Monday, December 26, 2011

A quilt for a friend

I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday.  After hearing that one of his friends was having a tough time, my son and I decided it would be fun to work together to make her a quilt. We pulled several fabrics from my stash and these are the blocks we came up with. They still need some arranging but we are well on the way.  The picture isn't very good cause I am trying to post using my new tablet (a great Christmas gift if I could figure out how to use it).

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Missing in action!

 The craziness of the season caused a minor quilting scare late last week.  I had a few extra minutes and thought I would do a little applique on this block for my quilt based on Chinese embroideries.  I had forgotten to bring my silk applique threads home with me after my son's surgery, so when he arrived here for the holidays I was itching to stitch.  Horror of horrors, the quilt block was nowhere to be found!  I spent much of a day looking in all my bins of fabric (and trust me there is a lot of it) and even resorted to calling my SIL who had been here in late Oct. to see if she had scooped it up by mistake.  I was pretty distraught cause I didn't think I had enough of the fabric used in the flower to fussy cut the petals again.  But as often happens, another idea of where to look came to me in my sleep and I woke up ready to look again.  Sure enough I found it folded inside some backing fabric that I had been auditioning recently. It was a relief to find it but I think sometimes I am going crazy, misplacing stuff even though I try to stay organized.

I finished the block today and am so happy that I found it cause I love the way the lotus turned out.  Only one more block before I need to figure out borders.  I love the Christmas projects but it is nice to get back to other projects.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas presents

This week my little sewing group had our Christmas get together and we exchanged gifts. I made these little owl pincushions and matching needlecases.  It was so much fun putting the fabric together and making these that I may have to make one for myself.

And here are the lovely things I received. A wonderful handmade ornament (looking forward to the tutorial for this one), a personalized pot holder is not only quilted but embroidered too and a cute little snowman plate. Thanks ladies for these treats and especially your friendship.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The final snowmen and more hand quilting

As I was stashing away some Christmas gifts today I realized that I had snowmen quilty things in yet another room.  This little pillow was made many years ago for my youngest son's bedroom. I believe the snowman pattern came from a Thimbleberries Christmas book.  Now he has a perfect winter home in our tiny guest room.

 And here is the quilt on the bed in the same room.  This is about the only bedroom that always has a quilt on the bed, which I change often.  Sorry you can't really see the quilt, I'll have to get a better picture. :)

 Snowman Country is quilted, embellished and bound and now hanging in the guest room awaiting the arrival of the youngest son.  I wonder if he will remember making those snowmen on the bed when he was in elementary school.  They were projects we made during Christmas craft day in 2nd and 3rd grade.  One year we made the pillows, the next the little beanie baby to match.  I cut and sewed all the fleece snowmen and had the kids stuff and sew the opening closed.  I also cut all the noses and black circles and scarves and they then just had to glue on the faces and buttons and tie on the scarf.  I did this for 3 classes, so about 60 kids.  Hard to believe now but I really miss those days!!!

I know I've shown this one before but I can't resist showing it once again.  I love hand quilting this during the holidays, not a Christmas quilt but it says Christmas to me.  I'm starting to move around the edges but still a long way to go.  Maybe a finish by next year!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Two more for Christmas

This weekend I whipped up this little snowman wallhanging for my powder room.  I have something a little more elegant planned for this room but since there is not enough time to get that finished for this year I decided to go with something a little more whimsical.  The needleturned Snowman design is adapted from a block from "Snowbound" which was Bunnyhill's 2010 BOM.  I pieced the little red and white checked border cause I didn't have a red and white stripe fabric and love how it turned out. I went with very little quilting, partly to let the fabric speak for itself and mostly cause I was lazy and just wanted it finished fast! Looking at it in this picture it almost looks like a panel, oh dear is that a good or a bad thing?

