Monday, October 2, 2017

Christmas Carol Row Along

Christmas Caroling RAL 2017 photo CCLogo-2-small-450x373_zps857lafcy.jpg
Hi, and welcome to my day on the Christmas Caroling Row Along!  I'm delighted to share with you today, and so happy that Marian at Seams to be Sew invited me to participate.  She's done an awesome job with this hop, and the wonderful prizes are all because of her work.  She also arranged with Northcott to provide us with fabrics to feature in our rows.  


My fabrics are from Northcott.
9020-91 Silver Toscana for the bell applique
 9020-91
from Silent Night, 21659-44 blue snowflake
21659-44
21660-42 light blue dot
21660-42


21610-10 white snowflake for background.
21661-10
Please look for these fabrics in your favorite shops!  

I LOVE Carol of the Bells.  When I was in high school and college, I was an alto in the Glee Club.  I loved singing the Ding Dong parts, and sounding like the bells.  So, here's my row to go with this song.  


"Hark, how the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say, 'Throw cares away.'"

I probably should have chosen a slightly darker shade for the silver bells, but in person, it shows up better.  I may just quilt this as a table runner, or I may add a few more rows or borders.  I wanted the side blocks to inspire thoughts of snowflakes.  

My pattern directions and templates can be found in my Craftsy shop.  This will be free for 1 week, until Oct. 10.  After that, there will be a small fee.  

Now, for the prizes!  Moda fabrics have generously donated a Red Dot Green Dash Fat Quarter bundle by Me and My Sister Designs.  Click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter that one.  Winner will pay shipping charges.  



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Calibre Arts is offering a discount on a 12 by 18" mat.  I have one of the mats, and it's really nice.  Please enter to win the discount code on this Rafflecopter widget.  You'll purchase the mat with the code, using Amazon.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

And there's also fabric from Northcott! You can win a 2 yard assortment of Fat Quarters.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please!  Check with Marian at Seams to Be Sew for details and rules about the prizes.

And check out the other designers hopping today!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
MaryMack’s Blog You are here!  Thanks!
Kathys Kwilts and More
Pamela Quilts
Duck Creek Mountain Quilting
Heleen Pinkster

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you enjoy using my row.  There's one more day to hop, and then a show and tell day next week.  You can find some of the past rows and more info on Marian's posts!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Island Batik Back To School Hop and Give-away!

Hi, and welcome back to school.  Today's my day on the Island Batik Ambassador hop, and I'm pleased to introduce you to some wonderful new fabrics, the collection called Cherry Berry.

Click on Cherry Berry to see the fabrics.  I'll wait while you ooh and aah over the colors and designs. Did you see the cute kitchen tools, and all the fruit prints, and that gorgeous pink with grapes and leaves?  No?  Go look again.  Yes, there are even polka dots.  So, go call your favorite fabric store and tell the you need Cherry Berry now.  It's shipping as you read.  I'll wait...

Are you back??
I love going back to school!  I loved being a student, and loved being a teacher.  I've taught all levels, from kindergarten to college (yes, I have friends who still call me Professor). and love getting new pencils, crayons, and folders.  I loved that line in "You've Got Mail" when Meg's character says she wants a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils.  All those years as a teacher, I also loved getting apples, and collecting apples and also going apple picking.  So, I chose to use the Accuquilt GO! Apple core die and make something with all the fabrics in this collection.  Bright and fun and scrappy.  

The die comes with directions for a basic 41 by 50" quilt, and there's a tutorial on the Moda Bake Shop  that measures 51 by 57.  I think I cut out about 140 pieces, planning to do 11 by 15 rows, and picked randomly from the pile.  I did try to not have the same colors or fabrics touching, but with scrappy, it doesn't matter as much.  My collection included 20 SKUs, plus 2 more for border and binding.  I'm not sure if I'll add a border to this, or just cut the edges straight, or use a bias binding and keep it curvy.  That part of the quilt isn't talking yet, lol.  I've named it Apples From the Teacher. 

But as a teacher, I always need to include my version, my directions, and how I did it.  I'm not big on pinning, except when adding gathered things or sleeves, or long seams.  I've been sewing since I was little, and got my first (hand-me down from mom) full size machine when I was 7.  (Ahem, more than 45 years ago).  I made clothes and doll dresses, and worked with tons of curved pieces.  I think it's really funny when someone says you need to pin something every centimeter or less.  That's really not necessary.  I've also done tons of Accuquilt curved shapes, like the Drunkard's Path, and recently, the Double Wedding Ring.

