Sunday, December 29, 2013

BoB Challenge

Above are strips I have had been shuffling around for months with the idea that they would make a cute tote bag.  I even bought a coordinating fat quarter for handles, pockets, etc., as well as a pattern.  Then I watched a You Tube video with Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company with an even easier pattern.  Will January be the month that I finally get going on this?

One of the online groups I belong to is going to have a "BoB (Bag of Blocks) Challenge" this year.  Monthly, we'll post a photo of a project we want to start/finish, and, when we do finish, we'll post another photo.  Everyone who finishes will be entered into a drawing for a prize chosen and provided by yours truly.  I don't exactly know what these prizes will be every month, but I want to make them fun and interesting.  Books, patterns, gadgets, templates, FQs, etc.?  Hmmmmm......

I'm not eligible for prizes, but I want to work along with everyone else, simply because I need to!  I made a running list of UFOs on my phone the other day, and it took more than one screen to complete.  Not good!  And those UFOs keep on being created, even as I finish things.  So it would be nice to get a handle on them and not get too far behind in 2014.  If I were one to make resolutions, I guess that would be mine.  Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pretty / ugly

It appears that Blogger will only allow me to post one photo per post.  No problem...I guess!  Above are the two fabrics I drew for the Calico County guild's annual "pretty - ugly" challenge.  Each of us brings in a fat quarter we deem pretty and another that we think is ugly.  These go into two bags, and then we all draw out different fat quarters.  These were mine this year, although the "ugly" one is a bit larger than a fat quarter.  I am thinking about doing Celtic knots on a white background.  It only needs to be about 12" square so shouldn't be too hard.  I thought that the "ugly" fabric would look just fine cut as a bias strip.  So I now have two challenges to complete for 2014.  This one's due in February, so it will be the first I work on.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Nearly insane

Here are some recent blocks I made for my Loyal Union Sampler.  The top two are from Nearly Insane - those flying geese were a killer! - and a couple from other sources.  I am really enjoying working with blue and gray.  I don't know what I'll use for sashing although I bought several yards of medium gray and plan to arrange the blocks on point like Nearly Insane.


Going around the world

In 2014 an online group that I belong to is having another "Around the World " swap.  Each person selects a fabric and sends a piece to every other person.  They make a block that represents them and mail the blocks back.  Today I cut my fat quarters from Windham's Wallflowers collection into fat eights to be mailed in early 2014.  This year, I'll be making Yankee Puzzle, offering me lots of practice in quarter square triangles!

I also made some more blocks for my Loyal Union Sampler.  Two are from the book Nearly Insane and a couple of others - one made up and the other a Yankee Puzzle.  But I'm having trouble uploading a photo, so guess I'll just upload another day. 

It's been busy around here, due to holiday preparations and tying up loose ends.  A dear friend is dying so we have spent some time with him.  It makes the holiday rather bittersweet to think that this will most likely be his last.  He is handling it in an amazing, matter-of-fact fashion, doing his own tying up of loose ends - selling his sailboat, getting rid of books and other treasures, making sure the house has less upkeep for his wife. 

The weather forecast is terrible for overnight into tomorrow, and after grocery shopping this morning I'm planning to stay put.  I would like to make a few more cookies and a loaf of cranberry bread.  We have already devoured or given away quite a bit already made!  Hope you are staying warm and cozy, and enjoying the sounds, smells, and tastes of this festive season.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Beginning hand applique class

I had a call from Dee of our LQS this week, asking me if I would do another hand applique class this winter.  I enjoyed doing two classes in the past, but I thought maybe I wouldn't commit myself again.  It's a little stressful!  Anyway, in a moment of weakness, I said I would, and we settled on two Saturdays in January.  So I've been busy testing different types of applique and making class samples.  Here are two.

The top hearts are made using freezer paper underneath, and the bottom heart is reverse applique.  I'll also spend time on needle turn since some people feel that is the "true" applique, and I have been practicing with celtic bias strips, various types of glue, and even used dryer sheets.  I am preparing some blocks so that people will be able to jump right into trying to do the applique stitch, too.  Guess I'll end up with a Valentine's Day sampler by the end! 
I finished quilting the Flying Diamonds quilt and now have "only" the binding to hand sew to the back.  But that little project is waiting til I stop working on my samples for the class... and then there are Christmas preparations, too!   Chris and I got the traditional village up this afternoon, and the tree is waiting for assembly.  I always get everything out a little at a time.  This year, Christmas seems to be coming up faster than normal.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Another tempting block of the month

Barbara Brackman is offering another Civil War block of the month, featuring 12" blocks this time and beginning January 25, 2014.  It features star blocks, and the theme Threads of Memory refers to the Underground Railroad.  A couple of years ago, she did a Civil War block of the week on her blog which I really enjoyed.  Accompanying each block was a story about someone or some event connected to the block.  I learned a lot while making the blocks.

In 2011-12, I made two Civil War quilts using Brackman's 8" blocks and a few more.  I gave one to my cousin in Holland who had just had a stroke. 
I like the way I set the blocks, particularly the big triangles using scraps in the on-point area.  I am sorely tempted to join in the BOM in 2014.  One block a month shouldn't be too onerous, and I still have plenty of scraps to incorporate.

Right now I'm reading The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini.  It's about Elizabeth Van Lew, a spinster living in Richmond during the Civil War, who becomes a spy for the Union.  Also, I receive a Civl War Book of Days via email each week from the Vermont Humanities Council.   Both make the Civil War come alive and show the human side of a very terrible part of our history.