Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Handmade gifts...

Nothing better!
A pincushion for my friend, Deb.
This was a freebie from Whimsicals.

And now, those cross-stitch ornaments.



One for each of my children and my granddaughter.

I originally blogged about my goal to stitch one of these ornaments each month back in December of 2011.  Mary of Quilt Hollow and Darlene of Quilting Daze thought it would be fun to do the same.  When I mentioned my new blockhead goals, Mary teased me about our ornament goals way back when.  
Ah, the gauntlet had been thrown.
So I just had to finish up the one I started in Feb. 2012 and then made the other three this last month. It was fun mounting and finishing them with a little help from a friend.

My DD and I started two simple stockings for my SIL and granddaughter today.  
Yup, that is me...the procrastinator.

And I did get my blockhead blocks made this month!  Finished another row of my red and white quilt, but I have only pulled the fabrics for the next LeJardin block.  I will not get it stitched, but hope to at least get it all prepped soon. 

Have you seen this:
As you know, I am a big Kim Diehl fan.  I love the Idaho Lily in the upper left.  I have been looking for a red and green quilt pattern...this could be it, at least a small one to start with.
I wonder if it will be run like the Jo Morton club.

Baking, stocking making and yes, Christmas shopping starts tomorrow, 
so I will see everyone in the New Year. 



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Snowbound

is an official flimsy!

I decided not to include the embroidered snowflakes that were on the original.  
I'm not that good at embroidery, so I would not want to ruin it at this point.

While searching for a lost quilt in my "quilt closet," the one with the warning sign on the door, I decided it was time to make something out of all the random blocks I have collected.
I choose my favorite house blocks and put them together into this little fellow.  I was inspired by Temecula Quilt Co.'s version.
I also quilted and framed my twisted heart from a few years back.
Now I just have Farmer's Wife blocks, Barbara Brackman Civil War blocks and two collections of exchange blocks to figure out what to do with. 

We had a lovely visit over Thanksgiving week in northern California. Now it is time to decorate for Christmas!  I don't think I will get to any of my blockhead projects until the end of the month, BUT...I am working on 2 cross-stitch ornaments!  Stay tuned.  Mary and Darlene will get a laugh out of this one.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blockhead Project

I went back to Anna's original post about her blockhead idea, and reread her concept. Although she states you can make up your own rules, I like the idea of using the concept to work on quilts I have hanging around my sewing room, but have never started.  
Christmas Magic by Kim Diehl is one such project. 
 I bought the background yardage the first time I saw the project, but that is as far as I got.  
The project requires 88 of these blocks.
 And each block has 2 flying geese...that is 176 flying geese...YUK!
A total of 8 different fabrics are used to make theses units; so if I make the blocks out of one fabric per month, at the end of 8 months all the tedious piecing work is done!
Of course, my enthusiasm for a project is always its greatest at the beginning, so I already have 2 months worth of blocks made.
Four of the blocks are used to make these units that will be in the center of the quilt.
I am using Open Gate's Fit to Be Geese Ruler to make my flying geese.  I am a big fan of making things over-sized and then custom cutting them to the desired size. I think these are coming out pretty darn good.

I will also continue to make one Le Jardin block per month and a set of red and white blocks per month, but those were actually WIPs and her concept was not really intended to finish up UFOs or WIPS.

The final border of Snowbound is done, so I'll be back soon with a finished flimsy.  Might be awhile before I get anything to the finish line.  My favorite machine quilter retired and one of the best longarm quilters in the state just gave birth to her first child. I am one of those quilters who likes to quilt by check, but will do some of my smaller projects myself.  

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!
 I get to be a guest this year!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Few Finishes and I am a Blockhead!

It's A Grand Old Flag is an official finish.
As I was putting on the binding, I noticed the machine quilter had missed one of the leaves.  Then I noticed she was not the only one...
I had not blanket stitched around 4 of the red stars!
I had a good laugh and will try to correct my error...some day.

Anna, over at The Woolie Mammoth, came up with a great motivational idea...Blockheads.
I don't know all the details, but I decided to use her idea to help me finish up some WIPs. 
If I understand the approach correctly, once a month I will work on just one block each from the projects I want to complete. So my projects are Le Jardin, my red and white quilt and the hexie quilt.
Here is my progress.
Block #7
I am doing them in a strange order, AND I made a mistake on this one too.  After I had the house appliqued down, I figured out I had cut the background the wrong size.  No way was I going to start over, so I cut the side strip a little wider.  Hopefully, I will not notice it too much.
Wish I had drafted this one as a full size quilt.  I will finish it off with a wide solid border of either the red or the white and applique some birds and berries on it.  Like Le Jardin, it is definitely a long term project.  Working in just two colors and repeating the same block over and over again is not my favorite type of piecing!

Unfortunately, I did not get a hexie block made today.  Ah, but the month is young!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Just Plain Nuts!

Better known as what a woman of a certain age does with herself at 2 am.
This is a 6 1/2" unfinished block.
It is one of my favorites from Liz Lois's book,
Just Plain Nuts.
My enabler, Debbie, sold me on the idea of returning to my first love, 
small scale piecing.
There have been requests at The Olde World Quilt Shoppe for a class on piecing miniatures.  Do you think I will find some other thoroughly insane quilters to join us in this venture?

I also finally put the binding on my daughters modern nine patch quilt, so I can take another WIP off the list.  Phew, just in time! Always have to finish something before I add another project to the list.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fall Decor, finishes and...

YES, a new project.
My version of Kim Diehl's 'A Delightful Pairing' as seen in
American Patchwork & Quilting
December 2013
I actually tried my hand at machine applique with this project.  It went fast and looks pretty good, so I might use it more often since there are just too many quilts I want to make and I cannot do them all by hand.

I have so enjoyed seeing everyone in blogland decorating for what seems is a universally favorite season, Fall.  So here is a peek of a few of the fall quilts that adorn my home.
These wool pumpkins, a pattern by Little Bits by Joan, cheer up my hall tree stand.
My original pattern, Autumn's Bounty, looks perfect on our kitchen table.

The following two embroidery projects were so generously gifted me in 2011 by my friend, Debbie. I finally finished them both, although O' Pumpkin Tree is patiently awaiting its prim frame that my hubbie is making for me. As soon as he finishes with it, it will hang in a special place in my sewing room. Debbie did the handwork and all I did was the quilting.


I am making progress on both my applique WIPs.
Here is my progress on Snowbound by Pat Wys.
And,
another block for Le Jardin, by Bunnyhill.
I am trying to get one block completed a month.

Last week, my mom came to visit for a landmark birthday.
I turned the big 60!  It was a lovely visit and my DD gave me a great party.
They went home today and now I am celebrating by sequestering myself in my sewing room
...my idea of a good day! 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Snowbound and a new fusible...

Thanks to the US Open Tennis tournament to watch on TV and a new fusible web,
Floriani Appli-Kay Wonder,
I have made good progress on the last block for my Snowbound quilt top.

The Appli-Kay Wonder was recommended to me when I complained that Steam A Seam Lite 2 was not available.  Here are my unsolicited thoughts:
 I love the fact that the protection paper does not slip and slide, and I can immediately tell which surface to trace my design on!  This helps prevent gummy iron as well...the adhesive does not peek outside the lines!
It is somewhat more expensive, but this can be offset by the fact that I can save all the little pieces to use elsewhere.  When I use SAS Lite 2, I frequently have to throw small scraps away since they separate and the adhesive gets ruined. 
 Very easy to stitch through by hand and my needle did not gum up.  Since I do not machine applique, I don't know how it performs there.
The roll I ordered is limited in size, but I did not investigate other options.  It is somewhat heavier, so you would definitely want to cut out excess on large applique shapes!
  The pressure sensitive side really keeps pieces from moving, but is still easy to re-position.
The one downside is it does not adhere to wool very well.  It is essential to iron it from both sides using a dry iron, just like the instructions say; but the wool still lifts up on the edges, especially at points.  Since the web is heavier and opaque, you can see it under the wool pieces when looking at them from the side.  Therefore, a blanket stitch is essential for hiding this.
I think the product is superior for raw edge cotton applique and has a lot of positives over the SAS Lite 2.  I'll use it for my wool applique, but never for a project using a simple primitive stab stitch.
Honestly, both products have their positive and negatives, so I will use whichever one I have on hand with a slight preference towards the Appli-Kay Wonder when doing raw edge cotton applique.