Here's my lesson: Limit the pins, use a stiletto or your fingernail to help make sure the edges line up. You may want to pin the beginning, the place where the notches line up, and the end.  Or not.  Just go slow, and use a good seam guide.  I recorded a video of me sewing on my vintage Singer 15-91, so you can see it works.  If you're using a more modern machine, just adjust the speed so you have the most control, and use a good 1/4" guide. Please notice I use my right hand to guide the fabric on the bottom, and left to guide fabric on the top.  I adjust as it goes through the machine.  

Here's the video.


Here's a few photos of my top so far.  Life happens while deadlines loom, so I don't have this quilted, and may still add a few rows.  I do love nice size lap quilts, and this one is just so fun and pretty.




So, I'll let you know when this is done.  I do occasionally finish something, lol.  

So, thanks for visiting for the Island Batik Back to School Hop.

Island Batik has a give-away using Rafflecopter.  


The other Island Batik Ambassadors have more to share and to give away.

WEEK 1
Tuesday, September 5 – Country Dozen
Cheryl Lynch Quilts • Inspired Layers
Wednesday, September 6 – Bonsai
Little Bunny Quilts
Thursday, September 7 – Sakura
Masterpiece Quilting

WEEK 2

Monday, September 11 – Fresh Pick’ins
KISSed Quilts
Tuesday, September 12 – Lotus Blooms
Kathys Kwilts and More
Thursday, September 14 – Rise & Shine
Den Syende Himmel • Sally’s Quilting Corner
Friday, September 15 – Diner Days
Ark Angel Creations • The Quilt Rambler

WEEK 3

Monday, September 18 – Seas the Day
KISSed Quilts • Whispers of Yore • Needle & Foot
Tuesday, September 19 – Vineyard
The Inquiring Quilter • Inchworm Fabrics
Wednesday, September 20 – Abalone
PamelaQuilts • Yellow Cat Quilts
Friday, September 22 – Captain’s Anchor
Purrfect Spots Designs • Beaquilter

WEEK 4

Tuesday, September 26 – Lobster Bake
Seams to be Sew
Wednesday, September 27 – Solstice
Bejeweled Quilts • heARTs Creations
Thursday, September 28 – Sour Apple
Seams Like a Dream • Kauffman Designs
Friday, September 29 – Zen
Lizard Creek Quilting • Quilt’n Party
And I have something, too.  I'll be sending a lucky comment writer a sweet little something.  I have a really hard time picking to give my gorgeous Island Batik away, but you'll be happy with a small prize.  It may be strips or a charm pack or some FQs or some 5" rolls, and a copy of my first published pattern, featuring Zen, which you'll see later this week.  You'll have to wait and see.  So, I do hope you're following my blog, either by email or bloglovin, and you also follow my Facebook page.  Let me know and you may be my lucky winner.  This will close Saturday, Sept 30 at midnight. NY time.  
Please also share this with your friends!  Thanks for visiting, and go find some Cherry Berry and some apples for the teacher.  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

August Quilt As You Go Challenge and More

Hi.  Are you shocked?  I am!  I'm actually sharing a finished project!  One started for August, and actually done before 2 weeks are up! I'm so glad that the Island Batik Ambassador Challenge for August was Quilt As You Go.  

I've done a Quilt As You Go braid table runner before, in prints.  I knew the design would be pretty in batiks, as well, and decided to search for the pattern.  Yup, it was a search.  I knew where it was before I moved in January 2016.  I thought I knew where it was here.  Nope, but I did find it.  I grabbed some left-over pieces from Lake Life (I'm using it for a Triple Irish Chain) and got to work.  The pattern is GE Designs Braid Runner by Gudrun Erla.  
It uses 2 1/2" strips plus center square and borders, and is fairly fast and easy.  

Here's the start, with the fabrics cut, and I'm about to open the Aurifil Artisan cone of thread, because I thought it was a perfect match.  I put my walking foot on my machine, and figured out where a 1/4" seam line would be using the inside edge of the foot.  The backing is some olive green fabric I had, and I used a piece of Warm & Natural for the batting.  



