Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mystery Solved!

After such a great start to the summer spending lots of time in my sewing room, I somehow managed to catch a bug and put an end to all that fun.  I've been a complete slug for the last 2 weeks as I've tried to get over it.  I've had no energy to do anything other than sit in front of the TV.  I'm really grateful to whoever invented Roku.

At the beginning of the month, my quilt bee got the last clue to the mystery quilt and were finally able to see what it looks like.  (Fortunately I had finished both of my tops before I got sick.)  I'm going to keep the black/brown version and the patriotic version is for QOV.  They're both a nice size at 72" square.



Now that my bee has finished the mystery, I can also share where I found the pattern.  When looking for a mystery that we could do as a group, I just happened to stumble upon Persimmon Quilts website.  What a great find!  She has an entire category dedicated to QOV mysteries and this particular one is #28.  I looked through most of them and there are definitely more I'd like to make.

I already have the patriotic top loaded on the frame so I hope I can get it quilted soon.  I'm going to have company for the next week and a half so I know that there won't be much sewing going on then.  However, it's a visit I've really been looking forward to and I plan to have lots of non-quilty fun!

Here's a picture of Sam with her baby.  She's been really playful the last few days and it's good to see her acting so young.



Better a poor man who walks in integrity
than someone who has deceitful lips and is a fool.
Proverbs 19:1 HCSB

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

More Farming...

I've been continuing to putter on my Farmer's Wife blocks this past week in between setting up some other projects.  I'm loading another quilt on the frame (time to start emptying out that closet!)  I've also pulled out my other sewing machine to set up for FMQ (free motion quilting).  The hope is that if I have a machine dedicated for piecing and one for quilting, than I can work on both without the hassle of converting one.

Up until now all the blocks I've made have used template sets A & B (which I already own), but now I'm starting to run into blocks that use a set I don't have.  I've ordered it and am waiting for it to come in the mail.  I've still been able to make 9 more blocks though.

#20 Churn Dash, #111 Wrench and #12 Broken Sugar Bowl
#31 Evening Star, #103 Whirlwind and #15 Buzzard's Roost
#51 Hovering Birds, #52 Hovering Hawks and #6 Big Dipper
I started sewing #51 Hovering Birds first thing one morning having cut out the pieces the previous day.  For some reason that block seemed to give me so much trouble.  The first time I made it, it was too big.  The second time I made it, it was slightly too small.  I considered remaking it a third time, but wondered if I was being too picky.  Here's the block that was too big...


And here's the block that is a little small...


To be honest, the smaller block looks more off than the larger one, but that's only because the ruler is resting on top of the seams.  If I press it down, it's closer.  But looking at both of them now, I realize I am being way too OCD.  It's not perfect, but so what?  I think both of them will work just fine.


And here is a collage of the 24 blocks I've finished so far.  I think I'm going to continue to work on these for a while - in between a few other things.  I'm still enjoying them (and I'm going to work on not being such a perfectionist.)

My first 24 Farmer's Wife blocks
Moses is really enjoying the sewing room lately.  The problem is she's very demanding of attention and every time I move a piece of fabric she thinks I'm playing with her and attacks it.  There are definitely worse ways to be interrupted though.


Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ - the Son of the Father - will continue to be with us who live in truth and love. 
2 John 1:3 (NLT)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Another Detour...

So after deliberating over all those tempting projects, I ended up pulling out yet another one - my Farmer's Wife quilt.  After starting on it with such enthusiasm in the beginning of the year, it has sat languishing ever since.  My goal was to make 1 or 2 blocks a week.  This is week 26 (exactly halfway through the year) and I had made a total of 4 blocks.  (Note to self - I should really stop posting my goals, then I wouldn't be embarrassed when I admit how completely I failed to meet them!)

I'm using the Marti Michell templates to make my blocks.  She offers directions on how to use her templates to make 101 of the blocks.  (If you're interested, you can sign up to receive these on her website.)   It's a little more fiddly to cut out the pieces, but because everything fits together so nicely when you're sewing, I think it's worth it.


