Friday, June 15, 2012

Here is a little peek at my reproduction civil war era fabrics.
This week I have been off work, and among other things I have decluttered and tidied the sewing loft.  In August it will be six years of sewing there, and a little elbow grease was in order to keep it inviting and inspiring.  

Oh no!  There are more civil war repro scraps than the box will hold.  So, I took a break from cleaning and made scrappy botch handle (aka devil's claw) blocks.  Mr. IQ likes this block, says it looks like a medieval mace.  We will see how many turn up from these scraps.  It takes about one chubby eighth (9x22 inches)  of a light and a dark to make one 8.875 inch block, but if you have strips just find a similar chunk and include it instead.  That is what I did with the block on the right.
Civil War reproduction scraps yield botch handle blocks
These are my two favorite pincushions (above).  A milk glass parfait with a handmade cushion inserted and the sunflower with a ladybug button in the center.  The parfait has loops that fit a seam ripper in - so convenient!  The sunflower pincushion was designed by Anna Maria Horner, she calls it Wildflower Pincushion and it's available here.

Here are pictures of my antique thread holders/sewing caddies. 
The thread holder on the left was gifted to me by a kind friend.  It had a terribly faded tomato pincushion on the top, which is now stashed in the drawer with other goodies that came with it.  The one on the right I discovered in an antique shop with several thimbles which are my size.  How cool is that?  I have left them in the drawer, but if I need one, it's there for me.   Each of these holders came with the wooden spools of thread that are on them too. 

Have a great weekend...let's drink in the last week of Spring!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Flag Day

On June 14, 1777 Congress adopted the United States flag.  Many towns hold observances, and citizens hold ceremonies and display flags during flag week through Independence Day on July 4.

If you're so inspired, here are a few projects to use up red, white and blue scraps (and maybe a little cheddar too, I can't help myself!).
Hope you get to sew a little Americana today.

Happy stitching!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Whig Rose

Nearly two years ago I was fortunate to attend an exhibit "Quilting Through the Ages" at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum and Parks-Janeway Carraige House.  Among the extensive displays was a friendship quilt from Bethel, Ohio dated 1854.  A few of the blocks on the quilt are the whig rose pattern.

This morning I read of the pieced whig rose on Ms. Brackman's Material Culture blog, and I immediately went back to those pictures I took of that quilt to look more closely at the construction of the whig rose blocks.
What do you think?  Hard to tell from a photo that you cannot zoom.  There is *nothing* like studying a quilt in person.  I cannot see enough antique quilt exhibits!  Anyway, after inspecting the few photos I have, the three roses with dark centers seem to be pieced to me.  In the rose on the upper left, I detected piecing seams in the center portion.  In the other two I saw hints of them, but since it's quilted in a cross hatch pattern, it's hard to tell if I am seeing quilting lines or pieced seams. 

One of the many things I love about quilting is I am always learning something!  There are more pictures from that exhibit posted here.

Happy stitching!


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Recently Finished

Work has been engaging me a bit more than usual lately, with Commencement just two weeks away and a number of obligations to complete before faculty leave for the Summer.  I'd love to post more often and I regret that it has been a while. 

Recently I finished a Bow Tucks tote.

And a small wristlet by JavaJem for times I need to jet off with my phone, keys, some cash, ID and a card, and do not want to carry more than I must. 

front of wristlet

back of wristlet

Now I am thinking I need to make the Bow Tucks tote in the Alexander Henry safari fabric and the wristlet in the Beachy fabric.  What do you think?!  It could be a while, but I think I will do just that.

Hope you are finding time to stitch and do what you love.

Happy stitching,

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dancing Lavender

Spring is official when the little goldfinches (not sure, but I believe they are goldfinches) arrive. At work there is a courtyard full of lavender and these little birds vigorously pluck out seed with their beaks, making the lavender sway. I saw them every day last week, from about 7:30am to 9:30am they fed right outside our window.

Last Saturday I headed to work (on my day off) to take a snapshot of them. With their beautiful bright yellow feathers and the gorgeous purple and green of the lavender bushes I thought it would be a great opportunity for some quilty inspiration. I waited three and a half hours for them, and they didn't show up that day. So, instead I took pictures of...

lots of lavender...

a bee...

a hummingbird...

a butterfly...

and then...

I brought the camera to work again during the week to finally get a picture of the little guys!

Happy Spring!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Winners of St. Patrick's Day Giveaway

It has been lovely to read the comments on the ideal retreat. Seems most folks want to have lots of time to sew, and not have to cook or clean ~ hey, me too! So many commented about the mountains as an ideal location, I will have to look into hosting a retreat in the mountains for sure, it does sound lovely. Thank you for your comments.

Winner of the Foundation Pieced Nature Quilts book is...

Diane (posted on March 19 at 5:15pm)

Winner of the Garden Variety Pattern and needlekeep is...

