Sunday, February 28, 2010

My First Schnibbles

I have been working frantically the past day and a half to make a Schnibbles - Sunday Best. I bought the pattern and the charm packs on Wednesday on a shopping expedition with Terry. The only thing is that I didn't even plan on 1) using this fabric with this pattern, and 2) making this Schnibbles any time soon.

So, completely unplanned, totally spontaneous, I present my Sunday Best, made with 2 charm packs of Barbara Brackman's Civil War Homefront of Moda.
Unknown as to when this will get quilted. I someday think I will own a longarm, but until then I will add this to my growing stack of quilt tops.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Quilt Group at My House

On Friday morning the 5 of us who form "CHHOW" - a little quilt group that meets every other Friday morning - met at my house. What a nice morning. We have been productive since our last get together. Here are some show and tell photos:
Sharon made this for her new granddaughter, Caroline. Not only is she a proud new gramma, but she also is a proud new owner of a long-arm machine, and she used it to quilt this baby quilt. I think she is learning quite well!!

JoAnn made this lap quilt to donate to the Quilts of Comfort cause. The rail fence design is a fun one; this one in blues is really pretty.
Terry has been busy making wedding quilts. This one was finished, and needed the binding sewn down, so that is what she worked on. The wedding was Saturday, so she was under deadline pressure!!
While she has that new long-arm machine, Sharon is hand-quilting this wall hanging called Abigail's Gown. The pieces are tiny, and the fabric choices are so pretty together. It will be gorgeous when finished!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Quilts of Comfort

In early January, my friend Terry took our little quilt group up to her sewing room to pick out fabrics. She opened up her closet doors and said "take what you want." The catch? We were to make quilts with whatever we took to donate to Quilts of Comfort, a volunteer effort of the James Cancer Hospital at The Ohio State University.

I spent Tuesday making this:
And I spent today making this:

These are easy lap quilts using a pattern called "48 Pieces."

Ohio is fortunate to have a top-notch cancer center at Ohio State called 'The James.' A volunteer group called the Stitching Sisters has been sponsoring an effort to get quilts into the hands of cancer patients. This year's event will be in April, and prizes are offered to those who participate.

 I've never been involved in this before, but I have had so many friends and acquaintances affected by cancer, and specifically breast cancer, that this just seems like a perfect way for me to do my part for the cause.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What's on your design wall right now?

Last week when I was finishing up the Cheddar Cheese doll quilt, I took a photo of it on my design wall. I worked really hard to position the camera so that the rest of the items on the wall were not visible in the picture.

But I decided to take pics of the whole thing anyway, post about it on my blog, and see if anyone could offer suggestions about what to do with the blocks and fabrics I have had up on the wall for months and months.

Here is a shot from one angle:
There, in the foreground, is my doll quilt. Beside it is a panel I bought last June at the quilt show in Columbus. It is from the Minnick and Simpson line called Flag Day Farm. I had no plan for it when I bought it, but thought it was pretty and would make a nice center block for a medallion quilt, which I've always wanted to make. Lately, I've toyed with the idea of anything patriotic, perhaps with a few (or a lot) red stars.

The red floral above the doll quilt is a piece of Liberty of London fabric actually purchased in London. My friend Kay bought it for me when she went there in 2001, so that tells you how long I've had it! I hate to cut into it, so I'm thinking that I ought to use it in large chunks. Center of a star? Setting blocks for some simple design? I am just not coming up with anything that inspires me, as yet. Maybe some blog friends have ideas?

Here is a shot of the design wall from the other side of the room:

The two Churn Dash blocks in the foreground are meant to become pillow tops for a friend of mine who has this design on her barn. Our area's Historical Society has had an ongoing project to put blocks on barns, and it has resulted in some stunning sights. I made a boo-boo on the first one I did, so I made a second, thinking that I'd just keep the one with the boo-boo for myself. :-)

The smaller block above the Minnick and Simpson panel, is another pillow top, and is on another barn - my neighbor's, actually. It will need a border or two to make it big enough to become a pillow top, but that is my plan for it at this point.

I really need to get those pillows made and out to their intended homes. They'd be 3 really fast UFOs to get crossed off my list.

Back to the design wall.. .the jumble of stuff that remains ... Up at the top are 3 paper-pieced blocks. The two larger ones are from the Kaffe Fassett scraps left over when the girlfriends made my retirement quilt. The smaller one is a little block I made on a whim just to be doing something. I like the color combinations, and the simplicity of the block-within-a-block pattern. What that might someday become??

So, my questions to blogland:
1) what's on you design wall? and
2) what suggestions have you for my Libery of London fabric and my Flag Day Farm panel?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Another Retirement Quilt

In an earlier post, I talked about the retirement quilts that we make for each newly retired member of our little group of friends. This link will show you two of the four.

Here is the only pic I have of Lyn's quilt. She retired last March from teaching math, and now she's a full-time gramma/babysitter! I think this new hat is one that she enjoys wearing.

So, I've put the back together for Erin's Urban Chic quilt, and I delivered it to the long-arm quilter yesterday. That's like a year-and-a-half UFO that I've finally wrapped up. I'm glad. Erin will be glad, too, to get it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Riddle - Cheddar Cheese Style

What do you get when you take 13 of these:
And add 12 of these:
Plus 8 of these:

And 8 of these?

