Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Rush

I have been working on Bev's quilt. I haven't had a chance to photograph it yet, though. The top is done and it has turned out cute. I used the Moda free pattern called Hullabaloo but made it two rows bigger. The quilt ended up larger than I thought it would be. It's a good size for wrapping up in and napping on the sofa.

Now I need a backing and I need to layer it for quilting. I don't think it's going to get done in time for Christmas.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Habitat Challenge: My Design

Last weekend, the Blue Valley Quilter's Guild had a day-long retreat in the country. We arranged for use of a church hall, catered lunch and supper, and we got together and sewed all day.

It took me a week to post about it - it has been one of "those" weeks, if you know what I mean.

I had a lovely time at the retreat and got a lot of work done. My main accomplishment was the completion of the top of my Habitat challenge submission (by Jay McCarroll). Modern Quilt guilds from around the country were invited to participate. You received a pack fat 6 fat eighths and you had to use all 6 in the quilt (could be the back). In our challenge, we were allowed to add more of the habitat line, in the same or a different color way, and/or solid fabrics of any line.

I came up with this original design. Here is the top when I finished it at the retreat.

This design resulted from an evolution of ideas. At first, I thought of appliqueing "kerfuffle" on a white background, with a patched border that slowly fell apart (thus making the quilt a "kerfuffle"). But for some reason, that idea lost its charm for me.

I was still fixated on words. Somehow it evolved into a ransom note, in which the letters were "clipped" from magazines and newspapers. "We have your quilt." But then....then, I thought of how many letters that would be. Too much work, because by then, I was down to 2 weeks before it's due.

The design of the fabric that is behind the "s" above made me think of the late 50s and early 60s style. That led to the idea of strip mall signs from the late 50s early 60s. Something like this picture but in which each letter was its own sign on its own pole.  That's what I ended up with.

The letters are machine appliqued using a fusible web and edged with a blanket stitch on my machine in a matching thread color.

When I finished the piecing, I put it up on the design wall. So many quilters at the retreat said they liked it, but wondered why it said "still." Admittedly, it is an odd word to have all by itself. I was attempting to be freely creative and modern...but I really also want to be understood.

Here's why I chose it: the Bible verse "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46: 10) was stuck in my head, and I was feeling a bit agitated when I was completing the design. So, I focused on "still." Additionally, there are only 5 letters to applique and I could use 5 out of the 6 pieces of fabric on the background! Bonus.

I was tired by having to explain the origin of the word...so I decided to quilt in the "Be"

Habitat Challenge, Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild by Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild
Habitat Challenge, Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild, a photo by Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild on Flickr.
Here is the quilt (sans binding) being shown at the guild meeting.  You can see the "Be" in the upper left corner, if you look closely.  I still have to explain it, but it makes more sense to people.

Didn't quite finish the binding.  Oh, and I designed the lettering by using 5 different fonts on my computer. The "still" letters are about 350pt font. The "Be" is like 450pt font. The gray fabric was a practical design decision - I had a bunch of it in my stash and I really didn't want to go buy more fabric.

The quilting turned out much better than I anticipated. I used a design called "Broken Glass" which is published on The Free Motion Quilting Project,  a blog by Leah Day (in Raleigh, NC, my old stomping ground...hey, y'all!). This pattern represents scattered anxiety and stress, to contrast with the calming message of the words. It was quite easy to do and very effective. As an added bonus, it de-emphasized the piecing lines, thus adding continuity to the whole piece. Thanks, Leah!!!

Nope, didn't win the guild's challenge. But, it was quite original and I got some nice compliments.

Here's another look at the top:

I highly recommend viewing all the designs from our challenge on flickr.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Date with Martha

Martha Stewart came to Kansas City last night, promoting her new book, Martha's Entertaining A Year of Celebrations.  I decided to go. I'm not usually much into the celebrity chef/author thing, but lately I've been rather taken with Ms. Martha and her magazine.

Of course you wouldn't know that, looking at my house right now, but that's beside the point.

It was a delightful presentation. The evening was sponsored by Rainy Day Books, a local independent book seller. They do a lot of these events, and I think it's working for them. They attract some really good celebrity authors (and non-celebrity authors) in to promote their books at these events. You get an autographed copy of the book, a presentation, lecture, conversation with the author, and maybe some special things, too.  At this event, there were many giveaways from sponsors:

So, what did I think of Martha?

