Monday, December 31, 2012

Fabric Emergency!

How many times do we do this? Buy just a bit of a fabric only to find out later we wish we would have bought a big ol' hunk? I'm pretty sure we do it a lot more than we'd like. My general rule of thumb is (drum roll, please) buy fat quarters.

Here's my thinking: If I am in a quilt shop and don't have a list of particular projects or fabrics I am looking for, then I just wander through and wait for some fabric to "talk" to me. I expect you know what I mean. Out of all the thousands of bolts of fabric in any given shop, sometimes one or two will just really appeal to me. If this happens, I will buy a couple of yards, or maybe more if the wallet won't mind. *wink*

Now if this does not happen, then I have a couple of back-up plans. My number one back-up plan results in my having LOTS of fat quarters. Thus, my current dilemma. What I do is to go to the fat quarter area and pick out about four FQs. I've not spent much more than $10, and I've fed my appetite for fabric. Of course, I'm supporting my LQS, too! (Local Quilt Shop, that is.) I should add, that I have a real weakness for fat quarter packs, which cost considerably more than $10, but I just can't resist them sometimes!!

My second back-up plan is to pick a fabric from each basic color (red, blue, green, yellow, neutral) and get a yard of each. Both back-up plans are great for stash enhancement and work great for a quilter who likes the scrappy look.

The one drawback to both my back-up plans is that when I later decide that I want to make a bigger project, I find that I didn't buy enough fabric to satisfy the project! *grrrrr*

I've been showing you pictures throughout this post of two of the fabrics I've run short of. I do not know where or when I bought them, and I'm sure they were just fat quarters. I expect I've had them for at least a year, but they could have been out awhile before I bought them.

The dark fabric is a curious one in that it sometimes looks black, but in cetain light, it can look both very dark blue or even green. Maybe black with a greenish cast. Whatever it is, I do wish I had a yard more of it! And, I want more of the gold, too. (The bottom pic makes the gold look yellow, but the truer tone is reflected in the top 2 pics.)

My question for you fabric aficionadoes (sp?) is what company sold these fabrics? And who are the designers? I am at a loss as to doing a search without this information, and of course, I do not have any selvage information to go on.

Well, whatever information anyone might be able to provide, I surely would appreciate it!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pretty Table Runner

A few posts back I showed you all the beautiful holiday table runner that QuiltSue sent me. I knew exactly where I would use it - in the front room where we have our Christmas tree and where we open our gifts on Christmas morning!

It not only fit perfectly on the coffee table, it also fits perfectly as far as color in the room. I have lots of what I've heard termed "jewel tones" in this room. That totally works with Christmas colors. I do love it. Thanks again, Sue! You are a true gem of a friend!

I have finally gotten back to the sewing room and have been working on some things. I will get those pictures ready for tomorrow's post.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Greetings!

I imagine that a lot of us bloggers have been occupied with other things than blogging these past few days. I have, anyway. I haven't even been making time to check my blog, let along come up with a blog post!

I didn't want to let an opportunity get past me to wish you all a Merry Christmas! I hope everyone in your home is enjoying a blessed Christmas with loved ones near. Remember always, the reason for the season.

God Bless and Happy Quilting!

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Surprise

Friday's mail brought me a most pleasant surprise! I was and still am flabbergasted at someone's exceptional kindness.

Sue Abrey, my UK friend and fellow Lone Star quilt-alonger, sent me the most adorable Christmas-tree table runner. And it will totally be used this Christmas! I have just the spot for it.

Unusual mailing label - that should have been my first clue, but I hardly paid it any attention.

It was wrapped in the prettiest polka-dot tissue paper. Lovingly sent from England!!

Isn't it wonderful? I absolutely love it! Sue, you are so sneaky!! I had no clue, and I have no return gift, I hate to admit. I do believe that I will be looking for an occasion to send something your way. Hmmm, I wonder what I can do??

Thanks for brightening my day, Sue! We had over an inch of rain and extreme cloudiness. We may have significant snow before I am back with my next post! Winter has arrived!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

500th Post

I want to begin by recognizing a small milestone: this is my 500th post. Wowzers. Thank goodness that Blogger keeps track of stuff like that; otherwise I'd never have known. Many bloggers do giveaways to mark special occasions of this nature; maybe I should come up with something. Stay tuned on that idea...