(posted on March 19 at 12:10pm)

Congratulations to the winners!
I will contact you via email for your mailing address.
(Oops, it seems Bonnie58 is a no reply blogger, so I cannot contact her.
Bonnie, please contact me with your mailing address by March 30, thank you.)

Thank you all for entering to giveaway and for your thoughts on the ideal retreat! FYI -- The pattern is available from Paper Pieces and the book is available from several online sources, including (I have no affiliation with either business).

Welcome new followers!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Basket Blocks Progress

Just a quick hello and update on my version of the Temecula Quilt Company basket blocks. If you are following any block of the month series a friendly reminder to download the March block. There are so many gorgeous designs featured for 2012. See a small sampling of them in this post.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Giveaway and St. Patrick's Day Blog Hop

Welcome to the Inspired Quilter blog! Those who have been here before know I enjoy English paper piecing. The technique shares its name with 'foundation paper piecing' but they're not the same process. There are variations with each technique, but generally, with English paper piecing the sewist employs handwork techniques and bastes scraps of fabric to paper/cardstock to stablize it, then whip stitches the components together. Examples of quilts created with this technique include grandmother's flower garden (hexagons), clamshell, jewel, and many other patterns including those with y-seams like six-pointed stars.

Stars of Savannah includes three shapes: diamond, hexagon (center of star)
and jewel (star points). This example is still basted to the paper cardstock foundations
and shows the orange basting thread which will be removed later.

With foundation paper piecing, the sewist uses a marked foundation of muslin or paper and stitches fabric to it for precision piecing oftentimes not otherwise possible. Paper foundations are removed, muslin foundations usually remain in the quilt. Examples of foundation paper pieced patters are mariner's compass and other intricate works with small pieces such as this cardinal. See Carol Doak's website for additional examples.

You could win one of two gifts to celebrate the coming of Spring and to help you understand more about English paper piecing or foundation paper piecing. Foundation Pieced Nature Quilts Designer Edition teaches the basics of foundation paper piecing and includes 14 (gorgeous!) nature-inspired projects for all levels of experience.

Hummingbird Heaven pattern is in the book
Foundation Pieced Nature Quilts Designer Edition

Garden Variety is an English Paper Pieced pattern, along with a
Spring-green needle book. Apologies for the picture quality, skylights
are lovely but not helpful when you're taking photographs!

You may instead be the new owner of Garden Variety, a Paper Pieces pattern by Ann Kimble and Karen Winther using English paper piecing techniques. The pattern includes instructions and die cut pieces for this 45"x56" quilt (pattern is new/unused and the cover was slightly wrinkled in shipping due to die cut shapes unevenly distributed in packaging). A little addition to the pattern is a Spring green needle keep created by moi. The Garden Variety pattern will make great use of your batik or other colorful scraps.

NOTE: If you have a preference for one of the items (book or pattern and needle keep), you may note it in your comment (optional).

For a chance to win one of these items, comment on this post and describe your ideal quilt retreat. For another chance to win (optional), follow this blog and then leave a seperate comment that you are a follower. If you already follow, please leave a comment that you are a follower for your additional chance to win. Comment on this post by Friday, March 23, 2012 and I will select one winner for each item sometime Saturday, March 24. All entries are welcome and I will ship internationally, just remember to describe your ideal quilt retreat and you will be entered. If the winner does not reply to my 'congratulations' email by Friday, March 30, I will select another winner for that item.

Thank you for visiting the Inspired Quilter blog! Oh, and happy St. Patrick's Day and National Quilting Day on March 17!


To continue on the St. Patrick's Day Blog Hop, click on the below:

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Basket Blocks

Temecula Quilt Company is hosting quilt along, Blessing Baskets. Here is my basket block in progress. The little enameled tray helps me take block components from the cutting mat to the sewing machine and then to the ironing board quickly and easily. My little helper, Bozley, is always nearby as well.

For those of us who make the change, Daylight Saving Time is upon us Sunday, March 11!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tumbler Quilt

Since my last post I was assigned to a case for jury duty so my days are partly at my regular, full time job and afternoons are spent in court. I had not ever served before, and I don't mind doing my civic duty. It does make for full days, though, since in addition to working in the mornings I am also taking an advanced patchwork class Tuesday evenings.

Last week in class we discussed traditional scrap quilts and one patch designs: for example, the tumbler, the hexagon and the applecore. It was great to make the time to focus on patchwork and sleep can just wait, right? A bonus is now I have "homework" for class next Tuesday and am enjoying that excuse to be in the sewing loft more than usual..what a lovely mess, huh? All of my early reproduction fabrics are being neatly trimmed into tumbler shapes using a plexiglass template and a rotary cutter, and the stacks are getting taller in short order. It'll probably be a top before St. Valentine's Day and I can't wait to see a sampling of my mid to late 1800's fabrics in one top!

