Monday, September 21, 2020

Jelly Rolls and Jelly Fish

 Last Saturday was "National Jelly Roll Day.".. who knew? We were all supposed to pull out our Jelly Rolls and quilt something. Did you?

I'm as much a precut fan as anyone, but I have to say, the Jelly Roll is not my favorite-- it's all about the pinked edges. With charm squares and layer cakes, you can cut the fuzz off-- (that sounds like a swear--  heehee.) Not so with these strips. If ever I need a 2-1/2" strip, I just cut it out of fat quarters!

The only Jelly Rolls I have are from my Fat Quartershop Sew Sampler subscription... in the name of moving excess fabric out of here, I decided to unroll them. This roll came from a box over the summer-- the fabric is super cute and colorful-- it deserves to be out of my closet.

It's perfect for this "Snickerdoodle" pattern from the "Perfect Five Quilts" book. It's meant to be made from charm packs, but the base units are all 2-1/2" wide so I figured my strips would work. 


I did get sixteen red snickerdoodles made. As I sewed them together, I tried to use the outside of the pinked points as the "edge"-- it works well enough, but it's not the super high degree of accuracy I usually love. I had to trim them down a bit. I'll soldier on.

Unfortunately, the day after "National Jelly Roll Day," Mr. SFO declared "National Seal Your Own Driveway Day." Instead of telling him to cut the fuzz off, I agreed to help. Our first house was a fixer upper-- pretty typical in the day of Bob Vila's "This Old House." The house we're in now is newer, but starting to need some things-- it was fun to relive our youthful home improvement days and the driveway did come out nice. I'm a lot more sore than I ever remembered being though!

Here's a finish I had this weekend-- this The Pattern Basket's new Sunflower Seeds pattern.

I mixed up quite a few of my favorite things-- Kim Diehl's Sage and Sea Glass fabric-- some Basic Grey-- and the orange fabric came from a Halloween collection. I love Margaret Languedoc's patterns-- this is the first one I've ever bought, though-- it came together perfectly. I'm thinking of going back for more-- I've had my eye on one of her bird patterns forever.

I'll even show off the back...

So you probably noticed I'm on a table runner jag and this is why--  I need longarm practice!

The longarm is so fun and so addictive, it should probably be illegal. I was able to complete this in a couple of hours, instead of throwing it into a drawer for four years. Mostly I am just stitching in the ditch and doing a little ruler work-- freemotion is still kind of hard for me, but it's coming along and ultimately what I want to be doing. I'd love to get to the point where I could just help my local quilt guild get charity quilts finished easily.

So that was my weekend-- looking forward to digitizing Stitches of the Sea this week-- I must have Jelly Rolls still on the brain-- it's going to be a Jellyfish!



Monday, September 14, 2020

High Flying Geese!

When last I left you, I had just returned from the lake to my next BOM quilt in the mailbox!

Block of the Month quilts are just like sugary treats: once on the lips, forever on the hips. It only takes a second to hit that subscribe button, and you are on the hook for twelve months! This is Corey Yoder's Holliberry fabric Christmas quilt-- it passed before my eyes a few times before I succumbed. But I've always wanted a Christmas quilt on my bed, so no buyer's remorse... yet, anyway.

It was supposed to start in July, but shipping got delayed a bit so I didn't get my first month until September. I'm very good at starting projects, and so I dived right in!

Like many designer quilts lately, it's built on half-square triangles and flying geese, using that method where you draw a pencil line across on the diagonal. My lines just never seem to work-- especially on the geese-- and one of my Frivols quilts I have been working on recently was really disappointing in the way it came together-- and that is after I did a really good job on those pencil lines.

I tend to wake up at night and start worrying over things-- it helps me get back to sleep if I think about my beautiful sewing projects. One night I was lying awake at 3am thinking over the world situation, but instead, turned my thoughts to quilts and in that happy place between awake and asleep, I thought up a great way of making half square triangles. I now chide myself-- if I had kept on worrying, I might have come up with the answer to world peace. Oh, well-- this is all I got, people, but I do think it is pretty clever! It's a fairly unusual occurence when I think of a way to make something easier instead of more painstaking and time consuming.

I was excited to try it the next day. So I cut my squares, and instead of the pencil line, I just pressed my pieces across the diagonal-- wrong sides together. It is much easier that way to get the line where it needs to be-- you can match the top and bottom corners up perfectly. 

Lay the folded patch right on the corner of the base unit-- the is the beauty of this method now-- you can see exactly how it is going to fold. If you are trying to get stripes to go a certain way, always requiring impossible mental surprises!

Now just open it back up, without moving it, and pin out of the seam line. The pins are really needed to flatten the patch back out at this point.

Instead of stitching on a pencil line, I'm stitching on a crease. Yes, it's correct to just stitch a hair to the left of the line to allow for the turn of the cloth, but staying ON the line is hard enough for me these days, so that's what I did.

Then just cut the seam allowance off-- it's already pressed!

I did the same thing on the other side, and voila!

So this is the great Triumvirate of the Flying Goose-- first, you have 1/4" from the point to the edge. Second and third, the diagonal seams are coming right into the corner at a 45 degree angle. Not to mention, that it's exactly 1-3/4" by 5" like it was supposed to be in the directions-- no expensive ruler or trimming step required.

Block #1 came out SUPERB...
all my points on the edges are on that 1/4" sweet spot!

...and that's a good thing, because I barely finished it when I got noticed that Block 2 is on the way-- I guess now that the shop has the fabric, they are trying to get us back on schedule? I'm not sure I appreciate that... one month in and I'm already behind!