 Just had to borrow Mom's table and her great vintage green ceramic vase for a photo.  Doesn't actually go with the lavender table cloth, but the vase looks great. 
It's actually finished!  Quilted.  I added feathers to the border.  I may go back and add something to the center square, but the strips are sewn together, over the batting, so they don't really need addition quilting.  Warm & Natural only requires stitching every 8 to 10", so this doesn't need more.  I did want to add to the border, though, and love doing feathers. Mine measures 55 by 17 1/2" because I made the inner (orange) border 2" instead of 1 1/2. 

Yes, it's actually a complete finish for the challenge, before the end of the month.  I'm so proud of myself, and glad I picked this pattern.  

In addition to that, I also did the first block for the #IwishyouamerryQAL.  Many of the Island Batik Ambassadors are doing it, and also choosing non-batik fabric.  But I happen to have some great Island Batik Christmas pieces floating around right now, and rather than search for the box of Christmas fabrics, decided to use what was out.  If you haven't seen the rest of the blocks, check out the Facebook page for more inspiration.  I used Aurifil 50wt 5001 Ocher Yellow for the gold ring, 2890 Very Dark Grass Green for the green snowflake print, and 2250 Red for the fun fancy stitching on the red reindeer print.  The reindeer were too large for fussy cutting in this block, but I'm saving one in case I can use it on another block.  I also decided to test some Terial Magic I had won on a blog hop.  It's a spray that makes the fabric really stiff.  I did a light spray, made sure I scrunched it through, and then ironed it dry.  It made the fabric stiff enough that I didn't need stabilizer while doing the stitches.  It's interesting, and I do like how it came out.  When I wash the quilt, it will come out, and feel like the rest of the blocks.  No stabilizer to remove from behind, so it saved some time.  Nice!



I can't wait to finish more stuff soon.  It feels so good.  I'm planning to vend my quilts and sewn items at our church's Spirit Day on September 16, so need to get as much done as possible for that.  I'll catch up when I can.  

Oh, Random.org picked #4 for my winner of my pattern on my last post.  I'll contact the person and ship that out.  Thanks for reading and commenting.  I appreciate it.  

Maryellen


Sunday, July 30, 2017

July Oh Baby! Quilt and more


I can't believe the month is almost over already!  It seems like I just got back from our trip to Colorado.  We had new flooring installed while we were gone, to make it easier for Mom to deal with the change (she has dementia, and I'm her 24/7 caregiver).  Most of the china closet, small desk, bookcase, and entertainment center were boxed, so we're still going through and finding the photos and things that go back in place.  We also had to wash all the dishes and glassware from the china cabinet.  I'm just grateful my brother and sister-in-law returned with us, and really helped get most of that done.  They returned to Colorado last week.  I also finally had the flooring installed in my apartment, so I'm slowly going through boxes and putting stuff in place, in my area, too.  A friend is moving, and sold me her gorgeous desk, so I replaced the old broken one I had, and I'm going through files and supplies from my move 1 1/2 years ago, as well as old stuff that was here.  Had I mentioned that I've had this apartment set up with cast-away stuff, for about 18 years, and spent time visiting back and forth, or working here, until I moved back last year?  I'm still trying to figure out what goes where in the my kitchen.  It's been a maze of boxes and piles all that time.  I'm just glad to know I've emptied some in the last few weeks.  Moving forward.  

Back to the quilting stuff, the reason you even bother to read my blog.  lol. 

Island Batik's July challenge was #OhBabyQuilts, where we were asked to make a baby quilt.  I've done quite a few with Island Batik fabrics, but this time I wanted to make one with my new published pattern, Zen Baskets.  I had some of the blues left from the Zen collection quilt I made for the cover of the pattern, and added some from the previous boxes, as well as strips cut from some of the 5" strip rolls we get.  I used this fun green swirl from the Blenders collection for one of the accent colors and the first border, and another teal and green design for the other stake.  I had enough from the Zen collection to do a an outer border, and picked up some teal cuddle type fleece for backing. The quilt will be basted and quilted soon, but the top was fast and easy, and a quick way to use a collection of 2 1/2" strips.  It's even a great beginner quilt.  

 In addition to getting this top done, I also quilted a patriotic table topper for my Sister-in-law and brother.  She loves using my quilts for her house.  She actually sewed the pieced squares for this.  I used Aurifil 50wt Mako # 3852 named Liberty, variegated red, white and blue, for the stars and swirls for the pieced part, and a dark blue for the center.  I wanted to play with the center area, and quilted similar to a feather ring, but inspired by the fireworks in the fabric design.  Arlene already has it displayed on her table, and wants to make one for Autumn when she returns to visit.  



