Friday, May 30, 2014

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? Now It Really IS Done!

Hi, all!

It's finally Friday - are you ready to get your whoop whoop on?  I am!  I was sitting here thinking I didn't have anything to post about, but then I checked back and found out that I actually did have something! So let's start the party!

Remember this quilt that I made over spring break this year?  The name "Nathanael's Ladder" was running through my head the whole time I was making it, because it was made using a modified Jacob's Ladder block and I was making it to auction or raffle off to raise money for the adoption of our Chinese grandson, Nathanael.  I wish I could post a picture of him - he's adorable - but for right now we're not allowed to do that.  Adoption agency rules.  Sorry!

Anyway, this week I finally finished the quilt!

I love the way the Kona white and Kona silver play off each other - low volume but distinct if you look for it.  And they were the perfect background for the Flea Market Fancy Legacy prints that I had been hoarding.  

For the back I used some of the Denyse Schmidt prints that were made for Joann's, along with some more of the 2" squares I used on the front.

Organic straight line quilting to finish it off - isn't that gorgeous texture?  It's soft and cuddly, too.  Sixty inches square and I love it!  Hopefully soon someone else will too!  We're still working out the details on the auction/raffle, but I should have more info soon!

We're so looking forward to filling that center chair with something other than a globe!!  And on the adoption front, I hope you'll check back on Monday - we're doing something special next week that I hope you'll want to be a part of!

So - - - can I get a whoop whoop?


Just a few reminders - if you missed Wednesday's post for the American Made Brand blog hop, there's still time to enter in the giveaway!  Check it out and check out all the other stops on the blog hop, too - there's an awful lot of creativity out there!!

And Sunday marks the beginning of the end of this year's Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge, and all of the wonderful generous quilters who participated this year will be linking up their quilts all next week. I hope you'll check out the links for some wonderful inspiration and to cheer them on - they've done great work!  And something else to whoop about - thanks to a lot of fabulous folks, we've got enough giveaway items for everyone who has made a quilt for the challenge!  Whoop whoop!!!


And now it's your turn!

What are you whooping about this week?

What's got you dancing the happy dance?

Share with us - we want to dance along with you!

Remember - it doesn't have to be a finish.
Just whatever's making you happy this week!

The linky will stay open until Sunday midnight.

Hope to see you there!!



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

TN's Turn on the AMB Blog Hop, & a Giveaway!

Hey, y’all!

Welcome to Tennessee’s stop on the AMB Blog Hop!  American Made Brand Fabrics has come out with a line of fifty beautiful solid fabrics, made of American-grown cotton right here in the US.  I hope you’re enjoying the hop so far - I’ve been really inspired by all the fabulous work all my predecessors have done, and can’t wait to see the blocks of those who follow!  (You can see the entire list of hop participants here if this is the first you've heard about it.)  But for now, let me tell you a little bit about Tennessee....

I’ve lived in Tennessee for the past 25 years, longer than I’ve lived anywhere else, and I have to tell you, I love this state!  It’s absolutely gorgeous, and there’s so much to do and see.  We’re far enough south to avoid the harsh winters of the north, and far enough north to avoid the blistering heat in the south.

Tennessee was granted statehood in 1796.  Interestingly, it was the last state to secede during the Civil War, and the first to be re-admitted to the Union.  It stretches from the Appalachian Mountains in the east to the Mississippi River in the west.  Geographically it is broken into three “grand divisions", each with its own beauty and sights to see.  

The Eastern Division, centered in Knoxville, comprises the mountainous portion of the state.  The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States. The park was named for the smoke-like bluish haze that often envelops these fabled mountains.  

The Great Smoky Mountains

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are famous for their beautiful fall scenery and shopping, and you wouldn’t want to miss the Dollywood theme park while you are there. Knoxville hosted the 1982 World’s Fair, and you can still see the Sunsphere, built especially for the World’s Fair as you drive through.  

The Sunsphere in Knoxville, TN

In 1974 Walter Cronkite designated Knoxville as the “Streaking Capital of the World.”  It was in the spring of that year that an estimated 5,000 people on the University of Tennessee’s famous Cumberland Avenue took their clothes off…stripping on the “strip.” The atomic bomb, modern history’s most closely guarded secret, was developed in nearby Oak Ridge.

