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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

NTT, At-School "Quilting," and Leftovers

Wow!  Needle and Thread Thursday sneaked up on me this week!  There are two weeks each year where baseball starts up, but basketball is still going strong for my wild thing.  Well, we are in the midst of those weeks right now, and things are super hectic around our house, especially when you add in karate, which he does year-round!

At school, I just finished one of my favorite projects with my class, and you won't have any trouble guessing why.  Every February, we study the Underground Railroad, and I have my students write a journal.  The journal is written in first person, pretending they are escaping to the North, traveling on the Underground Railroad.  We study Harriet Tubman, and they include biographical information about her in their journal as well as other historical information.  It is a LOT of fun for them and for me.

Did you know that quilt patterns were a common method of communicating secret messages on the Underground Railroad?  There are several children's books that explain how quilts were an important part of helping people reach freedom.  Some of the patterns that were used have a different name in the books we studied- for instance, what we commonly call a Churn Dash is also called a Monkey Wrench, and an Hourglass was called a Bowtie in my books, but most are the same.  Check out our class quilt (made with paper and markers, of course!)

It's just so fun when I can bring my love of quilting into my classroom to create such a valuable learning experience for my students!  Thanks for humoring me with the quilting "history lesson."

My quilting hasn't just been going on at school though.  My scrap baskets runneth over with blues and greens and I decided to remedy that with a scrappy log cabin.  Please pardon the slightly blurry pic.  It is SUPER windy here today, so just snapping a quick photo with the quilt laying flat was quite a feat! 

Most of these fabrics are left over from just two quilts- Fishing at the Creek and Around the Block.  Despite my love of pieced backings and having used lots of scraps in those two backs, I obviously still had a lot left over (I think I just got lazy when I made those backs, or else I bought WAY too much fabric for those, ha!).  Since blues and greens are some of my favorite colors to use, I really love the way this is turning out, and the no-fuss way of sewing was just what my hectic schedule needed.

Without further ado, I have some unfortunate news regarding NTT, and for that matter, every linky party that uses Linky Tools.   You may have noticed that the thumbnail photos from all of the previous parties are missing, even though the links still work.   This is due to a server glitch on the part of Linky Tools, and whether or not the images will be recovered remains to be seen.  I really hope they can be restored, but the good news is that I have been assured that future parties are safe from this ever happening again.  So, no highlights this week.

Alright, let's get on with the party then!  Link up, y'all!  Just remember the rules-

1.  You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!
2. Link to your specific post (not to your home page!) to make it easier for others.
3. Spread the word and post my button or a text link.  
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Bicycle Trails

It's finally starting to feel like spring around here, even if it doesn't look like it just yet. (still soooo much brown in the background)  The weather has been absolutely glorious this weekend, and after finishing up my latest quilt, I decided to tag along with my husband and wild thing to a local park for a photo shoot while they hit a few baseballs.

As I hoped it would, this quilt has grown on me as I've worked on it.  I still wouldn't say that it is one of my favorites I've ever made, but I do like it.  I don't usually go for novelty fabrics, but I have to say that I love the bicycle print from the Bluebird Park line.  Doesn't it just make you smile?  I just love the basket and balloon details.  I can't help but think of riding my bike when I was a child, with the wind in my hair, feeling like I could go anywhere at all.

I''m really trying to use every bit of fabric I can when I make quilts to keep my scraps in check lately, and even though it takes longer to piece a backing, I really love sewing the scraps together without a plan to see what I come up with.  Somehow, when I buy one fabric for a solid quilt backing, I always end up having tons of it left over because I don't want to have more than one seam.

I thought the quilt could use a brightly colored binding, and I really like the way the teal chevron works on it.  There are so many lower volume fabrics that the bright binding frames it pretty well.

I decided to pay homage to the bicycle fabric that was the starting point for this entire quilt and name this one Bicycle Trails.  The long strips give a nice illusion of trails, or even bike tracks I think.  This quilt finished up at about 60x60 inches.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It's Thursday! Link Up!

Welcome to another Thursday, friends!  I am almost embarrassed to say that since my last post on Sunday, I don't have a finish to show you.  I have all of the scraps sewn up for the backing, but I just need a little more fabric to make it big enough.  I already know exactly what fabric I want;  I just need to make it to Bumbletees to pick it up.  Hopefully tomorrow I can get the backing pieced so that I can get this latest quilt basted and quilted.  Anyhoo, all of that is to say that I don't have anymore progress photos to show you.