I was afraid she'd be aloof or cold and it would undermine my impression of her and diminish my enjoyment of her magazines. I was so wrong. She was poised and engaging, professional, polished and kind.  She does not look 70 years old at all and however she does it, it works. The evening was an interview-style conversation between the president of Rainy Day Books and Ms. Martha, in the main hall at Unity Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City. It lasted about 50 minutes. Most of the conversation focused on Martha's favorite things, memories, the gatherings described in the book, and other little anecdotes from Martha's recent history.

It didn't occur to me to bring a camera. Everyone else seemed to think of it... I snapped a few shots on my phone, but I doubt they turned out to be any good.

The book is huge and heavy, filled with beautiful photographs of her soirees and homes. Each chapter is a different event, and many of them are themed on a holiday. The spotlight is on the food, but there's a good amount of space devoted to the table setting, the venue, and her coordinating decor. 

All of the recipes are in the back of the book. There are simple recipes and complicated recipes, for any meal of the day. A selection of cocktails is a part of the mix.

This is not a book I would pick out on my own had I not gone to this presentation. However, I'm glad I have it now. Because it is different, it will make me think "outside the box" for entertainment, decorating, and menu ideas. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Terrariums are hot.  I remember making them as a child in the 1970s- any glass jar I could find, whatever plants I dug out of the back yard, a few miniature toys or ceramics, etc.

I attended a conference in September where they used simple terrariums as the table center pieces in the lounge/break/snack areas. I think that's where I got the idea to make one myself. Here it is:

Know what's fun about terrariums? You can make them little magical worlds. This one has a little mouse:
Here, the little guy is hanging out on the moss I dug up from a dark, moist spot in our yard.

And a (relatively) giant butterfly:

There is also an enchanted crystal and a teddy bear snuggling up to his favorite quilt.

I hope it lives! It's so cute.

Monday, October 24, 2011

PJ Pants

Using my find from J&O Fabrics, I made these pajama pants. The fabric is totally silly - it is a large scale print of male-stripper looking models in traditional Halloween costumes. A pirate, a vampire, a devil, a skeleton showing a bit of skin.  I'm saving them to wear on Halloween and then to lounge about the house in.


I really should be working on my quilt guild project for the Jay McCarroll challenge using his Habitat line. I have an idea, I just need to finish the design and make the darn thing. I started my friend's Christmas quilt, but only started!

It's the sprint to Christmas. I'd better get sewing!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pictures from J&O Fabrics

Here I am at J&O Fabrics on Rt 130 in Pennsauken NJ

As promised, here are my photos from my visit to J&O Fabrics on Monday 10/10/11. Evidence! There really is a real brick and mortar shop in addition to their online business. Pennsauken is in south western  NJ, not too far from Philadelphia. After we had attended to some family obligations in northern NJ, my husband, my father, and I had to drive back to Dulles airport for our flight back home. It was not hard to take a detour off the NJ turnpike to stop in. 

...long story why we flew into and out of Dulles instead of Newark, NJ. Not worth boring you with that story. 

Here's the storefront.

Look at all this cotton!

I like this shop (online and now, in person) because of their selection of novelty cottons. Some of these prints can be found in major chains, like JoAnn's, but this shop really stands out for the selection. Their online store is done well because they put in a good amount of keywords for each print. It makes it easier to find. 

Their most popular fabrics are the team prints.

They sell the cottons and the fleece. One of the sales people told me that the most popular team print is Dallas Cowboys, hands down. They have more choices of Dallas Cowboys than the others....but there is usually 2 choices for each team.

It was a nice way to break up a long day of driving. After I picked out my selections, they were kind enough to ship my order home. Fabric gets heavy in a hurry and we didn't have a lot of room in our bags to pack all the yardage. Since, I'm already in their database, they printed a label, I paid the shipping, and I was all set. 

Nice folks. I definitely recommend them. (As a satisfied customer only, of course)

J & O Fabrics

I went to J&O fabrics yesterday. So exciting - I've been on their email list for about a year now, joined up when I was looking for a special fabric for a scrub cap (back when I made scrub caps to sell on Etsy).

