Monday, July 24, 2017

Social Quilting and the Lovely Bee Swarm

One of my goals this year has been to be social with my quilting. I have been looking for opportunities to connect with other quilters, participating in things like Quilts for Pulse and Quilts for Peace.

"49 Hearts" made for Quilts for Pulse
This quilt hangs at the Dallas Police Department in memory of the five officers lost on July 7, 2016. I made the two heart with stripes. Our neighbor and friend, who is an officer for our local country department donated the patches.
I've also met new quilty friends by participating in quilt alongs, where someone posts a pattern in steps and quilters from all over work on the same pattern together. Earlier this year, I finished Bonnie Hunter's En Provence Mystery quilt.

Locally, I made charity quilts with my church's quilting group. This quilt found a home in a Russian orphanage. 

I haven't participated in any swaps yet. I always seem to hear about them too late. But, I did get into an online quilting bee this year sponsored by Blossom Heart Quilts. My "swarm" is the Lovely Bee Swarm. Here are the blocks I've made so far this year. 

In addition to meeting a new group of quilters, it's been fun to dig into my stash and make blocks I might not have considered if not for this group. 

In August, it's my turn to be the queen bee! I chose the Abacus block in deep purples and lavenders. 

I'm so excited to receive happy mail when I get back from vacation. Before I left, I already received this block and goodies from one of my swarm members! So much pretty purple!!

Do you do any social quilting? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

You can see what else I'm up to on Instagram. Follow me at dejongdreamhouse.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

One Month Goal :: July 2017 Update

I did it! I did it! After a rough couple months on the goal front, I completed my July goal! I did give myself a good headstart, but I'm thrilled to have my 83rd quilt finished!

Celtic Midnight is an original pattern inspired by a perler bead template. Since I'm really on the ball, I've already written up a separate post about this quilt. I've already had multiple requests for the pattern, so it may be something I write up in more detail. 

Stay tuned to see how easy I'm being on myself in August!

Linked to:

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Grandma's Kitchen Quilt Along: #3: Key Holder

It's week 3 of Pat Sloan's weekly mystery quilt, Grandma's Kitchen, and I have a new block to share.

This week's block is called Key Holder. Pat shared her childhood fascination with her grandparent's key holder.

I have a vague memory that there was a key holder on the wall going down the stairs in my grandparents' house, but they lived in a teeny tiny town in Northern Minnesota where most people didn't lock doors.

(As a side note, despite the small size, Blackduck has an awesome quilt shop!)

The beauty of quilting is that even when a group of quilters are working on the same pattern, we still make our work our own. My quilt will be a collection of memories of my gramma: the small town where she raised her daughters, the trips she took, the hobbies she enjoyed, the people she loved. While following the pattern for the block, I chose my inspiration not from Gramma's key holder, but the one who held the key to her heart.

Gramma and Grampa were married for 62 years before he passed away in 2004. They met in high school and married during World War 2. Grampa Leo, whose nickname was Moose, was a game warden who often brought home animals to be nursed back to health before being returned to the wild. Together they enjoyed fishing, hunting, golfing, playing cards, and exploring their retirement home state of Arizona.

For this block, I used some Minnesota Shop Hop 2015 fabric I bought the last time I was in Minnesota, as well as some olive green/khaki fabric that reminds me of Grampa's conservation uniform. 

These mugs were made for his retirement. 

One of the last photos of Grampa, still wearing his uniform with pride. 

So far, the only fabric I've repeated is the white tonal background fabric.  The final pattern hasn't been revealed yet, but I have some ideas for pulling it together. 

Something fun happened while I was making this block. There was a tap on the window of my sewing room. I looked up and saw this goldfinch watching me. He sat there for quite awhile chirping at me. I picked up my phone to take a picture and I swear it posed for me!

Previous blocks:
#1: The Kitchen Table
#2: Sticky Buns
#4: Half a Modern
#5: Glasses & Cups
#11: Peppermint Swirls
#12: Kitchen Door
#13: Sunday Dinner
#14: Salt & Pepper Shakers
#15: Games Shows & Soaps
If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me on Instagram at de Jong Dream House.

Linked to:
Grandma's Kitchen Linky Up @ Pat Sloan (#111)
Let's Bee Social #186 @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the River
Main Crush Monday #80 @ Cooking Up Quilts
Monday Making @ Love Laugh Quilt
Finished or Not Friday @ Busy Hands Quilts
Midweek Makers #81 @ Quilt Fabrication
Moving It Forward @ Em's Scrapbag
Off the Wall Friday @ Nina Marie
Oh Scrap! @ Quilting is More Fun Thank Housework
Show Off Saturday @ Sew Can She
Wednesday Wait Loss @ The Inspiring Quilter
Whoop Whoop Friday @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict
WIPs on Wednesdays @ Esther's Blog

Monday, July 10, 2017

#83 Celtic Midnight

Awhile back, my SIL asked me if I would make a quilt for a friend who has really helped her a lot over the last few years as she has been dealing with some health issues. As someone who lives with a brain injury, I understand the depth of gratitude one has for those who help instead of fade away. 