I also pieced and stuffed a Funky Friends hedgehog and 2 bunnies, but you'll have to wait to see them.  They'll be displayed in the Island Batik booth at Quilt Market in the end of October.  I also have 2 other quilt patterns to debut at Market.  

This next piece is a UFO from last year, featuring pinks from Island Batik.  The pattern is Winter Stars, one of the Aurifil mini Designer of the Month projects from 2015.  I can't remember when I made the top, but it's finally finished.  It was # 1 for the APQ UFO challenge, which was July.  I just had to finish quilting, add the binding and hanging sleeve, and get it on the display in my bathroom.  

 Detail of the quilting, again with Aurifil Mako 50wt in white and deep pink.  
I think it looks great with my watermelon pink towels!  It felt really good to finally finish this, and get it up.  I want to touch up some of the paint in there, but the room is finally done.  The bathroom was ripped out because of black mold, just before I moved back.  I had to have new walls, shower walls, shower door, vanity and shelves installed.  I'll share more photos of the finish when I get the last of the painting done.  

Just one more step forward.  I'm trying to squeeze in more sewing time, too.  I'll be in a row hop for Christmas Carols in a few weeks, and I'm getting the design ready and instruction written.  August's Island Batik Ambassador is Quilt As You Go, so I need to get started on that, as well as finish some other quilts, including a baby quilt I made last year with Island Batik's Sea Salt Sandy.  

If you got this far, and would like to win a copy of Zen Baskets, please leave a comment.  I'll draw a name on August 6.  If you wish to purchase, please check your LQS if they carry Island Batik, or my Etsy shop.

Thanks for visiting, and following along with my adventure.  I did receive the new box of Ambassador fabric from Island Batik, but that share will be another day.  

Maryellen

Sunday, July 2, 2017

June Update and Curvalicious

Hi. I know it's July 1, but I actually started this yesterday.  I'm only a bit late for June's Island Batik #Curvalicious challenge.  Sort of, it's not quilted.  But the top is done, and it's very curvy.  


My plan was to make an Double Wedding Ring using the Accuquilt GO! die.  I've had it for a while, and have been wanting to try it.  My goal is to make a full size quilt using a variety of 30's prints.  I'll eventually get to that, but this was a great practice.  I cut the pieces out and started sewing, but then packed them for a road trip.  


 This is during my travels, using my 1957 Featherweight.   
 Yay!  The top is done, and will be quilted soon.  I love the colors and how it came out.  I used a mix of purple with aqua and teal accents, and the Sprinkles as background.  I have to check which fabric I have enough to bind with.  I have to use a bias cut binding, and was thinking of using the medium purple from the center of the arcs, but may end up using the darkest, where the arcs join.  This measures about 18 by 52, and will be added to my shop as soon as it's quilted.  I love it! 

Another finish to share is the quilt I made as a gift for my brother and sister-in-law, for their new home outside of Denver.  We drove to Colorado, and I asked that we find some good mountains to take photos.  We went to Silverthorne and Dillon for the day, and took photos in a park near the reservoir.  I used Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Mountains Majesties quilt pattern. Their new living room furniture is navy and cream,and I found a FQ assortment of Timeless Treasures' La Vie Et Blu, in shades of blues and creams, and added some other FQs I had.  I quilted feathers through the mountains using Aurifil 2783, Medium Delft Blue in the blue sections, and 2000, light sand, in the cream sections.  Both are 50wt cotton Mako threads, and I love that they accent the quilt blocks, but don't compete.  I also loved that there was little lint.  I added feathers to the borders, too.



 My brother and great-nephew are holding it, as it got a little windy during the picnic and photo shoot.  
I picked the stripe fabric for binding, and Arlene just loves how it feels.    

It's draped over one of the chairs at their new place, and the colors are so good together.  Arlene can't wait to use it when it's chilly.  It's actually almost a full size, so it's wide enough for them both to snuggle and watch a movie, and long enough to cover John's 6ft+ length.  

I also received my Aurifil Artisan box, and was thrilled.  It contained a specialty box of assorted weights and colors curated just for the Artisans, plus a small box of floss, wool, and 80wt thread, on the adorable wooden spools.  There was also a large cone for piecing, and wool and cotton color charts.  

