Thursday, January 29, 2015

My last flimsey!

I have made a concerted effort to get projects done this winter.  With the frigid temperatures we've been having, I have no excuse for procrastinating.  When I finish a quilt top, I usually hang it in the closet of my quilting room until manana.  Yesterday, I put one top that's been in the closet for three years into a box for the Salvation Army, and I dug the last one out for quilting.  I finished piecing it a few weeks ago on a snowy day.  It's made of 5" squares, many of them charms, and 1.5" x 7" strips of mostly blue or green.  I have a box for saving scraps about that size and every once in a while, when I want something a bit mindless, I get it out and either cut scraps to add or sew what's there.  

This "lattice" quilt is about 36" x 48", just right for the Parkinsons Comfort Quilt Project.

This is not to imply that I don't have any UFOs - I have plenty!  I need to put hanging sleeves on two quilts that will be shown at the Central Vermont Quilt Show in April.  I also have:
  • a Pat Sloan block of the month in orange
  • a guild block exchange - 9 blocks to make, 9 made!
  • a Churn Dash block exchange - 30 blocks to make (5 for me, 25 for others)
  • an Around the World block swap - 5 blocks made, more to go
  • a guild half square triangle challenge - not sure what I'm making with what I've gathered
  • the monthly Rainbow Scrap Challenge - the 13 blue blocks for January were made, but there are plenty more coming down the pike.  February calls for six pink blocks.
  • a guild mystery quilt in Civil War(ish) prints
  • an "Affairs of the Heart" block in wool applique that needs embroidery to finish
  • a Hawaiian applique all basted and ready for needle turning
And two knitting projects sitting by a chair in the living room waiting for the Super Bowl!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Going around the world

I belong to an online swap group and each year we do a group swap of one kind or another.  It used to be one block with a signature.  But we all had too many signature blocks, and some of us give our quilts away or even sell them.  So we settled on what we call an "Around the World" swap, much like Jennifer Chiaverini describes in The Cross Country Quilters.  Each of us chooses a fabric (or more than one) and sends a piece to each other person.  They then make a block that tells a little about them using that fabric and return it to the owner. 

Today I made these four "Peace and Plenty" blocks for people in Colorado, North Carolina, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.  I love the way the block looks different with the different fabrics.

I chose "Peace and Plenty" because I love retirement - having plenty of time to do whatever I enjoy and giving me peace of mind.   Can't ask for much more these days.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Quilts in progress

I finished quilting a string quilt for Parkinsons the other day but it was too gloomy for photography.  Today it's blue sky sunny, so I got the camera out.  I don't know why, but I really don't like string quilts.  Maybe it's the less than orderly way the colors appear.  I'm going to have to find a new way to use strings - maybe go back to my old wacky log cabins.  These blocks are 6" with dark strings in the middle of each.  I think it looks better in the photo than in real life, but I do hope it brings someone comfort.

I noticed that I had only one more quilt top waiting to be quilted, and I had the backing and binding all ready to go.  It snowed a lot overnight and I didn't want to go out yesterday, so I got busy basting and now I'm working on the granny square UFO I finished this summer.  I'm having trouble uploading photos this morning - maybe later!  Actualy, I now have the granny top I'm quilting and I also have another scrappy Parkinsons quilt top I finished over the weekend.  A quilter's work is never done.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Red sky in morning...

...Vermonters take warning.  That was the view from our kitchen window very early yesterday.  After a lovely blue-skied morning, it clouded over.  This morning, we woke to a "winter wonderland:"

What a difference!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Last two blocks and more

Yesterday, I pin-basted a string quilt, 48" x 48", to be given to the Parkinsons Comfort Quilt Project, and did just a few rows of machine quilting.  I had some new cleaning people in the house and wanted to stay out of their way.  Having them come is great motivation for getting long-delayed things done around the house, like washing the shower curtain, etc.  The house smells like a hospital when they leave, but it's OK.

I took quilt blocks photos, too.  Here are the last two blue blocks in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for the month.  Some fabric that I had back-ordered arrived the other day - and it's blue, too.  So my stash of blue has not gone down one iota.  It's just different!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

More blue blocks

Over the last few days, I've made six more blue blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.
Just two more to go for the month!

Friday, January 9, 2015

New year's projects

On another blog, I read that many people choose one word to signify their goal for the coming year.  No, mine doesn't really relate to quilting although perhaps a little bit, tangentially.  My goal for 2015 is to be more "kind."  I am an ultra-critical person, and I let people get under my skin.  I need to let their behavior just roll off my back and try to see that the good in what they're doing.   

