Friday, May 31, 2013

Gear Up Tote

Time to say goodbye to May! Gracious, how time does fly!

Earlier in the week I finished another bag. I have been sort of eager to make a few bags for some reason. I may try to sell this one. It is a Sweetwater pattern called Gear Up Tote. I bought the pattern at Lavender Street Quilt Shop just outside of Cincinnati on our way to the quilt show in early April. They had a very pretty display set up, and I was caught - hook, line and sinker.

That yellow bag hanging in the center is the Gear Up Tote. Take a look at my version.

It is a very summery-looking bag, and would work great for carrying books and other necessities to the beach or pool. The outer fabric is sturdy Waverly canvas bought at an upholstery shop. The lining is some of my lovely Kaffe Fassett floral. I just love the combination.

Makes me happy to see such a happy bag. I think I will make more. I have a couple other fabrics pulled together for just that purpose.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Peek-a-Boo Bags

I am away from home and don't have all the necessary cords to share the pictures that I'd hoped to share, so I am improvising.

In browsing through my photos, I found pictures of the bags I made a couple of weeks ago. I've not shared those yet, so let's just take care of that now.

I ended up making just these four, two of which have been gifted.

I will let you in on a little secret. I have seen this vinyl being sold in the quilt shops, but here's what I am doing instead. Bedding - everything from sheet sets to bedspreads - sometimes comes in vinyl bags. I have been saving a couple of those, and for the next Peek-a-Boo bag I make, I will use them. Clever, right? We are encouraged to recycle, so there you go.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Way-Back Wednesday - 2

Welcome back for a second helping of Way-Back Wednesday. Today I have a quilt that I hand pieced back in 1988. I remember this one because it was the summer of our drought, and we lived in a little 1000-square foot house with no trees and no air conditioning. It was a sauna in that house. We got in the habit that summer of packing up the kids (we just had 2 at the time), and going off for the day to sit at the KofC hall in Chillicothe where my DH was an active member. He took KofC work he had to do, I took stitching and the kids took toys, bikes and trikes. We made it through the miserable summer's extreme heat and sun this way.

This collage gives you a glimpse of the blocks. I call this an Ohio Star, although I have also seen it called Variable Star, so I don't know technically which it is. I selected it because I could use two fabrics per star and end up with a variety of scrappy stars. That top left star is my very first one. I loved those two calicoes and was so pleased with the result. I had just a small stash back then and I leaned toward calico prints; I had great fun matching up pairs. Every once in a while, I remember thinking that some particular combinations would have made a pretty quilt in just those 2 fabrics. I still think a 2-color quilt in this pattern would be fun to do.

The setting squares were hand-pieced to the blocks and I think I even hand-stitched all the rows together. While I am fuzzy on the extent of the hand-piecing, I definitely remember being somewhat stymied by the cutting of setting and corner triangles, since I'd set this on point. I think what I did was lay the top down on some muslin and cut a side and corner triangle, then used them as templates to cut the rest. (I was quite the novice!)

My dear grandmother quilted it for me, and I have used it on our beds off and on over the years. I would say that for the last 15 years it has been stored. So all the wear you see occurred in the first half of its life.

On this double bed you can see that it is quite large. You can also see that I opted to forego borders. I do not recall the why or why not on borders.

That is the extent of my recollection on this quilt from my early years. I have learned a lot since 1988, both about quilting and about life!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Daughter Is Quilting!

Try as I might as the girls were growing up, I just could not get them interested in quilting. Early on I toted them along with me to countless quilt shops. To occupy them while I shopped, they were allowed to pic out buttons, if there were a barrel available for bulk purchase. I moved on later to letting them pick out 4 or 5 fat quarters. Their choice. Anything. We actually still have a shoebox full of the girls' random fat quarters. Lots of stars and pink and purple and such.

I took them along with me to quilt camp - they played with various scraps, or took their bikes and rode in the halls while we sewed in the home ec. room. There are pictures of them hiding in lockers and posing in the showcase windows as mannequins.

