Tuesday, May 26

Cotton + Steel Quilt Kit Giveaway and One Lovely Blog Award

Craftsy's Flying Geese Quilt Kit

Last week BuzzinBumble had the honor of being nominated by two wonderful friends for the "One Lovely Blog Award"  

You may have seen these awards, which are just beginning to sweep Quilty Blogland.  The idea behind the award is to introduce your readers to some of your favorite blogs, preferably ones which they might not have visited before.  It is a great opportunity for people to explore and make new friends.    

If you accept an award, then you write a blog post and:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their post.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Choose 10 blogs to nominate for the award. (It is fine to nominate less than ten, just however many you feel comfortable with.) 

So here I go...

Thank you Kaja (Sew Slowly) and Sandra (Musings of a Menopausal Melon)!  

You made me feel Wonderful by nominating my blog and it means even more coming from you!    

Seven things you might not know about me:

1.  I am a combination of shy and friendly.  Blogging is a leap of faith for me, but it gives me a freedom I do not have in everyday life.  This is because I am very hearing impaired, which makes communicating verbally difficult. 

2.  I am nuts about I love dogs and cannot imagine life without them.

3.  I am always looking for reasons to laugh and love corny jokes.  I married a funny man and raised three funny children, so I don't have far to look.      

4.  I am a good mimic.  I can howl exactly like a black and tan coonhound and have been known to set them off in the distance.  A long time ago I learned to imitate a mother cat calling her little ones and I can make kittens come running to me.  This only works two or three times on each litter, because kittens are smarter than you think.

(My brother Dave is much more talented at mimicry than I am.  He once kept an entire Alaskan cruise ship full of bird watchers running back and forth from starboard to port, as they desperately tried to sight the Bald Eagles they heard screeching. Even the ship's naturalist was fooled for awhile, but once she figured it out, she just watched and laughed.)  

4 1/2.  I get sidetracked easily.    

5.  I love pretty much every quilting style and like to try a little of everything.  Out of necessity, I am a very slow quilter, so projects take a while for me to finish.

6.  I make great homemade soups.  So good, that people have been known to have soup for dessert.

7. I can hypnotize frogs and taught my kids how to do it when they were young.

There.  Now you know that I am a little kooky.  I don't have to hide it anymore.  Mwah ah ah ah ah!   

Somehow that fly buzzing around makes the soups not sound so good.  Heh heh.


It's time to share my nominations for the "One Lovely Blog Award". 

The problem is that I love a lot of blogs.  You can see that on the BuzzinBumble sidebar, under "Blogs to Love".  This is kind of like picking bridesmaids.  You either have to choose just one and ask your sister, or you have thirty bridesmaids.  

So I tried to choose with an eye toward doing something different.  I've nominated a few quilt bloggers from different areas of the world, blogs that represent a nice variety of quilting styles, and some which might be undiscovered treasures for my readers. And, as you will see if you visit, they all are terrific and fun people. 

Without further ado, here are my ten nominees, in alphabetical order:

Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner - Ruth 

Doodlebugs and Rosebuds - Ramona
Fancy Foot Farm - Colleen
Love to Stitch - Raewyn
Prairie Sewn Studio - Laura & Linda
Quilting Stories - Christine
Susie's Sunroom - Susie
The Cozy Pumpkin - Amanda
Weekend Doings - Martha
Whims and Fancies - Soma

Also, don't forget you can visit Sew Slowly and Musings of a Menopausal Melon too!

Each nomination has a link embedded and you can get there simply by clicking on the blog's name.


I got to thinking about this and decided to make the award even more fun by adding some extra incentive for my readers to go and visit the Lovely Bloggers in this post:  I'm going to do a giveaway!  And not just any giveaway - a Mambo giveaway!  Craftsy has been having some amazing sales on quilting supplies and I ordered a Cotton + Steel Flying Geese Quilt Kit just for one lucky reader to win.  Here are pictures from the Craftsy website of their Flying Geese Quilt Kit, done up in Kim Knight's Homebody Collection.  It looks like it will be a lot of fun to make!