I do, however, have some really fantastic photos to show you from last week's party- woohoo!

Deb at A Simple Life Quilts linked up this super sweet plus quilt-

Beth at Hello Quilty Lady shared her quilt for the Riley Blake Challenge-

and Vicki's Crafts showed off this fun quilt-

Awesome party, y'all!  Let's see what you're working on this week!  Remember the party rules-

1.  You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!
2. Link to your specific post to make it easier for others.
3. Spread the word and post my button or a text link.  
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Stripping...But In a Nice Way

Every once in a while, I'll get on a roll where I've made several girly quilts in a row, and my wild thing will ask me why I won't make a quilt that a boy would like.  It occurred to me and to him apparently) that I haven't made a boyish quilt in awhile, or even a gender neutral one- since Around the Block in fact.

This was a really fast quilt top to put together, since strips are so fun and easy to work with.  As much as I liked the fabrics when I pulled them though, I'm not absolutely loving the quilt top.  I'm wondering if it's just because the majority of the colors are much more muted than what I've been looking at lately.

When I pulled the fabrics, I thought there was a good balance of lighter and darker value fabrics, but in the quilt, I'm not so sure.  I do like the varied width of the strips, and I think it makes the quilt a lot more interesting.

I'm hoping that when this is all quilted up, I'll like it better, which is what usually happens when I'm not totally thrilled with something I'm working on.  So, here's hoping!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Confetti Toss

I have officially given up any shred of hope for a snow day, and at this point I'm just wishing for spring.  Around here, it's either been freezing cold, or rainy (never at the same time, of course).  Not only am I tired of the cold (and therefore endless days of inside recess for my class), I'm really ready for different photo backdrop than drab, dead brown grass.  I feel like winter is utterly destroying the creativity in my quilt photos.  Even though I love this quilt, I don't feel like these pics really show how pretty it is.

I had enough Cameo fabric scraps to make twelve 12 inch improv blocks.  I wanted to be able to use all stash/scraps for this quilt (front and back) so I decided to use only nine of the blocks on the front, and used the other three across the back.

I didn't have very much of the gray fabric for the backing, so I had to supplement with some solid white, which I usually don't prefer on quilt backs.  I don't know why, but I don't mind using lots of white on the front but not the back.  For some weird reason, I always think that white on the back will get too dirty.  I'm not really sure that the back will get any more wear than the front, so who knows?  That being said, I really love the fresh look the white adds, and the colors stand out so well against it.

I picked out an ultra-bright shade of poppy red binding, which incidentally, is the only fabric I had to buy for this little quilt, and I like how it turned out.  It is a little bit brighter than the shade in the Cameo fabric, but I like it anyway.  It's one of those fabrics that is so bright, it almost hurts your eyes to look at too much of it, which is why I think using it for the binding is perfect!

I decided to call this one Confetti Toss, and it is such a fun quilt!  It finished up at 36x36 inches- a perfect size to donate to a little one in need of some comfort and cheer.

On a completely unrelated topic- I'm pretty annoyed with picmonkey right now.  They have completely revamped their site, and now I can't use it with my laptop browser (which is school issued, so I have to have permission to update my browser).  I can go upstairs and use my desktop in the office, but I like to be able to do lots of my blog stuff downstairs while I watch TV, etc.  

Anyway, I edited these pics in fotor, which was fine, but the text on some of my pictures is way too big, even though it is the same size font on each picture.  It looked fine before I saved it, which is weird.  Maybe I'll just have to play around with it.  My problem with a few other sites is that I want all of my blog fonts to match.  Picmonkey has my cursive font as a free option, and fotor imports all fonts from your computer for free.  Other sites either don't offer my font at all, or it is a "premium" option.  My OCD side won't let me have different fonts, so I've got to find a solution.  I hate it when I think I've got something all figured out, and then something throws a wrench in my system.  Darn you, picmonkey!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

NTT Time!

I love that by Thursday I can almost feel the weekend coming on, and I love seeing what everyone's been working on.  I still have to put the binding on my Cameo Scrappy Improv baby quilt, and since I have conferences scheduled at school until 7pm tomorrow night, and Friday I'll be out with my main squeeze, I won't be able to get any daylight pictures until the weekend.  So, be on the lookout Saturday!

