Friday, January 31, 2014

Benjamin Biggs quilt and more

So, I I know I have way too many projects on the go but on Tuesday things seemed so quiet that I started looking at all the great pictures of the Benjamin Biggs blocks that people were posting. Big mistake. Well not really but I did reconsider my original position, which was that I would not start this project. I investigated my stash and discovered several reproduction greens and reds that were just waiting for the right quilt and found some background fabric which meant I did not have to purchase anything. OK, it is only one block a month, I am in! I did decide though that I do not need a huge quilt so I downsized my blocks to 12 1/2 inches. Less fabric and a smaller quilt, perfect. I also saw that several people had changed the block slightly and I followed their example by redrawing the center. Hard to tell in this photo as no stitching has been started. But I am prepped and ready to go. Yay!

It has been a long time since I posted about my Birdsong quilt. I did show a bunch of leaves awhile ago and I finally finished them so that I can start putting this together. Here is the center on my design wall and I have just started the sewing. Once this is sewn together there is a whole row of those leaf blocks used as a border. Hopefully I will get this sewn this week!

I mentioned in my last post that I like to just do whatever I am in the mood for and this week I was feeling the urge to get more appliqué prepped. Once we finally sell this house things could move quickly and I want to make sure I have lots of handwork to take me through the transition time. I have several Rachel Meyer blocks ready but there are quite large so I wanted something a little more portable at the ready and started prepping these Pomegranate blocks from a pattern in a 2006 McCall's Quilting magazine. One of the great things about buying nothing new is that I have been looking through my old project boxes and rediscovering some treasures (and some duds).

I was hoping to finish prepping these at a leisurely pace this weekend but instead tomorrow I need to clean this mess up in time for a house showing. Fingers crossed!

Finally I have been stitching away on the last corner vase on LE but I think I will wait until it is finished to share a picture. And today I realize that the lull is over. New releases for Friendship of the Flowers, a new part of the Soupçon Hexagon QAL, and tomorrow both a new Benjamin Biggs block and the second part of the Quilt Doodles QAL means a busy week ahead.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Second Rachel Meyer block and a new start

I haven't mentioned the Rachel Meyer quilt in quite some time and realized that I had finished stitching my second block and not posted a photo. So here it is, appliqué complete with a bit of added embroidered stems. These stems are done using two strands of floss and a chain stitch. I like them so well in LE that I decided to use the the same technique. I am thinking I may add some more embroidery but I will wait til I get a few more blocks done.

I was in the mood to do some simple embroidery over the weekend and stitched up a little block for Winter Wonderland. I have had all the supplies sitting around for this one for a few years now and, since this is the year for using stash only, it seemed like a good time to start. I am in no hurry with this one but it will make a good fill in project when I just need some simple handwork.

People often seem surprised at how much I get done. My secret is to have several different projects in different stages so that I always have something to work on depending on my mood. I am not a "project" quilter most of the time. I don't usually need to finish something on a deadline. Instead I consider myself a "process" quilter enjoying each aspect of the process more than the actual product. So I may be sorting fabrics for a new project one day, cutting one day, machine sewing, quilting by hand or machine, prepping for appliqué, hand appliquéing or embroidering. And on a given day I may do several of these tasks so I like to have several options available. This results in many WIPs and sometimes I go months without a finish. Then suddenly I might finish several at once. Sadly due to moving and then my back issues, I am way behind in my quilting but hopefully soon I can get back to that too.

Now if I could just stop seeing all these great projects online I might focus more on what I have going on but this year there just seems to be so many great things out there. I think I may have to start the Benjamin Biggs quilt BOM too. Oh dear, I will just think of it as stash busting!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Love Entwined another finished vase

Another vase finished and I think I am staring to fell the love again for this quilt. Thanks for all the encouraging comments on this one, I think I just needed to get some perspective. These vases look so much better once stitched down, the details really seem to shine then. Here is a good comparison of the same vase. Before stitching.

And after, with embroidered stems added as well. I am using a tiny chain stitch with two strands of floss for these little stems and I just love them.

So here is where I am so far. Hope to get the next vase prepped later today.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Happy colors

Here are a few things I am doing with some happy colors to brighten my day. First up is this week's flower from the Fellowship of the Flowers. I decided to go with brights on a white background for the next project. The next project includes 6 flowers so I am sure to have something bright and happy to work on at least once a week. Yay!

And this is the first panel in another mystery BOM. This one is being done by Quilt Doodle Doodles and it is a row quilt with a winter theme. It makes a twin size quilt and I am able to use fabric from my stash and should have a fun quilt by the end of the year. Once again I decided to go with a bright theme to give me something happy to look forward to each month.

It is funny how much color affects my mood and these days brights seem to make me happy. Do certain colors make you happy?


Monday, January 20, 2014

Embroidery fun

After a whirlwind trip for the baptism of our new GD I was able to spend yesterday working on part 2 of the Soupçon Hexagon QAL. In this part we were to add embroidery details around the center star. I had visions of creating my own embroidery pattern but fell in love with these leaves and berries that Karen used in her design. She provided a tutorial as well and I am just delighted with how they turned out and it was so fun working with the variegated thread that I already had.