The Middle Division, centered in Nashville, the capitol, is full of rolling hills and beautiful lakes.  Nashville is the home of country music, and yes, the show “Nashville” is actually filmed here.  It’s a lot of fun to watch the show and see places around town that I’ve been!  Nashville hosts the CMA Music Festival each June, when country music fans from around the world come to meet country musicians in person. 

The stage at the Grand Ole Opry

 Nashville's Grand Ole Opry is the longest continuously running live radio program in the world. It has broadcast every Friday and Saturday night since 1925.  The phrase “good to the last drop” was coined by Theodore Roosevelt at the Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville after he finished a cup of the locally produced coffee they served.  

You can also visit a life-sized replica of the Parthenon near downtown Nashville, which was built for the 1897 Centennial Exposition.

 Just down I-24 in Coffee County, Bonnaroo is held each year - a massive music festival attended by tens of thousands each year and boasting a wide variety of styles of music.  

The crowd at Bonnaroo 2013
The festival basically turns a 700-acre farm into the 7th largest city in Tennessee overnight, for four days!  

Chattanooga, down on the Georgia border, is famous for the world’s steepest passenger railway line and the largest fresh water aquarium in the world.  

The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanoga

The Glen Miller Orchestra won the first gold record awarded by the music industry for its recording of The Chattanooga Choo-Choo.  Coca-Cola was first bottled in 1899 at a plant on Patten Parkway in downtown Chattanooga after two local attorneys purchased the bottling rights to the drink for $l.00.

The Western Division, with Memphis as its largest city, is in the delta, with low-lying fertile farmlands. Beale Street is famous for its music and barbecue.  The Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis boasts a flock of resident ducks who make a trek to the indoor water fountain each day!  

The famous ducks of the Peabody Hotel

Cotton made Memphis a major port on the Mississippi River. The Memphis Cotton Exchange still handles approximately one-third of the entire American cotton crop each year.  Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, is also located there, and sees 600,000 visitors each year.  

Graceland by Thomas Kincade 

It is the second most visited private home in America, second only to Biltmore House in Ashville, NC. The legendary railroad engineer Casey Jones, who was killed when his train crashed on April 30, 1900, lived in Jackson, TN and Jackson is also the home of Pringles Potato Crisps!

The license plate block I designed represents the different divisions of the state.  At the bottom of the block, you can see the brown representing the Mississippi River, also known as The Big Muddy, which borders the western section of the state.  Next you see the green rolling hills of the central portion of the state, and finally the gray and blue bands which reflect the beautiful mountains of the Great Smokies.  All of this under a beautiful Tennessee blue sky! The red, white and blue circle comes from the center of the Tennessee flag. The three stars in its center represent the three grand divisions of the state.  

Tutorial for the block:

This block measures 6.5” high by 12.5” wide.  I used the following American Made Brand solid colors:

Mississippi River - 64 Light Caramel

Rolling Hills - 17 Light Lime, 18 Lime

Mountains - 5 Light Gray, 32 Light Aqua, 100 Light Turquoise

Background - 97 Light Sky

Symbol - 
Outer Ring - 4 Light Red
Inner Ring & Stars - 1 White
  Center - 93 Light Navy

You can either print the landscape design from the PDF, or create your own landscape design.  Once you have your design, print or trace it so that each piece is longer (top to bottom) than the visible portion on the block.  This will allow you to overlap the pieces to stitch them together.  I used Heat and Bond to applique my pieces to the block.  Use whatever technique works best for you - I am not skilled at applique and it’s quite likely there’s an easier, better technique to use!  

Starting from the bottom, take the bottom two applique pieces (the brown Mississippi piece and the light lime piece) and overlay the brown on the light lime.  Using your preferred technique, applique the two pieces together along the top of the brown piece.  I used a machine blanket stitch with clear thread. You could just as easily use needle turn applique or raw edge stitching. 

After stitching it down, turn the piece over and cut away the light lime that overlays the brown, so that you have a piece with only one layer.  

