Monday, January 15, 2018

Block 1--The Quilter's Planner 2018 Sew Along...

I decided to take the plunge and try a planner this year. Then why not just go all the way to the top and get The Quilter's Planner. A beautiful book with inspiring quotes, coloring pages, multiple quilt planning pages--and of course weekly and monthly page spreads.

The weekly spread pages are being used to write out daily scriptures with my morning cup of tea.

Along with The Quilters Planner came a companion magazine that contains 14 amazing patterns plus a monthly sampler!! Way cool!!!

I am going to use these fabrics from Island Batik. The backgrounds and blacks are from the Solstice line--available now. The luscious teals to lime greens are from the City Culture line available soon!!
Check out the Island Batik blog hop going on right now here.

Last summer I started using the AccuQuilt Qubes to do my piecing. I really thought I was pretty good at piecing before--but this die cutting system has just blew me out of the water!! My accuracy has been greatly improved. Time saved has been overwhelming. Not to mention that the dog ears are already trimmed!! Well that is a long arm quilters dream!! I love the products so much--I have an affiliate link on the side bar of my blog if you are interested in purchasing.

The GO! 8" Mix & Match Qube will be used to make Block 1 which will finish at 12".

Die #1--rough cut a 5" square for block center
Die #3--rough cut a 5 1/2" x 11" colored rectangle and 5 1/2" x 22" background rectangle for HST
Die #4--rough cut a 5 3/4" square from background and dark accent for QST

Fabric can be folded on die up to six layers--so if the die will cut 2 HST--you can cut 12 HST at one time.  Watch how quickly that can happen!!!

Then it was just a matter of using the cut shapes and following the diagrams in the companion magazine to make Block 1!! I am still deciding on how to set the blocks--watch for that this summer.

The pre-trimmed dog ear corners make for super easy sewing!!

Using Quarter Square triangles for the smaller shapes and Half Square triangles for the larger shape, keeps the straight of grain along the outside edges of the block unit. I have not used this combination of shapes and colors in a block unit before--and I really like it. Many times in a block unit this will be pieced with a flying geese unit and a rectangle sewn to the flying geese unit. I am so going to keep this in mind when drawing up blocks!!

See--dog ears already trimmed!! And I didn't even have to do it!! I really dislike that job--all those little snippets of fabric flying anywhere they please!!

I am so looking forward to finishing this quilt--as they are the colors I decorate my home with. And don't judge me too much for still having my Christmas decorations still up!! I was a little late putting them out in the first place--plus the weather is bitter cold with snow here in Iowa yet!!

Looking from my long arm studio into the sewing room and then the house entryway.

Just thought I would show you the trimmings from cutting out this block. Many times I hear it said that die cutting produces too much waste!! Well I am finding that the waste is minimal compared to the accuracy and ease of cutting the shapes.

That is all for today. Make sure and check back around the 15th of every month this year and watch the 2018 sampler progress.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Creative Journey of 2017 and What's Ahead in 2018

Oh my what a creative journey 2017 has been!!
How about a little look at some of my favorites in no particular order...and some thoughts on the creative journey for 2018!!

Island Ways are Winding has to be my favorite post because of the photos. My hydrangea bushes were just beginning to bloom and they were the perfect accent to the scrappy colored little quilt.

Included in this post has to be my favorite make of the year. What fun was had at a retreat with Edyta Sitar for the teacher!!!

Being part of a blog hop for the release of Christa Watson's new book was one of many new exciting creative adventures for me this year!!!

Frosty Times Four has multiple reasons to be included in my list of favorites!! It has had the most views. Once again--I am loving the photographs in this post. And it is the first pattern I put for sale on my Craftsy page!!

Having an original quilt block--Adventure Seeker--published in Quiltmakers 100 Blocks was a super exciting adventure!! Add to that being part of the Road Rally blog Tour with other designers--well life is good!!!

My most favorite of the year is the camping/motorcycle adventure my husband and I took to Yellowstone this summer. Hands down the B.E.S.T. rides we have ever taken!! The country side that can be experienced from the bike is just beyond words to explain!! Check out the post for how this adventure inspired some creative block designing!!

The cycle ride through Shell Canyon in the Big Horn Mountains was so inspiring that I was so busy experiencing it in the moment that I forgot to take any photos--but the experience inspired this quilt block that I entered into the AccuQuilt Barn Quilt contest this past fall--and it was the runner-up!! This design now hangs in their corporate office for a year!! Super exciting!!!

So what doors will be knocked on and opened in 2018?!?

I will be having a few quilts/patterns available through the Island Batik Spring/Summer 2018 catalog. Super excited about this opportunity. Looking into ways to expand the pattern designing side of my business.

I want to stay more organized and on top of my customer quilts in the coming year. They have been so understanding this past year and I am very grateful to each and every one of them!!!

I need to start an exercise program that works for me. I am very active during the 6 months of the year where my husband and I  do a lot of sort and loading of hogs--but the other 6 months are a bit stagnant in the physical activity department.

