Monday, December 30, 2013

DWM 12/30/13: Prepping Borders

Here's what's on my design wall ironing board today: I'm prepping the borders for book quilt #1.  I should have the top finished by tonight.  Bonus - I can count the fabric used in the top in my December numbers.
Such pretty fabric! It's La Scala by Robert Kaufman, in a deep navy with metallic gold, perfect for a navy & white geometric quilt.
I know a lot of blog readers dislike it when a bloggers says "I can't show (whatever) because it's a secret."  Since a lot of what I'm currently working on, and will be working on for the next few months, can't be shown on the blog, I guess that means I'll be posting less frequently. 

I'll post when I can, and show what I can, until I get everything for the book finished. If I can squeeze in extra projects with visuals on the blog, I will.

Meanwhile, I'm linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times; check out everyone's inspiring design walls over there.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Stash report 12/29/13

No fabric in this week - YAY!

I've been working on the first book quilt and the top is ready for the final border. I expect to get that sewn on tomorrow, so I'll be able to count out the yardage for the top.  I'm hoping I'll break even for the year; I know I'm pretty close.

I'll publish a full accounting of fabric in and out for 2013 next week.

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times; check out how everyone else has managed their stash for 2013.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A very good Christmas

Christmas was great this year -
We spent Christmas Eve at Jackie's and had a lot of fun with the nieces, nephews, in-laws, etc. Way too much food!!! 

DS and DDIL were able to be there, too, and they came over here after the party and we had our own Christmas celebration at home on Christmas Eve night. It was great that they could come; it's so difficult with their schedules. 

DH gave me a lovely gift, a handbag we selected together a few weeks ago. It wasn't a surprise of course, but a much needed and appreciated gift all the same. The surprise came in the wrapping. Have you seen those LLBean commercials where everything is wrapped in its exact shape? Here's how he presented it:
my gift from DH

I hope your Christmas was great too and you were able to enjoy it with family.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Dresden Picket Fence

As promised, here's a quick how-to for my Dresden project. I'm calling it Dresden Picket Fence.
Finished size will be about 52" x 72", after trimming the uneven sides. My top is still on my design wall today.

Tutorial copyright 2013 by The Colorful Fabriholic; please do not pin without attribution.

Dresden Picket Fence top
Skill level: Experienced.
Fabric requirements:
 - Background, 2 yards (plus 1/2 yard for binding if you want to bind in same color)
 - Colors: I used 34 different fabrics, one 3-1/2" WOF strip of each, or pieces cut from FQ. You can get 5 cut pieces from one WOF strip. So you'll need 1/8 yard of each fabric times 34 fabrics, or a total of 4-1/4 yards.
I used 11 teals, 10 greens, 10 oranges, and 3 yellows. (I used a few more but they didn't make the final layout, too dark or too pale.)
 - Colors: This is the tool I used, about $5 with coupon at JoAnn's.  From each 3-1/2" WOF Strip, cut 5 of these pieces.
Easy Dresden Tool
 - Background: Cut five (5) 9" WOF strips and cut three (3) 4-1/5" strips.
1. Fold each colored piece in half lengthwise right sides together and stitch across the wide end, 1/4" seam allowance. Trim seam allowance at point and turn right side out and press. Press 1/4" seam allowance at the tail end to the wrong side.
Dresden Pieces
2. Arrange colors on design wall in 5 rows of 34 pieces each row, alternating points up and down.
3. Join Dresden pieces with 1/4" seams, overlapping and pinning so that finished edges exactly match at the seam line. Photo shows overlap at point end of yellow piece at left and tail end of yellow piece at right. Press seams open.
Overlap 1/4" seam allowance at top and bottom
Here are some of the sewn rows on the design wall. The rows are numbered so I can keep the color placement as planned when I take the strips down to applique them to the background. 
Dresden rows
4. Prepare background: Trim selvages off all WOF strips of background fabric. Cut one of the 9" strips into quarters and join one quarter to the end of each remaining WOF strip. My strips ended up about 53" long. Do the same with the 4-1/2" WOF strips.
5. Prep for applique:
 a) Mark a line 1-1/2" from each long edge of the 9" background strips and one long edge of the 4-1/2" strips. For marking, I stitched a line of basting, using water soluble thread in the bobbin for easy removal later.
 b) Measure the distance between your Dresden points; it should be about 3-1/8".
 c) Starting with a center background strip, mark at the line for the Dresden points. Mark the other side with the points centered in the gaps (aligned halfway between the points on the other side).
Marking placement for points
 d) Pin the Dresden points as marked, then mark the next 9" background strips accordingly.
Pinned points
e) Continue marking and pinning, finishing with the 4-1/2" strips at the ends.
Pinned for applique
6. Applique the points in place.
7. Trim away the fabrics behind the points, leaving 1/4" seam allowance. This will allow the batting to nicely fill in the Dresden pieces, preventing flat-looking points. Remove basting or markings.
Trimmed seam allowances at points
8. Square up and trim sides of top.
9. Layer, baste, and quilt as desired.

