Friday, September 30, 2016

Back to Lorraine

Early in the summer when I should have been working on any number of commissions I had waiting to be done, I took a day to dive into my sweet little stash of American Jane/Moda fabrics - Lorraine and Savonnerie, specifically. These bright, sunny French-inspired colors were just begging me to create something.

And ever since, the design wall has looked like the photo above. I sewed my blocks into rows, and pinned the rows onto the design wall, and then went back to work on the commissions. It has been nice to look at this wall of gorgeous color all summer long.

On Monday, after I sewed together three - yes, three - quilt backs, I rewarded myself by taking down these rows, rearranging a bit to distribute the colors more evenly, and sewing the top together.

Whee! What fun! I am so loving how the two lines of fabrics work together. It is really hard to know which piece is from the Lorraine line and which is from the Savonnerie line. Good planning by the fabric designer, right?

So now I have my center and am left with deciding how to handle borders. Here is what is left of my two fabric lines - one charm pack of Savonnerie and leftovers from my jelly roll of Lorraine.

However, I do have a wildcard option: several years ago I made a quilt with an earlier line of American Jane fabrics, and I still have leftovers of that fabric stored away in a tub. I think they will totally go with these newer lines, and I will use them if necessary.

Yes, I still have a couple of commissions to finish - 2 t-shirt quilts, specifically. But it sure has been fun to divert my attention to my own stitching for just a little break.

And, one last time, let me remind you to go visit the Quilter Blogger's Festival, to see all the entries in a virtual quilt show hosted by Amy's Creative Side. I have entered quilts in three categories, and would sure love for you to vote if you haven't already. Results will be announced on Saturday, so time is running out!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sharon's Shuttles

I've had some time to catch my breath and can provide adequate attention to showing you the quilt Sharon began on Monday when she was here to sew. I teased you with it yesterday; today, you get the real deal.

The quilt will look like the one pictured on the cover of a Kaffe Fassett book, Quilts in Morocco. He calls it Shuttles, and the block is nothing more than a skinny snowball block. It looks fantastic! I can see why someone would want to make this quilt; it's hard to resist.

Awhile back, she ordered a kit from Hancock's of Paducah. She began work on it Monday. Here are some of her various steps.

The directions and the parts are set up beside her machine - little squares for the corners and rectangles for the centers.

And the sewing commenced. She made about two rows of shuttles by day's end.

Color! Glorious Color! This small sampling of blocks makes me very excited to see more! Then, there are the bonuses - the cut-away triangles from each corner. Don't throw them away!! Make pinwheels!

Nothing like getting two quilts for the price of one, right? She will have a bonus table topper or wall hanging out of the stuff that some would just throw away.

This catches you up with Sharon and her current project. I will share my Lorraine progress tomorrow.

One last thing: Have you yet visited the Blogger's Quilt Festival? I sure would appreciate it if you would head over there and look for my quilts in these categories: Mini Quilts; Hand Quilted; Original Design. Be sure to vote for your favorites! Winners will be announced on Saturday, October 1st.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Too Busy to Blog!

Life has been crazy  hectic around here lately. That is probably all very relative, but for this retired gal, I sure have had a lot of irons in the fire. The iron labeled "blog" has been ignored more than I'd like as a result.

Oh well.

When I get a bit more caught up, I have a long, long list of posts waiting in the wings. So much productivity!! Wheeee! I think for today I just have to offer you a "tease" in the hopes that you won't give up on me!

Above is the beginning of a quilt that Sharon worked on Monday when she was here to sew. She has a kit called Shuttles from one of Kaffe Fassett's newer books. Doesn't this look fun?! It will certainly be colorful!

And while Sharon made Shuttles, I had a very different sort of productivity. Just get a look at this list of accomplishments:
1. sew the open end of a pillow closed;
2. make a backing for Erin's Diamonds;
3. make a backing for Antique Nine Patches;
4. make a backing for paper-pieced quilt;
 5. sew the rows together on Lorraine.

Yes, I accomplished ALL of the above! After several days of wandering aimlessly (always feel this way after finishing a big quilt), I buckled down on Monday and had a really satisfying day.

So stay tuned for more complete details on all of the above.

Today, I am off to sew all day at Terry's. It's been ages since we've all sewn together at her house! I am going to make a charity quilt for a military veterans' association. Again, more details to come.