I have been in NJ for some family business and a little time away, and our travels took us near Pennsauken, NJ. I was driving at that time, so I told everyone we were stopping. No if, ands, or buts about it.

J&O Fabrics specializes in novelty print cotton fabric. They have the widest selection of cute, rare, and curious prints. Need fabric with Spiderman on it? A potato chip print? The Jetsons? Boy Scout prints? Any American pro sports or college team? They have it, and usually more than one to choose from.

This store is the kind of old time fabric store that speaks "authenticity" to me - racks of bolts and rolls in a warehouse-like building located in an industrial part of town. About 1/4 of the store is home dec, upholstery, and utility fabric. They also offer a selection of vintage 70s cotton prints in all their Holly-Hobby glory, and they have a decent offering of garment fabrics. They have a nice selection of trim, as well. No fancy displays, no sewing gimicks, no kits, no sewing machines, no furniture. There's a small no-nonsense section of essential notions. A couple of pattern books. This place is for serious fabric shoppers. Ya just gotta dig through it.

I was looking for a print called "Halloween Hunks." Beefcake men dressed in slightly naughty Halloween costumes - they look like a bunch of Chippendale's dancers. It came out in 2008 (no pun intended) but not reprinted, so it's not easy to find right now. Lo and behold they had it! Totally goofy but it will make some terrifically tacky pajama pants.

Dear husband was with me, so he needed fabric in the coordinating cheesecake ladies Halloween print for his matching pair of PJ pants. Dad was also with us - he spotted the University of Virginia fleece.  He's a big fan. I told him I'd make a stadium throw out of the orange and blue panel. That was added to the collection.

They had the best selection of the fruit and vegetable prints I'd seen anywhere, so I added a 1/2 yard each of tomatoes and peppers to my collection

I have pictures at J&O Fabrics, will post when I get home later today.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Perseid August 2011

Perseid August 2011 by LaurenRikrax
Perseid August 2011, a photo by LaurenRikrax on Flickr.
This is another one I've been working on. It's a mini quilt for auction at my guild's fundraiser. It's about 25" square. The name refers to the stars and when I made it: Perseid is a meteor shower in August.

It's a traditional pattern but has a modern color palette. In fact I chose the colors using a paint swatch collection I received in the mail in an ad from Ace Hardware. It sure made it easy to coordinate.

Most of the fabrics were from my stash but I bought a few to round out the chartreuse green selections. Some of the fabric was from the giant quilter's yard sale I attended in June (the orange and the lighter gray). The quilting is mostly straight line patterns enhancing the piecing.

This had way too many pieces!! OMG, when I started it I didn't realize how complicated it was. It looked easy in the magazine... famous last words.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Peter Rabbit Patchwork

Peter Rabbit Patchwork by LaurenRikrax
Peter Rabbit Patchwork, a photo by LaurenRikrax on Flickr.
I am still sewing even though I can't seem to get my act together to post about it. Here's the first project I finished.

This is a baby / crib quilt for a coworker who is pregnant. She is due with a little girl in October. I had found the Peter Rabbit fabric at a garage sale (only 1 yard) and thought this quilt was a terrific way to use it up. See the 6th square from the left in the top row. I had previously purchased another print from the same line of Beatrix Potter prints, and that one is in the mix too: see the first square of the second row.  I picked all the fabrics based on color matching to the inspiration print.

This pattern is from "P.S. I Love You Three" by Lynda Milligan and Nancy Smith (of Great American Quilt Factory and Possibilities fame). I really didn't need a pattern for this, after all it is a bunch of 4" squares, but I was lazy and wanted someone to do all the math for me. I made two modifications: I stuck in the red/hot pink piping around the patchwork, inside the border, and I made the border much more narrow. Basically I didn't have enough fabric of any one color for the border.

The red color looks more like hot pink in some lights. It's supposed to add interest and coordinate with the Peter Rabbit print.

I gave the quilt to its recipient on Friday night at the baby shower, and they loved it. They were impressed because I made it, even quilted it myself, and that it's so cute. I'm glad she likes it...or at least was polite enough not to say anything. Not everyone likes handmade.

