Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Quilt for Dee

My minigroup, the Stitching Sisters, have been meeting for breakfast every Weds. morning for a very long time.  We have been meeting at the same coffee shop since forever it seems like and our server is a doll, very attentive and knows us all so well.

Last week she announced she would be leaving to go work at Costco (good for her!  better pay, though no tips, and benefits!).  We will miss her greatly and decided to give her a quilt.  Rather than try to make one and quilt it in one week, we gave her one I had made some time ago.  We just added a new label, personalized for her.

Today was our last day with her, so we gave her the quilt at breakfast.  Here she is, posing with her quilt:

Fortuitously, it turns out she LOVES green!  Not only that, her 'honey' was at the restaurant this morning and he came over and admitted that when traveling, he tends to buy quilts, esp. antiques.  So we know this one went to a good home where it will be loved (and hopefully used).

Warm fuzzy feelings for her and us!  What a great morning!

To add to the goodness of the day, I saw my surgeon today for another follow up appointment, and he says I've healed nicely and don't need to see him again for four months!  Yay!  I'm allowed to lift more than 10 lbs. now, so I am free to take my sewing machine to sew-ins and classes when I want to. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Refreshing My Quilting Mojo

It's been a while since I posted on the blog, and a while since I've done much in the way of quilting.  Oh, a bit here and there, but nothing major.  Life's been busy lately it seems like though looking back, I can't put my finger on a lot of events.

I did have surgery in August, with orders from my doctor not to lift anything over 10 lbs.  I couldn't even lift and carry my kitties, so moving a sewing machine around was just clearly out of the picture.  I did a bit of sewing here and there on the machine set up in my studio, but I couldn't do any sewing in classes or at open sew-ins with my mini-group.  I did some handwork, making a hexagon pincushion and doing a bit of embroidery, but for the most part, my work kind of stalled out. 

I had signed up for my guild's retreat back in May, and the retreat was last weekend.  I was determined to go and take my machine and my huge case of threads so I could work on my machine applique blocks.  I spent the last two weeks fusing like a madwoman so I'd have blocks ready for edge-stitching.  I had my husband load up the car and I unloaded it myself when I got to the retreat.  It doesn't feel like I damaged anything inside by lifting the machine and thread out of the car, so I hope I'm alright.  I still haven't got clearance from my surgeon to lift things after all. 

I sewed all weekend like a madwoman, starting Thursday afternoon and not finishing up until Saturday night.  I did accomplish a lot, and am proud of my accomplishment.  I managed to load up the car again when it was time to go home, and then feigned weakness when I got home and got my husband to unload the car for me *snicker*. 

Here are some pictures of the pillow I made and the blocks I finished:

Autumn Joy - two blocks finished and sewn together (a BOM)
Woodland Creatures BOM - Fox and Shrew

Woodland Creatures BOM - mother possum with her 3 babies
Raven and Pumpkin pillow (A Thimblecreek design)
Blue Dragon for my fantasy quilt

Castle and Unicorn for my fantasy quilt

Gold Dragon for fantasy quilt

Green dragon for the fantasy quilt

Gryphon for the fantasy quilt

Purple dragon for the fantasy quilt (color doesn't show properly, but he IS purple)

Red dragon for the fantasy quilt

Wizard for the fantasy quilt

All these blocks are stitched with a tiny blanket stitch with matching thread on each motif.  It was a challenge to get it all done before the end of retreat, but I finished up on Saturday evening. 

The rest of  that night, I worked on the binding of another quilt (picture not yet taken).  This quilt was a 5 or 6 year old mystery quilt that I never finished up.  It hasn't got a label yet, but the binding is done and on!  Not sure what I'm even going to do with this one, as it is octagonal and needs to go on a round table, but my dining table is rectangular.  Perhaps I will save it as a gift for the right person sometime in the future.  In the meantime, it is at least done. 

I feel like I could do more sewing now.  I've got about 25 quilts that need backs so they can get quilted.  Perhaps I can start working on making backs soon.  I am obviously up to the challenge of manipulating the quilts to measure them, so that is what I should do.

I was also planning on making a Shakespeare in the Park quilt (google it and click on 'images' to see what I'm talking about) - an incredibly beautiful but challenging quilt.  Perhaps I will start that soon, too. 