When they were a little older - say 17 and 10, I recall  putting a quilt that they both loved into the quilting frame - Tag Sale, it was - and they both sat down with me to learn how to hand quilt. That lasted all of about 15 minutes. They either grew frustrated or bored almost instantly.

So it with great pride that I share with you the quilt that DD1 is working on for her very pregnant friend Christa, who is due next month with a little boy.

A few weeks ago when she was here for the weekend, she was sewed her blocks together. I did a post about it, if you would care to go back.

This weekend, she has been attaching the borders and now has it in the quilting frame she borrowed from me.

First a narrow white border, then a wider blue border.

The quilt measures out at approximately 34" by 29". I can't wait to see it quilted!


Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Mondo Bag

What is it about bags? I seem to have such desire to have them. Many of them. Almost to the point of having ridiculously more than I could ever possibly use.

Can you relate? (Please, someone, you must tell me you relate! I can't be the only bag hoarder amongst us!)

So in my indecisiveness about which quilt to begin next (see previous post), I grabbed out one of the bag patterns I've recently acquired - The Mondo Bag. I bought it at the quilt show in Cincinnati back at the beginning of April.

The pattern is by Quiltsmart, a company I can't say I am familiar with at all. But I have seen these Mondo Bags at various shows, and have been aware of them for awhile now.

The bag is made with printed fusible interfacing, which is provided in the pattern. All I had to do was cut out 208-2.5" squares and fuse them on. Then sew, clip, press, etc, etc.

I used a Bali Pop pack of batiks for the outer squares (The entire BP was not used; only 15 strips were required.). Then I had to dig to find something suitable for the lining. I had only one piece of batik fabric large enough for this lining (1.25 yds.), and that is the one I used. I like bag linings to be bright/light so it's easier to find stuff. I put the pattern down in the bottom to show you the perspective on just how gi-normous this bag is.

I must give this pattern designer some props. It took some really creative juices to come up with this. I wondered A LOT during construction just how in the world someone creates something like this bag? It goes together in such an unusual way - someone really had their thinking cap on, that's for sure.

The picture on the pattern shows it as a beach bag, and that is how I plan to use mine. A couple of girlfriends and I will be heading out for a week of fun and sun at Myrtle Beach in a few weeks, and this will serve nicely.

I began and finished my Mondo Bag all in one day, however, the "easy" and "fast" proclamation on the pattern is something I question just a bit. This big ol' bag was a bugger to wrestle with at the sewing machine. Would I make another one? Sure. I would have to purchase the printed fusible interfacing, which the company sells. Maybe for someone else, too, as I don't actually need to have more than this one Mondo Bag.

Or do I??

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Not Much New

I find myself rather at odds on what project to focus on next. It happens, occasionally, and I think many other quilters find it happens with them, too. I have a grand list for the 2013 goals that I could go to, but which one??? I don't seem to be able to make a decision! Goodness gracious...

Well, while I dither, I found these 2 cartoons in my photo file, and I don't think I've shared them.

I thought this was cute. It reminded me of that sitcom from the 90's with Tim Allen. Are you ever struck by just how wonderful our sewing machines are? I use mine a lot, and rarely do I need to have it serviced. They really are power tools.

As a word person and English teacher, this one really appealed to me. *grin*

Speaking of fabric, before my dinner with Frienzies yesterday, I dashed in to the wonderful Old Town Quilt Shop in Chillicothe. My plan was to use the gift certificates I got for Mothers' Day. However, what I wanted was unavailable. That wonderful quilt made with Barbara Brackman's William Morris fabrics has totally captured my fancy. I was going to purchase the fat 8ths pack and make it. Well, they'd sold their last one, so they are going to cut one for me, and then have an extra one to sell. (You can't just cut one pack of fat 8ths, ya' know?)

Here's the quilt again, in case you don't want to go back through searching.