Funny; in that group I was a quilting "expert" but when I go to KC modern quilt guild meetings, I feel like a goof. There are so many women there who are innovative quilters and blog and sell original patterns and hand made items, and all that stuff. I do patterns, occasionally come up with a modification to a design, or design a quilt using existing block styles, and I'm nowhere near as prolific as these other quilters. Truth is, I'm somewhere in between goof and superstar.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Guess I'm not ready yet

That previous post was a month ago and I haven't blogged anything since. Sorry, readers.

Uh, reader.

I am sewing, at least. I completed my July block of the month in July, and I just received the kit for August. I have designed and nearly finished a baby quilt for a friend at work. I have to get my mini quilt for guild done ASAP. I'm only cutting the pieces right now!

And, I picked up a fabric pack for a Modern Guild challenge.  The pack is of Jay McCaroll's Habitat line for the modern challenge as described here. We got the earth tones colorway. OK, I don't like it too much, but I do have a cute idea for an original quilt.

Earlier this evening I took a lesson on how to use my new used serger. It's crazy fun to use and it just whips through the fabric, sewing and finishing the seam all in one step. Now I want to serge everything!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Slowly "coming back"

I am pulling it together and feel like I'll be ready to blog again very soon.

One of the treasures from my Mom's stuff is her counted cross stitch. I took all of her works in progress and I hope to finish them. Two of the three are nearly done.  I will post pictures....Mom was quite the artisan. This kit is the last one she finished. It hangs in my Dad's office and it is so beautiful. She said it was a very challenging one to do because there was a lot of outline and partial stitches, and lots of color changes. Mom was persistent and a stickler for quality. That's why it is so stunning.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I have made it through the darkest part of this process, and I would like to come home. The weather is conspiring against me, though. I was supposed to fly out yesterday evening, but the flight got delayed due to late afternoon thunderstorms. As a result, I missed my connection in Charlotte, and there were no more options to Kansas City for yesterday.

It has been a hard week. I hate that I have to miss another day of work, but, what can you do?

I hope to be back writing about crafting really soon. Real life interferes sometimes, unfortunately.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Away for a while

Not like I think I have  whole lot of readers....but just in case you read this every once in a while....my life just got turned upside down.

My Mom died this week. It was unexpected, even though she was not in good health.

I do not think my Dad is doing well. My brother is at the home starting with preparations and I must go also. I will leave early tomorrow and be away until July 4.

I won't be posting for a while. I might post while I'm on the road, since it is good therapy for me.

At least now, there is something to do....for the first day, everything was so unknown. Now we have a date for a memorial service and we know what to do with the body, and we know a little more who is doing what. I am developing the content of the memorial service. I have not done this before, but as I always say, the answers to all of life's questions are on the Internet.

It's going to be a busy day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Now what....?

Bernette by LaurenRikrax
Bernette, a photo by LaurenRikrax on Flickr.
This morning, I went to a local garage sale that had been advertised among my quilter friends. A local woman who was an avid sewist, passed away, and the family was cleaning out her stash and equipment.

I helped them out a bit.

As you can see, I bought one of her sergers. It's missing the foot pedal, but it did have the instruction booklet. I don't know if it works. I could have bought a lemon. But, it's a Bernina and by the looks of her stash and other equipment, she kept things up and working.

I have a new toy!!

And some more fabric. I couldn't help myself.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Block of the Month, May 2011

Here is the block of the month for May 2011.


Overall I like it. It's a nice combination of small scale and larger scale prints with good contrast. I like blue and pink/purple, and that doesn't hurt!  It's a clever pattern - depending how you look at it, or what day you look at it, you see different patterns. Tilt your head to the right...see how different it looks on point? (hee hee)

I didn't notice the secondary pattern on the pink/purple squares until I took the picture. Notice the "Y" formation in black on some of the squares.  It's a result of the circles in the fabric pattern and the way I cut the patches.

Can you believe I actually finished it in May (even though I wait til June to post)?  The June block kit should be arriving early next week.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 2011 Photo Scavenger Hunt

Trying something new. I found a scavenger hunt group on Flickr and thought it would be fun to participate. Since I was on vacation at the Disney resort area, wouldn't it be fun to do a scavenger hunt there? It made a great challenge to look for these rather non-typical things at the Disney parks.

I've been there about a dozen times. I've seen just about everything in the parks and done just about everything I've wanted to do at the Disney parks and resorts. Looking for these shots helped me see things in a new way.

