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My guild has a block-of-the-month that comes with pre-cut fabrics. I did it this month, and was a little bit nervous because the block was flying geese with a pinwheel center.  Daunting, to say the least, since every one of the 24 pieces in the block is a triangle.  Triangles can often stretch just by handling them!

I pulled the pieces out of the bag, and noticed that the points had been cut off all the triangles.  Nice!

Looking at the instructions, sew this to that, sew that to the other, press, etc.  At the very bottom, “Pieces cut with an Accuquilt”.

So cool!  The block went together like a dream, bias edges and all.  I had the whole block done in about 15 minutes, no ‘easing’ required.

I have got to get an Accuquilt!

Anyone know what this block is?  I browsed through my EQ7 library and couldn’t find it.

We all know, too, that AccuQuilt is expecting?  What is it?  More dies?  A smaller cutter?  An electric cutter?  Inquiring quilters want to know!

I was so excited to get this email!  I have a quilt that I wanted to enter, but the quilt, the thread, and my sewing machine were not getting along.  Now I’ve got the push to finish it off again.

The email I received said they’ve moved the deadline from October 1 to October 15 for submissions for the 2011 Road to California show.

This year, Quilts, Inc (the people that do the Houston, Long Beach, Chicago shows) and Quilter’s Newsletter (grandaddy magazine of them all) re-did the Quilting in America Survey.  I’ve not been lucky enough to get a survey, ever, but the results are kind of fun to look at.   Look at them in comparison to the 2006 survey results, too – quite fun to see how the numbers have changed.

14% of all households have a quilter in there.  That’s one in 7, so if you look up and down the street, someone else on your block should be quilting just like you.  

We quilters spend $3.5 billion every year. Yup, Billion.   With fewer quilters than the 2006 survey indicated.  (More money, fewer quilters – those of us that are still quiltin’ away have more than outspent those that have left us behind.)

Am I an average quilter?  Definitely NO!  I think that many of us aren’t.  I’m not 62, or even within a decade of it.  My household is not affluent.  I spend way less than $2400 per year on stuff (at least I think so…only Mr. Aspen Hill could tell you for sure!).  I don’t like small scale florals, or even holiday prints.  Or pastels, or jewel tones.  I let all my magazine subscriptions lapse.

But since I’m not average, where do I fit?  Who meets my needs?  The internet’s always there for photo and pattern inspiration, but I don’t like buying fabric online.  It’s kind of a hardscrabble way to quilt, finding an ok print here, and an acceptable print there, never any of the wonderful prints that I see online. 

In my perfect world, someone would open a fabric store that caters to my kind of quilter.  And have great patterns to choose from.  And have sit and sew sessions where we could all meet up.  And there’d be a longarmer on-site for those quilts that are too tough to handle.  A girl can dream!

I really think that we need to stand up and be counted.  We need to join land-based guilds and show them our creations.  We need to participate in quilt shows.  We need to go into shops and ask for what we want.  We need to sign up for classes, and take our modern fabrics there.

Jane’s Fabrics and Crafts is hosting the latest Accuquilt GO! giveaway that I’ve entered.  I’ve been spending way too much time surfing blogs for giveaways to enter.  And not enough time quilting.

And there’s another one going at Millie’s Quilting – she’s tackling Robbing Peter to Pay Paul and Winding Ways – two patterns that I love but they take so long to cut out with templates.  I would love to be able to cut out a half dozen blocks at a time!

I’ve been slicing and dicing squares today to make a few American Girl-sized quilts for the member’s boutique at the NCQA 25th Annual Quilt Auction that’s in November.  I’m finally going to use up all of the 1930s prints that I bought and never used!  However, all entries have to be done by October 18.  It would be so much easier with a GO!

Sometimes things just aren’t going right.

I wanted to finish a quilt in time to submit it for Road to California.  I pinned it, then started quilting it that night.  The next day I discovered that all of the (dark green) bobbin threads were poking through onto the (white) top.  Then followed two days of ripping.  It was the easiest it could have been, because with the bobbin thread looping on top the top thread just pulled right out along the straight sections.

