Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Project Quilting Favorite Color

I am so glad I found Kim from Persimon Dreams. Her Project Quilting challenges have motivated me to test my creativity and get something started AND finished in one weeks time. My projects are small but the point is - they are done!

The second challenge of season 4 - was to use your Favorite Color and White. When first announced, I immediately knew I would use RED...and thought about using the "LOVE" letters I've seen going around. That first Sunday night, I drafted up a few ideas...then put them aside as the work week me a few days to let my thoughts marinate.

Then as many of you happened...or I guess I should say life ended when we suddenly lost our sweet Maggie girl on that Wednesday....sewing, Project Quilting and all things fun were the last things on my mind. 

Early Friday afternoon I was driving back to the shop after visiting my Mom...and while sitting in traffic my mind started working again. I thought about the challenge...the LOVE letters...and all the pictures of Maggie I'd been looking at over and over...and over again. By the time I reached the shop...I had a PLAN! 

I let the Spouse handle customers and I hid myself away in the classroom. I gathered fabrics...printed out my foundations...printed up pictures...I cut and I sewed....
I cried and I smiled... 
Memories flooded my mind. I worked past closing time (the Spouse understood)....and by the time we left for home my little LOVE project was together and quilted, the binding ready for handstitching. By Saturday night I'd found just the right embellishments...and it was done.
The "L" holds her puppy picture...omgosh, what a cutie pie she was even then. The worn out dog tag, yes, was her very first piece of  jewelry...unbelievable I still had it...MORE unbelievable, I knew where it was! 
The "V" is her 'modeling' shot - back in the days when she enjoyed looking at the camera - she even let me dress her up in a big ruffled collar for the pattern cover of a bag I'd designed.
The "e" - a head shot from my favorite "Birthday" picture...she was such a good sport to wear that hat! 
And the "O" - the Heart...*sigh* - one of her very last pictures...taken just the day before she crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Looking back....I think she knew. Maggie was not a camera hound - but on that day, I took picture after picture...and not once did she look away.

Yes....I am glad I found Project Quilting....I might not have made this so quickly otherwise. It was just what I needed....I think just maybe...the healing has begun.

Lynn ~ The Thimblemouse >"<

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Daring Dresden Diddie with a Cute Little Tute

First let me say a great huge THANKS to Christine of Quilt Monster In My Closet and Madame Samm of Sew We Quilt for this incredible hop they've put together. I'm so honored to be a part of it.
I want to give a big HUG to Christine, for letting me reschedule this post. Originally I was supposed to be hopping the very first day, but sometimes life just throws you a curve ball without any warning. If you've visited me recently, you know it's been a pretty sad week  and for those who left such heartfelt words of sympathy, encouragement and friendship (not to mention some pretty touching stories)...know that I've read every comment and feel so very blessed for the love and support I have really needed the last couple of days.

Now time for the show!

I adore Dresden blocks...yet I've only ever made one Dresden quilt. It was one of my first 'real' quilts back in the day when I played mostly at making dolls and bears. I planned to show you a pic but lo and behold - I can't find the quilt. Yikes! How does one lose a quilt?

When I first saw the chance to join the "Dare To Dresden" hop I immediately thought this would be the perfect time to finally do something with this English paper pieced Dresden I'd started a while ago.
This was supposed to be part of a sampler quilt I was designing for my Mom and Dad. Oh my *gasp*...dearest Dad has been gone for almost 4 I really want to admit that I've had this for longer than that? And now that I've teased you...guess what...I decided to do something completely different! (But never fear, I AM turning THIS Dresden into a little wall hanging for Mom...I can't wait to finish and share it with you...just not today).

Today it's all about this cute little
 "Mock Dresden Mug Rug"
Isn't it just the cutest?
(am I humble or what! haha)
Now another confession...I took swiped borrowed this cup from my Mom. She got it for Christmas. What kind of a daughter TAKES her mom's Christmas gift? I couldn't help's so me...I LOVE Black and White anything. Don't worry, I WILL replace it with a cute PINK cup - something more to Mom's liking.

In one of my other groups a gal had posted before Christmas that she was making mug rugs to match mugs she had found...for gifties for friends...I really liked that idea. I can't wait to start hunting for more mugs (I pinky swear I won't take any more of Mom's)...I guess we know what my friends will be getting for Christmas this year.

I do have a 'give-away' and you don't have to do anything to win it. It is something every ONE of you can have...a cute little 'tute' to make your own. I hope you enjoy it. It's pretty picture heavy (my friend Doris said that's the ex-elementary teacher coming out in me...hmmm...I think she might be right). But before we start 'tute-ing' - I don't want to forget to give you the list of all the other awesome Daring Dresden Doings that are happening today! Be sure to check them out - just remember to come back for your lesson!