My entire set is on Flickr. Here are a few fun ones, plus a couple bonus shots:

Scavenger item: a Cartoon Character
Who else??
This is from the Magical Express Bus Service logo

Scavenger item: Texture
Detail of Fencing Pillar at the China Pavilion, Epcot
Palm Tree bark

Scavenger item: Something Blue
Blue Raspberry Icee at Disney's Hollywood Studios Theme Park

...and the inevitable result

There were two scavenger shots I could not find - "an interesting local building" and "a portrait in black and white." It didn't seem right to get a theme park building for the first one - the intent seemed like they wanted something from a real place where people live.  I don't know what to do about the portrait.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Post from The Happiest Place on Earth

Today I am writing from Walt Disney World on the final day of our vacation. It has been a good wrk to get away. Kansas City is still struggling to shake off winter, while here, it is 100% summer. It has been clear, sunny, with highs in the 90s every day. Sure beats the tornado warnings in Kansas City.

We have been to Star Wars weekend at Disney's Hollywood Studios, had a gourmet dinner at the California Grille on top of the Contemporary Resort, spent a day at Epcot (and saw our favorite a Capella group, "The Voices of Liberty"), spent a day at the Animal Kingdom. We even went rogue and took a day to go to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. We really wanted to see the new area called The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and ride the Forbidden Journey ride. Success! It is a fun ride, definitely worth the trip.

Today, Friday, we go back to Epcot for the day. We cap off the day with a chef's prix fixe meal at Kouzzina, the restaurant formerly known at Spoodles at the Boardwalk resort.

I am trying to post some photos but it's tricky on the IPad.

Friday, May 20, 2011

While getting coffee today

I had to go to the dentist this morning for my 6-month cleaning. Even though it's really not that bad, I don't like going to the dentist. (yeh, who does?)  Well, I deserved a treat after that so I stopped by a little independent coffee house.

I happened to remember my coffee cozy. As I was the barista was stirring my skinny Dolce de Leche latte and forming the creamy heart in the foam, the barista says that he likes my coffee cozy. I said thanks, I made it myself!  No way! he says.

Crazy easy to make. I had some of the Insul-Bright batting (heat resistant) laying around, and I found a use for this cool Amy Butler fabric. I was delighted when I made one and, oh my gosh, it really works! It fits the cups and it insulates well!

I got the sense the barrista wanted me to talk about making them for his shop and selling them there. He was talked about trying to get the people he worked with in the developing countries to make them - something for the women to do to make money, while the men tended the coffee farms.

Made me think about selling again. The entire drive into work, I thought of all kinds of creative things to do with this pattern - patchwork, screen printing, sewn embellishment (rick-rack, piping, binding, lace), quilting, appliques, so many possibilities...

What do you think?

And it was a delicious Dolce de Leche latte. I'll be back to that coffee house.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Block of the Month

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I was trying a block of the month this year. It's through mail order, and they send me the pattern and the fabric at the beginning of every month. I have meant to post these blocks, since they're cute. Here they are!

The Block of the Month is called "Starry Night" and it's produced by Swirly Girl Designs. I did not see any of these designs before I signed up. Somewhat of a risk, but I figured if worse came to worse, I could always donate the quilt.





You could sign up for a "cool" colorway, a "warm" colorway, or Kaffe Fassett. Obviously, I chose the Kaffe Fassett. I don't have much Kaffe Fassett in my stash and thought it would be a good way to play with some without committing too much. 

The block of the month is run by Wish Upon a Quilt, a cute little shop in Raleigh, NC. They have an active online presence. The fabric sent for each block is generous  - they send just enough of the black (with a little room for error), and a whole fat quarter of each of the other two fabrics. That explains the price tag - this is not really a cheap BOM. It comes to around $15 a month (with tax and shipping). 

I'm pleased with the fabrics so far, although, I don't like the March block so much. In the picture, the contrast between the blue and the green appears more pronounced than it does in real life. The colors don't harmonize well, to me. However, sometimes a block like this adds more character to the quilt. 