It's called Tapestry, and ever since Kelly showed it to me - even before it was quilted! - I have been enamored with it. Old Town carries the entire line of Wm. Morris fabrics, so I have really lucked out! Won't it be an easy quilt to make?

Well, I need to get busy finishing my book for tonight's book club meeting. It's called Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It's a nonfiction account of the author's experience hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I am enjoing it, and have about 100 pages to polish off this afternoon.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Taking a Walk

Last summer and fall, DH and I were in the very healthy habit of walking daily. (Well, I should say that I walked and DH ran. He's been a runner all his life, ran with his kids when he coached and continues to run now in retirement.) Anyway, for simplicity's sake, I say that we go walking.

As I came down with nearly incapacitating sciatic nerve pain in early November and didn't get relief until well into February, we got out of that habit. The winter weather plus the fact that I taught 2 mornings a week was enough to keep us in for a few more months.

I am happy to report that we have been getting back into the walking habit again! We prefer to go early in the morning, so we have it done and the whole day free to do whatever happens to be on the agenda.

We drive about 6 miles over to Frankfort to walk on a very nicely maintained bike path. Yes, I know we have perfectly good roads right here that we could walk on, but we don't seem to be as faithful as we ought. Anyway, here is what our path looks like at 7:30 in the morning.

We have had some wonderful weather and the mornings are just the right temperature for getting out there. At first, I was winded just doing 1 mile. Sitting all winter with that sciatic business really took its toll. In recent weeks, I have worked myself up to 3 miles now and I plan very soon to move up to 4. It's becoming a real pleasure to be out there and getting those miles in. There's enough variety in the scenery that it never becomes tedious.

On Tuesday morning, I found this lonely little flower growing out of the gravel. I'd never seen any of these before, but I determined that it must be a wild poppy.

Yesterday, I found others, not nearby, but also on our path. There are actually a lot of them. Very pretty and a very pleasant addition to our scenery. (Yes, that's poison ivy just behind it.)

I keep track of the miles and the days I walk. I saw a pinterest post that said taking an hour every day to exercise is just 1/24th of your day. That perspective is helpful in keeping me motivated.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Way-Back Wednesday

Since doing the Trunk Show last Thursday for the Loose Threads Quilt Club, I've had quilts to put away. Before doing that, though, I took pictures of the quilts so that I could write the history of each one. Then I figured maybe it would be something worth sharing here. So whether you are interested or not, I am going to attempt to share an old quilt each Wednesday for the next few weeks/months.

To introduce the trek through my quilts of old, let's look at two Double Irish Chains.

In the mid-1980s, I bought my first mat and rotary cutter to make this quilt. I took it as a class at a now-defunct local quilt shop offering, I believe, a Quilt-In-A-Day/Eleanor Burns project. I cut it out at home and went to the class ready to sew. It is my very first effort at chain piecing. When finished, I asked Grandma to quilt it for me, and she did. We used this quilt on our bed for many years - I'll guess 10, at least.

Then I decided to make another one on my own to give to my daughter for her bed. Does anything say 80's any more than this color - dusty coral/rose/pink? I was crazy about it then, and was so pleased to be making this "heirloom" for her.

This quilt became my first-ever hand-pieced quilt. By me, that is. I had a new "Q-Snap" quilting frame, and it decorated our family room one long winter while I worked on it. I do not remember exactly how long I spent piecing and quilting it, but it was stretched out over a few years, I'm sure. The quilting actually happened sometime after we moved to our current location in 1992.

Here is a collage of close-ups of both quilts. The quilting shows up better. At some point, I  hope both quilts will be treasured by my kids.

So, there's day one of Way-Back Wednesday.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

More Thimbles

I did more thimbles yesterday with my new Crumbler ruler. Very fun; very easy. I have a list I want to tackle today, so I will just leave you with a couple of pictures of the fun.