Fabulous Free Finds:
♦ In my last post I failed to link to Be Still My Heart, a lovely block which is so versatile for February. If you don't have a lot of reds just throw in pink and burgundy along side them (the reds matching then becomes less conspicuous for those who like a more homogeneous color scheme) or even go completely scrappy. It will all look good...but then again, I love super scrappy! It's a great pattern for a honeybun, though measurements will need to be adjusted if you go that route. I can see this block with a thin background border and then alternating with a checkerboard block. That would be a great project for a honeybun. If you have honeybuns laying around, be sure to look here for ideas...there are several honeybun recipes!
♦ Ms. Brackman's Checkered Past is a free pattern - simply lovely. With precuts it will make up quickly. Have you seen the new 1862 Battle Hymn line? I just adore the cotton boll print in that line (and the tiny florals, and the wavy stripes, and...). I am on the lookout for these fabrics in my local quilt shop. Maybe I will see you there!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Are You Ready for Valentine's Day?

Valentine's Day is nearing, so it's time to store the wreath/pine tree/green and red quilts and bring out the red and white classics, the pink and white quilts, or the heart quilts. What? Not a single quilt for the occasion? Me neither. Mine will be a red and white double nine patch. It could have hearts appliqued in the open spaces, but I think I will opt to showcase quilting in the open spaces instead.
Just in time for St. Valentines Day on February 14, here are a few quick, heart-themed projects:

Keep the Heart Truth Growing (embroidery - builds awareness for the Heart Truth campaign)
Valentine's Day Table Topper (with a gorgeous scalloped edge)
Heart of my Heart Valentine Quilt (this will make a great February wallhanging)
Heart Struck Runner (dress up your counter top or table with this cute runner)
Cross My Heart (lovely heart theme)
Hearts Galore (uses precuts to make quick work of it)

♥BONUS: These are great scrap-users:
Scrappy Sweethearts (nice wallhanging)
Scrappy Four Patch Heart Quilt (sweet quilt with many different sizes)
Scrap Happy Heart Quilt (great pattern for Valentine's Day and all year long)
Scrappy Heart Quilt (love this, simple and effective)
Heart Quilt (this is as easy as it gets, add sashing or let them run together!)

Happy stitching!

Monday, January 9, 2012

What's New in 2012?

Hopefully 2012 is off to a great start for you! It is for me (aside from a doozie of a cold), but it is difficult to say goodbye to some quilty fun I had in 2011. Firstly, Barbara Brackman's Saturday morning posts including history and blocks for her Civil War Commemorative Quilt (available through June 2012). Nancy Rink offered Ode to the Blue and Grey. I love the Beyond the Cherry Trees Album Quilt offered by Sentimental Stitches, Clutch is a smart little dog to have claimed that quilt for his own. With a name like Henrietta Whiskers, how can you resist? Of course, the tail end of 2011 held the unveiling of eight steps on each Friday morning when Bonnie K. Hunter of Quiltville posted clues to her latest mystery quilt, (spoiler alert!) Orca Bay (<-- click the link to see the 'solution'). Bonnie's Cheddar Bow Ties will have to carry us through to the next mystery quilt.

In San Luis Obispo County there is legislation pending (it will be considered this week!) to ban single-use bags in stores (if it's passed, no more "paper or plastic?"). Consequently I have spent quite a bit of time lately whipping up totes. Of course, I had intended to make them up months ago, but quilts and other fun things came to the forefront. Not anymore! Now I have a collection of totes waiting by the door to carry whatever I need. I even made smaller bags lined with Insul~Bright for frozen/cold items.

It's still early in the year and so many new blocks of the month have surfaced already. Here are a few I will keep my eye on (in alphabetical order). These are each generously offered by the designer for no fee (some for a limited time, for example free for thirty days, then for a fee).
A Year of Mini Quilts by Amy Heaton of Country Junk'tion
Asian Teapots by Angie Padilla of Angie's Bits and Pieces
Country Cottages by Shabby Fabrics
Just Takes 2 by Brenda of Dear Jane and Gayle of Sentimental Stitches
Mumm's the Word Anniversary Sampler by Debbie Mumm
Mystery Mondays with This and That Patterns
Project Quilting Season 3 began yesterday at Kim's Crafty Apple
Scrappy Plate Club by Bunny Hill Designs
Vintage Sampler by Reeze Hanson of Morning Glory Designs (42 garden-inspired blocks!)
With all of that good fun, 2012 promises to be a good year for quilting!

Fabulous Favorite Freebies:
*Always on the lookout for great quilt patterns for large scale fabrics and found Royal Peacocks by Punch Studio. That one is a keeper!
*Make a Kwik-Sew Insulated beverage Cup Cozy.
*An Owl Potholder would be a cute addition to your kitchen, or a great gift.

Hopefully you have resolved to do whatever it is you want or need to do this year and put a plan in place. I am preparing more wholesome meals for myself in 2012. So far I have made chili with cornbread and pumpkin muffins. Mmmm.

Here's wishing you a great 2012!