Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Another UFO quilted

A couple of days ago, I finished quilting and binding the round robin I made with my local guild.  It hung in the closet all summer as I contemplated whether to add another border to make it bigger.  Finally, I decided it was big enough.  It measures about 53" x 53".  
I wasn't all that wild about some of the color choices in the borders, but after quilting, it does look quite nice.  I used some multicolored thread (King Tut's "circus") down the center of that wide teal border.  It adds a subtle shine.  And I used a black and blue batik for the binding.  I'm so glad it's finished!  That was the last quilt waiting to be quilted in my closet.  Now I can stockpile a few more!

I have several project boxes going, including a guild block of the month which I'm doing in the same fabrics as a guild "block robin."  We're making each other a block every month, and the bag I picked up last night had some lovely, rich burgundies in it.  I made the owner, Deedee, a ribbon star block and am now appliqueing a Dresden Plate.  I want to pass it along to Sheree at the February meeting because I don't know if I'll be able to go to the March one.

I'm also working on Dutch Treat blocks, very slowly; five sets of blocks for a Sylvia's Bridal Sampler swap; an adaptation of last year's 365 challenge, run by an Australian quilter; and a wild scrappy quilt from The Big Book of Scrappy Quilts which has 77 patterns from different designers.  Last, but not least, I am hosting a swap of scrappy heart blocks, most of which have arrived.  I'm just waiting for the Canadian ones, and then they'll go back out to the swappers.  

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A new project

Try as I might, I can't resist a new project.   I started Dutch Treat this week, having eyed it for years.  It's a lot like the Dear Jane quilt in that it's a sampler with lots of small blocks.  I have no plans to make a full-sized quilt because each block is reverse appliqued, but, when an online group was starting a quilt along, I thought I'd give it a whirl.  Here are my two blocks for the week.

As you can see, they are pretty wonky, and I labored over each one for two afternoons.   I'm making a purple one today and hope to finish before the next three blocks are announced.  The original quilt is in blue and white, and while I love that color combination, I thought I'd do each of the blocks in a different color.  I think the resulting table runner will be very pretty!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Quilting on a budget

I am an incredible time waster, but who cares?!  I'm retired and ought to enjoy myself, I say.  I do get a lot done anyway, but in bursts of energy.  I need to take down the Christmas stuff, but always I do that gradually.  Yesterday it was everything that wasn't tree- or village-related.  Maybe tomorrow I'll do one or the other while the cleaning ladies are here.  Paul and I have been walking at the mall when the driving is OK, about five times a week.  We go around 8:30 and return home by 9:30 unless we have errands to run.  That's not a time waster, but it does take a chunk of time.

Yesterday, I finished pin-basting a small quilt to go to the Parkinson's Comfort Project and started quilting it.  It is made entirely of scraps except the back which is a large piece I bought on sale.  There's enough left to go on the back of the next quilt which is the last one hanging in the closet waiting for quilting.  I have several UFOs that are in process, so I expect my closet to fill up again during the year.

My resolution for the year is to use more fabric that I already have rather than to shop for it (even though I still have a $5 gift certificate to my LQS in my purse!).  This is one of the "rules" that Allison, who writes the Cluck Cluck Sew blog promotes this year.  You can read it all here, and it makes all kinds of sense, even though the first suggestion, not to read blogs, is a tough one.  I know they do give me ideas, but usually that's a good thing - I prefer ideas for scrappy quilts anyway, and I love to try new recipes.  The other day, though, I discovered some sets of charm squares, both 5" and 2.5", and hope to use them in 2017.  I don't know how long they've been hiding, but at least a year.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Snowing like crazy

Yve gave me a lovely scarf, dyed with flowers and plants, by a friend of hers.  I had Paul take a photo so I could send it to her.  You probably can't see the earrings Jenny gave me, but they have purple stones in them.   Just two of my great gifts.

As I write this, it is snowing heavily.  It started early this afternoon and is supposed to continue into tomorrow (Friday).  We may get 10" or more.  Wednesday, after mall walking, Paul and I went to the grocery store to stock up.  It was bustling, but I'm glad we went.  Today would have been crazy.  We were able to go walking this morning, but if the snow keeps up as it has today, we won't be going anywhere tomorrow, not even to volunteer at the VT Historical Society.

Yesterday afternoon I put bindings on two quilts.  One had come back from the long armer a week ago, and the other I just finished quilting myself.   I do bindings entirely by machine most of the time these days.  It takes me so long to hand stitch the bindings down, and I think this method makes them more durable/machine washable.

