Sunday, January 29, 2012

Prototype block

I signed up for this year's signature block swap through the "Friendship Block" swap Yahoo! group recently and thought I'd see how the block might look. This year's block, "Goose Creek" (available via Quilters Cache), is supposed to be a stash-buster, and I have high hopes for it. My stash is overflowing with snippets.

For this trial block, I used mostly Civil War left-overs from the two quilts I made last year. But when I get really going on them - and I may end up making 30 or so for the group - I will be mixing batiks, florals, '30's, CW, you name it in. One of the big plain squares will have my name and year, and the other will have city, state, country. It's an international group, so that adds to the fun.

The blocks won't be due until September, so I have plenty of time to gather stuff. I thought I'd just set aside 2.5" squares in darks and mediums all year as I'm cutting for various projects. I will probably end up with more than I need, but I can always use the excess in the final quilt.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Busy but quiet

Since Dec. 1, I've been knitting a "sky scarf," and knitting two rows that reflect the color of the sky each day. This week has been almost totally gray, so that's been the predominant color this week.

Saturday, I went to a Stack & Whack workshop, and it was fun! I made four blocks over the weekend and then decided to put the pieces away until Feb. 12 when I go to quilt camp. I do have the blocks on the wall, though, because they look so interesting.

Most of the week, I put together the 12" Amish blocks guild members made. An area quilter gave me a trash bag full of solid colors, some cotton, others polyester. The guild made some lovely blocks, but some had trouble with the poly. I did, too, when putting them together. I used Amish black from Keepsake and scrappy cotton cornerstones, so it will be a sturdy quilt nonetheless. I left the quilt in 3 pieces to make quilting easier, but I still have to find some backing fabric. One person made a 16" block which I am using as the signature block for the back, too.

This morning I got the crib-sized Winding Ways quilt out of the closet, cut some batting, and pieced a back. I'll sandwich it at quilt camp where we'll have bigger tables. I had thought I would make more borders but I now see that it is really complete as is. After that!!! I worked on this month's step for the guild mystery quilt - 120 2" half-square triangles. Ugh. But they are done and put away for ... whenever.

The weather has been iffy all week, so I haven't been out much. I did go over to the library a few times to help Karen sort through all of the stuff for the auction tomorrow night. The Friends of the Library are putting on the annual Chinese New Year's banquet, with silent and live auctions. We have some wonderful things this year but as always, they are almost overwhelming. Just about every restaurant has sent a gift certificate, there are gift baskets from various shops, and there's artwork, crafts, tickets to events, and more. Pauline and Bob are coming over from Milton to join us, and we have a nice congenial table for 7 reserved. Samantha will help me do the credit card transactions, and Winnie and Paul will help with clean up. It will be a fun evening, but part of me wishes it were already over!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Just Takes 2

The last few days I've been making some of the blocks in Brenda Papadakis and Gay Bomer's Just Takes 2 project. It is a mystery quilt inspired by the Infinite Variety show of red and white quilts last year in New York City. Twice a month, Brenda and Gay offer several blocks in various sizes on their websites, and participants are invited to share photos of their blocks as they make them.

Since I'm making a red and white quilt, mostly using swap blocks coming in April, and a blue and white quilt, mostly with blocks from the guild "square robin," I thought I'd add to each with some Just Takes 2 blocks. I made mostly 6" blocks - a Shoo Fly (although the pattern was for Churn Dash - oops!), Fox and Geese, Square in a Square, and one that looks a lot like a Dear Jane block, a four patch with a four patch circle appliqued on top. I have tons of scraps so this should be a fun thing to fit in now and then.

Tomorrow I'm going to the Stack and Whack workshop with the Calico County Quilters. So another UFO will be generated! Should be fun.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Home sweet home

Chris and I went to Golden, Colorado, for a few days last week. He was turning 30 and has a few weeks off from work, so it seemed like a good time to visit my parents. We had a great trip with no slip ups, airplane-wise. The first day there, last Wednesday, it snowed the entire day and the roads looked quite iffy. So we stayed in, chatted with Mom and Dad, read, knitted, etc.

Thurs. we were the first in line for the Coors Brewery tour. We had both been on it before, but Chris wanted a refresher since he has been brewing his own beer for a while. The tour is free, and they give you up to three 8 oz. glasses to sample at the end. I had a glass of "Colorado Native" since it isn't sold outside the state. Chris had that and a glass of another ale-like beer. Afterwards, we walked to the parking lot because it had gotten a lot warmer, and we went to my favorite place for lunch, the Old Capitol Grill in downtown Golden.

Friday, we visited the Astor House museum which purportedly had the first bathtub in the Rockies. The lady who owned the boarding house made more money on baths than she did with overnight guests! We also stopped in at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum to see some lovely star quilts, replicas of historic quilts. Some were minis - amazing.

Saturday we ran some errands in the morning and went to Purple Ginger, an Asian Fusion restaurant and my parents' favorite, for a birthday lunch. My sister Jenny joined us, and we got home in time to take down Mom's outside Christmas lights before the big New England-Denver football game. Throughout the week, all we heard around town was talk of the quarterback, Tim Tebow, but he did not lead his team to victory unfortunately. The headline in the next morning's Denver Post read "Over and Ouch."

We left at 4:30 am MST on Sunday and were home by about 4:30 pm EST. While we were away, it had snowed about 6" and got very cold. Meanwhile, back in the Denver area, it was a balmy 55. We'll be back in June for Mom's 90th birthday.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas stars

This fall, I received a batch of 12.5" Christmas star quilt blocks in a swap. They are really nice and nearly perfect. I bought some muted red floral fabric on sale ("Robin's Baltimore Album" by RJR) and used that as 1.5" sashing for what turned out to be a nice 75" square quilt. The cornerstones were scraps with a black background. I was going to quilt it in sections but realized that it needs an overall quilting pattern to bring it together. So I pieced a back of green woodsy fabric (also on sale) and took it to Mad River Quilting this morning. I wish it had been a little less gloomy so I could have taken a picture. That will have to wait til it comes back. But it feels so good to have a near-finish!

Friday, January 6, 2012

This 'n' that

It seems as if I've been reading Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire forever, and it has just been over two weeks. The story just keeps winding along, and I'm enjoying it although I really wish it would move a little faster. I have had the Broadway show Wicked on my bucket list for a while and will have to see if it's going to be anywhere near us in the next year or so.

I am anxious to finish Oz and move on to a growing stack of other books, including a giveaway mystery I won from GoodReads, the new P.D. James Death Comes to Pemberley which has had mixed reviews, a new Miss Julia romp, and a couple of mysteries I've picked up here and there. I'll take a few on the plane next week as Chris and I make a quick trip to my parents in Colorado. The worst case scenario for me is always to get hung up somewhere without a book to read.

Yesterday was gloomy so I didn't do any hand sewing. Instead, I started putting together some 12" Christmas star blocks I received in a swap. They are looking good so far with a relatively thin sashing of muted red with black print cornerstones. Today it's supposed to be sunny, so I can take a photo, and perhaps do a little applique on the Simple Graces medallion and work on sewing more of the binding on the Civil War quilt for my cousin who had a stroke last year. There's still some machine quilting to do on the latter. I plan to quilt in some encouraging words, but I need to think about them a while and, perhaps, discuss them with my mother.