During the road trip, we stopped in Hamilton, Missouri so I could meet fellow Island Batik Ambassador Janet Yamamoto, who works with Jenny Doan in the design studio.  Janet invited me to meet Jenny, and Ron, Jenny's husband, offered to take a photo.  It was a sweet visit, and Jenny is so friendly.  
I also went shopping, and took a quick selfie in front of the Island Batik fabrics in their shop.  


I had to laugh at the size of these Jelly Rolls on display.  I think they were 12" tall, and lots of strips, so big enough to make a Jelly Roll Race quilt for the Jolly Green Giant, lol.  

So, June has been busy and lots of fun.  I have lots more to do, too.  I need to think of a baby quilt design for July's Island Batik challenge, also. Thanks for reading. 

Maryellen



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Island Batik Modern Batik Challenge


Displaying Modern Batik Challenge.jpg

Hi!  This month Island Batik challenged the Ambassadors to make something modern.  Modern quilts, by definition, use one of the following. 
      • the use of bold colors and prints
      • high contrast and graphic areas of solid color
      • Improvisational Piecing
      • Minimalism
      • expansive negative space
      • alternate grid work
Most of my quilts are more traditional, so it's not as easy for me to play with Modern designs. I know some of my designs can be considered Modern.  This time I decided to play with negative space, as well as variations of the same block, but in different sizes.  I picked the Churn Dash block for my main element.  I chose to use the left-overs from the Zen collection I was sent to make my pattern, Zen Baskets.  The background is from an older collection, and is a pale aqua.  

This is one of the photos I shared on Instagram and Facebook, and had a few questions about the size of the blocks.  I'm glad I got questions!  As for the size, the large block is 24", and the small is 3".  I thought it was interesting that someone guessed the large block to be about 9" and that the small one should be just about an inch, total.  I'm NOT that crazy, lol.   I also made 2 6" blocks, a 9" and a 12", and assembled them into a square, using more of the Island Batik background fabric, to float them in the space.  I used random pieces of fabric, until they were all 12" blocks.  



When I added the border, it changed the look of the top, making it seem like the 2 largest blocks are floating in blue, and the others are floating in the background. Maybe I should have added a small border of the background?  If I make something similar again, I'll have to test out the borders first.  I plan to get some Minkee type fabric for the backing, as this would be a great baby size quilt.   I also plan to have fun quilting it with Aurifil.  I'm not sure if I'll get this quilted in May.  I have other secret sewing and some gifts to make.  

Some other recent news:  The pattern for Zen Baskets will be available soon.  It uses 2 1/2" strips and some additional yardage, so save one of your favorite bundles.  

And I'm now also an Aurifil Artisan!  I'm so excited.  You know I use lots of Aurifil in my work, so I'm thrilled that they will provide more thread for me to use.  

Now, if I can get a company to sponsor a long arm, lol. 

If you're looking for more inspiration from the Island Batik Ambassadors, check below.  

Nan from Purrfect Spots Designs
Turid from Den Syende Himmel
Stephanie from Quilt’n Party
Pamela from Pamela Quilts
Anna from Ark Angel Creations
Kathy from Kathy’s Kwilts and More
Jessica from Desert Bloom Quilting
Connie from Freemotion by the River
Kate from Seams Like a Dream
Sharon from Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
Tina from Quilting Affection Designs
Jennifer from The Inquiring Quilter
Barb from Bejeweled Quilts
Sally from Sally’s Quilting Corner
Jeanette from Inch Worm Fabrics
Connie from Kauffman Designs
Joan from Moosestash Quilting
Bernadine from Needle and Foot
Bea from Beaquilter
Cheryl from Cheryl Lynch Quilts
Maryellen from Mary Mack’s Blog
Joyce from Hearts Creations
Marlene from Kissed Quilts
Karen from The Quilt Rambler
Marian from Seams to be Sew
Laura from Slice of Pi Quilts
Linda from Inspired Layers
Vicki from Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting  (You are here)
Nancy from Masterpiece Quilting
Carol from FunThreads Designs
Terri from Meanderings Along Lizard Creek
Alison from Little Bunny Quilts
Suzy from Adventurous Applique and Quilting
Jean-Sophie from Sophie Junction
Janet from Whispers of Yore

Thanks so much for visiting!
Maryellen