Feb 26, 2010

this and that

Here is a little something I just finished-- sweet pea heart from Alex Anderson 12 Days of Redwork posted in late December-early January. Norma has started these hearts for a seasonal wallhanging. I had downloaded the designs but didn't trace them off till yesterday afternoon. She knew, and I knew, that I would probably cave, LOL. Between these hearts, the on-going Bird Brain Santa blocks and a series of redwork from Brownyn Hayes, I can stitch as much as I want when the mood strikes. But I love it!

Next up:
I had pulled out an old UFO to finish up the bottom row. How old is this project? Well, way back in 2000 I and another friend had headed up a row robin project on a quilt list I moderated for several years. I had picked a summer theme and had sent around a Country Threads book for inspiration. I did the top row of stars and sent it on. The girl that was also in charge did the appliqued row but it did not fit on the quilt---measurements had gotten off as they will on a group project. It sat.

I needed some filler pieces to compensate for the width of the project and I thought flying geese would work since they echo the birdhouse shape. I drew it up in EQ since it was a goofy length. I re-sized the applique piece slightly and used the green sashing that was originally there but much narrower. I supposed it should be bordered but this will hang on the sewing room door perfectly or another spot in the hallway so I'll pass on those. What colors would you use anyway? My pal Cher did the butterfly and veggie row. Two others were done with friends who I see on facebook. The bowtie and cat row, sadly, was made by a friend who has since passed away. I'll pin it at the next meeting and get it quilted up on my next quilting session.

Lastly, here is a little wallhanging I recently made for Pam's birthday. She loves all things Mary Engelbreit so it seemed like a good fit for a charm pack I had on hand. It certainly went together a lot quicker than the large sized Cheap Trick/Two of Kind that I have been piecing off and on. It all came from my stash except that I had to order some more of that red dot to bind it. She shows it hanging in her kitchen gallery area HERE. She told me that she had already planned to make placemats, napkins from ME fabric for her kitchen. I guess that I just made an accessory for her, LOL.

What's next because I have had a few finishes lately? I have a few goals. Piecing, back to my bed sized Cheap Trick. Handquilting, the plain squares on RR crossing but that will be on-going. Machine quilting, 3 donation quilts are in my stack. Cutting, Big & Bold. Applique, the March Calendar block. UFO, maybe I will get around to finishing up my own convergence wall hanging. Embroidery, whatever strikes my fancy. Oh and a donation top to assemble---I'll do that tomorrow actually.

I hope you have fun with whatever you have planned for the weekend-----thanks for stopping by!

Feb 23, 2010

meeting day

Another good meeting day today. One of the girls had invited a guest. Another 3 who have a conflict on Tuesday's schedule were able to come so that was good too. Jane brought some yummy cream puffs from the bakery and another, a pan of blueberry cobbler so we even had treats today! Later 3 of us went on the Quizno's run for sandwiches and brought them back to join the ones who stayed to work and chat. 4 quilts got pinned---till we ran out of batting. Oops! I should have asked Judy to bring the box we have in storage at her house.

The left, the brightly colored 3-D bowtie top that I finished assembling yesterday. Some of the fabrics are leftover from some Twisted Sister tops that I did last year. Quite a few are backing cutaways or border leftovers, actually. Others, just squares in my 3 1/2 inch bin though some were left from a couple of the tag-along totes I made.

And here is my other finish, done-done. My FAB friendship block quilt. Blocks are machine quilted, the rest hand quilted though several of the Belles were just sure that I had free motioned the alternating squares and triangles as well as the border. Nope! Look a little closer, LOL.

I didn't do a speck of the redwork Santa I had brought with me. Too many people to talk to. I helped pin the two tops I had completed and seams some batting for a third. Nancy asked about a pattern for a nine patch heart which we found in the notebook files but it had to be re-sized from a 7.5 inch finished to a 10. I drafted it up for her but she really needed it written up for another quilt group. They are doing it up as a comfort quilt for one of the members so everyone needs to be "on the same page", so to speak. I took care of that when I got home and off it went as a pdf file.