This year, kindness will perhaps be more necessary than usual because I have passed the role of vendor coordinator to two very inexperienced women.  This fall, I realized they had not even begun to think about what they should be doing.  I tried to help by emailing my files (for the second time) and inviting them to go with me to a quilt show where I could introduce them to some of the vendors would want to be at our show this spring.  They didn't even reply to my invitation.  But I am not chair of the show, so I need to sit on my hands (or perhaps use them to cover my mouth) and let them proceed at their own pace, with the chair's guidance.

Also, there are a few new members of the Friends of the Library who are trying in their own ways to help out.  Bulldozing along, they need to learn some manners,  but they really care and want to do what's best  for the group.  The other day one called me, and while her tone was abrasive, I tried to be as kind as I could, thanking her for her hard work.  (She would never do the same!)  Will this rub off on her?  Maybe being kind will mean that I just have to hang onto my own manners even when someone is driving me crazy!

Anyway, on to my new year's projects of a more quilty nature.  I'm doing the Rainbow Scrap Challenge from last year.  Here are my first five blocks, one of which is too small and will need extra sashing, once I figure out what color I'm going to use.  This month's color is blue, and I'm really enjoying making these scrappy blocks.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A few more photos

Continuing with the pictures!

I love the way each of these quilts turned out, although I think my Ocean of Scraps (at left) looks much better in person.  I used a teal fossil fern and lots of 2" squares that I have been accumulating for a long time. 

The vine was my own design although the pattern from American Patchwork and Quilting (April, 2014) showed a vine border also.  I thought the original was too skinny.  I quilted the center on a grid and outline quilted the vine. 

The next quilt is based on Jennifer Chiaverini's Loyal Union Sampler.  I participated in a block of the week quilt along last year, but knew that I wouldn't be able to stick with it over a whole year.  I like to get things finished.  So I added blocks from Liz Lois' book Nearly Insane (received from my friend Karen).  I am titling this quilt "Nearly Insane Civil War Sampler," and I'm entering both quilts in the Central Vermont Quilt Show, April 24 & 25 this year.

With the new year, I've started a couple of new projects.  Can't be sitting idle!  And I do love starting new projects.  I decided to participate in a Pat Sloan block of the month called "Vacation Time," and I plan to use as many orange fabrics as I can.  The blocks are 12" so a year's worth will make a pretty good-sized quilt.  I'm also participating in another "Around the World" swap (9" blocks this year) using my Indonesian blue fabrics, and I'm working on a "Rainbow Scrap Challenge" based on one I saw on SoScrappy's blog last year.  More photos are in the offing!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Photo day

I hadn't taken any quilt pictures in a long time, but today I made up for it.  I had to take the Christmas tree down first, then vaccuum, and then set up the rack.  I am always amazed at how many needles fall off a fake tree.  And how do they get upstairs??  Anyway, a little cleaning, a hint of sun, and I got all the quilts that needed photographing out.  Here are two, each made with some of Barbara Brackman's Austen Family Album blocks, which appeared on a blog weekly this past year.  

I just finished the pink and green one (taken with my phone, so a bit dark), which I started as the online book group read The Jane Austen Quilt Club by Anne Hazelwood.  It was a very poorly written book, and reading Brackman's weekly columns about various people in Austen's life kept me sane.  The center Dresden Plate variation came from Hazelwood's book.  I enjoyed quilting this one although I wish I hadn't done it in sections.  That's just a lot of work for a smallish quilt (48 x 48").  Paul said the center was "quilted to a farethewell" but that's because I stippled it and did mostly outline quilting in the rest.

The next quilt (62 x 62") was made this summer and taken to the long arm quilter.  She called a few weeks ago to let me know it was finished, and I like it very much.  The blocks are set in a Circle of Nines setting.  I took a class at the longarmer's shop last year about this particular setting, based on a book of the same name (I forget the author's name).  I'm calling this quilt Lady Sybil's Circle, because I used fabric from the "Lady Sybil Collection" of the Downtown Abbey line.  It's a little bigger, but I love the soft colors.

I'll post a few more photos tomorrow.  Blogger - or maybe it's my old computer - doesn't work so well with too many at once.  I did list the pink and green quilt and a blue baby quilt on my etsy shop today, too.