This will help reduce the thickness of your finished piece.  Repeat the process until the entire landscape applique is finished. 

To make the Tennessee state symbol, trace the symbol in the PDF to cut circles for the outer, middle, and inner circles, and the three stars.  As before, I used Heat-N-Bond to make my symbol, so I traced the designs onto Heat-N-Bond before ironing it to the fabrics.   Assemble the symbol.  

Lay the applique and symbol on your background piece to determine placement of your lettering.  I traced the lettering onto my block and (carefully) filled it in with a fabric marker, because as I said, applique is not my strong suit.  It could also be embroidered or appliqued if desired.

After the lettering is completed, attach the landscape applique and state symbol.  You’re done!

If you'd like a copy of the PDF file that contains the landscape diagram, the lettering and the state symbol, please request it in a comment below, leave your email address, and I'll send it to you!


And now for the fun part - the giveaway!  American Made Brand has provided a fat quarter bundle - eight beautiful, colorful pieces of their new fabric!  

And I'm adding to that a "uniquely Tennessee"  gift bundle - GooGoo Clusters (the world's first combination candy bar, invented right here in Nashville, TN), Moon Pies (made in Chattanooga, TN since 1917), and a few other goodies to give you a taste of Tennessee!  So how can you win all this goodness?

1.  Leave a comment sharing how many US states you've visited or lived in, and which is your favorite!

2.  Hop over to the American Made Brand site, then come back here and leave another comment mentioning your favorite color out of the fifty for a second entry!

3.   Leave a comment letting me know you're a follower for a third entry!

Easy peasy!  Entries will be accepted until Tuesday, June 3rd at 6 pm, and I'll announce a winner on Wednesday, June 4th.  Please please please be sure you aren't a no-reply blogger - or if you are, or don't know, please leave your email address in your comment.  It would be a shame if you won, but I couldn't reach you to let you know!

Oh, and by the way, if you're looking for a place to purchase these wonderful solids, my friend Shannon at Fabrics N Quilts (in Jamestown, TN) has all fifty colors!  Check her out - she'll set you up in fine style!



PS Be sure to check back Sunday to see the beautiful quilts that have been created by the participants in this year's Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge, and then come again next Monday for something really special!  Hope to see you then!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Make-A-List Monday - Nathanael's Ladder Finished (nearly…)

Hi, all!

Happy Memorial Day! I hope wherever you are, you are enjoying your holiday - while remembering those who gave their lives so you could.  Here in Tennessee (at least my part of it) it is kind of gray and rainy, so it's been a bit of a sewing day so far!  But my wonderful DH took me out to lunch at Chick-Fil-A, which means free wi-fi, so here I am, writing my blog post while he goes to run some errands.  Hooray for free wi-fi!

With summer almost over, I feel kind of up in the air about what's going to transpire for a few months - but it'll all work out, I'm sure!  So let's see what happened with last week's list.

1.  Finish the tutorial for the AMB blog tour.
Almost!  The post is written, but I still need to scan some things for the PDF tutorial and pick up a few more things for the giveaway.  That's one of my goals for this afternoon and tomorrow morning!

2.  Finish proofing a quilt pattern for a friend.
Done!  Look how cute this quilt pattern turned out - it's by Kati, who blogs over at From The Blue Chair.  Watch for it to come out soon - I'll be helping promote it, with a giveaway!

3.  Start organizing prizes for the H2H participants.
Started, but not nearly finished!  Another big goal for this week

4.  Quilt at least two quilts ahead for the ministry.
Done!  I actually think I managed to quilt four ahead - but of course I forgot to take pics before I took them to church so someone else could bind them!  It's been one of those weeks, folks!

5.  Make a back for Nathanael’s Ladder.
Done!  I like the way this came out - I used more Denise Schmidt fabrics that I had on hand to make the back.

6.  Quilt Nathanael’s Ladder.
Done!  I managed to get this quilted this morning - lots of straight lines on the long arm again - and the binding is halfway on.  I was just about to stitch it to the front when my DH decided he was starving!

