Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve!

It's that last minute time--DH is out shopping--he loves to wait until the last day--and I am baking:  blackberry cobbler, gingerbread Santas, Harvest Cinnamon Buns, rolls, Cranberry Chutney, and Sweet Potato Casserole if I get to it.

Here is what I did last week as small Christmas gifts for my 2 best quilting buddies:

These are about 8" square and are made from silk strips created from recycled silk saris.  I came upon these silk bundles in Houston last year and have been finding ways to use them.  As most are less than 1" wide, it's tricky.

Check out Judy L's Design Wall Monday to see what others have been hurrying to finish!

A most happy and blessed Christmas to all of you! When all the excitement is over: Let's quilt!


Friday, December 21, 2012

December Doll Quilt Swap

Denise and I swapped doll quilts at our annual guild Christmas party last night. Because we are friends and see each other at least each month at guild meeting, this was a great way to swap without going to the post office and to see the other's reaction to our quilts.

Here is the great Shoo Fly quilt Denise made for me:
Isn't it terrific? She used beautiful metallic thread for the quilting and all the fabrics are super. It's 16" square, with 6" shoo fly blocks. Thank you, Denise, for a great Christmas quilt I will use and enjoy for years to come!

As she had posted a few "hints" on her blog earlier, I had a suspicion about her quilt design for me. So I made her a little shoo fly, as an extra Christmas gift. The white and red fabrics were leftovers from my Just Takes 2 Red and White quilt I just finished:

Mine is 8.5" square, with 3" shoo fly blocks--I love shoo fly blocks, so cute and perky!

The quilt it is sitting on is the 12 Days of Christmas quilt I made for Denise as her December swap quilt. There are 12 blocks, each has the number of pieces in the 12 days--1, 2, 3, etc., all the way to the 12th day which has 12 pieces. The pattern came from Temecula Quilt Co, December 2011 posts. 

I've a made a couple other little quilts this week but can't show them until tomorrow...

Let's quilt!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sneak Peek for Denise

OK, Denise is padding her blogs to make a specific count on by December 31.  Today she posted  asneak peek for me of the Doll Quilt she made for me as part of the Doll Quilt Swap.  (EDIT--I goofed--Denise posted on the Doll Quilt Swap blog, not her personal blog--I posted on both so I am, apparently, padding my blog!)

Here is her sneak peek:
Or is it this one?
She'll just have to wait for tomorrow night at our guild holiday party to find out!

Sneaky, yes?

Let's quilt!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Just Takes 2 Done!

I worked all week on it, and got the borders on my Just Takes 2 quilt top:

I spent a good bit of time figuring out the measurements for the floater borders so the pieced borders would fit.  They did.  It got pretty big--about 91" x 108".  It will be sent off to California for quilting--I know it will be super when it's done. 

Another look at the borders:
Now I can move on to all the Christmas stuff that has to get done this week.  My guild party is Thursday and I still have things to get ready for that, plus shopping and shipping and baking... You get the picture.

Check out Judy L's Design Wall Monday to see what others are doing.

Have a great week and let's quilt!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Just Takes 2 is Done--Almost!

With all the patterns and the final construction instructions in hand, I got the Just Takes 2 red and white quilt top assembled.  There were several places to join with partial seams as there are no complete rows in the whole top so it took a little while to join it all together:
Now I am working on a pieced border to finish it off.  There are 2362 pieces and 59 different fabrics in the top.   It will be quilted by a longarm wonder woman.  I'm thinking of using red for the back--what do you think?
The only other thing I got done this week is the next block in  the Grandmother's Choice block of the week, which honors and educates us about the women's suffragist movement of a century ago.
Check out Judy L's blog to see what other's have been working on. 
Have a great week and Let's Quilt!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Design Wall Monday December 3, 2012

It sure got to be December in a hurry!  My son, Andy, turned 32 yesterday, so it must be December.  We enjoyed having dinner with he and his wife and her parents and brother on  Saturday night.  At a sports bar--we were there for the last 15 minutes of the SEC championship game between Alabama and Georgia--wow, was it LOUD when the game ended with Alabama's victory!

Here's what I got done this past week:

The first 2 rows of Grandmother's Choice, the story of the woman's suffragist movement.  The blocks come each Saturday and if I don't keep up, I'll never get it done.  I'm using the tradtional colors of the English movement--I didn't know it was a world-wide struggle.  See Barbara Brackman's blog for more information.

