Long weekend

Decided to spend a few days with Mom. It is very nice to have her nursing assistant always there so we can enjoy our time together without worrying about day to day tasks. We watched a church service on TV this morning and then a service from her church that had been recorded on DVD. Later we started working on a 500 piece puzzle and were so completely engrossed in it that we didn’t even want to stop to eat or to rest.

I’ll get back to our Valentine projects first thing Wed morning with a complete summary of exactly what you will need for each project: the medallion red and white quilt, the red and white basket quilt, and the red and white table runner. 
 

Sweethearts Quilt

Here’s a quick peek at the quilt top that I assembled yesterday–I love those soft colors on the background. It still needs a border – which will be a simple three inch border of the background fabric. The look I want is to have the candy hearts floating on the background fabric. Altogether from 15 fat quarters, I made 60 quilt  blocks, so there will definitely be more projects from these candy hearts.

The blocks are 8″ unfinished and 7.5″ finished.

Here’s a link to the Sweethearts Quilt tutorial.

And do you see a little preview of red and white in the background?

Sweethearts Quilt

  
 

Heart Motif for Red and White Quilts for Feb Blog Hop

Here’s a peek at the heart motif I’m using in the red and white quilt. This design is very simple using the small and medium hearts from the Accuquilt GO heart die and a single decorative stitch around the outside of each heart. I have split this design in half and in quarters for those who have smaller hoops. The half design fits a hoop that is 150 x 200 mm and the quarter design fits a hoop that is 100 x 150 mm.

Heart Motif for Red and White Blog Hop Designs

Sarah Vedeler (who creates gorgeous machine embroidery designs) has wonderful instructions for stitching a split design on a smaller hoop. So, if you don’t have a hoop that is at least 200 x 200 mm, you can still stitch this design using her method. Or, if you prefer, you can stitch this design on your domestic sewing machine using the applique or satin stitch.

The motif design files for the red and white heart motif are available along with stitching diagrams and placement charts from my embroidery shop
 

Elephants

Accuquilt has a new elephant die on their website on the “Die to Try” section. I just ordered it because last week I bought this fabric which matches. Can’t wait for the die to get here so I can have some fun.

 

Elephants on parade from Timeless Treasures

Edit: 1-27-2012 – got a note from Mame at Wish Upon a Quilt. They have this fabric in their shop. 
 

Information Overload — OR NOT–Tools that Help

It seems the quilting world has boomed with information and keeping it all sorted out is quite a challenge. Things that are hardest for me are wading through email and my blog reader. Thus far, I have used many different tools for doing this including sorting by search and sorting by mailbox and blog readers, but am still overwhelmed by all the information. However, there are three tools that have become very helpful to me and I’d like to share them with you: Google documents, Evernote, and Pinterest.

Gmail and Google documents work together quite well now. What I have found is that at the top of the gmail window in the icon bar, there’s a “More” button. In the dropdown box there’s a command “Create a document” and that allows me to create a Google document from the email. I have been using this to save important information including travel itineraries, software receipts, and serial numbers. I can create my own set of directories and labels and can rename the email/document so that the name tells me immediately the content of the document. Once it’s in Google documents, the original email can be deleted. And the information is accessible from any computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Evernote is the nicest tool for storing ideas, but even greater is it’s ability to keep track of tips and tutorials and all sorts of reference information. I have been using it for a couple of years now and recently upgraded to the Premium membership. It works on the concept of tags and allows the creation of new tags as part of the clipping process. It is not social media per se, but a personal notebook system. There are multiple screen views , but the one I use has tags as an index on the left column, a list of clips in the next column, and a preview of the selected clip on the right. Thus, one can visually search by tag or just by going through clips and looking for a photo. The clipper tool allows one to clip a URL, a selection, a complete page, or the article on the page. One of the nice things about this is the ability clip only the relevant information without extraneous and unnecessary information such as ads. The information one stores in Evernote can be accessed from any computer, tablet,  or smart phone. The only hard part was that I use multiple browsers and have multiple computers, so had to setup the clipper on each.

And now we have Pinterest. I have only had it for a week or two, but am finding that it’s a great place to store ideas. Back in the days when most information was in magazines, I used to clip photos and ideas from magazines and newspapers and taped them into an idea journal. This is a wonderful way to create an idea journal via browser–and the bonus is that your friends share their journals with you. 
 

Sweethearts Quilt Tutorial

Candy Hearts make such adorable projects. Here’s the Sweethearts Quilt that I’ve been making. While I used the candy hearts embroidery set, you can also make this using a novelty fabric or you can cut the hearts on your Accuquilt GO! and fuse them and use an applique stitch on your regular machine to stitch them. You can also use a stencil or fabric markers to write the candy heart sentiments.

Here’s the quilt:

Sweethearts Quilt

And here’s the finished block:

Candy Hearts Block

You will also need to cut an equal number of plain squares that are 7.5″ which is the finished size of the heart blocks.

Here’s the block showing the size of each piece in the block. The finished block size is 7.5″

 

And here’s the Fat Quarter cutting chart. I am making my quilt using fat quarters. Each fat quarter makes 4-5 hearts and there’s a small 4-5″ scrap left on the end of the fat quarter. Those scraps can be used to add some pieced blocks to the border or cut into strips for other scrappy blocks.

 
 

Candy Hearts for Valentine’s Day

The weather is freezing here – I can’t seem to get my fingers and toes and nose warm today even with layers of clothes. Maybe it’s the dampness outside. I’m finishing up the candy hearts digitizing and they’re on the website and for sale already. All that’s left is to stitch enough of these hearts for a quilt. I sent some of the test hearts to Barb over at Bejeweledquilts by Barb, and she had them stitched into a quilt as quick as a wink.

Here are pictures of some of them (there are 52 files in all):





And later this week, we’ll work on the embroidery for the red and white project for the “GO Ahead and Show Some Love” blog hop. Here’s a peek at some of my finished basket blocks and my heart blocks.

 

  
 

A few photos of what’s coming next week

For more red and white into a basket quilt

And what would Valentine’s Day be without Candy Hearts?

And a little mug rug to spread the love!

 
 

Sewing the Units for the Bow Basket Block

Constructing this block is not difficult at all. I created some diagrams using EQ7 to show how to put this block together. The first thing we’ll do is stitch together the triangles and rectangles to make units that are needed to construct the block.

 

  
 

Piecing Tips for Bow Basket Block

Of course, the first block I made was 10-1/2 x 10-1/4″–that just won’t do! Thus, here are the things I did to make sure the next block came out exactly 10-1/2″ x 10-1/2″. And remember how much easier it is to work with fabric, which has a fair amount of “give”, than working with some other materials such as wood.

1. Stitch scant 1/4″ seams – especially on the triangles. If the large center 6-1/2″ triangle isn’t just exactly sized, you can use the scant seam allowance in the center and on the sides to make up the difference.

2. Finger Press or Dry Press–NO steam!

3. Measure units before assembling. If one is off more than 1/4″, don’t use it. There is no reason to ruin an entire block because one unit is not sized.

4. Make sure the rectangles are the correct length and width. Gently stretch or ease the triangles to fit the rectangles as you stitch the block together.

5. Press to dark when possible. Press to side with least # of seams as needed.

6. Stitch seams so that dark is slightly “under” the light – or trim the dark if it overhangs so that you don’t have shadows underneath the light.

 

CONSTRUCTION TIP:

Remember that the rectangles are mirror images – be sure to sew accordingly. Half of them should have triangles added to the right and half of them should have triangles added to the left.