Thursday, January 27, 2011

Promised Picture and It's All For The Birds

Here's the picture of the top that I finished yesterday for the beginner's class.
See what I mean? It's an easy quilt, but we think it will appeal to a lot of new quilters. We decided to go with Americana/Patriotic fabric thinking that would appeal to lots of people as well. Hopefully we're right and we have lots of students.

I love this time of the year because of the birds that we see at the feeders. These pictures were taken from the back room where I sew. Enjoy!


I've been a little busy beaver here as I'm getting ready to go on a sewing retreat this weekend. I wanted to get a couple of projects done before I left, like the glacier star lone star blocks sewn to the flying geese units. I love how this looks. We don't meet again until Feb 25th and that's going to seem like an eternity.
I also worked on the star kit. All of the blocks are done and here's what it looked like when I placed them on the design wall.
I'm hoping to get these blocks all sewn together tomorrow, but it's ok if I don't. I'm taking this with me so I can find some fabric for borders and backing. Hopefully the next time you see this it will be a completed top!

I was multi-tasking while I was piecing the star blocks. My friend Kare and I are going to be teaching a beginner quilting class at a local LQS and I'm making a new sample. Here's what it looked like while I was piecing both the star blocks and this quilt.
This is a very simple and basic quilt. It is a nine patch (two different nine patch blocks) with alternate HST blocks. Can you see the picture in the background? Our thoughts here were that we wanted to keep it simple so students could learn basic techniques and repeat them to help practice and perfect them. We'll spend time on rotary cutting, strip piecing, pressing, making HST, trimming them and connecting blocks to keep points in tack. We're not adding a border, as that will be a class on it's own at a later date; as will the quilting and binding.

Actually, I finished the top this evening but I couldn't get a good picture. I'll do that tomorrow and post it then.

It was really fun here this past weekend. Jerry and David were visiting, and Nikki and her family were here for a wedding. It was kind of crazy, but fun. Jack made some Parker House rolls that were delicious. Here they are raising.
Don't they look inviting? I love the smell of bread baking!
They didn't even make it off the baking sheet before we started eating them. Jack and David made bread a couple of more times during the weekend and I was in heaven.

My friend Kare came over to visit and spend time knitting with Jerry and David.

Jack was on the radio while they were knitting and I was at my machine sewing.
I love the fact that we could all be in the same room, doing our own thing, yet talk to each other. It was a really fun night. I think I laughed the most when Jerry showed Kare that he uses a zip lock bag with a corner snipped off to hold his yarn so it comes out evenly, yet stays together. Kare leaned over and took a pickle jar out of her bag to show how she stores her yarn. A glass pickle jar!
I'm sure the sugar rush we all had from the ice cream we'd consumed had nothing to do with our uncontrollable laughter at this point.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Design Wall Monday

As usual, I have more than one thing on my design wall. (Can we says ADHD?) The first project is a wall hanging that I was playing around with to use up some batik scraps.
I need to decide on what to use for border(s). I'm thinking I want a small (1") border (maybe bright blue) and than a larger one of maybe yellow? What do you think? I haven't decided binding either, but I usually don't do that until my borders are attached. (I'm a really visual person. Can you tell?)

Have you ever "rediscovered" a project or kit that you bought years ago and then it gnaws at you so much that you have no choice but to work on it? Well, that happened to me this past week. Actually, I've known about this kit for a very long time (it's resurfaced on multiple occasions), but I finally just had to open the package and get started on it. Jack and I bought this either before we were married or very soon after. We were married in 1999!
I was a very new quilter at the time and remember being drawn to the Amish look of the fabrics. Well I never quite got the courage to open the package and begin working on it. Do you see the half sheet of paper that constitutes the instructions? That was very intimidating for me. Anyway, the package got set aside, packed away, found, put aside again, etc. for a long time (11 years!) until this past week when I decided it was taking up way too much space and I needed to do something with it! :-)

Here's one block complete. It will finish 9".
Here's the progress on the balance of the blocks (20 in total).
My goal is to have the blocks completely pieced so I can take them with me this weeekend while I am on my annual quilting retreat and find sashing and/or border fabric. I've checked my stash and haven't been happy with anything yet. How would you finish this quilt and what color(s) would you add?

To all of you who so graciously checked your stash for the Bit-O-Luck fabric from Hoffman last week, thanks! Even though we didn't find any of the fabric, I've decided to leave the quilt small. Check out this post to see my border options and give your opinions. I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Check out what other quilters have on their design walls today! Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, hop over to Judy L.'s Patchwork Times, sit back and enjoy some eye candy!

