Monday, December 15, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I decorate with quilts (!) all year but especially at Christmas.

A wonderful, lucky find at a Trade Day sale a few years ago.  This is an antique, professionally dated circa 1875.  Because the fabrics are all solids it's hard to get a definitive date.  Besides the lovely feathered hearts and cable quilting, there are 2 small quilted motifs:  one is a "W" and one is a dragonfly.  Oh my!  My husband's last name starts with a "W" and I LOVE dragonflies, often wearing one of many dragonfly pins on my jackets.  This was meant to be mine.  It lays out on a unused guest bed just for the month of December so I can enjoy it and wonder about who made it, what her life was like, and what she would think of my world.  The green was home dyed I imagine--there is one tiny place the green has turned blue.  One of my best treasures!
I made this years ago, the first quilt I had long-arm quilted.  It was featured on the cover of McCall's Quilting, December 1997--one of my first "cover girl" opportunities.  It hangs in the living room for the month of December and sometimes on into January or February or... The house looks ready for Christmas just as soon as this quilt appears. 

Over the years we have put up less decorations, just our most favorites.  Our sons and their women are only here a day or two and we don't entertain others very much so it pleases us to keep things simple.  I used to feel bad about this but now it feels right.  With a new grandchild on the way we are thinking of doing more next year, time will tell.  Here is the mantel with one very special new stocking in the center--for Baby Mac--what our son and daughter-in-law are calling their baby until they find out, next month, who is in there! 

In digging through my quilt stash last week, I came upon this quilt:

It is a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt from a few years ago, Roll Roll Cotton Boll.  I named this one Limeade with a Dash of Peppermint.  It is a half-size version of hers.  I thought "this looks like a Christmas quilt" so it is now displayed on the back of our red sofa--very festive! 

Last week I wrapped up the first session of the Simple WhatNots Club at Patches & Stitches, my local quilt shop.  It was a 6 month club that met one Friday night a month for a lecture/demo of small quilts designed by Kim Diehl for Henry Glass Fabrics.  Collection 2 starts in January.  Maximum capacity of the classroom is 30 chairs so that is how many we will have.  At our wrap-up party we had great goodies to share:

And a few people actually brought a quilt to share.  Here is a great one by Anna:

It is called Widdlytinks and she used those fabulous acid green buttons instead of the extra small yo-yos called for in the pattern--great little quilt!

My demos were on all the facets of finishing quilts, trimming borders, simple quilting, how to make and apply both straight grain and bias binding, how to sew the border down by hand or machine, and how to add a sleeve and a label--musts for me on all the quilts I make.  Even if the label is nothing more than my name and the date written on the back in Sharpie.  Most of the time my labels are more involved, but not always.

 Now, waiting for one of those very involved labels is Celtic Solstice Fanfare, our guild Raffle Quilt:

The label will list the name of the quilt, the fact that is the 2015 Fanfare Quilt show and sale Raffle quilt, the name of the pattern designer, Bonnie Hunter, and the names of those who pieced the quilt as well as the long-arm quilter.  I have to get that done very soon as we will be unveiling this quilt later this week at the guild's December meeting, our annual Holiday party.  Guild members donated fat quarters 6 months ago in the requested colors and they all seem to play nicely together.

This past week I caught up with Bonnie's 2014 mystery quilt.  Grand Illusion uses colors from the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.  Her instructions are for a large quilt, so I am just making half the units currently until I see what the finished quilt looks like and decide if I want a big one or not.  Parts 1, 2 and 3:

And, now that I am caught up, here is what my cutting table looks like:

It so rarely looks like this!  I will enjoy it for today, then it's back to finishing a few Christmas gifts I need to have ready by Thursday.

Let's Quilt!



Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Rush

Well, not really. It is December, after all, everyone is busy.  I've been happily content in my studio since returning from Houston--no tax classes or staff meetings to attend--wow, it feels so good to have that part of my life behind me.

First up is my "must do" for today--attach the sleeve and binding to our guild Raffle Quilt:

Celtic Solstice Fanfare--pattern by Bonnie Hunter, used with her permission
I have 10 days to get the quilt completely finished to show at our December Guild meeting.  I'm hoping the crowd will be pleased.  We asked for fat quarter donations of those bright fabrics, added one primary background and I am happy with how the colors came together.

Then I am eager to get back to the latest Bonnie Hunter Mystery:  Grand Illusion Mystery.  I was not going to start this until the mystery was revealed but got sucked in by all the great units people were showing on Facebook.  I have limited myself to half the units in each clue, in case I decide not to make the full 88" x 88" quilt. 

The four Double Diamond units at the top are step 2, some folks have had difficulty with this one.  It's a great way to learn to improve your piecing, making units that are less familiar to you.  The bottom shows four units from step 1.  We don't know how these units will go in the final quilt--I'm just playing with design here.

Then there are these Christmas quilts I have to get done:  12 Days of Christmas in Red and White:

This pattern is from Temecula Quilt Co.  Every other day from December 1 to December 24 their blog will have the directions for each simple 3" block.  Day one has one piece, day two has two pieces, etc.  They did this pattern in 2010 and I made two then.  Now I am in the middle of three more, using fabrics left over from my Red and White--By the Numbers quilt.  Simple yet a sweet Christmas quilt. 

At night I am hand quilting my first baby quilt for our grandbaby, due June 2015--at least I'll have the baby quilt done on time:

Another pattern from Temecula Quilt Co:  Little Letters.  This was easy and fun to make in between all the other things I've been working on the past month.  In January the kids will find out if she's a girl or a boy, and I'll do the binding then, pretty purple if it's a girl, wild green if it's a boy. 

That should keep me busy this week.  I'm linking up to Bonnie's Monday Mystery Link Up and Patchwork Times Design Wall Monday.

Have a great week--Let's Quilt!