Friday, July 31, 2015

Kiss in the Corner

I can't believe it finally got here... the retreat I signed up for Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville and Jo and Kelli at Jo's Country Junction.

Our first project on day one was Kiss In The Corner with Bonnie.  My fabric selection was somewhat civil war reproduction fabrics.  Of course I drug my feet on preparing for the workshop and I wasn't 100% happy with my chrome fabrics.  I thought I had more than what I did but I was determined not to buy more.  I did exchange with Jill at the retreat for a little more variety.

Here is the morning progress.

A quick demo on how to short cut a step or two....

Some center section units on one of the blocks...

The top and bottom section units of the same block....

A kiss in the corners....

I'm so anxious to get all the blocks finished so I can see how it turns out.  Bonnie highly recommended that we wait until all the blocks are finished before we start adding the Kiss in the Corner sashing between the blocks.  

We are having so much fun, laughing so hard, and making great friends in the middle of the cornfield  in Iowa where there's very sketchy phone service and very slow internet connection.  I have some neat show and tell to share with you on a separate post.  

You can see additional photos on Bonnie's blog post here.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Retreat Challenge Update #2

I didn't make much progress on the retreat challenge that Jo and Kelli at Jo's Country Junction gave us.  You can read about it here.

I got a few more half square triangles sewn and squared up and I got quite a few half square triangles set up and ready to sew.

And I got a few blocks of clue #4 finished.

Here's the reason I didn't get much finished.  Look who's home from Japan!

And these two aren't home from Japan but they were at Great Grandma's house in Missouri and Nana was there too.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tuesday Tips, Tricks, and Tuts - Binding Prep

I realized not too long ago that not everyone binds their own quilts.  Actually I knew that quite some time ago but it just occurred to me why?  Some don't know how to piece the binding strips together and some don't know how to attach it.  Hopefully I can help you with that.  Of course, some just don't like doing it period!  And that's okay... that's why I offer binding services.  :)

So let's get started on today's Tuesday Tips, Tricks, and Tuts - Binding Prep.  You will need to determine the number of strips needed to go all the way around the quilt.  It's no magic formula, just simple math.  Add the length to the width and double that.  Now divide that by 40 (the length of a width of fabric strip) and round up to the next whole number.

For example, my quilt is 48" x 60.
48 + 60 = 108 * 2 = 216 / 40 = 5.4 (rounded up) = 6 strips of binding.

I rarely sew binding down by hand; 99% of the time it's by machine.  That being said, I cut my binding strips 2 1/2" x WOF (width of fabric).  A majority cut theirs 2 1/4" but I have found that that   extra 1/4" gives me room to turn it and catch it on the bottom without difficulty by machine.

Now that binding strips are cut.  Let's sew them together.  Start by laying 2 strips at right angles to each other.  I leave that little extra overlap so I can see where I'm sewing and where they intersect.

I don't mark mine, but you can if it helps you with a sewing line.   Draw a diagonal line (either imaginary or with a marker) from top inside corner to bottom outside corner.   Double check yourself at first to make sure you're drawing it the right direction.  Just flip it back as if it were sewn to see if it's going to right way.  Trust me, you can do it backwards and you will know immediately when you flip it if it's wrong.   

Now sew on that line ... As you can see from the photo below, when I drew my line I drew it the wrong way... which is another reason I don't draw my line.  I know how it should lay under the needle of my sewing machine and drew it wrong for the demo!  Notice how it does lay under the needle of the sewing machine though.  This is how each section should look.  

Now grab the tail of the top strip, lay it down right sides up, place another strip on top of it right sides together and sew diagonally again.  Repeat, chain stitching until all strips are sewn together.

Cut them apart and trim off the excess to 1/4".    I trim with scissors but a rotary cutter will work too.  

You are ready to press the binding strip.  Press it in half, this time wrong sides together down the length of the binding strip.  

When you get to a seam, press them OPEN.

Now roll it up and you're ready to bind when you quilt top is quilted.