I'm kind of torn as to what to do next.  But that's a good thing!  Better to be in a quandary over WHAT to do, than WHETHER to do anything at all. 

Happy quilting to you all... may you never lose your quilting mojo and if you do, may you find it again quickly! 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Using up Stash

I always feel a sense of accomplishment mixed with a little sadness when I make a quilt that uses up some of my stash.  I'm happy to reduce the amount of fabric lining my shelves.  That's a good thing.  Really.  At the same time, when I finish off a piece of fabric, I always get this niggling little thought of 'what if I need that exact fabric in the future?'

I have to continually fight this feeling when I make a quilt from stash, because truly, there will always be something similar or the same on the market in the future.  I have to get over that contrary need to hoard my stash.

In this effort, I have finally made a stash quilt that didn't leave me feeling a little sad.  Maybe because it isn't made from colors I tend to feel territorial about.  Made mostly from beiges, creams, yellows and peaches, it definitely came from a portion of my stash I don't feel proprietary with.

This is the quilt I made from stash.  Even the bright orange pumpkins which are bamboo felt rather than cotton (used because I am allergic to wool - though I would have preferred a more subtle color of wool for those pumpkins) were leftovers from another quilt.  The only piece I bought for the quilt was the outer border (the beige leaf fabric).  I couldn't find anything in my stash that worked for that final element of the quilt, and even Stashbusters allows border and backgrounds to be purchased, asking us only to use the rest of the fabrics from our stash.  So, that said, all the background as well as quilt elements were made from stash on this one.

I was actually a little surprised I found so many beiges, creams and yellows in my stash that all blended and worked together so well. 

The quilting was done by Stovers, who did an excellent job highlighting the Autumn theme of the quilt.

Now I just need to figure out what to do with it.  I'd like to hang it in the fall, but I don't have a large enough wall.

I am working on two block-of-the-month projects, one by mail, one at my LQS.  Time to plan another quilt I can make from my stash.

Here's a couple of the latest BOM projects as works in progress:

This is the apple basket block from 'Autumn Joy'  

and the bunny block from Woodland Creatures.

I don't have to worry about using stash or not on any of these, as the fabrics are provided with the patterns each month.  Just have to get them done.

However, right now it's too hot to think much about quilting.  100+ degrees is definitely NOT quilting weather.  And the humidity is killer, making it seem much hotter than it is, even.  Hope it's cooler wherever you are.

Happy quilting, y'all, and use that stash!!!  It's uplifting!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Finishing Touches

Finally done with Midnight Garden, a sampler quilt I began as a block of the month some two years or so ago in a class.  Got the binding and sleeve on in the past two days, and it's ready for the county fair. 

Done in my favorite colors of purple green and orange.  I have another quilt for the fair as well, but I didn't get the binding on in time, so it will have to wait for next year.  I will be putting one of my kimono quilts into the fair this year also.  Since the brightly coloured one is hanging in the local quilt shop, I will put in the indigo kimono quilt, though I'm not quite happy with the cherry blossom embellishments.

I may also put my wolf quilt in, but only if it can go in a different category from the kimonos.  I will have to check on that before I make a decision.

Tomorrow I have to run the quilts out to the fair.  I will take my husband with me to share the drive.  It will be a fun day regardless of the looming deadline.  I hate deadlines.  

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

I drove up to Sisters Oregon for the quilt show the whole town puts on every July.  I came up with two dear friends, Debbie and Marlyn.  We spent our first night in Redding, CA on our way up, and arrived in Bend the afternoon before the show.  We visited a couple of quilt shops in Bend, then returned to the hotel.  I was very good and didn't buy any fabric.

After a relaxing evening, we woke early and drove to Sisters at 5:30 am.  We had an early breakfast at the Ski Inn in Sisters, then relaxed in the car a bit while they hung the quilts around town.  Finally we walked up and down the main street, Cascade Ave.  I separated from them for a bit to walk to the town library to meet up with other Stashbusters.  That was wonderful to put faces to names and meet all the lovely ladies.  We had a nice chat, took a group photo, then split up again to view more quilts.  I met up with my friends for lunch at the Agave Grill.  Lunch was yummy and we drove to the other end of town to visit the quilt store, which had been too crowded to get into in the morning.  The Stitchin' Post was a very nice quilt shop with a lot of cute things, but I was very good and didn't buy anything except a tote bag with the logo of the Sisters Quilt Show on it.