Here are the Just Takes 2 blocks I got done last week:

 There is one applique' basket block I don't love so I am replacing it.  Thought I would put four 6" heart blocks together to fill the 12" space until I had the first one almost done and realized I had not put the heart on point.  So, back to the drawing board--I'll find something else.

The final blocks have been printed and I'll finish those this week and complete joining all four quarters into a top.  I plan to add a pieced border--will give some thought to that after the top is done.

This is my last burst of "pre-tax season" quilting time.  Have to get as much done now as I can since my quilting time will be seriously curtailed from January-April.  I'll get a few hand projects together so I always have something I can pick up at night--when I have the energy. 

Be sure to check out Judy L's blog to see what other's have been doing.

Have a great week and let's quilt!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Design Wall Monday November 26, 2012

It was a lovely Thanksgiving weekend--since I wasn't cooking much or hosting, I had lots of time to sew and there are almost no leftovers in the refrigerator.

I made these 2 little doll-size quilts as gifts:

These 4 patches are my "leader-ender" projects so I have many of those.
12 Days of Christmas, pattern from Temecula Quilt Company
Then I got to working on the Just Takes 2 Red and White blocks--I'm a bit behind.  I did the easy ones and now have to get to those more difficult ones:

Also made a Grandmother's Choice block--one more of those and I'll be caught up on that project too.

We went to see "Lincoln" on Friday--excellent movie!  The acting was terrific and the politics was interesting--it's the story of how the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, was passed by the House of Representatives.  As I watched it, I was reminded how young our country was in 1864--less than 100 years old, democracy still considered a "test", perhaps.  It's worth the time to see this one.

Be sure to check out Judy L's design wall blog to see what other's are doing. 

Have a good week and let's quilt!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Design Wall Monday November 19, 2012

Finally over the head congestion I picked up in Houston and back to getting things done.  Here are samples for an upcoming class.  These tumbling blocks are made the easy way--sewn together in rows--the light diamonds have a seam.
The repro one is about 49" and the batik is 21" x 26".  From the book Antique to Heirloom Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott. 

Also got caught up, almost, on the Grandmother's Choice blocks from Barbara Brackmans' block of the week.
Now to finish all the Just Takes 2 red and white blocks I have to do!  And check out Judy L's blog to see what others are up to.
Let's Quilt!  And celebrate a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Doll Quilt for Cheddar Fabric

Here is a cute little doll quilt I received from Sharon V from the Doll Quilt Swap I am in:
It came with it's own little doll and uses the Ghastlie Fabrics--it was for October, after all.

By showing this to you, I am in the running to receive a half yard of cheddar fabric from Taryn--her blog is Reproduction and Antique Quilt Lover.

I'll have more info about Houston later--once I've recovered.

Let's quilt!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sample spree

Last night was sample spree, the shopping frenzy where quilt shop owners and those who came with them can buy the latest and greatest new stuff: fabrics, patterns, other goodies. People get in line hours in advance, I kid you not--totally unnecessary because once we open the doors at 8 pm every one is in within 5 minutes.
Hundreds attend and the lines wrap around the building in two directions. Here is an idea of the eager crowd:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Welcome to Houston

The bad part: getting up at 4:15 am to catch my two flights to Houston. The good part: getting to spend 13 days consumed with all things "quilt", and spend time with some dear friends. It's a lot of work but it's worth it.

Here's how I spent my last free afternoon--at the pool and the rooftop
Lounge where it was sunny and breezy--just perfect!

Let's quilt!


Monday, October 22, 2012

Design Wall Monday October 22, 2012

This is the mad dash to get ready to leave home for two weeks--I'm headed to Houston this Wednesday for Quilt Market and Quilt Festival.  As usual, I keep thinking "I need one more (day) (week) (etc) before I leave".  Of course, it wouldn't matter--the more time I had, the more things I'd fill that time with. 

This is what I've gotten done.  The samples for the classes I'll be teaching January-April, 2013 had to get done.  This one I really pushed to get done the last few days and it still needs the left and right borders--a quick trip to the quilt shop this morning will make that possible.  I love this quilt--the traditional tumbling blocks sewn in straight rows only, no Y seams!  Of course, I made it very difficult by using different fabrics for the light diamonds--NO, use ONE fabric only and the layout will be much faster!  The pattern is in the book:  Antique to Heirloom Jelly Roll Quilts, by Pam and Nicky Lintott:

Next, I needed a photo of the Trash 2 Treasure sample--these blocks are just on the design wall--they'll get sewn together after Houston.  My plan is to make this a Quilt of Valor:
The class is based on Trash 2 Treasure by Gyleen Fitzgerald--not paper pieced, it's a great stash buster.  I changed the last round by adding a larger triangle to replace 2 small rows--much easier and I like the secondary red square where the 4 corners come together.