Another neat thing happened at the meeting. Chris, the church secretary had been down to the Mobile area to visit a friend. She asked me if we ever donated fleece blankets to Wrap Them In Love I know that Ellen has shown crocheted and knitted items in the gallery pages before. We haven't personally made any but there is no reason why they couldn't be donated, even locally. Chris said the friend has sent back 5 fleece blankets and 3 wholecloth quilts for us to donate that her nieces and nephews had helped her with. Turns out Chris has been talking to her about our group and our donation quilt efforts in the past. I assured her that I will deliver these and the quilts that we have on hand to Friendship House in Oxford which is part of the Alabama Baptist Children's Home ministries soon. (My quilt document for the year needs to be updated, number assigned or I would have done it today) How sweet of Chris and her friend to donate these items!

I think a little redwork tonight during primetime TV viewing hours Tomorrow I will be doing a little foundation piecing for a filler band on a vintage (early 2000's) UFO. I'll tell you about that project once I got it "finished to flimsy" as right now I should go whip up some supper for us. Spaghetti carbonara, stir-fry squash and carrots medley and pull some leftover focaccia bread from the freezer to zap it. Should do it, LOL.

Feb 21, 2010

some production

I had a pretty productive day in the sewing room yesterday enjoying some tunes on the computer while I worked and DJ listened to college basketball game after game.

I mentioned in my last post that I was putting sashing and cornerstones on a pile of string blocks that Theramae had made that were left in her fabric things when she passed away. I had previously added the plain strip to the bottom of each block and had half of the top row assembled but the rest of was assembled Weds thru Friday. She had pieced them to paper---old newspapers, phone book pages and such. By the time I was done it looked like it had snowed here in the sewing room, LOL. Unfortunately she also had some tension issues with her machine on a few of the blocks. Pulling the paper out lead to some top stitching or reinforcements. By the time I started sewing yesterday I only had to do 3 long joining seams. A tally in the "finished to flimsy" column. I also seamed the backing for the top as well as the binding. Stranger still, I even pressed the binding, LOL. Sometimes that waits till I have 4 or 5 quilts worth piled up on the sewing table like a pile of spaghetti.

So anyway, that took care of ONE project from the UFO/kit hamper. Trust me, there are plenty of things left in there. In fact, my mom just sent me some yardage for a green Twisted Sister so I guess it was more like one in, one out.

Since I still had time to sew, I pulled out another donation project. Well, actually these bowties were out in my car. I had been working on them at our quilt meeting and I had intended to continue to do so as an on-going project. I needed 8 to 10 more blocks to make a 7 x 10- 6 inch block set so whipped those up and then started some assembly work. Two rows went together pretty quickly so I could possibly have this top done before Tuesday's meeting too.

Then I moved on to mending two pair of MY pants for a change. DJ is forever asking me to fix something on a pair of his. He punched a hole in the pocket linings with a golf tee is the usual problem. The last time the elastic had come undone from the sans a belt Hagar----a royal pain, that was! It might have been easier to have sewn them from scratch. Mine, same thing. A serger would have been a better sewing tool in this case.

One final bit before I called it quits for the day--something from the cutting list that was also in the UFO/kit hamper. The girls had given me the leftover green Habitat fabric from the Belles 08 challenge quilt. I thought this might work up into a re-scaled to 8 inch finished BQ 2 providing that I could squeeze out 35-40 5 1/2 inch blocks. I had plenty and with the companion print added in I have about 20 more squares to do something with. What, I don't know at the moment, LOL. Also I was not sure I had enough of the background fabric since I had decided to use it for the backgrounds on the calendar quilts---about a 1/3 of a yard left so sigh of relief there. Once I cut all the contrast pieces and the binding that yardage is just about busted too.

Well, if I expect to have another productive afternoon I better quit talking about it and get to it. Thanks for stopping by-----

Feb 17, 2010

WIP Weds

Today finds me working on two different things---sashing some string blocks that our dear friend Theramae was working on at the time of her passing for a donation quilt. The other, putting a few more hand quilting stitches in my FAB friendship block quilt. The donation quilt only has one row completely done and the sashing bit added to the remaining blocks---not much to see, in other words. I have posted progress on the other before but hand quilting takes time--two and half borders are done at this point so I am getting there.

What I am posting instead are two recent finishes I promised in my last post. I hung Sisterhood of Quilters in my "above the bed gallery" yesterday and the February calendar quilt just in times for Valentine's Day.

Other than that there is not a whole lot happening. Day to day stuff. I made a crack at making deep dish Chicago pizza but was not too enamored with the crust so table that recipe. I plan to try my hand at Swedish Limpa Rye tomorrow. Rest of the time it was the old tried and true stuff and things I know DJ likes.