We decided we were tuckered out and headed back to our hotel in Bend.  On the way, Debbie spotted a sign that read 'Quilter's Sale' on the side of the road.  We decided to check it out and found a lovely and sweet lady who was selling off her collection of kits and fabrics and machines and miscellany from the B&B from which she used to run quilt retreats.  I made my first real purchases of the trip - a kit to make a dragon quilt and a couple of pieces of fabric, all at great savings.

We got back on the road to Bend, visited Bend's third, and final, quilt shop before returning to our hotel.  We've been watching movies and relaxing, since then, recovering from the long walk this morning. 

Tomorrow we visit the Quilt Expo in Redmond, Or, a new show the same weekend as the Sisters show, except it is an indoor show with vendors.  We'll spend one more night in Bend before heading home, again stopping in Redding, CA on the way.

I love the Marriott in Redding because they have a hotel cat named Jack, who makes me feel more at home and miss my own kitties a little less.

I have been having a glorious time, traveling and chatting with my friends along the way, and we have been great support for each other not buying unnecessary things, though I did buy a little gift for my secret pal in one of the cute little gift shops in Sisters.  At least I haven't bought a bunch of unnecessary fabric... and believe me when I say there was a lot of fabric that we saw that I REALLY wanted!!!  I was strong and resisted...  Hopefully I will be as strong when we hit the vendor's booths tomorrow at the show in Redmond!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Love that Aurifil Thread!!! part 2

So, someone asked for pics of all that Aurifil thread.  I couldn't even fit all 6 drawers of thread into a single picture, but I did take a couple of pics of the box and the drawers.
 This is the box, all closed up and waiting to be opened... and used!!!
I opened up all three drawers to reveal as much thread as I could get in a single picture. 

I wanted to lay all 6 drawers out and take a picture of all the spools, but my husband said he couldn't get them all in one picture.  Oh well... we took the pictures we could.   The thread is wonderful stuff and I can't wait to get started using it.  I have that appliqued block I posted a picture of in my last post, and that is the one I will be doing the machine stitching on next.  I will probably get around to actually sewing it and getting into the thread when I return from my trip to Sisters, OR on the 15th. 

Yes, I am going to the quilt show in Sisters, my first trip there.  I've heard it's a wonderful show, and there is a show the following day not far away, and my friends and I will be attending that show as well... I look forward to them both! 

And when I return, I will get to sew sew sew with my new Aurifil thread!!!

New Finishes...

Two quilts are 'almost done'.  They just need binding, but I don't have the right colors in my stash to bind them with - so it's off to the quilt store for me (oh horrors, whatever shall I do?  lol). 

This quilt is called 'Paris Cats' because the focus fabric has cats in Paris on it.  The whole quilt is a little too pink for my tastes, so perhaps I will gift it to someone who likes cats AND pink.  It will make a nice table-topper for someone with a large round or square table (mine is rectangular, unfortunately),  

'Pumpkin Hill' was designed by Bunny Hill Designs, and has squirrels on it, so I HAD to do it (I just love squirrels - almost as much as I love cats).  Anyway, I made this quilt and it's now ready for binding... Hopefully it will be done in time to get it into the County Fair this year.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Love that Aurifil Thread!!!

So I've been buying Aurifil 50 wt thread one spool at a time for my applique - often waiting days for a spool to be delivered so I can complete some bit of applique top stitching.  I decided I was wasting a ton of money on shipping and such.  I discovered that Aurifil has this awesome treasure Chest of Drawers... Filled with their small spools of every color thread they make!!! 

I simply HAD to order it right away.  It arrived about a week ago.  It's WONDERFul, but it has no handles to carry it to classes/retreats/and the like.

