Friday, December 19, 2014

Ready or Not . . .

. . . the holidays are coming!  Are you ready?  I think I'm mostly ready.  Well, except for wrapping the presents, finishing the few Christmas cards left and baking two batches of cookies.  That's close though, don't you think?  I'm trying to maintain serenity.  (Yeah, right.)

Christmas Spools
17 x 21 inches

Just to add some Christmas cheer to my blog, here's an "oldie but a goodie" that I've put up every year since I made it.  This was made sometime between 1986 and 1990.  (Bad quilter - didn't put on a label)  It definitely has '80's fabrics in there!  I was inspired to make this by a sample in the window of my favorite quilt shop at that time "Going to Pieces" in Pleasanton, California.  I just fell in love with that little quilt, so I went home and copied it from memory.  No pattern.  And I made mitered corners on those spools!   And hand-quilted.  I still love it!

Here is the first half of the flying geese I need to make for the mystery quilt I'm working on.  I couldn't even get them all in the photo!  And sorry for the crummy picture - it doesn't work too well to take pix at night.  I need to make this many again, only in different colors.  I'm not sure how big these units are, but over on the left there are 2 of my Block Lotto blocks for this month and they are 7 inch blocks.

Here are some more mystery quilt units that I've been working on.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but that is a rusty red and a black-ish brown.  This quilt will be autumn colors.  Nothing is hard sewing, but there is lots and lots of pieces and units.

I bought the Paperweights pattern from Karen Griska (of the Selvage Blog) on her Etsy store.  I'm making a little test sample quiltlet to see how well the fusible I'm using will work.  I think this will be cute!  

We had a deer visitor again yesterday.  This deer used to come around with his mama and sibling, and now he's on his own.  (really, I don't know if it's a "he" - I just call him that).  He's still young.  This spring's baby, I think.  But there he was lying in the yard, and he stayed that way for at least 20 minutes.  My picture-taking (through the kitchen window) didn't seem to bother him at all.  He watched me as much as I watched him!  Then he just got up and sauntered off.

Good luck with your last-minute holiday preparations!  I hope you get a few minutes to do some sewing or quilting.  I'm going to go sew with friends this afternoon!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Vintage Eye Candy

I've been sewing and sewing, but since I'm only making parts and pieces so far, there are no photos to share with you.  So, since I'm sorely lacking in any good blog material, I thought I would share some pictures of vintage quilts with you.  Unfortunately, in the case of these quilts, I didn't manage to get a photo of the entire quilt, but I got some closeups, mostly because I love looking at all the vintage fabrics!  I hope you'll enjoy them too.

These quilts were in the bed turning in our local quilt show in October.  If you don't know what a bed turning is, I'll explain.  When I first came to the Pacific Northwest, I'd never heard of a bed turning.  I had visions of putting a bed with wheels in the middle of the floor and turning it all around.  To perhaps view a quilt on the bed from all angles?  *giggle*  I had no idea!  I'd never heard of or seen a bed turning in California, but I've seen them done at a lot of the quilt shows in this area.  Do you ever see them where you live?  I'm just curious.

Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt

How a bed turning is done:  First, you take all the quilts and layer them on the bed.  Then the audience sits on chairs placed around the bed while one person reads the story about the quilt (from the owner or maker of the quilt) while two other people (the "holders") hold up the top edge of the quilt to show it to all the viewers.  Then the holders "turn down" or fold the quilt down to the foot of the bed to expose the next quilt in the pile.

GFG closeup

Usually the quilts tend to be antiques or vintage but this year our theme was "quilts with stories".  Because, really, isn't that what we all want to know?  Who's grandma made it, where and when did they live, or did you find this for an incredible price at Goodwill or a yard sale?  Whatever your story was, we wanted to know.

sorry about the shadow

I love these bright fabrics, and the rather random placement of some of them.  Fun!

Isn't that misplaced polka dot fun?