So, we Frienzies had our Christmas gathering yesterday and what a great time. We have made a commitment to keeping in touch and it is so worth that commitment. When we all worked together at CHS, I suppose we took for granted that we'd always be friends and stay in touch. However, as one by one, retirements began occuring, we realized that we weren't keeping in touch. So, Frienzies was born with the idea of having a once-a-month get-together - a brunch, a lunch, a dinner, whatever works. And we have made it work now for about 6 years, I would guess - maybe more!

Here is Hettie's tree with all our gifts piled around it.

 We had such an assortment of things - from wool socks to homemade muffins and marmalade, we exchanged gifts.

I promised to show the items I kept secret in yesterday's post.

Santa's workshop was overrun with Great Granny pillows. I decided about a month ago to give these as my gift, but did I work steadily on them all along? Or did I wait until the last minute and work like mad to get them done in time? Yes, I procrastinated. Typical me.

A tower of pillows awaiting their tags.

A line-up on the family room couch.

I enjoyed every step of the construction of these pillows. Way back in August when I began making the Great Granny squares, I really got hooked. Then as I began turning them into pillows, I nailed down a pretty efficient assembly line through the construction process. I will share that another day.

Merry Christmas, Dear Frienzies! I do love you all, and love that we care enough about our friendships to work at staying close.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Secret Santa Sewing

I was quite productive yesterday, but I can't show you a bit of it! Later today, the Frienzies will gather at Hettie's for our regular monthly get-together. We will exchange Christmas gifts and have a carry-in dinner. This group of friends are so dear to me; I am so excited to see them!

Now, back to the secret sewing. I was a regular assembly line! I had 7 items to make, so I started out with step one and moved right along at a very steady pace. I spent most of the time machine quilting! I am so new at this, as I've alluded to in a few recent posts. I feel myself becoming more confident with each project, so I was glad for the opportunity to get in a good afternoon of practicing!

Do you see anything besides trees, branches and blue sky in this picture? Look closely at the very center of the photo, and you will see a hawk sitting on a branch of the center tree. We live in very rural Ross County, Ohio, and regularly see hawks, but I've never seen one visit our backyard. These trees are just beyond our yard, about 20-25 yards from the house. I was standing in our bay window to take this picture. He stayed for a good 5 minutes; it was quite cool having him visit.

At the exact same time I was watching the hawk, this visitor was making a pig of himself in the bird feeder located just outside the bay window. We have a lovely variety of birds at this feeder. We feed our squirrels very well, too.

I wonder if the hawk was waiting on the squirrel to scamper across the grass to the trees? Do hawks eat squirrels?

Tomorrow I will show you my Santa sewing.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pillow Talk

I took one of the Great Granny squares that I made last summer and decided to quilt it and turn it into a pillow.

Looks festive, doesn't it? The fabric is Breath of Avignon. I loved this line, and I've used it for several projects. I don't throw away any of the scraps, either.

I machine quilted it in the stitch-in-the-ditch method. I am a novice at machine quilting, so I thought it would be a good idea to practice on small projects like pillows to become more proficient.

I think I will make some more!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, December 17, 2012

More Hand Piecing

I continue to work on random 9-patch blocks using the leftover 2.5" squares from all those Great Grannie blocks I made back in August.

I even had some Kaffe squares left, if you can believe that. I used most of them in that last quilt I made, but here are a few remaining squares.

And, since I'd never tried a 16-patch before, I decided to give it a go with the last of the KF squares.

It was fun to make. I tried to make it random and haphazard, but I found myself still working to keep colors alternated. Well, somewhat. Now the question is -- what do I do with this?? I ought to be able to think of some way to use this block. Maybe as a decoration on a bag?

So, I've got a fair amount of Christmas stitching to finish up. And I have a fair amount of decorating left to do and Christmas shopping still to do! I tell ya - being sidelined by my sciatic has really impeded my productivity!!

I need to get in gear! Christmas is a-coming!!

Happy quilting, friends!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Birthday Girl

I hope you will permit me a non-sewing, non-quilting post today. While I have been getting some things done, they are mostly Christmas gift items that have to be kept secret. And besides, I have a really big non-sewing and quilting event to share!

We celebrated Grandma's 96th birthday yesterday. What fun. All 5 of her children were in attendance - a rarity, since one lives out of state - and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and a couple of great-great grandchildren joined in, as well.

Grandma has quite a lengthy family tree, as you can well imagine. Yours truly is the oldest of 15 grandchildren. I'm doing a bit of quick math here, but I believe there are 28 great-grandchildren (including 2 step-grands). The great-great-grandchildren get a bit fuzzy, but I think I am correct when I say there are 8.

