Thursday, December 30, 2010

Puppy Dog Quilt

My last finish of 2010! I bought the two main fabrics from Hancock’s of Paducah thinking it would go with my 30’s reproductions. I think I was going to do a strippy quilt, but even though the fabric was shown with the 30’s prints they didn’t really go together well. The fabric sat in my 30’s bin for several years until this fall. I’d also held onto an email with quotes about dogs thinking I’d use them in a quilt some day. This summer my daughter write the quotes on muslin. I was thinking I’d use some other dog fabric, but I’m starting to learn that if I’m not beginning a project I’m excited about there must be something wrong with my plan. Well, the thought occurred to me one day to use the other dog fabric and things began to click. I wanted something easy to piece because this will just be a family room quilt. I only added the brown sashing because I felt something needed to separate the plaid dog fabric at the seams. It’s nothing fancy, but it has dogs and pinwheels and it’s done! Here are the quote blocks-

I’m looking forward to January. I always get a lot done at the beginning of the year. It may still be cold, but the days are getting longer and there doesn’t seem to be as many school and social activities. My youngest son is a junior in high school. He has his license, but we still like to be involved.  Next year – college applications! Yikes!
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Some 2010 Quilt finishes

 For one of my sisters

 For my nephew’s twin girls

 On my daughters bed here at home – not sure if it is hers or mine.

We had a merry day at my parent’s yesterday. It was a relatively small gathering – just 16 of us. My sister and her family are coming for dinner on Thursday. I’m planning a simple meal – just ham and a few sides. We had planned to do it today, but snow was in the forecast. It keeps teasing us with flurries and now I hear snow will be later tonight. Oh, well. I’ll be better prepared on Thursday.

I just mixed up some bread dough – haven’t done that in quite a while. While it rests I plan to do some quilting on my doggie quilt and continue watching Cranford, a BBC program based on a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell. I had never heard of her or her writing, but the article compared her to Jane Austen. The program stars Judi Dench and I recognize a few others from Austen movies. I enjoyed the 2 programs I watched the other night and plan on looking for the book at the library.

This is the second time I've shown pics of Duke and my 13 year old cockapoo, Penny, is jealous. Here are a couple with her taken in October. They are the best dogs in the world (I know - you have the best dogs in the world, too-LOL).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Machine Quilting, More on Yo-Yos, and a Santa

Here is a sneak peak at what I’m working on. I think you can get a better look if you click on the image. I’m happy with how the quilting is going – a few wobbles here and there, but I can live with that. My daughter did the lettering and drawing.

I have a list of machine quilting reminders by my sewing machine –
1. don’t roll, but puddle the quilt (this was a tip from Patsy Thompson)
2. feet flat on the floor
3. shoulders back and down
4. relax
5. slow and steady -just like driving in the snow ;+)

Yo-yos are coming along. I played with them last night while watching Miracle on 34th Street. The fabric circles start at 2 1/4", I turn them in 1/8" and they finish at about 1”. I just counted 151 yo-yos. Maybe I have enough for 2 garlands!

This is a Santa wallhanging my husband and I made as newlyweds in 1984. I think it came from a Family Circle magazine. I made all the parts and got frustrated with it when it came to putting it all together, so he finished it. I guess I wouldn't get much done without my family!
Santa's beard and the holly leaves are machine stitched. Putting it all together required stuffing and glueing onto 1/4" foam core. I stitched, my husband glued.

Sorry for the shadows and dark photos. Not sure what I'm doing wrong today.
My family is all here - oldest son arrived with his puppy last night. He's better with doing his business outside (the puppy, that is), but has acquired the lovely habit of barfing all over. So far he has gotten the living room rug, the family room sofa and a Christmas blanket. He better not get to the quilts! I think he'll be a great dog, but right now he is just a little too active for our older dogs. The puppy is a 7 month old beagle. My son said he read that beagles mature at 6-8 months. I think this one is a late bloomer!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Garlands

A garland made with a selvage and cardstock. As I recall, I made the 1st “M” and it took so much effort that my daughter made the rest of the letters. I got the idea for this from a Mary Engelbreit Home Companion magazine.

