Christmas Cardinal Block

Yesterday I showed you a peak of my Christmas Cardinal Block I was working on.  It was such a cheery block to work with, I just could not “stop” and wait until the Queen Bees gathering on Tuesday.  My husband is still laughing because I was “working ahead” of the bee project!

Cardinals are said to mate for life, and I don’t want an odd number! I finished up the first block and cut enough fabric to make at least 2 or 3 more.  Those pieces will hold until Tuesday for our bee gathering.  

The FREE PATTERN source for the Cardinal block — Mom and Pop Quilt shop

The block was  designed for a Christmas 2017 quilt.  All the specifics are on the link above. Laura-Lynn of Mom & Pop Quilt Shop even wrote a nice comment on yesterday’s blog post and included a you-tube video link   She does videos all the time and has a 48 minute video talking about the construction of the block. Laura-Lynn’s videos make me feel like I am sitting in her sewing room with her, as she chats and laughs while she sews!

Anyway, I thought I would share a little bit more about my first cardinal block.  I decided the block would be incorporated into a pillow.  I sized everything for an 18″ pillow, and used the “envelope style” for ease of stuffing and unstuffing of the pillow form or one of my every day pillows.

Envelope style back

Since it will be a Christmas decoration, I want the ability to pack it away flat after the holiday.  I will probably slip my existing sofa pillows into the cushion cover.

The block finished at 12″ and I added a borders before quilting.  I really wanted the bird to “pop”, so after I cut my muslin and cotton batting I slipped 2 more layers of wool batting under the area of the bird.  Once I did some outline quilting of the bird, I folded back the square and trimmed along the edges.  Then I smoothed out the square and did my quilting around the bird.  Once that was all done, I changed to a variegated red  Superior thread and did some quilting on the bird body.  For the beak I switched thread  again, and used some of my embroidery machine thread in gold and black.  Last but not least was  how to make the eye of the cardinal.  I don’t do hand embroidery, so  I dumped out the button box and dug for “just the right” button.  (Note….I am making more pillows, so I held out a “bunch” of those “just the right buttons”.  No, they won’t be the same.  Each will be unique!)   I looked online at a lot of photos of Cardinals to decide just where to place the eye, and to get a look at the way their feathers lay before I quilted!  Those photos led me to pick a button with gold around the edge.

quilted and ready to trim

Once the quilting was finished,  and the button sewn on for the eye, I trimmed off the excess batting and muslin.  (Note, I used the muslin so the inside of the pillow would be smooth)

Here is a close-up of the bird – You can see how I quilted his body.  The addition of the extra 2 layers of batting give the cardinal a plump look.

Cardinal Close-up

The pillow form was inserted and I think I got the look I was after.

Cardinal Pillow finished

I now have a pair of 18″ Christmas pillows from this line of Moda Christmas TOLE fabric.  I bought several yards of the coordinating fabric a few years ago to make 6 Star Christmas pillow slip covers for my daughter.  You might remember I had trouble with one pillow and the markings from a pencil, and had to “remake” her 6th pillow.  So, I ended up with 1 star pillow.   I can STILL see those faint lines from the silver quilt marking pencil, but from a galloping horse it blurs into the background.  The following Christmas I made her a table runner with the same star pattern.  (I linked to it yesterday).   Because I still have several yards left, I chose this fabric for the project.  The body of the cardinal is from red scraps of varying origins and vintages. The selvage was on the red holly leave and was from 1992! While looking at the Moda Tole fabric,  I looked at the sale ticket from the original Moda fabric purchase – 2016. 

