Saturday, April 12, 2014

One Done, Three Begun

18.5 x 25 inches

I finally got this little preemie quilt quilted and done.  It's now ready to give away.  Yay!  Even a small finish is still a finish.

I did a very simple straight-line quilting job on it, and used some soft, sweet baby flannel on the back. 

#1 Begun

I've gotten more baskets done since I got home from my class with Gwen.  Still have at least another 4 to do, then I need to figure out what I want to do with them.  I'm not sure which part of that will be more fun.  *grin*

As I promised in my last post, here are my goodies I got at the Quilted Strait in Port Gamble.  An 8 inch square frame for some needlework I did, a purple with cats fat quarter (by Laurel Burch), some great labels fabric and some cute fabric to trim kitchen towels with.

Look at the cute selvage on the flower fabric!  It's ladybugs!

Here are two fat quarters that I received from the owner of the Quilted Strait.  These are the new made-in-America solids.  She gave everyone in the class two fat quarters, as she had just gotten the fabrics in stock.  They seem very nice, from what I can tell without undoing the cool folding job.

#2 Begun

A few weeks ago, I taught some of the ladies in my guild how to do Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trips pattern.  The class was very successful - everyone got at least one block done and they all looked great!  But, it involved starting a new quilt!  I decided to use some of my polka dot fabrics.  Wow, I had a lot more than I had realized!  So, these were some samples to show the various layouts you can do.  Since I have a LOT of dots, I'm not sure how big this quilt will be.  As big as it needs to be to include as many dots as possible, I guess.  *laughs*

A few weeks ago, I found these blocks.  Can you guess what decade they're from??*  My friends in my very first quilting bee made these blocks for me.  Since I was the baby of the group, most of these ladies have now passed away.  I don't really care much for these colors anymore, but I do care that my friends made these for me.  I decided to keep them and see what I could do with them.  But I think they're kind of boring.  *yawn*

So, I tossed them up on the design wall to see what I could do.

#3 Begun

So, I've made 3 more blocks to bring the count up to 12.  And I tried to incorporate a little more contrast in the blocks I've made.  I know the block in the bottom left is a "humility" block.  I "fixed" that boo-boo THREE times, and it's still wrong, so it's staying!  Even though it bugs me.  Resisting. . . .

Now, I'm trying to decide what I want to do next.  These are 14 inch blocks, so I don't want to add much more size to this.  The Thinking Cap has gone on and I'm cogitating now.  Hopefully something will occur to me soon!   I don't know if it's a good thing or not, but I don't have many fabrics in these dusty blue colors anymore, and I want to up the contrast on the whole thing as well.  I'd like to have this one done for the quilt show in October, so I know I can't dawdle too long.  And I also don't want this to be boring and predictable.  So, that's the challenge I've given myself.  *gulp*  I hope that's not biting off more than I can chew.  I'll be keeping you posted as I hopefully make progress.

* These are the dusty blues from the 1980's.  Waaay out of style and favor!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Makin' Baskets with Gwen

Candy and I had a fun trip over to Poulsbo and Port Gamble, and discovered that Quilted Strait in the little historic district of Port Gamble is a wonderful quilt store, full of all kinds of beautiful fabrics, patterns, threads and samples.  We had to bring some of the store's goodies home with us.  More on that later.  And the facility for Gwen's class was just delightful!  Windows all around, letting in lots of light, a great view of the Hood Canal, lots of room for each person, and goodies to snack on as well.

Gwen taught about 20 quilters how to do her free-pieced baskets.  Some of the ladies there were brand-new quilters (one young woman had never touched a rotary cutter before that day!) and many were old friends of Gwen.  Gwen gently encouraged everyone to be creative in her inimitable way.  She is so patient and kind and so willing to help whomever needs some one-on-one instruction.  She is so generous with her knowledge and tips.  She's just a joy of a teacher, plus she is funny!  She made us all laugh.

Gwen's basket handle demo

Everyone had fun making baskets, and I think everyone was successful as well.  There was lots of laughter, plenty of helpful suggestions, and much exclaiming over fabric, as well as encouragement of each other.  And all the baskets were super!

Joan brought her basket quilt to share with everyone.  She used Gwen's technique for the basket handles.

Another lady brought her gorgeous basket quilt that is still in progress.  She used many African fabrics in the baskets, plus other types too.  She was stumped on what to do for a border and wanted Gwen's input.

Love the snake basket!

Another lady brought a finished basket top to show.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Stephanie of the fun blog Quiltz by Stephanie and her friend Dorothy were a table mates of mine and Candy's.  Stephanie has more to say and show about Gwen's class - go take a look! 

There were lots of great baskets being made.  Here's some shots of the various design walls around the room:

made with vintage fabrics

Love these sand pails and the shovel!

Candy's first baskets

And for my baskets I used some vintage 60's fabrics that I've been saving for just the right project.

I used all polka dots for my backgrounds and rick rack for some of the handles.  Fun!  Since I've gotten home, I've made some more baskets.  They are so fun to make!  

I've got a rough plan on what I want to do with my baskets.  I'll be sure and show you how it all goes.  Hopefully soon!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

No Foolin'

March was such a busy month - I can't believe it's April already!

A couple of weeks ago, my sister Sally came for a visit.  We had so much fun.  It was just the 2 of us, and we actually got some sewing done.  It's been decades since we got to sew together.  I didn't accomplish much, mostly I helped her with some old projects she had recently unearthed and decided they deserved to be finished.

We used my two smaller machines, so we had sisters sewing on Brothers.  hee hee!

I didn't get a photo of the first project she was working on, darn it.  But here is the next one.  Sally made this feathered star quite a few years ago, and in spite of the fabric looking a little dated, she loves it.  Me too!  She was trying to decide on borders, and after some pfutzing and trying a few things, we decided this idea works pretty well.  Isn't this stunning?

Her charming Vintage Baskets was the next one she pulled out of her bag.  This is just too cute!  Most of the baskets are made with 30's repro's but some use actual vintage fabric.  Sally has chain-stitch embroidered the handles, and then used her stash of vintage buttons to embellish the blocks.

We had to go shopping (of course!) and found this "modern" fabric that works really well for the border.  Plus a few other things.  *wink*

a close-up of some of the baskets

Don't you love those buttons?

Here's a couple of my favorite baskets:

a glimpse of the border fabric

The time went way too fast.  But we both hope to do this again soon.  At least, sooner than decades from now.

Dunkel had to help with holding down the fabric.

The Potter (DH) made a fountain that Dunkel believes is his personal drinking fountain.  He comes and begs for me to turn it on for him.  What a crazy cat!

Well, my bags are almost all packed.  I just need to decide on what clothes I'm taking, the fabric and stuff is already done.  Priorities, right?  I'm leaving this afternoon for a class with Gwen Marston tomorrow.  Candy and I are off to Quilted Strait in historic Port Gamble to learn how to make Gwen's baskets!  I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!  I'll report back here on how it all goes.  See ya soon!

No foolin'!  

p.s.  Go! and take a look at Audrey's post on creative habits!  She makes some great points, and things, as creative people, we should learn and remember.  It will be well worth your time.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy First Day of Spring!

False Plum


Mini Daffodil


Raindrops on the pond

Even though the weather is still cold (with a possibility of snow today!), the robins are back, the wild geese are coming through on their way north, the local ducks are cavorting on the pond, and the frogs have started their night-time serenading.  So, it's looking like Spring is right on schedule.  Happy Spring!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


After three loooong weeks, and amid many interruptions and distractions (Olympics, much?) I can proudly announce that my quilt studio is now clean and ready for me to sew.  Whew!  That was tough to get through.

The worst/best part, besides just slogging through it all, was all the discoveries of unfinished projects both recent and ancient.  Very distracting for me, because I want to finish them all NOW.   The photo above is the only (very ancient) project I let myself finish when I found it.  And I got it done in time for Valentine's Day.  Yay me. It only needed a bit of sewing on the side seam to close where I turned it right side out.  Oh, and then I decided that I really hated the tan hearts.  Why did I use tan??  I hate detest tan.  So the buttons seem to help.  It only took me one hour to pick out just the right buttons.  *groan*  See why I let myself only finish one older project?  But, done is done and that is a Good Thing.

So, in the area of distractions, I spent a little time in the pottery studio with The Potter.  I made some little trays for myself.  I like to use leaves on my pottery, but since it's the middle of winter there aren't many leaves available.  So, cedar tree to the rescue!  I'm really pleased with my cedar plate.  It's just the right size for some apple slices, or cheese and crackers, or whatever.

The Potter has a new square mold that I wanted to try.  It's just so little and cute!  So, I did find some violet leaves in the yard, although it was tough to find some that hadn't been chewed half-to-death by slugs.  The leaf impressions have been stained with green but there is no glaze on them.  I really like the look of the bare clay, and it is totally food-safe as it is high-fired.  I like to run my fingers over the clay to feel the impressions.  And this is my fave blue glaze.  It was fun to play in the pottery studio for a little bit, but I'd really rather be playing with fabric.

I went to a quilt show last weekend and as soon as I have some time to process those pix, I will do a blog post with quilt-y pictures.  I know you're all waiting with bated breath!

Now, off to the quilt studio!  There's fabric to be played with!

Saturday, February 08, 2014

It's My Blogiversary - but I'm Stalled

Wednesday was my blogiversary - 6 whole years!  I can't believe it has been that long.  That seems like a lot of blabbing going on here in my little corner of the internet.  Thanks for following along on my sewing/quilting/blogging adventure.  I never would have guessed that so many folks would be interested in what I had to say and show.  I really appreciate all your comments too.  Thanks!

Not much happening at the Threads household this week.  No sewing is occurring, due to the quilt studio being cleaned.  Poor DH is under the weather with a cold, and has been feeling pretty puny.  So far, I'm just having the sniffles.  I sure hope it doesn't degrade into worse.  My fingers are crossed.  This is always a bad time of the year around here - seems like someone is sick every year.

I went to the quilt studio last week and tried to do some sewing.  The "stuff" level has gotten so deep and thick I just couldn't function.  So, I'm trying to get things down to a dull roar.  Unfortunately, I really don't want to clean it up AND I've been so busy this week that I haven't had a chance to get in there at all.  So, no forward progress is happening.  There is sewing I want to do, and I'm still trying to get that tutorial done, but there's no room on the cutting table to work.  So I really need to get it in gear around here.

On the bright side, after much stalling, I'm finally making some progress on getting my corduroy quilt tied.  I have the middle section all tied and just have the top and bottom borders to do.

the obligatory quilt picture!

As you can see in this photo, I still need to trim all the ties.  I have all kinds of lengths going on, mostly because I didn't make up my mind early on as to what length I wanted them to be.  

I'm tying with Perle cotton, and I'm a little worried.  I'm nervous that the ties won't stay tied.  I wanted to use wool yarn, but I couldn't find any that was affordable.  Have you ever tied with Perle cotton?  How well did it work?  I made each one a square knot as well as a surgeon's knot, but still I'm wondering if I should put a dab of Fray Check on each tie when I trim the length?  I'm open to any suggestions or information.  I'm hoping to finish this up while watching the Olympics for the next 2 weeks.

I had a guild meeting Wednesday and got to see Bill Volckening (his blog is Wonky World and you can find it on the blog list on my side bar) showing and talking about his collection of New York Beauty quilts.  If you ever get the chance to see him and his quilts, go!  He's very personable and amusing, and the quilts are just stunning. 

We got a little snow Thursday night.  Only about 1 to 1 1/2 inches.  When I went out to fill the bird feeder today, I found all kinds of tracks around the back yard.  I found birds', and I think rabbit tracks.  Probably some squirrel tracks too.  This track, on the deck, was the only one that wasn't too melted to tell what it was.

I think this is a raccoon track.  I know we have a bunch in the neighborhood.  Any one know for sure?  I think the little bugger was looking for more of my bulbs to eat - they have gotten most of them so far.  They are NOT my favorite visitors.

Well, back to the salt mines quilt studio to see if I can make some progress in there.

I hope you are having a creative weekend!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Scrappy Saturday

Yay!  I'm actually getting this post done for Saturday this week!

This week, for my participation in So Scrappy's Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I have two finished tops.  Check out what everyone else has done this week.

My guild had a request from a local hospital for quilts for the neo-natal unit.  In other words, baby quilts.  Who doesn't love baby quilts?  They're small and take a small amount of fabric and time, and usually are pretty cute. The request was for quilts from 18 inch by 24 inch up to crib size, for both newborns and for those poor little souls that don't live.

Since I had my blue scraps out, I went with the scraps!  Everyone seems to make "girl" quilts, so I decided to make "boy" quilts.  I made scrappy 9 Patches in blue plaids.

Here is the first top I made.  This is sized at 26 inches by 35 inches at the moment.  The 6-inch 9 Patches are all made with scraps, and the alternate dotted fabric was given to me to use for charity quilts.  I thought the little dots made the 9 Patches look not-so austere.  I'm still debating adding an outer border to this.  I don't know if it needs it or if a dark binding will suffice.  I'm going to put cute blue flannel on the back, and will probably quilt this myself.  I'm not sure this is "baby-ish" enough, but I figured it's a classic design that even non-quilters should recognize. 

Here is the second top I made, using the rest of the 9 Patch blocks.  I used some "baby" fabric the guild gave me for the alternate squares.  This one is at 18 inches by 24 inches right now.  This top will also get cute blue flannel on the back and I'll quilt this one too.

So, even though this is all I've gotten done for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this week, I feel good that I got these little tops sewn up.  Hopefully I can get a little more scrappy sewing done next week, to use up even more blue scraps!  I know I can't even begin to use up all my blue scraps, but I'd like to use up more than I have yet.

Thought for the day:
Don't be afraid to try something new!  Remember: the Ark was built by amateurs, the Titanic was built by professionals.