I learned there is a wonderful place in Australia that was offering a pattern for a carrier bag to fit the chest of drawers if you ordered from them.  Unfortunately, I couldn't afford the shipping from Oz to the US, but I contacted the shop in Australia anyway, and they very sweetly sent me the pattern anyway.  They are called Always Quilting and I highly recommend them, not only as a wonderful and well-stocked online shop, but as wonderful people too.

I made the bag for my thread and it fits perfectly, though I did have to do a little finagling to convert from metric to inches, it still sewed up quick and easy and with no problems, even though I am a novice at making bags.

Here are some pics of my new bag:

Here's the bag just standing up looking all spiffy with the box of thread inside.  I used a prequilted fabric because I was too lazy to quilt my own, lol... though I'm sure it would have been better to use up some stash.  I saw this green and purple and cream print, and I just LOVE green and purple together and I had to use it.

Here's the bag laying down with the box of thread inside.  You can JUST make out the Aurifil logo on the right side of the box.

Here's a view showing the inside of the bag, more green and purple fabric... *love it!* but I wanted the stripe on the outside, I thought it would be more interesting.

I posted some pictures of the actual box of thread and the drawers here.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing with my quilting time.  Not very productive of late, but I am gearing up for my trip to Sisters, OR for the quilt show there, and haven't been doing a lot of quilting.  I did make another Woodland Creatures block, but I haven't done the edge stitching or embroidery on the block yet.

The new block is a bluejay, with some flowers, leaves and praying mantis... that little brown blob at the bottom left is a beetle, which will have legs and antennae after I do the hand embroidery.  Right now, it's just a brown blob though, lol...

Anyway, that's my quilting journey of late... Hope yours is alive and well.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Joy of Little Quilts

So I've become a bit obsessed with those little card holders and now I've made four of them, with a few more ready to cut and sew.  I just can't seem to stop.  I haven't decided yet if that's a good thing or a bad thing. 

It's keeping me somewhat busy - though not too much, since they are SO quick to make - but I really only had use for three - one for me and one each for friends having birthdays soon.  I suppose I can save them for other gifts or something... but really, how many do I REALLY need to make???

I suppose I could find something else to do - like layer and start quilting on a couple of raw edge applique quilts that I have backs all ready for, but that sounds like too much work - having to cut the batting!  Woe is me.   Actually, I'm just being overdramatic - it's not that big a deal to cut the batting for them, I'm being lazy though. 

I have lots of quilts that need backs made too, but that DOES sound like a lot of work to me.  I simply detest making backs... I usually piece them out of scraps, so my backs are as pieced as my fronts sometimes.  But I also have large pieces for making single-fabric backs, so the piecing is not an excuse... I just really hate working with that much fabric at once.   I guess that's one of the reasons I love making blocks, but hate putting them together.  Also one of the reasons I've stopped making huge (like King and Queen sized) quilts.

I notice a definite trend on my part lately to make wall-hangings or lap quilts.  I think I'm just 'over' bed quilts.  I hate wrestling with that much fabric - and I don't mean just for the quilting process, I mean for piecing too.  I like little quilts.  They are fun.  They are fast. 

Hope you are having a quilty day.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Cutest thing ever

So I saw this ADORABLE little quickie project on another blog and HAD to share... I won't steal it, but I will share it - check out this link for this great little project to make a fabric business card holder.

I just had to make one of these great little card holders for myself.  Here's mine:

Enjoy and I hope you had a wonderful Father's Day!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Flower Power

I designed and made this quilt for my guild to use the 2 1/2" strips of floral fabrics we exchanged among members.  I know it's not a 'new design', but normally it's made with squares and 9-patches, and I designed a method of piecing it using the strips.  Probably not entirely original there either, but really, not much is anymore.... I did my best. 

Anyway, I called it 'Flower Garden' and it was very popular among the guild, I saw a lot of them made up after the exchange and they were each unique and very beautiful.  This is the first quilt I've ever made with floral fabrics, and probably my last.  I am not a big fan and don't collect florals, so here is my one and only floral quilt:
I finally got it bound on Wednesday, and it's ready to go to its new home, which is probably with the daughter of a friend, who just graduated high school.  I will wait to give it to her until after she's moved, which will be coming soon - why give her something else she's just going to have to pack and move.  She doesn't know she's getting it, so it will just be a late graduation present.  It's not her colors really - like me she's into black and dark things, but I hope she'll like it anyway.