Cardinal and Star

In one of the comments yesterday, Quilting Nurse asked if it was a hard pattern to make.  I must say I found it fun and easy!  I mentioned to her a couple of things.  I think the cutting instructions I had could be improved.  The pattern had us cut squares at 2 7/8 for the half square triangles (HST), and 3 1/4″ for the beak quarter square triangles (QST).  I don’t know about you but I like even 1/2 ” increments.    My suggestion is to cut for your favorite method of making a 2.5″ HST.  Some people like to make the 8 at a time method.  I like to cut my HST base pieces at 3″ and construct, and trim to 2.5″ with the June Tailor Perfect Half Square/Quarter Square Triangle ruler.  Others might be using Bonnie Hunter’s methods with strips and the easy angle or Deb Tucker’s method.  Which every way you do it, cut so you have a 2.5″ HST when it is done.   All the squares in the basic block are 2.5″ before being sewn into rows!  Bottom line, I would rather trim than come up short of HST & QST.   So, before you start cutting, decide your “best method” and adjust accordingly.

I will be taking my first bird for show and tell, and doing some more construction during the Queen Bee’s gathering on Tuesday.    If you make one of these Cardinal blocks, tell me what you will do with it.  Wall hanging, table runner, quilt???   Share your photo’s.  Have fun stitching!

 

 

 

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Bee Skep Pin Cushion FUN !!

A friend of mine sent me a link to the cutest pin cushion pattern she had come across, and thought that it would be a great project for the members of the Queen Bee’s quilt bee.  As the bee leader, she thought that I could entice the members into making something quite cute and fun.  The pattern is by Lea Anne Brummett , on a blog called Podunk Pretties – https://podunkpretties.blogspot.com/2018/07/bee-skep-pin-cushion.html  .

If you want the pattern, go to Lea Anne Brummett’s blog, and at the bottom of the page is a link to the whole pattern.  The link will take you to her CRAFTSY store.  This is a free pattern!

Once I got my pattern printed out, I debated about cutting those circles.  I messaged another guild member who has an accu-quilt dye cutting machine. She had 2, 3, and 5″ circles.  I needed more sizes than that. So, I bit the bullet, got out some carbon paper, and traced over the circles onto a manilla file folder. I cut those circles out and marked them with the sizes.

The pattern calls for assorted yellow prints.  I decided to use my yellow/gold/orange scrap box, and started pulling out pieces, and getting them starched and ironed.  I doubled the fabric so I could cut 2 pieces at once.  I used a fine point sharpie to outline my templates. I put a pin in the center of each circle to prevent shifting when I got ready to cut.  I had so much fun cutting out the first set, I decided to cut a few more.  I did all the cutting with my Fiskars scissors.  It went quickly!  (The secret is the heavy starch!)  (People who know me KNOW that I hate using scissors….I always look for a way to use a rotary cutter….)

3 Pin cushions ready to sew

Before long, I had 12 sets cut out, one for each member of my Queen Bees Quilt Bee.  I played around with the circles, and arranged them in pleasing groups and bagged them up.  Then, it was time to sew my Bea Skep!!

In no time at all, I had all 5 layers of the  pin cushion stitched, clipped, turned and stuffed. Took me longer to hand stitch all of them closed after they were stuffed!  I put ground English walnut shells in the largest circle to give weight to the Bee Skep.  The rest were filled with poly batting that I shredded into fine pieces as I stuffed.

Completed project Bee Skep Pin Cushion

I decided to use a metal shank button on the top instead of a yellow flat button. I like the dimension it gives.  I made 2 or 3 extra passes through the bottom cushion with my needle to make sure the knot doesn’t pull out. When I finished, I glued a circle of rubber shelf liner to the bottom of the pin cushion.  I used that thick Elmers craft glue, and made sure I had good coverage on the rubber shelf liner.  I used a plastic sandwich bag over my hand to press on the rubber circle to make sure it stuck well.  I let it rest on it’s side for a few minutes to dry, and made sure to only set it on the plastic bag until I was certain the glue was dry and would not stick to my table etc.

Rubber gripper on bottom of pin cushion

I like the way it turned out.  It is only about 3.5″ tall.

Bee Skep Pin Cushion

Looks cute with my flower headed pins and butterfly pin in it.  (I don’t have any of those fancy pins that Lea  Anne has….yet….)  It stands about 3 1/2 inches tall.