Well, of course, what you get is a beautiful little doll quilt called Cheddar Cheese and Crackers!
Mine is pieced, but not yet quilted. I am so pleased with the results. I love scrappy quilts. This quilt was, for a time, featured in the header of a blog I follow called Humble Quilts. Apparently several Humble Quilt followers asked about it, so Lori, the blog owner, made and shared instructions for it! Instantly, I found myself a part of a quilt-along, something I'd never done before.

I made this doll quilt entirely from my stash. The blocks which include the 'cheddar' are all hand-pieced, while everything else is machine-pieced.

I've never machine-quilted, so I'm thinking I will attempt that on this quilt. I will just do straight diagonal lines, so it should go well. Since my Bernina is newly serviced, I should think that I would get along with flying colors.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sewing and Snow

I'll show the snow parts first. Here is our dog Steve frolicking in the 10" of snow we had on Friday. Thankfully, our power has stayed on, and we have been able to get out of our driveway. We are situated on a rural piece of land and have a very long driveway, one in which we frequently get stuck if we have any significant snowfalls. To prevent that, we bought our first 4WD vehicle last month; well-timed purchase, I'd say.

Here's a shot looking down our driveway:
And a shot of the woods around our house:

Okay, enough of that; let's get back to the important stuff: sewing and quilting progress!

Miss Bernina is a happy, humming machine once again. It took a trip to Columbus and a 4-hour session with Beth's Creative Stitchery in order to get her back to pristine condition, but it was so, so worth it.

I've been steadily working on two projects. The Kaffe Fassett Broken Dishes quilt continues to keep me captivated with all the interesting combinations of fabrics. Here's the one that's under construction right now:
And, because of the down time without my machine, I spent more focused time on Cheddar Cheese and Crackers, which I'm hand-piecing. I've finished all the interior cheese blocks, and nearly all the border blocks.
In between ball games today, I hope to get this doll quilt top close to finished. I'll finish off the triangle cheese blocks, and I'll machine piece the 4-patch blocks.

Right now I'm watching my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes and later, of course, there's the Super Bowl. I don't have a favorite in this one; I'll just enjoy a good  game.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sick Bernina

Last evening, I was all good. Supper was over, kitchen cleaned up, husband off to a meeting, daughter upstairs doing homework (texting), and I was on a roll with my broken dishes construction. I had the Cavaliers-Grizzlies game on tv, listening as I stitched, and I was motivated to get several blocks finished off!

So, there I was, just stitching away on my hour-glass blocks, when right in the middle of a seam the fabric stops feeding through. What the heck?!?! Nooo! This can't be! I rethread the machne, re-insert the bobbin, brush out the fuzz and blow it clean, and still no-go.
There's Miss Bernina, still sitting on the dining table (after Friday's marathon day with Sharon), light off, and surrounded by myriad hour-glass blocks all marked and pressed and ready for action. But, no action. I can tell when I attempt to adust the stitch length knob (3rd one down) that it isn't "catching" whatever mechanism inside there that completes the feed dog function.

Miss Bernina and I will be off a little later this morning to a repair shop for what I hope will be a quick fix.

I'm wondering how many machines serious quilters need to have for situations like this. I've never had more than one machine at a time. I do have several quilting girlfriends, though, who have three, or even four. It has never seemed essential for me to have more than one - and I've been supremely happy with mine. She's near 20 years old, possibly older. I bought her brand new and at a drastically reduced price when a local quilt shop was going out of business. Back in July, she just had a serious cleaning and check-up when my daughter was finishing up her 4-H project. As a result, Miss Bernina was performing beautifully.

Hopefully soon, I will get back to my blocks. Aren't they pretty?
In the meantime, I will return to hand-stitching the Cheddar Cheese and Crackers doll quilt. I don't mean to sound like I'm disappointed in doing that, because I truly do like hand-stitching, and the doll quilt is such a fun little project to work on.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Clarifying my Terminology

In my quilting vocabulary, when I refer to using Kaffe Fassett fabrics, I am actually referring to the family of Westminster fabrics of Fassett, Mably, Jacobs and Nagley. From the very beginning of my infatuation with these fabrics, I've always just called them "Kaffe fabrics." I suppose if I owned or worked in a quilt shop, I would be more apt to make the proper distinctions. Well, why-ever I do it,  here on this blog, I have repeatedly referred to the fabrics inaccurately.

The current project coming together in my sewing room is a Kaffe Fassett design called Broken Dishes from the book Kaleidoscope of Quilts.

 I've had my eye on this quilt for over 2 years, maybe 3, as a result of this quilt's being featured in all the magazines for a thread adverstisement. I'm sure many of you remember it. The more I saw it, the more it called to me.

I began the collecting of fabrics, and before I knew it, I was out of control. I bought about 6 fat quarter packs from an on-line store to start with, and in no time, I had a tub so full, I can't lift it! (Stash building at its finest!!)

I continue to work on my Broken Dishes, slow but steady. I find myself doing the work in steps, i.e. mark the diagonal lines on all the half-square triangles, or press all the seams open, etc. There are so many small pieces that it becomes overwhelming to think about all of it.

Maybe I will switch things up a bit today. I'm thinking about making a few of the border blocks; they consist of larger - and fewer - pieces.