Sunday, February 25, 2018

Prairie Vine Project

Starting a new year (2018) always brings a new list of goals and plans for productivity in the sewing room. It took me most of January to get around to posting my goals for this year, but I did eventually do it. At that time, I was heavily into the production of Snow Shoo, the very first item on my list. Felt good, too, to be doing something that I really wanted to do and was actually in my plans.

Now, here we are looking at the last week of February and I am tackling a second quilt on my goals list -- Prairie Vine. I made the first block on the last day of 2017, loved how complicated it looked, yet came together quite easily, so added it to the 2018 plans. That first block is also pictured in the link provided above, and this weekend I  have made 4 more, shown below.

I pulled and set aside an assortment of fabrics from the stash that I thought would be suitable for these blocks, and I'm making just one block at a time. This is a slow way to go, but I don't really mind so much, as I love seeing how different fabric options make a block come together in a pleasing way.

In other words, I am enjoying the process. Isn't that why we quilt?

The quilt is featured on the cover of a 2007 issue of Quilt Sampler magazine. I don't know how I happened to come across it in 2017/18, but here I am a decade after publication, making that quilt.

Slow Sunday Stitching is today over at Kathy's quilts. I plan to take a few stitches today on Lake Effect. This tub sits by my chair in the family room, and I can reach for it while watching television. With March Madness right around the corner, I expect a good deal of stitching is in my future.

Rows are taking shape, as you can see. The work is satisfying, and I do get on a roll quickly each time I reach for it. When I began the Lake Effect journey last April, I determined then that I would treat this quilt as a 10-year project. I am in no rush, so working at leisure is quite a pleasure.

Not long ago, I found this pack of Thimble Pads in my sewing room; I forget buying them, but the price sticker is telling - our trip last year to Indiana. This project demands a thimble, for sure!

Have a great Sunday, and a great week!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

cough, sniffle, snooze...

Have you noticed my absence from bloggie-land? I took sick a week ago Tuesday night and still have raging symptoms. I finally had the sense to go to an urgent care on Monday, and with the antibiotic for sinus infection now at work in my system, I do believe I will kick this illness at last.

Since I am not contagious, I have managed to make my classes on Tuesday and today. That is the extent of my efforts, however. Teaching two composition classes is enough to wipe me out.

I have not sewn a stitch on the sewing machine. I have the EPP Lake Effect next to my easy chair, but my head just won't stand for more than a brief effort. Reading blogs has even been too challenging. I tell you, this really taken me out of action.

So what can I share today? Well, I will rerun some older things and make a little hint of some future activity. Some of you recall, I'm sure, that I was the lucky recipient of a long arm quilting machine late last year. Read about it here. I have spent the better part of two-plus months working at setting the tension and sewing without breaking threads. I do believe I finally have all parts in good order and I'm ready to quilt something beyond samples.

Searching the contents of my sewing closet gives me many options, and the three finalists I am debating are these:

Chantilly is a quilt top I made in 2012 from a pack of florals I had on hand. I have looked back at my post and failed to record the book that this pattern came from, but I can find it easily enough and will make note of it soon. I have backing fabric for this quilt already set aside and while it is the largest of my three finalists, having that backing decision already made makes this quite a promising choice. 

 Razzle Dazzle was made in 2011 for a mystery sample. I have never been overly fond of this quilt as orange is my least favorite color. It would be a good quilt to make my mistakes on. It is rather on the small size, and would likely be table-topper sized.

Plan C is a Carrie Nelson pattern from her book Schnibbles Times Two. I made it in 2012 using Park Avenue fabric by 3 Sisters/Moda. The quilt is not overly large, yet would result in a nice lap size. I would have to stay-stitch it because of that piano key border, and I would have to locate a backing. I have a hefty tub of browns, so I think it would be easy to find something suitable.

I have reasons to get healthy, don't I? So much to be done! On top of being ready to long-arm quilt my very first quilt on this machine, I have two classes of essays now to read and respond to. The world is not waiting on me to get better!

Hope you are having a happy day. Our area is being deluged with rain - I think parts of southern Ohio are suffering severe flooding. That's where I am, but this is further south from here. Pray for safety!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Antebellum Album

In my recent congestion-induced stupor, I came across a pattern distributed by Barbara Brackman that I just had to make.

I can only concentrate on little more than a single block. Ugh.

It was a fun block to make; I got to play in some of my very old fat quarters to find three fabrics that I thought looked right for this block. I will do further research as I regain better mental acuity, but for now I can tell you that it has something to do with the Antebellum period of American history, and I hope to find that it is some sort of a block-a-week type album quilt that would seem typical of Brackman. Stay tuned for more accurate details as I sort it all out.

Happy Quilting, Friends,

Friday, February 16, 2018

Modern Stars

The hubs and I have spent a week feeling rather under the weather, I'm afraid, and that has resulted in very little productivity out of my sewing room for sure. DH has had it since Sunday; my symptoms began to take hold late Tuesday. We've been achy, listless, congested. Ugh.