January 28th, 2013
Rosemary B @ “that Other Blog”

Mock Dresden mug rug - Tutorial
I foundation pieced this cute little diddie and you can too! First you'll need the paper pattern. Let's see, where did I put it? Ok...found it.
Click HERE for the pdf file to download and print. will need TWO COPIES! I love my EQ for designing blocks! I use everyday copy paper. The BEST advice I ever got in a class was with Karen Stone...she is the QUEEN of foundation piecing and I will never forget her words of wisdom "save your $ for fabrics...use your computer paper...with the proper needle and very small stitches you will be ok" (or words to that effect..haha).

First you will need to mark your patterns with the fabrics (colors) you will be using

Note that one block STARTS with BLACK (#1) then RED, then Black...and sew on on sew forth. You will need to mark TWO of the paper blocks just like that (of course, using YOUR colors).
The other block STARTS with RED (#1), then Black, then red...etc. Again, mark TWO of your paper blocks that way.

My fabrics above. I worked with fat quarters because that's what I had. Below you will see I cut strips from each fabric about 2" wide
With only two fabrics, I needed TWO strips of each color (cut 2" x 22" approx - no reason to rotary cut them unless you want to).  I often work with 'strips' and scissor cut as I need them.
Remember that you are working from the PRINTED side of the paper - your fabric will be placed on the backside - #1 fabric is ALWAYS WRONG SIDE AGAINST THE PAPER...a light in the background helps to see the placement (see above) your fabric MUST COVER the space it's intended for AND GO BEYOND the seam lines - in case you are wondering, I am still working with a FULL strip - I don't trim the strips until I've 'pinned' or sewn them in place.

I usually rely on the 'light' for the first placement of fabric. After that, I'm all about the 'pinning'. I've added a pin thru the paper AND #1 fabric ON the seam line - also another pin on the seam line where the TOP of the blade will be.
With my scissors (above) I will trim my strip now so it's not flopping about. The pin guide let's me know where the seam will be and I trim a very healthy quarter inch past that.

Next comes #2 - Looking at the fabric side - I find the pin I've used for the 'seam guide' (below)...I will line up my second fabric close by (from now on it's ALL RIGHT SIDES DOWN sweeties)
Then I will move the fabric OVER AND PAST the pin marker - think 1/4" seam as you do this
and while holding both fabrics in place - Re-PIN through the paper, both fabrics...ON the seam line.
Clear as mud?
After the pin is in place - now is the time to TEST what you've done - open up the fabrics and make sure the 2nd one will cover everything it's supposed to cover with enough left over for the next seams. When you are sure it will all work....time to turn on your machine.
(If you 'opened' the sure to close them again - in other words...both will be touching, RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.)

Set your STITCH LENGTH to TEENY (I use the 1.5 setting....which is something like 15-18 stitches per inch)...oh, and about your 'needle' - a size 90 is strongly suggested...larger shaft, larger holes...easier paper removal later....But...(yep...another true confession)...I use whatever size is on my machine...usually it's a 70. With small enough stitches....I have no problem.
With everything in place (above)...stitch those teeny stitches following the seam line between 1 and 2. Start a good 3/8" OUTSIDE (or before) the line....
ending with several stitches PAST the top of the blade....(ideally a good 3/8" further would be nice - obviously a case of "Do As I Say and Not As I Did" if you go by the picture - LOL)