The fabric for the May block arrived early this past week. I'd better get a move on!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sorry, it's been a while

I really haven't been sewing much at all...it's spring garden time and I've been trying to keep up with all the outdoor chores.  It just has to wait for a while.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hexagon Park

Hexagon Park by ava99riley00
Hexagon Park, a photo by ava99riley00 on Flickr.
Made from charity quilts fabric from my quilt guild, this is Hexagon Park, a free pattern from the Moda Bake Shop. Lily's Quilts made this Hexagon Park pattern.

Since I used the guild's charity fabric, this quilt must go to our charity project.  I can only imagine how the person receiving this quilt will feel when she picks it out. We donate our quilts to a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

I borrowed a technique I've noticed on other quilters' blogs...I strung some clothes line between two trees and clipped the quilt to the string. It makes a nice picture, and I get natural lighting for better color. I got to use some old-fashioned clothes pins to hang it up. Sometimes simple tools are the truly the best.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mini Hiatus

I enjoyed a long weekend away and haven't been sewing. Hope to post again soon.

While in Charleston, SC, I went to People Places and Quilts in the historic district. Nice little shop with high quality fabrics. They like Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett, and Moda. I bought a book called Southern Pillow Sayings, with designs to embroider on a pillow cover; the book is published by the store. It's adorable! These were some of my favorite sayings:

  • That dog ain't gonna hunt.
  • She's just a mess. Bless her heart.
  • About what you might expect, more or less under the circumstances...
I miss the south; I'm more partial to North Carolina mind you, but any place that serves grits for breakfast and is well into spring by April 1 is OK with me. It was fun to visit and get away.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Holy moley

I have been playing with my sewing machine attachments, and, oh my gosh, they work! Sitting in a box for 20 years, and they still work!  Not only that, they work really well!

The one that astounded me was the binder. It was magical...thread the binding in, slide in the fabric to be bound, and out the other end comes bound fabric with even stitches. The only challenge was going around tight curves.

The ruffler makes ruffles with such precision. It's so mechanical - it has ratchets and springs, it has levers that go in and out, it has screws and numbers etched into the sides, and it clicks and clacks as it works. In this world of electronics, it's almost revolutionary to see a mechanical gadget in action.

I had pretty good success with a hemmer, too. Those are a little tricky to use, because you have to keep the feeding mechanism "full" of fabric. The fabric wants to slip out. It's rather uncanny how it folds under a 1/8" of the edge of the fabric and feeds it to the needle without losing its grip. No ironing required.

I must post pictures soon!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Pile of Projects

Getting ready for guild by ava99riley00
Getting ready for guild, a photo by ava99riley00 on Flickr.
Over the weekend, I packed up the projects I've been preparing all month to send to the guild meeting. Once again, I could not go to the meeting, but one of my committee members picked everything up to have available for members.

Usually there's a mix of projects, heavy on the piecing. This time, the offerings were mostly binding and quilting projects. Two smaller projects to put on inner and outer borders on some Split Decision pattern tops. All of these projects were worked on during guild's charity workday last month.

My contribution is mainly to organize these projects and get them ready for others to pick up. I whip together backing fabric and make lots of binding. I cut batting, and package it all up neatly. I make them look like gifts or packages of bedding like you see in the department store. Presentation is essential to getting members to take a project home.

In the lower left corner you can see my charity quilt with the squares quilting design, ready to receive a binding!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Shout out...Quilted Memories, LLC

I found a local (to me) business when searching for a batting supplier for my guild. It is called Quilted Memories, a home-based business in Overland Park Kansas. They're a Hobbs distributer for long arm quilters, but they also sell packaged batting, bolts, as well as rolls. The primary business owner is Lyn Heilman. She was pleasant, professional, and easy to work with. Just to disclose, I really didn't have a complicated transaction to negotiate.

Their retail prices are good, and their wholesale prices are better. For the guild's charity projects,  we were able to take advantage of the wholesale price, with proof of Non Profit status. This was especially advantageous for the guild because we didn't have to pay shipping  I could just drive there and pick it up!

Quilted Memories sells to individuals, and they ship all over the place.

Quilted Memories sells thread and quilting gadgets in addition to batting. There may be fabric in the near future. She mentioned she's trying to establish a small shop in a front room of her house, and it was in the set up stages at this time. It looks like it will be a cute little shop.

I got a roll of low loft polyester batting at Lyn's recommendation. We'll see how it works in practice, but I think it will be fine. Our group tends to like thin batting better.