And here is one that I forgot about when I was taking pictures around my house. I made this a few years ago and can't find the pattern.  It is fused and then buttonhole stitched by hand and again not much quilting.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Quilter's Home at Christmas

 I've so enjoyed seeing everyone's Christmas decor that I thought I would give you a little tour of my home decorated with quilts this Christmas.  This one on the couch is made from leftover scraps from the Christmas quilt over the fireplace, as is the pillow.  But the quilt really lives on the ottoman shown below as a cover from the crazy Yorkshire terrier who bosses us around and who loves to scratch and destroy stuff.
 I've shown this one before but now the mantel is complete.

 Here is our little woodland display on the top of the entertainment unit.  I always have quilts folded on the shelf but I think I need to make a red and white quilt to add here.

And here is the view into the dining room. It isn't a Christmas quilt there but the colors work and the stripes sorta read Christmas candy cane to me.

See that Christmas tree quilt on the back of the chair. It is one of my very early quilts, probably around 1987 and one of my first machine quilting projects.  And next to it in the basket is the red and green Whig Rose that I am currently hand quilting.  I love how these old and new projects work together.

 This is in my kitchen. Again not a Christmas quilt but I did make it to use at Christmas time.  It is called Ruby Red Dots and the book is still available.  But on the chair a tiny Christmas pillow from the late 80's.  Back then I also made lots of Santas and there is one on the table that is made with fabric that was stiffened and then painted.

Here is a 4 ft. stuffed Santa made sometime in the early 90s.

 And a couple more.  I made the one with the little teddy bear when I was living in England in 1986. He is probably the first one I made and I made a different Santa every year for several years.

 I didn't make this one, he is a little fellow from my husband's childhood and my husband's uncle made the sleigh.  I haven't really seen all this stuff for a few years because life got in the way of our normal Christmas celebrations. I am enjoying the memories that all these things bring back.

   Oh and this wouldn't be a tour of a quilter's home at Christmas without seeing what most quilter's really see this time of year.

The mess of the season!

Happy Stitching

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Snowmen top complete

I finished the Snowman Country top today and I am really happy with how it turned out.  Using the white as sashing really seemed to brighten it up and somehow makes it look a bit more modern.  Unfortunately I haven't got enough of any one fabric for a backing so I will have to put my thinking cap on for a pieced back. I'm really trying hard to use fabric in my stash these days and so far I haven't bought anything new for this one, but I have a pretty big stash so I shouldn't have any trouble coming up with something!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The snowmen are home

 Finally the snowmen and I are home and as I had hoped they are all ready to be put together.

These have been fun and quick. Just the thing for the past week.

And here they are all up on the design wall awaiting sashing.
The original pattern called for scrappy sashing with cornerstones in a different color and my original intent when I started was to have black sashing, made with many different fabrics and then red corner stones.  But seeing it up on the design wall I like this lighter look and have decided to go in a different direction.  Can't wait to get started cutting to see how it turns out.  Sometimes you just have to listen to the quilt!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Snowman Country continues

Here are a few more of the blocks from "Snowman Country" that I have been working on during my son's recovery.
 Thanks to everyone who sent good thoughts and kind words.  His surgery went well and he is progressing nicely.  This surgery involved bone grafting and moving more teeth. His jaw was crushed in a car accident 2 years ago and he has is still missing his 4 upper front teeth.  Doctors are working on improving his bite and preparing him for implants, hopefully in a few months. 
 Another holiday of soft foods and lots of cooking for me to keep his weight up.  It is very difficult for him to eat, nothing that needs to be bitten into and with a poor bite, lots of easy chew foods.  I've become a creative cook, using lots of ground meats, mashed potatoes and pasta, soups and stews and these trips keep me pretty busy.  But I've still had plenty of time for some hand sewing and I am happy with how this little snowman quilt is turning out.
Sorry that these  2 photos are sideways, not sure why or how to fix them but you get the idea.
Hope to be heading home tomorrow and to have this put together soon. I really enjoy working on Bunnyhill patterns, so easy and fun and a change from my more "serious" work and during this busy holiday season its good to have something relaxing at my fingertips.