Trim threads...trim the sewn seam to 1/4" ish - (I usually just scissor cut this) - fold back the fabrics...finger press (below)...
...add new 'pin guides' on the second fabric. See below to remind you where the new pin guides go.
Trim #2 Fabric strip for easier handling.
Pin #3 Fabric in place....stitch as before...then trim away the excess seam fabric
Continue on until all Five fabrics are sewn in place. Give it all a good pressing from the fabric side.
I machine 'basted' ( see above and below) outside of the stitching lines to hold my fabrics in place.
Complete all four quarter blocks - trim each one up on the outer most cutting line so all of your foundations are square and the same size - yes, you should only have the 1/4" seam allowances on the very edge of your papers (sorry - I forgot THAT picture..oops)
Matching two of the quarters (above) together. picture (I am such a lacky)...use a pin to match up your seam lines.
You are STILL using TEENY stitches!
Once can remove the CENTER SEAM PAPER ONLY...and to make it easier later on - trim away some of the center paper (below).
Make two halves exactly the same and then sew together as shown below. Press the four joining seams open.
Rough cut to trim around the outer edge - you don't need those corner edges of paper anymore, but keep all other paper in place.
 Find some backing and batting and cut to the measurement shown below. 
With right sides together pin pieced foundation to backing/batting, your 'sandwich' will be
Pieced foundation (right side down)
Backing (right side up)
Stitch on the seam line all the way around - yes, you're still using the Teeny stitch.
Next, scissor trim around the outside edge. I left a scant 1/4" seam allowance (or maybe even a healthy 1/8" seam...what ever you are comfortable with. A smaller seam will allow the outside curve to shape up better).
After trimming, your piece should look like this.
Carefully remove the paper foundation.
Turn Rightside OUT - taking care not to pull apart the seams around the center hole. Don't stress if they come apart 'slightly' - the center circle you will add will cover that up.
Press flat.
I got very scientific deciding upon the size of the center circle I would use. I measured the bottom of my coffee cup and then I found something round that was larger, that I could use for tracing a circle.... empty yogurt container...hahaha. (approx size 3-3/4" across for those that need a number). Cut two squares larger than the circle (in my case, about 4-1/2")...I used the same fabric for both squares.
Trace around your circle "tool" with a pencil. Use Teeny stitches to sew on the traced line, overlapping beginning and ending stitches. (remember, smaller stitches...nicer circle)
Trim as shown above. Carefully cut a slit for turning through ONE LAYER of fabric. Turn circle Rightside OUT - press. Pin in place over opening. Machine or handstitch in place. I used a machine blanket stitch.
Quilt as desired.
Don't forget...even a mug rug needs to be signed.
I hope you enjoyed this. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. If you make your own (and I so hope you will)...I'd love to see it! You can always post a picture in the Thimblemouse & Spouse Friends flickr group here. Feel free to link back to this blog if you'd like...that always makes me smile.

Have a super week! Now get stitchin'!
Lynn ~ The Thimblemouse >"<

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Goodbye Sweet Maggie Girl

 Dearest Friends
Today is my day to share with you my "Dare to Dresden" post. Please accept my heartfelt apology for it not being here right now.
Life happens 
While my project is pictures are ready (I've even worked up a "cute tute")...
I'd planned to put it 'all together' tonight...
but instead
the Spouse and I are still in shock...
our hearts have been shattered into a bajillion pieces today. 
This picture explains all. 
Maggie was 12yrs old. She'd started feeling a little poorly over the weekend and developed a cough. 
The vet said yesterday there was a cough' going around - we all felt better knowing meds should do the trick.
Maggie went to work with us today like always...but we could tell she was not feeling herself, tho the cough had subsided somewhat. I had just come back from the vets again, with a pill to settle her stomach....
she should be resting more comfortably with us tonight.
Instead....she's gone. 
It was quick. 
We were still at the shop getting ready to close. 
She cried out. I held her. She cried again - and then it was over.

We were so blessed to have her in our lives since she was 8 weeks old...
Lucky that She picked US out to be her 'mom and dad' when we visited the Jacksonville Humane Society.
Since the very first day in her new home - she fit like a glove. Amazing too...because she was, til the very end...surrounded by felines...her best friend was Midnite, whom she, yes, she Maggie...rescued as a kitten caught up in a tree.
Bob and I took her to 'work' every day!
She was The Quilt Shop Dog!
She LOVED quilts! A new quilt in the shop? Maggie was there!
She was our Walmart "greeter" - very rarely did one enter our doors without a tail wagging greeting from Maggie.
She entertained kids and husbands alike.
My favorite memory about 'kids'....Our friend Sandie came to the shop with her new little grandbaby boy...he was in his little baby carrier. Sandie put the carrier down on the floor by the cash counter...we paid no attention that Maggie was 'watching' - when Sandie started to leave and pick up the carrier -
Maggie growled (like I've never heard her growl before) at 'grandma' -
this went on for a bit - I finally had to take Maggie outside so Sandie could take the baby and run!
She was protectin' that youngin' with her life!
I could go on and on...truthfully, now is the time I usually let her out for her last 'hoorah' before bed...
I'm trying to not think about the empty place tonight between the Spouse and I - yes, she was allowed to sleep on the bed...and she did...every night...sometimes even Under the covers! I guess the Spouse will have to warm my feet from now on.

I will be back on January 28th to post my Daring Dresden Doings....again, forgive me. It's been a very hard day.
But at least I can send you off with lots of other wonderful links below - See who took the Dare!

