Sunday, April 13, 2014

Slow Sunday Stitching-Coming Across the Finish Line

Today I hope to finish up my son's wall hanging. Though it is hand pieced and hand quilted, I just could not make myself attach the binding  by hand. I will sew it down by hand, of course. I decided to put on the binding before I do the quilting on the edge triangles and the corners. Seemed like it will be easier that way. 

I had hoped to make a two-sided binding on this quilt. I thought I  would like a light blue binding on the front. But, the backing is a tone on tone rust color print. Well, after I miscut the binding  I finally decided I preferred do the whole binding in the rust fabric. There are some wonderful tutorials online on how to make  a double sided binding. Perhaps I'll check one out before I try again. LOL

Below is one of the corners. I think I will quilt the corners as one large triangle. What do you think?
I am linking up to Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching. Check out what everyone else is doing today.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hand Quilting Projects

Today I tried a new (for me) technique. I basted a quilt with thread. I usually pin baste, but the pins get in the way of my hoop. I am planning to hand quilt this small wall hanging. It really was a quick basting job because the wall hanging is small. I saw a video where the instructor was using a spoon in the left hand to bring up the needle. But, this project is small and very few seams, so not difficult to just bring the needle back up. I used some old, off brand embroidery thread I had and a very large needle. Can you see my basting?  I basted from the center out, then turned and went from the center out again. I did this until it was all done. The ends of the threads were left with a short tail and no knots. It should be easily removed.
I had some problems finding something that I could mark the border with that I could see. I tried a white pencil, soap slivers, a white Sewline pen. Even the Hera marker did not work well. Someone at retreat had me to try their Bohn white chalk pen. Worked great and I bought one as soon as I got home. If you look closely you can see my markings. I used a stencil for the border. 
Today I noticed the wall hanging I am quilting for my son was under the lamp. I love to see a quilt when the design starts to pop up. I hope to finish this soon. I did have to order more orange perle cotton thread. It should arrive today. 
I am thinking of using a 2-sided binding on this that I saw in our quilt guild program earlier this week. Hopefully, that will be in a post really soon.
Enjoy your day!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Still kicking...but, not high.

Contrary to popular belief, I have not fallen of the face of the earth. I just took a little unplanned blogging break. Sometimes, the time just gets away from me. Plus, last week I was at a 4 day quilt retreat with members of my guild. The Music City Quilter's Guild had their annual retreat at the YMCA Camp Wijiwagan. This was my first retreat experience and it was awesome! Seventeen of us spent the night in the guesthouse at the YMCA camp on Percy Priest Lake in Nashville. Another 10 or so members came and sewed with us during the day. This was the view from the window I sat next to with my sewing machine. See how close we were to the lake?
I did not even take a computer with me and did not even have withdrawal symptoms. Imagine that! If we got tired and needed a break, we had this wonderful fireplace to sit in front of. The first 2 ladies on the left (Charlie and Joyce) were my fantastic roommates. They were so much fun! Charlie gave me a lesson on how to square up small half square triangles. She is a very patient teacher.
You can see the fireplace better in the photo below. Mary Lou is chatting with our guild president. Look at Teresa's pile of scraps. She complained that I had not posted in a while. This is payback, Teresa. LOL
Here is the sewing lodge packed with sewing machines, quilters, fabrics and all manner of quilting tools. Don't have what you need? Someone will share theirs. Kathy (on the left) loaned me a lamp. Someone else loaned me a small square ruler. Quilters are very generous with there tools and expertise.
Since I came home I have been recuperating by doing more big stitch quilting on my son's wallhanging. Hope I don't run out of the orange perle cotton thread.
I am linking to Kathy's Quilts and her Slow Sunday Stitching.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

New Favorite Tools

This past week I drove down to visit my mother and sister for a few days. It was lovely to sit with my mother at her memory care center and stitch. My mother was a sewist and quilter, so I think she enjoyed just being with me while I hand-quilted. I got a lot done on the Triangles quilt for my son.
This quilt has half square triangles that I am quilting squares into. Most of the squares have a light triangle and a dark triangle. I am quilting a 1/4 inch inside the square. I tried to eyeball it. I must be cross-eyed (LOL) because that did not work well. Then, I remembered the Hera marker and a quarter inch ruler I had recently purchased. Oh, my! That worked like a charm and nothing to wash out either.
 I am marking a few squares at a time. I used the quarter inch marking on the inside of the seams and then, used the width of the ruler to mark lines for the center square. Those marking lines stay in very well.
You can see those Hera marker creases in the photo above. FYI: My hubby wanted to know how I managed to bend so many pins. Hee! Hee! 