I monkeyed with the tension, both at the tension dial and, eventually, on the bobbin, and my random quilting samples (on the actual top that I’m quilting) looked fine.  So off I went.  Ran through two bobbins quilting this way.  Went to switch bobbins again and I got a bad start, so when I turned over to pick out the few bad stitches, what do I see but the top thread on the bottom?  I have no idea if it’s all the way through or just on the second bobbin.

So I’ve given up.  Road to California is not in this quilt’s immediate future.

What am I doing instead?  I made my daughter re-usable sandwich wraps.  I’ve been meaning to do it, but couldn’t figure out what to use for the plastic liner.  Last night, in a blog-surfing-fest, it came to me.  Zip Loc bags.  They’re food-safe, and in my house.  I cut down a gallon-sized bag, and it’s just big enough for a half sandwich.  Two 1.5″ pieces of velcro, 1 9.5″ square of fabric, and half of a ziploc makes one wrap.  For a nicer look, use two pieces of fabric or one that’s 9.5″ x 19″.  I’ll post pictures later.  Before I make any to give away, I want to find a heavy-duty ziploc that doesn’t say “Hefty” on it!

You have to know someone with an American Girl.  Or an Our Generation, or a Madame Alexander, or a Battat doll.  Those 18″ dolls that so many girls – or sometimes their mothers – have.  My daughter wanted to have an AG-themed birthday party, with AG-type crafts.

I came up with a no-sew sleeping bag.  I googled and googled and couldn’t come up with anything online.  So I made it myself.  My daughter and I talked about it, and decided that we wanted a sleeping bag with someplace to lay your head, so the bottom of our design is long enough that her doll’s head lays on the fleece.

For TWO sleeping bags you need 27″ (3/4 yard) of 58/60″ wide fleece.

Total time to make?  About 10 minutes for me to cut one sleeping bag and about 10 minutes for her to tie it.  (Though we had girls at the party that took much longer.)

Step 1:  Cut 2 pieces, 24″ x 30″, from the fleece.  These are for your two sleeping bags.  Set one aside.

Step 2:  Fold the fabric in half so that it is 24″ x 15″.  With the fold away from you, cut a 4″ square out of both layers in the lower left corner.

Step 3: Unfold the fabric with the two cut out squares away from you (see them in the top of the picture?).  Cut a 4″ x 5″ piece from the lower left corner and a 15″ x 5″ piece from the lower right corner. 

Step 4:  Cut the fringe.  You want to cut fringe that is about 1″ wide and 4″ deep.  I laid my ruler down and eyeballed it.  Cut along the side and the bottom.

Step 5:  Enlist the girl who will be using the sleeping bag, and have her tie double knots from the fringe.  Make sure she starts with the first pair, and not the 1st on the top and the 2nd on the bottom, because if that happens someone has to pick out all the knots and start over.

Below is the finished product!  Since I had a variety of girls coming and fleece was on sale I got 3/4 yard of several patterns to allow for the girls to choose.  This one was chosen by the birthday girl.

Yesterday I drove on down to the San Diego quilt show for its last day.

As always, I walk out of a quilt show absolutely inspired by what I have seen.  I took dozens of pictures, and had a hard time whittling it down to my favorite three.   I decided to show my favorite four instead!  They show the diversity of work that’s at the show as well.  I like that it’s a non-juried show, so you see quilts that you won’t see at Long Beach or Road to California.

I spent a few hours getting inspired by the quilts and the vendors, and shopping at the vendors as well!  Some of the vendors I bought from last year seemed to be missing this year, but they were replaced by others that were equally inspiring!  I came home with a bag full of goodies and my head spinning from all of the wonderful things I’d seen!

Tomorrow I’m heading south, to the San Diego Quilt Show.  It’s the last day, so if you don’t go tomorrow you’ll miss out!  I’ll be the one with the tote bag bursting at the seams!