I am linking up with Meadow Mist Designs and Quilting Jet Girl. Check them out for more reflections on 2017 and thoughts to 2018!!!

Click here to find Meadow Mist Designs.

2018 Planning Party

Click photo above to go to Quilting Jet Girl

Wishing you beautiful moments, treasured memories, and all the blessings a heart can know!!
Happy New Year!!

Follow me on Instagram to see what crazy adventures I do in 2018!!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Frosty Times Four...December Assignment

Frosty Times Four is my answer to the Table Scraps assignment for the Island Batik Ambassadors
this month. Find this quick and easy pattern on my Crafty account here.

These deep saturated colors of Mountain's Majesty were provided to me by Island Batik. Aren't they
just soooo pretty together.
Since the assignment was scrappy--I decided to make each block in the runner a different color. This worked out very easy by choosing 2 strips from each of 4 colors in the strip pack.

I am sure you have heard of chain piecing---but how about chain cutting??? I stacked my strips on the cutting mat. Then with only 4 passes with the rotary--all 64 pieces were cut out--Chain Cutting!! Works great!!

Then for some chain piecing!!!

I just love a good fabric closeup, don't you?!?
And how about that awesome cloud reflection on my sewing table insert?!?! Just love the majesty of the Lord!!!

Then there is the reality of those pretty closeup photos. Stacks of fabric needing to be turned into quilts, quilts hanging over the long arm frame needing to be quilted, piles of papers needing to be written into patterns!!! The real snapshot of my life!

And the occasional needing to unsew a seam or two!!!

487 Superior Threads So Fine! was just the right color for quilting. I quilted it with a free hand allover windy swirl. Just a nice generic background design.

All ready for Christmas!!

Our cute little 4 year old evergreen trees don't provide much wind protection yet--but they sure are great photo props!!

We don't have any snow yet--that is supposed to be coming on Thursday!! Thanks again to Island Batik for this great assignment. If you want to make this quick and easy Frosty Times Four table runner for yourself--get the pattern here on Craftsy!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Sky Diamonds on the Quiltmaker Road Rally

Welcome to my stop on the Quiltmaker Road Rally Tour. I am delighted to be a part of the 100 Blocks Winter 2017 Issue. You will want to go right out--after reading all the blog posts--and get your copy. You can read about my block in the last issue here.

Or read to the end of the post to find out how to win one!!

I wanted to get some pretty sparkling pictures of my little town to the east of us. A small rural town with 500 people--yet still has a grocery store, gas station, lumber yard, a few manufacturing business, and 2 grain elevators. The lights from town sparkle so beautifully at night. You will just have to imagine them shining between the two groves of trees. Trust me they are pretty!!

Here is my view to the west. Look at all the wide open space. The sunsets are amazing. And the stars at night--well sometimes I will just sit and look at them!! Which is what inspired this block.

All the sparkling stars--Like diamonds in the sky!!!

The instructions are written for foundation paper piecing, but if you have the right AccuQuilt dies-- 2" Triangle in a Square and 4" Triangle in a Square--or for 4" you could use the new Companion Angles 8" Qube-- it is very easy to construct with regular piecing also. Fan folding the fabric helps to reduce waste--and for the time savings that die cutting provides--the trade off is so worth it!!

Super easy--super fast!!

I suggest laying out your pieces before stitching them together--as they are directional!!

Stitch a 1/4" seam.

Press seams open.

And look at those nice sharp sparkly points!!!

I played around in Electric Quilt 7 to find some blocks to set with Sky Diamonds. Here I have it set
with a 50/40 type star. The reason this one works is because it has a similar vibe going on--both are 9-patches. Both corner blocks are split into smaller 4-patch units. Keeping the scale similar but not exactly the same to create some interest.

Here I replaced the corner 4-patch units with plain squares and replaced the plain center square with a pinwheel unit. With careful coloring the spikes look like the giant electrical wind turbines that are all across the state of Iowa. One day this fall it was so windy and the turbines produced so much electricity that the electric company did not even need to make it!! Too cool!!

Here I kept the center element and the colors from the side diamonds the same in each block for repetition. It has a lot of happy movement to it.

Sundance fabric line from Andover seemed like a happy collection to use in this mock up. It has a wild and free, boho feel going on!!

I will end with the quote that was on my Cinnamon Berry Tea by Yogi this morning. This past year has been filled with new experiences for me--winning the AccuQuilt Barn Quilt Contest in 2016 has given me the confidence to go outside my comfort zone and try new--sometimes--scary things!!

What is something you would like to try--but just need the boost in confidence to go for it?

Tell me about it in the comments. On November 19 at 5 pm CST,  I will randomly pick 2 names.
One will receive a copy of the Winter 2017 issue directly from Quiltmaker.
The other will receive a copy from me--along with a small surprise or two.

Thanks for stopping by--be sure to check with all the other Road Rally blog posts and Quiltmaker's blog for other great block ideas and a giveaway or two!!!

Have sparkly diamonds in the sky kind of day!!!