Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I love stars

Here is a small wallhanging/sampler I designed for Christmas.

3 of the stars are from the spiral bound calendar called 365 Quilt blocks a year and each measured 12 inches. The center block and the one on the bottom right are from Marcia Hohn's Quilter's Cache website, another favorite of mine.

Last shop hop, I won a set of 5" Christmas charms and didn't know what to do with 36 squares. So, I made a table topper.

There was no specific design in mind. I just made hourglass blocks, sewed them together, added borders and appliqued stars on the corners.

With the ton of 5" charms I've accumulated, I figured I can make a quilt out of them. Another fave star block of mine, the sawtooth star. Each block measures 16". This one should go fast.

I'm making crumb squares out of scraps.

more later...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I have bags coming out of my ears...

This little make-up case below,is the result of sewing together 1.5" squares. Yeah, I don't throw scraps away. I use them as "leaders and enders". By the way, Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville.com, one of my favorite websites, ever, has a tutorial on crumb piecing. Don't forget to read her Leaders and Enders tutorial as well.

PinkChalk Studio has a pattern for a NoteTaker folio (for sale). It was very easy to follow. The big one's for me, and the little one is for Emily.

Inside the big NoteTaker

and here's the smaller one


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Here's the banner of the month for November from Pearl Louise's club at Thimble Cottage.

And here are more bags

some little make up purses

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Currently working on...

and this, The La Borsa bag

and the Purple Patchwork purse

and some knitting:

my own design

I'm off to sew some more.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Here's the progress of my Dutch Treasure quilt, a design by Jacqueline DeJonge. It's coming along. Notice the masking tapes? I've found that the white closet doors are perfect design walls. I have to figure a way to put up white flannet without making it look messy.

more later.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Here are some other stuff I'm working on. This is the Sept BOM at the Carol Doak group in Yahoo. This is paper-pieced. I find myself now leaning towards paper piecing than doing the traditional rotary cutting process, even if the block can be rotary cut.

This is my X string quilt project. The pattern is from Patchpieces.com (for sale pattern). I'm finally making good use of my strings and scraps.

Friday, September 14, 2007

This kept me busy the whole month of August. Hubby and I replaced the carpeting with hardwood flooring. Pergo, that is. People said that it's a weekend project and that it's as easy as snapping on the planks. They lied.

Snapping on is not that bad but they didn't mention the measuring and the cutting and making templates to fit around the nasty old doorjamb to the closet, or our weird shaped and slanted walls. They don't make square or rectangular rooms anymore.

I also discovered that my husband is a perfectionist and I'm not. My motto is " Do it right the first time AND do it in the quickest possible time".

We finished the family room, living room and dining area. Whew! Even my craft room is done and all my fabrics and yarns in their own shelves and containers.

I also found out that I enjoyed going to Home Depot, Lowe's and Ikea. It was scary. I started hanging out at such places and actually loved every minute of it. My husband worried that I might take over his favorite stores. I tell you, I didn't visit any quilt stores during this period.

Here is the picture of the mystery quilt class I took at Country Sewing. The name of the quilt will remain a mystery.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I have always been a voracious reader. But I've neglected reading since I got hooked on knitting and lately, quilting. I started reading again. I remember reading the DaVinci Code in one day. I've gone back and checked out lots of books from the library that some of my librarian friends were surprised to see me--lol!

Here are my fave authors:

Sandra Brown
Linda Howard
Dick Francis
Dean Koontz

Some of the books I refuse to read:
All the Harry Potter novels

I used to love Stephen King but I find his newer novels freaky and weird.

The library is also a good source of quilting and knitting books.

My husband and I are almost finished putting in Pergo flooring in the family room. VERY HARD work but we saved lots of $$ in labor cost. Next stop is the living room and then, my craft room.

Thus, I've neglected my quilting.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Aww, geesh, it has been over a month since I last blogged. I've missed reading what everyone's been up to.

I finished a Mystery Class at Country Sewing Store in Elk Grove and what a blast it was. It's a Debbie Caffrey mystery quilt called Monkey'n Around, or something like that. It's a 6 hour class done in one evening, from 5 pm to 11 pm. And they provide dinner too as part of the class.

There were about 25 quilters in all, plus 6 or so ladies doing the pressing. Some run around picking up sewn blocks and squares, dropping them off at the pressing stations and bringing them back to the quilters. All we had to do was sew, sew, sew. We ran out of time but still got to see the finished mystery. I ended up finishing my quilt at home.

I wonder if I can show a picture?? It's a mystery quilt and I'd hate to spoil the surprise for those who might be doing it elsewhere. Debbie's mysteries are sold nationwide to quilt stores. I'll find out.

Knitting season is coming back and I will soon be doing items for Yolo Wool Mill. The owner has just sent me more yarns. Yummm.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Quilting Anniversary

I started quilting last July, 2006. So, how far have I come along? I remember starting with totebags and purses. I still have my first attempts. Eventually, I progressed to Traditional quilts, rotaty cut and machine pieced. My first and second quilts weren't perfect but we're still using them.