She even simplifies some of the blocks so they use fewer pieces.  In the book, the "Box" block has 17 pieces.  Using the templates, my block only has 11 so there are far fewer seams.


I've been moving right along making these blocks and having a lot of fun with it.    I also felt like I was making good progress until I checked the book and realized I need 145 blocks.  I have 15 right now.  Only 130 left to go! Ha! Ha!  Here are the ones I've just finished...

#84 Spool, #81 Snowball, #23 Country Farm and #29 Economy
#9 Box, #41 Friendship Star, #10 Bowtie and #2 Autumn Tints
#69 Practical Orchard, #61 Northern Lights and #34 Flock
I'm not sure how much longer I'll continue to work on these.  I suppose as long as I'm enjoying it.  As for my next project?  That's still up in the air.

This is one of Moses' favorite hiding spots.  She can nap here and not worry about the other pets disturbing her.  She particularly loves to go here if someone comes to the house.  She's almost 10 years old and I don't believe my parents have ever seen her in person.


The heat and humidity that accompany summers in North Carolina are definitely here right now.  A lot of people are complaining about it.  However, after the extreme cold of last winter, I'll gladly take it.  Of course, if my air conditioning broke, I might be singing a different story...


Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24 NIV


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Quilting ADD...

Please excuse the lack of posts.  I've been quilting, but it's nothing I can share right now.  I also restrained myself from sharing a gazillion pictures of my pets, although I've gotten some good ones lately.

I'm coming to the end of my secret sewing though.  Hopefully I'll finish tomorrow.  So I've started to think about what my next project should be.  And that's when my quilting ADD kicked in.  I started digging through my cabinets looking at my kits and projects trying to remember what I had.  And seeing them again brought back a renewed excitement to get busy and make them.  In addition, there are more projects on the internet that have caught my interest too.  What's a girl to do?

Here are just a few of the possibilities in no particular order...

1.  Paintbox Quilt - Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson! did a Paintbox Quilt-Along back in 2010 and I've wanted to make one ever since.  I've had my fabric sitting there waiting for me to just get to it.  I even have the backing fabric - a perfect pink Grunge fabric by Basic Grey.


2.  Cheerio Quilt - This is a relatively new addition to my quilting to-do list.  It's Camille Roskelley's Cheerio quilt.  I think it would make the perfect lap quilt for the red chair in my sewing room made out of a bundle of Scrumptious (coincidentally also by Bonnie & Camille).  I even managed to find the perfect backing material at a really great price.


3.  Sunkissed Quilt - This is another quilt that I've been wanting to make for a long time.  The pattern is a Moda Bake Shop pattern called Sunkissed Jewel Box.  I've adapted it to make it king-size.  I want to make it out of Buttercup by Fig Tree & Co.  I have more than enough fabric for the quilt, backing and even another lap quilt.  I picture this as having a soft summery feel to it.


4.  Tickled - This quilt is already pieced.  It just needs to be quilted.  I know right where I want this one to hang and I'd love to have it finished.  I'm just not sure how to quilt it.


5.  Technicolor Sampler - I've been taking some classes on Craftsy lately and happened across the Craftsy 2012 Block of the Month by Amy Gibson.  Not only do I love the look of this quilt, but there's also a class by Leah Day on how to quilt it.  The quilting fillers are some I'd definitely like to learn as I could always use more free motion practice.


These are the projects I'm being tempted by right now, although I have a little voice telling me I really should finish quilting my Celebrations quilt. To be honest though, I don't feel like working on it or the closet full of other tops that need to be quilted.  I seem to spend a lot of my time working on things I need to work on rather than what I want to work on.  But really, quilting is my hobby, not my job.


So we'll see what I end up choosing - if it will be one of these 5 projects or something completely different.  I'm rather excited to find out.

As for those pet pictures I mentioned, we're trying to get David used to a harness and leash.  To say he's not a fan is a bit of an understatement.  (FYI - He's so large we had to buy a dog harness because none of the cat ones would come close to fitting him.)





A gossip goes around telling secrets,
but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.
Proverbs 11:13 (NLT)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Halfway Solved...

