Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Cheery O's!

Wow, where did November go?  How come December is going by so quickly?  Yikes!  I think I need to get a grip or it will be Christmas before I know it.  I've already had one Christmas party last Friday and another one on Thursday of this week.  It seems like it was just Thanksgiving.

November is a busy month for us, as I have a birthday as well as my grown children's and my niece's birthdays.  And then we usually are the hosts for the family Thanksgiving.  Right around my birthday I got a sinus infection that would not go away.  Two trips to Urgent Care and two (expensive) antibiotics were required for me to be able to do Turkey Day.  I had the Molly Maids come clean my house, which I highly recommend!  They are life savers!  I had 12 people here for Thanksgiving and it was wonderful.  The whole entire family, except for one Significant Other.  It was so much fun and so great to have everyone together.  And it was over so fast!  Wait, I wanted more time to visit with people!  And now we're into the Christmas season.

I'm finally getting around to posting another of my finished quilts from the October quilt show.  I am so slow sometimes that it is embarrassing.  So, without further delay, here is "Cheery O's":

Cheery O's
60 x 74 inches
This was another of my Block Lotto winnings.  I won these "Big O" blocks in December of last year, so this is record time for me to finish a quilt!  I love the way this quilt turned out - the Big O blocks were so fun to make and to play with.  (If you want to play with some, here is the link to the pattern at Block Lotto.)

I put the extra blocks on the back of the quilt, plus the "porthole" block I made.  I love the peek-a-boo look that it creates!  And, of course, lots of dots.  *grin*  You can really see the texture on the quilt in this photo.

My quilter, Shari, did an awesome job (again).  I sent her this quilt with the only instructions being what I didn't want, and she did what I was afraid to ask her to do!  This is quilted 1/2 inch apart all over the entire quilt, including the background.  Wow!  I love the texture it gives the quilt.

I made a few extra blocks to continue the color scheme I came up with.  And I just used scraps.

And then I drafted and made two blocks at half-size to finish two of the corners.  They finish at 7 inches.  Cute!  I used the stripe fabric for the binding, and I love the zingy finish it gives the quilt.

I've been doing some other sewing here and there lately.  I taught a class to a group of friends last month on how to make these Zip It Bags.  The class went really well and everyone enjoyed it.  I made a lot of partial bags for the different steps in the creation of the bag, and then thought of finishing them to give as little gifts at Thanksgiving. 

I got them all done (barely in time!) and then realized that I had nothing to give the guys.  Since I was out of time, I only had my sister and her daughter and future DIL pick theirs, as they won't be here for Christmas.  I will give these to the rest of the girls in the family at Christmas when I have something done for the guys too. 

I love these bags,have been making them for years and use a lot of them for different things.  It's an easy pattern.  I bought a big roll of the pet screening that the bags use at the hardware store about 10 or 12 years ago, and now I've used it all up.    It's time to find some more!  I want to make some tote bags with this screening too, and possibly teach a class for the totes too.

Here's a funny photo for you:

This is what you get out of the hose during a big deep freeze.  We were so cold a couple of weeks ago, much colder than we usually are.  DH had drained the hose, but he uses it all winter for cleaning up his pottery messes.  When he turned the hose on, he got ice cubes!  I'm surprised the hose didn't break.  These look like they came from an ice maker! 

Hoping you get to do something creative this week!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Strings & Samples & some Progress

Finally, I'm able to show you some more of my quilts that I finished for the quilt show that happened a month ago.  Where does the time fly off to?  This year is going way too fast.  It's been so busy around here that I haven't had time to blog or even do much sewing.

I'm staying home today rather than going to my guild's workshop this afternoon because I've had a sinus infection and unrelenting headache for 10 days now.  I've been to the Dr. twice, started a second antibiotic since the 1st one did nothing for me, and am starting to feel a little better now.  I missed my Modern Quilt Guild meeting last night too.  I'm kind of pouting about that.  But since I'm the hostess for 12 family members for Turkey Day next week, I thought it would be a good thing to feel better by then.

Batik Strings
25" x 30"
I started this quilt in a Liberated Strings class with Gwen Marston this past spring, which means I got this finished in less than a year!  Yay me! That doesn't seem to happen often around here. I'm calling it Batik Strings for lack of a more inspired name. 

I made this quilt with yardage cut into strips instead of using strings, and it was made without a foundation, doing what Gwen calls Block Base construction.  It's explained in her books.  That was a new technique to me for sewing strings.

A detail shot so you can see some of the fabrics I used.  I quilted this one myself.  I just free-handed straight lines, no marking.  I did use painter's tape for the initial line down the approximate center of the block, but no other markings.  I'm pleased with how this came out.  

