Sapphires and Emeralds

So I returned today from a quilting retreat. Thirteen of us spent the weekend eating too much, laughing too much, sleeping too little…….does life get any better???? Thanks, girls, for another fun time!

One of the projects I worked on was the X-Blocks quilt I’m calling ‘Sapphires and Emeralds’. The center is now assembled, and the pieced borders are also made (but I didn’t get a photo of those yet).

I also made progress on my Block of the Month; a tote I’m making for a gift exchange; a block for our raffle quilt; and I started one other project I hope to share soon…….took a walk at the State park, did some reading, had a massage…….Oh, and we solved all the world’s problems too – it was a very productive weekend!!!

On top of that, tonight I sewed a camouflage carrying bag for a pop-up deer decoy for my hubby – the things you get asked to make when you know how to sew!

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X-Blocks Quilt

I’m working on a new sample for the shop and retreat. “X-Blocks” is a technique by designer Patricia Pepe of Quilt Queen Designs. You start with strip sets or nine-patches, then use one of the X-Blocks rulers to cut your blocks. Sometimes the blocks are twisted or turned or flipped, and when you sew them all together, they create very cool designs!

I’m doing the “Venetian Tiles” pattern. But I’m using blues and greens and yellowy creams, so I’m calling mine “Sapphires and Emeralds”. Here are some of the nine patch blocks I have made so far – don’t you love the colors?

You can see more of the X-Blocks products I have available here.

Tuesday Tip – SID Machine Quilting Hint

SID is short for Stitch-in-the-Ditch. The “ditch”, in quilting terminology, is the seam line between two patches on the right side of your quilt top. When quilting the top, stitching in the ditch will make your patches stand out and give crisp and clean lines to the finished quilt.

When SIDing, the object is to have your quilting be as invisible as possible. Since seam allowances are generally pressed to one side, you sew on the ‘low’ side (the one the seam allowance is NOT lying under), as close to the seam line as you can. When the fabric relaxes after the quilting process, those stitches will lie somewhat underneath the ‘high’ fabric and hardly been seen.

The general thinking is to use a thread color that matches that low side fabric. Let’s say my ‘low’ side is black and my ‘high’ side is cream. Most people would use black thread to do the SID.

What I’ve found, however, is if I accidentally stitch up onto the ‘high’ side of the ditch, the contrasting thread is really obvious.

I now prefer using a thread color that matches the ‘high’ side. Since I’m sewing right next to the ‘high’ side, the lighter thread is not obvious on the dark ‘low side’ fabric. And if it does jump up on the ‘high’ side fabric for a few stitches, the mistake can hardly be seen.

Since you often have multiple fabric colors, or the low side of the ditch shifts from dark patches to light patches depending on how the seams were pressed, you won’t always be able to choose the ‘perfect’ thread color. And many people like to use invisible or monofilament thread to SID. But perhaps this will give you something to think about next time you choose thread for SIDing. Let me know if it works for you!

One Down, Two to Go

Last weekend was our local quilt show, the Watertown Quilt Festival. It seemed to go very well, and I was busy both days. So busy that I didn’t get out of the booth much to take photos. But I did get a few. Our theme this year was “Everything Old is New Again”, and Paula did a wonderful job decorating with antique pieces. Look how cute the stage was:

The two quilts in the background are ones the guild made to donate to various causes such as Make a Wish or charity fundraising auctions.

Our guild members did a mystery quilt for our spring retreat in May. About 25 people signed up to participate, and we had 14 finished mystery quilts in the show!! Good job, ladies!

Here are a few views of my booth:

These are the blocks that were entered into the block contest. They will be assembled into a top to create next year’s raffle quilt.

Our show is not judged, but we do have the attendees vote for their favorite quilt. This year’s Viewer’s Choice was a Bargello quilt by one of my customers, Renae. I was so happy for her, she did a beautiful job on the quilt. Here we both are with her ribbon-winning beauty…..and no, we did NOT plan to wear clothing that matched the quilt – it just worked out that way!

And here’s a closeup of some of the quilting:

That’s the last show for this year, now I just have a few quilting retreats coming up.

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