Next week on Tips, Tricks, and Tuts Tuesday, I'll show you how to attach the binding to the quilt.  


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Top Secret Sneak Peak

It's no secret that I've been working on some Top Secret projects.  What IS the secret is what the project is... does that make sense?  

Since I can't show you the finished top secret project... how about a sneak peak at some of it?  

Some hour glass blocks

And some more hour glass blocks

And some bars

I bet you wonder what this will look like, or maybe you're wondering which top secret project it is?  

Only your Queen knows for sure!  


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Stash Busting

There has been a whole lot of stash busting going on in the Queen's Palace.  I've been cutting, and cutting, and cutting, preparing for the Retreat I'm going on next week.  Jo and Kelli at Jo's Country Junction have teamed up with Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville for this retreat.  I'm so excited to be going.

Jo and Kelli will teach 2 of their quilts from their new book Country Girl Modern
and Bonnie will be teaching one quilt from her new book, More Leaders and Enders
and then another quilt Kiss in the Corner.  All 4 are scrappy... of course... So, I've been cutting and sorting, digging in my stash, and cutting some more.

I really wished that I had taken a photo of the original pile of fabric but I forgot to.  This is what it looks like cut up.  Most of it was cut into 2 1/2" squares or strips.  There are a few 3 1/2" strips and some 1 1/2" strips and squares.

And this is the pile of un-useable scraps.  I didn't save anything less than 1 1/2" square.

This was round 1 of stash busting.  I did about this same amount 3 more times.  Now that's a lot of stash busting and cutting.  My rotary cutter needs a new blade!  Of course I could do this many more times.  It was only a tip of the iceberg in my scrap tubs.  


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Retreat Challenge Update

Last week I posted the Retreat Challenge that Jo's Country Junction is challenging us with.  You can read about it here.  I wanted to get  little more done on my Grand Illusion Mystery (that really isn't a mystery anymore).  I knew there was no way to finish it so any progress would be more than what I have.  To be honest, I don't have very much done at all.

So here's what I accomplished this week for my Retreat Challenge Update.

I only had 2 of these block units made.  I now have 16.  Still need 84 more.

And I didn't have any of this block units made and I still don't.   But I have all 80 of them cut out and the half square triangles made.  I still need to square the half square triangles and then  assemble the block unit.

I hope to have enough of each of the units made to put together a block by next week.


Farm Stroll

Over the weekend, the King and I too a Farm Stroll.  Now what is a Farm Stroll you might ask?  Well you can read about it here.  But basically it is an open house of local farming operations in DeKalb County Illinois.  We were only able to attend 3 of them due to time constraints on our part but I'm so glad we did it.

Our first stop was Jonamac Orchard; by far the most interesting of our 3 stops.  A "few" of the apples trees....

Any guesses on what the bottom photo is.... It's a gadget to prevent frost in the orchard.  Basically it's a helicopter blade that rotates when the temps get below freezing.  Fires are started in 50 gallon barrells around the perimeter of the orchard and the blades turn keeping the warmth down inside the orchard.  They will lose 10% of their crop if temps reach 29 degrees and 80% of their crop if temps reach 25 degrees.  So as our guide said, that 4 degrees is critical to be above.  

Some young apple trees.  Notice how they are attached to a pole and you probably can't see it but there is also a wire strung from pole to pole to "train" the branches so you will have a solid row of picking down each side.  

And it's not just apples, we bought a bottle wine too.  There are lots of activities for the kids (of all ages).  Later this fall there will be a pumpkin patch, and a corn maze.  How FUN!!!  I can't wait to go back when the apples are ready starting in August.  I hear their apple donuts are to die for.

Our next stop was a robotic dairy.  Again interesting....  Cows come at their own will (anytime day or night) to the milking stations, are fed, udders cleaned, and milked and no human hand ever touches them.  

Our last stop was an organic vegetable garden.  No photos... sorry.  

It was a nice day with with wonderful company.  


