Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summerberry Shortcake

It's done!

The quilt I started during the blog tour last week is complete. I chose to use a combination of scraps and strips to make my own version of "Brownies a la Mode" from Kathy Brown's book, Strip-Smart Quilts.

And I asked for blog-hopper input to select a border. The results were overwhelmingly in favor of the green floral print . . . but there's something about an under dog that draws me in! So I used the creamy fruits. (Can you believe that?!)

Truth be known, when I opened the folded cream fabric, I discovered that I had two length-of-grain strips of fabric perfectly sized for the border, already cut! It seemed like destiny favored the cream print.

To those who chose the green floral, do not dispair! I still needed some backing fabric, so I thought the green might be perfect. Nope. Not enough. Back to the stash to look for something else. And there it was - that same Chez Moi fabric in pink - perfectly matched to the salmon-y pink in the blocks. Ughhh! Not enough of that either. About 4 or 5" shy. Back to the scrap bin, to make one or two more scrap strips to lengthen the backing. Perfect!
Not quite enough of the pink for the backing. More scrap fabrics to the rescue!

Because the little quilt is going to a charity (more on that in a minute), and will probably be washed a lot, to save wear and tear on a binding, I layered the batting, backing, and quilt top. Sewed a 1/4" seam around the edge, leaving an opening. Then turned everything inside out, and finished the edge with a decorative machine stitch before quilting the entire piece.

And the quilt even has a label, and it's own name, "Summerberry Shortcake."

Now, about the charity. This quilt along with several others made by the members of my local guild during a workshop this winter are going to the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Site. Abused children, as young as 5 or 6 years old, get to select their very own quilt once they enter treatment at the center.

It breaks your heart to know that 300 children were examined by this organization in this community last year. So it's a small, small gesture to turn a little blog quilt project into something minutely positive. Worth every stitch!

On a quite different note, Summer has arrived at last. Enjoy!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Kathy Brown has announced the winners of the Strip-Smart Quilts Blog Tour today on her blog! Congratulations to all the winners!

And many thanks for all the wonderful comments and input on my blog post! It was so nice meeting all of you!

My scrappy-strippy version of Brownies a la Mode is almost done. I hope you come back to see the results. Will the border be the green floral, or the creamy fruits, or something altogether different? You never know!

I'll post some pictures here in another day or two, when it's all done, quilted, labeled, and ready to be a special gift. I'll also tell you a little about the charity project it is going to.

In the meantime, here's a picture from a corner of the garden. This wrench was just sitting on the rocks. Not sure why, but it fascinates me. The color. The crusty rust. How did it get there?
Okay, enough of that . . . . Moving on.

Happy Quilting!

Monday, June 13, 2011


Hi all,

So, today it's my turn to review Kathy Brown's new book, Strip-Smart Quilts.

When Kathy asked me to take a look at her book and participate in her blog-hop, I didn't hesitate to say 'Yes!' because I know Kathy likes to make fast and easy quilts, and so do I.

The quilts in the book are beautiful, and there's about a kajillion ways to make really terrific blocks and quilts using the Creative Grids 90˚ Double-Strip ruler. All the projects start with strips. And the book walks you through the whole process.

If you've ever taken a ScrapTherapy Cutting Workshop at the local quilt shop, or if you've seen a copy of my book, ScrapTherapy, Cut the Scraps! then you know I'm all about using scrap squares, not necessarily strips.

So . . . I set out to find a way to use my scraps and Kathy's wonderful book. I chose a quilt from the book callled "Brownies a la Mode." Love the play of three different colors and values, plus who doesn't like brownies and ice cream?

Digging around in my fabric stash (and in my friend Gail's, too), I pulled out some solid colors and cut a few 2-1/2" strips. You can use the grid on the double strip ruler to cut the strips, so no extra tools are needed!

Then I took 5" scrap squares from my bins and chose an array of light- to medium-value scraps and cut them twice to make four 2-1/2" squares from each 5" scrap square.

