Thursday, January 08, 2015

New Projects

Doing a quick post today, as I'm busy getting ready to go to a quilt retreat this weekend.

I teased you, in my last post, with mention of a new project that isn't a quilt.  I'm learning a new instrument!  This is my Christmas present:

My darling husband gave me a soprano ukulele!  I've been intrigued with ukes for a while now, and thought that just maybe I could play one.  I played violin when I was in elementary school, and never got any good at it.  Then I found piano, and I've been happy with that ever since.  I don't play really well, or often enough any more, but I love my piano.  So I don't know know why I wanted the uke, but I'm so happy I have one!  There is something about a ukulele that just makes people smile. 

My DS The Kid plays guitar, but I couldn't wrap my fingers around that guitar neck and hold down a string.  My hand fits the uke, and I'm getting a little better at doing the strings.  I can now play the "Happy Birthday" song and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" - both veeeerrrry slowly!  I'm not good at changing chords yet.  But I'm managing to get in at least 30 minutes of practice a day, so am slowly making progress.  It makes me happy.  And I'd like to say a big "Thanks!" to the internets for on-line classes and help.  It's just amazing how much is out there!

I have also started a new project, just for the retreat I'm going on.  I'm taking one older project that needs some machine applique done on it.  I find the process of machine applique very boring, so doing it in a group setting should help.  My new project came from the latest issue of McCall's "America Loves Scrap Quilts" magazine.  

I'm actually using the same colors of fabrics.

I've always loved turquoise and lime together, and also graphic black and white prints, so I shopped my stash for everything I need for this quilt!  Yay!  I may need more fabrics for borders or binding, but that will come later.  I like this pattern so much I might even be able to do it like the pattern calls for!  We'll see how I do with that.  So, I've been furiously ironing and cutting fabric for a few days now. It's nice to cut into some yardage - I hardly ever do that anymore.  Some of these fabrics are pretty old, although there are some newer ones in the mix too.  And I'm even throwing in some of my hand-dyed fabrics.  I find a new project so exciting!  

Here are some potholders I made back before Thanksgiving, and I don't think I ever showed them on the blog.  I haven't been using them since T-Day - I want them to stay nice for awhile!  I made these with some 3 inch string blocks.  These make me smile every time I see them.

I hope you have a fun weekend, and get to do some stitching!  See ya on the other side!

Sunday, January 04, 2015

And another one begins . . . .

. . . a New Year, that is.  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.  We had a great time here and we did some fun things.  I did manage to (mostly) maintain my serenity.  I didn't do much sewing this year.  I made 2 pillowcases is all, and I totally forgot to take a photo of them.

Got to see the granddaughters in their ballet school's selections of The Nutcracker.  They did so well - they're both becoming very good dancers, and they seem to really enjoy dancing.

Our youngest joined us here for Christmas Eve dinner and opening presents and then we all went over to our oldest's house for Christmas Day for dinner and fun.

This past Tuesday we went to see the very last Hobbit movie.  I'm sad that there will probably never be another one - I've really loved those movies.

Now the holidays are over, the decorations and the Christmas quilts are put away for another year, the cookies are almost all eaten, and it's back to the everyday stuff.  Which is a good thing, because it means more time for sewing!  

I have one more quilt to show you from 2014.  It was actually started a few years ago, but it finally got finished.

Harvest Home
56 x 63 inches
Another simple 4-patch, made with 2 charm packs and companion fabrics.  (This isn't  the best photo - the quilt is not so yellow in Real Life, it's a tan.)  I'm not thrilled with it, and it's not my colors anymore.  But it's DONE and that's the best part! It's even gotten its label. 

As I look back through my blog in 2014, I find that I've finished up 8 older WIPs (works in progress) this year.  Yay!  My goal for 2014 was to finish up some old  projects, and frankly, I'm surprised at how many I got done!  I'd call that a win!  