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Shop Hopping and Row by Row-ing

I've been Shop Hopping and Row by Row-ing again.  Julie and I hit 8 shops on Friday in the Northern Illinois Shop Hop.  Lucky for me most of them are participating in the Row by Row Experience so I kill two birds with one stone.

I'm collecting all the row patterns and then choosing which ones I want to put in my quilt.  I love them all but some are just too cute.  Here are two I picked up today that I purchased a kit to make the row.   These pictures aren't my rows, just a picture of the row I'm going to make.

This one is from Sewing Concepts in Woodstock IL.  The little sailboats are just too cute.  And the background sky fabric has little rainbows amongst the clouds.  How adorable.

And this row is from Quit Play in Grayslake IL.  Don't you just love the little beach tents!  Such bright fun stripes!  

I haven't been buying all of the license plates but I wish that I had of.  I think it would have been neat to put them all together on one quilt for a wall hanging.  I couldn't resist this one though.  The Quilting Queen needs a Sew Royal sign in her studio.  I'm not sure how or what I'll do with it but I had to have it.

I also picked up some yardage for my retreat projects coming up in 2 weeks.  I'm so excited about going plus it means I will have seen Hollie and her babies home from Japan by then... and of course I'll see Drew and his babies while I'm home visiting Hollie.  I can hardly wait!


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Quilt Retreat Challenge

I follow a few blogs and have since I started blogging.  Some I still follow and some I've picked up and started following after awhile.  One that I have following a long time is  Jo and Kelli and Jo's Country Junction.  Another I have followed for quite a while is Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville Quips and Snips.  I have to admit I didn't start following Bonnie until my friend Linda in Texas drug me to one of her workshops.  What a blessing that has been!  I've been hooked ever since.  So when Jo and Kelli announced they were teaming up with Bonnie and hosting a quilt retreat I was super excited.  I hesitated for quite some some on whether or not to spend the money and go, so long in fact that I almost missed out on getting in on the retreat.   But I finally bit the bullet and sent my money in.  I'm so glad it did (even if it interferes with a visit with my daughter and grandkids that are finally coming home for good from Japan.... more on that later).

Anyway, Jo and Kelli are giving us a challenge.  You don't have to be going to the retreat to participate though.  You can read about the challenge here.  At first I was a little disappointed.  I had started my quilt Strip Twist at the workshop from Bonnie and had just finished it up because I wanted to take it along on the retreat for show and tell.  I was pretty proud of myself for finishing it way ahead of the retreat date.  Then the following week after finishing it Jo and Kelli announce this challenge.  Well darn.... now I don't have anything to work on for the challenge.  I was NOT going to start yet another project.  I've got enough of those to last a very long time.  Then while searching my stash for fabric for the projects we're working on at retreat I found this UFO that I forgot I had.

It's my Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt that Bonnie had last Dec/Jan.  I have very little done on it, mostly just a sample of each of the units.  I did it in Halloween fabrics and colors. 

Yay, I have a project that I can participate in the challenge with.  Don't expect much more progress though.  I have too many irons in the fire already.  But hey, even if it's only a couple more blocks... that's progress... right?


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

QOV Finish

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays.  I love America, I love red/white/and blue, I love what it stands for... I just love it.  With the 4th of July behind us, I thought it was high time I finish one of the flimsies in the closet.  I picked this one because of the holiday and because I'll send it off to Quilts of Valor now that it's finished, and because it's been a flimsy since October 2013 (gasp)!  You might remember when I pieced it.  Nah, it's been too long... You can read about it here to job your memory.

And if you also remember (which I doubt you do), I prepared a tutorial on how to make your own Stepping Up quilt top.  You can see the tutorial here.  It doesn't have to be Americana themed.  You can do it in any color combination or make it scrappy.  It makes a great stash buster.    I put two sections together and made a twin size quilt for my sister a few years ago but for the life of me I can't find the picture.  

Here is an up close of the quilting.

It's hard to see it but this is the pattern from Tammy Finkler Quilting Designs.  It is a free digitized design from her.  

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