Take away – I would use a different needle next time when I am doing the stitching with the crochet thread.  The needle I used was too big to pass thru the holes in a standard button, and I wanted to put a flat button on the bottom to give extra security to the threads on the bottom.  Since the needle was too broad, I made those extra stitches.  Check the needle size through the holes in the buttons before you get started!

Cost – $0 — everything came from stash, scraps, the button box and items already on hand like crushed walnut shells, pieces of poly bat (from an old pillow), and crochet thread.  Thanks Lea Anne for the free pattern!

This is a fun fast project.  I hope you go to the blog “Podunk Pretties” and download your free pattern and make this cute Bee Skep pin cushion.

After I finished my own set, I decided to add some bits to the  kits I am gifting to my Bee buddies.  I opened up the sets I made for my Queen Bees and added 2 buttons, and a round circle of shelf gripper, and a length of yellow crochet thread.  Then I bagged up some ground English walnut shells for each of them to use in the bottom round or 2 of the cushion. They can use either poly bat or wool in the top sections.   I will take an extra bag of metal shank and flat buttons with me to the next Queen Bee gathering and they can select any additional buttons for their own projects.  All they need to do is download the pattern and start sewing!

Thanks LeeAnne of Podunk Pretties for the great fun, free project.  And thanks to my friend Pat for sharing the link to Lee Anne’s blog.  I had fun with this fast and easy project.

Have you found a quick and easy project that is worth sharing?

All but binding……

I am nearly finished with Mittens, my pet mosaic project I started in May of 2016.  (If you click on that link you can go back to my FLICKR album and browse through all the photo’s).  I’ve written many times about Mittens on this blog, and wanted you to know I have FINALLY reached the end!

Mittens will be completed in the next day or two with a week to spare.  I entered him into the  Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Quilt Show  which takes place on July 21 & 22, 2017 in Lewes Delaware.

I did a LOT of thread work on this project trying to give the idea of his fur, especially in his ear you see below-

Thread painting

All that heavy thread work caused the sides of the quilt to pull in and make a “bow” in the sides of the quilt near the ears.

I needed to block the quilt.  I went to the internet and read lots of posts on how to block the project, and compiled info from many sources for “my method”.

Can you see how wavy the sides are???

Quilting finished

I ended up on the floor with 2 of those old fashioned cardboard cutting mats, a carpenter’s square with a yardstick attached and about 500 pins, and two tape measures.  I just kept working and working until it was as square as I could get it. The pins went through the project, into the cardboard mats and then into the floor!  (Industrial carpeting!!!)  This took me nearly 3 hours as I worked to get rid of as much of the “curve” the heavy quilting caused.  If you have a tip on how to keep that from happening, let me know! The project & borders were straight before quilting!

I got the water bottle out and started spraying.  I let it “soak” in and waiting an hour or so, and plugged in the iron, and steamed and pressed the whole quilt.  After I was finished with the iron, I set a floor fan near it and walked away.

Blocking Mittens

I let him dry for about 18 hours and then I pulled out the pins, put him on the table and trimmed him up.

While he was drying I got busy with making the binding and the label and the hanging sleeve.

I did my label on my embroidery machine and edged it in some cute cat fabric.  There are pieces of this fabric scattered out in the project.

Label for my Pet Mosaic project

I stitched down 2 sides of the label in the edges of the binding, and fused to the back of the quilt. I still have to hand stitch around 2 sides of the label, and the bottom and ends of the hanging sleeve.  Since Mittens is a wall hanging, the top of the sleeve is stitched in the edge of the binding.  Which binding?  Well….Susie’s Magic Binding of course. It is stitched to the back of the quilt and READY for me to roll to the front and take those final stitches in the area of the flange.

That is my project for this summer afternoon!  What are you working on??

 

NOTE – Cheryl Lynch taught the class where I began the project – check out her website Cheryl Lynch Quilts  .  If your guild is looking for a great teacher & speaker, she comes with my recommendation!