Craftsy's Flying Geese Quilt Kit - includes all the fabrics for the quit top and binding.

Craftsy's 64" square Flying Geese Quilt - Homebody fabrics

Kim Knight's Homebody Collection for Cotton + Steel

How would you like a chance to win this quilt kit?  If you would, then here is what you need to do to enter the drawing: 

Visit at least one of the blogs I have shared here and leave the blogger some comment love.  For each blog you comment on, you will get 1 chance in the drawing, so technically you could have up to 12 chances.  When you are through, come back here to BuzzinBumble and leave 1 comment (Only one!) and let me know how many of the blogs you visited and commented on.   

We will fill out 1 slip of paper for each one of your chances.  Next we'll fold up all the slips, put them in a big bowl and toss and stir them up super well.  Then I'll have my hubby draw one of the slips.  I'll announce the Winner in my next post on Monday, June 1st.     

The nominees are welcome to participate in this giveaway too!  And I welcome entries from people across borders and don't mind shipping overseas.

Make sure that I have a way to contact you if you win! If you are a no-reply commenter then I will let you know under your comment, so please check back if you aren't sure or just add your email to your comment.

Hello Everyone - Thank you for making this giveaway a great success!  Lots of people had a ball blog hopping and meeting new bloggers!  The lucky winner of the Cotton + Steel quilt kit is Beth, commenter # 39.  Congratulations Beth! 

Jim, drawing for the Giveaway 6/1/15

Wednesday, May 20

Matchstick Quilting Experiment

Since I was considering doing some closely spaced matchstick quilting on Sam's "Serenity Now!" quilt, I wanted to experiment beforehand with the effect that this has on fabric.  Specifically, I wanted to know three things:

1) how much does very closely spaced quilting obscure the fabric design? And..
2) at what point does it make the finished piece unacceptably stiff? And...
3) how labor intensive a process is this?

Better to test this out on a small project, before committing to the whole shebang, right?  So I sewed together two great fabrics, layered them into a sandwich with batting and backing and created a test panel, which will be used for something fun at a later time.  I began by quilting straight lines every 1/2 inch.  Next I went back and filled them in more and more with lines that were 1/4, 1/8, and finally about 1/16th of an inch apart.  That is Uber matchstick quilting, I know, but the whole purpose for doing it was to see how far I could take it and at what points it would be most useful for different kinds of projects.

Did you ever give matchstick quilting a try?  Does it take you a freakishly long time to fill it all in?  It did for me. But... it is a fun, almost meditative kind of sewing and very relaxing to do. 

Strange partners - Connecting threads, King Tut, and 25 year old Dual Duty.

The first thing I learned was a surprise: Even super closely spaced matchstick quilting does not hide the design of the fabric as much as I thought it would.  In fact, the closer the stitched lines got, the less disruptive they seemed.  Look at the photos and you can still see Philip Jacobs' Painted Daisies in all their colorful brilliance. (The pictures show better detail if you click to enlarge them)  In fact by, switching thread colors a few times, the stitching adds a wonderful effect to the fabric design. I even used a King Tut variegated thread in there.  What fun that is to see it travel over colors and draw them out into the background of the design! The Peppered Cotton quilted up great this way too. 

Peppered Cotton in Blue Jay & Philip Jacobs Painted Daisy in Magenta

The second thing I learned was just what you would expect:  The closer your stitching lines get, the stiffer and thinner the quilted piece becomes.  This is great for some purposes, but would not make for a very cuddly quilt.  It became too stiff to be useful for Sam's quilt at the point where the sewing lines were less than 1/4" apart.  The quilting spaced like you see it in the above photos would be great on a wall quilt or on a bag, table topper, or a decorative pillow though.  