I've just handed out the next to last clue to our mystery and can now share what the center of the quilts look like.  One member guessed star, which is pretty close, but most of them weren't sure what it was going to look like.  First is the black and brown version I'm making for my husband.  The cream fabrics are flannels I had left over from another project.


Then there's the patriotic version that will go to QOV.  The colors are deeper than in the picture.  For some reason they look washed out, particularly the red.


As you can see from the kitty paw in the picture above, I had a lot of trouble getting a picture without them in it.  That's the problem with trying to take a picture of a quilt on the floor.  In fact, most of my pictures looked like this...



I'm working on the last clue now which is the pieced border.  However, I won't be able to share the final quilt until early July when my quilt bee gets it.

I realized that although the name of my blog is 'Mike & Gabby', I haven't shared any pictures of Gabriel (Gabby) recently.  This is one I snapped with my phone after a nap we took.  She decided she had enough with sleeping and wanted to play.  That face is really hard to ignore!


He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. 
Psalm 40:2 (NLT)



Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Quilters Are Amazing!

I've found over the years that quilters are generous, kind-hearted, giving and just an amazing group of people.  Recently, Kevin the Quilter hosted a block drive for QOV where he hoped to get enough blocks to make 3 quilts.  There was such an outpouring of support from across the country that he received enough blocks to make 189 quilts!  Don't worry.  Kevin doesn't have to make all those quilts himself.  He has a group of ladies that will be helping him.  He also received donations of backings, batting, bindings and presentations cases.

I've been busy with so many projects this spring, that I left it until the last minute to make my own blocks to contribute.  Fortunately, he picked such an easy block, it didn't take long to whip them up.


Rather than just sending in the blocks, I managed to find enough time to assemble 30 of them into a quilt top.  It would have been nice if I could have quilted it before mailing it, but I just couldn't pull it off.


You should see the stack of blocks he has waiting to find their way into quilts for QOV.  It's amazing!  As are the quilters who participated in this drive and especially Kevin for organizing it.  I'm glad to be part of such a great community of quilters.  And if you haven't stopped by Kevin's blog before, I'd encourage you to do so.  He's not only entertaining and down to earth, he has a great sense of color and visits the best quilt shops and shows in his travels!


Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins” 
James 4:17 (NIV)


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tic Tac Toe...

Two quilts in a week.  That must be a record for me.  My machine has certainly been humming lately.  I wasn't sure if I would make the deadline, but I've just managed to finish Tic Tac Toe in time for the Schnibbles parade on June 1st.  This is the last parade Sherri and Sinta are hosting before taking a break for the summer.


The pattern is X-Rated by Carrie Nelson and is in the book Schnibbles Times Two.  I actually pieced the top last November, but it's been sitting in an ever growing pile waiting to be quilted.  This was just the push I needed to complete it!  Instead of a Layer Cake, I used 5 Charm Packs of Independence Trail by Minick & Simpson.  I was going for a lap size, but this ended up at 85" square.


I used the pantograph Celtic Braid by Patricia E. Ritter.  This was a fun one to use and a fast one as well.


Now that I've worked through all the issues with my frame, this quilted up beautifully - until the last row.  When I stitched down the bottom edge, I was in a bit too much of a hurry and managed to sew through my finger several times.  It happened so fast, I didn't even realize it until after the needle broke.  I am so very grateful it missed the nail!


This quilt coordinates nicely with the one I just finished for our bed.  I'm planning to keep it over the back of one of the chairs in there to snuggle under (or just to look pretty.)

To sum it up:
  • Size: 85" square
  • Fabric: Independence Trail by Minick & Simpson
  • Batting: Warm & Natural
  • Thread: Aurifil for piecing (#2326) and quilting (#2310)
  • Pattern: X-Rated by Carrie Nelson
When I put the quilt over the chair to take a picture, cats started to appear from all directions.  If you look closely, you can see 3 of them here...


I'm looking forward to this month's parade.  I've already seen some quilts done in some brighter fabrics and they look great.  I think this pattern is one that lends itself to so many different types of fabric.

Do to others as you would like them to do to you. 
Luke 6:31 (NLT)