I have taken lots of classes. They're not cheap but oh so worth the investment. You can tell yourself that you can learn them from books. Or you might be quilting for years and therefore don't need take classes. But.... there are so many "new and improved" techniques that you can pick up. I say, don't get stuck in a rut. Classes are so much fun to take.

I crave new things. I want to learn more. One of the quilting techniques along the way was Applique. Thought it was hard. Not!

Another one that scared me was Paper Piecing. It is a little hard and fiddly but I love it now. You can definitely say it's addictive. Like potato chips.

Just last week, this was what I was working on:

A watercolor quilt, quilted as you go. I found this quilt book at the library called AWASH WITH COLOR by Judy Turner. The blocks were quilted as you go, and used lots of strips. Then, the blocks are sewn together with sashing. Lots of handsewing. You have to know how to put the colors together, though.

Next, I want to learn Landscape quilting. There's this Nancy Zieman book called LANDSCAPE QUILTS that I just bought. I will soon be painting with fabrics.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A new obsession

Paper piecing or foundation piecing. A new technique I learned by myself. I am not surprised that I am once again addicted. It's all I've been working on these past few days. I do plan on taking a class on it because I know there are a lot of tips I can pick up and learn. But I know some of the rudiments and basic steps. Here's a sample I'm working on.

These are still just bits and pieces and blocks with tiny post-it notes with numbers pinned on them. The pattern is by Jacquelin de Jonge of the Netherlands, called DUTCH TREASURE. It's from the Summer 2007 issue of American Quilter magazine.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Here's a real stashbuster: I made a little table topper out of leftover triangles, squares, strips, etc. Made some pinwheels and framed them.

...And made more pincushions. The latest Quilts and More magazine has a cute square one.

The one with the pears went to Frieda and the flowers went to Angela, my best quilting buddies.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Quilt Rush 2007

It's been a month since I last posted! whew! Life got busy. My best friend from college came for a visit for a few days. I haven't seen Norie for about 25 years with her being in the Philippines and me here in the US. How do you cram 25 years of memories into 3 days? Seing her again brought me back to the late 70's, four memorable years of dorm life together and the hectic studies at the University of the Philippines. Those were some of the best years of my life.

Following Norie's visit was the Quilt Rush here in Sacramento. My first time to experience one. I dragged my hubby and 2 younger kids and we visited 14 quilt shops here in Sacramento all the way to Chico and south to Modesto and Stockton.
Here is a before picture of the quilt blocks from each shop. It is now finished and quilted (picture to follow).

I picked up some pincushion patterns along the way:

And finally, a wallhanging from a pattern from the Pincushion Boutique, one of my favorite quilt stores. This is called Wanderlust.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Penny rugs and wool dyeing

I have always been intrigued by Penny rugs, so, while at Joann’s, I bought this booklet.

I don’t know of any local sources here in Sac for small pieces of wool felt. Joann does carry some wool felt blends (35% wool/ 65% rayon) manufactured by National Non-wovens Co. I bought some black and while yardage.

Being familiar with handpainting and hand dyeing wool, I experimented. Here are the results:

I used Rit dye since it colors wool, cotton, rayon and other natural fibers. Not acrylics, though (which of course is not a natural fiber-lol!)

I cut the white wool felt in smaller pieces (fat eight size) and soaked them in warm water.

I heated about a gallon of water and added about ¼ cup of Glauber’s salt (kitchen salt works too). I think the purpose of the salt is for an even absorption of the dye. Simmer.

Then, in about a ¼ cup of warm water, I dissolved 1 tsp of Soda Ash (powdered laundry detergent works as well). BTW, all these ingredients can be purchased at Dharmatrading.com. They also have the Procion MX dyes used for cotton and rayon fabrics and yarns. Rit dye , however, is easily available anywhere.

I measured some Rit dye , maybe 1 tsp (depending on how dark you want the color to turn out), and added that to the simmering water/salt solution. Mixed it real well until all powder is dissolved. Then, I added the soda ash mixture. The fabric goes in after that.

At this point , the water should be hot. You can turn off the heat. Leave the fabric for about 30 mins to an hour and watch it absorb the color. My fabric shrank a little bit (that’s the wool!). I rinsed it in warm tap water and hung it outside to dry.

Very important note: The dyeing implements I use, pots, measuring cups, spoons, etc. are separate from my cooking utensils. I purchased a stainless steel pot from Walmart for this purpose. The bigger the better. Thrift stores have lots of them, cheap.

Friday, April 13, 2007

This mini quilt is from a class I took at the Pincushion Boutique in Davis, CA, taught by Lisa Fletcher. Lisa also teaches at the Country Sewing Store in Elk Grove. Her classes fill up fast! This is a lesson in free motion quilting using your darning foot. In May, I'm taking her other class, Walking Foot wonders.

The blue lines are from the Mark-B-Gone pen which will wash away. What an excellent way to learn how to quilt your own creations.