Tonight I'm going to see a production of California Suite, which I haven't seen in years, so it should be fun.  Next week begins the Southern California Quilt Run, more fun!  Mid-July, I'm going to Sisters, OR for their annual one-day quilt show.... and I'm off to San Francisco for the Japan Film Festival at the end of July.  In August begins a rush of Anniversary and Birthdays... I'm going to be busy busy for the next several weeks.

To top all this off, my doctor wants me to have some surgery and I have NO idea how I'm going to fit it all in.  Sigh. 

And when, in all this, am I going to have time to SEW???  I will just have to make time.  I am working on another UFO (only the binding left).  I have two quilts at Stovers that will need binding when they come back, and a pile of tops I have no idea what I'm going to do with... Gah!!!

I'm glad my two BOM projects are both applique - they go pretty quick and no hand sewing so I can trace and fuse and cut and press in odd times and hours when I have a few minutes here and there.  Just the edge stitching requires some time at the machine, but I'm sure I'll be able to work that in sometime... 

I'm glad my husband has a hobby of his own (amateur radio) to keep him busy, so at least I have time when I am home, I'm not catering to his whims all the time... I highly encourage hobbies in husbands for quilters.  I know too many ladies whose husbands take up so much of their time, they can barely work in some quilting time.  OTOH, there are times when I wish we spent more time together, so I can see both sides of that equation too...   I guess there is no real solution, eh?

I hope if you're reading this, that you have enough time for quilting and everything else in your life!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Does Stash Include Thread?

I've been trying so hard to use my stash rather than buy new fabric when I work on my quilts.  And I've been relatively good... hardly buying any new fabric this year or last, only when I absolutely had to to complete a quilt. 

But today I ordered 6 new spools of Aurifil in colors I didn't have before.  I am working on two applique blocks and just didn't have the thread to match to do the edge stitching on some of the applique pieces.  Aurifil isn't cheap, so six spools is a major investment, even at the discount price of $9.50 a spool.  (They are $12.00 each in the quilt shops, but the shops never carry the colors I needed this time, so I ordered online). 

So I started wondering about thread and whether or not it actually counts as stash too, and I think in my case it does - especially my Aurifil.  I'm sure there are people who have more than I do, but I DO have a lot of this wonderful thread.

Here is a pic of my Aurifil stash:
There are a few more spools that are sitting on machines at present that aren't in here, so there's actually even more... and a few spools in here that aren't Aurifil - like my invisible thread and a couple of Mettlers in colors I didn't have in Aurifil. 

So, I ask you, is this stash?  or just notions?  haha... I am in a quandary about this, to be honest.  If I have to count it as stash, I shouldn't be buying more, because I promised myself it was time to destash my life.  If it's 'just notions', I'm good and can buy more!

I know a lot of folks would say 60 is too young to worry about destashing, but honestly, I own too much fabric - I went a little crazy  buying the stuff when I first started quilting.  My husband will be retiring in 10 years or so, and we will probably be moving.  So I figure the less stash I have to move the better.

Thread is small, but it does add up... so I have this sticky question bugging me... Stash or not stash??

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Northern Wilderness Top is Finished

And here it is...

I finally finished making the pieced border and sewed on all three borders in the past couple of days (the last one went on yesterday - Weds. the 22nd of May). 

Making this quilt has been an amazing journey of trying to perfect my applique techniques and precision piecing.  Lots of fun!

I was going to consider sending this quilt to Stovers for quilting as I've seen some wonderful work come out of their company - but their website is disabled and I'm wondering if they're still in business.

It would make me very sad to have to find another custom quilter for this one.  For obvious reasons, an overall pattern or pantograph wouldn't work on this quilt at all.  It needs custom work and I don't want to quilt it myself.

Any suggestions on an alternative to Stovers?

Edit: Hooray!  Today I called Stovers and they are still there... they weren't even aware their website was down (*later edit*:  and it is now back up again).  I can still have them do my quilts!  I have two in the pipe, ready to send to them to have them do before I decide what level of quilting I want on this one (they have custom and heirloom, and I'm not sure which one I want... they also have pantographs, but I KNOW I don't want that).

