Saturday, March 31, 2012

Child's Play...

Whew!  I didn't think I would make it, but with only about an hour to spare, I've finished March's Schnibbles project.  In case you haven't heard, Sherri and Sinta are hosting Another Year of Schnibbles and this month's selection was Bibelot by Carrie Nelson.  I wasn't sure if I'd be able to participate this month, but after seeing so many beautiful quilts made from this pattern, I made time.  I used 2 Charm Packs of ZaZa by Erin Michaels and some white Kona cotton for my version.

Fabrics for my Bibelot quilt
When I make a quilt and pick out the fabrics, I have to know who I'm making it for.  Seeing the bright primary colors in these Charm Packs, I decided this would make a great quilt to donate to Project Linus.  I separated the fabrics into their color groups and then pondered possible layout options.

Fabrics separate by color family.
After fiddling around with various options in EQ7, I landed on this one.  It's still a 7 x 7 layout like in the pattern, but I left off the white sashing that Carrie added to her blocks.  I just really liked the secondary pattern that emerged without it.

Block layout I finally decided on.
I had to do a little math to get the inner and outer border to work out (which I loved doing) because the center of my quilt is a bit smaller than the pattern.  I also decided to add a third border to make the quilt a better size for a child.  I found this deep purple Moda Marbles flannel in my stash that coordinates well with the center.  (I know it looks more blue than purple in the picture, but it really is a deep purple.)

My finished Bibelot quilt.
I've decided to call this quilt Child's Play.  It just seems so appropriate.  It finishes at 48" square and I'm hoping to get it quilted and delivered in short order.  I have another quilt already on the quilting frame, but this one will go on next.

As usual in our household, I had lots of help making this quilt.  Sam took her customary Supervisor role (on the back of the couch), David 'helped' with the piecing and Moses 'assisted' with the block layout.

Moses helping with block placement.
I was really surprised at how quickly this quilt went together.  From beginning to end it was only a couple of days - maybe 8 hours total.  I'm so glad I took the time to make it and hope I can continue to keep up with the monthly challenge.  That being said, I can't wait to see what they pick for April!

Until later...

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 
1 Timothy 2:1 (NLT)

Friday, March 30, 2012

La Maison - A wrap up...

I can hardly believe that today is March 30th and I've just finished my first quilt for the year.  I've made a couple of quilt tops, but this is the first one I've managed to actually get quilted.  This is the January Schnibbles quilt from Another Year of Schnibbles.  I'm calling mine La Maison.

La Maison Quilt
The quilt is based on the pattern Full House by Carrie Nelson.  I used 2 charm packs of Pom Pom de Paris  and changed the layout a bit.  I finished the top in January, but I've easily spent many more times quilting it than I did piecing it.  After stitching in the ditch, I quilted cobblestones where I pictured pathways.  That step took anywhere from 10 to 15 hours, but I love the effect of it.

Quilting the cobblestones
After finishing those, I quilted flowers in each of the 4-patches.  I traced the flower design onto quilting paper and quilted over it.

Quilting flowers in the flower beds.
A lot of the quilting is easier to see from the back of the quilt...

Back of the quilt
Next, I added chimneys to some of the houses and quilted the roofs.  I also added door knobs and a few windows.

Back of the quilt showing chimneys, roofs and door knobs.
The final step was the feather border around the outside.  I recently purchased one of the new Frixion pens from my local quilt store.  After trying it on scrap fabric, I used it to mark the feathers.  I drew them free hand and then quilted right on the lines.  Afterwards, I ironed over it and the pen disappeared.  It was so easy that I'll definitely be using this pen again!

Drawn feather border and the pen.
I knew if I put the extra time into quilting this, I would be happy I did when I finally finished.  And I am.  Now that it's done, I can say it was definitely worth it.  (But I'm also very glad to be done with it.)

So, here are the stats for this quilt:
  • Size: 40" square
  • Fabrics: 2 Charm Packs of Pom Pom de Paris, a mystery solid for the sashing, Basic Grey red grunge print for the backing and binding
  • Batting: Warm &White
  • Thread: Aurifil (piecing), YLI #100 silk thread for quilting the top and Aurifil in the bobbin
  • Pattern: Full House by Carrie Nelson
  • Quilting: Custom
  • Started: January 2012
  • Completed: March 30, 2012
  • Recipient: Hanging in my sun room
Mr. Quilting Bug was sweet enough to hang this for me today.  The colors go perfectly with the walls and furniture in our sun room.  Did I mention how happy I am to have finished this?