Two Scrappy Quilts completed

I have been in my scrappy element the last several weeks working on a variety of projects. I have been “hurrying” to get some of these projects finished, so I could move back to my Pet Mosaic project.  Ever since I saw how Carolyn’s rottweiler, Fannie-Mae turned out, I have been motivated to get back to my cat Mittens. If you haven’t seen her yet, go check her out~  Creating a dog from scratch can be Ruff

I unrolled the “portable felt design wall” and have it pinned now to my big design wall and have started numbering rows and sorting out my bins of 2″ squares in various greens, grey, black, tan, brown and white. Carolyn sent me more grey’s and blacks to use, and I went through my 2″ squares that I have “in Scrap Storage ” and pulled more there too, along with some more green.

Before I could get to this, I had to finish up Addison’s quilt; and the 2 other small quilts I have been working on.  Addison’s was finished last week – Addison’s Finished Quilt .  So this last week I finished up the Scrappy Stars Quilt.  It will be going to a Benefit Auction at the end of the week.

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It finished out at a nice 52″x 52″.  I hope it brings a nice auction price to benefit our friends.

Today I wrapped up my Happy Scrappy Courthouse Steps Log Cabin Quilt.  This was a Pat Sloan Scrap Challenge. Check out her challenge here!

It is made of 1.5″ strips, except that final round on the block where I bumped it up enough to square things up.  And it is bound with scrappy binding. (Susie’s Magic Binding of course).   I always save those extra bits of binding that are leftover from my projects. I think it is a fun way to bind a scrappy project.

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There is “cork” binding from Ronnie & Terry’s Wedding Wine Quilt; grey and coral from Addison’s quilt, polka dot green with purple from the Scrappy Stars quilt, a grey with burgundy from the cross banner. The only challenge is joining all those pieces and setting them out to make sure you don’t have a join at a corner!

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The only “non scrappy” part of this quilt is the bird fabric on the back!  I got it on a whim when I was buying grey fabrics for Addison’s quilt, but the yellow was too much for that project, and I set it aside.  When I had the log cabin up on the design wall, those little birds called to me!

It finished out at 45×45, just perfect size for when a grandchild comes to visit!  If you click on the photo, you will see it is full of fun fabrics!

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I still need to hand stitch the labels, but I declare these two “done”, and it is time to move on with the Mosaic!  That means it may be a good while before you see another “finish” post from me….

Hope you are having a great summer and staying cool where ever you are!

UFO # 1 -Swirly Bird FINISHED

Yippee…..Swirly Bird is finished….Quilted…Hanging sleeve, Binding AND a label!!!  Finished in time to take to the Helping Hands Quilt Guild meeting on Monday night and the Queen Bees gathering today!!  This project is from a class I took at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild in June 2015.  Pattern is by Linda M. Poole.

Making a label for my Swirly bird

Gave my little embroider machine a work out!  Always amazing to see it work out properly. Very time consuming when you have to monitor it as it stitches.  The minute you turn your back is when it wants to get goofy.

Label finished and attached

I used fusible underneath the label to attach to the back of the project.  I promise I will hand stitch the edge of the label down.  (I always use do both).

Susie's Magic Binding Swirly Bird

You can see the echo quilting I did around the applique.  I went through a bobbin plus half of a second bobbin with this Superior 50 wt parchment thread doing the quilting.

Susie's magic binding

My favorite binding method is Susie’s Magic Binding.  Tutorial at 52 quilts in 52 weeks blog  –  The hardest part of this binding is getting a good “join”.

Swirly Bird bound

SWIRLY BIRD is finished!!

Yay !!! 2 finishes in a week!!!  While I was at it, I made the label for my “Crusty Crab” (UFO #2) Crusty Crab Finish   and got it affixed to the back of the project.  I showed them both at the Helping Hands Quilt Guild meeting last night.  Both Bees that I am in are doing UFO challenges; and both Swirly Bird and Crusty Crab were on those lists.  Now I need to empty the contents of the project box, file away the pattern details and “move on”.

