Monday, January 30, 2012

Blessed sunshine...

It's been unseasonably warm here in North Carolina this winter.  Today's temperatures were almost 60 degrees and we should hit 70 by Wednesday.  The pets have been taking advantage of the bright spots of sunshine in the house to do some sunbathing (aka napping).

Sam in the sun room.
Jack in the sun room.
David in the living room.
(It's hard to tell, but he's also in a spot of sunshine.)
Gabriel in the bedroom.
Moses is the only one who didn't follow along.  She'd much rather have her privacy than bask in the sun.  She loves napping behind this little pillow.

Moses in the bedroom.
I hope your enjoying some nice weather wherever you are!

Until later...

You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” 
Psalm 16:11 (NLT)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

La Maison...

Guess what?  It's done.  And just in time.  At least the top is.  I've been working hard on my Full House quilt for AYOS (Another Year of Schnibbles).  I had also hoped to have it quilted by the end of the month.  I spent a couple of hours stitching in the ditch, but the free motion work I want to do is going to take longer than a couple of days.  I'm calling mine La Maison, which means 'home' in French.  (Or at least that's what Google Translate told me.)

La Maison Quilt Top
I used 2 charm packs of Pom Pom de Paris to make the houses and gardens and a mystery background fabric I had in my stash.  I had a yard of it and figured that would be enough.  When all was said and done, I only had a few scraps left over.  It was very, very close.

Leftover background fabric
I had to result to some pretty creative cutting to make it work.  I made all of the houses just as Carrie details in the pattern.  Then I deviated from the rest of the pattern and made a bunch of 4 patches for the center.  I was picturing a garden with pathways around the different parts.

The quilt turned out to be 41" square, which I'm hoping will be perfect to hand in my sun room.  All in all, it was an easy and fun pattern to make.  I can't wait to see what they pick for February!

Until later...

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.” 
1 John 4:7 (NLT)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Moving along...

After a wonderful nap today, I found a few spare cycles to spend in my sewing room.  I managed to finish my Full Houses top, but will have to share it in another post.  As usual, I had lots of company with me in there, but unfortunately, I wasn't paying them much attention.  When I turned around, I saw this...

Moses on a quilt
I keep the door shut when I'm not in there for exactly this reason.  They always seem to think a quilt on the frame makes a perfect hammock.  However, they stretch it out and misalign the leaders.  I think I'd better get busy and quilt this, so I can take it off.  No telling how wonky it might end up being now.

In other household news, we've had a bunch of squirrels come looking for food lately, so we've been putting black sunflower seeds out on the deck for them.  The cats are loving watching them from the sun room...

Jack, Moses and David
They have fun watching the squirrels and I have fun watching them!  It's a win, win.

Until later...

The Lord will work out his plans for my life - for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don't abandon me, for you made me. 
Psalm 138:8 (NLT)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Stash Report Week #2 & 3...

January 8 - 21, 2012

This will be short and sweet.  I bought the backing for Winter Wonderland about a week ago.  It's been pieced and is ready for quilting.

Backing Fabric for Winter Wonderland - 4.75 yards
I haven't finished anything, but I'm pretty close to completing the Full House top (no progress on quilting anything though).  It needs to be done by January 31st, so not much time left.

Purchased-this-week: 4.75 yards
Used-this-week: 0 yards
Purchased-to-date: 4.75 yards
Used-to-date: 13.75 yards
Net used: 9 yards

I was feeling rather unproductive until I read today's Scripture.  It was a nice and necessary reminder of God's priorities.  I know the quilting will still be there whenever other things are no longer the focus of my attention.

Until later...

Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive. 
Titus 3:14 (NLT) 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Caution - Construction Work Ahead...

Construction has continued on my little village.  I've now completed 20 of these houses.  I have a layout in mind for them, but have to see if I have enough fabric left over to pull it off.

I used Pom Pom de Paris and I'm liking the flowery reds, yellows and pinks (not my usual style).  I've still got another 11 days to finish this one and hope to continue working on it tomorrow.