In an effort to continue finishing some of my old WIPs, I'm still plugging along on the Mystery Quilt from the year 2000.  I'm getting tired of it - it has about a million units - but I refuse to get stalled on it again.  I WILL finish this quilt this time!

more flying geese etc.
I've made all the rest of the flying geese (in different colors from the F.G. on my previous post) and the strips I showed in the previous post have all been sewn.  This is not how they'll go together, but I like this arrangement of the strips.  I need to remember this for later!  This could be fun in another quilt.

final arrangement of the strips
Now all the strips are sewn into their two final configurations, and it's time to sew all the flying geese into their final configuration too.  It's hard to tell from this photo, but the same strips are sewn together two different ways.  I'm not sure how they'll go into the final layout of the quilt.  I'm on step 5 of 6 steps - getting close now!

I ended up making an even dozen of the Block Lotto blocks for December.

Here are 12 Big-O blocks that finish at 7 inches.  And I was one of the winners of the Block Lotto for December, so I'll end up with 48 of these blocks.  Enough for a quilt.  Yay!

I've gotten 2 blocks made, so far, for the Block Lotto for January.

A Double 9-Patch block in black and white. Such a classic block, but there's a minor twist in the choice of fabrics.  Either a black with white print or a white with black print, but the same layout of where the black and white go.  Interesting, no?  I hope to get another couple done this month.

That's all for now.  I hope to be back soon, and I'll show you some of the exciting presents I got for Christmas.  I've got a new project, and it's not a quilt!

I hope you have a creative week!

p.s. Don't miss Audrey's (of Quilty Folk blog) posts on Scrap Quilts here and here.  She has some great things to say and she illustrates what she's saying very well!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Ready or Not . . .

. . . the holidays are coming!  Are you ready?  I think I'm mostly ready.  Well, except for wrapping the presents, finishing the few Christmas cards left and baking two batches of cookies.  That's close though, don't you think?  I'm trying to maintain serenity.  (Yeah, right.)

Christmas Spools
17 x 21 inches

Just to add some Christmas cheer to my blog, here's an "oldie but a goodie" that I've put up every year since I made it.  This was made sometime between 1986 and 1990.  (Bad quilter - didn't put on a label)  It definitely has '80's fabrics in there!  I was inspired to make this by a sample in the window of my favorite quilt shop at that time "Going to Pieces" in Pleasanton, California.  I just fell in love with that little quilt, so I went home and copied it from memory.  No pattern.  And I made mitered corners on those spools!   And hand-quilted.  I still love it!

Here is the first half of the flying geese I need to make for the mystery quilt I'm working on.  I couldn't even get them all in the photo!  And sorry for the crummy picture - it doesn't work too well to take pix at night.  I need to make this many again, only in different colors.  I'm not sure how big these units are, but over on the left there are 2 of my Block Lotto blocks for this month and they are 7 inch blocks.

Here are some more mystery quilt units that I've been working on.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but that is a rusty red and a black-ish brown.  This quilt will be autumn colors.  Nothing is hard sewing, but there is lots and lots of pieces and units.

I bought the Paperweights pattern from Karen Griska (of the Selvage Blog) on her Etsy store.  I'm making a little test sample quiltlet to see how well the fusible I'm using will work.  I think this will be cute!  

We had a deer visitor again yesterday.  This deer used to come around with his mama and sibling, and now he's on his own.  (really, I don't know if it's a "he" - I just call him that).  He's still young.  This spring's baby, I think.  But there he was lying in the yard, and he stayed that way for at least 20 minutes.  My picture-taking (through the kitchen window) didn't seem to bother him at all.  He watched me as much as I watched him!  Then he just got up and sauntered off.

Good luck with your last-minute holiday preparations!  I hope you get a few minutes to do some sewing or quilting.  I'm going to go sew with friends this afternoon!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Vintage Eye Candy

I've been sewing and sewing, but since I'm only making parts and pieces so far, there are no photos to share with you.  So, since I'm sorely lacking in any good blog material, I thought I would share some pictures of vintage quilts with you.  Unfortunately, in the case of these quilts, I didn't manage to get a photo of the entire quilt, but I got some closeups, mostly because I love looking at all the vintage fabrics!  I hope you'll enjoy them too.

These quilts were in the bed turning in our local quilt show in October.  If you don't know what a bed turning is, I'll explain.  When I first came to the Pacific Northwest, I'd never heard of a bed turning.  I had visions of putting a bed with wheels in the middle of the floor and turning it all around.  To perhaps view a quilt on the bed from all angles?  *giggle*  I had no idea!  I'd never heard of or seen a bed turning in California, but I've seen them done at a lot of the quilt shows in this area.  Do you ever see them where you live?  I'm just curious.

Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt

How a bed turning is done:  First, you take all the quilts and layer them on the bed.  Then the audience sits on chairs placed around the bed while one person reads the story about the quilt (from the owner or maker of the quilt) while two other people (the "holders") hold up the top edge of the quilt to show it to all the viewers.  Then the holders "turn down" or fold the quilt down to the foot of the bed to expose the next quilt in the pile.

GFG closeup

Usually the quilts tend to be antiques or vintage but this year our theme was "quilts with stories".  Because, really, isn't that what we all want to know?  Who's grandma made it, where and when did they live, or did you find this for an incredible price at Goodwill or a yard sale?  Whatever your story was, we wanted to know.

sorry about the shadow

I love these bright fabrics, and the rather random placement of some of them.  Fun!

Isn't that misplaced polka dot fun?

We had a lot of people come to watch the bed turning, which we had 3 times a day during the quilt show.  There were a lot of people who didn't know what a bed turning was, but they came out of curiosity and just loved the little show!   There was a lot of comments and interaction between the audience and the reader and "holders" and that was fun.  No one else wanted to be the reader so I usually read the stories, which meant that I didn't get to see the quilts very well.  The last showing on the last day, I had someone else read the stories and I was a "holder".  I took these photos as we were folding up the quilts after the show.

quilt with string blocks

This was an interesting quilt.  It was found at a garage sale a few years ago.  It has another quilt inside of it!  In places you could kind of see another pattern through the top fabrics, and there were some fabrics where you could see some printing, which I think must have been feed sacks.  This quilt was very heavy!

string stars

This quilt is owned by the same person as the other string quilt above, and was also purchased at the same garage sale.  It also has another quilt inside!  I'm guessing both quilts were made by the same quilter.  This quilt was a little more used and there were a couple of spots that were coming unstitched so that I could peek inside.  I could see another quilt inside that was pieced and quilted, but quite worn out.   Both of these string quilts were the ultimate in scrap quilting!

By the way, the oldest quilt in our bed turning this year was a top, purportedly made by the mother or grandmother of Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame.  It had been passed down in the family for many generations.  It was very thin and frail fabrics, and it was believable (to me) that it just possibly could have been from the late 1700's.  It was a pieced pattern (all by hand, of course) in burgundy and white solid fabrics.  Dumb me, I didn't get a picture!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

What's Up

I've been busy around here. November is a crazy month for us here.  There are 3 family birthdays in one week - me and both of my kids!  We've had major windstorms and power outages, unseasonably freezing weather (twice in November!) and we also do Turkey Day.  And my dear husband was gone for 2 weeks to China on business, arriving home the day before T-Day.  Whew!

I think I'm finally recovered from hosting Thanksgiving!  We had the whole family here, except for my niece, who's in Vermont.  10 people.  It was crazy but fun, and all the food was soooo good.  Probably too good, if you know what I mean.  But, the house is cleaned up, most of the food is gone/eaten and I'm rested up - now I get to sew!

Here's what I've been working on:

One Big-O block

My first Block Lotto block for the December Lotto drawing.  Easy-peasy and fun.  I made a mistake in measuring a pillowcase and had to cut some off.  This was made from what I cut off.  Now to make 11 more!  Dark background (in this case black) and quilter's choice for the other fabric.

9 Easy X blocks
Here are my blocks I made for the November Block Lotto drawing.  I didn't win. *pout*  But that's OK.  There's always the next month!  These were also easy and fun.  Jewel tones and black.  I always love that combo.

I finally got around to finishing a couple of pillowcases for my youngest son's host "mom" in Spain.  It was taken me an embarassingly long time to get these done.  There was internets research and learning opportunities involved in this process.  It turns out that Spanish bed pillows are quite different from what we have here in the U.S.A.  And they're different sizes depending on the bed they are on too.  And, it also involved translating centimeters to inches.  (Maths)  So I had to guess, especially when I misplaced my measuring tape.  Then when I found it I discovered that there is centimeters on the "other" side!  Which is why I ended up cutting off some fabric - one pillowcase came out way longer that the other one.  Now they're the same.  Not saying they're the right size - but they are consistent.  The host mom really got a kick out of my son's pillowcases he took with him (we both travel with our own pillows and I make all his pillowcases in fun fabrics), so I thought she might like a couple too.  This ended up being much more involved than I ever would have guessed, but I really hope they fit and that she likes them!