If you like this concept and you make a Dresden Picket Fence quilt, I'd love to see pictures of yours!

Linking up today with Judy at Patchwork Times. Check out what everyone else has on their design walls for inspiration!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Stash Report 12/22/13

Whoo-hoo! Thanks to Cherie, I get to count fabric out this week! (I count yardage used for tops when the top is complete, and I count backings and bindings separately.) Since my friend finished the applique on this top, I get to count the yardage for it. Thanks again, Cherie!

So, fabric out this week, 5-3/4 yards.
No fabric in this week, YAY!
I'll total up the ins and outs at the end of the month. I hope to have more I can count out by then.

This top will end up as a throw and will probably finish about 52" x 72".  I'll post a tutorial about it tomorrow.

Question for you: what do you do about counting fabric that was used in parts that did not make it into the actual quilt?  There are Dresden units in 34 different fabrics in this top. But I made Dresden units in several other fabrics that didn't make the final layout. How would you account for the fabric used in them?

Linking up with Judy over at Patchwork Times; check out everyone else's stash management efforts over there.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Thanks Cherie!

Remember this? An unmet October goal due to pain in my left thumb, which affected my ability to hand stitch.
My friend Cherie, who likes to do hand applique, volunteered to finish appliqueing the rows for me. Today we went to lunch, and she returned the finished top to me. It looks wonderful! Thank you, Cherie!!!
Her stitches are invisible and perfect (mine, not so much, they're pretty klunky).
I'm so grateful for the help!
Linking up with Friday Finish over at Crazy Mom Quilts and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. I think Cherie deserves a Whoop Whoop!

My Studio

I love my studio!  DH helped create it a few years ago. The room is actually one of the bedrooms in our home. It measures 12 feet long by 10-1/2 feet wide.  DH installed the shelf & basket system for my fabric stash, put in laminate flooring, and built my design wall.  I really like the laminate flooring. It's easy to sweep up threads, etc.; and the cutting table and sewing table, which are on casters, can be moved easily.

Here's what you see from the doorway. You can see my fabric storage shelves with baskets; the stuff at the top is gift wrap, rarely used supplies, etc. The closet to the right contains hanging quilts, out of season clothing, etc. that are best kept out of sight. This photo shows the cutting table fully open, but I usually keep that right leaf closed so I can move around the room more easily. The drawers under the table hold templates, scraps, drawing materials, miscellaneous supplies, etc. The design wall is out of the picture to the right, and the sewing machine is out of the picture to the left. Sorry about the lousy photos; it's cloudy here today so I had to use the flash.
Studio, view from doorway

Here's the opposite view, from the corner you can see above.  What you can barely see in the foreground is my ironing table. The cutting table leaf is folded down in this picture. The clutter on the table is pretty typical. The sewing machine is out of view to the right of that red chair.
View from far corner

Here's the design wall, and the stepladder I use to reach the top of it. This view is from the sewing machine area.  You can see why I usually keep the table leaf folded down, so I have room to move around in that part of the room.  I use the far right part of the design wall as bulletin board space, hence all the hanging stuff there. Looks like I need to clear some of it out!
Design wall
Next is the view from the corner where the stepladder is. This shows the sewing machine area.
Studio, view towards sewing machine
Finally, here's the actual sewing machine area. Again, this is pretty typical of the amount of clutter.
Sewing machine area
You can see a couple of handy innovations that I'll share -
- Look under the sewing table. See that clear white plastic shoe box? That's my chain-piecing catcher. It rests on the rail of the sewing machine table and catches my chain piecing to prevent it from landing in the dust on the floor among the electrical cords.
- Do you see that black and silver thing under the plexiglass at the left? That's a lantern-style flashlight (the light spreads out sideways).  With the light underneath, I can use the plexiglass as sort of a light box to trace small things.  
Thanks for joining me on the tour; I'm linking up with Vicki Welsh over at Field Trips in Fiber for the Real Studio Tour. Check out everyone else's workspace over there.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Virtual Fabriholic

Like I need another distraction...
But I got an e-mail from EQ7 promoting their STASH 2013 Download for less than the cost of a yard of real fabric. Now I have hundreds of new fabrics to play with! (Note: this is not a sponsored post; I purchased and paid for the STASH download.)