Until later...

But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, "The Lord is great!" 
Psalm 40:16 (NLT)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Catching up...

Until I started this post, I had no idea it's been so long since I last blogged.  It's been crazy busy around here lately and I've also been out of town for a few days.  I don't see it slowing down much either in the near future.

I haven't been doing a lot of quilting lately (certainly not finishing any projects), but I have made some forward progress on a few things.  Mostly making backings and basting quilts.  I've been meaning to baste 45 and Life to Go for over a month now and I finally buckled down last week to do it.  I had to move most of the furniture in my quilt room out of the way in order to have enough floor space.  I pinned the backing easily enough, but when I laid out the batting I discovered a problem...

When I purchased the batting, I thought the package said it was 120" square.  Even though I prewashed it, I didn't think it was possible for it to shrink this much.  When I looked again, I saw that it was 102" x 120".  The quilt itself is 109" square, so this just wasn't going to work.  Fortunately I had another package of batting that was the right size that I could use.  After a couple of hours, I had it together...

45 and Life to Go Quilt - now basted
You'll notice there aren't any pins in it.  That's because I used 505 basting spray instead...

This stuff is great!  I was a little nervous to use it on such a large quilt because I've never tried it on such a big project.  It took a little more than a can to baste all the layers together.  I also felt like I'd been sniffing glue when I was done and my nostrils wanted to stick together.  However, by morning, everything was back to normal.

And speaking of basting quilts, I also used the spray to baste this little Valentine's Day quilt.  I used a layer of cotton batting and a layer of wool.  I'm hoping the extra layers will give it a lot of definition once it's quilted.  I still want to finish this one and have it on the wall before February 14th.  (Just under 4 weeks to get it done.)

Here's My Heart
This past weekend, I also managed to piece the backing for Winter Wonderland using the label I made for it earlier...

Backing for Winter Wonderland
I know that I won't get around to quilting this one for at least several months (although I want to do it this year), so I've layered the backing, batting and quilt on a hanger.  Whenever I find the time to quilt it, it's all ready for me to pull out of the closet and either load it on the frame or baste it for use with my regular sewing machine.

Backing, batting and quilt - ready to be quilted
I've also finally started on my Full House quilt for the Another Year of Schnibbles challenge.  (You can read more about it here and here.)  I'm using Pom Pom de Paris for mine and changing up the pattern a little bit.  The houses are going together pretty quickly, but the only picture I have to share right now are of the roofs.

Full House Roofs
This one has to be done by January 31st, so it's high up on my to-do list.

On a non-quilting front, I caught David on the scratching post the other day.  I think it's the first time in 2 years he's paid any attention to it.

David on the scratching post
I think Jack got a little jealous though and had to hone in on the action...

David and Jack
I do have a stash report I need to do and hope to be able to show some houses as well, so hopefully I won't be gone so long this time.  Although with everything going on around here, I'm really finding it a struggle to find time to blog.  Hopefully your days are a little quieter wherever you are!

Until later...

The Lord will work out his plans for my life - for your faithful love, O Lord endures forever. Don't abandon me, for you made me. 
Psalm 138:8 (NLT)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Stash Report Week #1 - A New Beginning...

January 1 - 7, 2011

After hemming and hawing last year about continuing with my stash reports, I've decided to keep going.  I like looking at the numbers (especially when they're positive) and I think they help to restrain me from buying fabric (sometimes).  So here's to a new year!

I tried so hard to finish the Winter Wonderland top last year, but missed it by a couple of days.  On the positive side, that means I get to count the fabric used today.  It's difficult to calculate exactly, because the pattern intends for you to have leftovers, but my best guess is I used 13.75 yards for the top, label and binding...

Winter Wonderland Top and Label
I know I won't get around to quilting this for at least a few months, but I am hoping to find the backing fabric for it this week.  I like to prepare it along with the batting and hang everything together in my closet.  That way when I want to quilt it, everything is ready to go!