We had a lot of people come to watch the bed turning, which we had 3 times a day during the quilt show.  There were a lot of people who didn't know what a bed turning was, but they came out of curiosity and just loved the little show!   There was a lot of comments and interaction between the audience and the reader and "holders" and that was fun.  No one else wanted to be the reader so I usually read the stories, which meant that I didn't get to see the quilts very well.  The last showing on the last day, I had someone else read the stories and I was a "holder".  I took these photos as we were folding up the quilts after the show.

quilt with string blocks

This was an interesting quilt.  It was found at a garage sale a few years ago.  It has another quilt inside of it!  In places you could kind of see another pattern through the top fabrics, and there were some fabrics where you could see some printing, which I think must have been feed sacks.  This quilt was very heavy!

string stars

This quilt is owned by the same person as the other string quilt above, and was also purchased at the same garage sale.  It also has another quilt inside!  I'm guessing both quilts were made by the same quilter.  This quilt was a little more used and there were a couple of spots that were coming unstitched so that I could peek inside.  I could see another quilt inside that was pieced and quilted, but quite worn out.   Both of these string quilts were the ultimate in scrap quilting!

By the way, the oldest quilt in our bed turning this year was a top, purportedly made by the mother or grandmother of Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame.  It had been passed down in the family for many generations.  It was very thin and frail fabrics, and it was believable (to me) that it just possibly could have been from the late 1700's.  It was a pieced pattern (all by hand, of course) in burgundy and white solid fabrics.  Dumb me, I didn't get a picture!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

What's Up

I've been busy around here. November is a crazy month for us here.  There are 3 family birthdays in one week - me and both of my kids!  We've had major windstorms and power outages, unseasonably freezing weather (twice in November!) and we also do Turkey Day.  And my dear husband was gone for 2 weeks to China on business, arriving home the day before T-Day.  Whew!

I think I'm finally recovered from hosting Thanksgiving!  We had the whole family here, except for my niece, who's in Vermont.  10 people.  It was crazy but fun, and all the food was soooo good.  Probably too good, if you know what I mean.  But, the house is cleaned up, most of the food is gone/eaten and I'm rested up - now I get to sew!

Here's what I've been working on:

One Big-O block

My first Block Lotto block for the December Lotto drawing.  Easy-peasy and fun.  I made a mistake in measuring a pillowcase and had to cut some off.  This was made from what I cut off.  Now to make 11 more!  Dark background (in this case black) and quilter's choice for the other fabric.

9 Easy X blocks
Here are my blocks I made for the November Block Lotto drawing.  I didn't win. *pout*  But that's OK.  There's always the next month!  These were also easy and fun.  Jewel tones and black.  I always love that combo.

I finally got around to finishing a couple of pillowcases for my youngest son's host "mom" in Spain.  It was taken me an embarassingly long time to get these done.  There was internets research and learning opportunities involved in this process.  It turns out that Spanish bed pillows are quite different from what we have here in the U.S.A.  And they're different sizes depending on the bed they are on too.  And, it also involved translating centimeters to inches.  (Maths)  So I had to guess, especially when I misplaced my measuring tape.  Then when I found it I discovered that there is centimeters on the "other" side!  Which is why I ended up cutting off some fabric - one pillowcase came out way longer that the other one.  Now they're the same.  Not saying they're the right size - but they are consistent.  The host mom really got a kick out of my son's pillowcases he took with him (we both travel with our own pillows and I make all his pillowcases in fun fabrics), so I thought she might like a couple too.  This ended up being much more involved than I ever would have guessed, but I really hope they fit and that she likes them!

B's Scrappy Trips

This past summer, I taught a workshop on Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trips pattern to my guild.  They had a lot of fun doing those blocks!  Some of the ladies actually got their quilt finished in time for our quilt show this year.  (not me, though)  So I thought you might like to see how well they did.  I think the quilts came out great!

B's quilt is so bright and cheery!  I love blue and yellow together.

J's Scrappy Trips

J. used a Jelly Roll of Minick and Simpson fabrics.  I love all those rich reds!

M's Scrappy Trips

M. used a jelly roll.  She chose to use black sashing in her quilt.

Right now I'm in the midst of working on a mystery quilt from the year 2000.  I think it may have aged enough by now to get finished.  It's going to be a twin size, and hoo boy, it's taking me a while.  There are about a million units to this one!  No real block, per se, just lots of units to form an over-all design.  Yes, I cheated and looked at the last clue already.  I started running out of fabric and had to substitute, so I wanted to know if that would work.  Fortunately, I started this out doing scrappy so throwing in another couple of fabrics isn't the end of the world.  I'm on Step 4 of 6.  No photos yet.  Soon, hopefully.  Next up is sewing a few thousand flying geese units.  Well, it feels like a few thousand of them!

The cats were playing the other night, and I tried to take a photo of them because they were so cute.  But, the flash didn't come out like I thought it would.  

Cat headlights.  Dunkel has his regular beams on and Shade has his high beams on!  hee hee!