I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Adventures In Big Stitch

Today I am going to continue with the big stitch quilting using 12 wt. Perle cotton thread. There is certainly a learning curve here. I am glad that my son will be the receipient because he won't care if my stitches are all uniform or not. He is just thrilled to soon have this quilt on his wall. I do love the orange thread on the is quilt wall hanging.  The thread color didn't show well in the photo below.
This afternoon, Sharon and I will again be sewing up a storm in her sewing room. I hope to have the herringbone quilt finished before my quild's quilt retreat the end of March. It might be storming outside, too. The high temp for today in Nashville is predicted to be 62° and a low tonight of 21°. Yikes!

Lots of talented quilters and I are linking up to Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching. Check it out here.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Quilter's ADD-Do You Have It?

As a retired nurse I should know better than to self-diagnose. But, I have come to the conclusion that I have Quilter's Attention Deficit Disorder. I'm pretty sure that is a real disease. You see, at the beginning of this year I decided I was going to write down all my UFO's and participate in some of the fun, quilty stuff online. I had big plans to participate in a Quilt Along. I was going to do a scrap challenge and participate in a ufo challenge in my quilt guild. Yes, I was going to be organized!

Well, I did participate in the UFO Challenge in my guild. I made and presented this quilt top. Item #5 on the list. Cool. It is not quilted yet because in reorganizing my sewing room last week, I have no idea what I have done with it. It's in there somewhere. So much for my organizing skills.
Then, the number 12 was drawn. My #12 was to finish cutting out and piecing a Sister's Choice. But, then, my friend and I decided to make the herringbone quilts. My attention went to that.  I had planned to make a beautiful quilt called Delightful Stars Quilt Along. But, the designer got sick and apparently did not have things planned out ahead. Her directions might show up this week or maybe not. Maybe post early morning and maybe late at night. For this I had paid a fee. So, with my Quilter's ADD, I again got distracted. I found another quilt I want to make with those fabrics.

I made one block in the Scrap Challenge and just before the February color was announced, I took all that particular color scraps to my friends sewing room. Are you seeing a pattern here? I guess I am easily distracted (Quilter's ADD).  I seem to do better just sewing on what I feel like at the time. The planning ahead stuff just does not work for me. They will get done eventually. But, I can not tell you what I'll be making next. There are just too many quilt patterns out there to distract me.

FYI: I'm also a slow quilter and a slow blogger, too. After 3 years of blogging this is my 101st post.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WIP Wednesday-02-26-2014

Yesterday I had an opportunity to go to Joann's in Murfreesboro, TN. I had a 50% coupon that was burning a hole in my pocketbook. It was one of those rarest of rarities when some of their quilting fabric was not on sale. I could actually use that 50% off coupon. Yay!
I picked up a nice piece for the backing of my son's Triangles of the Past wall hanging. Earlier in the week the Perle cotton thread I had ordered for this project came in the mail. It's kind of a muted orange #12, but looks really bright in this photo above. So, I am ready to begin the hand quilting. It is not my first adventure into hand quilting, but it will be my first venture into big stitch quilting with the Perle cotton. I love this video by Sarah Fielke. 
I am linking up to WIP Wednesday at Fresh Pieced. Click on the link below to check out what others are are working on.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, February 24, 2014

Scraps and Dogwoods

Yesterday I got together with quilty friend Sharon for what I have begun to call our Sunday Sewcial. If you haven't read about it before, we are making Maureen Cracknell's herringbone quilts. You can find the tutorial hereDespite the fact that Sharon still does not believe we have cut enough 2 1/2" strips, we marked 4 or 5 lines at 45 ° that are 2" apart on our batting strips to get us started. Then, we began sewing. Our strips are 72" long. Sharon is using 8" wide strips of batting and I am using 10" strips. This is a quilt as you go quilt. Here is my first strip. 
The strip is too long for my wall, so I photographed it on a bed. The edges are rough cut right now, but will be rotary cut later. I will have 6 strips and Sharon will have 8. I will probably add a couple borders to mine. I need it to fit a twin sized bed. 