Hey, don't forget to visit the Blogger's Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side. I have entered in 3 categories (4 if you count my boo-boo entry). I know you will love seeing all the inspiring quilts on display, and don't forget to vote for your favorites in each category.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Again this year I am participating in Amy Ellis' Blogger's Quilt Festival. I entered one quilt last year just to get my feet wet, and see how it worked. It didn't require too much effort on my part, so I upped the ante this year by entering three quilts. Amy Ellis is a fellow blogger who has branched out into designing and publishing - she is much more driven than I, that's for sure. Her blog alone makes me tired! *Not that hard to do, actually.*

Regular readers here will surely recognize all three quilts for I have written about them often. First, you can look for my little Pincushion Stars in the mini quilts category. It earned a big ol' ribbon at the Ross County Fair, so we will see what a wider audience thinks of it.

In the hand quilted category, I have entered Six-Point Stars. It has gotten lots of positive remarks from you kind folks who leave comments. I sure feel the love!

Finally, I am entering Elisa's quilt in the original design category. Now I have a confession: I mistakenly entered it in the modern quilt category; it was total brain-fart on my part, but it's there, and I don't know how to remove it. This means, then, that I will get to see how it stacks up in this category, as well.

So what I ask of you is to go visit the festival site and vote for all the quilts you like. Of course, if you are so inclined, a vote for yours truly would definitely be appreciated. I think you will find lots of quilting inspiration and ideas. The world of quilting varies widely; seeing all the quilts in this festival will definitely make that readily apparent.

Enjoy and be inspired!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Being a "prepper" has a new meaning in 2016. Back in the 1980s a prep was a fresh-faced teeny-bopper with an affinity for plaid, Izod sweaters and neatly matched accessories. Today, a prepper is someone who is saving back necessities for some future apocalypse.

We quilters have our own definition of prepping - pulling fabrics and patterns, pressing and cutting, and any other necessary work to prepare for making a quilt. Or quilts. Some quilters like to prep several quilts all at once to be ready for marathon stitching sessions.

Since finishing Elisa's big quilt on Thursday, I have been rather at a loss as to where to land next. I made a list of several things which are of a rather urgent nature, but instead of actually redirecting myself and attacking them, I have been aimlessly moving from one to another.

Most significantly, I suppose, I have pulled fabrics for a little gift I want to make for someone special, which you see above. Do you approve of these fabrics together? They have been in my stash for a long time, and none of them were actually purchased to go together. Based on color, though, I like how they look as a group. I think that some quilters are very attuned to keeping like-styles together, and I can understand that to a degree, but I also want to use my stash. Sometimes one can't be as "pure" about fabric combos. I can tolerate inconsistencies in this regard, and so I do believe I will be very satisfied with this little grouping.

(Remember 'Stars in a Time Warp' that Barbara Brackman did a year ago? The intent with that quiltalong was to use 2 fabrics from different eras or styles to make a star. It was fun to see what folks did - I made a couple - and it has made me more conscious of how I combine fabrics.)

Back to my topic - prepping ... So I have the aforementioned little surprise to finish. I also need to be prepping 2 quilts and maybe even a 3rd for hand quilting.

The first is Erin's Diamonds, which I mentioned last week in the post about Grandma's quilt frame, which now at least has been draped over the rails, waiting while I stitch the backing. Must get that prepped! Remember the urgency I mentioned??! All the focus last week was on Elisa's quilt; gotta' get my gears shifted.

The other one - or possible two -  will be needed for next Saturday's History Day, where I will be demonstrating hand quilting. The quilt - or quilts - have been pulled and backing has been selected, but neither are ready to go. More prepping.  Click the link to see the quilts I plan to work on.

Basically, I am admitting to being in pretty much the same state I was in a week ago with the very notable exception that Elisa's quilt is done. And while that is HUGE! - I must hop to it on these other important matters!

I didn't even mention the 2 t-shirt quilts I have waiting in the wings. More prepping.

Oh dear.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Frankfort Girls Friday

Yesterday morning we met at Jan's for our usual Friday morning chat and sewing session. I was so intent on making 4-patches that I totally forgot to take pictures of what the others worked on. I saw Jan doing more Royal Crown bag deconstructing, but I don't even know what Sharon and Sheryll did. (Terry and JoAnn were unable to attend.)

I've got a few new blocks to add to the growing stack of blocks made over recent weeks.

These are in stacks of 10; I pin them together this way so I don't have to keep counting them every time I wonder how many I've made. So far I am around 120 blocks, and I'm still going strong. Who knows when I will stop? I plan to just keep on stitching and worry about finishing later. I figure I need around 250 blocks to get a sizeable quilt, maybe more! No stopping any time soon!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, September 23, 2016

The BEAST Is Finished!

Beast. Behemoth. Hulk. Colossus. Any word you can think of that connotes something huge, then that would work if describing this finish. And, it's not just the size of the quilt I'm referring to. Over time, the size of the commission became just as huge, largely by my own creation - but that's a story for later.