So I did find the energy to put the 4 modern star blocks together and added borders. That was my big accomplishment all of yesterday. I have the idea that I might hand quilt this using the big-stitch method. I am really drawn to the Baptist Fan design, so I expect I will go with it. Color? Undecided, at this point.

The stars for this wall quilt come from a book by Carrie Nelson called Farmhouse Favorites. The cover quilt, Birdseye, has these stars which really appeal to me, so I figured, let's just see what they look like in this little collection I recently bought. Nice little experiment, yes?

I just now told DH that I intend to wake up in the morning and be perky! I am sick of being sick! I shouldn't complain, because I am generally a very healthy person, and I know some folks are truly sick, but I am just not used to this inability to concentrate and get stuff done.

Wah-wah. I will take some cheese with my whine. *wink*

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Snow Shoo Quilt Top Finished

When one goes for several days without internet, one tends to get more work done - that is true for me, at least. Maybe others have more control about limiting their time on their devices, but not I. *smh*

What I accomplished is a quilt top! Yippee!! and Hooray!!

Snow Shoo is now a completed top and I have to say that this finished better than I expected. I just love how it looks.

This is a very deceiving quilt to figure out without a lot of study. Last year when I was photographing my friend's antique quilts, one of her treasures was this same pattern, and I had a devil of a time figuring out the blocks. Once you know, though, it makes such simple sense. Here's the link with a picture of the antique I copied.

The quilt is made by alternating a Snowball block and a Shoo Fly block - thus the name Snow Shoo. I love the chaining effect that results with the two blocks combined. I was concerned during my construction that my scrappy blues and neutrals would not mesh well together, but I think it looks absolutely gorgeous! I am thrilled with how it has turned out.

 I will not allow any quilt police to have a crack at evaluating this quilt. The fact that a few of my points have missed their marks does not detract in the least from the overall look and I am NOT seeing the flaws - only the beauty. Everyone is with me on this, right??? *wink*

 My quilt is 14 rows long and 13 rows wide. The dimensions are 82"x76". My blocks are 6.5" shoo fly and 6.5" snowballs (finished at 6"). I had intended to make the quilt one row wider and one row longer, but as I put this on the bed I realized that this was plenty big. As a result, however, I have a stack of leftover blocks to find a way to use. We shall see what happens with them. No rush to do it soon, for sure.

So, my journey with Snow Shoo has concluded until such time as I get it quilted. Be sure to stay tuned to see Sharon's Snow Shoo finish. We began this journey together and we will have pictures of hers very soon.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

I'm Okay! Don't Worry About Me!

Since we were covered in ice Wednesday and it didn't melt until Friday, our high-speed internet became disabled. By the time we could call the provider, it was Friday afternoon and you know what that means - no technician available until Monday.

DH and I don't know how to live w/o our internet! 

I at least have my iPhone and iPad which allows some bit of access. DH has nothing. Poor guy.

I am working on the quilt top called Snow Shoo.

Using the chaining technique I learned years ago doing Quilt In A Day projects by Eleanor Burns, I will have this top completed later today.

I am also doing quite a bit of stitching on Lake Effect. That is a project that becomes rather addicting! 

I will soon be back with more regular posting when our service is restored.
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Show and Tell From the Frankfort Girls

It has been awhile since I shared any fantastic projects from my wonderful group of quilting friends. Last Friday morning we met at Terry's for stitching fun and fellowship. Our group has grown to 7 members now, and we just have the best time whenever we are together. Three of the group had some show and tell finishes.

Hostess Terry shows off a California King-size quilt for her son Brian. This pattern is called Lincoln's Quilt and is made with flannels. Can you imagine how heavy this will be?

The next quilt Terry showed us was Andover's Trinkets. What a beautiful quilt! The controlled scrappy look is quite appealing.

Helen, the newbie of our group, shared her William Morris Victoria and Albert quilt. It is stunning! It was a kit. Do I dare add this to my to-do list??

Finally, I want to show you Becky's gorgeous hexagons. She is very near to the point where she will begin joining these. I love them!

How lucky am I to get to sew with such a talented group of seamstresses?! They certainly provide no end of inspiration for me! I hope you are inspired, too.

An update on Snow Shoo from yesterday while Sharon was here: I did about 30 Snowball blocks during the day, and then went back to the sewing machine last night and finished off the rest. All 105 are now DONE! Sharon has started sewing her rows together! We are in the home stretch!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Snow Shoo Update

I purposely have not written or shared much on Snow Shoo as I am still in the grunt work phase. All 105 Shoo Fly blocks have been done for awhile and I have been focusing on the 105 Snowball blocks. To date I have 62 finished.

To break a big boring job down into doable parts, I generally try to make 10 blocks at a time. I sew all the corners onto the snowballs, and do an extra seam for the HSTs I am saving for later.

