Monday, October 31, 2016

Seasonal Endeavors

You know I am really good at getting sidetracked, and what with this newly cleaned room and most of my stuff put away, I really felt compelled late last week to play with some ideas that had been on my mind for awhile.

First, even though I will never have this finished for this Halloween (today!), I do like this tablecloth and figured I could get it done for next year.

Normally, I take enough pride in my work to press things, but remember, I was just playing, and pressing would mean that I was more serious about this project. (That's my story and I'm sticking with it.) Click here to see the Pinterest picture that inspired me. Normally, I do very little decorating for Halloween, but this just seemed really appealing.

The brown base fabric is from Terry's fabric sale, and while I didn't buy it for this purpose, when it eventually occurred to me, I knew it was the perfect choice for this tablecloth.

Seasonal item number 2 is a Christmas-oriented table runner. My drawing skills are quite rudimentary, and my bulb looks more like an egg than a Christmas light, but it's a start, at least.

So what do you think? Easter Eggs or Christmas Lights? The inspiration picture shows several of these strung the length of a white background and a holiday print for a border. The cord can be either appliqued or embroidered. While I found this on Pinterest, it originated on Etsy, and is no longer available as an active link.

So, I got my fill of playtime, and now I've folded these and set them aside. I  MUST finish the last of the t-shirt quilts. I have the vertical rows attached, and today I will construct the quilt top using sashing strips and cornerstones to keep everything square and even.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Two-Finish Friday

Gosh, it felt good. Yesterday I had enough time on my hands to put the finishing touches on not just one quilt, but two. Whoo-hoo!

First, I tackled the Baal-Carlon quilt. It is a t-shirt quilt I was commissioned to make, and all that remained to be done was half a border -- two sides were done; two remained. Here are a couple of shots of this quilt, which now has the backing prepped and it sits ready to be delivered to be quilted.

I love that the client selected green for the borders and sashing. The back will be from the same fabric, as will the binding.

When this was completed, I took that Veteran's Quilt down from my design wall and applied the borders to it. I'd cut them Thursday night, so all was ready to go. The quilt is small - lap size - so the effort was minimal. And here are the final pics of it.

I will be handing this quilt off to JoAnn who will take it with her in late December when she goes to Florida for a couple months. Her Florida Guild  produces these as a charitable project. Since so many elderly veterans are retired in Florida, the need for compassion for these aging heroes is great. Several of us here in Ohio have made some for JoAnn to take back.

Short and sweet today, Peeps! Have a great Saturday!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Twins Getting Ready for Halloween

Last Saturday afternoon I headed over to Hillsboro and had a nice, long visit with Mother, and who should pop in for a visit but my favorite twin nieces. Suddenly, things got very busy! After a nice dinner provided by my brother and sister-in-law, Granny Jeannie brought out . . . activities!!

On the fireplace hearth, she had two small pumpkins that needed to be decorated, and Granny had just the stuff. The girls were in heaven! The creativity kicked in, and here are their finished pumpkins.

After they finished with their pumpkins, Granny brought out some Christmas stencils that date back to when I was a little girl! I couldn't believe that Mom still had them! The twins went right to work creating some fantastic pictures.

Last night, their mother, my s-i-l Ann, sent these pictures of them dressed in their costumes for trick-or-treat. Absolutely adorable!! It doesn't seem possible that they are 9 already. Seems like only yesterday they looked like this. If you click that link, you'll see them at age 2 in their Easter dresses. Apparently, I don't have any pictures of them prior to that posted on the blog.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Chaos Control

Several weeks ago, I bemoaned with you here about the state of my house. We are painting the downstairs; that mess continues. Some furniture rearranging led to a major overhaul in my sewing room, and that mess has mostly been conquered - at least to the point where I am willing to share some pictures.

This is my new big cutting table. I am so thrilled with it. I can work from either side. I'm using those pull-out trays (where a keyboard is meant to go) for my smaller rulers and rotary cutters. I have my fabric-covered tin can on top for scraps and trash. I have a lazy susan with straight pins, marking pencils, scissors, and whatnot. The stack of fabric is stuff that I plan to cut down into 2.5" squares. Just need to get to it. Under this table are stacks of individual project tubs, most of which are labeled.

I will step back a bit in this next photo and show a wider shot of the room. Previously, this picture would have contained a large navy easy chair with an overflowing laundry basket of "stuff." I have mostly dealt with the "stuff" and moved the chair to another bedroom. This freed up lots of space, let me tell you.

On the door hang two of my hand-quilted creations. I keep them out just because I like looking at them. Knickknacks fill the wall and top of the bookcase. Above the door is a sign that says "Old Quilts;" I gifted it to my grandmother years ago, and now I have it here. That's her little red oval mirror, too.

