliqued monogram to the flannel back instead:

Gemma Quilt Back

Gemma Quilt Back Detail

The G was machine-appliqued on, prior to quilting:

Gemma Quilt Applique Detail

 Gemma What a Gem Quilt

The quilt measures 36″ x 45″, 18 (9″) Gem Blocks and 2 Accent Blocks. I used six different purples (lavenders) and 5 different yellows on the front, the back is a Moda flannel and the “G” monogram is a tone-on-tone Peter Rabbit print from my stash.

Here’s a shot of the little cutie pie modeling with her quilt (she’s wearing a hoodie with buttons all over it, for her Christmas visit to Grandpa & Grandma’s house!):

Gemma & Her Quilt

Happy Birthday, Gemma!

What a Tangled Web We Weave – Spiderweb Block Tutorial

BLOGTOBERFEST, Day 31

Today is the last day of Blogtoberfest, and my day on the Wicked Blog Hop.  Also joining in on Bloggers Quilt Festival with this fun Halloween quilt!

My “wicked” quilt block is the spiderweb block used to make my What a Tangled Web We Weave quilt, which received an honorable mention in the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild show this October.

The finished size of the quilt is Twin Size, and it takes 20 spiderweb blocks.  Here it is spread out on our Queen Size bed:

To make the blocks:

  •  Cut randomly sized strips of fabric across grain by width of fabric (wof) and sew into strip sets at least 6 1/2 ” wide.  (for one block you will need 1 or 2 strip sets, for the Twin size quilt you will need 18-20 strip sets)
  • Using a 60-degree ruler, cut alternating triangles from your strips sets in this fashion:

  • From background fabric, cut one 5 7/8″ square, cut in half diagonally into two half-square B triangles.
  • Also, from background fabric cut two A template pieces, and two Ar (A-Reverse) template pieces.  Template is provided here: SpiderwebTemplate
  • Add a B triangle to the flat end of two of your strip wedges, and add two A triangles and two Ar triangles to the flat ends of your other strip wedges like this:
  • Sew three wedge pieces together to create half a block; repeat:
  • Join your two half block pieces together and then square your block:

I fussy cut the inner border from a stripe fabric, it reads “Halloween” over and over…

And the outer border is an Alexander Henry fabric (from 2006, I think) called “Halloween Lane”.  And the backing is another fun Alexander Henry print called “Unhappy Hour”…

Trina’s long arm quilting made the quilt…the spider web details are fantastic, and I adore the cluster of spiders in the square areas of the background:

Thanks for stopping, I’d love to hear your comments on my quilt… and please go pay a visit to these Wicked Bloggers and see what they have to share today:

Lil’ Dumplings

I posted this to Facebook after finishing it on Sunday–and I included a Sharpie marker in the pic I posted, to show the scale.  This bag is TINY–it measures about 3.5″ x 2″ at the base, and not quite 3″ high!

Since then, I have made seven more dumpling bags… just one in a slightly larger size (the one on the left with the purple flower/purple zipper is bigger than the rest):

Using lots of fun fabric from my stash and scrap boxes:

I’m hoping to sell these at our Church Bazaar this weekend… not sure about price, maybe around $8.00 each.

They are fairly easy to whip up, made from Keyka Lou’s free pattern and tutorial…

 
 

A lot lower fat than edible dumplings, and a whole lot cuter, too!

You can find Keyka Lou’s tutorial here.

They only other sewing I’ve done this week is one 12.5″ purple star block for an exchange:

I realized when pulling fabrics for this block, that the one color I buy very little of, is purple!  Do you have a color like that in your stash (or missing from your stash)?

Block Party

Not much sewing is going on these days outside of preparations for the big day, but I did get together with my friend Trina a few weeks back and managed to finish my March and April blocks for One Block Over.
I love the Christmas hexies Victoria chose, so easy-peasy to paper piece:

And Andie’s quilt is going to be so awesome (I’m a little jealous of her daughter…):

You know I love a good fussy-cut: