Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bats, ghosts and pumpkins...

Yes, Halloween is approaching.  Stores are filled with a gazillion bags of candy reminding us of that.  But I'm referring to block 5 of the Baltimore Halloween quilt I'm working on.  I just finished putting the last stitches on it.  I had a harder time with this one and unstitched a whole lot.  I originally appliqued the acorns in a different fabric before tearing it out and starting over.  I almost left them because being such small pieces, they're challenging to stitch.  But I knew it would always bug me, so I redid them.  And now that I'm done, I'm glad I spent the extra effort.

Now we'll see if I can finally get started on the next ship block...

Friday, September 25, 2009

I won...

I went to Wish Upon a Quilt yesterday to look for fabric for Jan's mystery quilt.  Because it's Stash Dash time here in central NC, they were having a party over there with door prizes and lots of coupons.  And I'm so excited that I won one of the door prizes!  I didn't care what it was, I was just thrilled my number was called.  However, I won a cut of batik fabric and a name tag holder(?).  I like the fabric in both.

After a lot of indecision, I finally picked out the fabrics I plan to use for Jan's mystery quilt.  I know the full quilt has 12 blocks, but I plan to do a smaller 4 block version - mostly because I'm concentrating on making wall quilts now.  I tried to pick fabric choices that I wouldn't normally consider and I'm pleased with my final decision.  Dennis also gave them a thumbs up when they came out of the dryer.  Now to get on with the cutting...


We're doing one step every 2 months and there are 3 steps so this will be an ongoing project. 

At quilt bee this week, we had some great show and tell.  Janet finally finished her Sunbonnet Sue quilt.  The quilt is just gorgeous in person and very big.  Janet did all of her quilting on her home sewing machine too.  Way to go Janet!  (That's Janet's head sticking up in the back.)

A few months ago, I volunteered to quilt some of the soldier quilt's that our bee was making so that I could practice on the frame and machine I have.  I finally got around to doing one of Kathy's.  (I still have another of her's to quilt in the next week or so.)  I learn something with each quilt I do and I'm starting to feel a little more comfortable with the mechanics of everything.  I just did a big all over stipple on it and I managed to get the tension right for the whole thing.  Yeah me!

Didn't Kathy pick some beautiful fabrics for her quilt top? 

I also want to mention that Jan showed off a gorgeous quilt on Wednesday made from her own pattern.  I don't have a picture to show but I just wanted to give her kudos for her wonderful sense of color.  I'll say it again - her quilt would look perfect on my bed!

Until later...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall is in the air...

And so are a bunch of allergens!  I'm one of the lucky people that don't generally suffer from allergies.  I know several who have them year round - including my mom - and have to take something every day to help them live with them.  I'll take Benadryl for the short term if I get bit by something I'm allergic to but I really prefer not to take it often because of the groggy feeling it leaves me with.  Lately we've been keeping our windows open a great deal, trying to air the house out.  But both Dennis and I are finding ourselves suffering with allergies.  Times like this give me a much greater sympathy for those that fight with them everyday.

I've been taking it a lot easier since I finished my Scraps to Treasures quilt.  I hadn't realized just how much that deadline was worrying me.  I've continued to cut up my scraps into more useable sizes and I've been playing with my quilting frame and machine some.  I keep telling Dennis that 'next month' will be the month I really settle down and practice on it, but that hasn't happened yet.

I also finished appliqueing a block for a friend who lost her mother recently to cancer.  Some wonderful ladies have volunteered to put the blocks into a quilt for her.  The pattern is from McKenna Ryan.  It's supposed to be around 16" x 20" but I shrunk it down to fit in this 8.5" block.  The lady I've made it for just loves pigs.

My quilting bee meets tomorrow and I'm looking forward to seeing what beautiful things everyone has worked on since last week.  I've just started on block 5 of my Baltimore Halloween, but soon need to switch back to the Ladies of the Sea ships.

Until later...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cats and hats and brooms...

I spent a wonderful morning at quilting today.  I love Wednesday's for just that reason.  Jan, our 'VP of Education', is starting another mystery quilt for us and we spent the time in her beautiful sewing room cutting out our fabrics for step 1.   To be honest, they cut theirs out.  I haven't gotten my fabric yet so I spent the time cutting my scraps into useable strips and squares for those scrappy quilts I one day plan to make.  I barely made a dent into my pile.  But with the price of quilting fabric and the state of the economy, it only makes sense to use every bit you have.  A great site for patterns for scrappy quilts is Bonnie Hunter's

I've managed to finish block #4 of the Baltimore Halloween block of the month.  It's a little different how the first 2 blocks were SO labor intensive and then the next two were much easier.  I already have blocks 5, 6 & 7 traced out and they will again get progressively more complicated.  I'd love to continue working on them, but I need to switch my focus back to the next two ships for Dennis' Ladies of the Sea (LOTS) quilt.  In any case, here's the latest halloween block.

I think the designer, P3 Designs, did a fabulous job designing these blocks to resemble a traditional Baltimore Album quilt with a Halloween twist.