This is my downstairs half-bath where the quilt lives now.  I made it to fit into this space, both size-wise and color-wise.  Unfortunately I can see now that the quilt isn't too flat.  I think the quilting kind of warped it, so I'll have to fix that soon.

The assemblage hanging on the wall on the left is a collaboration piece.  I made the ceramic tile, which I felt was less-than-successful, but then my sister took it and incorporated it into one of her assemblages.  I think it looks good now.  *grin*  And I'm really pleased to have a collaboration piece done with my sister!

Magic Triangle Sample
22" x 22"
I was trying to get more quilts done for the quilt show and thought this one wouldn't take too long to finish, so I finished up this older UFO that's been waiting it's turn for about 15 years.

When I went to sandwich this top with the backing and batting, I found I had to take off the outer borders and redo them.  They were 'waving in the wind', so I had to get accurate with them.  I've learned that sewing a border on and then whacking off the excess fabric rarely makes a nice flat border and that it pays to take a little more time with them.

Here's a detail shot of the center.  I used the Magic Triangle template (see below) that I bought at a quilt show.  I was so excited to try this template that I came home and immediately made this.  I made the smallest blocks that the template would make (2 inches) because I was using some fat 1/8th's I had of reproduction fabrics.  There was no actual plan involved in the construction of this top (that I remember) so I'm pleased it turned out so well.  This isn't my style any more, but I do appreciate a finished quilt!

A detail shot of the corner.  You can see a little of my quilting in this, and also that I used the binding with a flange, which I've learned to love.  I think that little bit of red really pops!  I had to piece the leftover bits of red to have enough length for the flange, so that's scrappy too.

One 2 inch block
I believe this design is also called Mary's Triangle, or Shaded 4-Patch.

Here is the template that I purchased at a quilt show about 15 (or more) years ago.  This doesn't seem to be available anymore, but I did find some other useful links.  This technique was developed by Sally Schneider in her book Scrapmania that you can find on Amazon here.  You can also find a tool from Sally on her website. (scroll about 1/2 way down the page).  There are also instructions on how to make this block without a spiffy template on Sew Fresh Quilts blog.  If you Google 'Mary's Triangle quilts', there are many, many images of all the different ways you can set this block together to make great quilts!  Some day I want to do this pattern/technique again!

I haven't decided what project I want to focus on first, so I pulled out my Scrappy Trips project that I'm doing with all my dots fabrics.  I've got 20 blocks done now.  Still have about 50 blocks to do to make a quilt that fits our queen-sized bed.  Kind of an intimidating thought!  So, this is obviously going to be a longer-term project that I will work on as I'm inspired to.

We got our first snowfall last weekend!  We only got about an inch total, and most of it was melted by the time I got this photo.  We've had some wild weather the last few weeks.  Tuesday we had a huge wind storm and rain storm.  We lost power for about 3 hours.  Now there are fir boughs all over the deck and back yard, but luckily no other damage to us.  We're supposed to get down into the 20's tonight.  Yikes!  Cold!

I hope all of my U.S. readers have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.  I know I'm thankful for all we have, including a loving family.  Wishing you and yours a happy holiday!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Quilts From Our Quilt Show

I haven't been doing any sewing to speak of since I finished all my quilts for the quilt show.  But I thought you might enjoy seeing some quilts from our show.  

"Perfect Form"
I loved this quilt!  It just made me smile, and it looks like it was a lot of fun to do. The guild is asking the maker to give us a class now because we all loved her quilt.

I loved her use of the low volume prints for the background.

Do not adjust your monitor!  It really is a black & white quilt and this quilt was big!  It was at least queen sized, if not king sized.  It won People's Choice both days of the show.  This was made after one of the guild members gave a class at one of our workshops on the Triangle Frenzy Swirl tablerunner.  I understand the quilter found this fabric at Fabric Depot in Portland.  It really was incredible and the quilting was super, but I'm afraid it doesn't show up well in the photos I took.

This is a silk quilt, wall hanging size,  Machine embroidery (an Anita Goodneedle design).  It was going to be bigger until the maker realized that it wouldn't really survive being on the bed with her 3 cats!

Umbrella girls made with selvages.  I don't know if you can see it, but the quilter added a little duck with an umbrella on the bottom border.  This quilt is very 'Seattle'!

The Fisherman's Quilt
Made for a nephew, this is an original pattern.  It's very Gee's Bend-like to me.  It has flannel, denim and  wool on the front and leopard-print Minkee on the back. 

I love the quilting in the border of this string quilt as well as the black and white dots!

Believe it or not, this is a charity quilt!  It is lap quilt-sized.  I love the pieced ducks!  We have a lady in our guild that only wants to make quilts,  She makes most of our guild's charity quilts, and has made over 100 quilts this year alone.  We give to a number of local charity organizations, We think she is quite amazing and so talented.