I'm finding it harder and harder to narrow down the projects I feature each week.  Y'all just rock!  It's a tough job, but I guess somebody's got to do it, so check out a few of the fantastic links shared at last week's NTT-

Pretty Little Quilts showed off this gorgeous Glamping Spin Cycle quilt.  This is one beautiful quilt, and the photos are definitely a must-see if you missed them!

Modern Material Girl linked up this too-cute tumbler quilt.  The back of this one is just as cute as the front!

and Skalabara shared this bright and cheery quilt that makes me really long for spring!

So, are you ready to link up this week?  I'm excited to see what's going on in your sewing space!

1.  You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!
2. Link to your specific post to make it easier for others.
3. Spread the word and post my button or a text link.  
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cameo Scrap Goodness

I feel like it's been awhile since I've been able to show you a post about what I'm working on.  I finished up my latest quilt made with Amy Butler's Cameo collection.  I can't wait to show it to you, but it still has to remain a secret for awhile.  I can however, show you what I've done with the scraps from that quilt-

I took all of the leftover bits and turned them into a little baby quilt that will finish up at 36x36.  I used the improv piecing tutorial that I shared HERE to make it, and I just can't help but smile every time I look at it!

I've been on kind of an Amy Butler kick lately with this quilt, my secret quilt, and Bohemian Charm all in the last month.  And you know what- I've been loving every second of it.  I think these super-saturated colors are just what this dreary winter needs to get me in the mood for spring! 

This is the smallest quilt I've ever made.  I'm thinking I might actually try to finish it up tonight or tomorrow night, and then it will join Stepping Stones in the pile to donate!

Monday, February 10, 2014

February Sponsor Roundup!

It's a new month, and time to check out all of the great deals being offered at my favorite fabric shops!

Fabric Ala Carte is offering free shipping on purchases over $35 or more with the coupon code FABFEB.  It will expire at the end of February, so be sure to check it out!  International buyers- contact Kris before your purchase for a 15% discount!

If you're looking for something sweet to splurge on, check out this delicious bundle of Veranda-

Ginger at Five Monkey Fabrics is always adding fantastic deals to her clearance section, and is offering free shipping on orders over $50.  Just use the code FREESHIP at checkout.  Take a look at a couple of the bundles that are listed at a special price that I've been keeping my eye on-

Have you ever checked out Southern Fabric's Daily Deals?  If you haven't, you really should.  Every day, there is a new amazing deal listed, and there's no limit to the quantity you can purchase at that price!  Click HERE to take a look, and you're going to want to bookmark it so you don't miss out on something fantastic!

Southern Fabric's clearance section is also a great place to snatch up amazing deals on precuts, yardage, and scrap packs.  Lots of different fabric lines, like Barcelona are up to 50% off!

Use the coupon code MYQUILTINFATUATION at checkout for 20% off a minimum order of $9 (one yard at regular price) at Fabric Tree this month.  That's a great deal! They have many new collections coming soon from Riley Blake, Moda, Camelot, Lotta Jansdotter, and more! Be sure to sign up for their newsletter to be notified when they arrive!

Fat Quarter Shop has a few things going on as well!  For the entire month of February, Bella Solids are 20% off.  Also, right now they have 40% off of the Glamping line!

Happy shopping, y'all!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Quilt Design Software, Winners, and Link Up Time!

It's Thursday again, and that means that it's time to share what you've been working on!  I have been sewing up a storm lately, but the quilt I'm working on is a big secret, so mum's the word!  The other thing I've been doing a lot of this week is playing around with quilt designing on the computer.  I've been using a couple of different things and want to hear your thoughts.

The first thing I've been playing around with is drawing with shapes in Microsoft Word.  Here is a design that I sketched out first, then translated it using the drawing tools.  I'm calling this pattern Twinkle, Twinkle-

Not too bad, but there are some drawbacks-

1.  It can be a little tricky to draw blocks to scale and layer the shapes properly.
2.  It's not a quilt drawing program, so you almost have to have a block idea in mind before you start.
3.  Of course, that means that it doesn't calculate any fabric yardage for you at all.  The math is still all    
     up to you!

So, I decided to try out the Threadbias quilt design tool.  It does have a monthly subscription fee, but it's only $10 a month- well worth it to me if it's a great program.  Here is the Twinkle, Twinkle pattern drawn in the Threadbias design tool(I just realized that one of my rows is slightly ajar, but that's on me, not the program).  And keep in mind that I have the lines turned off, but you can keep the lines in the diagram to see the individual block components-

So, here's the skinny on it- I absolutely loved drawing in Threadbias.  It was pretty easy to navigate, and you can really create any block pattern pretty quickly.  It figures out yardage requirements as well. I certainly haven't exhausted all of the bells and whistles of the program, but there is one fairly substantial drawback that I immediately noticed.  I can't figure out if there is a line drawing function.