It's a simple construction, and I can see myself doing more. These are the 5" thimbles; I really would like to do more of the 3.5" thimbles that I showed in the previous post.
This is a closer view. I have not worked hard at all to get the intersections to match; that's what I mean about its being a simple, easy construction.
The list awaits!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, May 20, 2013

A New Toy

It's not often that I succumb to the latest gadget or tool on the market. I figure I have enough to keep me busy without adding any new stuff to the mix.

That said, I had this lovely pile of Kaffe leftovers from a quilt I made a couple of months ago - Erin's Diamonds. And because the quilt was made of diamonds, the scraps were perfectly suited to make a Thimble Quilt.

This brings me to the tool. It's called The Crumbler, and it's a product of Miss Rosie's Quilt Company.

I tried it out this afternoon, and I like it! I think I will make these trial blocks and rows into something.

The top row is 5" wide. The bottom row is 3.5" wide. The directions are very clear about how to stitch them so that a straight line is achieved.

I attached a couple of rows of the 5" thimbles. Looks pretty good! It was as easy as can be. It will be fun to continue using up that stack of scraps. I do think I would like the shorter thimbles better, but there would be so much waste - and I hate the idea of wasting even an inch of KF fabrics!

See what I mean? That's the waste from a 5" thimble; you can see what additional waste there'd be if I cut all these at 3.5". So we shall have 5" thimbles.

I don't know if this project will be my main focus of the next few days or not. I find myself in between things at the moment, so I need to make a decision. This will do. It may turn into something big, or not.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Pineapple Table Topper Borders

I am just so excited to show you how I finished off that pineapple table topper from a week or so ago. I have dug and dug to find every last little bit of the fabrics to make a piano key border, and I am totally loving it!

Don't you agree that the border just makes it?? I don't know if you can tell or not, but I have not used true white in either the inner border or the blocks. In the stash, I had a very pale yellow-green and that is what is used in the blocks. It took the entire fat quarter. So I found another fat quarter of very pale light blue. Heck, why not? So chop-chop. I cut my strips and finish this little gem.

I have it on the porch table because that is where I've envisioned its being used. I plan to put the backing on it yet this evening and call it a total finish.

In other news, we had a turtle visit our back yard Thursday morning. It was pretty cool to see him lumbering across the grass. He had some sort of growth on the top rear of his shell. Ideas, anyone?

And, finally, I will leave you with a picture of our beautiful irises. DH is so proud of them. He works so hard on our yard and flower beds. This is definitely pay-off for him.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Loose Threads Quilt Club

Fun. Just plain fun.

That's what kind of day I had yesterday. My trip to visit the Loose Threads Quilt Club and my cousin (first cousin once removed) Marilyn surely ranks right up there as one of the most enjoyable days with quilters ever.

Quilting is such a hobby that invites sharing, and that is exactly what we did. This group has lots of laughs, while at the same time offering up a fair amount of helpful ideas and suggestions. I told Marilyn last night that it never ceases to amaze me how complete strangers can have such a fun day of genuine sharing, but quilters have figured out how to do just that.

Enough of the talking - let's get on with a few pics of the day! I must get this posted and then get ready for my next "event." (I've covered several in the last few posts, if you want to work backwards.)

Say hello to this friendly group! Marilyn is there in the first seat. They welcomed me with open arms and made my visit so special.

I took two baskets full of quilts, from oldest to freshly made quilt tops. I grouped them according to age and my progression through quilting.  That pile in the upper right is the antique stack. The two double Irish chains in the middle are my early chain piecing efforts (mid-1980s) and the pink Irish chain is the very first one I hand quilted.

I also took a fair amount of "flimsies" or quilt tops. These are representative of what I have made since retiring. I couldn't bring everything, and of course, I have had a few quilted and given as gifts.

Several of the girls wanted to know patterns and additional details. I will be happy to supply any information I can, so just message me however you like and I will be in touch!

Also, I will be cleaning some of my soiled quilts, folding them differently, and making labels for them! I took the antique ones to my grandmother's later yesterday; she helped me with details for the ones she'd given me.

Time to hit the shower! Frankfort girls await!

Happy Quilting, Friends!