Happy Stitching to all!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Snowmen for the road

 For Thanksgiving next week I am headed out of town to be with my youngest son while he undergoes another surgery, so I've been prepping some handwork to take.  Since I want it to be easy and happy work, I decided on this "Snowman Country" pattern by Bunny Hill Designs that I have had lying around for awhile.  I couldn't resist sewing this first block (still needs embroidery) and starting the second.

But at this rate I'd have them done before I leave so I'll just prep the rest for now.  Hopefully this will be a fun and festive little distraction between my cooking and nursing duties!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A quilt for charity

Since I am busy sewing Christmas gifts (which must remain secret for now)  here is a photo of the quilt that my Quilt Guild is sewing for charity.  It will be given to the charity (which I can't remember the name of) to auction off this spring and we all hope that it raises lots of money.  We had another sewing day this past Sunday and finished all the blocks, about 104 of them!  It is amazing what you can do with 15 - 20 people and 2 days of sewing.  My task for the day was sewing curved seams so I had the pleasure of finishing blocks and it was amazing seeing them come together.  Sorry for the quality of the photo, I barely left my chair all day as I was having so much fun sewing and chatting.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Back to Stitching

Well I'm back to stitching on the hexagon quilt.  As you can see the hexagons are complete and they are pinned to the medallion center ready to be appliqued down.

And the applique on my Pickled Lilies quilt is about half done too.  Later today I will be doing more foundation piecing on the charity quilt that my guild is making so that should get me all set to tackle piecing the border for this one.  The Christmas decorating is almost complete and while I'd like to be working on these projects I think its time to start thinking about gifts to make!

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's begining to look a lot like Christmas

So here is what I have been up to this week.  Not much sewing but the 12 ft. Christmas tree is assembled, lit and decorated.  Oh and the new Christmas quilt is hung over the fireplace.  I know, its crazy early but once again we will be helping our son recover after surgery at Thanksgiving and I want everything done before then.
I've mentioned before that we have had some difficult times over the last few years and today is the 2 year anniversary of our son's near fatal car accident.  So, in 2009 the holidays were  in hospital and last Christmas he had a difficult jaw surgery.  Unfortunately he needs a 6th oral/jaw surgery done this Thanksgiving but we are just so grateful that he is alive and has had a miraculous recovery otherwise, that we look forward to a real celebration this Christmas.  And part of that is making our home extra festive looking.  Let the decorating continue!
Oh and you may notice the unusual tree topper staring down. I'll be adding more woodland decorations to the tree and putting this fellow on the top of the tree just seemed right!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Eek, curved piecing

Oh my goodness putting this center together was certainly out of my comfort zone!  I've never really wanted to make a Double Wedding Ring quilt and didn't quite understand how they went together so putting these together was quite the challenge.  I worked in some frustration yesterday but things seemed a bit better today after looking at a few tutorials online.  But then it wasn't flat. I followed the instructions and measured the center for the border measurement but man there sure was a lot of easing to make those last borders fit. Well, things seem a bit flatter now.  If I didn't love how this looks in my kitchen I think I would give up but at least the next part is applique and that I know how to do!  Despite my complaining I am enjoying this one and learning lots of new skills.  Who knew that the foundation piecing would be the easy part!!!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Foundation piecing phobia