For example, if I am creating a step by step diagram on creating a quilt block, and I want to show that you need to sew "corner to corner" (like you're making a snowball block) I would need to be able to draw a dotted line on top of the square to show where to sew.  I don't see that function in the Threadbias program, so that makes creating actual pattern diagrams impossible.  Someone please correct me if I'm wrong!

By all means, if you've used this and know a way to do it, please let me know.  If not, what programs do you use (besides EQ7, because I'm a Mac user!) to design your quilts?

Anyway, on to the winners of the fantastic giveaways offered up last Saturday.  Thanks so much for the outpouring of kindness!  Quilters really are some of the nicest people I know!  There were a whopping 225 comment entries!

Okay then, onto the winners- the winner of the fat quarter bundle from Five Monkey Fabrics is comment number 128!

A long time traditional quilter I found your blog when researching the "modern" movement. Wow, was I impressed. Translating this movement to modern, fresh fabrics provides us veterans with a type of translator. I thank you.
The lucky winner of the queen size Warm and Natural batting is comment number 45!

follower by gfc

And last, but not least, the winner of the Gracie Girl 7 inch stacker is comment number 98.

Wow, only 8 months! That's impressive! You're on my blog reading list on blogger. I only found you a few weeks ago but I've really enjoyed browsing through your past quilts and reading all your current posts as well of course.

I'll be contacting each of you by email soon to get your mailing address so you can get your goodies!

Last week's party was pretty awesome!  There is obviously lots of fun happening in your sewing spaces!

Stephanie, at Quarter Incher's 100 Modern Blocks quilt is absolutely stunning!

Stephanie at Simple Sewendipity shared this Riley Blake challenge showstopper mini!

and My Pieced Life linked up her Tula 100 Modern blocks quilt too!  No doubt about it- I love these quilts!

I can't wait to see what you've got going on this week!  Let's party, y'all!

1.  You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!
2. Link to your specific post to make it easier for others.
3. Spread the word and post my button or a text link.  
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Milestone, and a Few Giveaways!

My blogging journey has been an amazing eight month whirlwind, and I just realized that My Quilt Infatuation has well surpassed the 1,000 reader mark!  I've said it before and I'll say it again- I'm not into blogging for the "numbers game," so I'm not exactly sure when that even happened.

Blogging is fulfilling for me for so many reasons-  I am humbled by your support, thankful for your friendship, and inspired by your creative advice.  These are the things that continue to fuel my own passion for writing, creating and connecting.  I have grown more as a quilter in these last eight months, than I had in years before- and I am truly blessed.

As a thank you to my readers, I have three different giveaways!  First up, Ginger from Five Monkey Fabrics is offering a fat quarter bundle of 5 prints in the Little Azalea line.  Aren't they yummy??  Be sure to like Five Monkey Fabrics on facebook, follow on Twitter, or favorite on Etsy to enter this giveaway.  You'll want to hear all of the news on the latest specials and sales!

Secondly, provided by The Warm Company is a Queen Size (90x108 in.) Warm and Natural batting.  If you've never used Warm and Natural, you simply MUST try it.  This stuff is the best- hands down!  It has a fantastic weight that really gives an heirloom quality to your quilt.


And last but not least, as a personal token of thanks, I am giving away a 7 inch stacker of Lori Holt's Gracie Girl from my own stash.  These prints are so much fun!

Since this is a thank you, I'm only opening these giveaways to my readers.  Of course, if you'd like to become a new follower and enter- the more the merrier!  You can find all of the appropriate buttons to help you do that on my right sidebar.  I'm also happy to say that the giveaways are open to anyone in the wide world.  So to all of my international friends- this one's for you too!

To enter the giveaways, just leave a comment for me and let me know how you follow (only one entry per person, please).  I'll use Mr. Random to choose all three winners on Wednesday afternoon, so I can announce them in next week's Needle and Thread Thursday party.

*If you're a no-reply blogger or a wordpress user, be sure to leave an email address with your comment so I can contact you!  Happy weekend, thanks again for the journey, and good luck!

Edited- 2/5- The winners have been selected and can be found HERE!

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