So I am still undecided on how to quilt Sam's quilt.  If you have any suggestions for quilting that would go with a clean lined modern quilt and still be within the grasp of a quilting beginner, I'd love to hear them.  (You can see the EQ Mockup of "Serenity Now!" here.)   I am still pondering doing matchstick quilting, but sewing it far enough apart that it would be more akin to go-fetch-stick quilting.  I'm also considering wavy organic quilting lines like Lorna does (Sew Fresh Quilts). Just look at Lorna's closeups in photos 5 and 6 of that post and you will see why I love that.     

Would you like to see something else fun that you can do with matchstick quilting?  Kitty (Night Quilter) just posted a great example of matchstick quilting with the use of negative space to create letters in relief.  In her Terrific Tutorial,  Kitty explains a clever trick she uses to avoid the problem of all those little stops and starts around the letters.


Our crabapple trees were in full bloom last week and I thought you might enjoy seeing them.  We planted this variety because the trees hold onto their red little apples right through the winter and into early spring, which makes a pretty sight with the snow as a backdrop.  They put on a beautiful show in springtime too, and cover themselves in pink buds which open up into rosy centered white flowers.

Malus 'Sugar Tyme' - Crabapple

Malus 'Sugar Tyme' - Crabapple

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Sunday, May 17

Delectable Mountains Mini - Blogger's Quilt Festival Spring 2015

If you are a new visitor here at BuzzinBumble, Hello & Welcome!  
And a howdy & a hug to my regular friends too!

I hope you all have been enjoying blog hopping as you look at the wonderful quilts in the Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side!   Thank you Amy for working so hard to put together such a fun event!  

If you arrived here via another route, then, may I say?... "You will love visiting the Festival!"  There are categories for every kind of quilt and so many wonderful entries.  You can get there by clicking the link that I just provided, but I hope you will spend a little time here before you hop away.  

Delectable Foothills
This little quilt is my entry in the "Mini" category.  It is a 20" square paper-pieced miniature Delectable Mountains, which I call Delectable Foothills, because the mountains are so small. 

If you visit This January 27th Post, you will find four free patterns for paper piecing these mountains and also the full tutorial in pdf files, which you may download if you like.  Delectable Mountains are not normally sewn with paper piecing, but I found that it helped a great deal in keeping such tiny blocks accurate.  

There are two versions of the pattern, because I also created a six peak pattern for a Delectable Mountains quilt border.  I wanted one to go around this beautiful cross-stitched sampler:

Delectable Mountains Quilt Border

If you would like to see another lovely idea for using these blocks, then take a peek at what Joanne has in mind.  She is going to use them as a Frosty Border around her fabulous paper pieced snowflakes.  I made Joanne's Snowflake Snowalong Table Runner last Christmas and am just going to have to make another, so I can try her idea.  

I had not planned on entering a quilt in the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  I had been thinking that I couldn't hold a candle to what I had seen so far, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that we all have a place there.  This festival is not simply a competition, but it is also about community and the sharing of ideas and excitement over each other's creations.  So, with the encouragement of SandraJudy, and Cyndy I got my gumption up and did it!  Each of these lovely women have quilts entered and you can see what they created by clicking on their names.  If you are a quilting blogger, then I hope you will enter a quilt too!  

So if you haven't already, go and join the fun, and remember...

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Friday, May 15

Quick Quilt in One Afternoon

This weekend, my daughter Alina graduates from Wake Forest Law School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  She's had an amazing three years there and we are so very proud of her, of how hard she worked, and all she accomplished!  One of her funniest accomplishments is that a judge there gave her the nickname "The Fist in a Velvet Glove".   

Alina (Bean) and her husband Gonzo moved to Winston-Salem so that they both could attend Wake Forest.  (Gonzo graduated last May with his MBA and we are very proud of him too!)   Soon though, they will be moving to Albany, NY ...which is Jim's and my old stomping grounds. This summer, Alina will be studying for and taking the NYS Bar Exam and then, in September, she will begin her job as the new Appellate Court Attorney from the New York State Supreme Court, 3rd Department.

I teased her that the next step up will be Daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, and Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed. (We are a family of Trekkie nerds, yes indeed.)  