Anyway, didn't mean to worry anyone - Stovers is still there and quilting away!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Journey to Alaska

Today I put together my Northern Wilderness quilt.  I got the sashing pieced, and the blocks put together.  A lot of fun just staying organized and sewing so the blocks were in the right order in the rows, and the rows in the right order as well.  But I got 'er done!

The quilt measured exactly 57x75 when I got done, which is what it was supposed to measure.  Yay for that.  I cut my border strips at 1.75 inches, just like I was supposed to.  I put borders on the sides of the quilt, and when I got done, it should have measured 59.5 inches wide, but instead it is measuring 60.5 inches wide now.  I can't figure out what's wrong and I'm feeling stymied.

I think I will just fold it up for now and let it sit for a day or two while I mull it over and decide how to proceed.

It's very discouraging to feel like you've done everything right and it comes out wrong anyway.  I'm sure somehow I'll figure something out, but I'm worried about the next border, as it is heavily pieced and the quilt needs to be the right size to put them on properly.

Ah well, it is what it is and I will somehow 'Make it Work!'

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mother's Day

So I know it's not traditional, but I tend to think of Mother's Day as May 5th.  It's the anniversary of my mother's death, and I always think of her a lot, but especially on that day.  So yesterday was a tough day for me.  Luckily I have my DH, who provided a lot of help and small distractions during the day to keep me from dwelling too much on sadness.  Then he invited a friend over to spend the evening with us, and we had a little fun playing board games and relaxing together. 

I did spend the early part of the day keeping busy cutting fabric and sewing, which is something my mother would have appreciated.  She was always the type to keep very busy - if she wasn't cleaning or working in her garden or cooking, she was crocheting or doing something creative.  She wasn't a quilter, but really appreciated the quilted items I made for her. 

So I worked on the sashings for my Northern Wilderness quilt.  I finished the last two pieced and appliqued blocks of the quilt earlier in the week:

These are the glacier and mountain blocks... I had saved the easiest two blocks for last because I'm lazy like that.  I knew I'd want to do the easiest ones at the end.  Turns out with the intricate trees on the glacier block, it wasn't the easiest, but it was close, and doing the two together was great because they used the same colors so doing them together, I had a lot fewer bobbin and thread changes to make.

I also found this little quilt that I'd made on retreat last year.  It is called "Sisters Nesting Dolls".  I bought the kit for it on my trip to Alaska at the QuiltAlaska/Rushin' Tailor shop... I think it was in Skagway, but I could be misremembering the town.  Anyway, I had finished the embroidery on the quilt and lost the pattern, so I wasn't sure what to do with the border fabrics - how wide to cut the strips, so I emailed the shop and they emailed me the information.  I just trimmed the block, and am working on borders now.

I am hoping to have at least the first borders on before Wednesday when I go to my weekly sew-in with my mini-group.  Then I can put the final borders on there.  The outer border fabric has nesting dolls all over it, so it will be very cute!

Once the Alaska quilt is done, I will be down to two appliqued BOMs to work on each month - a much more manageable than working on three, especially since the Woodland creatures blocks are very detailed and intricate.  My last kit was short a little fabric so even though I've partially done the block, I have to wait for my replacement fabric to finish the applique.  The shop was very nice about it and promised to send me the piece with my next block, so I'm looking forward to that. 

I've heard some horror stories about by-mail BOMs from some shops and them not replacing short or missing fabric.  But I have to say that Quilting by the Bay was very nice about it and even offered to mail the missing piece immediately, but it seemed silly for them to spend extra money on shipping when they are going to be shipping me another block in a couple of weeks anyway.

Anyway - I hope you are looking forward to the REAL Mother's Day and enjoying your own quilting journey.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Today I had a class with five lovely and talented women.  I taught them how to make origami kimonos out of strips of fabric.  They all made some wonderful kimonos out of a variety of fabrics - one was even a sombrero pattern, that came out looking oriental when it was done.  You'd never know it was sombreros at all.  We had a couple of hours of lots of fun, and enjoyable comaraderie as fellow quilters and it was amazing to watch these little strips of fabric transform under their hands into adorable little kimonos.