So, a shout out to a new business, helping folks get established. Check out their website: Quilted Memories, LLC.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hexagon Park - progress

Hexagon Park - progress by ava99riley00
Hexagon Park - progress, a photo by ava99riley00 on Flickr.

I finished the pieced borders of Hexagon Park earlier this week. The inner border is sewn on but the outer border is just placed next to the center section...checking out the sizing.

Uh, ooops. It's not super obvious from my picture but the top and bottom border don't quite match up. I can fiddle with the sashing between the squares and make it fit better.

There's going to be one more border of white around it, then it'll be good enough to post to Lily's blog.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Sewing Machine Attachment Handbook

Such excitement! I found this book, The Sewing Machine Attachment Handbook by Charlene Phillips, at the Borders Books (going out of business sale - boo hoo). A few years ago my Mother in Law gave me a bunch of sewing machine attachments. I had no idea how to use them....until now!

They fit on my Singer Featherweight antique machine. Amazing all the things you can do with a straight stitch machine!

But, what to do with ruffles? a binder? a hemmer? a shirring foot? I think it will stretch my creativity. If I get good at using these things, I might even write some more tutorials on them.

Mmmm,  gadgets....such fun to play with!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hexagon Park

Hexagon Park by ava99riley00
Hexagon Park a photo by ava99riley00 on Flickr.

Told you I was charmed with this pattern! Look how far I've gotten!

This will be a charity quilt for my guild. I used their stash, after all. It is really fun, though...maybe I'll hang onto it long enough to finish and show somewhere. I am pleased with how it is coming together.

The fabrics from the stash were a lot of fun to select. Some of them are probably 30 years old or more - they look quite "vintage" 70s. Mini calicos, some Moda prints, a hawaiian shirt style print, and a few 30s repro. It makes a unique and colorful collection.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Sharp Cutter Blade

Sure, it makes sense, intellectually. A sharp blade on the rotary cutter will make your task so much easier and more pleasant. But how many of us put it off? We think we're being thrifty (after all, blades cost over $5 each!) and environmentally conscious (less waste to the landfill). We humor ourselves that our current blade is really not that bad.

How many times must we learn this lesson???

Yesterday, I changed the blade on my 45mm Olfa rotary cutter and it was like night and day. It just licked through the trimmings of my hexagon blocks. It made the task so much more pleasant.

We need to use good tools - this hobby, this passion, we have - what is the point of annoying ourselves with poor quality tools?

Use that 40% off coupon next time you go to Hancock Fabrics and get a new, sharp blade. You deserve it.

(Just noticed that Hancock Fabrics has the five pack of blades on sale for $14.99 starting today 3/17/11. Great deal!)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Total impulse

As I said, I follow a number of quilting blogs, always looking for inspiration and something new.

I received an email from a shop from North Carolina called "Wish Upon a Quilt." I used to live in NC, but this shop didn't exist back then. When I went back for a visit to Raleigh in 2009, I had some time to kill before my flight back home, so a friend recommended I check out the shop. After all, it's right by the airport. How convenient! I bought a few things, got on their email list, and that was that.

Well, that's just the beginning...

I follow their blog, I get their weekly emails, and I even subscribed to their Kaffe Fassett block of the month. This is my first block of the month....and while I like Kaffe Fassett fabric, I haven't bought much yet. A BOM seemed like a fun way to play with Kaffe Fassett brights, without committing too much.

In today's weekly specials email, I followed the link to the free pattern. It's called "Hexagon Park"...OMG, it totally charmed me! I don't know why it struck a chord in me, but it is a brilliant, interesting, clever  yet simple pattern, and it looks like great way to use up small pieces of my guild's charity quilt fabric stash! (Which, as you may know, resides in my basement).

I pulled the fabrics this morning and started cutting.

The pattern designer has her own blog called Lily's Quilts. Yep, I'm subscribed already.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Modern Charity: Quilting

Here you can see the random dots in the quilting a little better.

Modern Charity: Quilting

I tried a modern style quilting design that (I think) is original...well, OK, I saw the design on a stylized post-it note and thought it would make a cool quilting design.

It's a series of lengthwise lines that undulate like waves. But there's a surprise! Every so often I stitched in a dot. Just "drew" a circle in free motion and filled it in.