The new virtual fabric collections include Moda's Scrumptious, so I can plan what I'll do with the charm pack I was gifted from Casey. So I've been playing...
EQ project featuring Scrumptious from Moda

If you EQ and you want to play too, here's a link to their STASH 2013 Download.

My WIPs are either not progressing and have already been shown, or are confidential, so no WIPs to show today. But just for the fun of it, I'm linking up with Lee over at Freshly Pieced. Check out everyone else's real, not virtual, WIPs over there.

Monday, December 16, 2013

DWM 12/16/13: a little progress to show and some not to show

Made a little progress on the Flying Geese project - very little, 10 of each unit done. This is going to have to be a slow-and-steady project for awhile.

The center portion of the workshop quilt top is done.  Next up is borders, and I need to buy fabric for them. Since the workshop quilt is going to be a pattern for sale and for teaching, I'll show the pattern when it's complete.
And in case you haven't heard, AQS ACCEPTED my book proposal! 
I should get the paperwork from them this week, so I'll know more about the requirements.  I do know I have to have 5 quilts done and everything written, diagrammed, etc. and turned in by May 15th.  So I may not be blogging as much for awhile because I can't show any of the book projects.
Linking up today with Judy at Patchwork Times; check out what everyone else has on their design wall over there.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Stash Report 12/15/13 & Storage

Last week my bee held their Christmas party and we had a rob-your-neighbor gift exchange. I was gifted a charm pack of Scrumptious by Bonnie & Camille for Moda, and some lovely lavender sachets. Eye candy!
Scrumptious by Bonnie & Camille for Moda
So, about 3/4 yard added to the stash. Nothing out that I can count yet, although I will be able to count it by the end of the month.  Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times; check out everyone else's stash reports over there.

Vicki Welsh over at Field Trips in Fiber is hosting the Real Studio Tour and this week's topic is storage.  Here's how I store my fabric stash. DH took the closet doors off and installed shelves, and I keep my fabrics sorted by color in these baskets.
Fabric Storage
Baskets sorted by color
These baskets keep most of the dust and light off the fabrics. Whenever I'm looking for something, I do have to take out the basket and root through it, but that's actually a good thing because I'm reminded of what I have.
I'm starting to accumulate a lot of scraps and I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone else manages their scraps over at Vicki's.
And in case you missed my earlier post, AQS has ACCEPTED my book proposal!!! YAY - I'm so excited! Now the hard work begins!

Friday, December 13, 2013


AQS has accepted my book proposal!  Whoo-Hoo!

How cool is that?!!! I'm so excited.
They're sending a package with their paperwork, contract, etc. so I'll know more when I receive it.
Now the real work begins, 5 quilts and all the written materials, samples, diagrams, etc. due by May 15. I guess I'll be busy for awhile! The tentative publication schedule is for February 2015, but of course that could change.

Meanwhile life goes on....I've been busy working on a Christmas gift for my great-niece Maddie. How cute is this, matching outfits for her and her American Girl doll:

Linking up today with Can I get a Whoop Whoop over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Friday Finish over at Crazy Mom Quilts. Check out everyone else's excitement over there!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

WIP 12/11/13: Workshop blocks and more

A little progress made on blocks for the workshop quilt:
Workshop quilt blocks
Major progress made on Maddie's Christmas gift. Come back Friday for the reveal. Here's a tiny peek:
Maddie's Christmas gift
No progress at all on the green flying geese project; too many deadline projects in front of it.
Green Flying Geese project
Minor progress on the Piecing Group project: working on hand piecing another row. This project has once again been taken down from the wall so I can use the wall for everything else.
Piecing Group project

Too many projects in work! I don't like to work on so many at a time; I really prefer to actually finish something or at least finish the top before starting something else.  The Piecing Group project doesn't count because it's 1) all hand work, and 2) a many-years ongoing project.  But two other quilts in the piecing stage and a third project with a Christmas deadline is more WIPs than I'm usually comfortable with.

I did finish the little Scoot D9P a couple weeks ago and finally got a photo of it. Feels good to have something finished!
Scoot D9P

Linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced; check out all the other projects in work over there!

Monday, December 9, 2013

DWM 12/9/13: the Piecing Group project and my favoritei non-traditional quilting tool

Here's what's on my design wall today. I'm linking up with Judy over at Patchwork Times, where you can see other inspiring design wall projects.

This is the upper half of a project that my friends in Piecing Group have been stitching for me for 5 go-rounds. The story of this project is here. It's entirely hand pieced. We've been working on it since 2007. It's finally far enough along that when the girls were here for our meeting last week, we put the finished rows on the wall so they could see what they've been working on for me.