Purchased-this-week: 0 yards
Used-this-week: 13.75 yards
Purchased-to-date: 0 yards
Used-to-date: 13.75 yards
Net used: 13.75

Not a bad start to the reporting.  I have several projects on my immediate priority list.  I'd like to finish them all in January, but realize that's completely unrealistic.  Unless I gave up sleeping and eating and everything else.
  • I need to make a sewing hussif for a friend.  It's to be a surprise though, so no pictures.
  • I want to quilt this JoAnn's BOM for my brother-in-law.
  • I want to baste and quilt my 45 and Life to Go quilt.
  • I need to quilt Here's My Heart.  I want to hang it for Valentine's Day so hope to get to this one quickly.
  • I'm joining in on Another Year of Schnibbles this year.  The pattern for January is Full House.  I've got the pattern and think I'm going to use Pom Pom de Paris for it.  This quilt has to be done by the end of the month.
  • Last but not least, I want to finish appliqueing blocks #11 and #12 of Ladies of the Sea.  
So those are my goals for the forseeable future.  They should keep me pretty busy I think.  Hopefully, your new year is off to a great start as well!

Until later...

Let them praise your great and awesome name. Your name is holy! 
Psalm 99:3 (NLT)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Take #6?

My Christmas present came in the mail a couple of days ago.  I've been eagerly awaiting it's arrival.  It's a new iron, a Digital Velocity V100.  I consider myself sort of a connoisseur of irons.  This is at least my 6th new iron since I've started quilting (which was only 7 or 8 years ago).  It's not that I've picked bad irons.  I've actually bought some wonderful (and expensive) irons over the years.  At one point I had an Oliso iron; you know the one that raises and lowers automatically.  It was a pretty good iron.  Nice steam and easy to use.  It lasted about a year.

Most recently I've been using a Rowenta iron (made in Germany).  It's been a great iron as well.  It's has awesome steam capabilities and is a very, very heavy iron.  Some people might not like that feature, but I personally love the extra weight.  Between that and the steam, I find my seams lie flatter and my quilting is just overall better.  Again this one lasted almost a year before it too started to leak.

I understand that leaking or spitting is a common complaint among iron owners.  I've been careful to use the right kind of water (purified in this case) and to care for it as the directions state.  In my case, it's not the manufacturers fault that mine start leaking.  Actually, this is the real culprit...

David on my sewing machine
He's a 22 lb behemoth who has repeatedly knocked over my ironing board (and hence my iron).  Of course, I can't place all the blame on him.  Some of it belongs to this one...

As well as this one...

The only one I can't blame is Sam and that's because she can't jump that high.  My Rowenta still works pretty well, but I can only fill it a third full or it starts pouring water out on my fabric.  So I'm constantly filling it.  It also doesn't seem to stay as hot as it used to.  I considered buying another Rowenta, but read some awesome reviews about the Digital Velocity irons from here and here.

I wouldn't have considered buying another expensive iron if it weren't for the new ironing board I have.  My dear husband built it for me for my last birthday.  In the 7 months I've had it, the cats haven't even come close to knocking it over.  This baby is as steady as a rock.

My 'New' Ironing Board
I'm so confident that it's solved my problem that I've invested in what I hope will be my final iron (or at least for many, many years to come).

Digital Velocity V100 Iron
I bought my iron from Kelly Jackson at I Have A Notion.  I have to stop for a moment and just say what amazing customer service she has.  She matched a cheaper price I found elsewhere, shipped it immediately and included several extras in the package.  She's just an all around pleasure to deal with!

So back to the iron...  I carefully read the instructions before using it.  I knew ahead of time that this one recommended using distilled water (something they say not to use in a Rowenta), so I bought a couple of jugs in preparation.  This iron holds 1.8 cups of water, so much more than any other iron I've ever had.

Water jug for the iron
I didn't have anything in particular to work on, so I made a label for a quilt.  I have to say it was a pleasure to iron with.  My points came out really sharp in no small part due to the pressing.