Made by the same quilter as above, and this is also a charity quilt.  It is probably a queen-size quilt.   I believe this is a pattern from Judy Martin called "Shakespeare In The Park" from her book The Creative Pattern Book.

This beautiful quilt was in the booth of our scissor sharpening vendor (Ewok's Eversharp).   His wife (and sadly, I didn't get her name) came up with this design she based on the  Log Cabin With A Twist.  

I survived jury duty last week.  It was tough!  I had to get up so very early, 4:30 am (I'm usually a late sleeper) to be able to leave the house early enough to miss the worst of the traffic, and then drive for an hour in bad-to-terrible traffic.  And parking was a pain in the patooti - 100 free spaces for 300 jurors.  Not my idea of a fun time.  Yes, I'm whining.  But the process itself was really interesting and not uncomfortable at all.  Just lots of waiting.  Now I've been excused for this week because I'm not feeling too well.  Exposed to too many different germs last week maybe?  I just hope I don't feel too bad for too long.  I've got sewing to do!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

My Lucky Stars - a Finish!

Wow, October already!  I can't believe it's been so long since my last post!  But it's been a busy month and I have lots to share with you.

The quilt show has come and gone and was, I think, pretty successful!  I'm not quite recovered, but I'm slowly getting there.  It was a long time getting ready for the show, and then a long weekend with a lot of work during the show.  I got very tired . . . but it was also a lot of fun at the same time.

I managed to finish all six of my quilts in time.  Whew!  I wasn't sure I could do it, but I did.  Yay!

So, since I teased you a couple of times with this one, I will show this completed quilt first:

My Lucky Stars
Ta da!  My Lucky Stars quilt.  It finished at 62 x 80 inches.  This photo was taken at the quilt show.  It's so big and heavy that it's hard to get a good photo at home.

I won these fun wonky star blocks from the Block Lotto in 2013.  They were "Red Skies with Tall Stars", since the blocks are actually rectangular instead of square.  Here's the link to the instructions if you'd like to make some too.

Hopefully you can see that this was quilted in all-over circles.  It was hard to choose which pattern for the quilting, but I'm very happy with the way the circles play with the stars.  I used a local quilter (Julie Boersema of Seams Sew Beautiful)  this time, for the first time.

These blocks came to me from 20 different states as well as Australia, Canada, England, Israel, New Zealand, Norway and South Africa.  I love finding such happy mail in my mailbox!

Blogger is putting some of my photos upside down or sideways today, as well as doing funny things with my text formatting.  It's always an adventure! 

Here is a "crumpled" shot.  Almost like using the quilt, isn't it?  *grin*

The quilt show was fun.  We had over 300 quilts and about 500 visitors to the show, plus lots of good vendors.   My sister was able to come this year, so we had a fun weekend.  She even helped with the show take-down on Saturday evening - what a trooper!

I still love the border triangles I did on Lucky Stars, thanks to my DH for that suggestion!  I'm doing all my bindings by machine now.  It's so much faster and easier, and I really like the way they come out.  I learned how to do this from Mariquilts at The QuiltingEdge blog.  Here's the link to her tutorials.  This photo also shows that I put a quilt shop-quality turquoise flannel on the back of the quilt.  Now it's cuddly and warm for the coming winter!

I did a wonky or "liberated" star demo at the show, and people were amazed at how easy the stars are to make once they understand the process.  I heard a number of people say "I could do that!"  That makes doing the demo fun!

Here is what I would look like if I were in the new Peanuts movie coming out in November,  Thanks to Barb of 'Fun with Barb' blog for sharing the link!  If you want to see what you'd look like as a Peanuts character, go here to Peanutize yourself!

I've got lots of quilt show photos to share with you, as well as the rest of my finished quilts.  That will come over the course of the next week or two.  First up is Jury Duty, starting tomorrow.  

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Smorgasbord of Stuff

I'm still here....still sewing and trying to finish my projects for the quilt show.  Of course, lots of other stuff is going on as well, most of which is too boring to go into.  You know, all that day-to-day stuff we all have going on.  But that's not why you're here, is it?

Remember my Traveling Round Robin?  (If you missed the blog post about that, you can see it here and here.)  Well, my Robin has come home to roost!  This is all my blocks when I got them back.  Aren't they awesome?  Everyone did a great job on the blocks.  In fact, they were all almost the perfect size.  In about 10 days, I had them all put together into a quilt top.  It is currently being quilted.  I forgot to take a photo of the flimsy, so you'll have to settle for this photo for now.  Of course, I'll show the finished quilt when it's done!  I'm getting excited to see it!  

The first weekend of August - over a month ago now! Time flies! - my DH The Potter had one of his big art shows of the year.  Of course, it was blazing hot.  But we survived and sales were good.  This show is put on in a beautiful garden that I always enjoy visiting.  I got a  couple of photos that I want to share with you.