Stash Report - Week 4

Better late than never, right? This has been a very busy weekend and the week was much more productive than the previous week, since I'm feeling much better. I'm almost completely done quilting the Scrappy Hearts quilt. I just have to quilt the outside border and bind it.

I finished my homework for the Glacier Star Quilt and am really looking forward to the next class.

I've decided that since it appears that there is no more of the Hoffman Bit-o-Luck fabric out there, I will simply leave this Shamrock/Irish quilt as it. Well, maybe. We had a discussion today about possible borders. One suggestion is to add a small grey border and then bind in the green mottled fabric. Another suggestion was to just add a black binding and be done with it. Since this has been made totally from stash, I will see what I have and go from there. I'd really like to get this quilted and bound before I go away on Friday.

I was playing around with some batiks and threw together a 4-Patch Heart wall hanging. Like the Shamrock/Irish quilt, I have to decide what I want to do for a border. I'll post pictures on Design Wall Monday and take any suggestions!

Anyway, as I said, this past weekend was pretty busy. I had a house full of people and it was wonderful. Saturday night was especially fun because Jerry and David were visiting, my friend Kare came over to knit with them, I was sewing, and Jack was on the radio. We had a wonderful time, and maybe just a little bit of ice cream. :-)

Here's this week's report:

Fabric Used : 6.375 yards

Fabric Used to Date: 22.00yards

Fabric Added This Week: 0.00 yards

Fabric Added to Date: 8.00 yards

Net Fabric Used for 2011: 14.00 yards

UFOs Done, Done, Done (Pieced, Quilted, and Bound): 2

UFOs Still to Do: I don't even want to go there!

Check out how other quilters are using their stash by going to Judy L.'s Patchwork Times.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Glacier Star Progress

We had our Glacier Star class today and the technique we focused on was the Loan Star piecing. Here is a single lone star block that we pieced. (Click on the picture to see an enlarged view; and yes, I need to clean the thread off my design wall!)
Here are all 8 lone star units sewn together, including 1 sewn to the flying geese unit. I need to sew the remaining 7 to flying geese units and then I'm done until next month when we are introduced to technique #4.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Design Wall Monday

Okay, last week wasn't very productive because I was sick. Whenever I'm sick and just beginning to feel better, I love to go to my sewing area and play. It always makes me feel better to fondle fabric. This time was not different.

I went pawing through my fabric for something interesting and happened upon some shamrock fabric. It's pretty cool, shamrocks on a black background. See? Isn't it pretty. (The fabric isn't really coarse, it just looks that way because I took the picture way too close and I'm too lazy to take another one.)

So, I started playing around and thought this might be fun to use in a string pieced quilt. Mary has shown lots of these on her blog and on the Heartstrings Quilt Project blog.

I decided to make a diamond block and feature the shamrock fabric in the centers and outline them with narrow strips of black. I wasn't sure what colors to use for the strings and I wasn't sure how it would look scrappy so I did what I always do. I decided to use blacks and whites. I know, I'm predictable and often boring, but hey, I wanted to sew something and I wanted to sew now! Well, to make a long and tedious story short, I LOVE how it turned out! I'm calling it It's really a matter of black and white. Are you Irish or aren't you? (I'm not!) This picture really doesn't do it justice. I love the green and black together.
Now I have a problem. I want this to be a big quilt, not just the wall hanging it is now, but I only had about 29" of this fabric. I have lots of all the other fabrics. See? That lonely single strip of shamrock fabric is all I have. :-(

But no more shamrock fabric. I've started the on-line search for the fabric, and I knew it was old, but since I'm having absolutely no luck, I'm thinking it's really old. So any of you lasses or lads out there in blogland who want to reduce your stash by selling some Bit-O-Luck by Hoffman International Fabric Company to a leprechaun quilter in need, just let me know!

Since I couldn't do anything else on that quilt (I'm NOT going to let this sit around and become a UFO to be finished in 2011). I decided to start quilting the Scrappy Hearts quilt.
Some might consider that I'm cheating because I'm using my embroidery machine to quilt the feathered wreath in the alternate blocks, but I'm quilting everything else myself. I guess it's not really cheating, it just feels like it though. Anyway, I like how it's turning out.