...and to further complain-- there was enough fabric in Month One to just about make another block-- here are just some of my extra pieces. So I thought I'd make myself a "bonus" block each month-- hee, hee-- why be behind on one UFO when you can be behind on two?

Stay tuned!


Sunday, September 6, 2020

Life is better at the lake...

I snuck away for a little birthday girl getaway at Lake Winnepesaukee last weekend. Did you miss me?

You might wonder why, when you live on a lake, you would visit a lake for vacation... yes, I kind of wondered about that, too.

The reservations were kind of last minutesy, but I got a couple of nights at a really beautiful resort in Meredith, NH, called the Inn at Mill Falls. Our room was in the building to the far right, (Location: 14), and as it turned out, all the action was at the building to the far left, (Location: ONE) but it was beautiful walk over there along a boardwalk-- you can see it in brown below. 

The grounds were just gorgeous-- you know how I love gardens!

This feature definitely got a lot of use! 

But, it was honestly just too beautiful outside to try this one.
I wonder if this is a popular place in the winter?

Our building had the advantage of being closer to the little town--
there were all sorts of shops, none of them chain stores, which is pretty unusual in this day and age. I wish I had taken more pictures of this, but I was too busy... shopping!

Our hotel was on "Meredith Bay,"-- it's just a tiny finger of the lake, so the second day, we decided to drive around part of the larger lake. The WHOLE drive is a long way... ninety miles, and believe me, you can't drive it at sixty miles an  hour, so we just took a little spin 45 minutes south and back.

They had "Scenic Overlooks" along the way-- but we should have known, when no one was parked at them, we were getting snookered! I know the trend is NOT to mow down trees in this day and age and I understand that, but the greenery was so tall and full, I had to stand on top of a rock on my tippy toes to get this picture!

When you look at a map of the coastline, I'm not sure a sweeping view across the lake exists anyway.

Honestly, nothing about the entire trip could have been disappointing-- with my beautiful sister and my daughter, we were just laughing the entire time!

For dinner both nights, we went to this restaurant with a camp theme-- it was decorated like a lodge. Again, I wish I would have taken more pictures of it, but I was too busy.... EATING!


The colorful jet skis had our names on them-- but alas, time ran out.

I hope you enjoyed the trip! I'm not a big traveler, but after being stuck at home, I can't say enough how I enjoyed this little road trip... maybe there are adventures beyond what the sewing room offers. So who knows, when this crisis is over, I might be boarding that big ol' jet airliner!

This was our last big night, at the Tiki bar on the bay-- 
definitely a happy ending...

 But also, another happy ending when we returned home-- my new Block of the Month has arrived!

Happy trails!


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

And sew on, and sew forth...

 It's been another incredibly productive week here at craftopia!

Stitches of the Sea now has eight blocks, with the addition of "Back to School"!

When I started this, I thought the circles would be a fun shape to work in-- also, they reminded me of "portholes" on a ship. The intention was to make some sort of sashing to connect them all.

I soon realized that the connecting shape was impossible...

Can you imagine trying to stabilize the points on that red shape!

Of course, by this point, we were well into into it-- after this discovery I just had a SICK feeling inside! What to do, what to do....

Thank goodness I helped with my sister's move, unpacking this fabulous rug...

Apparently, my sister has had this Walmart rug for years and I must have stepped on it a thousand times before having this epiphany...

if the circles are spaced out a bit, you have a fabulous cross piece.

I am envisioning pretty seaweeds and shells in a border around the circles, and then some accents in the middle of these shapes like a larger shell or a mariner's compass. I'm excited about it... it is really such a pretty shape with tons of possibilities. Something we've never done before.

 So excited that I...

STOLE THE RUG... heehee.

In other craft news, I finished the second Mill Hill Halloween magnet.

Such an enjoyable and quick stitch! There is enough floss and beads to just about make another one... I had a giveaway of the leftover kit a couple of blog posts ago, and the person that won never checked back and got in touch with me. So now there are TWO kits of leftovers-- if you would like to get a little something in the mail, just email me this time at and I will have a drawing for the remainders of the two kits-- just put "Mill Hill Giveaway" in the subject line. Then I can get in touch with you next week if you win. It would be such a shame to just throw them out.

Here is my next UFO-- this dates from 23 years ago and is about 1/4 finished. I checked and the black tray it was designed to sit in is still for sale! So I may buy it if it looks like it could get finished--it's a bit pricey-- why did I not have the foresight to buy it before!! LOL I can't tell you the enjoyment I have gotten out of working on these dear old things that have been with me for so long-- you should do the same. xox

One thing I noticed, that even with sitting on a commuter train while doing this, my stitching is impeccable! I'm not sure I still have that in me, but I'm determined to soldier on. It breaks my heart to think of all my unfinished work ending up in a dumpster years from now.

This is a newer thing-- my Frivols kits. This is #5 of 12 I am finishing. I may gift this one-- they are great gift sized projects.

I had a bad case of deja vu when I pulled this out--
turns out I had bought the fat quarter set of this fabric!

It is Little Miss Sunshine from Lella Boutique, and it took every fiber of my being to not turn the Frivol kit into a king sized project-- I succeeded.

I do love this fabric though, so I may pick another pattern-- maybe a cake mix, to use it up. There's a lot of it on the back of various embroidered mug rugs already!!

And I'll leave you with the "comical stalk."
It has now sprouted a comical stalk of it's own.
I'm sure there's a metaphor growing in my front yard...
and whatever it is, it is beautiful.

Have a lovely day.