Here are some pictures of the kimonos they made, some with finished or almost finished quilts to put them on:

Not the best pictures I've ever taken, but I was limited to using my phone today.  See that yellow fabric?  It had sombreros on it... you'd never know, looking at the kimono!

Aren't these the cutest things ever????

I had SO much fun this morning with these ladies!!!  What a great way to spend a Saturday morning!!

On a side note: Two of the ladies in the class were professional teachers in their fields and said I did a great job demonstrating and teaching the technique, and being patient with them when they had questions.  That made my day, too, as I have been having sleepless nights with bad dreams leading up to the class for a few days now.  Can you say performance anxiety????  I have it in spades, and was sure something was going to go disastrously wrong.  It didn't!  Hooray!!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

New Projects

I started two new BOMs this week.  Am I crazy or what?  After all, I'm still in the middle of the Alaska quilt, but I joined these BOMs - one I signed up for months ago and it just started, the other I just signed up for last month.  I finished the first block for 'Autumn Joy' - It's an adorable bunny block.

I added some eyes for the bunny with french knots but I did that after I took the picture.  I can't wait for block two! 

The other BOM is the Woodland Creatures Quilt, and I am working on the first block now, which is the squirrel block, which is fine with me - I love squirrels!  Picture to follow when I get it done.  These are huge blocks too - 18 1/2" squares of fabric! It's going to be a massive quilt, which is okay - It is kind of a baltimore album kind of quilt with animals on it, so huge is appropriate.  Of course, I made a mistake and put my fusible on the wrong side of one of the fabrics, so I have more work to do before I can put the block together... Maybe tomorrow or Friday??

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A finish!!!

Challenge quilt is FINISHED!  I think...

Now I have to work on the two BOMs I signed up for - both started this month.  Hopefully I have nothing else on my plate now except those two, and my Alaska quilt, so basically 3 BOMs.

Of course I'm not even going to think about all the tops that are languishing needing quilting... sigh.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

New Goal

I have to set a new goal for myself this month, so my initial goal is to finish my challenge quilt for the guild challenge.  We had to blindly pick two paint chips and make a two color quilt using the colors on the paint chips.  We were allowed to add one other color, and a background color as well.  My paint chips were purple and violet (oh boy - what a combination - basically purple and purple).  We could use multiple values of those colors, of course.  I chose to add indigo to the mix, and for my 'background' color, I chose peach, which I put in the foreground instead of the background.

Here is what I have so far:

I am adding some peach colored yoyo's to the corners to embellish among the appliques.  The yoyos have beading to make them more 'flower like' - I hope it all comes out okay - and of course those kimonos have to be sewn onto the quilt - right now they are just pinned. 

I have until April 10th to finish this one up, because that is the reveal date for the challenge.  I hope it goes over well - I've had a lot of fun making and quilting this one.

The initial posting for the online '2013 finishes' challenge is at this site.  The reveal for the paint chip challenge is not online - it's at my monthly guild meeting.  Wish me luck - the quilts get voted on by the entire guild membership.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Man Quilt - Finished!

The quilt is finished - all except the label.  The label will be hand lettered in the bottom left corner of the quilt, in the light grey square there.  No applique required.  I will 'make' the label tomorrow night when I deliver the quilt and find out what the consignor wants to call it.  So far, the only name I have for it, the working title, is just The Man Quilt.  She might want to name it after the recipient, so have her own ideas on a name.  We shall see.  Here it is - photos taken on a real design wall, so the quilt is hung properly for these photos.

I tried to keep the quilting very modern, graphic, and masculine, so while I did quilt around the appliques, the rest is just jagged spikes, with some sitd too.

I hope he likes it!  I had a ball making it... and I'm SO glad it will be delivered on time.  I DO have a problem with procrastination.

I posted this quilt at sew bittersweet designs in their 'March finishes' section, since this is my March finish.

Now I have to finish my challenge quilt for my guild which is in the embellishment stage.  Needs to be done by the second week in April, so I have a little more time, but that will be my April UFO to finish up.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Man Quilt 3

Work on the Man Quilt continues as time runs out.  Yesterday I pieced the back and today I pinned the quilt, getting it ready for quilting.

