Sunday, January 31, 2016

Another January Finish

I will be more than happy to count this quilt among the projects finished for this first month of 2016. I just don't need to be reminded that the quilt top was made all the way back in early August 2015, and the darling baby girl was born in early October. Further proof that I am a world-class procrastinator, as I have mentioned here many times. I wanted to finish it, but the longer I procrastinated, the larger it loomed over me. I am my own worst enemy, for sure.

I have referred to this quilt as Three Charms Quilt, but in actuality, I used 2 charm packs and some additonal matching yardage. And from here on out, it shall be referred to as Cece's Quilt, short for Cecelia, the new babe.

It took me just 2-3 hours to make the quilt top. Then every time I decided that I would get busy with the finishing, I ran into roadblocks. First, I needed to piece the back.

Then I didn't have enough fusible batting, which is what I wanted to use since I planned to machine quilt this myself on the Bernina. But these were just excuses; I was reluctant to test my quilting skills on a quilt that was intended to be a gift. Finally, I decided to just bite the bullet.

The thought of allowing the whole first month of the new year get past me with this quilt still unfinished moved me into gear. I was determined to cross it off my list before February arrived.

The quilting may be less than perfect, but a finished quilt is better than the imperfections. The binding is even finished. I pieced the two fabrics from the backing into long strips. It keeps the playfulness in the quilt, I suppose. After a run through the washer and dryer, this will look fluffy and crinkly and baby-ready.

Grammy Vickie will soon be off to visit her daughter and baby granddaughters - Nora of the Kissing Fishes quilt is Cece's big sister - and this quilt is ready to make the trip. 

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Retail Therapy aka Stash Enhancement

It has been a very long time since I bought any new fabric. I have done remarkably well at shopping from my stash. Yesterday, though, I found myself in dire need of some Bottom Line thread for a quilt I am getting ready to do, and so I jaunted in to Old Town Fabrics for a couple of spools.

And while I was there, I thought I really ought to treat myself to some half-yard cuts just for stash building, you know. *wink*

Old Town does a bit of incentivizing on these. There is a big basket always full of them, and you get 5 for $20. That works out to 2.5 yards for a decent price. I selected 3 neutrals, plus a cheddar and a purple - two colors that I typically have in very limited variety. Now I am a happy camper, and I can stop procrastinating about getting this quilt finished!

More on that tomorrow, hopefully.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Class In Session

Claudia and Denise were here on Tuesday for sewing/quilting lessons. I can't really classify all that we do as quilting; in the long run, I suppose mostly these are sewing classes. Anyway, the plan was for me to surprise them with the project for the day. I contacted them ahead of time to tell them to bring two matching fat quarters for a little bag. Since the project was fast, bring additional varieties so a second and even a third could be made, if desired.

My plan was to make the little Snappy Bag. I made one several months ago and shared it here. Since I'd given it away, I needed a new one to use for demonstration purposes. And here it is.

Just like the first one, I added machine quilting - a 1" diagonal grid. It takes a bit of extra time, but I just like doing it. It probably doubles the time it takes to make the bag, but it's already so fast, that this seemed negligible. Plus it would show an option for Denise and Claudia, should they want to do it.

After making the first one so fast, I decided that I would make a sleeve for my iPad mini. They might want to change up the sizes, and I had the necessary hardware and batting. Here is my larger snap bag.

This time, my machine quilting was just vertical lines, measured against the edge of my walking foot. I really like the addition of quilting, but this definitely added time to process.

There is a significant difference between the two bags with regard to the closure. Each one uses a metal tape measure (like carpenters use). The small bag uses metal that is just a half inch wide. It is very pliable and works well on the small bag. For the larger bag, I used a tape measure that was nearly an inch wide. It is quite a lot sturdier, and for a device such as an iPad, I wanted to be sure it wasn't going to slide out. This wider closure is definitely strong enough to protect the device.

Now let's see the results of Claudia and Denise's day. I think they should be quite proud of their efforts.

Claudia's First Snappy Bag
Denise's First Snappy Bag

Snappy Bag Parade
After the ladies were comfortable with their process, and happy with their results, they both set out to make a second bag. Claudia wanted one just a bit larger than the original to meet some needs for traveling. Denise decided to make a larger bag for carrying sewing/quilting tools such as scissors and rotary cutters.

Claudia's Bags, a matching travel set
Denise's Sewing Supply Bag
Pine Tree Parade - Paper Pieced Coasters
When all the Snappy Bags were completed, we had some time to spare. I'd anticipated this, and had a suggestion that they were happy to take. Both had heard of paper piecing, and Denise had actually done it once, years ago. I had about a dozen copies of a small pine tree pattern and a variety of green, neutral and brown. We went to work, building our trees, and got a basic grasp of the concept of foundation piecing. It's sort of remarkable that we all began with the same pattern - just look at the variety in our finishes.