Then I got busy finishing the Just Takes 2 red and white blocks and sewing the 3rd quarter unit together.  The blocks in the upper right corner are just "place holders" for this photo--they may or may not be what goes in there when the last quarter is unveiled.  I changed out the placement of some of the blocks based on the fabrics I had used. 

So, there you have it.  Besides the usual therapy appointments, (I graduated!), haircut, cleaning up the potted plants and moving the tropicals back inside, cleaning out all the leaves I could get out of the pond so husband and son could put the net in place, and the usual running around, I also did 26 hours of continuing education classes online for my return to H&R Block and had my interview.  This will be my 33rd year.  Working sure cuts into my free time.

Saturday I spent with my beloved husband at a luncheon reunion of his high school class.  As they've gotten older, they thought meeting once every 5 years wasn't enough so in October the class of 1965, Fairview, AL high school has a potluck lunch.  There were 125 students in the class and most still live close to home, about an hour from us.  My Philadelphia high school, class of 1971, had a class of 1210, and I have no idea where most live--not in touch except through a Facebook group.

Check out Judy L's blog to see what others are doing.

Look for updates from Houston--can't wait to get there!

Let's quilt!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Design Wall Monday October 15, 2012

I've been busy but don't have a lot to show for it.  I've gotten most of my red/white Just Takes 2 blocks done for this section--I plan to have that 3rd section sewn together to show next week. 

Here is my first row of Grandmother's Choice BoW:

I used the Panorama option on my Iphone to get it all in.  So far, so good...

A friend I'll see in Houston has asked me to bring her some pomegranate "crowns" for a craft project she is doing.  We have 3 large pomegranate shrubs in our yard that are loaded with fruit.  Here you see dried ones I cut in August, the tops of fresh ones I just cut this weekend,  the actual 10' tall "shrubs" and the real prize:  the seeds.

The seeds drop to the ground and we get many seedlings each year.  Anybody who is local is welcome to have seedlings, next spring when the next crop pop up. 

Be sure to check out Judy L's blog to see what others are doing!  Have a great week...

Let's Quilt!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Design Wall Monday October 8, 2012

It's been a busy week--as I get closer to Houston, the list seems to get longer.  Everything on the list will get done in the next two weeks but it's going to take some doing.

I made my two garments for Houston.  Each year we are given fabric from one or two companies, and we all select the colors and patterns we want, from the same line. We can make what we want, and on the assigned day we all wear the same line.  Because the colors and styles are different, we don't look the same but we do appear to be "staff"--good for helping people in the crowds.  And it makes it fairly easy to pack for almost 2 weeks--several black slacks and a bunch of tops and I'm good to go with my jackets.  Here they are:

Fabrics from Troy Corporation, designed by Marcia Derse.   The print is an old one and a real favorite of mine.
Fabrics from Moda, designed by Brigitte Heitland.  This jacket pattern is not my favorite--bad thing to learn once I've cut into the fabric. 

Then I made a gift for a friend--can you tell what it is?  My husband's first guess was a strawberrry, then he guessed a pomegranate.  No to both.  Can you tell?  If not, maybe this isn't such a great gift after all...

Lastly, I made the Grandmother's Choice block for this past Saturday and began to join the blocks to tegether with a 1" finished sashing.  By reading all the information posted on Barbara Brackman's block of the week, I'm learning a lot about the suffragist movement--very interesting!

I've still got 4 Just Takes 2 blocks to get done before the October 15 batch shows up.  Only have therapy once this week and am seeing good progress on the knee.  It's turned much cooler--I think everyone is happy with that! 

Be sure to see what other folks have been doing on Judy L's blog.

Let's quilt!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Design Wall Monday October 1, 2012

It's October already.  Six weeks ago I was in surgery and 3 weeks from now I'll be in Houston--for Market and Festival--the highlight of the year!