I then chain-pieced the 2-1/2" squares into strips - to make a handful of scrappy strips - each using twenty 2-1/2" squares. I pressed the scrap seams open to reduce bulk.
Scrap-Strips, White Strips, and Pink Strips

Next, I put scrap-strips with solid-strips, and started sewing, cutting, and sewing again, following the pattern instructions. Watching the blocks come together is really fun! I didn't worry about where the scrap seams ended up. The ruler is designed so the shapes and the spaces between the shapes are the same size. After cutting, you have innies (scraps on the inside or smaller part of the triangle) and outies (triangles with scraps on the outside or larger part of the triangle)
Cut the strip-sets with the ruler to make 'innies' and 'outies'

Once I made several innie and outie blocks, I arranged them in a diagonal setting to make a small quilt top, made basically from three 'colors' - the cream solid strips, the pink solid strips, and the scrappy strips - like in the book. Now, all I have to do is choose a focus border print and I have a small quilt to donate to a local charity.
Blocks. Some with scraps inside, some with scraps outside

The quilt center with two border options. Which do you like?
Now, it's your turn. If you comment on this post today, your name will be entered into a drawing to receive a Strip-Smart Quilts book AND the Creative Grids 90˚ Double-Strip ruler at the end of the tour. There's a winner EVERY DAY of the blog hop!! As long as you're at it, why not help me decide which border to use? Comment whether you like the creamy fruits or the green/multi floral with the medium blue accent border.

Oh, by the way, there's a rumor going viral that there might just be a grand prize drawing at the end of the blog tour. Your comment is your raffle ticket. And it's free!

And, one more thing. . . hop over to dzyning things tomorrow and see what Linda Lum DeBono has to say.

In stitches,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fast Forward

I can't believe my last blog post was in March!! What a slug I have been! So, here's the fast-forward version of what's been happening here on the 'highway.'

Be sure to make it all the way to the end of this post. The Strip-Smart Quilts Summer Blog Hop is coming here, starting Friday, June 10!

Seems like the entire month of April disappeared. I signed up to be a first-time exhibitor at International Quilt Market, so I had some preparation to do. Still and all, I took some time to get out and smell the flowers. Spring seemed to be busting out in a big way with a bumper crop of pretty trees and tulips in Franklin Square here in Syracuse.
Love these colors!
Like driving through a flowery-fragrant dream!

A perfect-for-Spring Chunky quilt sample for the local quilt shop.

Featuring "Tidbits" by Kari Ramsey for Henry Glass Fabrics
Hours of hand-applique and machine quilting to complete two banners to hang in the Quilt Market booth.

More busting-out flowers in Salt Lake.

And a mini quilt shop tour. Lots of great shops to visit in Utah. It's important to support the local quilting economy when you travel, don't you think?

Schoolhouse, sponsored by Checker Distributors. I'm on YouTube!! Make some popcorn and check out the video

There's the booth, a quiet moment before the 'opening bell.'

A new pattern. Around Town. Fun! Easier to make than it looks when you use the Creative Grids kaleidoscope double-strip ruler. . .

. . . Plus a new ScrapTherapy place mat and runner pattern, Hot Cross Buns. . .
. . . And some new Snap Sack kits for summer. . .
Regatta. Small wall-hanging.


 . . . Then back home again to celebrate a birthday. Hubby Dave was out of town, but he sent flowers.

Couple days at Gail's camp in the woods. Luna Moth dropped by. Hard to believe this is a bug! It's so beautiful! Quilt inspiration, do you think?

Okay, so that should catch us up! *Phew!* I'm pooped!

So, now what?? Why, funny you should ask!!

The Strip-Smart Quilts Summer Blog Tour is about to begin! Friday, in fact. Kathy Brown's new book is in my hands. Boy, if you want to have some fun with strips and easy quilts, you will love it. But you know me, I'm big on scraps, square pieces, not strips. . . . I might have to get creative!

Here's the itinerary. There's a rumor going around that there will be daily prizes!

See you on the tour!