Modern Charity

Modern Charity by ava99riley00
Modern Charity a photo by ava99riley00 on Flickr.
Here's a close up of the strips. Various shades of blue, and a black thrown in for good measure. Most of the fabric in the strips was from my stash, left over from another project. I added a few strips from the guild's charity quilt stash.

Modern Charity Quilt

Modern Charity Quilt by ava99riley00
Modern Charity Quilt a photo by ava99riley00 on Flickr.
This is a project I designed myself as a creative way to use up strips. I made a long piece of strips and positioned it about 1/3 of the way across the width of this crib size quilt.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Charity Quilt

Charity Quilt
Originally uploaded by ava99riley00

I have had this charity quilt project from guild for about 3 years, just lying around in the sewing room. I finally had the inspiration to quilt it.   I found the inspiration from one of the quilting blogs I follow - I think it was Tallgrass Prairie Studio. The concentric squares pattern added a nice texture to the project.

I did not make the top - I took the project to do the quilting.

It's a crib sized or baby sized quilt. Should be suitable for a boy.

Quilting Close Up 1

Quilting Close Up 1
Originally uploaded by ava99riley00
Here is a closeup of the quilting. It was a lot of fun to do, and quite easy on the domestic sewing machine. It's free motion quilted.

Quilting Close up 2

Quilting Close up 2
Originally uploaded by ava99riley00

Another closeup.  The X's in the middle of each square are for marking purposes, so I wouldn't get confused while sewing. It's easy to lose the larger perspective when working on a small section. Those marks will wash out.

It's a "nine-patch" like pattern superimposed on the simple blocking of the top. I calculated it: 216 squares.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Anns Quilt - Label

Anns Quilt - Label
Originally uploaded by ava99riley00
A close up of the label.

I think labels are very important. I like to tell the story of the quilt, although it can get tedious tracing the writing. This forces me to edit. (As you may know by now, I tend to be very wordy.) Here's how I do it:

I design the label on my computer and pick a nice font. Often I use a handwriting-like font, but since Ann is an architect, I chose an all caps font that kinda looks like the hand writing from blueprints. (Does anyone hand write blue prints any more?)  A plethora of nice handwriting fonts are at Kevin and Amanda blog.

I resized and copied the NC State logo after downloading it from the North Carolina State University web site.

I traced the design and writing using a Pigma Micron pen (permanent, archive quality ink). It looks better if I draw each line twice.

I colored in the logo. I used my Marvy Uchida pigment pens - I didn't know if it would work, but it did. This photo was taken after one washing.

Finally, I trimmed the muslin to the desired size and hand appliqueed it down on the back.

Quilting Detail of Ann's Quilt

It is machine quilted, mostly straight lines. Here is some detail of the free-motion section. Not perfect, but pretty good. It gives the inner border a nice texture.

Ann's Quilt

Ann's Quilt
Originally uploaded by ava99riley00
I've learned how to post from flickr to my blog!

This is Ann's quilt. You can't tell here, but the fabric is "NC State" themed sports fabric. This is where Ann and I both went to school (she for undergraduate, me for graduate). We didn't meet in school, but we met close by at a church near campus.

The pattern is from the book Quilt Boutique by Suzanne McNeil. This book has some nice designs - certainly not complex, but designs that can be applied quickly and easily.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Hello faithful and few readers!

I have not disappeared; I am simply unsure what to do with this blog now. My Etsy shop has "closed" and I'm not sure I can sustain a small sewing business while I have my current job. The job sucks the time away like I never anticipated. This is OK because I like the job, but 6 months later, I'm still struggling with how to adjust my life to find balance.

I will probably have to quit (or greatly reduce my involvement in) my quilt guild. (This saddens me greatly; but they meet during the day on a week day, and now I work a 8-5, 5 days a week schedule.) I am trying to add regular exercise to my life. I haven't achieved balance between the personal/private time I crave, errands/chores, and church attendance.

Over the last few months I have really enjoyed reading other quilting blogs and now I ponder changing Rikrax into a personal quilting/sewing blog. Here is a shout out to the blogs I really enjoy (in no particular order):

Despite following all these blogs, I have yet to win one of their giveaways. It's OK, though.

Here's my Flickr site with a recent project posted.