7.  Keep up with any ministry needs that arise.
It was a quiet week last week - we only had one quilt requested, and unfortunately the intended recipient died before we could get one to him.  I hate it when that happens, but sometimes it is just unavoidable.  But it did allow us to get a bit ahead of the game

Okay, so not too bad on last week's list.  This week, it's Lilli's last week of kindergarten, so I start on the summer schedule of keeping both girls, sort of.  I'll pick Lilli up on Tuesday from school, keep both of the girls on Wednesday while Nancy works, take Lilli (who will no longer be a kindergartener!) on a movie date on Thursday, and keep both of them again Friday afternoon.  Our  normal week will probably be both of them all day on Wednesday, and a half day with both of them on either Friday or Monday.  It'll take a little while to get into the routine, I know!  

So now let's see what I can squeeze in, sewing-wise, this week

1.  Finish the binding on Nathanael's Ladder (easy, I know, but occasionally I need a "gimme"!)

2.  Create the PDF for the AMB Blog Tour and finish the blogpost.

3.  Organize and photograph the giveaway items for the H2H Challenge.

4.  Write the H2H Giveaway post.

5. Work with my daughter on a special project - details to come!

6.  Finish a quilt top using the "leftovers" from my Bountiful quilt.

7.  Quilt a couple of quilts ahead for the ministry.

8.  Keep up with any ministry needs that arise.

Yes, I know, I've lost my mind.  There's probably no way I can get all this done - although a few of them have to be finished - but a least I won't be bored!

So now the question is - - - what are you working on this week?



Sunday, May 25, 2014

Hands2Help - Featuring Guest Blogger Linda!

Hi, all!

Can you believe that it's almost time for the end of this year's Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge?  The time sure has flown!  But before the final linky party, we've got one more guest blogger - Linda is here to share a really cool block technique that she likes to use for charity quilts.  So please join me in welcoming her for her first guest blogger post!

Make an Explosion for Comfort Quilts!

Today Sarah has given me permission to share some ideas with you. I love color. I love creating things. I love lots of variations and possibilities. As an artist, I am always trying to rearrange what is to make something else in a new way. I quilt and paint, but I don’t paint fabric. I will leave that for some other artist. Why quilts? They are physical and tangible artwork made from lots of disparate pieces carefully stitched with threads, melded with batting and backing, that bring comfort, warmth, and a hug to its owner. Even wall quilts beg to be touched.

I am always searching for patterns and ideas to use the fabric I have, most of it scraps donated by others, to create beauty for those whose hearts and bodies need it. I started making comfort quilts with a group that was trying to establish a new offshoot north of the city. While this offshoot folded, I continued on my own making comfort quilts for cancer/chemo patients. The quilts are lap size, usually 48 x 60 or so, given in a carry tote bag with a handmade card and the book, When God and Cancer Meet by Lynn Eib. When someone gives me a referral, I give the quilt package. I average about one per month. I have enlisted my mom, a non quilter, to just sew straight seams on strips and around squares that I prep for her and I make the blocks and quilts.

One of my favorite patterns I found on the Quilting Board shown by Gerbie. When I wrote to her, she told me it was based on a block by Karin Hallaby. You can watch her tutorial at Recently, the Missouri Star Quilt Company made a tutorial on this block using charm packs. However, I use the scrappy method because that the fabric I have. Whatever size squares you cut, divide them into light and dark piles to get a great result. I have tried many sizes and will give them to you so you can just start.

All of the Comfort Quilts shown above start with two 6" Squares, then a 7 3/4" square and are about 48" x 60"
6" center blocks, 7 3/4" next

5" center blocks, 2 more rounds

Now I am making some starting with 4” so I can add extra rounds. Here are some sizes I have tried:

If starting with two:

-3”, then one 3 ½”, then one 4 ¼”, one 5 ¼”

-3 ½”, then one 4 ¼, one 5”, one 6 ¼” gives an 8” block

-4”, then one 5”, one 6” (makes 7 1/2" block), and can add one 8 ¼”
-4 ½”, then one 5 ½”, one 7 (about 9" block)

-5”, then one 6 3/8”, one 8 3/8” for about an 11” block unfinished
-6”, then one 7 ¾” for about an 8 ¼” block

Whatever size your first two blocks are, you can always measure your ironed one for the next size.