Here is the dark version of my Simple Symmetry quilts from Paula Nadelstern's class in May:
These blocks were made from the same fabric as "Day":
Try as I might, I could not get them to play nicely in one quilt so I made two.  It's amazing how different the blocks look on light and dark backgrounds.  They are simply quilted with variegated thread, using the walking foot.  Someday, I'll tackle free motion quilting, maybe...
The other little bit I accomplished this week is the next block in Grandmother's Choice from Barbara Brackman's Suffragist Block of the Week:
I'm going to start piecing these blocks together in rows, just haven't decided what color I want to use yet, either a brown, black or something light.  Maybe I'll know by next week.
Therapy continues and I'm feeling stronger each week.  I had fun helping my beginning students select fabrics for their quilts--this week they will make their first block.
Check out Judy L's blog to see what other people are up to. 
Let's quilt!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Design Wall--Tuesday September 25, 2012

What happened to Monday?  With therapy 3 times a week out of the house and 3 times a day at home, I guess I'm getting busy again.  Here's what I did this week:

The first four Grandmother's Choice blocks to celebrate the Suffragist movement.  That fourth one was a challenge--I machine pieced the center, after printing the templates on freezer paper and cutting them out with seam allowance in place.  Then I hand pieced the circle to the background and then hand applique'd the center circle in place.  Hopefully, next Saturday's block will be simpler.  Denise, I thought of you while doing this block!

I also finished binding and blocking this quilt from the Simple Symmetry classs with Paula Nadelstern:
It's called "Day" because of the light background.  "Night" is almost done.

Thursday night I went to our monthly guild meeting and heard Mary Lou Weideman talk about her story quilts--great fun!  They are bright, fun, and tell terrific stories.  I'm sure those who took her 2 days of workshops had a wonderful time!  I was prettty worn out after sitting for 3 hours--came home and iced the knee for a while. 

Tonight I start teaching my latest Quiltmaking 101 class to 7 new, eager students.  I love to teach this beginner class--just know I'll be very tired at the end of the night.  I'm still not driving so I have to make arrangements for my transport everywhere--thankfully, I have great friends who are willing to help out.  Here is the sample for my beginning class: it's not simple but most students are amazed at what they learn and are able to accomplish is 5 weeks.  My plan is to addict them to quilting!

 The pattern is Mix and Match Stars by Glad Creations. 

I'm currently hand stitching the binding on our guild raffle quilt for the October 2013 quilt show.  Photos of that baby later.

And if you need inspiration: Judy L's Design Wall Monday blog

Let's Quilt!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Design Wall Monday September 17, 2012

I'm four weeks post-op today and will see the surgeon this afternoon.  He'll release me from home therapy and I'll start 3 weeks of out-patient therapy.  So far, I'm doing very well and, thanks to Advil PM, sleeping better the last few nights.

Here's how I've spent my days, with the Just Takes 2 blocks: 
I was all caught up until now--the most recent set of blocks just posted--there are only 3 and they are easy so I'll have those done in the next day or two.  This quilt will be one I'll be glad to be done--but I do like it.  I'll have it machine quilted--I don't like it enough to hand quilt it!  In two weeks we should get the next set of instructions for joining these blocks into another section.  That will make 3 sections down, one more to go.  I've kept a spreadsheet--so far, 1725 pieces and 57 different fabrics.

Barbara Brackman has several blogs.  I love them because she provides so much history, about quilts, textiles,  historical events, etc.  She just started one called Grandmother's Choice which celebrates the Suffragist Movement that gave women in this country and other countries the right to vote almost 100 years ago.  Each Saturday for 49 weeks there will be an 8" block posted with historical information about the crusade for voting rights for women.  I am using the colors of the English Suffragists:  violet, green and a little red for rebellion.  She talks about the colors several groups used in their logos.  It was a long battle but ultimately successful--perhaps we now take that for granted.   There is a flickr group with photos, a reading list if you want more historical info and lots of ideas for colors and settings.  It began September 1, 2012 and here are the first 3 blocks I've made:

I'm not sure yet if I'll set them with sashing or block to block--time will tell.

 BTW, the blocks are all in Barbara Brackman's BlockBase computer program with thousands of blocks.  If you have EQ it is a great addition.  If you don't have BlockBase, Electric Quilt is doing a giveway:  go here to sign up for that--it would be terrific reference for any quilter.  EQ is also starting a BlockBase Sew-Along starting soon.  I've got a few things I need to finish so Grandmother's Choice is the last Sew-Along I'm going to start--please remind me of that the next time I get excited about something new that comes along.