So a sewing class day was completed, and I think the enthusiastic students left with satisfaction. One additional thing I offered: Frienzie Kay is in the process of moving. She is weeding out her sewing room and had a giant laundry basket full of books, patterns, fabric, BOMs and more. Kay offered this stuff for them and both Claudia and Denise were pleased to find things they definitely thought they would use. Free stuff! What's not to like about that??

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Friday With Frankfort Girls

It's been rather hectic around here lately, and making time for blogging has been challenging. The Frankfort girls met at Terry's on Friday morning and I am just now getting a chance to share the projects our busy hands worked on.

Sharon O. was stitching down the binding on this beautiful Dresden Plate wall hanging. Every single bit of it was done by hand. What a gorgeous piece of workmanship.

Sheryll continued the applique work on her Easter Bunny. You saw this on a post just last week.

Jan was binding a big quilt. She took the blocks from Terry, who no longer wanted to work on this quilt. Jan stitched it up and quilted it. By gosh, it looks great. Jan is going to gift this to a needy child in her daughter's special needs classroom. Paying it forward, right?

One of our group, JoAnn, is in Florida for the month, but she sent a picture of a project she is working on with a group she has become acquainted with. It is to be appliqued just in time for Valentine's Day.

And my own little project is a little quilt made of Christmas fabrics. The top is hand pieced, so hand quilting seemed like a good idea.

I have no idea what our hostess worked on! She was organizing pieces and maybe cutting out some stuff. Sometimes we get so involved in our conversations that I  just plain forget to snap a picture!

Short 'n sweet today, Peeps! have a great Wednesday!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Amie's Postage Stamp Quilt - Grande Finale

Faithful readers of this blog will most certainly remember the wonderfully uplifting story of Amie's Postage Stamp Quilt. I first introduced it here. It is fun to read about the quilt in its infancy - way back in April of 2010.

Then, I brought you updates. In August of 2011, Amie had completed 15 blocks. In August of 2013, she was over halfway finished with 33 blocks completed. Then the big incredible story came in April 2015: Amie's avalanche of donated fabric from quilters all over the country. Finally, Amie shared her finished quilt top in July of 2015. So, with all that steady work over the course of 5 or so years, we now can see the grand finish!

This picture shows the massive label turned back on the quilt. Look at that backing fabric! Stamps! What a perfectly fun, playful choice. And notice that black binding - doesn't it look great? Amie had this to say about the label:

"I have really struggled with the label.  There were just so many names to include and then I wasn't sure how to attach it once it was finished.  I am a little iffy with labels.  I hate just writing on the back but I also hate having to stitch something down. More times than not my quilts go unlabeled.  So anyway, in the past I have used the computer fabric sheets you can buy so I got a package of those.  Over the course of a day or two I worked on typing up something that looked pleasing.  Then I got the names typed and double checked those. Printed it out but then still needed to decide how to attach it.  I have noticed when using those sheets before over time with washing they tend to fade.  I am not one of those quilters that makes quilts to look at.  Mine are used and washed!  Over the weekend I had a brainstorm.  Make the label like a pillow with no stuffing and then add buttonholes so it can be removed when the quilt is washed -viola!  You can hardly notice four little thread tacks on the front of my quilt where I attached the buttons. I am quite pleased with it." 

Here is a closer look; if you know you are looking for buttons, you can see them. Without knowing, though, you would likely be none the wiser.

 In addition to finishing this magnificent quilt, Amie has also finished scrapbooking about this amazing effort - it took 2 scrapbooks!

Here's what Amie said about her scrapbooks: "I also completed my scrap books.  It took two of them.  What a keepsake! ...  I ended up with 160 packages from 135 people in 37 states.  I was most excited to get the one package from Alaska.  I still wish I would have gotten something from out of the US."  

Amie has washed her quilt using 2 color-catchers. She knew laundering the quilt was necessary since it spent much time on floors being laid out, and since so many fabrics came from so many places; she reports that the color-catchers came out pretty dark. Good thinking on her part; I doubt I would have thought of that.

This quilt saga is complete. Isn't it a satisfying story? I still marvel at the generosity of those donors, as well as Amie's determination to finish all aspects of this endeavor- from quilt to label to scrapbooks. Wow. What a great story for Amie to share with her friends and family, and for them to share across the generations. And thank you, dear Amie, for allowing me share it here!

Hope you all have a great Sunday!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Park Avenue/Summer Breeze

I pulled out an old jelly roll by 3 Sisters/Moda called Park Avenue a couple of weeks ago to "play" with when Claudia and Denise were here for sewing instruction. You may recall that Denise had found a free pattern on Craftsy called "Summer Breeze" and while she followed the suggestions on the pattern to use a jelly roll of color along with a jelly roll of white/light, I did not. It was my hope that the lights in the jelly roll would suffice. (Plus I didn't have a white/light jelly roll in my stash!) If that brief explanation confuses you all to heck, then click here for the post.