This is the back of the quilt, all ready for signatures and such.  I just have to do the quilting.

I will be quilting from the back to start with - going around the applique letters and the bears.  Once that is done, I will be doing the rest of the quilting from the front, probably something structural to go with the design on the front... Not sure exactly what yet - but it will be architectural in feel I think, to go with  the whole 'man quilt' vibe of the thing.

I am hoping to get started on the quilting on Friday or Monday, with the intention of having the quilt all finished before March 31st.  It is needed for a birthday party in April, and I have to have it all bound and ready for signatures before the 'commissioner' leaves for the event.

So far she likes the pictures she's seen of it, and I hope she continues to feel the same way when it is quilted and ready to go.

On a rather sad but amusing note, I had to have one of my kitties shaved this week.  She is very old and can't groom herself like she used to.  She had terrible mattes that were causing her distress, irritating her skin and she just didn't smell good either.  So we took her to the vet, who rather than just shave the mattes, said he had to shave all of her except her head and her 'booties' - he said it was just all connected and even her tail had mattes.  Poor kitty.  She looks so pathetic and sad all the time and is constantly coming for attention - more than usual.  I think she might be cold, I can't tell, but she HAS to be feeling better what with the lumpy bumpy mattes gone and her skin able to breathe and heal up again.  Here she is in all her shaved glory, poor baby:

She really is a beautiful cat with long ultra-soft white fur and beautiful grey spots... but now she looks so... well... I don't know whether to laugh or cry.  And I know she doesn't like it so we try not to laugh at her.  I know it will grow back, but still... until it does, she will look like a drowned rat I'm afraid.

I wish she was a little tamer and would let us brush her... then taking care of her fur would be easier... but we love her anyway!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Man Quilt II

I have been working on this quilt now for a couple of weeks - on and off.  I finally have the components of the back of the quilt made... lots of piano key borders, and two panels.  One panels is to commemorate the recipient's 60th birthday, with places for guests at his party to sign and be creative.  The second panel is a pair of teddy bears, because he is a collector.  Here are the panels, without any borders yet:

This is the signature block, ready for adding borders and connecting to the bear block.

Here is the bear block.  Hard to see some of their facial details, but one bear has his eyes closed - all embellished with hand embroidery.   (Ignore the wet spots in the corners, I accidentally dripped water on the corner when it was folded up.)

Finally got the edge stitching done on all those letters in the signature block and on the bears too.  So now all there is is borders and putting the back together, and then quilting.

I am debating how to quilt it.  I know I will do it on my Bernina, not on the longarm, as there isn't enough backing fabric for the longarm.  I am still trying to figure though how to quilt it - all from the back?  or just quilt around the appliques, then quilt from the front for the rest of it, skipping inside the appliques???  I'm just so ambivalent.  I hope I get it it resolved quickly as I"m running out of time to finish up the quilt.  It is already mid-March and I'm not done yet... yikes!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Man Quilt

So I got a commission to make a quilt for a gentleman's 60th birthday.  One side needs a place for a testament to his 60 years, and enough open area for attendees at his birthday party to sign the quilt, and a couple of appliqued teddy bears, as he is a collector.  I have worked out a basic design for that side of the quilt, but haven't started the actual computation of sizes for the areas.  I'm working on that now.

The other side of the quilt, I decided, needed a particularly masculine and modern vibe.  So this is what I came up with.  It is based on a quilt I saw online which used some wonderful fabrics from a line called Curious Nature designed by David Butler.  I looked up the line on Google and found some very cool fabrics most of which had a decidedly masculine look to them - hard to find at the LQS!  I ordered the fabrics and here is the finished product of side 1 of The Man Quilt:

I paired the fabrics... which are all steel blue, black, dark grey and moss green... with a pale grey tweedy looking fabric.  Then I made 9" squares and sewed half-square triangles.  It took 48 squares to make the quilt.  Then I laid it out in an off-center barn-raising pattern.  I am very happy with how it came out.

I am eagerly looking forward to making the other side of the quilt, which will have to be oversized for quilting purposes, as this side is complete as is, there will be no borders on it - I want it to retain that 'modern quilt' vibe. 

I hope the recipient will like it.