Until later...

Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. 
Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fun mail (and a small rant)...

I got a fun package in the mail the other day.  I recently won a giveaway over at Sinta's blog, The Pink Pincushion.  I don't often win prizes, but I'm always grateful and excited when I do.  She was giving away several patterns because she found she had already purchased them.  Have you ever done that?  I know I've done it several times with fabric.  But I figure it just means I really, really liked it!

Giveaway package from Sinta
My favorite of the patterns is 'Forget Me Not' by The Cotton Way.  I want to dig through my stash and see what fabrics I have that will work for it.

And now for my rant.  Has anyone else noticed a sharp decline in the US Postal Service?  In the past six months, I've had more problems with them than in the previous 10 years combined.  For example, this is the way Sinta's package arrived at my house...

I'm grateful nothing fell out of it.  I've also had the following problems recently:

  1. A Priority Mail package mailed from North Carolina to Wisconsin took 14 days to arrive.
  2. A First Class letter mailed in-state from 2.5 hours away took 11 days to arrive.
  3. A First Class letter again mailed in-state to 3 hours away took 8 days to arrive.  
  4. A Priority Mail package mailed from North Carolina to Florida took 27 days to be delivered.
I imagine the decline in service is the result of necessary cutbacks, but I wonder how much worse it will get and if at some point, they'll have to close down.   I remember as a child hearing their 'motto' of "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."  I used to think so highly of this venerable institution and it's just a shame that their reputation has fallen so far.

Until later...

Johannes Kepler, the famous mathematician and astronomer, once said, “Science is simply thinking God’s thoughts after him.”

Friday, March 23, 2012

A bit of a break...

I know it's been a while since I've posted.  For those who've sent me emails, thanks for thinking of me.

For the last month or so, I've been struggling with clusters of migraine headaches that have kept me from doing too much.  I'm praising God though that they're becoming less frequent.  I also have some new medication that will hopefully help prevent them in the future.  It hasn't all been dark rooms and cold compresses though, I also spent several wonderful days visiting my family.

While I was away visiting, my niece took upon herself to clean out the keyboard on my laptop.  She's only 8, but she had seen me do it on a previous visit.  She grabbed some toothpicks and went to town.  I'm a little embarrassed to share this, but hey, what are friends for!

Cat hair from the keyboard
What's more embarrassing is that she got all that from under the Enter key.  I usually use the laptop while sitting in a recliner in Mr. Quilting Bug's office and my lap almost always has a cat in it.  I type on the keyboard with one hand and pet the cats with the other.  Hence all the hair stuck in the keys.  Does anyone have a better solution for taking care of this?

Over the last couple of weeks, I've mentally been planning any number of posts.  Hopefully, I'll actually get around to typing some of them up soon.

Until later...

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 
James 1:12 (NLT)

Monday, March 12, 2012

B is for Bells...

I just finished my second snowman block.  This one went fast, because I unexpectedly found myself with a lot of leisure time this week to work on it.

Snowmen A to ZZZZ  "B" Block
It was another fun one to stitch.  The pattern is "Snowmen A to ZZZZ" by Crabapple Hill Studios.  Next up are some some Candy Canes!

I caught David taking a nap earlier.  Don't you just want to reach out and rub that belly?  It's honestly just as soft as it looks...

David Napping
Until later...

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. 
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival 2012 - Machine Quilting...

I'm skipping my stash report this week, because, let's face it, the numbers haven't changed!  Perhaps next week I'll finish something.

Instead, I thought I'd share with you some more of my favorite quilts from the Hampton quilt show.  This time I'll show you the ones that impressed me with their quilting.  I'm certainly not at this level and don't know that I ever will be (probably not), but I can fantasize about it!

This first one won a blue ribbon for 'Best Machine Workmanship' in the Innovative category.

'Persistence' by Karen Kielmeyer
The quilt itself is fairly large at 85.5" square and the pattern is simple enough.  It leaves large open areas for the machine quilting and that's where it shines!