If anyone else has used this product on wool, do you have any suggestions on how to get it to adhere better?



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Le Jardin and an updated WIP list

I hit a small setback with Snowbound in that Steam-a-Seam Lite 2, the product I use to adhere my wool applique, has still not arrived at the shoppe.  It has been on back order forever, it seems.
So, while perusing my blog list, I came upon Wendy's post over at Snippets of a Quilter.  She is on her second block of Le Jardin, by Bunny Hill Designs.  And I am embarrassed to say, I purchased all the French General fabrics and got started on the very same quilt quite a few years ago. I only got as far as the first block...something about all those pointy leaves! Or maybe it was another 'cannot pass up' project that diverted my attention.  Seeing her block motivated me to get mine out.  I have added it to my WIP list and since I cannot work on my highest priorities, I decided to at least finish this block up and then I will be prepared to make it my next applique project.  

Unfortunately, my WIP list is just as long as it was at the beginning of the year due to the fact that just as many projects have been added as were finished.  It is a common trait among many of the quilters I know and bloggers I follow. Oh, well, I will just keep plodding along. I have to admit though, only the newest projects on that list have made it to completion...sigh.  I should keep a list of completed quilts, so I can see what I have accomplished and stop focusing on what I have not finished!

On the positive side, It's a Grand Old Flag is a flimsy in the queue for the quilter and I have Izzy's I Spy quilt basted and ready to quilt myself...simple stitch in the ditch.  So I am making progress, no matter how slow and convoluted it is. It is quite miserable here, hot and humid, so I expect I will be getting a lot more done this next month and will make some headway on that updated WIP list. 



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Little Something is Better than Nothing!

I have been doing a little hand work here and there.

Two more blocks of Snowbound by Pat Wys are just short a few stitches on the wool, but the hand applique is done.  I had hoped to have all four center blocks done before leaving Colorado this weekend, but 3 out of 4 is not bad!

So, to answer my question from the last post...how to care for your wool and cotton combo quilts.  I decided to go to the source and emailed Primitive Gatherings and asked them.  They were gracious enough to answer my email and here is what Jessica had to say...
" I will usually use a lint roller, and then use a steamer from the back side.  That will get a lot of the allergine out of it, and the dust.  You can also put it in the dryer with one of those Dryel sheets that they have in the laundry aisle.  Just don't put it on a high heat.  Lastly you could take it to a dry cleaners, the customer just really has to be firm that it can not be washed in any way in hot water.  I have had a customer that did that with her dry cleaner and they ruined the quilt.  Any time it is out of my hands I am always leary of having someone do it."
She also recommended that I google the question.  I did and dry cleaning was recommended.  Since my mother never dry cleaned anything, claiming hand washing was just as good, I will just do what I always do...a gentle cool bath and air dry. I will let you all know how it works out.

During these last few days in the mountains, I hope to do a little machine work and finish up those sunshine blocks.  PFH will, I said WILL, get to the flimsy state before the end of the year...I hope.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

It's a Grand Old Flag!

by 
Geoff's Mom. 
My progress this week.

So, I have a question for you all.
How do you care for your cotton and wool quilts?
This is the first quilt top I have worked on that has both wool and cotton applique.  I use the P3 method of applique prep, so my quilt top has starch and glue in it.  I usually soak it in a cold bath after I am done to dilute and disperse the glue and starch...I know it doesn't all come out.  I am hesitant to put this puppy in the bath.  I would appreciate any input I can get!  Do I have to worry about the over-dyed wool bleeding? How do I wash it?  These are questions students have asked and I don't have the answers. 