I finally got back to working on my squares when we sewed at Terry's on Tuesday. I like the look I am getting (who wouldn't like anything with 3 Sisters fabrics??).

 This picture shows all the blocks I've finished laid out together. There are also 2 that are pinned. This is about the extent of what I am going to get from this jelly roll. The remaining strips are too neutral to work as either a dark or a light, so I am going to finish this as a lap quilt. I do see a couple of things I will change around in the pinned blocks. It is evident that the secondary design made by the light strips is interrupted in a couple of spots. That should be an easy fix.

This zoomed in shot shows the bottom right block (pinned) needed some readjusting.

So I shall fiddle with some spots here and there to see if I can come up with a layout that pleases me. I will then need to search the stash for acceptable borders. Fun! Fun!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sewing With the Girls

On Tuesday, a group of quilters converged at Terry's house for a day of sewing. It's been awhile since a large group of us has sewn together, so it was lots of fun getting a chance to be together to chat and sew.

Here is a rundown of the projects we worked on.

Terry, our hostess, created this table runner. She is dissatisfied with how it looks, but soldiered on even though she really wishes she could get those center white blocks to be more uniform.

The pattern Terry is using is this one from Kindred Spirits.

Sheryll has started a project for spring - and Easter. It is a refreshing change for her, since she has spent so much time working on a pumpkin table mat lately.

Sharon P. brought a stack of 2.5" squares with the intent to create a random stack of 9-patch blocks. The colors are bright and cheerful, and the plan just might include pairing these with some Kaffe Fassett fabrics. The plan also might include setting 4 blocks together to become 16-patch blocks with KF fabric surrounding. I like the way this plan is shaping up!

New to Terry's for sewing was Becky who brought a fantastic project that we all salivated over. Using EPP techniques, Becky is making Dresden Plates and then covering the centers with hexies. OMG! These are gorgeous!

Becky's stitching is so tidy, thus her blocks are equally tidy. I think several of us could very easily be persuaded to make this beautiful project. What a dream it will be when finished!

I am sorry to report that I did not take one single picture of the stitching our friend Jan was doing. She was working very steadily on her nutcracker embroidery, I believe. I will see her again tomorrow for Frankfort Girls sewing; maybe she will bring the same project and can bring you up to speed.

I was equally negligent in taking pictures of my own project. That is easily remedied, however, so that just might be the topic of tomorrow's post.

I did, however, take a couple of pictures of Terry's sweet Schnauzers, Millie and Cooper. You may recall that Millie's first (and only) litter of puppies included one white male - he remains with his mama, and they are quite a pair. Most of this day they spent in coma-like naps on the sofa.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Claudia's Growing Confidence

It's just wonderful to see the progress a person can make when she is committed to learning a new skill. I have mentioned before how much of a novice my student Claudia was when we first met nearly a year ago for quilting classes. In the months since, she has continued to take lessons and she has purchased a great new sewing machine. She has become familiar with terminology, with internet shopping, with gadgets and gizmos. All because she has been determined to learn quilting.

I frequently get emails from her in which she shares a new finish. Each time she sounds so proud and more confident. I just love seeing how she has taken to her new hobby.

Claudia sent this picture a couple of days ago. She told me way back when we first began working together that she had attempted small projects such as potholders and became frustrated with such things as binding. From the looks of these two examples, I would say she is getting her techniques down just fine.

In her email she explains that she began these just after our first class last March and has just now finished them. She said that her pattern called for an apple and a pear, but she opted to go with a sheep and a duck since her dog business involves herding sheep and ducks. She says she will make more with other changes like using diagonal figures, bigger sheep and switching colors.

As we get more comfortable with sewing, we tend to experiment more. And the more we experiment, the more confident we become. It's a wonderful cycle. Once you are caught up in the cycle, it is hard to break away.

And, I ask you, who would want to?

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, January 18, 2016

More Pincushion Stars

In between football games yesterday, I did manage to complete 6 more stars for the little quilt I am making called Pincushion Stars. A picture of the pattern is shown in this post.

Even after completing 19 of these stars, I am still coming up with some really wonky little blocks. That first one, for example, has some seriously unmatched intersections. You also have probably noticed that I am "making do" with the fabrics. When I am out of one background, I just substitute in another one. It is my hope that the end result when they are all sewn together is one that looks just right. None of these have been trimmed, so they will get a nice clean-up before they are stitched to one another.

This star and one or two others as well has a point that is way smaller than the rest - or is it that one point is way bigger?? Regardless, I sure am trying to be consistent and accurate, but these oddities continue to occur.

This is a stack of all 19 completed stars. I like this one with the mustard yellow center and blue points. And do you see the starch residue? These stars are as stiff as cardboard - I've really been dousing them with starch.

And I suppose you also see the little 4-patch doll quilt in the background?? *smile*

Happy Quilting, Friends!