B's Scrappy Trips

This past summer, I taught a workshop on Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trips pattern to my guild.  They had a lot of fun doing those blocks!  Some of the ladies actually got their quilt finished in time for our quilt show this year.  (not me, though)  So I thought you might like to see how well they did.  I think the quilts came out great!

B's quilt is so bright and cheery!  I love blue and yellow together.

J's Scrappy Trips

J. used a Jelly Roll of Minick and Simpson fabrics.  I love all those rich reds!

M's Scrappy Trips

M. used a jelly roll.  She chose to use black sashing in her quilt.

Right now I'm in the midst of working on a mystery quilt from the year 2000.  I think it may have aged enough by now to get finished.  It's going to be a twin size, and hoo boy, it's taking me a while.  There are about a million units to this one!  No real block, per se, just lots of units to form an over-all design.  Yes, I cheated and looked at the last clue already.  I started running out of fabric and had to substitute, so I wanted to know if that would work.  Fortunately, I started this out doing scrappy so throwing in another couple of fabrics isn't the end of the world.  I'm on Step 4 of 6.  No photos yet.  Soon, hopefully.  Next up is sewing a few thousand flying geese units.  Well, it feels like a few thousand of them!

The cats were playing the other night, and I tried to take a photo of them because they were so cute.  But, the flash didn't come out like I thought it would.  

Cat headlights.  Dunkel has his regular beams on and Shade has his high beams on!  hee hee!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mod 9-Patch - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Welcome to my blog, if you've come over here from the Blogger's Quilt Festival!  And welcome back to my regular readers.  I'm so happy you're here!

First of all, I'd like to send a huge THANKS! to Amy for all her hard work in getting this on-line Quilt Festival underway, with great sponsors and awesome prizes too.  The Festival is my favorite on-line event of the year.  Where else can you see hundreds of quilts all while in your jammies with your fave beverage?  It's available any time you want to visit, all without miles of walking and no crowded parking lots - just lots of quilts!  And I get to meet new-to-me quilters and make new friends.  I love it!

Here is my first entry in the BQF this time:

Mod 9-Patch: Comma Musings
65 x 77 inches
Entered in the Modern category

This was my first real foray into making a Modern quilt.  I found the Comma by Zen Chic line of charm squares and fell in love with them.  I adore fabrics that have text on them!  It took me awhile to decide what the best pattern would be to use these particular charms.  And then I remembered seeing the Modernized Disappearing Nine Patch tutorial over on Kristy Daum's St. Louis Folk Victorian blog. Her tute was so easy to understand and follow.  I'm just thrilled at how great this came out!

I had fun playing with the blocks for the Modernized Disappearing Nine-Patch.  I was looking for a way to stretch the two packs of charm squares to get a bigger quilt, and this design fit the bill.  There's lots of open space in the blocks.  I used a kind-of-silvery grey solid for background - I didn't want to overwhelm the prints.  I'm really happy with the grey.  Most of the 9-patches use only 4 squares of the print fabric, which worked out great with the packs of charm squares.  I actually had enough charms to do 2 or 3 blocks that used 5 of the charms, just for a little extra variety.  That's one of the fun parts of the MD9P pattern - there's room for some improvisation of your own in the individual block design.

My long-armer Shari and I worked out the best quilting design for this quilt.  I actually found this pattern on Pinterest, and sent Shari the link to the photo.  Shari then free-hand quilted the pattern.  My usual choice is a curvy quilting pattern over a geometric pieced pattern, but I think this design fits this quilt well.  I think the quilting and the fabric work really well together to give a "modern" vibe to the quilt.

I put that ubiquitous IKEA "number" fabric on the back.  Again, text on fabric!  It makes my heart happy.