Until next time, take care...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

One, two, three...

That's the number of crayons I picked in the Crayon Challenge.  Actually each participant chose an envelope with 3 random crayons in it.  The challenge was to make a quilt using only those 3 colors.  You couldn't add a 4th color, but you could use any shade of your 3 crayons.

My envelope contained Gray, Sky Blue and Atomic Tangerine.  I carried this envelope around with me for months as I tried to find fabrics that fit the criteria.

Last night at guild, we all showed off our creations.  I was surprised at the number of ladies who participated and completed a quilt.  I think Jan and I were the only two who hadn't at least partially quilted ours yet.  Oh well, it had to be somebody, right?  It was a beautiful show - well mostly.  There were a few color combinations that were just way out there.  Not the fault of the quilter; some colors just aren't meant to go together.  Looking at all the quilts, I also realized I'm really on an applique kick.

When I thought about my colors, my mind pictured a koi pond.  So that's what I made.  I call it "The Koi Pond".  (Can you tell I thought long and hard about the title? LOL)

I also showed my dog quilt last night.  One lady stopped me in the bathroom later and asked how I came up with the idea.  I thought about it and I have no idea!!!  I can't remember what I was thinking at the time.  Is dementia setting in already?

I also meant to show everyone the beautiful gift I got from my secret sister this month.  Her father made me a rolling pin out of black walnut.  It is gorgeous!  I don't really bake, but then again, I wouldn't use it to roll out a pie crust if I did.  I'm trying to figure out where to display it in my kitchen.  He's obviously very talented.

Also my secret sister made me the heart block.  I know from her letters she's married with children and works full time so I really appreciate her taking the time to make me something.

Until next time...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How many left???

I'm now one project down with how many more to go?  I planned once I finished the Scraps to Treasures Challenge that I would turn around and quilt my Crayon Challenge in time for Monday night's guild meeting.  I now know that was just plain crazy...  I haven't done any sewing since I finished it.  I'm still trying to recover from my all nighter and marathon quilting session.  All I really want to do right now is sleep; however, it's only 7:30 pm and I'm going to try to make it another hour or so. LOL

In between stitching, I have managed to snap a few cute pictures.  My subject appears to be mainly David.  Not because I don't try to take pictures of the other pets, but because they won't stay still for them.  Every time I see one of them in a cute pose and turn the camera on, they either run towards it or hide.  Luckily David doesn't appear to care.  (He's very laid back as you can see.)

He's sleeping on top of the quilt I made for Moses (because she won't sleep in the bedroom).  But he's commandeered it for now.  See it even has her name on it.

Here's another picture of David in one of his more common poses.

I do hope to do a little sewing on my Crayon Challenge quilt before tomorrow night.  Then I'll have to get Dennis to help me take a picture as he's my official quilt picture helper...

By the way, I showed Dennis all of the quilts that are in the Scraps to Treasures Challenge.  There are 44 entries this year.  His comment on seeing them all was, "I didn't realize you were that good."  Wasn't that incredibly sweet and funny at the same time?  Of course, he's not the slightest bit biased is he?

Until next time...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I'm finished!!!!

I had to pull an all nighter - which I haven't done since college - but I finished my Scraps to Treasures Challenge quilt.  I can easily say that this quilt has more quilting on it then any other I've done.  I wanted to share a few pictures of it with you before I carry my tired and sore body back to bed.

The challenge was to use at least a 2" square of fabric from each of about 120 different 6" square fabrics we received from participants.  We were allowed to add a certain amount of extra fabric based on complicated calculations.  It also had to be a minimum of 36" x 48" and finished by the time our host awoke this morning.  (We had to email her our pictures.)  Tomorrow the HGTV Quilting & Needlework Forum will have a show of the quilts by all the participants (around 45).  You should stop by and check it out.

I called my quilt "Deconstructed".  Pretty obvious why, huh?

Here's another close up of the quilting on the floor boards and baseboard.  The wall isn't crooked like it appears; that's just from my dear husband holding up.  So leave a comment and let me know what you think...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day!!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing Labor Day today.  We had family over for a cookout and it was such a nice time visiting with them.  The only issue was the weather.  It started to rain about the time Dennis put the meat on the grill.  By the time it was done, it was pouring down and he was drenched.  But we need the rain and are grateful for it.

I've been busy working on my Scraps to Treasures quilt.  It must be done by midnight this Friday - including quilting!  I haven't yet finished the top so I'm cutting it very close.  I'll be putting some serious hours into it the next few days. 

I have a few new pictures I've been wanting to share of David.  This first one is his favorite daytime past time.  He loves to sit staring out the window watching the birds and squirrels, bugs and deer.


This second picture is of his favorite place to nap during the daytime.  (He sleeps with us at night.)  I'll remind you that he'll turn 5 months tomorrow.

He's going to be a very big boy.  Next time, I hope to be able to show my Scraps to Treasures challenge quilt and maybe even my Crayon Challenge quilt as well.  Until then...