A few years ago I made this New York Beauty after taking a class on foundation paper piecing.  I enjoyed the class and scurried home and made this quilt in the next few days while I still had the technique fresh in my mind.  Unfortunately I completely forgot what I did to make this thing and have had a foundation piecing phobia ever since. This past week I got together with several members of my guild to make a quilt for a charity to auction as a fundraiser.  I was horrified/delighted to discover we were foundation piecing a really complicated quilt! Actually it turned out to be a great refresher course and I had lots of fun. So once again I scurried home to practice.
 So, while I still know what I am doing, I started on this quilt that I have wanted to make for years.  It is a pattern by Chris Jurd that appeared in a 2008 copy of  "Down Under Quilts" .  I had all the fabric picked, the foundations copied to velum and was ready to go.
And voila, I have made some Pickle Dish arcs.  I am so proud of myself and love how it looks.  Lots more to do so maybe this time the "how to" will sink in.  
And last, but not least, here is a giveaway win from the Ghastlies blog hop.  This was a prize from Barb of Bejeweled by Barb.  I was so excited to receive the cute little bag and the piece of Ghastlie fabric.  None of my LQSs carry this fabric and I can't wait to use it in something fun.  Thanks Barb.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hexie update and more

Wow, I can't believe it has been a week since I posted, but as you can see I'm still working away on my hexie medallion quilt.  The applique center is all finished and I am happy with my first foray into Broderie Perse.

Here are more hexagons sewn together. Still a few more to go but I have so many hexie flowers sewn together and cut out that I'm thinking that I may have to use them in a border too.

 For 3 days last week my sister-in-law and brother-in-law from Texas were here for a visit. She is also a quilter so we had fun shopping the local quilt stores and making these cute little butterflies for their new baby grandchild who is due to be born any time now.  It is to be a girl and we had fun making these to hang in her room.  Since I have no little girls in my life, I sent the pattern home with her and can't remember the pattern name.
I was delighted with this Dutch fabric that my SIL brought for me.  She lives near the quilt store "Happiness is Quilting" in McKinney, TX which, I believe, is the only American shop that carries this fabric.  I'm thinking that I need to order the panel now that I have seen this in person. 
Happy Stitching to all.

Monday, October 24, 2011

My favorite sewing bag

 Since I am still working away on my hexies and appliquing the medallion I thought I would share my favorite sewing bag.  This is the "Victoria" bag by Sue Spargo.  The center front is done in wool applique, but I must admit I did change a few of the applique shapes from the original.  I love this bag cause it seems to go with everything that I wear and is a perfect size. I often take it to quilt guild and I swear people recognize this bag more than they do me!  Kinda like how my husband knows our neighbors by their cars.
These are some of the sewing accessories that I use with the bag.  My DS sent me the little pincushion and the nametag is actually a pin-on needlecase that I made at an applique retreat.  That polka dot thing is a thread catcher that folds up and the flower covered thing is a wool appliqued sewing case.  And I love having a matching zippered pouch to hold threads and misc. stuff and this one was just whipped up with leftovers from the bag.  I've been using this bag for about a year now and I'm starting to get the itch to make something new, but I don't know, I still LOVE this bag!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Back to Applique

 I've been out of town for a few days and was able to spend lots of time with my hexies but yesterday I was itching to get the appliqued medallion prepped for stitching.  Picking out the fabrics and watching an applique piece come together is probably my favorite part of quilting and I can really lose myself.  I finally decided to use these 3/4" flowers in a variation of the "Aunt Sarah" quilt in the Quilt Mania magazine No. 82.  I did change the medallion slightly and decided to try Broiderie perse (now I just know I spelled that wrong) with the flowers.  I love how it looks and can't wait to see it all appliqued.  As you can see I have glued up the whole block and have started stitching using the needleturn method.  I know it is a bit unconventional to glue everything down first, but it works for me!
Here is an idea of how it will look with the hexagons added.  Again I changed this from the pattern, eliminating the bottom row of hexagons to keep it more square. Yay, its half done.

Just for fun I put some half square triangles on the design wall to help me get thinking about some borders.  The pattern just has a straight border to finish off the quilt but I want to add a little more interest.  These triangles are left overs from another project, actually throw aways, and I am excited to think that I can use them for this project. I have about 300 of these and I am liking this so far.
Finally, here is the little pin cushion I made to go in my hexie sewing basket.  It is made with 1/2" hexies and was a fun little experiment.  I just love having my sewing accessories look as pretty as the project I am working on!
Happy Stitching