Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Quilt

I finished my Christmas quilt. It’s only 36”x44”. All the lap quilt I need when I’m sharing a couch with 3 dogs! The fabric is Vintage Holiday by April Cornell for Moda. I had 2 charm packs and yardage of the sashing fabric that I also used for backing and binding. Here is a close up of the quilting – a clamshell design by machine using Aurifil #2325 50/2 weight thread.
It’s my favorite thread to use for machine piecing and quilting. It seems to go with so many of the fabrics I use. I call it antique gold but I don’t think that is what Aurifil calls it. I enjoyed quilting this one – the quilt was small enough and the design was pretty brainless especially since I’d marked the quilt. I used a Sewline pencil in white and it vanished with washing.

My daughter introduced me to Pinterest last summer. I hadn’t been back to the site since and she made a comment last week about it being taken over by a certain demographic group of which I’m a member. Well! ; c ) I was led there this afternoon when I was blog hopping and found this quilters eye candy here. I went back to the homepage and I have to admit she’s right. It doesn’t have the same feel as it did when she first showed it to me. Now that I think about it, when she said “old ladies” she may have been referring to women in their 30’s! Geez!

If you’d like a chance to win some fabrics, leave a comment on my previous post by Monday morning.

December is almost here. Where does the time go?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My First Blogging Anniversary Giveaway

Here it is…
approximately ¼ to ½ yard of each fabric

To enter just leave a comment on this post about anything – your favorite holiday, what you’re reading, the best quilting lecture/class you’ve ever attended, what you did this weekend or something else you don’t mind sharing. I’ll pick a winner on Mon. Dec. 5 around 9am EST.

As I write this, my daughter is flying back to Georgia. We had a nice, quiet visit. The quiet is very unusual. She is usually in and out with friends but everyone was away this break. Lucky for me. I enjoyed our day of shopping, sitting quietly while she did schoolwork and I stitched, going out to eat with the men in our family, and decorating the Christmas tree. And I can’t forget our Thanksgiving feast at my parents. There were only 20 of us this year. Great food and company – Thanks Mom and Dad!

Holiday gift idea - One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. This book is laugh out loud hilarious. Ask for it or give it to a friend. My daughter was complaining that she wasn't getting enough schoolwork done despite the time she was sitting with her computer so I got a copy out of the library for her. I think she needed to get her mind off her studies for a while. She read it in less than 24 hours. The movie comes out January 2012 so read it soon.

I took advantage of nice weather and everyone together to take our holiday greeting card photo.

I’m thankful for my kids.

Don't forget to leave a comment!

Monday, November 21, 2011

T-Shirt Quilt

Here is the t-shirt quilt I’ve been working on-
quilted by Judy Hendrickson of The Quilting Cellar

Here are just a few hints and instructions that were given to me and I found helpful.

Launder shirts without fabric softener or dryer sheets.

For my first t-shirt quilt I found it helpful to cut and apply interfacing to a test shirt - one that wasn't going to be in the final quilt. It gave me the confidence to cut into the other shirts.

With scissors cut along both sides of the shirt to open it up-

Cut a piece of Pellon 911FF (lightweight woven) interfacing that is a couple inches larger on each side than your expected finished block. Both the shirt and the interfacing have more stretch in one direction than the other. Make sure to have the less stretchy of one matched up with the more stretchy of the other.

Lie your t-shirt face down. Place interfacing on top making sure you have the adhesive side toward the shirt.
Press with a pressing cloth using manufacturers recommended heat setting. Let cool and check. Heat again if not firmly applied.

Cut block to desired size. Typically, shirts are cut the same size and uniform sashing is added. A lot can be said for doing it this way, but you can also have fun piecing the “sashing” so you can cut the shirts to any size logo.

I use graph paper to plan my layout-
Glue graph paper to cardstock.
Draw on t-shirt logos and cut apart.
Apply a rolled up piece of masking tape so t-shirts can be repositioned.
Position on a large piece of graph paper and move around until you get a pleasing design.

Piece with an even feed foot.

Remember - always use a pressing cloth! This is very important. Otherwise you may melt the logos and possibly the shirt.

The added interfacing makes this a very heavy quilt. Use 4 oz. polyester batting off the bolt from JoAnn’s. Cotton will be too heavy.

Trim hems and seams from leftover t-shirt fabric. I use the remaining fabric as rags.

Hope this makes sense. Feel free to send me an email if you want more information.

I like to reward a finish with a new project-

I’m using the back basting method and find it is very accurate. Downside – the basting takes a while. Upside – no glue, starch, freezer paper or template plastic needed. I chose this method because it is a very large piece. The block will be 20 inches and my freezer paper isn’t that big and I couldn’t find my template plastic.

My daughter is home from college for the week and I spied these images on her laptop-
I know they are for her graphic design exit project but she won’t tell me how they relate. Very curious!

I’m still thinking about what my First Blogging Anniversary Giveaway will be. I’ll probably post it on Saturday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Recent Winnings

A few weeks ago I won a giveaway from Cathy. She included this sweet little needle keep as a surprise. I had just been thinking I needed something to put my new favorite betweens (John James GoldnGlide) in because they come in a clumsy little envelope. Perfect! Thanks again, Cathy.