This morning, our family members all began their travels to North Carolina and will spend the next few days with Bean & Gonzo celebrating.  Since I was unable to go with them, I thought I'd write a blog post celebrating Alina's first machine stitched quilt.  But first, a little backstory...


A Friendship for Life 

When Bean was an undergrad, she studied abroad at Brighton University in England.  It was there that she met Misha and the two of them became instant bosom buddies.  The two new friends set off on adventures all over Europe, staying in youth hostels and taking advantage of very cheap travel rates for students.  They even went to Italy together - Twice!  

The girls together in Brighton - Misha (L) & Alina (R)

When the girls came back to the states, Misha became another daughter to us and for a few years was a part of every family Thanksgiving.  

Bean & Misha choosing Thanksgiving recipes to try... 
I have to wonder just what they were looking at here.  LOL

Misha married an incredible young man who is an officer in the US Navy.  They just recently became parents for the first time, but Jef has been stationed away and was not able to be with Misha for almost all of her pregnancy.  He was able to come ashore to watch his daughter's birth via skype.  (My how the world has changed.)  This separation has been very hard for both Misha and Jef, but soon they will be reunited.   

Around Christmastime, Misha was understandably feeling quite low.  It happened that Alina was home with us for Christmas and had one afternoon free of commitments.   She wanted to send Mish something handmade to help cheer her up, and decided to make a quilt for the new baby.  


A Quick Quilt in One Afternoon

What kind of quilt can a brand new quilter make in one afternoon, quilting and binding included?  Well, one with very large strips of fabric did the trick.  Misha's nursery theme was Travel, and I had a some Feather River fabrics from Birch Organics, which were just perfect.  Alina was able to complete the quilt and ship it off to Misha the very next morning.  Misha was delighted with the surprise and the quilt!

We used painter's tape as guidelines so that Alina could do wavy line quilting with the walking foot.  
We laughed a lot because she kept forgetting to move her hand as the quilting moved along and would end up sprawled across the table.

Ahh - there now... that's better.

A Quick Quilt for a Dear Little One
It's pretty amazing how nicely this turned out. We both could see a child having fun with imaginative play on these fabric designs.  The campground, trees, and river fabrics really lend themselves to this kind of quilt.

All set to ship!
Do you have any really quick baby and toddler quilt patterns that you turn to when you need something in a jiffy?  I tend to overthink baby quilts and this quilt showed me how nice it could turn out to sew something simple.

I feel warm and glowing inside just from thinking about Alina & Misha's friendship. We are very thankful that they found each other!   In fact, Alina just returned from spending a week out in California, helping Misha adjust smoothly to being a new mother.  

Thanks for visiting, because...

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Friday, May 8

Turn That Thing Down! – Low Volume Fabric & Invitation

This was fun to make!

What did you think when you first heard the words “low volume” used as a way to describe fabric? The first time I heard that phrase, it left me puzzled.  After a little more thought, it struck me as the perfect metaphor, because the first thing that came to my mind was "volume" as it relates to sound.  It is interesting how the word "tone" is also used to describe both color and sound.  Fabrics categorized as low volume usually have a more muted tone and therefore seem quieter.  When used in groups in a background, our eyes simply read them as solids, and we tend not to notice all the designs in the prints until we look closely. (Unless we are low volume fabric collectors, in which case we are eager to see what prints were used to create the effect.)

Even though the term “low volume” has come into use for quilting in recent years, quilters have always used softer prints in contrast with other fabrics.  So what do you think makes it so different nowadays?  After the last year of looking around Blogland and Pinterest at low volume quilts, I have come to the conclusion that the way low volume fabrics are used today really is something new under the sun.  I am no quilt historian though and welcome your thoughts on this. 

There seem to be two main ways low volume quilts are created:  
     Sometimes whole quilts are made in quiet colors, with no strong contrasts.  The effect is very soft and beautiful.  These quilts look quite different from the pastel quilts of the 80's and 90's. (See my Edit below.)
     The other way low volume quilts are made is to use these fabrics as a background, with bolder, more vivid fabrics taking center stage.  Often, today’s quilters are after almost a mixed media, collage type like look and they are very adventurous in their choices of what “goes” with other fabrics.  It’s really very exciting to see the artistic effect that using low volume fabrics gives to quilts. 