For now, let's just enjoy the finish! Working to accomplish this finish accounts for my absence from blogging these last couple of days.

Copied from Pinterest - or Facebook - or Instagram - unsure of origin!

"The hills are alive, with the sound of . . .  relief! Gee whiz, but I sure dragged my feet on this quilt.

Yes, I have finished Elisa's quilt and will be delivering it later today. We are going to unfurl it on the bed it was made for, and I will surely take pictures. (Elisa is an artist; maybe I ought to have her take pics.)

The bed in these pictures is a double bed, consequently this king-size quilt hangs off at the bottom and on both sides.

I have worked most furiously this last week. I finally had some sort of epiphany about working toward a finish and not toward perfection. This ah-ha moment gave me the push I needed to buckle down and get to work. And, of course, it was much easier than I'd been imagining. It just took lots and lots of time.

I have written about this quilt in previous posts, but just to quickly recap: Even though I'd never previously used the quilt-as-you-go method, I would say this qualifies as just that. After sewing all the strips together in long vertical sections, I machine quilted each section vertically in random distances. I tried to keep the stitching straight, but I didn't obsess about it if there were wiggly parts. I had to mentally think about how I would close the back after I'd sewn the front together, and this caused me lots of consternation. I eventually figured it out, and I am happy with the results. I will put together a post later to explain the process more fully.

Click here to read about the beginning of this quilt's journey. Here are a couple of posts from the work done over the summer - the piecing and the quilting.

Added Sunday, September 25: I am entering this quilt in Amy Ellis' Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Check out the Modern Quilts category and the Original Design category. While you're there, go ahead and vote for me! Thanks!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Sweet Italian Gift

My stitching friend Jan (of the Frankfort Girls) returned recently from a 3-week long vacation to Italy and the Mediterranean. Having been to Italy a few times, I am totally green with envy at such a long vacation.

Well, look at the adorable souvenir she brought back! It's a tiny bottle of Chianti wine - direct from the Chianti region! I have never seen one packaged so small. It is almost too cute to open.

And check out the gift bag in patriotic Italian colors. Sweet. Jan is always so thoughtful and considerate. I am saving my Chianti for a special use - and I don't think I will share, either! Sorry, DH!

I am hopeful for a BIG finish this week. Sharon will be over later; I don't know what she will have to work on. For me - I plan to sew all day. I am in what you might call the final push on Elisa's quilt. Wish me luck! Maybe this wine will be my reward at the end - sounds like a good idea!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Symbolic Endeavor

I am taking over yet another room of the house for the next couple of months. After clearing out some tables and scooting back furniture, DH helped me erect Grandma's ancient quilt frame in the front room early last week.

What stories this old frame could tell! The very brown parts on each end are quite old. I am sure Grandma told me, but I do not remember; they may have originated with her own mother or perhaps they originated with her grandmother. This would be, then, either my great-grandmother or great-great-grandmother.

To my knowledge, this is the only picture I have of Grandma sitting at her quilt frame.
Having done some genealogy, these women have names that I know: Margaret Thomas Wood and Mary Angeline Smedley Thomas. Wouldn't it be interesting to know what they quilted on this frame? Years ago, Grandma gave me some very old quilts - could these have been quilted on it? Most likely my grandma learned to quilt at this frame. I can just see her and probably her sisters seated on chairs, boosted with pillows, taking up their needles and attempting their first stitches.

The lighter wood - the brace and the roller bars - are new, relatively speaking. They were made by my grandfather when Grandma wore out the originals. And, interestingly enough, he made a second shorter set. I am using the longer set because the quilt that will be going into this is quite large.

A long time ago I determined that the first quilt I loaded onto this frame would be a symbolic one. Erin's Diamonds has been hanging in the closet for a couple of years and needs to be finished. I love the idea that the first quilt I do on Grandma's old frame is one that will be given to my daughter. So many generations involved! My own mother is not a quilter, but maybe I could get her to sit with me for awhile to take a few stitches in Erin's quilt? Then there would be no break in the multi-generational endeavor. Cool.

Now, those ancient grannies would likely look at the riotous colors of Erin's Diamonds and turn up their noses with disdain. I know Grandma did! She saw no attraction to this "modern stuff" that both Erin and I like. Grandma thought I'd lost it when she'd see me buying KF fabrics on some of our outings.

But I digress. Besides the brightly colored, modern fabrics, I will be breaking other traditional notions of quilting when I begin Erin's Diamonds. I plan to quilt "big stitch." Instead of laboring over the tiniest of even stitches, I will be using thicker thread and taking big stitches, outlining each diamond. I am hoping that I can make quick work of it.