It's kind of funny. When Sharon first began quilting she was sure that she wanted low volume quilts with colors that "blended". After her first quilt she has changed her mind. Now, she wants really, really bold colors...the bolder, the better, so we are really having fun. The best part about doing a scrap quilt with a friend is that you get some different fabrics than just what is in your own stash. Now, we can hardly remember whose fabrics were whose.

For a of couple years I have had a layer cake of the "Dogwood Trails" collection by Moda. I saw a simple quilt on Pinterest I thought would work well with these pre-cuts. So, I cut 10" squares of white fabric to go with the layer cakes. Here are a few of the large, half square triangles I made in no time at all.
I plan to use this simple layout. Then, I am going to hand quilt it. I may use pink pearl cotton thread in the white triangles. I think it will be lovely.

What is on your design wall? Share with us today on Judy's blog at Patchwork Times.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Letter of Apology

Dear Friends and Followers,

I recently made a mistake. I know you find that hard to believe. LOL I have so enjoyed all  the comments that have been made on my posts. They are better than receiving a gifted wrapped present. When I joined the Grow Your Blog, I got lots of comments. But, some people could no longer comment because I had changed to Google+ comments. I hated it!

It has taken me forever to figure out how to rid my blog of Google+ comments. But, I finally disabled it. The unfortunate news is that any comment on my blog that was posted while Google+ comments was being used, have gone away, too. That just rips my heart out. So, please! Come back and leave your comments. I really look forward to them.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Slow Sunday Stitching- 2/16/2014

My friend and I spent several hours cutting more 2 1/2" strips for our herringbone quilts. She is just sure we still have not cut enough strips. So, we started sorting them out. There are stacks and stacks of strips. All shades of greens, blues, aquas, pinks, purples, yellows, reds, and odd pieces are there. I'm thinking we have enough. 
Now, that I am back home, I am going to relax and do some more hand piecing on the Triangles quilt. I haven't worked on it much lately. My son and I had talked about putting my Vintage Star quilt on his wall. But, this quilt actually has all the colors in his living room. So, this will eventually be his. 
I did note one problem. Looks like I may have put one piece on wrong. Can you see it? Kind of a glaring, isn't it? Oh, well.
Go check out Kathy's Quilts to see what others are hand stitching today.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

We Have 2 Winners!

For the last several weeks I have enjoyed visiting blogs of others who participated in the Grow Your Blog. And, I have had comments on my post from people around the world. What fun!

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2014-02-15 14:59:12 UTC

I have tried and tried to get the comments be automatically numbered, to no avail. So, I put all the names into an Excel spread sheet and put them in alphabetical order. With Google +1, the comments were constantly changing position, so this was the best way to do it.

Now, let's see who those winners are...drum roll, please. 

6. Brenda Hulsey- "I love the quilt on your bed! Beautiful. I haven't done one of those yet. I live in western KY just south of Owensboro."

14. Diane Wingo- " Love that quilt.  I was born and raised in Nashville, after moving around a bit have now settled in Mt Juliet."

Oh, my, these ladies live very close to me. One is in a suburb of Nashville. The other is in an adjoining state.

Congrats!Please contact me with your mailing addresses. You can use the contact form on the sidebar.

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Reminder and Stripping

Grow Your Blog

Here's a reminder that I will be giving away 3 batik fat quarters to 2 winners. The deadline is February 14, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. CST. To get your name in the drawing click here and leave a comment.