Manufacturers and retailers have recognized the trend and that is something to be delighted about!  I would like to give low volume quilting a try, so last autumn I began catching sales and building a stash.  There were too many great fabrics to choose from and I was not sure which way I wanted to take it.  I decided to make a quilt in vivid colors, with these fabrics used as a scrappy, collaged background.  (Is it still scrappy if the fabric doesn't come from scraps?) 

Here is what I've collected so far.  You can see that I started a bit dark and was restricting myself to creams and greys with black print.  Then, both literally and figuratively, my choices lightened up as I got more adventurous.  Now I need ideas for what to do with this stash.  

From left to right:  
Molly B's Studio Branches Cream - Marcus Brothers
Flutter - Leaves Silver Yardage by Alex Anderson for RJR Fabrics
3 Sisters Moda Etchings - Etched Scrolls in Slate
Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements Dictionary Neutral
Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements Symphony Neutral
Chantilly by Timeless Treasures - Medallion Geo Cream
Old Script Black - Michael Miller
Twilight Blooms by Wilmington Prints - Leaves All Over – Ivory
Baby Jane - Grey by Cosmo Cricket for Moda

From left to right:
Small daisies on grey – JoAnn Fabrics
Birds of a Feather Tossed Combs Grey by Kaye England for Wilmington Studios
Birds of a Feather Crescent Swirl Light Grey by Kaye England for Wilmington Studios
Camelot Cottons Day at the Zoo 31409 01 Cream Bark
Around Town by Terri Degenkolb of Whimsicals for Red Rooster Style 4383
Trail Mix Leaves in Cream by Bo Bunny for Riley Blake Designs
Moda Sweetwater - Boo Crew Monsters on Cream
Timeless Treasures Tres Jolie C2815 Cream Antique Safety Pins

Gatsby Tonal Swing Roaring 20' in Cream from Andover Fabrics
Sweet Life Fresh Linen Grey by Pat Sloan for Moda
Sugar Berry Dimity Dot by Eleanor Burns for Benartex
Minny Muu Fall 2014 Lecien - Caterpillars with words
Daysail tiny script white green text word by Bonnie and Camille for Moda
Winged - Flyaway Petalums in Sky by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics
Maker Makes - Draft Paper - Art Gallery Fabrics
Fun and Games Orange Maze for Riley Blake
Good Natured Dandelion by Marrin Sutton for Riley Blake
Maker Make the Cut Sharp Art Gallery Fabric
Ivory Kitten and Notes by Quilt Gate Dear Little World Collection


~The Invitation~

To collect ideas, I've started a Low Volume Quilt board on Pinterest, called "Turn That Thing Down"   If you would like to become a co-pinner and join me, we could make it a group board and share low volume quilts we love. Group boards are also a great way to get your pins seen by a lot more people and grow your own following.  I would love to send you an invite!   All you need to do is follow the TTTD board or follow me and then let me know you would like to play.  Go take a peek and let me know what you think. 

If you do become a co-pinner on this board, by all means invite other Quilty Pinners to pin too. As long as your friend follows either you or the board, you will be able to send them an invitation to join. Together we might create a great source of Low Volume inspiration!  

(Edit 5/9: Christine - of Quilting Stories - just pinned the most lovely antique quilt made roughly 100 years ago.  It shows us a perfect example of a low volume quilt in all soft and muted shades, and is made with shirtings.  Any modern quilter would be proud to have made it.  I look forward to seeing a lot more wonderful examples, both new and old.  Thank you to all the pinners for the great quilts you have shared so far!)

What are some of your favorite low volume quilt designs?  Feel free to link to your own website in these comments if you would like to share a project or your own stash of low volume fabrics.


Today is Sandra's day for Creative Space Tag! Make sure to go and visit Sandra's Diamond in the Rough - her space where she creates so much Quilty Wonderfulness!  

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