Vickie Welsh over at Field Trips in Fiber is hosting The REAL Studio Tour, about studios we really work in vs. magazine show spaces. Check out everyone's favorite non-traditional quilting tools there this week.

I love my sewing room. My favorite tool is the design wall, which as you can see is HUGE, 96"w x 90"h. DH made it for me from two 1" thick foam core boards which he attached to the wall, with a cut out for the outlet. Then I used a 3-yard cut of wide flannel backing, sprayed the panels with spray-baste adhesive, smoothed the flannel over the panels, and tucked it in around the edges with pins.

My favorite non-traditional quilting tool is this:

When I stand on the top step I can reach the top of the design wall. DH decided I needed one of these and he proclaimed it quilting equipment when he bought it for me. (It was actually only about the cost of two yards of fabric.) I also stand on the steps a lot when I take photos, especially tabletop photos where I need to shoot directly down on the fabrics or blocks. I love my stepladder. DH was pretty smart, don't you think?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Stash Report 12/8/13: New fabrics for workshop project

OK,  I bought fabric this week.

But it was bought for a specific purpose: I'm giving a lecture in Feb. and a workshop in March on using (modernish) Large Scale Prints.
Here are the fabrics I'm using. The ivory and the dot at the lower right are from my stash; everything else is new. For scale, the large flowers in the focus print and the horizontal diamonds are 6" across.
Workshop project fabrics
The reason for this lecture & workshop is because this is a more traditional guild who had a visit from a very Modern LQS for one of their programs recently, and the program chair felt that some of the members might have been uncertain about using some of the fabrics they saw. She said they were "intrigued, but intimidated."

I chose these fabrics both for the scale of the prints and the coloring. Not everyone decorates in modern colors like turquoise and aqua, so these colors will probably appeal more to this audience. Although the prints are large and the colors are vivid and crisp, they aren't as bold as some modern prints can be.

I think when I give the program, to promote the workshop I'll include EQ illustrations of the workshop quilt in several other print styles, including a very Modern version, a Kaffe Fasset version, and a traditional version. Meanwhile, I need to get busy sewing this version.

 So, 5-1/4 yards in this week. Nothing I can count out yet.  I'll total up the ins and outs at the end of the month.

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times; check out how others are managing their stash over there.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Pantone's Color of the Year 2014; and Friday Finish: D9P

Yesterday Pantone Inc., the world-wide color authority, announced their
Color of the Year for 2014, Radiant Orchid. 
For anyone who's curious, the nearest Kona Cotton color is #1383 Violet.
Pantone's Radiant Orchid and
Kauffman's Kona Cotton in 1383 Violet
I finished the little D9P donation quilt. Unfortunately the weather here is not conducive to photos, but here's a shot of it, under my Ott light.  It's carefully folded to show only the most acceptable FMQ, most of which sucks.
Linking up with Friday Finish at Crazy Mom Quilts, and Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Check out all the lovely finishes over there!

Monday, December 2, 2013

DWM 12/2/13: Flying Geese Layout

Updated Wed. 12/4: linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. 

The beginning of something interesting...
Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times; check out everyone else's inspiring design walls over there.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Nov. Stash Report and Dec. Goals

Whoo Hoo!!!! No fabric in this month!

Nov. Fabric In: 0
Nov. Fabric Used: 10.25

YTD Fabric In: 143.3
YTD Fabric Out: 125.33
YTD Net Change: 17.97 yards in

OK, 18 yards in the hole. I was hoping to break even for the year.  There are still a couple of projects that are not far enough along to count but I don't know if the tops will be finished to count by the end of December. 
Also, I have to buy fabric in Dec. for a project for a lecture in Feb. and workshop in March using large scale modern prints. I don't have what I need in my stash.


1. Biggest goal is to get the book proposal done and sent out to AQS. DONE!!!
2. Keep up with bee blocks DONE
3. Work on the Dresden project. Given to a friend who volunteered to do the hand applique for me. Thank you, Cherie!
4. Make 4 more pillow covers. Made 10
5. Design a project for the workshop I've been asked to give in February. Workshop moved to March. Not designed yet but ideas are in work.

1. Research modern & large print fabrics for Feb. presentation & start outline/PowerPoint.
2. Design a project for the workshop I've been asked to give in March using large prints.
3. Sew sample of workshop project top; keep notes for pattern.
4. Complete flying geese top,
5. Write Tutorial for flying geese top
6. Keep up with bee blocks

Flying Geese project

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times; check out everyone else's stash management progress over there.