I better get moving. I have a friend coming over in a little bit to learn how to do machine applique. Yeah, a sewing play date! I'm glad I'm feeling better. I also should at least make it looks like I clean. :-)

Check out what others have on their design walls today by going to Judy L.'s Patchwork Times.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stash Report - Week 3

Well, I've been sick for most of the week so there hasn't been much sewing going on here. I did start quilting the scrappy hearts quilt before I got sick and since I'm finally feeling better, I hope to finish that tonight or tomorrow. Sooooo, the only fabric I used this past week was that backing.
Boring report. :-(

Here's the report:

Fabric Used : 3.00 yards

Fabric Used to Date: 15.625yards

Fabric Added This Week: 0.00 yards

Fabric Added to Date: 8.00 yards

Net Fabric Used for 2011: 7.625 yards

UFOs Done, Done, Done (Pieced, Quilted, and Bound): 2

UFOs Still to Do: I don't even want to go there!

Check out how other quilters are using their stash by going to Judy L.'s Patchwork Times.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Think I Overdid It

Ok, I was feeling better so I sewed a little, cleaned a little (very little), and then ran some errands. When I got home, I was tired, whiny and couldn't get warm or comfortable. (Poor Jack!) I fell asleep watching the Pittsburg/Baltimore game and slept through almost the entire 3rd quarter, waking up to see only bits and pieces of it. I fell asleep again and missed all but the last 8 or so minutes of the games, which really turned out to be the most important minutes anyway. Needless to say, I'm going to listen to my body and take it easy.

Oh, by the way, the "science experiment" junk is making it's way back into my throat and chest so I'm looking forward to another sneeze/cough soon. :-)

On a good note, Jack has been baking bread, a couple of different kinds and this house smells amazing!

Sick, Sick, Sick - Getting Better!?!

I've been sick for the last 4 or 5 days and very little sewing has been done, even though I've been trying. My throat's been very sore, I sound awful, I ache all over, I've been running a fever, and I seem to be out of breath all of the time, which does a real number on the heart rate issue. There were a couple of days that I slept more than I was awake. Don't you just hate days like that? I had LOTS of sewing plans and I couldn't concentrate enough to do any of them.

Well, the good news is that just a little bit ago I sneezed and coughed at the same time (isn't that a weird feeling?) and a bunch of "junk" came out. I know, that's disgusting but hey, the bottom line is that I feel better. I know that I still have a fever and my throat still hurts, but I now feel like I'm going to live another day to sew another quilt! YEAH!!!

Okay, fever turns me into a bit of a drama queen. I'm off to the back room where I'll have my trusty Tylenol, a big glass of ice water and the humming of a sewing machine. Life is good!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Design Wall Monday

I've been working away on a couple of projects and having success, but I keep finding more and more that I need or want to do. :-( Saturday afternoon, I found a small kit that included all the makings for a red, white, and blue Trip Around the World quilt top. I opened the package, remembered buying it at an auction a number of years ago, wondered why I never did anything with it, and promptly decided that I'd work on it and get it done!

Here's the progress so far.
As I was piecing this, I realized why it had been tucked away and not worked on before now. The red and blue squares are a blend fabric and the blue squares are not cut consistently to the correct size (they're supposed to be 5", but some are as large as 5 1/2" x 5". Thankfully, none are cut too small. I'm guessing that when I opened the kit originally and saw the blend fabrics and the inconsistent blue squares, I was unsure whether or not it would be worth messing around with. Afterall, I only paid $2.50 for the kit.

Since I never got rid of it, I guess I thought it was worth saving and that I would get to it one day. Well, today is that day! Starting Saturday afternoon, I measured and squared up all the blue squares and accepted the fact that I would be making a quilt in which half of the fabrics are not 100% cotton. Of course the other fabrics aren't exactly the greatest quality, but hey, they deserve to be in a quilt! (Now I'm not trying to offend anyone here, but I just don't like working with these fabrics. I much prefer 100% cotton when it comes to quilting.)

This top should be done sometime later today. I'm going to be gone for most of the rest of the morning and early afternoon. I really don't have much more to sew here, but darn it all, life gets in the way. I'm going to look in my stash for some border fabric because I like my quilts to have borders, and this is only going to finish 76.5" x 76.5" if I don't add borders. While I'm searching for border fabric, I'm also going to be on the lookout for binding and backing fabrics. Wouldn't it be great if I could make this for $2.50 plus stash fabrics?

Check out what other quilters have on their design walls today.
Go to Judy L's Patchwork Times.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Stash Report - Weeks 1 and 2

The first stash report of the new year is a decent one. I've been quite busy and as I posted last week, I finished two UFOs. Unfortunately the majority of the fabric had been accounted for previously so I can't report it now. I've made the decision that even if a UFO is from before I started doing stash reports, I will not count any fabric that has already been sewn into blocks. Now I know that arguments could be made for both counting and not counting it, but I just made up my mind that if it was already in a block, I didn't want to take the time to figure out yardage. Of course, any additional fabric that is added, such as borders, backing and binding will be counted in my weekly stash reports. I'm ok with the decision because this isn't really all about how much fabric I use. This is about finishing up projects and making myself accountable for my purchases (even though I'm NOT on a no-buy challenge.)