'Persistence' - closeup of the quilting
Does anyone else wonder how long it takes someone to do this much quilting?  I'm guessing she has a long-arm, although Diane Gaudynski can do some pretty amazing quilting on a domestic machine.

More closeups of the quilting on 'Persistence'
The next quilt that I was really impressed with won a blue ribbon for 'Best Machine Workmanship' in the Traditional category.  It's called 'Me and My Shadow' by Gail Stepanek and Ronda Beyer.

'Me and My Shadow' by Gail Stepanek & Ronda Beyer
This is another large quilt at 83" square.  I may have taken more pictures of this quilt than any other, just because there was so much to see in the machine quilting.

'Me and My Shadow' closeup
Another closeup of 'Me and My Shadow'
I would imagine that all of that cross-hatching would take quite a while.  Yet again I wonder how long it took to quilt the whole thing?

Final closeup of 'Me and My Shadow'
This next quilt won 2nd place in the Traditional category.  I have to admit that I'm partial to gradated fabrics and love seeing them used in a quilt.  (Do any of you remember Ted Storm-van Weelden's quilt 'Spring of Desire'?  It won Paducah in 2008 and was just amazing!)

'Magic of the Rose' by Kristin Vierra, Joan Waldman,
Gloria Miller, Marie Clark & Sandi Kosch
This was also a quilt where I was impressed by both the applique and the quilting.

Center of 'Magic of the Rose'
I don't think you can tell from the pictures, but there were hundreds of crystals on this quilt too.  I've lightened these next pictures a bit so you can hopefully see the quilting better.

Machine quilting on 'Magic of the Rose'
The quilting motifs here are really appropriate to the quilt.

Another closeup of the quilting on
'Magic of the Rose'
The last quilt I wanted to share here didn't win an award, but was still impressive to me.  It's called 'A Truly Feathered Star' by Karen Sievert.

'A Truly Feathered Star' by Karen Sievert
It's obvious on some of these quilts that they were designed to leave large spaces for quilting.  I have never planned a quilt that way!  Although I admire the work on these quilts, I find it rather intimidating.  I also enjoy piecing and applique much more than the quilting.  That being said, I'd love to find the time, energy and patience to make one that way.  Or perhaps come into a fortune so I could pay someone to do it for me...

Closeup of 'A Truly Feathered Star'
This is another quilt that had beads all over it.  I'm not sure how they were attached, but it had to have taken quite a while.

Another closeup of 'A Truly Feathered Star'
Final closeup of 'A Truly Feathered Star'
Hopefully you haven't been bored with these posts about the quilt show, because I actually have a couple more to share with you (sometime in the near future).  I'm also slowly working on some quilty things of my own.  Perhaps I'll even finish one this week!  Fingers crossed.

Until later...

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 
Romans 12:18 (NLT)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival 2012...

After a couple of years of missing this show, I finally made it back to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, Va.  I enjoy going to this show; it's a nice size and only about 3 hours away from me.

When I first started going to quilt shows, I'd take pictures of every quilt there.  Now I'm much more selective and photograph only those that speak to me in some way.  That's not to say that those I didn't take pictures of aren't beautiful and worthy of winning, my tastes just run a little different these days.  I also found that even though I didn't take pictures of every quilt, I still managed to get quite a few.  So I'm going to break this up into several smaller posts - grouping 'like' quilts.

This first group showcase some of my favorites.  Basically because I'm an animal lover.  With 4 cats and a dog, I have to be!  I'd love to have this quilt hanging in my house.  It didn't win any awards, but was definitely Viewer's Choice for me...

'Caught in the Act' by Barbara McKie
This quilt is 29" x 32.5" and is "disperse dyed digital print, thread painted, trapunto relief, machine appliqued and machine quilted."

'Caught in the Act' closeup
Don't you think this cat looks a lot like my Jack?

My kitty Jack
I also found this donkey quilt quite captivating.  It looks like you can reach out and pet them (although I've heard that they bite?)

'Look Who's Coming' by Deborah H. Droog
This next quilt won a blue ribbon for 'Best Use of Color' in the Innovative category.  (I don't know if I just haven't been that observant, but there seemed to be a lot of ribbons for categories I didn't know existed.)  I think she did a fantastic job of displaying the squirrels.