I did a piped binding (edited to add: technically a flange, as it has no filling) on this quilt, because I thought it needed that little pop of color out on the edge.  This is the first quilt I've ever tried this on and was a little worried about how easy the technique would be.  It was so easy!  I even got all 4 corners perfect, which never happens for me.  I'm ready to do this type of binding again, because it was so quick and easy.

You may have noticed what appears to be a ribbon on the quilt in the top photo. Here is a close-up of that Participation Ribbon from the quilt show.  Every quilt entered received a ribbon, all of them made by Judy, our featured quilter.  Isn't it sweet?  Even though I didn't win any awards, this quilt is a winner in my book.  It came out exactly like I wanted it to!

Buttoned Up - The Blogger's Quilt Festival

Welcome to my little blog, if you've come over from the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  And welcome back, if you are one of my regular visitors.  I'm glad you stopped by!

First, a big Thank You to Amy for hosting the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  It's my favorite on-line event of the year!

Here is my second entry in the BQF this autumn:

Buttoned Up
52 x 68 inches
Entered in the Small Quilt category

This quilt was a long-term project - that was never meant to be long-term!  I started this quilt about 20 years ago (to the best of my poor memory).  I intended this to be a cuddle quilt for the love seat in the family room, which was upholstered in pillow ticking.  Well, when we moved 7 years ago, I had to pack up my entire quilt studio.  I put all my projects in under-the-bed plastic bins.  Long story short, I actually lost this quilt! 

somehow, all those buttons remind me of polka dots!
The top was all put together, the inner border was sewn on, and then I put this aside for some reason.  I had put this in a tote bag before I put it in the plastic bin for moving, along with the chambray fabric for the border.  Well, when I unpacked my quilt studio, I just kept everything in the bins because I have no room to get everything out.  You need to realize that I have 10 bins full of unfinished projects. *blush*  Well, I never saw this again, because it was hiding in that tote bag.

Eventually (last year, actually) I thought "Gee, don't I have some chambray fabric somewhere?"  I had a thought of what to use it for.  So, I dug through all those plastic bins and ran across the tote bag.  When I looked in there I said "Aha! There's that chambray fabric!"  And pulled it out.  Only to discover the quilt top!  I had completely forgotten about it.  (See?  There's that poor memory again.)  Now, I can't remember why I was looking for that chambray fabric!

So I got the borders on, and sent it to my long-armer Shari to get it quilted up for me.  And I've been sewing all those buttons on for months.  I sprained my wrist in mid-July this year, and that really put me behind.  It was too painful to sew for very long at a time.  But I really wanted this done in time for my guild's quilt show in early October.

It's finally finished!  I got it done in time to go in the quilt show.  I actually sewed on the very last button the night before I had to turn in the quilt.  Nothing like the last minute, eh?  I no longer have the love seat that it was supposed to go on, but now the quilt is done and will be the cuddle quilt in the family room.

I used a pattern in a book I have called "Better Homes and Gardens: Quilts To Make For Kids" (published in 1991).  I used actual pillow ticking for the "woven" blocks in the top.  I used some bright jewel tone fabrics that were so popular in the '90's for the inner border.  And I bought buttons to match those colors to put on the top.  One problem though - I never counted how many buttons I would need to do every intersection on the top!  So, I have been buying more buttons at various stores.  Did you know that button colors change over the years?  I cannot find that particular fuchsia (a vivid purplish-red color, like the flowers) color of buttons anymore!  Dark pink, yes, but not fuchsia.  Just thought you might like to know that. *grin*

Anyway, I managed to find a little more of those bright jewel tone fabrics still hiding in my stash.  So I used them for part of the binding, and I even had enough to put some on the back of the quilt!  I used embroidery floss for putting on the buttons, matching the color of the floss to the button color.  I sewed though the quilt a couple of times, then tied the floss off, leaving short tails of the floss.

I was asked at the quilt show if I got dizzy putting this quilt together, because of all the stripes.  I really didn't have a problem with it.  The digital camera doesn't like focusing on the stripes - they seem to vibrate in the photos - but they're not as bad when you're up close to them. 

To my surprise, this quilt won 3rd place for People's Choice at the quilt show!  I love this quilt, and I'm so glad to finally have it finished!

Enjoy the BQF!  And I hope you'll come back to visit my blog again!