The weather remains cold though it doesn't seem to bother the yellow crocuses. Sun is shining, a little wind blowing but in the 20's. I do not remember our having such a cold winter as this one the whole 12 years that we have been here for sustained cold spells to say nothing of snowfalls. It will warm up a bit by week's end but will it bring rainfall along with it? Maybe March will act more seasonably. The bookmobile librarian was telling us today that the last big legendary snowfall they had back in 93 (12 inches fell overnight, lots of people without power for days and days) happened in mid March so who knows? LOL

Hope you have a good day in whatever you chose to do--------

Feb 16, 2010

I promised quilt pics

A few pictures from the quilt meeting last week. It was a rainy, cold day and I thought I might be the only one who showed up but the girls surprised me, LOL. Lois' niece who was visiting from Alaska came with her. Another pal who has not been able to come in recent months dropped by with a top for donation even. Since a couple of us needed to make a Hobby Lobby run, we chose the Mexican grill not far from there for lunch. Yummers! Good day and good company in spite of the weather.

The top on the left was made by Aline using a ballerina fabric she found in the donation bin. I love the simple but fun blocks she made for this.

The one to the right is one for donation that Aline's granddaughter made. I can attest to the cuddliness of this one as I quilted it for Leann. The light blue print is flannel and both blues have a cowboy print so it will perfect for a boy, don't you think?

This fan top is also one of Aline's. It was done stack and whack style using a wedge ruler for the cuts. Very striking with the print she used. Gypsy like!

I have a couple of finishes for the week already--woohoo! I did up the February Calendar quilt just in time to hang it for Valentine's Day. Sunday afternoon I quilted up the Sisterhood of Quilters top and took the last stitches in the binding yesterday afternoon. Since I am waiting for the command strips to "set up" for sisterhood, I'll get pictures in a bit and include those in my next post.

I haven't quite decided what to work on today yet but I am leaning on swapping out machines and piecing a bit. Move Cheap Trick/Two of a Kind along a bit or better yet, pull something out of the donation UFO hamper even. That thing is full to the brim so there is no shortage of projects to move along. Since the balance of my quilting life has definitely shifted to my own things, it might be time to put a top or two together. A few things just need sashing or alternate blocks cut, after all.

Till next time then------

Feb 13, 2010

snow pics

I know this snowfall is nothing like what I experienced in all the years I lived in Illinois. Every time I talk to my parents on the phone, it seems like is or has been snowing this winter. It is pretty piddly compared to the East Coast recently. BUT snow doesn't happen often around my little corner of NE central Alabama. I would estimate that we got about 2-3 inches judging by how it is stacked up on inanimate objects----like my car!

It started in about 11 a.m. and kept it up in varying degrees till about 7 p.m. What seems odd to me is that the roads and driveways remained perfectly clear of the stuff----not that I am complaining, mind you, LOL. We saved our snow shovel when we moved South but have never had to use it. I guess we thought it was better to be prepared than have to replace it. The first picture---how things looked at 2 p.m.
Of course, school was cancelled ahead of time and some businesses closed. In the north we would wonder why. I believe that there might be one snow plow available from what I read in the paper?

We had tickets to a pancake breakfast this morning but it turned out they backed it up till NEXT Saturday. Still, the sun was out, everything looks sparkling and white. The roads are clean though I can see where blowing snow could get problematic--melt and refreeze/ black ice stuff. It just looked odd to see the familiar scenes we see when driving all glistening white!

I thought that the holly bush looked pretty this morning with its red berries in contrast to the green leaves and the snow. Those berries don't always come out on the bushes---cylical thing, I believe but what do I know? DJ has a couple books I got him about gardening in the south and one of them is specific for bushes and shrubs.

The view out the kitchen window to the back yard. The gardenia bush is covered with snow actually weighing it down and spreading it out in strange angles. Skyler is supervising from his perch on the microwave though if I were a bird I would stay where it is warm---barely 22 degrees at this point.

So I am going to stay inside, do the laundry and stitch binding on the 2nd heart themed quilt-let from Calendar Quilts and Stitcheries. A funny (more odd, than "ha ha") story--- DJ came in the sewing room yesterday afternoon as I was putting in some of quilting lines. "That's cute! Where did it come from?" he says. "Ah, my stash. I made the base, fused and appliqued it yesterday. Didn't you wonder what I was doing all afternoon?" Silly boy, LOL.