Today at the Queen Bees we are making “folded Christmas trees” and I need to get busy and find my background fabric and get those strips cut.  I also want to get a border on that Scrap Happy Challenge Courthouse steps that I did two weeks ago and get it layered and quilted.  It is going in a charity auction at the end of August.  I heard last night that  June’s Quilt is in the mail on the way back to Delaware from California where Carolyn  ( One Block Wonder Woman )kindly long arm quilted it for me, so tomorrow I will get busy at our church sit & sew and prep that binding.  Did I mention already that when I was on a bus trip on Friday, I found more of the green fabric that we used on her borders?  I bought all that was on the bolt – 4 3/8 yard and took it to June last night. She wants to re-do her fabric covered headboard and possible the side chair in her bedroom to match.  All I had left was one piece at 18″ x 100″.

Someday soon I hope to get my Pet Mosaic back on the wall, but first I have to finish quilting the border on Addison’s quilt…..gee whiz I better start a list ! !  (You see what I do to myself!)  (And Bonnie Hunter is coming in 2 months to Helping Hands Quilt Guild in Dover DE, and I want to get those borders done on my Allietare – hey – it was March when I got the top together and I only need those 12″ borders…and I still haven’t found a fabric I love for the border)

How many projects are you working on at once???  (I swear I am not starting anything new, and here I go with the folded Christmas tree……TABLE RUNNER! )

Time to get busy before the Queen Bee’s start buzzing….

Working on UFO # 1 – Swirly Bird and more

Oh, was I ever disappointed that when I looked at my UFO list, I discovered that my “Crusty Crab” was #2, not #1.  My new quilt bee – The Queen Bees has a UFO challenge and # 1 was the project that needs to be finished by TUESDAY!!!!!  Dagnabit!

Well, I tried to renumber the list, but the “challenge Queen” said NO WAY GIRL…..

So, I got out # 1…and worked on it some on Saturday.  The pattern was by Linda Poole, and I took a workshop from her in June of 2015 when she came to Ocean Waves Quilt Guild in Lewes, DE. By the end of the week of the class, I had all the applique  stitched down, and I just needed to add tail feathers and an eye.  But, I was busy and the project went in the “box” and in the cupboard.

The UFO challenge has me pulling it out to see what I need to do to finish and move on. I added the tail feathers using variegated embroidery machine thread, but using my Janome and one of the fancy stitches that is built in.  I did trace the general shape from the pattern, but went “free form” with the stitching.  Hubby helped choose the clear button for the eye from the mason jar o’buttons.

Once the tail feathers and eye were on, the more I looked at it, the more I wanted to “play around” with some “thread painting”.  This is the result….and no, I am not finished quite yet.

Swirly Bird

Swirly Bird pattern by Linda Poole

Tail Feathers

The green thread is not supposed to be there..just a loose thread to pick off of the project…… I picked a stitch that is built into my sewing machine and just played with it to make tail feathers. I used variegated embroidery thread and put some tear away stabilizer behind the feathers.

Bird feathers

Played with the same variegated thread on the wing. Dumped out the button jar and hubby picked the clear button for the eye.

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This is the “first flower” I played with doing a little “thread painting/stitching”. Again I chose the variegated thread, but this time orange/yellow/green.   It was fun!

And then I went nuts and here are some of the other parts…..up close……

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I still need to do a little something on the green stems. I did the leaves, but forgot to take a close up.  You can get an idea if you click on the picture of the full project (first photo) and zoom in.  Anyway, once the stems are “stitched”  I can layer it up and quilt it.  The size is about 22×22.  I really had fun playing with my embroidery thread collection as I worked on this!  So many choices with the wonderful threads I was given. Having it all on thread racks makes it so easy to choose too!!

Hoping to knock it out this afternoon.  My sewing room was hitting 85 degrees yesterday; with 2 a/c units running; so not sure how much I will get done.  My room is over the garage and in this heat, it is tough to get it comfortable.  Our whole house is struggling with the temperature. The house is over 110 years old, and not the most “efficient, and no central air. At least the pool is still refreshing, though I may have to add a little cold water to it this afternoon.    What are you doing to stay cool during this heat wave?