I went last year, and had a great time.  There are quilts for everyone, from the most artistic art quilter to the most traditional piecer or appliquer.  Lots of vendors, too, some local, some within a day’s drive, and some that had to travel quite a ways.  I love it, because the ‘local’ area encompasses some shops that are more than an hour away that I’ll never to go to on my own.

I fully expect to come back overwhelmed and toting a large bag of treats and treasures.  Last year’s haul included scads of fabric, patterns, and a few notions no one should be without. 

In the meantime, back to the sewing machine!  I’ve got a twin-sized masterpiece that I want to get done.  It’s taken me two days to get it pin-basted.  Now I’m quilting around the appliques, and then I’ll get to the middle.  Backwards, I know, but I’m still deciding on how to quilt the middle…

A few days I posted about my scrap bin.  I have pictures!

These are the two quilts that I made from pulling most of the pink scraps out of the bin:  (Being scrap quilts, there are tons of seams and they need a still good pressing!)

  As mentioned, I was very surprised to find out that I’d sewn together more than 400 inches of scraps into one long huge strip.  So I decided to make two smaller quilts out of it instead of one great big quilt.  It was a decision of porportions.  I thought with all the scraps in one place I’d need thicker sashing strips to balance it and I just didn’t want to.  I wanted simple and small.

I made the light pink one first.  I am surprised, but shouldn’t be, to find out that I like the darker pink one better.  The light pink in the second quilt is the leftovers from my daughter’s bed quilt.  At night, when I was picking fabrics, I decided that a 1″ finished pink would be fine and determined I had enough scraps to make it happen.  In the light of day, I started cutting for a 1 1/2″ finished pink and really eeked out the last few inches of the border.  But now it’s gone, and I have space for new fabric!  Same for the dark pink.  It was a 1/2 yard piece that I’d hard a hard time using because it was splotchy. 

After the quilts were done, I had them sitting on the ironing board waiting to be pressed.  What did I discover but a HOLE in the white sashing!

  Nice and small, easy to overlook.  Once upon a time, when my daughter was small, she thought that experimenting with scissors on my fabric was better than experimenting on the fabric in the scrap bin.  Every once in a while I’ll come across another piece that’s been sliced at the fold.  I cut around the great big 2″ slice, but missed it’s little brother.

Since the quilt top was done and dusted, and it’s to be a charity quilt, there’s no way I was ripping out that entire strip and replacing it.  I also don’t seem to have any interfacing right now.  So I put a patch on it.  Just like my grandma would have.  And from a distance it looks OK.  (The patch is to the left of the brightly striped fabric in the middle row.)

Well, not everything’s intended to win a blue ribbon!   This is one of those times where done is better than perfect.

Wait, there’s more!  This is my scrap bin AFTER pulling all those pink fabrics out:

More scrap quilts to come!

I have an unnamed quilt.  I have no idea what it should be called.  I have no idea what the pattern is.  I’m sure that I’ve not invented something new, but I’ve never seen a pattern for this quilt. 

I saw a quilt on flickr that just struck me.  There was nothing but a picture there; it had been posted by the longarmer who quilted it, so even following back to the blog got me nothing but closeups of quilted feathers.  In the time honored tradition of quilters everywhere, I copied it.  I had one yard of fabric to use for the sashing/border, and calculated the rest from there.  It ended up being really easy – 3″ finished squares joined into larger squares and rectangles, surrounded with the largest sashing I could eek out of my 1 yard of fabric.  The quilt I copied was probably made with a 5″ charm pack sewn together with sashing.

I ended up with a fun, bright quilt that’s the opposite of what I usually do.  (I generally like the dark frame that a darker sashing or border gives.)  But I like it!

This quilt is for sale on etsy.

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About Aspen Hill

Welcome to Aspen Hill! I'm Deb. Quilter, lover of fabric. Fan of completed projects. Quilt Pattern Designer. My blog is my space where I get to share quilting, sewing, and other creative pursuits. Come back often!

You can find my quilts, doll clothes, and patterns on Etsy.



Flickr!

Quilt top marking - so tedious!

Two more wonky star blocks!

Deb's wonky star blocks for April.

More Photos