'The Squirrel's Speech' by Barbara McKie
Would you believe I only just realized while writing this post that the cat quilt and squirrel cat are both made by Barbara McKie?  I definitely like her style.  This one is 63.25" square and is "machine pieced and quilted with hand-dyed cotton and disperse dyed fabrics."

'The Squirrel's Speech' closeup
The last animal quilt I'm going to show today is more whimsical than the others, but I think it's bright and a lot of fun.

'Rare Birds' by Rachel Wetzler
In her description, Rachel says "Rare Birds caricatures my quilt critique group."  It is machine pieced, machine appliqued and machine quilted.  What a cute quilt and so well done!

'Rare Birds' closeup
One of the things I found myself paying close attention to in all the quilts was the machine quilting.  I think because I have so many tops I need to quilt myself.  It's amazing how intricate and detailed the quilting is on most of them.  Next time I'll show some of my favorite machine quilting from this show.  When I grow up, I hope to one day be half as good as they are!

Until later...

Truth, wisdom, learning, and good sense—these are worth paying for, but too valuable for you to sell.” 
Proverbs 23:23 (TEV)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A is for Angel...

I've been slowly puttering along on a new project.  One I'm doing along with my mom.  Not that we're working on the quilt together, but rather we're each making our own version.  It's called Snowmen A to ZZZZ and the pattern is by Crabapple Hill Studios.  The cover quilt is made in some light pastel colors, but after I saw it done in redwork I really fell in love with it.  (I wish I knew where I got this picture from so I could give proper credit, but I saved it off to my computer years ago.)

An unknown quilter's version of the pattern
I'm doing my embroidery in black, while my mom is going with blue.  So far, I've finished the first block, which also happens to be the largest one (in terms of dimension not the amount of embroidery).

'A is for Angel'  - first embroidery block
I'm using perle cotton #8 for the embroidery, which is slightly thicker than I'm used to.  All the stitches are done using a simple backstitch...

Closeup of stitching

These blocks are fun to work on at night and don't require a lot of concentration.  It also seems to go a lot quicker than my hand applique!

Closeup of stitching
For some reason the pictures look pretty dark to me, but the embroidery is on a bright cream colored background and shows up well in person.  I've already started on the 'B' block, but I know this is going to be another long term project (at least a year).  I'm OK with that though.  I'm sure I'll be just as pleased with this quilt as I was with it's predecessor...

Winter Wonderland Quilt
Mr. Quilting Bug left a notebook on the table and Jack decided that's where she needed to sit.  Why do cats do that?

Until later...

We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer. 
Proverbs 16:1 (NLT)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Stash Report Week #8...

February 26 - March 3, 2012

This week saw some movement in my stash - both incoming and outgoing.

On the addition side, my local quilt store had a Leap Day sale where you could use your 40% off JoAnn's coupon on one cut of fabric.  I used mine to buy 4 yards of this pink grunge fabric by Basic Grey.  It'll be great for a future backing.

4 yards of Basic Grey by Moda
I have to admit to being tempted by a few other fabrics recently, but thus far I've held off on buying more.  My stash is so large, that I really don't need it.

I finally finished a project this week too.  It's the February Schnibbles project.  I'm calling mine The Night's Sky.  I changed the pattern some and think I used 2.75 yards for the top.

Completed quilt top
I also made some HST's (half square triangles) for another project, but won't count them until the top is done.  Other than that, not much sewing going on over here.  I am hopeful that I can get back to quilting La Maison  this week and potentially even finish it!

HST's for a mystery project
Purchased-this-week: 4 yards
Used-this-week: 2.75 yards
Purchased-to-date: 9.5 yards
Used-to-date: 20.25 yards
Net used: 10.75 yards

This time last year, I had already purchased 42.5 yards, so I'm feeling pretty good about that number.  Of course, I'm using a lot less than last year too.

The cats are still enjoying their fort, although I think it's about time for us to take it down.  They have plenty of other toys to play with so I'm sure they won't miss it.

Jack coming out of the fort
Until later...

'Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.' 
Colossians 3:15