All of this must start ASAP. I have some finishing of other projects to accomplish first, though. The pressure mounts! The goal: to be done before Christmas decorating - this is the room where we put our tree!

I will be linking up to Slow Sunday Stitching which you can peek at over at Kathy's Quilts

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Helping A Friend

On Monday I had a little adventure that involved puppies. How could anything be more perfect?

Claudia had been in touch with me some time earlier for help with finishing a table topper, and in the hustle-bustle of my getting back into school routine and her busy schedule with her dog shows, we just hadn't made connecting a priority. I will show you the table topper later, but for now, let's play with these puppies.

Her dog Mika had a litter of 6 puppies about a month ago, and these little bundles of fur are just right for cuddling and playing. The picture above is a rare resting shot; generally they are 100% energy.

Mika is never far from her babies, and I watched her "teach" lessons during my visit. Claudia raises, breeds, sells and shows border collies, and she has quite an elaborate and impressive setup.

This last picture is Ritz, a Sheltie. Claudia and her husband also specialize in Shelties, and Gary is heavily involved in agility competitions with them. I tell you, their dog business is amazing. Kennels, leashes, and all manner of accoutrements fill a garage and several storage buildings at their farm. I grew up having a family dog, and we loved all of them over the years, but I had absolutely no idea of the depth of knowledge one can have if in the business of dogs. Quite impressive! And her dogs are so well behaved. They know a gazillion commands, and are just as friendly and approachable as can be.

Let's move on to the project Claudia needed advice on. She had made a star-shaped table topper and was ready to finish it off. It was machine quilted, and she wondered how to handle those deep corners and points when binding.

I told her about clipping to almost the depth of the corner, and trimming excess on the points. She is going to try turning the back over to the front to make the binding. If this does not work, plan B is to make a bias binding and apply. She will send pictures of her finish, so I will be sure to let you all know how she gets along.

You may recall my early sessions with Claudia (back in early 2015) as very much a beginning quilter. Well, she is far from that beginner stage now, and has even created a little nook in her entry hallway for a sewing room. Have a look.

All the necessities - machine, ironing/cutting space, storage, design wall, and natural lighting. It suits her perfectly.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Planning Ahead for History Day

Seems like I have been doing a whole lotta' planning and very little doing lately. That's the way of things sometimes, I guess. Today's plan involved the Greenfield Historical Society's annual History Day celebration coming up on Saturday, October 1. It has been my pleasure to sit at my quilting frame since 2010, demonstrating to guests the old-time art of hand quilting.

Below are two quilt tops I have pulled out of the closet as potential quilts for demonstrating. Both are rather small in size - like lap quilts more than bed quilts. I am considering doing my quilting in a hoop this year as opposed to the frame, so a smaller quilt would be more manageable, I think.

The quilt above is a pattern called Antique Nine Patches from my blogging friend Sue Abrey's book, Pick Four. You can click back here to read about my finishing this quilt top. I would enjoy hand quilting this quilt. The fabric on the right is what I plan to use for the backing.

I dug out this quilt top a few days after the first and thought maybe it would do for history day, also. I have pulled the two fabrics on the right for a pieced back. The quilt top is paper pieced, and was an ancient UFO before I finally finished it in one of those UFO challenges I did with the Frankfort girls awhile back. I found the post that describes my finish, if you are interested in additional details.

Now I just need to decide which quilt I will work on. Or -- and this is a wild and crazy idea -- I could put them both in hoops and take two! Gracious, wouldn't that be the picture of industriousness? Ha!

Here are some links to previous History Day posts:  2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. I began in 2010, but didn't blog about it, and I apparently missed last year, as well.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Future Quilt

It doesn't matter how many projects a quilter has planned, ideas for new ones just keep coming. As if I don't have plenty on my to-do list, I have put together another fabric group for a "someday quilt" I want to make. The idea came to me after purchasing one of the fabrics from Terry's stash sale. That, plus my recent handwork on making 4-patch blocks. These two factors likely were the impetus for the birth of this idea.

The bottom fabric in the grouping above is the fabric that made my idea take shape. It reminded me of the pale rose or pink fabric I used in that doll quilt from earlier this year. I really like the look of that little quilt, and figured it would look pretty darn good as a full-size quilt, too.

Here's the little quilt.

So I have the rose-colored fabric for the setting squares. The neutral fabric on top will be used for the 4-patch blocks. I will attack my stash for the colored portion of those blocks. Should be easy to come up with plenty of variety.

And, of course, the black will serve to be the setting triangles. I think it will be a success, and I look forward to getting to work on it. Someday.

I will never, ever run out of quilts to make.

Happy Quilting, Friends!