To see what others are up to go to:  Judy L's Design Wall Monday blog.

Let's Quilt!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

X Block Swap

I've been working on my X Blocks for the Swap I put together with 6 other guild members.  They are fun and fairly fast to do.  Each set of 6 blocks that finish to 8" uses six 10" squares of fabric, that are cut and scrambled to create 6 different blocks.  The pattern is from Sharyn Craig's book Layer Em Up.   Here is a video of Sharyn showing the process.  We added one extra decision--what size X's did we want:  Fat, Normal or Skinny?  That decision determined how wide to make the cuts.  We also all agreed to make two sets of 6 blocks for each person.  So, we will all receive 72 blocks all together.

Each of us gave all the others a piece of "theme" fabric to show us what kind/colors of fabrics they wanted, along with their size decision.  About 6 weeks ago I hunted through my stash of fat quarters and selected all the fabrics for each person.  It was fun to find wonderful fabrics I hadn't seen in years as well as new stuff.  This used up 5 yards of fabric--a pittance in the grand scheme of things but still good to get that much gone.  Here are my results:

these are for Juli
these are for Mary
Juli and Mary did something interesting:  they gave each of us two 10" squares of their theme fabric for us to include in the two sets of fabrics we used for them.  This way, half of all the blocks they receive will include the theme fabric.  That makes for more continuity in the groups.  Easy!
these are for Melissa--30's was her "theme"
these are for Kathy
Rhonda's are similar to Kathy, but different size X's
These are mine from Rhonda, along with 6 I made as samples to demo with.  My theme was 1800's reproductions. 
This is great for a group project--fast and pretty easy AND each person will trim their own blocks when they receive them.  If the seam allowances vary, and don't they always in a group project?, we will just find the lowest common denominator and trim them all to that size. 
I have one more group to do--I've saved that for last since it's my favorite set of fabrics.  I've also started a new project and made a few more doll quilts this week.  More about that later.
Finally slept better last night--Advil PM to the rescue!  Even went out to dinner last night and wore long pants and real shoes--progress!
Let's Quilt! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Creativity and Recovery

Today is 3 weeks post-op and I continue to do well with my knee replacement recovery.  I do my therapy exercises twice a day, and the therapist comes here 3 times a week to increase the exercises/weights, reps etc.  I am able to walk through my home with no cane or walker and feel stronger each day.  The  only annoying issue is I'm still not sleeping as well as I'd like.  My husband says it's because I'm sitting around all day, not being very active.  He hasn't seen me in the studio.

This past week I've gotten several things done.  Here are 3 more doll quilts:

 These are from the Temecula Quilt Company blog.  The blocks are their summer stars sew-a-long.  I've enjoyed their quick, easy patterns. 
This Bricks quilt is the larger version of Tiny Bricks I made in January. 
I saw this on one of the blogs I follow, Taryn at Repro Quilt Lover and thought it was sweet. It was also tiny. Those bricks were cut 7/8" x 1 1/4" and finish at .375" x .75".   Then I  cut out 61 more bricks, almost four times that size, cut 1.5" x 2.5".  Look how much larger the second one is!  The small one is 6" x 7", the large one 14" x 16".   
Then I started on the X Block Swap blocks for the group I put together.  There are 7 of us and each person will make 2 sets of 6 blocks for each person, using their preferred theme or colorway.  Each person decided if she wanted wide, narrow or middle-of-the-road X's--this determines how you cut the fabrics.  Each set of 6 starts with six 10" squares of fabrics, sorted light to dark more or less.  They are cut, then the pieces are scrambled--very fun to see what you get!  Here are Rhonda's blocks:
This pattern is from Sharyn Craig's book Layer 'Em Up and she has a great little video showing the process:    It takes me less than an hour to make a set of 6 blocks and we are doing 2 sets for each person.  My plan is to do one set a day for the next 10 days and I'll be through with this project--until I receive my 72 blocks and get to play with a new quilt design.
While I'm piecing, I work with Leaders/Enders--using pieces at the beginning/end of piecing to create other small blocks as I go.  For quite a while I've been making 2" finished four-patches and must have hundreds of them by now.  Here is the latest layout to use some of them up:
Don't know what this will become next, but it tames some of those four-patches. 
I'm linking up with Judy L's blog--check it out to see what others are up to. 
Time for therapy then I can quilt!  Have a great week, all.