(Note – my “other bee” – The Material Girls is also doing a UFO challenge, and I have NOT kept up with them!! This project was on that list too, but I can’t remember which number it was…)  I keep saying I am not starting any new projects until I finish a few things….so if I can get this out of the way, I won’t feel so guilty!

Update on June’s Quilt — I mailed it to my wonderful sister in law, Carolyn ( One Block Wonder Woman ) and she quilted it yesterday for me.  She is amazing!!  I had ordered the backing and she just got it on Wednesday and she is finished already!! June will be so tickled.  I have the binding all cut, but need to prep it.  While I was on a bus trip on Friday, I found more of the fabric that I used for the borders.  I bought what was left on the bolt (4 3/8 yard). June wants to recover her fabric headboard, and I didn’t have enough of any of the fabrics left, so this should give her what she needs. Any leftovers, I will turn into matching pillow cases or a throw pillow or something. I was tickled to find that fabric again, and this time I didn’t have to pay for shipping!

Update on Addison’s Quilt – it is still on the big table and I am still staring at the borders.  But…..I did get a wonderful thread that will look great on the borders at the quilt show on Friday (Quilt Odyssey 2016 – Hershey PA). I had a visit to the Superior Thread Company booth and got a wonderful grey variegated – Fantastico #5169.

I love to get my thread at the shows, because you save a couple of dollars on each spool if you buy 3 or more.  So I came home with 3 spools of Fantastico (5035-cashmere- variegated) (5169 – grey variegated) (5075-silver black variegated), and 3 spools of Masterpiece.  The Masterpiece I use for piecing and my colors are boring – granite # 156  – canvas #151 – and graystone #155.   My spreadsheet of Superior Thread is growing longer.  I dated the bottom of the cones of all the ones I bought this time and last March, so I can see “how long” they are lasting me.  I am on my 3rd greystone cone since I started using it and my second canvas. Those cones are 2500 yards! I am on my second spool of the cashmere too.   What thread do you love to piece with? Do you have a “go to” color for quilting?  My go-to is either the cashmere or Bottom Line Silver #623.  I am on my 2nd cone of it too.  I also love playing with the embroidery threads that I have.  My daughters have gifted me so many and I just love having so many color choices.

Time to go! Enjoy your day and stay cool!

Why I take photo’s along the journey

No, I am not taking a trip by plane, train or automobile….I am on my quilting journey.

The journey involves the building of 8 inch blocks and doing the “TANGO” with them. The Scrap Dance Tango that is!

A few days ago I posted my progress ( Scrap Dance Tango and other fun    ) , and yesterday I had a chance to join another 3 sections of blocks and took another photo.  Yes, the pictures all are starting to look alike to me too. I promise not to bore you to much more with this project until I get at least 50 more blocks joined!

I very proudly brought the photo to my hubby’s attention, showing off what I had accomplished after my “afternoon nap”.  Then I GASPED when I saw a block turned the wrong way!  I did that section a few days ago!  That mistake was glaring at me in the photo’s I took for the previous post,  but I didn’t see it.  Nope, not the first, second or third time I looked at it….  So, of course, I had to go back and look at the other photo’s and now it jumps out at me “BIG TIME” in every photo !!   I circled it, since nobody else saw or mentioned the error in my last post!

OOOPS

Do you take pictures as you work through a project?  More often, I see the mistake studying the photo.  It seems to present the error more easily than while I am looking  at the blocks while I have them on the wall, at the machine, at the ironing station.  I like to study them on the computer screen.  If you see an obvious error in somebody else’s work, do you tell them?  I know that I would appreciate you mentioning to me if you see something along the journey!

Time for some un-sewing!  Shouldn’t be too bad, but just a little annoying!

I’m sure this won’t be the only one I TWIST instead of TANGO.   I think the error was made during basic block building, so; I am going to go over my blocks looking for that particular error and see if I can find any more blocks that I TWISTED those “kissing fish”.

Guess I will go “rip”…..

Pattern is by Carole – From My Carolina Home –   link to (  pattern information  )