A yo-yo garland in progress - I’m not sayin’ how long ago this was started! I think I’ll work on it when we watch Christmas movies. Typically, I don’t like to do handwork while watching a movie, but I’ve seen them all before.

I was looking at the Christmas quilt top from my previous post this morning while drinking my tea. If I do diagonal lines they won’t follow neatly because the sashing is a different size then the inner blocks. So, I was thinking of doing angel wings somehow (there are angels on some of the fabrics). A lot will depend on how I feel when this quilt comes to the top of the quilting queue.

I plan to start quilting a lap size quilt today. I’m really excited about it. I hope what I’m planning to do works and I will be done with it next week. Can’t wait to show you! Theme – dogs. Colors – blue and brown. Fabric age – main fabrics had been in my stash since 2001!

Peace, Love and Joy to You and Yours.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Quilt

I don’t have a finished Christmas quilt to show, but this is a top I pieced last February during our big snowstorms. It is made with 2 Vintage Holiday by April Cornell charm packs and extra yardage. I put it aside to think about how I wanted to quilt it. Now I’m thinking I might just machine quilt it with diagonal lines. Sometimes that is all that’s needed, but I’m open to suggestions.

Hope your Sunday was restful.

Friday, December 17, 2010

9-patch split and COOKIES!

I didn’t want to post two times in a row without a quilt so here is my nieces baby with his quilt. I started it last February and finished it this summer. It is Bonnie’s split 9-patch with a different setting. I used these same fabrics in a log cabin quilt I made for my youngest son several years ago. I was working full time then and it took me a few years to make. He would see me in my sewing room and ask if I was working on his quilt. He was about 5 years old then. Maybe it was more like 10 years ago. Oh, my! I felt so bad when I had to tell him no, I wasn't working on his quilt. I wanted to free-motion quilt it and didn't have the confidence. I finally took some classes and screwed up the courage to do it. It wasn't great, but it was done and he still uses it.

We have two cookie baking parties to go to tomorrow so no quilting was done today. We bring a batch already made and both hostesses (my mom and a friend) will have batters ready to bake. To my mom’s we take these pecan crescents (or Russian teacakes, Mexican wedding cakes) or as I like to call them – snowballs.

Cream together ½ cup powdered sugar and 1 cup softened butter. Add 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 2 cups finely chopped pecans. Chill 2 hours. Roll into balls or use a small cookie scoop to form balls. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

To my friend's party we bring these gingerbread babies to decorate.

Not the best looking cookies, but they are pretty good considering neither are chocolate!

My daughter took the cookie photos. She just finished a photography class for graphic design majors.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


It snowed! Just a couple of inches. My daughter is home -safe and sound.

A Christmas pig? Do you see his Santa hat? Too cute.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


 These are crumb blocks I’m making as a leader/ender project while also making the 16-patch quilts. What you say? If you are familiar with Bonnie Hunter you know what I’m talking about.

Crumbs are little bits of fabric left over from other projects – bonus triangles, ends from strip piecing, etc. I was amazed at all the crumbs I found when I was doing some organizing of my sewing room last winter.


You just keep sewing them together any which way to make “fabric” and then cut it to the size you want. Mine are 4” (3 1/2” finished).

Crumbs in progress

after cutting to size

Leader/Enders are what you put through your sewing machine so you don’t have to clip the threads. Many quilters use a small piece of scrap fabric and throw it away when it becomes full of thread. Instead of doing that, you have a project ready to sew so you save thread and never have to clip the threads.

Crumb square in machine (last thing I did during previous sewing session). Then I sewed the sashing to the 16-patch. And then finish with another crumb square (or 2 or 3 or 4 - they are fun to do!).

Bonnie does a better job of explaining on her website Quiltville.

I’m thinking about a zigzag setting for the crumbs.

Snow is in the forecast for tomorrow afternoon. First, they said a dusting... now we are up to 1-2 inches (will we get none? or more?). I've been drooling over the picturesque snow scenes showed by other quilt bloggers. I'd love to be snowed in for a few days. I just hope my daughters flight gets in before it starts. Let it snow! - after 1:00PM!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Soldier quilt and 16-patch

Soldier quilt finished – nothing fancy. It is meant as a lap quilt, but the kit I received made a 48” square quilt. I added the 4” to one side to make it rectangular (at least a little bit) because people aren’t square - they’re rectangular!