Here's how you make this block: Sew the first two identical size squares (I make one dark, one light) all around all 4 sides, ¼” seam. Pivot in the corners, don't do a curved seam. Draw an X from corners to corners on the side you want to look like triangles.

For my quilts, I choose half the dark blocks for the center, and half the lights for the center.
Pinch the center of the X, top fabric only, and make a small cut. With your scissors, cut to each corner on the line. Press the block flat (DRY iron) to set the seams, then roll the triangle cuts to the front and press flat. Cut evenly and press evenly so the bias does not get wonky on you.


Add the next size square (alternate light or dark based on which the new triangles are, i.e. dark triangles, light new square), sew all around 4 sides, mark the X on the new square size. Pinch the center, clip, cut to corners, press to set, roll back triangles, press. You can add another size square, alternating darks and lights, and keep going as much as you want.

This is totally customizable by you. Remember that the square’s corners on the front are nipped by the sewing. It doesn’t bother me. Since there is a bias, I find I can ease the blocks together as long as they are not real distorted by ironing or cutting. I usually add a skinny and wider border. I do machine quilt these. I always make 2 extra blocks and sew one of the blocks on the outside of the tote bag, one on the inside.

Since I demonstrated this technique at my quilt guild, many people have taken off and put their own spin on the blocks. You can really go crazy. Here are two ideas for using leader/ender scraps.

Using 4 patches made as leader/enders from 2 1/2" squares, I started with one 4 1/2" 4 Patch and one 4 1/2" square sewn together.
A block made from a 4 Patch of 2" Squares, see post it note in photo for size

All my sewing is done on vintage Singer sewing machines. You are welcome to check out my blog, Art In Search.   Thank you for reading this today and I hope it encourages you to make a comfort quilt for someone who needs what you have to give.


Thanks so much for sharing with us, Linda!  This looks like a great technique that I will definitely be trying out!!

And for all the rest of you H2Hers, remember that next Sunday begins the final linky party for the challenge!  Sometime between Sunday, June 1st, and Saturday, June 7th at about 5 pm, link up your Hands2Help quilts to be eligible for the giveaway drawings. You can link up to a new blog post or an old one, or if you don't have a blog, you can upload your picture to Flickr  and link to that.  If you are technologically challenged, feel free to send me pictures of your quilt(s) and I will upload them to Flickr for you and link you up for the giveaways!

Let me know, too, if you've run into a little "life" during the challenge and won't be able to finish your quilts - I'll be glad to help you as much as possible!



PS - Remember to stop by here on Wednesday for Tennessee's stop on the AMB Blog Hop - there will be a giveaway!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? A Useful Tip Worked Out!

Hi, all!

It’s Friday again - are you ready to get your whoop whoop on?  It’s been a busy week here, but I’ve got something fun to share with you!

A few weeks ago, my friend Michele took a class with Kimmy Brunner at the MQX East Quilt Show, and shared some of the tips she learned there on her blog. One of them was how to create channel locks for your long arm machine using rubber bands.  Well, I’ve been trying all kinds of ways to fashion a channel lock for Jolene, so I thought today that I would give the rubber bands a try!

I had this cute little quilt top ready to put on the frame - actually I had it sandwiched up for straight line quilting on my table top machine, but I pinned it to the frame and off we went!  

A small learning curve as I experimented with the best way to advance the rows, but eventually I worked it all out.  It took about 40 minutes to quilt this up, but I have a feeling it will go a bit faster next time. 

I’m thinking about using this technique to quilt Nathanael’s Ladder - what do you think?  I love the texture it gives the quilt!  Even though the lines are fairly close together, it’s still a soft and pliable quilt.

So - - - can I get a whoop whoop?


And now it’s your turn!

What are you dancing the happy dance about this week?

What’s got you whooping?

Share with us - we want to whoop along with you!

The party will remain open until Sunday midnight - 
and remember, it doesn’t have to be a finish!
Just whatever’s making you happy!

Hope to see you there!