Today I made the guild block of the month and then started some 6" blocks from Sylvia's Bridal Sampler for a swap.  The blocks aren't due until
September, 2017, but I wanted to get the paper pieced "Amethyst" blocks over with.  Paper piecing is not my favorite technique, but it really is the best for this block.  I have made it with templates before and it always looked wonky.  My mom sent  the fabric from the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum gift shop.  She said she had fun choosing it, just as I thought she would.
I especially love the double pinks she picked.

Monday, December 26, 2016

2016 draws to a close

Hope you all had a very nice Christmas.  We had a quiet day, which is as we like it.  I received some fun things in my stocking, including a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pez dispenser.  It took some putting together, and we discovered that the taste of Pez has not changed or improved.   My favorite gifts were a Supreme Slider which will be useful for machine quilting and a whole bunch of fat quarters from the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum shop.  Can't wait to dig into those.  We also received quite a few books which will keep us busy this winter.

Chris came over to open gifts in the morning and for our usual brunch - a cheese omelet, bacon, and homemade toast this year.  I had made a lovely Italian loaf on Christmas eve,  and it makes great toast, especially with homemade jam.  Although it was about 27 degrees out, the sky was bright blue, so we all took a walk afterwards.  As usual, I gave Chris a bag of groceries as one of his gifts, so he went home laden. 

We talked with Paul's brother Jim, my brother Axel, and my sister Jenny during the day.  In the Netherlands, my sister Jacqueline posted a photo of her wearing her new apron made (by me) of Indonesian fabrics.  I think she likes it!  I'm going to make Jenny a similar table runner when I get a chance - she uses them as a mat by her keyboard in her office.

With "everything" done on Christmas Eve, I spent the day working on some small projects - four mug rugs, a pin cushion, and the wool owl from a kit I started over the weekend.  I also made a few more 6" blocks out of selvages.  My stash of those is growing, and one of these days I'll put them all together.  Today we're going to do a little mall walking as we've eaten a few too many cookies and chocolates!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A few quick projects

This was me, this morning.  I was making scarves out of old cashmere sweaters.  My friend has been buying used sweaters for years and giving me any she thinks I'd like.  Most are too small, and I've given a few to my sister and even to the Salvation Army.  A quilting friend showed some scarves she had made with her late father's cashmere sweaters as keepsakes for her siblings.  I was nervous about cutting into them, but she assured me they would hold up fine.  The other day I took a deep breath, got out my 6.5" square, and rotary cut a stack of squares out of four sweaters.

Today I sewed 10 squares each into four strips, alternating the colors, then sewed the strips together to end up with two really soft and warm scarves.  I'll keep one and send the other to my sister Jenny who's always cold and lives in Colorado.   I also traced my hand for a set of mittens which I may get to tomorrow or Saturday.  I'll attach the ribbing which I cut off the sleeves separately.   I still have most of the 8 sleeves left, but I set those aside for a "rainy day."

Image result for wool owl pincushion kit
I was on a roll today so I started on a wool pincushion project from a kit I got at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum on our last visit to Golden.  When I cut all the pieces out, I was a bit disappointed that the kit didn't include nearly enough fabric for the whole project.  I had to scrounge around in my very limited wool stash for under the wings and the "cap."  I did get those things doubled and blanket stitched, along with the beak.  

Now I'm ready to sew the body together and stuff it with some crushed walnuts.  Then I'll add all the other parts, including the button eyes.  It's nice to work on something and get it nearly done.  Quilts are such a long term commitment!

I have volunteered to handle the monthly UFO challenge for one online group I'm in this year, so I think I'll try to make some more pincushions using wool.  They won't be as fancy as this, but I'd like to do a little more work with wool, and pincushions seem perfect for a quick winter afternoon project.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Quilting another sampler

I finished putting the "Around the World" block swap quilt top together earlier in the week and started quilting it yesterday.  It's smallish - 48" x 58" or so - and will be fairly easy (or should I say "mindless"?) to quilt.  I need something like this at this time of year when there's so much hustle bustle.

Each person in the swap sent a block that represented her in some way.  My block, second from left at the top, is the block I designed for our guild logo - a variation on moon over the mountain with a heart in the middle of the peaks.  Our guild is the Heart of Vermont guild.  It was fun to incorporate Pat's flip flops, Carol's cardinal, Cindy's magnolia, and Linda's cowboy boot.  There are quite a few appliqued chick blocks and a couple of "blossom" blocks from a different swap with a different group, although the makers are also part of the "Around the World" group.  So I think I'll call it "Here a Chick, There a Chick"!

I went in the ditch between the blocks and am now working on each block individually, but simply.  The back fabric, while cotton, is a bit heavier than usual.  I think it's curtain or upholstery weight, which is OK because I'm not that fancy a quilter anyway.  It's purple, so I will have to go out and get some dark, dark blue for the binding.  This will keep me busy in between bouts of baking, laundry, reading, and just gazing at the snow pouring out of the sky!