I finished sewing and cutting the 1 ¾” and 2 ¼” strips. It made quite a lot – 177 -3 ½” x 2” units. I’m putting them aside for now.

Sunday was cold and rainy and I spent most of it working on the 16-patch with the deep pink sashing and butterscotch cornerstones. I actually like bad weather days when I don’t have to go anywhere. I listened to Christmas music (Doris Day, Andy Williams, Harry Connick Jr.) and stitched while a roast was in the oven. This quilt is very simple, but I like it. I hope I continue to think that way. I’m actually making 2 quilts for 2 grandnieces. I wanted something simple because another grandniece just arrived on Halloween. While this is a very simple, traditional design, I was inspired by a quilt from Lucy’s blog. She is a very talented quilter and photographer from Holland.

I’ve also been thinking about a new project to make for myself. I think I want to make a bed size quilt - the past couple of years have yielded mostly small to lap size. This one will be for me as a reward for finishing some projects this year. I’m gathering ideas and making a list. I’m also thinking about some UFO’s that have been around too long. Need to keep those UFO’s to a minimum!

Here is Duke - our 7 year old Goldendoodle. No, this is not HIS quilt. It was made from left over blocks from another project. The fabrics are brushed cottons and have a wonderful feel - especially now after several years of use. And I wonder which one of my guys thought Duke needed wrapping up?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

T-shirt quilt

Here is a pic of a t-shirt quilt I finished in November. A friend asked me 2 years ago to do this for her daughter who was graduating from high school. Yuck, a t-shirt quilt? They are so ugly. But I finally relented. It went together pretty easily with the help of a fellow quilter who has done many of them. My friend seemed very pleased with it and is giving it to her daughter for Christmas. It was quilted by The Quilting Cellar.
 Fun fabric on the back - 

I finished the quilting on the soldier quilt and hope to get the binding finished within the next couple of days. I’m itching to do some piecing on this-

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Gyleen Fitzgerald's Pineapple Quilts

Yesterday I went to Capital Quilts in Gaithersburg for a lecture/demo by Gyleen Fitzgerald ( She is a very engaging speaker and I love her philosophy of quilting - done is better than perfect, break the rules, do what works for you, have your quilts out and use them or your family will yard sale them when you are gone. She wrote a book and designed a ruler (she is an engineer) for making pineapple blocks. I’ve always wanted to make a pineapple quilt, but the rulers on the market scared me off – too many lines – too confusing. A few months ago I printed off a block from my EQ4, but I’m not really a fan of paper piecing and I was already doing a paper piecing project. Gyleen’s ruler looks simple enough to use and I know someone who cranked out a bunch of blocks quickly using her ruler. It only works using 1 ½” strips and her book has a lot of photos and examples of several variations of pineapple quilts. Here are the quilts she showed us.

Front of a vintage bow tie quilt top she bordered and had long arm quilted.

Back of the quilt above it - another vintage top.

Another vintage quilt top she bordered and had quilted.


Back - 
She has a system for her backs. 15" squares with sashing and cornerstones.

The pineapples-

Back of the quilt above it.
 She used quilt blocks she won at a guild meeting (I think) and knew she would never use for a quilt top as the cornerstones.

Here are some fabrics I picked up while I was there-

The 3 on the right were from the dog house so they were only $5 a yard. There wasn't much left of any of them so I finished the bolts. They are 1 1/2 -2 yards each. No definite plans for them - I just liked them. I wanted the grey on the left because I like the way grey and taupe look as lights. I used to rely too much on off whites and beiges. I try to remember to throw in pastels, too. The second from the left is a 1930's repro. I have a lot of these, but none are black. Makes me want to do something with those. The black and white daisy just made me smile - I love daisies and what black and whites do when combined with brights.

I wanted to get going on a pineapple last night, but I have a “quilting for others” quilt in my machine so it will have to wait. I’m doing a meander quilting pattern and got a lot done last night. The quilt is a Take Five pattern cut with the Accuquilt cutting system at one of the quilt meetings I go to. I need to get this quilt done by the 14th for delivery to Walter Reed Army Hospital.

This afternoon I went with some family to see the U.S. Army Blues perform Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite. Excellent!