Besides the two finished UFOs, I made a Scrappy Hearts top Friday night (I'll post a picture later), and I started a Trip Around the World. I had purchased the kit for the Trip Around the World at an auction MANY years ago, at least 8 or 9, and I think I only paid $2.50 for it. Even though this is a very simple pattern to make, I just never took the time to do it. Well, I won't be able to say that anymore because half of the top is complete and I hope to finish it up Sunday afternoon. I also want to get started on the quilting of a couple of things, including the Scrappy Hearts. This quilt is pretty small (only about 46" x 56") so I'm going to quilt it on my Bernina, and I hope to have it layered and ready on Monday. The Trip Around the World is quite a bit bigger (76" x 76" before borders) and I'll probably take that one to Kare's to quilt. I think it's too big for my home machine and since I've already completed one quilt by myself at Kare's, I'm not too shy or worried about it.

Here's the report:

Fabric Used : 12.625 yards

Fabric Used to Date: 12.625yards

Fabric Added This Week: 8.00 yards

Fabric Added to Date: 8.00 yards

Net Fabric Used for 2011: 4.625 yards

UFOs Done, Done, Done: 2

UFOs Still to Do: I don't even want to go there!

Check out how other quilters are using their stash by going to Judy L.'s Patchwork Times.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

UFO Progress

I've got my work cut out for me this year, since I'm participating in 2 UFO challenges (Patchwork Times and Patchwork Penguin). I was really lucky that both of the projects chosen for this month were small and relatively easy to complete. For Patchwork Times, #6 was chosen and here's the finished product.
To finish this project, I had sew the blocks together (all blocks had been pieced, but only a few had been sewn together), join the rows, quilt, and bind. I quilted this very simply. I free-motion quilted around the stars and then quilted through the center of the blue area to connect the stars. I then quilted along a couple of the zig zags in the red and cream pieces. I'm really pleased with the outcome. Jack thinks it looks very Naval, and I have to say that I agree. He had a good idea for if I decided to make another one of these. I should get the rating of a Navy veteran and include it somewhere on the quilt. Uh, Dad was a Navy vet and I'm thinking I would love to make one with his information.

For Patchwork Penguin's #3, I had to finish Sadie's quilt.(The poor child is almost 5 months old and still doesn't have her quilt!) All that needed done was the quilting and binding. Here's the finished project.
To quilt this, I stitched in the ditch around the stars and also stitched a star in the center star area. I then quilted the spiderwebs in 1" increments. I LOVE how this turned out. The best part is that I used Nite Lite Extra Glow thread from Superior Threads for the entire top, and a variegated thread for the back (Cabash #826, Rainbows by Superior Threads). I wish I could show you the glowing quilt but alas, I'm camera-challenged and can't get it to work. It really is awesome!

I'm excited to have finished both challenge projects so early in the month. I seriously doubt that'll happen too many times during these challenges, but a girl can dream, right?

Now I'm off to piece my 4 remaining New York Beauty blocks for Glacier Star. Well, maybe I'll look around and see what else might tickle my fancy. Afterall, I have until January 21st until we meet again for the class. :-)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Design Wall Monday

It's the first Design Wall Monday of the new year and I'm feeling pretty good about it. It's my #6 UFO and I'm pretty far along! Check out what it looked like on Saturday here.
I still have to applique the stars, but I hope to do that this afternoon. As I mentioned in my last post, this is the July project of the month from the book Strippin' Times. I'm not going to border this, so after the stars are appliqued, I just have to quilt and bind. YEAH!!

Check out what other quilters have on their design walls today by going to Judy L.'s Patchwork Times.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

UFO Challenge - #6 Come on Down!!

Judy L. of Patchwork Times randomly picked UFO #6 to work on during the month of January. My number 6 is a paper pieced patriotic wall hanging called Hooray! from the book Strippin' Time.
This book is a project of the month book and this is July's project. Now I have to tell the truth here. I haven't done any other projects from this book. I have fabric for some, but I haven't started or completed any of them. That's pretty sad isn't it? Well, by the end of this month, that won't be the case; and who knows, maybe I'll start looking at the other projects more closely and get working on them. I do have to have some UFOs for the 2012 challenge, don't I? :-)

Here's where I am with the project so far.
Check back soon for progress!