The birthday girl was having a wonderful time. Generally speaking, she doesn't like big crowds, as she can't hear conversations. I really don't think she was bothered too much, though, because she was just so thrilled to have all 5 of her children with her to mark the special occasion. When my family left, they were sitting down to have a supper of oyster soup and chicken livers. Strange, but they were looking forward to it.

Grandma is extraordinary. At 96, she still lives by herself in her own home. She can be cantankerous at times, and a bit set in her ways. I like to think about all the history she has witnessed. She and Grandpa (who died in 1997) were having their children during the depression. They had siblings and contemporaries fight in WWII. Things like computers were unheard of for most of her life! I've shown her this blog - the page with her quilts, most notably - and she just shakes her head. Computers and the internet confound her.

Back tomorrow with something quilt-related!
Happy quilting, Friends!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Farmers Wife Block

Every now and then I find myself going back to my Farmer's Wife book and patterns with a desire to make another block. It's easy to finish just one more, and over a couple of years now, I have accumulated quite a few blocks for this quilt.

I hand pieced this block earlier in the week. Started it on Monday when the girls were  here, and finished it up on Tuesday morning.

Someday I am going to do a blog post about the big messy box of fabric I've created as a result of the ongoing making of blocks from this book. It will be a daunting task to straighten out -- someday.

Do you keep ongoing projects around to work on "just because?"

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pressing Assembly Line

When you have lots of pressing to do, do you set up an assembly line of sorts to make quicker work of it? I find that I do. Here are a couple of photos of what I mean.

I place all the pieces that need to be pressed facing in the same direction, and the same direction that will be easiest for me to press with the iron in my left hand (I'm a lefty).

Then I press all along the bottom row, never lifting my iron off the ironing board. While the first piece is being pressed, my free hand (right) is gently opening the next piece to be pressed. I find that I am less likely to pull bias parts in this assembly line, and I have better pressing results. And, the best part...IT'S FASTER!!

I did those flying geese (previous post) in the same manner. Breezed right through them. The little HSTs above are the bonus blocks from those flying geese cut-away parts.

Do you have any time savers like this?

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Flying Geese Finally Finished

The stitching of the flying geese units for my star quilt are finally constructed. I have had to do them in fits and starts. The sciatic nerve and other projects prevented me from steady work on them.

I need 30 of these srars. That means 120 flying geese units. Daunting, but necessary.

So there are the flying geese, and the remaining parts necessary for finishing the stars. I will attack this next portion in the same fashion as the flying geese - fits and starts, most likely.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Special Day?

Well, a lot of people are making note of it, so I suppose I will hop on the ol' bandwagon, too.

Happy 12-12-12 Day!

I wrote out and addressed all my Christmas cards this morning. I usually have it done before now, so I felt a bit behind with that little task.

Other than that, I have not done one single thing to mark this special day.

Except, now, to wish you again, a  happy 12-12-12 day!! Cheers!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Santa's Elf

Sheryll wore her elf's hat to quilting on Monday. She had been busy with her needle, and gave each of us a beautiful surprise.

Isn't this a darling table mat? She hand stitched this! Look at the perfection!

It looks great with my Darcy Scnibbles table topper.

And it looks great wih my little wooden bowl and candle centerpiece. I love it!

Thank you, Sheryll!

Happy /Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My Lone Star Is Finished!

It is with great relief and a dose of pride that I introduce you to my completed quilt top, Broken Star. It is a variation of the Lone Star, and is the quilt I worked on in the Lone Star Quilt Along with Sue at Quilt Times.

I resewed 7 of the 8 the green points by hand, and for the most part, I am satisfied with the results. I still have some puffiiness and excess, but when it is sandwiched with batting and quilted, I think it will all look okay. Then, a washing will just make it look crinkly and wonderful, as a freshly washed quilt is supposed to look.

Here's a closeup of one of the redone points. The easing is very evident on this particular point.

As I said, I don't think this will be too bad of a finish when quilted. Given that I began this quilt about 20 years ago, when I was so inexperienced with bias edges, I think this is just how it's going to have to finish.

I am so grateful that Sue wanted to do the quilt along. It did keep me focused on finishing this thing!! It sat in a tub in the sewing room for so long, and I would not have tackled this without her cheering me on along the way.

If you want to read about the long, long journey toward this quilt's eventual finish, just type 'lone star' or 'quilt along' in the search box at the top of the right sidebar. There should be plenty of back story that can be pieced together.

Yeah, it's gonna be just fine. Here's one more look at it. Whew! It's my last finish on the goals list for 2012.

Happy Quilting, Friends!