We aren't going to make a big deal about Valentine's Day. Not when we just had our anniversary was about two weeks ago. We celebrated then so no need to make a fuss again. Now it was different when we were single--Valentine's Day definitely. It would seem that so much of that day is for commercial interests---greeting cards, florists, restaurants with dinners for two specials. I DID put the heart stuff out to decorate but that's about it, adding this new piece to the "collection".

I do have a couple quilt tops to show you from the quilt meeting the other day but I will save them for a post in a few days. Till then, thanks for stopping by. Stay safe and stay warm wherever you are----------

Feb 10, 2010

Weds. check-in

Well, so far today---nothing creative happening but a few more hand quilting stitches put in the border of my FAB friendship quilt.

I just got back from about a 100 mile round trip to take my Strip Twist top, last seen HERE , to the long arm quilter. Does that count, LOL? The weather forecast at week's end may be a little iffy so I thought today would be the best day for such a trip. It will be about a month or so before she get to it judging by the length of her list and her best estimation but that is perfectly fine. Maybe by pickup time I can share a ride back up as several other quilting buddies names were either right before mine or right after. I chatted with Susan for a bit, found some embroidery floss I needed at her shop, got a reuben sandwich (yum!) at Mill Street Deli and then drove on home.

My Sunday project was to put the binding on my Belles challenge quilt, last shown HERE . I had quilted it and one other donation quilt last week as planned. As it turns out I was able to use the leftover binding from it on the little calendar quilt block as well. I like to put plaid, gingham or stripe fabric on the bias so that worked out well for both quilts. Earlier in the day I had finished up the embroidered bits called for in the quilt. I also traced off THIS cute cat stitchery from Bronwyn Hayes of Red Brolly fame---part of a CATALICIOUS quilt, free BOM. I have a good bit of the cat stitched and a good bit done on the Freckles "Quilts yes!" I linked to in a prior post.

I had posted about the FAB reveal Monday evening. Today I lifted Cher's graphic from her post today since I forgot to take a pic of the finished project before I mailed it off to her. Silly girl!

Anyway.........the light tone on tone was the challenge fabric. The multi colored piece I picked up at the Fabric Depot in Portland at the FAB retreat to possibly use for the challenge provided it fit into my pattern choice. The remaining pieces are from the Twilight Frost collection from Connecting Thread---the sage colored one is called "Falling Snow", the stripe "Snow Tracks" and the dark piece "Blizzard" so I felt it fit a challenge name of "Baby's It's Cold Outside" I had initially planned on doing something way different than this involving circles and applique and such. Well that was one of several ideas I had but just as I was about to start I found out I had made a fabric ordering error. I was running out of time and made a wintery Convergence instead. But since I had ordered more for that other plan, I still have yardage to use. Not that circle thing but possible a scaled down version of THIS pattern from Connecting Threads. I have odd sized cuts and a charm pack, not fats, so that is why I am thinking scaled down. I could also finish my OWN version of convergence one of these days, instead of just hanging it off the bookcase till the end of time, LOL.

The stitcheries and handquilting are ongoing things so what is next on the list? We pinned my Sisterhood of Quilters top yesterday at the quilt meeting so I can quilt that at any time. It wouldn't take long and the "right" machine is out. I am due a "reward" piece but had not quite decided which one though Susan provided a nudge today.

You see, she had her version of Amy Bradley's Seasoned Quilter hanging at the shop---the birthday cake had been hanging but she didn't have the hearts done for February yet. Cute, way cute! Well, being an Amy Bradley fan I have that set of patterns on hand and really, really want to do them one of these days but I have had the Quilt Diva stuff longer. In fact, the fabric for the base of it is all kitted up while the Seasoned quilter is not PLUS it is on my 10n10 list. I mentioned that I should probably think about investing in a mega roll of steam a seam 2 when I was ready to do both of these projects. Susan handed me a couple yards of Pellon fusible to use and gave me orders to show some progress on the quilt, LOL---either of them. I guess to prove it, I should have it done and bring it with me when I pick up my Strip Twist.

Did you hear that boredom can be bad for your health? That is the theory put forth in to this blurb I spotted this morning on my home page. Well, no way I am getting bored! I could do something different in the crafty department every day!