Another first for me...I used silk matka for the border.  The tobacco color was just too perfect.  It needled just fine, but the fraying at the edges was unreal.  Thank goodness I had added a 1/2" to the cutting directions for the border.  I always cut everything bigger and then custom cut it to size no matter if I am piecing or appliqueing.  Even so, every time a thread would come off, at least a 1/16th of inch of border was lost.  That is why I have fewer leaves in my border than the pattern called for.  I needed a yard of the silk matka.  I prewashed it and it shrunk quite a bit.  

If you like this pattern, Woolie Mammoth is having a giveaway here.  I know that as soon as I put that first flag on, I was in love.  You can bet this one will be ready to go to the quilter soon.

My girls are coming back to the cabin next week, so I don't know how much more progress I will make on my WIPs. However, I know I will be having a heck of a good time.  We head back to the desert at the end of August.  I am not looking forward to the heat, but I will enjoy reconnecting with my quilting community. Now back to sewing...I only have the weekend to get this flimsy finished!

Monday, July 29, 2013

A July Recap

July has been a less than productive month for me, at least as far as quilting and blogging go.  We relocated to the cooler mountain air at the end of June, and my daughter and granddaughter soon joined us.  At first, there was a ton of spring cleaning to do, both in the cabin and in my perennial garden.  Most of you know that I am an early riser and in the wee hours of the morning is when I get most of my quilting done, as well as read and comment on the blogs I like to peruse.  It seems my granddaughter is also an early riser; so instead of sewing, I spent my mornings reading books, playing games and watching her discover chasing grasshoppers in the field.  Needless to say, I feel July was idyllic, even if my projects are way behind! 

During nap time, my daughter and I did manage to piece the center of Izzy's I Spy quilt.
I love the hexagon shape that my daughter decided on for setting them!  Such a fresh take on the quilt.  A solid border is the next thing to go on.

Now that I have settled back into my normal rhythm of life, I have made a little progress on those WIPs.

I have started piecing the sunshine blocks for my Pennies from Heaven quilt.
You may notice that it is smaller than the original.  I know myself and the only way this one will ever make it to the finish line is if I make a scaled down version.  Besides, it will be perfect on the wall in the cabin.

Now, the rest of this post is non-quilt related, but I like to share a few pictures of our adventures for those who like to see what we have been up to.
Learning to play in the creek...
and Daddy teaching us to play mini golf.
My daughter also helped me identify and catalog a few more wildflowers,
including this Giant Lousewort growing at around 10,000 ft. elevation.

This week I am madly appliqueing the vine on my It's a Grand Old Flag.  It was supposed to be done this month.  If I work real hard, I should have the cotton applique done by the end of the week and will be back with pictures.  I need to get it done so I can get back to working on Snowbound in the month of August.   Many of my quilting friends are expecting to see it when I return to TOWQS in fall.

Hopefully, I will also find some time to catch up on a few blogs so I can see what everyone else has been up to this month.  Can you believe it is almost August!!!


Friday, June 7, 2013

It is Whipped!

Izzy's park quilt.
Inspired by Donna from Quiltmaker's Scrap Squad.
The main block is Cathedral Square,
block 469 from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 5,
designed by Lee Heinrich.
It has been quilted and washed, and now it has a wonderful, puckered texture to it that makes it soft and cuddly.  Most importantly, it is a finish and I can take it off my WIP list.

Next up for Izzy, an I Spy quilt.  
I have been collecting novelties for years and my daughter has meticulously cut all the hexagons out.  We will work together to piece it this summer.  We have a wonderful backing fabric from Quilting Treasures with the artwork of J. Wecker Frisch that reminds us of the Graeme Base books my daughter adored as a child.  
Our fabrics will be alphabetically arranged and are predominately animals that start with the letters.  N was the biggest hurdle...anyone have a fabric with a Narwhale in it???  LOL...not likely.
One of my favorite fabrics is one with bears quilting!

Two quilts came back from the longarm quilter, so I am busy binding, binding, binding.
I have a question.
My quilty friend told me she uses hand quilting thread to stitch down her bindings.
What do you use?
No one ever told me what to use, and I just assumed I should use the same thread I piece with.  Have I been wrong all these years?  Sure would like your input.