Yesterday, I received my winnings from Barbara Brackman for entering her patchwork clothing post. She sent me over 2 yards of her new reproduction fabric line – Old Fashioned Calicoes. They are true to the originals except for their hand – these are so soft and supple and of course no doubt they are 100% cotton. Ideas are brewing. Thanks, Barbara.

Yes, I’ve been a lucky girl. Next week will be my first blogging anniversary so check back here for a giveaway.

This is what my living room looks like this morning. I’m stitching the binding on my nieces t-shirt quilt. The crocheted spread on the other side of the couch still needs repair. I hope if it sits there where I can see it I will work on it. Some of those books on the table are library books. Every so often I clean this table off and it doesn’t take long before I find it is full of books again!

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quilts in Progress

I was a working girl last week. I spent 3 days at the Jinny Beyer Studio helping out during Quilters Quest, the areas annual shop hop. I cut fabric for online and in shop customers, assembled kits and just tried to make myself useful. The studio is located in historic Great Falls Virginia which is in the outer suburbs of Washington DC. It is one of a collection of shops, restaurants and businesses all surrounding a grassy square. I wish I had thought to ask about the building. It was very warm and cozy – lots of wood and old features. I’m not sure if it is actually an old building or just built to feel that way. My time there was fun and busy. Everyone was so nice. Jinny was there to greet everyone who came in the door. Check out the Quilters Quest Quilts.

In the evenings I took turns stitching these projects- 
This is very puffy because I’m using wool batting. I’m being very free with my stitching. I don’t want to undo uneven or crooked stitches because I have to many hand projects in the queue. This is the first time I’ve hand quilted without a hoop. It's easier on my hands and arms, though I don't have as much control.

I taped the background of the lone star to my dining room floor and carefully laid the 4 segments on top so they butted together. I then basted the segments to the background- 

I’m in the process of appliqueing. These star points aren’t easy for me – my first attempt has been my best one so far- 

I stitched the first segment directly to the background. The next segment was stitched to the background until I came to where it butted up against the first. There, I stitched it to the first segment- 
I don’t want any of the background to show between the star segments. So far, so good. I’m almost done with the third segment. I’m thinking about adding a border of diamonds.

I also stitched my hexie blocks together and I’m almost ready to piece the back. Glad I remembered to cut my binding from the leftover black and white fabric I used for the sashing before using it for the back. Will add some of my 30’s repros to make it big enough.

Yesterday, I started marking a Christmas quilt top I made out of charm packs. I hope I can have it machine quilted and bound by the end of this year. The hexie quilt will also be machine quilted.

I’m looking forward to next week. My daughter arrives for the Thanksgiving holiday this Saturday. I need to get busy cleaning her room. We’ve been using it as a catch all – not a good idea.

As we approach the holidays, I’m renewing my vow to keep it simple. I get better about it every year. What are your thoughts on this? I know some people just love all the hustle and bustle.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Morningstar Top

I finished a quilt top this weekend. It includes my Morningstar blocks from a class I took over a decade ago. I was inspired by the setting used in an antique quilt Liz posted on her blog Quilterie. If my math is right, I used 342 one inch half-square triangles. It is about 33 inches square.

It took a lot of pinning-

A lot of steam-

And here it is-

The edges are pretty wobbly. Maybe I should add a plain border to even it up.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley

Last Sunday my husband and I drove a little over an hour northwest to the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester Virginia.  The Glen Burnie Historic House and Gardens are on the same property. This was the last day to take a tour of the house before it closes for 3 years for renovations.

The cows in the field by the parking lot were mooing like crazy when we arrived.

Some of the gardens were closed due to the snow. We were able to take a few pics on our walk to the house.  

I couldn't really get a photo of the house since we weren't allowed on the grounds. That was okay because our (my) real reason for going was to see the Daughters of the Stars quilt exhibit in the museum – 16 star quilts from the Shenandoah Valley. Most were late 19th century. No photos were allowed of this exhibit but my husband snapped a few of those in the museums permanent collection. 

This was definitely worth the trip. The exhibit goes through January 8th of 2012. There were so many helpful people working there and the museum building is a beautiful new space. We had lunch in the tearoom. I had a turkey, bacon, brie, and apple Panini on whole grain bread. It was delicious. I usually ask them to hold the potato chips but these were Route 11 chips, which are locally produced. Double delicious! For whatever reason they were not charging for entry into the house and museum that day so I felt compelled to spend some money in the gift shop. I picked up some postcards, notecards and a book about Amish quilts. My husband had scoped out the gift shop while I looked at the quilts so he was all ready to help me with my selections. He carried them to the register and seemed to very much enjoy buying them for me. I wonder if this has anything to do with him wanting to upgrade his smart phone. ; c ) He thinks I want his old one but I still hang up on incoming calls on the cell phone I just got last summer. I'm hopeless with these things.

Here are a few photos I snapped this afternoon.

The dogs love the noon day sun. Here is Duke.

Batting is just as good. Here is Penny.

As I sipped my tea I admired the color out my living room window.

Hope you have found time to stitch recently. I've stolen some stitching time from the t-shirt quilt to do a little hand quilting. A relaxing thing to do while my son filled out college applications. What a process!