In the picture above, I have stepped to the opposite corner of this end of the room. You see the design wall above the table where Sharon sews. The ironing board juts out, and then my nest fills that back corner. (Perhaps there is a bit more straightening and tidying to be done there in that "nest.") The window behind my sewing machine looks out into our back yard.

Now for a look from the other end of the room. This room is quite large, as it extends nearly the entire width of the house; it's perfect for a sewing room.

I took the picture above standing at my sewing machine. Right down front you see the two t-shirt quilts I am working on. One is going to be finished and ready for the quilter later today; the other will need a couple more days of sewing. In the distance, you see a large basket on the wall which contains rolled up mini-quilts. A series of dressers and bookshelves line the back and side walls. The window looks out into our front yard.

Finally, this last picture is from the same spot behind my sewing machine, but faces the opposite corner of the room.

The Q-Snap quilt frame is back there, dismantled, but still has Antique Nine Patches loaded in it from History Day. I want to get back to work on it, but it has taken a back seat to Erin's Diamonds. That Veteran's Quilt on the design wall needs its 4-inch border, and would take about an hour to finish. That's just one of the many loose ends I hope to check off my list in the next few days.

Having the room tidied and neat (good enough for me) motivates me to get to work on things. I need to finish the 2 commissions (the t-shirt quilts) and the Veteran's quilt, then all my time is my own! Whoo-hoo!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Sharon Has a Finish!

Kaffe Fassett - his fabrics and his patterns - does it again! Sharon recently finished her Trip Around the World and brought it with her Monday to show us.

Go back to this post to see her start. I cannot wait to make one myself. No pattern needed, and I will just stop whenever I feel like it - when it's big enough to suit me or when I just feel like stopping.

I'm inspired. And eager to get going!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Sewing With Friends

What a special day we had yesterday.

We - that would be Sharon and I, who were joined by our long-time friend Dee. We three go way back to our earliest days of teaching high school English at Chillicothe. Dee and I were hired together and began our careers in the fall of 1979; Sharon followed the next year and we have been close ever since. Isn't it great when friendships can last through so many years? Sharon and I both finished our careers right where we started, but Dee found herself moving several times in northern Ohio because of her husband's opportunities in school administration. Even across the distance, we have maintained our friendship and manage to orchestrate some get-togethers.

Dee brought her sewing machine, and spent the day getting a start on an extremely cheery and bright quilt made with two batik jelly rolls. Her pattern is from the summer 2015 issue of Fons and Porter's Quilting Quickly.

Won't this quilt look fantastic? I made Dee promise to send pictures as she proceeds toward a finish. I will provide those updates here. The quilt is easy and the fabrics are out of this world - I am almost moved to get started on my own version.

Sharon worked on her KF Shuttles some more. We have not sewn together in about three weeks, so it has been awhile since she'd been able to work on this. Go back to this post to see details of her start.

This is an impressive system of chain piecing happening, isn't it? She was going like gang-busters.

I worked on helping DDErin with yet another baby quilt. Lots of her friends are in baby-making mode, apparently. This one will be gifted on Sunday, so I will be able to share pictures after that. She brought it to my house about a week ago, and she began machine-quilting it on my machine. After a couple of puckering mistakes, she stopped and I offered to finish quilting it when rushing wouldn't be such an issue. That occurred yesterday, so now it awaits its binding, which she has at her house. Plans are as yet unmade for getting together to finish this off.

It was a gloriously wonderful day, catching up with Dee, and Sharon too, for that matter. We made lots of progress on our quilts, and we so loved our time together.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Frankfort Girls

Five of us met at Sheryll's on Friday for coffee, stitching and fellowship. What pretty things to show you!

Our hostess Sheryll continues to make gorgeous applique projects. Today's was the fall-themed beauty you see below. Isn't that a handsome bird with his plaid body and purple scarf?

Sharon O. worked on finishing her table runner. She was in the construction phase of this project when we sewed at Terry's a week ago. Now it is a finished runner.

Terry was also finishing a project. She stitched down a binding while we were together. I have shown this quilt before as she was constructing it. The backing is a beautiful toile-like black and white. The binding is a subtle brown stripe. All together, this is a beauty.

Jan also worked on a wool applique project.- or several projects. She had purchased a pattern for candle mats and was constructing 3 while we were together. You can see her pattern in the bottom photo.

I worked on the paper-pieced table topper that I showed in yesterday's post. It was quite a productive day. And I always enjoy the company of these fine ladies.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Slow Sunday

Here we are again at the beginning of a new week and still, the task of hand-quilting is taking center stage.

On Friday, I attended our Frankfort Girls sew-along over at Sheryll's house. What a dreary day it was, but the warmth and coziness of freshly-made coffee cake and coffee combined with dear friends and stitching made it just as pleasant as ever.