Then I take all 10 to the cutting table and trim off the HSTs. I also trim any wild threads from the chain piecing.

I get a nice big snowball and 4 tiny HSTs for my efforts. Fun in small doses. I just don't have the mindset to sit down and chain piece all 105 blocks. And, really, do I have a deadline?? NO. I can sew as I please in whatever method I please.

This stack is all 62 of my Snowball blocks; my method of doing 10 at a time somehow is off - must have miscounted two extras somewhere along the line.

I throw all the HSTs into a basket under the cutting table for a future project. I know what it will be and I will be eager to work on it. I may try the "leaders and enders" method of Bonnie Hunter.

Today Sharon and I are sewing together; she is hard a work on Shoo Fly blocks; perhaps I will get 10 or 20 more Snowballs done.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Lake Effects Developments

As I suspected, interspersing the Snowfall fabrics into my already existing mass of hexies for Lake Effect is working out perfectly. I will let the photographs do the talking.

The picture above shows my earlier hexies and at the very bottom are the Snowfall hexies. I see very easy blending of fabrics going on here. It will be fun to finish off the charm pack and then weave these Snowfall hexies into my existing assortment.

At this point in time, I have done just a small portion of the charm squares. I will use the entire charm pack (I can get two hexies from each 5" square) and then blend and mix the whole bunch.

To read about my earlier concern over the intensity of the reds, click here. I am glad I was cautious at this early stage; I would hate to have moved forward and then later regretted using a red which dissatisfied me.

Today is Slow Sunday Stitching! Come join the party over at Kathy's Quilts!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Extra Credit from Claudia and Denise

These two students of mine are becoming quite the accomplished seamstresses as evidenced by their recent productivity. Both have shared pictures or in-person projects and I think you will enjoy seeing them, too.

Claudia is an experimenter (is that a word?). She has no problem whatsoever with the philosophy of "just trying it to see what happens." This willingness to experiment has led to quite a few successful projects such as the one above. Not only did she use transfer material for the picture, but she superimposed the face onto a cartoon superhero, then appliqued it to a warm scarf for an employee's son.

Another thing I've noticed about Claudia is that she is a problem solver. At all the dog shows she attends, registration tables are set up. Doesn't every registration table need a nice long table runner? Claudia thought so, and so she made one! How nice!

This t-shirt quilt is a gift Claudia made to surprise her husband for Christmas. Every dog show they attend has a t-shirt, so of course they have way more shirts than they will wear. She selected several with great graphics or that represented a particularly memorable show and voila! A lovely quilt is the result. I stopped over at her house in the fall to give her a few tips for making this, and she went with it all on her own. What a great job!

Now brace yourself for this quilt from Denise. She admits "I like to sew lots of little pieces." Yes, I believe she does. This string quilt is a Laundry Basket Designs pattern by Edyta Sitar. Ohhh, myyyy...

Denise said that this was a long time in the making, and spent a good amount of time stuffed in a closet as a UFO. She hopes to have it quilted in time to enter it into a local quilt show this summer.

The three picture above are close-ups of some of the intricate detail of this quilt. Those small squares might just measure an inch. The result of "sewing little pieces" is absolutely magnificent, wouldn't you agree?

Bravo, Denise! This is a stunning creation! I can't wait to see it displayed in the quilt show!

So, haven't my students done well for themselves? I just can't believe all their accomplishments! Denise dabbled in quilting prior to my meeting her; Claudia was a brand-new beginner. We three have had quite a fun time sewing together.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Giant Tote Bag Class

Over a week ago, sewing and quilting students Claudia and Denise came over for some instruction and help with making humongous tote bags. We had a good day, and accomplished our goal of a useful tote bag for each of them.

This Jumbo Bag is the pattern Claudia found and copied for us. It makes a nice big bag, and since both Claudia and Denise travel extensively to dog shows with lots of paraphernalia, this bag seemed perfectly suited to their needs.

Claudia used heavier fabric than quilting cotton for her bag. I would categorize it as duck or home dec weight.  Quite a pretty design for a bag, and her lining was well-chosen, too. I took liberties with the handles. The pattern called for making handles that seemed like they'd be too flimsy for the weight needed on the bags we were making. I bought webbing in gray, white and black, and both were happy to have sturdier handles on their bag. Claudia applied her webbing directly to the bag; Denise covered hers with fabric that matched her fabric. Both versions looked really good.

Denise used fabrics that were cotton weight. We adjusted the size of her outer pocket to catch under the straps, thus eliminating extra stitching on the pocket. I like the contrast the pocket and straps give to the bag. I can see this being quite useful for traveling purposes - and fashionable, too.

Now these two dog-lovers are becoming quite the prolific quilters. I have a whole lot of additional pictures of "extra credit" projects they have recently worked on. I will prepare them for a post tomorrow, so come on back for a look at their handywork!

Happy Quilting, Friends!