This quilt is a pattern from the Pincushion Boutique called Stairstepper. The center used only 9 fat quarters (FQs). My Emily loves this one because the fabrics have dog designs on them.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

New Stashbuster topic: What kind of quilter am I? I like the traditional machine piecing and applique. I have not tried paper piecing yet. It seems fiddly and requires more work. I like working with scrap quilts and folksy designs. I admire Pat Sloan's and Nancy Halvorsen's patterns. I also like the Australian Country Threads magazine. I wish I can subscribe.

On the knitting front: I finished Angela's lace top. In my excitement, I gave it to her without taking a picture. She's going to wear it in Hawaii.

Here's a picture of a charm quilt I gave my mom, backed with flannel. I used several 5 inch squares. She has been using it since I gave it to her. Music to my ears.

This is the charm quilt I made in class at the Country Sewing Store in Elk Grove. The center of the stars is a collection of 5 inch charm squares, a Valentine collection from Sandy Gervais.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I have decided to shut down my Suanknits.com website. It is not generating enough income for me to justify paying Geocities every month. What an experience trying to close the account. Have you heard of people trying to cancel AOL? This is somewhat a similar experience. They give you a link to click on to cancel but this takes you back to the homepage. No instructions, no telephone numbers, no contact persons. I had to do a Yellow pages search for their phone number in San Jose, CA.

Finally, after being forwarded to 2 more numbers, I got a real live person. One good thing though is that I was able to cancel it immediately, no questions asked. They didn't try to sell me anything or persuade me to stay with various offers.

I'm glad that was over.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Latest topic for the Stashbuster's list (Quilting):

How many UFO's do I have? I have 4 quilt tops finished right now, waiting to be quilted. And they will get done. When it comes to quilting, I like to finish them before I start a new one. That's why I have 4 (he, he, he).

How old is my oldest UFO? November, 2006. I'm pretty much a brand new quilter (I started in July 2006) and don't have that much fabric stashed away. (yet)

Now, when it comes to knitting, I must have about 20 UFOs. I have to start getting rid of them. I have lots of crochet and knitting magazines and patterns that I want to sell. I know I will never ever do those projects.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

This is a mystery quilt I finished this month, a Dorothy Young design. The group is called A Pocket Full of Mystery. I used several fat quarters to complete the quilt. It was an exciting project and my first mystery quilt. I do have a tendency to pick Fall colors in my quilts.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Once in a while, on a good day, Blogger lets me post pictures. I think it's conflicting with AOL. I really, really, REALLY hate AOL. But since I'm getting it for free, I shouldn't complain. AOL and COMCAST should be banned from the face of the earth.

This quilt was from a QUILTMAKER magazine pattern. I used mostly scrap fabric in the blues colorway. One of my favorite quilt styles is the scrappy style, fun, funky, ecclectic. But again, once in a while, you get this urge to create something classic.

On the KNITTING front, I'm working on a lace shawl (2 in fact) for Hand Jive Knits. The project that Southwest Trading wants me to work on has not arrived yet. I also have to finish off some projects for Yolo Wool Mill. And, my friend, Teresa Simons, who moved to Oregon and opened a Fiber shop there, will also be carrying my patterns.

yeee hahhh!

My hearts and patches quilt, from a class I took at the Country Sewing store. I used mostly stash fat quarters.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Here are some details of the Swallowtail shawl.

I think I'm going to like this new and updated Blogger. It's letting me upload pictures!

I'm angry with Walmart for phasing out their fabric department. It's true that you do get what you pay for. They have some horrible fabric but I got this Sponge Bob fabric that I turned into a quilt for Matthew, washed it several times, and it's still perfect! No fading, no pilling. I still buy quilt fabric at Joann's and at several quilt stores but the thought of losing Walmart fabrics makes me mad.

Speaking of quilt stores: I found some really nice batiks for 50% off at the Country Sewing store in Elk Grove. You have to go all the way to the back of the store to locate their sale fabrics. I will soon be taking some more quilting classes this month and next.

One of my knitted designs will be carried by Artyarns. woo hooo!

I need a jumpstart to finish my new lace patterns.

See you soon, Danielle! (Knitique) I have to visit my other favorite yarn stores in the area (I love them all). Frog Pond Knits, Babetta's, Rumpelstiltskin. There are other new stores that I still have not visited. Can you believe that??

The finished Swallowtail Shawl, designed by Evelyn clark, in the Fall 2006 issue of Interweave Knits. I totally enjoyed knitting this one for Angela, even with the nupps. I simply used a crochet hook to purl the 5 stitches together. With Angela's wool allergy, I used my own hand dyed cotton/rayon yarn.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I submitted a picture of one of my lap quilts to the Fat Quarter Shop website and it is now showing on their website under "Amy Butler Jolly Pack Quilt by Vicki Suan of Sacramento, CA" . Click on this link. Scroll down to the middle of the page. I didn't follow any pattern. It's my own creation!

woo hooo!