Winter Wonderland Label
Overall, I'm very impressed with it.  Although not as heavy as my Rowenta, it has enough weight to press seams flat.  It also generates a lot of steam and I love that I didn't have to refill it even once.  Time will tell how it holds up, but so far I'm very happy with my investment.

Until later...

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 
Hebrews 13:8 (NLT)

Friday, January 6, 2012

And it's done!

This is such an exciting finish for me and technically it's not even done!  I've finally put the last stitch in my Winter Wonderland quilt top.  Last I left it, I needed to make 34 HST units.  I cut all of the fabrics I needed, but before sewing them I decided I needed to organize the remaining fabrics first.

Leftover fabrics from Winter Wonderland
Don't they look so pretty bundled together?  I probably have enough to make another small quilt with them and I have just the one in mind.  After cleaning my mess up, I got down to the business of making those HST's.  I used triangle paper to make the 3" finished units and they went together lickity split!

Sewing the HST's
It was only after I starting cutting them apart that I realized I had made twice as many as I needed.  Duh!  But as you'll see later, I managed to find a use for a lot of them.  Here are all 64 blocks...

Final blocks needed for this quilt
Now I could start assembling the borders.  There are 34 blocks in the borders as well as the HST's.  I'm so glad I labeled each block as I made it with it's placement.  Otherwise, it would have taken me forever to figure out where they went.

Assembling the borders
Everything fit together so well with this one.  That isn't always the case.  It didn't take too long to finish assembling it.  This quilt is 64" x 71".  Looking back through my previous posts, I think I started working on it in early September 2010.  So has definitely taken a while, but I think it was totally worth all the time and effort!

Winter Wonderland Quilt Top
One of my goals is to get it quilted before another year passes.  I have no idea how to quilt it yet, but am open to suggestions?

Closeup of the stitching
As for some of the leftover HST's, I was able to use them in the label.  I also had an extra embroidered block that I put in the middle...

Label for Winter Wonderland
The label finishes at 15" square, so it's a large one.  Once I have the quilt quilted, I'll add all the information to the block.  I've already made the binding for this quilt as well, so all I need to do is find a backing fabric.

Sam kept me company while I finished this one up.  She's probably my best sewing companion as she's content to take a nap while I work.  Doesn't she perfectly match the quilt she's lying on?

I love her many poses...

Until later...

Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. 
Proverbs 3:6 (NLT)

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 - A wrap up...

I thought it would be a great idea to do a post detailing the things I accomplished (quilting wise) in 2011.  I did one last year and it was so nice to see pictures of everything together.  I finished 35 projects - 27 completely and 8 tops.  That's much more than I would have thought.  So here's my year in review...

Stargazing, Nestled in the Branches, Table Topper and Hootville
Twisted Rope, Pincushion, Rope Bowl, Pillowcases
Roll-up Shades, Ironing Board, Star Crossed and Man Cave
Hodgepodge, Grace, Connections and Baby Blocks
Dilly Dallying Around, Around the Block, Orange Sherbert and Holly Jolly
More Pillowcases, Harmony, Winter Wonderland and Splash 
Note: Winter Wonderland wasn't done at this point.  I just needed a 4th picture.  Although as of last night, the top is done.  Yeah!

I also finished 4 projects for the group I'm in called 'The Twelve of Us'.

Quilted Greeting Cards, Star Bright, Under the Sea and Peonies
The following are quilt tops that I've finished this year.  Most of them don't have names yet though.

And finally, I finished all of the applique blocks for my Baltimore Halloween quilt.  It's taken me almost 3 years to get to this point.  I'm hoping to get the top completed the first quarter of this year and have it quilted by Halloween.

All 13 applique blocks for Baltimore Halloween
So that's my year in review.  I'm not expecting to be as productive-  numbers wise - this year.  My goal is to get some quilts made for our bed (king-size) and those will take a lot longer to make.  But above all, I really just want to enjoy the process from beginning to end!  

Until later...
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun. 
2 Cor. 5:17 (NLT)