Hope you have a wonderful day in whatever you chose to do---------

Feb 8, 2010

FAB reveal

After the last of the FAB challenge packages arrived, it was time to round everyone up for the reveal. The challenge fabric was a piece that reminded us a bit of winter sky so it was dubbed "Baby, Its Cold Outside" but a winter theme was not required.

Norma had my name this round and made me these lovely placemats to brighten up a dreary winters day. The florals were some she had used when she and I were sewing together in cyberspace on our Daisy Chain tops. Additionally, she made me this wonderful sturdy tote bag that is lined with the same fabric. See the butterflies on the bag outer fabric? I love it!

I had Cher's name this time but got in such a hurry to mail it out that I did not take a picture of the completed project. She will post the small wallhanging I made her on her blog if you follow the link.

What fun! From the chat we 5 were having we all had fun making our pieces, changed our minds umpteen times about what we wanted to do and outdid ourselves again. Now I want to see some pictures, LOL!

Feb 3, 2010

a week of this and that

It would seem that this past week, creatively, was a bit of "this and that" or that I couldn't stay focused. I like having a variety of things to work on but the downside of that is that it takes longer to finish anything. The upside, I keeps me from getting bogged down and feeling like I have to keep plugging when I really just want to do something else for a few days.

For two days I hand quilted on the FAB friendship quilt. At this point the short top border and the long right side are done--well, almost done. I am about to turn the corner onto the bottom border.

I also started another stitchery project. Hanging head only because it is NOT on my 10n10 list. But this is will be an ongoing project so I am allowing it. I am SOOOO open to the power of suggestion and as usual "blame" Norma for it. She was telling me about their recent guild program with a trunk show from the designer of the Freckles Collection patterns. Norma had bought a couple of patterns and shared a link to the ones she had gotten. I in turn shared the link for one I had on hand---shown HERE. Cute, huh? Entirely true too, LOL.

Actually I had almost started on it earlier this year but hadn't checked the floss inventory to see what I needed to get. I have it all written up on a spreadsheet but then had to dig around in some cross stitch projects and two thread boxes to find it, LOL. By Thursday I had done that so was making a floss run to Hobby Lobby. Thankfully, they still carry DMC floss because our closest spot for crafting supplies (Walmart) no longer carries ANY floss--not even JP Coats, Anchor instead--- no floss period. Sheesh! I wound the floss on bobbins, entered the numbers on the inventory sheet, marked the muslin and put in a few stitches. Because there is a fair amount of running stitch on it, I decided to back this with a light weight batting. Do the running stitch like a long quilting stitch---see how that goes.

I think when I left off posting last week I was about to work on the block you see to the right---the appliqued January block from Nancy Halvorsen's book Calendar Quilts and Stitcheries (link in previous post) What fun to dig around in the fabric boxes to make my version--stash quilting! The fabric base, obviously is done as is the fusing and buttonhole applique stitching. I still need to embroider the verse and do a running stitch with floss on this as well as sew on some colored buttons on the snowman and add some beads for snow. I pulled the fabrics for the February block as well and will get to to work on it in a couple of days.

I will say that I was a bit confused on this project. The designs are all printed in reverse due to the fusible part but the lettering is not. I finally figured out where to put the verse but where I messed up was NOT shifting the pattern over for the tree placement. MY tree looks like it is growing out of the snowman's head rather than between it and the log cabin. Naturally I had marked this with pigma pen, not a pencil, where maybe the mark would erase or lighten. A little like working the crossword puzzle in ink and now I can't undo it?? Lesson learned! IIWII

Yesterday I was back to binding---ugh-- something I cannot show you (gift--might be spotted here). Only one long side to go. Close to another finish and to mailing it out.

I hadn't posted a picture of Skyler lately so here he is. Just before I took this he had been hiding UNDER the quilt. By the time I got the camera he decided the top of it worked just as well for napping purposes. (Mom, recognize the quilt?)

So looking forward---I still hope to get to the two donation quilts I have in my stack this week. The plan is to save the handwork, quilting or stitchery, for a few hours in the evening--or not, VBG.

At some point I need to run my Strip Twist quilt up to the long arm quilter as well but that is dependent on the weather. Lately the forecast at week's end has not been very pleasant and not the good driving conditions for making that 110 mile approximate, round trip. I thought a friend who is free on Fridays might want to go with me or I would have made the run earlier in the week.

Binding awaits------