I brought out a project that I "sandwiched" for History Day. I did quite a bit on it that day, and worked again on it the last time we girls met. So, basically, every two weeks, this quilt gets about 3 hours of stitching. Since it is a rather a small quilt, I won't need many more days to finish it. The backing is pieced with two pretty fabrics the details of which you can read about here.

I need to give this quilt a name. Generally, I refer to it as the paper-pieced quilt. I went back through old blogposts and found 3 occasions where I either mentioned or worked on it. Just for the sake of pulling related material together, I will link them here, and you can enjoy if you like. (2012 mention; 2013 mention; 2014 mention.) This quilt truly has been a multi-year project.

My other hand-quilting project, of course, is Erin's Diamonds. It takes up most of the dining area, as the picture above illustrates; I so want to get this monster frame out of the way before DH is ready to come this way with his painting. I estimate that I am 25% finished with it. Most days I do get at least an hour of stitching in, oftentimes more. The picture above is from the very beginning, but I can use it to explain my process thus far: I started on the blue side - those tips of yellow are the bottom border. I quilted up to almost the light purple row. Then we lifted the frame and turned it 180-degrees, so now the orange-y pink-red rows are nearly finished. Again, I can reach to almost the light purple row. I hope that by day's end I will be ready to roll up the finished side and begin new rows (and maybe zip across that unquilted purple row, too).

While I quilt like crazy on my diamonds quilt, a close friend is just getting started. Frienzie Kay is the original fan of Kaffe Fassett fabrics; she introduced these fabrics to me way back about 10 years ago. Anyway, she is in the cutting phase of making her own diamond quilt. Because she has asked me several questions about how I cut this quilt out, I went back through the archives and uncovered a post that explained those details. If you were ever thinking you couldn't do a quilt with so many bias edges, think again. This quilt was a dream to cut and sew. Click back on the link to read all about it.

About the painting job that DH is progressing on. The formal dining room is nearly completed. I know he will be very happy to have one room done - as he said the other day "I need closure!" He's not the only one, either! *wink*

Next he will move to the front room. I will do all I can to return the dining room to "normal" and still keep up the pace on Erin's Diamonds, because when the front room is finished, he will have a small, easy entry hall and then - oh boy - the main living area will become his final area. I need to be out of his way, for sure. Nothing like a little pressure, is there??

I hope you have a pleasant Sunday. Maybe some slow stitching is in your plans? I am linking to Slow Sunday Stitching; hope you go there and have a look around.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Quilt Rack

When most of what I work on is hand quilting, I find that I don't have a great deal of interesting or varied pictures to share here on the blog. It forces me to get creative. I recently moved around some quilts and hung a fresh batch of quilts on the rack which sits at the foot of our bed. Every time I enter the room, I am greeted with these lovelies.

Previously, the two in front were folded and stacked in the guest room. I just hated that I wasn't enjoying them, so this has been a good switch-out.

The quilt made of 30s prints is called Tennessee Puzzle; I hand-pieced the blocks at some of my son's track and cross country meets when he was in high school. My grandmother hand-quilted it for me. Of course you recognize my 6-point star quilt next to it. I also hand-pieced this quilt at track and cross country meets, and just this summer finished off the hand-quilting. (There were far too many post on that finish!)

The middle row has my retirement quilt from my dear Frienzies, and alongside it is a quilt that Frienzie Kay made for DD Emma for high school graduation.

On the back row, the brown and pink quilt is a pattern from an old BH&G American Patchwork and Quilting magazine cover - I machine pieced it in a flash, and hand-quilted it not quite so fast. The blue quilt is Nine-Patch Criss Cross from Thimbleberries and was hand-quilted by my grandmother.

Okay, back to hand-quilting.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Slow But Steady Stitching

One thing we all know about hand quilting is that nothing about it is speedy. Even with the big-stitch look I am going for, the process takes time. I quilted for a little over 2 hours yesterday, and have moved to a new set of rows - primarily red, purple, orange, teal and pink.

 Those edge triangles are primarily yellow; they do a very good job of bordering the quilt. Regardless of the color of the row it touches, it seems to serve the purpose of a border very, very well.

 If  you scroll back through some earlier posts in which I have pictures of my quilting progress on this quilt, you might note that I am not getting much quilted in that lightest purple row. From either side of the quilt frame, I just cannot reach that row. So I think what I will have to do is quilt it in a portable frame after I get all the rest quilted. I've tried thinking of other solutions. The only other option is to roll it just a little bit, quilt that row, then roll it the entire way to the next section. I guess there is a learning curve with this  -  having never done it all by myself before, and only trying to remember what Grandma did, I am coming up against little dilemmas that I hadn't known existed.

Besides working on Erin's Diamonds, I continue to work in the sewing room on the t-shirt quilts. I hope to have them ready to deliver to the quilter by the end of this week.

Happy Quilting, Friends!