And it seems to be a perfect match to this focus fabric that hope to use as a possible border for this project. It is amazing how this little embroidery adds so much detail. I even added a tiny touch to the center of the circle that I had appliqued onto the center hexagon in Part 1. I am having such fun with this QAL! Many thanks to Karen at Faeries and Fibers for this great project.



Friday, January 17, 2014

Love Entwined part 5 and 6

Thank you to everyone who wrote encouraging comments about this quilt. Though I am still struggling with the colors, I am enjoying the process once more. I am still trying to figure out what is not quite right in my eyes but am reaching the point that I may have to accept that the reasons for my dissatisfaction may remain a mystery. I truly love the colors in the antique looking quilts like those made by Di Ford and I was using that as my inspiration when selecting the background fabric but perhaps that is the main problem. I was trying to recreate someone else's style rather than my own. Hmm, just food for thought. Anyway here is the part 5 vase after stitching.

As you can see the stitching really helps bring out the details. I have now prepped the next vase. Originally I had planned to do this vase in another fabric but after trying a few, I decided that I prefer them all to be the same fabric. I am liking the quilt better each time I add more of the teal color. I so wish that I had purchased a full pattern repeat of the Dutch chintz as there are several flowers that are not complete and thus cannot be used. And of course they are the perfect size and I am running out of flowers that are the right size. Lesson learned!

So here is where I am so far. I feel confident that I can get this center finished soon but am not sure if I will go any further. I still love the pattern but am not sure if I want to continue with a project that I no longer love quite so much. And since we are selling this house the place of honor that I had designated to display this quilt will no longer be an option and it is highly unlikely that our next home will have the space. But the first border does look lovely so who knows!


Monday, January 13, 2014

A return to Love Entwined

I have finally got back to my Love Entwined quilt. I was all caught up before my back surgery but when Part 5 came out in October I was in no shape to continue. And then November we were busy with the new grandchild and December was filled with Christmas sewing and, well you get the picture. I am not sure what happened during that period but I am not as in love with this project as I was when I quit, and I am having trouble finding my enthusiasm. I think it must have something to do with the colors so I made another small revision by changing the gold color that was in the center of those oak leaf shapes and replacing it with a navy. I also am changing a gold flower as I am trying to reduce that color. I cut out Part 5 and am ready to begin stitching. Sure hope I fall in love again!



Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Lure of a mystery

I sure don't know what is in the air lately but I have been bitten by the mystery bug again. I was all set to start back on a long term project when I saw Carrie's post at A Passion For Appliqué about a new mystery QAL called the Soupçon Hexagon QAL. This one is all about different techniques and as it is scrap based and small I knew I could use my stash and embark in a bit of fun. It is being run over at the Faeries and Fibers blog and it isn't too late to join in. Parts are released every two weeks with part 2 coming on Friday. You can check out the first part here.

And here is my beginning. I am not sure I love my fussy cutting with this one but I have lots of great fabrics pulled so we will see where it goes. Hints indicate that part 2 might include some embroidery which I am enjoying more and more these days. Hope whatever it is it distracts from those not so perfect points!

And I finished putting my son's quilt top together. I am working on the backing but have stalled because I have somehow lost a piece of fabric. I just know I have a piece leftover from another project that would make a great accent on the back but I have looked in several places and I can't find it. Oh well, it is bound to turn up, as soon as I have completed the backing without it!



Saturday, January 11, 2014

A little progress

I have been sewing up a storm the last few days and have made progress on several projects. First up is the second flower in the Fellowship of the Flowers. I love the colors that Michelle is using and am following her lead here in the first few but my start to switch it up as we go. I am looking forward to seeing what little project she has in store for these at the end of the month.

I have also assembled all the blocks in my Celtic Solstice. After taking this picture I put all the Tri rec units together for the borders. I just need to get those borders cut and added but I hate doing borders and have been procrastinating a little on those. Maybe I can force myself this weekend!

Instead of doing those pesky borders, I spent yesterday working on the quilt for my son. After piecing lots of tiny pieces and points in Celtic Solstice, it was nice to just work on some simple cutting and piecing. Working with a layer cake made this so easy and fast and I love the look of the sashing in the dark brown.

The blocks are all together and up on the design wall awaiting the sashing and borders. DH says it reminds him of the look of a Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass window. Hope my son likes it!



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Fellowship of the Flowers

One of the fun new things I am trying this year is a program by Michelle at the Raspberry Rabbits. It is called the Fellowship of the Flowers and I am really excited to join in. You can find out all about it on Michelle's blog post here.

I am really needing lots of different handwork this year as I am discovering that I cannot sit at my machine all day without putting undo strain on my back, so these fun embellished flowers are just perfect. Here is my first flower. Each week Michelle shows a flower on her blog and gives suggestions for embellishments.