When I asked her what kind of quilt her friend might like, she said her favorite colors were black and gray, and sent me a picture of the tattoo she has.

I was told that the tattoo is a family tattoo. The Irish coach we hosted a few weeks ago told me that "family tattoo" could mean family in the tradition sense of parents and children, but it could also mean that it is the recognized knot for a particular family name. Both Eimer and I spent entirely too much time looking for the name of his knot with no luck. Now, sometimes, when I want to make a quilt, the idea materializes immediately and I know exactly what I want to do and how it can be made. And other times, my brain just doesn't seem to cooperate and I have complete mental block.

I still think I could translate this design into an angular version, but time's a-wasting and I wanted to be sure I had enough time to finish the quilt before we left for the Netherlands.

I did find this Celtic knot as a perler bead pattern by tacobell105527 on

(I saw the same pattern in a different colorway on Kandi Patterns. Both were posted in 2014, but I don't know which was first).

Fortunately for me, Ingrid like the pattern and told me to run with it! I recreated the pattern in EQ7 so I could get fabric yardages. I also added the corner sections.

I had a lot of fun playing around with the colors on this one. I'm keeping this Irish flag version in my back pocket as a possible quilt to make after we return from Ireland.

I made the quilt using Pellon 445JAS fusible interfacing for quick assembly. I may do the Irish one with pieced strips to see how much time that takes in comparison. But to give you an idea of how quickly it went together. I made the first block on June 28 and finished the binding on July 7, so nine days sewing a few hours a day. Not bad for a quilt that looks complicated!

The only tricky part about quilt assembly was making sure I kept my template in the same direction. I marked the top left side, which made it easy to adjust it as the paper got moved around as I worked. 

I also made sure that I measured after every row to make sure my squares were 2". It saved a lot of time when I only had to rip out one row to make adjustments rather than discovering inconsistencies when the whole block was done. 

Ironing seams open is my least favorite part of making quilts this way, but it went pretty well this time.

Fun fact: I almost always wear my hair in a ponytail. I don't like hair in my face. Because my hairstyle is very simple and my hair is very healthy, I rarely get it cut. While I was making the quilt, it was starting to bother me and the grays were annoying me--the grow only on my hairline, which means that a pony tail is probably the worst way I could style my hair if I want to hide the grays. A few weeks back, I learned that the beauty college where I have gotten my hair cut in recent years closed suddenly. It took me a bit to decide on a new place, another beauty school where I could get a cut and color, hour massage and 30 minute facial for less than $100. God bless students! It's a little a shorter than I planned, but I love the purple. And I learned that quilts-in-progress make great backgrounds for selfies. 

I love my Pfaff Expression 4.2 for piecing. So much that I bought another Pfaff for my travel machine (a Passport 3.0) But I really, really REALLY want a BabyLock Coronet for quilting. I've played on one several times and love how intuitive it is. My local dealer knows I am saving my pennies. I'm hoping he will let me rent some time on it while I'm saving. Niels and I agreed that I should save up for it and pay for it in cash rather than financing because we have other big expenses. Darn, I hate when he makes sense. So, in the meantime, I used a spiral to quilt this quilt. 

My binding continues to improve. I only had to fix 2 spots this time!

Since this quilt is going to someone in the Netherlands, I used Dutch for the label. It says, "Give with appreciation for Jolanda from Ingrid de Jong. Made by Jen de Jong of" The font is called Paul's Celtic Font. The center of the capital "O" is the design of Jolanda's tattoo! I worked a little editing magic to include it on the label.

To see more pictures of this quilt in progress, look for #CelticMidnight on Instagram.  If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me at de Jong Dream House.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Grandma's Kitchen Quilt Along: #2: Sticky Buns

I'm continuing to share my progress with Pat Sloan's weekly mystery quilt, Grandma's Kitchen.

This week's block is called Sticky Buns. Pat was inspired by a favorite treat her grandma made.

I didn't spend a lot of mornings with Gramma Ann because she lived three hours away when I was growing up and at least 3 states away when I was an adult. Still, warm rolls for breakfast reminds me of sleeping in and a lazy breakfast in pajamas. Maybe because when I visited Gramma, it was usually a holiday or vacation when we had time for leisurely meals. Gramma loved leopard print. In her 91 years she had more than a few leopard print nighties and PJs.

For this block, I used one of Gramma's leopard skin shirts as the main print. The coordinating print has a filigree pattern, which is very feminine, like my Gramma, a former Avon lady who was quite a knockout in her day.

My aunt sent me this picture of Gramma with more leopard skin attire. She even had a leopard skin cane in her final years! I asked my aunt why Gramma liked leopard so much and she said, "I don't know. Maybe because Grampa did." Va va voom, Gramma!

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