Lynn - The (very sad) Thimblemouse

January 24th2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Project Quilting - Some Wonky Eye Candy for Mom and a Quickie Tute For You

One of the things I love most about blogland is discovering new places and sites to see. Late at night I do most of my poking around looking at this and at many head could just burst
My New Years resolution is to make EVERY day COUNT! So when I find a new challenge or blog hop that just tickles me...instead of sitting on the sidelines... this year I'm jumping in with both feet.
Last Sunday I came across Project Quilting from Persimon Dreams and I couldn't resist giving it a try. A new challenge is posted weekly - due on the following Sunday - and it must be finished and done. Yikes! 
The first challenge for Season 4 (wow - I missed out on 3 Seasons already?) - was a "Square in a Square".  Thankfully it could be any size or shape, not necessarily long as it was started AND finished during that week. 
I'm always trying to make a little something with my Mom in mind...I love decorating her wall with some kind of eye I grabbed a charm packet of pretty pinks (cuz we all know that's Mom's most favorite color in the whole wide world!).
I ended up with this wonky little wall hanging...finished just in time!
I thought about foundation piecing the blocks but I was in a wee bit of a hurry to complete this and I really wasn't in the mood for perfection. Don't get me wrong - I'm a neat and pretty accurate quilter...but I just wanted something fun and fast. 
I started with this oh so charming charm pack from Moda...
...and picked out 6 squares to start
Now remember, my head was already bursting from blogland overload...I didn't have it IN me to figure out measurements.  The nice thing about this technique can work with any size starting square - just follow the basic cutting steps. 

Here's what I did....

I stacked up the 6 squares - all right sides UP - picked up my cutter and ruler - eyeballed the side 'centers' - held my breath....and started cutting the outside 'corners' (you can fold the top square in 4ths and finger press to help you find the centers)
One down....3 more to go
Yey! Four corners cut! 
Now for the next 'round'....move the previously cut corners just a tad out of the way so you don't have an 'oopsie' and cut where you shouldn't (but don't move them too far - you want to keep everything in Order)
You'll notice below that I wasn't worried about straight cuts - I like wonky - wonky isn't supposed to be perfect...if it was wouldn't be wonky (and besides...with can get away with alot...which I did)
Once all cuts are made - we do a little 'switcheroonie' .... just follow the pictures....

Now we're ready to sew these puppies up! (sorry Maggie, no, intended)

You can't see it in the pictures below, but I 'chained' while I sewed the first little triangles to the center squares...and I kept it all together when I pressed so I would keep all the fabrics in Order! 
Many of you are probably familiar with this technique...basically you're just trying to be sure that each of your blocks ends up being made with 3 different fabrics.
I should probably tell you I used 'scant' 1/4" seams.
My little center squares (above) with round 'two' triangles all in place - of course you'll trim away the dog ears...(don't worry Maggie, not your ears...never)
*Note: my outer edges were pretty even (surprise surprise) but yes, some were a tad off - I did NOT trim to straighten them out...I just straightened them up when I sewed on the next round.

Next...stack up the centers...remember "In Order"....and add the round 3 triangles. Don't worry if you lose your 'points' - that's what wonky is all about!
Continue adding til all four corners are added - press - and those dog ears?'ll get rid of them in the next step. (woof)

Here's what we've got so far....
I trimmed everything up to 3-1/2" square. Yes, I'll probably lose more points with the next step...and I don't care...because...they are Wonky!
Originally I was going to stop right here...but I was having so much fun and decided Mom wouldn't have much use for a 'mug rug' - so I grabbed some more charms from the pack and auditioned 'backgrounds' with the blocks made so far...
yes...these will do nicely.  (oh...did you notice there are now 9 blocks and not 6? I couldn't help it - they were so much fun, I just had to sneak away and make 3 more when you weren't looking).

To make the final triangle corners...I cut each charm square 'background' like this
Easy peezy...just cut corner to corner. Handle with care because now you are working with 'bias' edges...don't let them scare you...but be gentle all the same.

Sew the final corners  
I squared the blocks up to 4-3/4" which gave me a 1/4" seam at each point. (they could have easily been trimmed to 5"square but I wanted hoped the points would "meet" when the blocks were sewn together - it's totally up to you).
Sew the blocks together to make a big 9 patch.
The little yellow accent border was made with TWO strips cut 1" 
The final pink border was made with TWO strips cut 3-1/2".
Binding was made with TWO strips cut 2" (same fabric as the final border)
I simply stitched in the ditch between the rows...and around the first big  'square on point'.

And last but not least....inspired by Bonnie Hunters quick little labels (a square folded on point and sewn to one corner before binding is finished)...ta-da...the label.

I hope you enjoyed this little project of mine. To see more 'Square in a Square' entries...visit Persimon Dreams Flicker group by clicking HERE...or take a peek at her linky party at the bottom of the page when you click HERE (that's where I'm going now - oops..on second thought it's almost 4am. how time flies...maybe I'll grab a few zzzz's
Lynn ~ The Thimblemouse >"<


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