I am trying to use things in my stash but I do not have a large supply of yarn or beads for embellishing. I did find a fun variegated chenille thread that I used to couch around the shapes and it seemed to work OK. Not sure where we are going on this journey but it sure is fun. I think these flowers are going to be addictive!


Monday, January 6, 2014

I fell off the wagon.

Ok, I have to admit it. After almost 4 months of no new fabric I broke down today and made a purchase. But I don't feel too guilty. You see I was fortunate enought to win a basic Grey layer cake during the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway. Thank you so much to Polly from Aunt Polly's Porch! Included was also a pattern appropriate for use with layer cakes,that I considered using, but my youngest son had other plans. He happened to be here for the holidays when I opened the package and thought the fabrics would be perfect in his apartment. He likes a vintage 60's/70's look and this fabric was even his preferred colors of green and brown. Perfect.

So I needed to find a pattern and found one on the Moda Bake shop, called Ruby, Pearl and Opal Quilt. It is not only perfect for a layer cake and has the modern look I wanted, it also has a great pieced back that makes it reversible. Sorry for the poor quality of these photos but you get the idea.

But I needed yardage and my stash had nothing that would work. And I really looked hard. So coupons in hand, or rather in phone, I headed to that lower priced fabric store hoping I would find something suitable. I feel successful. I found economical fabric, only bought what I needed for a specific project. And it is a quilt that is needed and will be used. Guilt free shopping.


Friday, January 3, 2014

The tribe has spoken

The results are in and the overwhelming majority of the votes were for the second setting of stars. Including DH's input and that of an email I received the tally came to 26 for stars and 2 for the first option. Actually I too had been leaning towards stars, but when I posed the question on a FB group devoted to this mystery the votes were evenly split. But I wondered if that was more based on the fact that many of the voters there were swayed by what the designer wanted. It was interesting to see that the votes of my blog readers were so heavily swayed. In any case I appreciated all the input and have started putting the blocks together. I wish you could see all the fabrics in person as the photo just does not do this quilt justice.

I wish my back would allow me to sit at my machine all day but all the sewing this week has been a bit too much so it will be back to a bit of handwork for a few days. Remember these, I only have 5 more of them to appliqué before my In the Meadow quilt can be assembled.

Finally, in the spirit of setting goals for the New Year I have come up with a few of my own. First is to make 2014 the year of stash busting. For me this means using what I have and buying no new fabric. I had already stopped fabric shopping after my back surgery in September forced me to remain home and then my DH's job loss meant a critical look at the budget. Oddly enough knowing that I really can't buy has been almost freeing, I am no longer hoarding fabric for that "special" project. I am using fabrics that have been around forever and I am feeling more creative as I am forced to just use what is on hand. But, full disclosure here, I have a huge stash so it really isn't too much of a hardship - yet. Second, I am going to try to focus on the positive more than dwelling on the negative. It has been a difficult few years and I am hoping that 2014 will be a year that I can add more fun creativity and happiness into my life. And that means the freedom to finish what I want, start a new project if I want, all guilt free!



Thursday, January 2, 2014

Celtic Solstice reveal

Help! Bonnie revealed the arrangement of Celtic Solstice and it is great. But others on a FB group came up with a minor adjustment to the arrangement that I also love. So I am asking you, dear blog readers, to offer your opinion. There is no right or wrong answer and I really don't know which way to go. But here is a little info to help your decision. I used a Christmas fabric as my focus but will not be using it as a border. At least I don't think so as the reveal included a pieced border and the pieces are already put together and I really don't need to make it bigger. This is only a small portion with only 9 blocks shown. The final quilt will have 49 blocks. I am hoping that it will be a quilt that I can pull out at Christmas but that is not just a Christmas quilt. So here goes.

Number 1

Or Number 2

I really hope you will take the time to comment on this one. I would love to see what you think. Thanks


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!!

Wow, busy day. Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Soltice mystery was revealed at midnight and it is a beauty. I am so glad I did it but you will have to wait to see my reveal as I spent today working on the Merry Mayhem Mystery. I am not thrilled with my fabrics for this one, a little too country for my taste, but it will make a great charity quilt. And I was able to do a little stash busting. But most important I spent the day sewing with my SIL via FaceTime. It was a fun day! And here is my quilt up on the design wall ready to be sewn together.

Now my SIL decided to change it up a bit and went with a much more controlled color palette as well. Hers is much prettier. Hope she doesn't mind me sharing it with you. :)

Finally, though I have never blogged about food before, I thought I would share a shot of tonight's meal. Kinda looks like dog food but it tasted good. Now if you are from the southern USA you will probably recognize these things. Collard greens are for prosperity, black eyed peas and pork are for good luck.

Apparently in the South it is a tradition to eat these things on New Years to bring you good fortune in the coming year. After the crappy year I have had I can use all the help I can get!!

Finally a big thank you to anyone who reads my blog, comments or whose blog I read. You have all helped me so much this year. Despite moving to a new area and then back surgery which kept me house bound for months, I have felt connected to friends from around the world. I wish all of us a happy and prosperous 2014 filled with creative stitching!