I haven't done much sewing this week. I have spent a couple of afternoons in friend Sharon's sewing room. She and I have been cutting lots and lots of 2 1/2" strips of fabrics for a quilt we saw on Maureen Cracknell Homemade blog. Check it out here. This is a Herringbone quilt as you go quilt and is made by sewing diagonal strips on 8" lengths of cotton batting. We are thinking of using flannel as the backings because they won't require much quilting at that point. We both have flannel yardage we need to use up.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Baltimore Block Wall Hanging

A couple of days ago I showed my first applique' project. You can read that post hereThere was one area that was bothering me, so I re-did that part. Here is the before photo previously posted. 

I had re-cut the green for the calyx. I could not find the fabric that matched the stem so, I used a batik. The points were terrible. Then, yesterday I stumbled over the original green fabric. It was quite literally under my feet. Maybe it's time to clean the sewing room. LOL. Here is the end result.
It looks better, except now one rosy, red bud is larger than the other. I can live with that. It happens in nature, doesn't it? I'm trying to not be too hard on myself. Now, here is the wallhanging top all put together. It measures 28" square.
I'm still not sure if that blue inner border is too bright, but I like it. I'm quilting this wallhanging soon. Then, it is going to be hung above my sewing table for me to enjoy.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What I'm Doing Today

Welcome to all my new followers! My "Grow Your Blog" party post had visits from people all over the USA, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, and Serbia. So many quilters and crafters are out there in blogland. I have a little giveaway going on and it's not too late to enter. Just leave a message on the previous post here and you have until February 14, 2014 @ 11:59 pm to enter.Winners (2) will be announced on Feb. 15, 2014. 

A few posts back I mentioned that I had purchased a Civil War Stars BOM from a LQS in 2011 and never put them together. Well, now I have put together the first 4 blocks (Jan, Feb, Mar, & Apr). Yesterday I accidentally left the May pattern and fabric in my friend's sewing room. I called today to see if she had found it and she had, thank goodness! When she ask if I needed it today to work on, I said, "No, I can work on Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, and Dec. I think I will have plenty to do." LOL
March and April BOM's
January and February BOM's
I'm am still not happy with my experience with the Black Bird Lane BOM I ordered online. I think I will just stash the blocks as they come in and do them all at once since there is no guidance re: which fabric goes where. There are 9 pieced blocks in the center and the photo on the pattern is my only guide re: fabrics and where they belong. Won't purchase through this company again.

I have also been working on my Baltimore block wall hanging. I think my applique stitches have improved a lot. But, I do have some difficulty when it comes to corners. Not too bad for my first try. So, it wouldn't win any prizes. I still like it. 
I really should have chosen a fabric with a little more contrast for the bird wing. Aren't those little 3D rosebuds cute? I'll show a close up but don't dis my stitching. LOL
Those corners need to be more crisp. I'll just keep on practicing. Just have to finish appliqueing 4 more berries and then I can put it all together.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Grow Your Blog and Giveaway

Welcome to Quilted Chocolate and Vicki's second annual  "Grow Your Blog" party. If you click on her beautiful badge in my sidebar you can find 600 bloggers who are partying with me. There is something for everyone. Check it out!

My name is Prima Donna. Yep, it's right there on my birth certificate. My friends and family just call me Donna. I live in Music City, USA (Nashville, TN). Quilted Chocolate is my journal of needlework, crafts, occasional rants, and sometimes family. 
Since my retirement as a nurse 3 years ago, I have become an avid quilter. I am still learning new techniques in quilting everyday.We live in an amazing era where we can share our interests with others all across the world. I am so inspired by what other bloggers create. 

Here is the last quilt top I have completed. I am still trying to decide how to quilt it. It's called Spiral Bargello.

Now for the giveaway!  What's the prize? I am giving away 2 prizes. If you win you will receive 3 batik fat quarters from my local quilt shop. When you comment I would love to know what city or area you live in.
Here is the fine print:
You do not have to have a blog to enter. Just leave a comment and include an email address. If you are a no-reply blogger, please leave an email address in your comment. I must be able to notify you if you win. Any one, any where is eligible. Just leave a comment to enter.  This giveaway will be open until 11:59 p.m. CST on February 14, 2014. The winner will chosen by random drawing and will be announced here on February 15, 2014. You will be notified by email if you win.