This garden is full of vignettes of fun yard art.  This guy enjoying the teeter-totter was right near where we were set up.  Isn't he fun?

And this is Mt. Rainier, photo taken across the neighboring farm's pastures.  The next day the smoke came in and you could barely see the mountain.  This is the least amount of snow we've seen on the mountain in the 8 years we've been here. There's snow up there now though!

Once I got "My Lucky Stars" to flimsy status (see previous post), I took a break from what I was supposed to be doing to get this little baby quilt put together to flimsy status.  I had inherited two of these columns of patchwork, and enough left-over bits to make the third column.  So I put them together and they looked pretty good.  I'm not quite sure why the ends all came out different lengths.  It should have worked out.  Oh well, the baby won't be a critic.  I found this yellow plaid and it worked pretty well.  Now all I have to do is get this quilted - someday.  It was a nice break from all the "have-to's".

Last month DS found a nest of baby bunnies in the yard.  We watched them for a week or so, and when they were big enough to venture out on their own, he caught one of them.  We petted him and talked to him and then we let him go.  He was so soft!  And very sweet.  I've never been that close to a wild bunny before, although they are in the yard a lot the last couple of years.  They're not very afraid of us.  That was fun - bunnies are some of my favorite animals.

If you've ever seen the movie "Field of Dreams", you'll recognize this take on the tag line for the movie.  This cracked me up!

Here is a harbinger of Autumn.  We've had some fairly cold weather lately (a high of 61* today) and some of the trees are already starting to show color.  It seems early to me this year.  Oh, and the wild geese are already heading south - actually, they have been for weeks now.  

a sneak peek!
"My Lucky Stars" is back from the quilter and is getting it's binding put on right now.  Photos soon!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Oh my stars! It's another flimsy finish!

I've been sewing my little fingers to the bone, trying to finish quilts for the quilt show.  And I have another finish to share with you!  Remember these?

Here is where they live now:

My Lucky Stars
Presenting "My Lucky Stars"!  The little sneak peek stars are the cornerstones in the sashing on another Block Lotto win.  (The colors in this photo aren't true to life.  That is red in the quilt, not the hot pink that's it looks like on my computer screen.)  These are the Tall Stars that I won back in August 2013.

blocks on the floor

Here is where I started, with my initial layout of 48 blocks.  The block was an adaptation of Bonnie Hunter's Maverick Stars, except that it was made in a rectangular size, using red for the background.  You could do a scrappy background, with one fabric for the star, or one fabric for the background with a scrappy star.  These were so fun to make!  If you want to try one, here is a link to the info on Block Lotto.  I got the idea of putting the stars together like this from Joe Tulips.  Thanks, Julie!

darkest & lightest blocks side-by-side

I decided on a dark to light layout, but I'm not sure you can tell from the photos.  It runs diagonally across the quilt, with the darkest block in the bottom left corner and the lightest block in the top right corner in the photo at the top of the post. I tried to find a red solid that worked with all of the scrappy reds in the blocks.  I was kind of surprised when I compared the darkest block to the lightest block.  That red center square, which is the red solid I found, looks like 2 different colors in these two blocks!  Isn't that interesting?

After I got the center assembled, The Potter suggested I add some triangles that echo the star legs in the blocks into the border.  I thought that sounded good, so I proceeded to make a bunch of them.  I really wasn't quite sure what I was doing when I started.  I seem to flail about for a while before I figure out what I'm doing, but I eventually got into the swing of it.  The only downside was the absolute mess I made in the quilt studio.  I have red scraps and bits of fabric everywhere!  I ended up using all of that red solid except for one strip about 6 inches (the width of the border) by 12 inches.  Whew!  That was close!

Here is one of those little cornerstones from the sneak peek.

In one cornerstone, I decided to do something different, and made one big wonky star.

Some of those crazy triangles in the border.

Anybody recognize the blocks you made?

This quilt has gone to the quilter now, and I'm so excited to see this one done.  

The next quilt is on the design wall.  I've gotten my Traveling Round Robin blocks back, and that quilt is on it's way to being completed.  I hoping to get to flimsy stage over the weekend.

As most of you know, Washington is having a horrible, record-setting fire season this year.  Most of the fires are in Eastern Wash. and I live in Western Wash.  This was what the sunrise looked like last Sunday morning.  That is a smoky sky!  It stayed that way all day.  It smelled strongly of smoke, and we had ash falling on the cars.  I can only imagine, if it was that bad here, how bad was it where there are the fires?  My heart goes out to all that are affected by the fires, and I applaud all the firefighters doing so much to stop those fires.  We're all praying for some rain.  It looks like our prayers may be answered this weekend.  I just hope some of the rain makes it over the Cascades to the eastern part of the state.