Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking back to 1-1-11

I’ve known for a while I wanted to address what I posted on 1-1-11. Overall, I’m happy with what I accomplished this year.

Here is what I’ve done with the stars and stepping-stones.
Earlier this year, I thought of doing some applique, but that just wasn’t happening. I really wanted to get this one out of the way so I decided to chop off some of that plain border and surround it with pinwheels. I finished it up this afternoon, but I see I need to add more pinwheels on the bottom. It measures about 68"x 84".  I'm concerned with how big it is getting and how hard it will be to machine quilt it. It is no longer a square and I'm happy about that. 

The only thing I’ve done with these New York Beauty blocks is put them on the design wall and take them off. Maybe next year.

Here is my progress on the Lone Star. Appliqueing it to the background worked and now I’m painstakingly making these diamonds for the border. I’ll make Lemoyne stars for the corners. This needs to be done and quilted by the end of February. I decided it fits the “diamonds are a quilters best friend” challenge of one of the quilt groups I belong to. I was determined to do something with pieced diamonds to show I can do it. I took apart the extra strip sets, cutting and sewing to make these 4 part diamonds. I found this ruler at Mary Jo's Cloth Store. I'm not sure I'm using it exactly as it is intended. I may have a few cut off points, but I can live with that.

These two projects were also old timers so I’m glad I at least have 2 finished tops.
I'm still thinking about adding a border to the star quilt so I can square it up. It measures about 33" square though there is variation of about 1/2". What do you think of this fabric for a border?

Quilting these tops is on my list for 2012. My next post will be about my other plans for next year. I'm planning to get a start on two projects tomorrow.

I was surprised to read the end of the post from 1-1-11. I’d kind of forgotten about that – the quilting in the moment bit, but I do think I’ve gotten better at it. I find I’m taking my time more and not worrying so much about other things. I took the time with the pinwheels for the stars and stepping-stones to trim them up before stitching them together. I knew I was supposed to do that, but often didn’t take the time. I’ve also done some challenging things – like the diamonds – that force me to take it slowly to even have a chance of it coming together correctly. I want to do more of that in 2012.

No parties for me tonight. I’ll probably spend most of the evening in my basement stitching away, maybe read a little (I Only Say This Because I Love You by Deborah Tannen), and watch a little tv with hubby. We’ve been catching up on The Big Bang Theory reruns.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

I’ve been thinking about posting for the past week and just didn’t get to it. I had to type up minutes for a quilt show meeting and draft an email for a 9-patch exchange I’m organizing with a friend for our quilt group. It’s been over a decade since my last 9-patch exchange and I’m really excited.

I’m repairing this bedspread for my parents. I posted about it here. Over the past few years I‘ve worked on it here and there and have really focused on it the past couple of weeks. I wondered if I would ever be done. The other night I realized it was taking me longer to find areas in need of repair. Yesterday, I laid it out on my bed to see it all at once. I think I will be done with it today and can give it to my parents tomorrow. Santa’s not the only one checking things off a list!

We went to 2 cookie baking parties last Saturday and came home with lots of cookies. My husband’s favorites are all gone so yesterday he made these date swirls. The recipe came from his grandmother.

Have you ever had these belly button snacks? They are just the right combination of salty and sweet.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Place pretzels (I use snaps – you want a shape that will hold the candy) on paper and put 1 Hershey's kiss on top of each pretzel.
Bake for 5 minutes.
As soon as they come out of the oven, push 1 M&M into each kiss. If kiss isn't quite melted, wait a minute and they will have softened.
Freeze or refrigerate.

Early in November I showed my mom some of the knitted ornaments I’ve seen on many of your blogs and when I saw her on Thanksgiving she gave me these. So cute!

I’ve truly enjoyed this year of blogging and value all the kind comments and email exchanges we’ve shared. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2012.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I’m a Proud Mama

A couple weekends ago we attended the Bachelors of Fine Arts Exit Show at the University of Georgia. Our daughter is studying graphic design and here is her project.

“Threads is an organization that promotes awareness of and legislation against the unethical use of pesticides and insecticides, employment of sweatshop labor, and other issues pertinent to the textile and especially retail clothing industries”.

I thought this was amusing…

I didn’t know she knew how to make minor repairs to clothing. lol Notice the little mending kit.

Flowers from friends.

The show also included fabric designers-

And I liked the packaging for these seeds done by one of the other graphic design students-

While in Athens we visited this little craft market-

I purchased this cute owl for my tree-

We talked with a young woman who was busy sewing by machine. She repurposes clothes! Some of her creations were in the local thrift store and she had just sent some things to a shop in Arizona. Good for her!

This quilt was the backdrop in one of the craft booths.

I’m recovering from a head cold so I didn’t do much stitching last week. I picked up something mindless I had started before our Georgia trip. What else – half square triangles! I decided to finish this UFO by surrounding it with pinwheels. I think I will look back on 2011 as the year of the HSTs!

These young women inspired me to do something in regard to recycling fabrics. Last night I stitched together narrow strips of batting and quilted this pillowcase. I hope to visit the local animal shelter sometime soon to see if they can use this and whatever else I can stitch together to use as bedding for the animals.

I discovered beagles like old pillows in their crates. Len has been with us 9 months and I've only once seen him go in his crate willingly. Len watched me put the pillow in his crate, followed it and settled in for the next couple of hours. Wish I'd known sooner!

Hope you are enjoying this holiday season. Cheers!

Monday, December 5, 2011

And the Winner is…

Congratulations, Doniene. Send me your mailing address and I’ll send those fabrics off to you sometime this week.

Last Thursday my husband and I drove down to Athens, Georgia for our daughter’s graphic design school exit show. We stopped at Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia, North Carolina. I told my husband to go find something else to do for an hour and I had a fabulous time checking out their notions and reproduction fabrics. I over did it a bit with my purchases. Their prices and selection were wonderful. I paid $6.50-$7.50 a yard. Fabrics at my LQS are over $9. I was looking for reds and couldn’t resist these other fabrics. Designers include Jo Morton, Paula Barnes, Judie Rothermel, and Faye Burgos.

My husband drove the whole way down and I stitched spools. I more than doubled my number of blocks. Some of them are a bit puckered. His little Subaru Impreza doesn’t have the smoothest ride.

My husband took a lot of photos at the art show and I’ll share some in my next post. I was tickled by my daughter’s project. Stitching was involved!

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.