Back to binding.  
At least I have the French Open Tennis tournament to watch while I sew!



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Snowbound

I know...
another new project???  I just could not resist this one!
This is the first block for 
Snowbound,
designed by Pat Wys & BJ Laird.
You can find the pattern here.

Matter of fact, Silver Thimble Quilt Co. is running a Stitch Along, but I am doing my own thing.  This, along with It's a Grand Old Flag, will be my summer projects.  Both projects are a combination of cotton and wool applique.  

And I have good intentions of finishing up a few of those WIPS as well. My granddaughter's picnic quilt will be pieced in the next few days, so there will be one WIP I can take off the list soon!
I'll start piecing together Pennies from Heaven after the last meeting of the BOM group in June.  I am contemplating making it smaller than the original so it will fit on a wall.



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Patriotic Prim

I found a little time to piece the center of 
It's a Grand Old Flag
by Geoff's Mom Pattern Co.
You can find the pattern here.

I plan to do the applique in a combination of wool and cotton.  

We just returned from a refreshing week at Lake Tahoe. I had forgotten how beautiful the area is! The last time I was there was when I was in college.  I was a maid at the Blue View Lodge in King's Beach...oh, the memories!
As you can see, I was not the only one who enjoyed themselves.
Good times!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Little Catch Up

Have not been doing much of this..
 my Pennies from Heaven blocks for March and April,

because I have been doing a lot of this...
vacationing!
My mother arranged for a family reunion aboard a cruise ship in the Carribean.  I am not much of a cruise person, but it was the perfect venue for reconnecting with my siblings and our children. My sister arranged for the zip lining trip on St. Maarten.  If you are ever in port, check out the Loterie Farms on the French side.  The young people had a blast and so did us old folks.  I still cannot believe I actually completed the 2 hour obstacle/zip line course in the pouring down rain.  Note we do not have helmets on!  This would not have happened in the USA...too dangerous!  And our lunch sitting out on the veranda under the canopy of trees was delicious, especially the Pina Coladas.

After my return, my sewing machine has been fairly dormant.
 I bound my Saltbox Sampler quilt and I am currently teaching it to a handful of ladies at TOWQS.
I just about have my granddaughter's picnic quilt pieced, but it is slow going.
I really do not like how it came out.
The layer cake looked so bright and cheery, but when pieced, it is flat and uninteresting.
I am hoping a good quilting and washing will give it a comfy look and feel.

There will not be much more coming out of my sewing room for awhile again.
Off to Lake Tahoe for a dear family friend's wedding here in a few days and then heading north for cooler climates.  I know there are parts of the country still suffering from the never ending winter, but we marked our first day of 3 digit temperatures yesterday. (The same day our A/C units decided to go on the blitz!)
My goal for the summer is to finish up some of those UFO's on my list and perhaps work on a new applique quilt.  I fell in love with Pat Wys 'Snowbound', so it may be my Christmas in July project.
Until then...
happy piecing!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Gathering Garden is a flimsy!

Gathering Garden
by Kim Diehl
I think I have finished all the quilts I wanted to make in Kim's book,
Simple Charm.
Besides, I am tired of appliqueing!

I have been piecing up a storm on the picnic quilt for my granddaughter.
I will be post a picture once it is done.
Since it National Quilting month,
no better time to be at my machine sewing!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Saltbox Sampler

I knew when I saw the delicious, vibrant reds in Judie Rothermel's fabric line,
Party of Twelve, they would be perfect in...
Saltbox Sampler
by Kim Diehl


Of course, the bubble gum pink and poison greens were the icing on the cake!
(I hope I got those hue descriptions right.  I am still learning the reproduction lingo.)
And I cannot resist a 'house' quilt, especially if it has a scrappy pieced border.
Those of you with good eyes can see that there is a border missing...
waiting for a perfect toasty piece of Jo Morton to arrive at TOWQS.

We spent last week celebrating my granddaughter's 1st birthday...
jeez how time flies,
especially when you are having so much fun!

Now to resume working on a few projects on my WIP list...
the first being a quilt for my granddaughter!