Thursday, May 30, 2013

Latest finish and a preview

I am taking this one with me to Florida for Cayden who is now ON THE MOVE. Just started walking!
Not sure why the pictures are so pinky! I was shooting really quickly.  This was made with bright orange and blue Kona cottons and novelty 5.5 squares.

I had a great time quilting this one. I got to practice several of Leah Day's fillers from her 365 days of quilting designs.  I tried to keep it modern and graphic. 

 I haven't done much sewing and one of the reasons was my 20 year old Janome was in the shop.  I have wound soooo many bobbins on her that the clutch was gone and had to be replaced.  I also cracked the bobbin casing somehow and so she needed some TLC time with my man, Warren.  He told me she is as good as new and ready for another 20 years. Yeah!

A couple of Fridays ago, I spent a day of sewing with some quilting friends. I made a big dent in my Fabric Fling project that I started on retreat. This is the perfect project for an Open Sew. No thinking, just sewing strips together.  I have half of the strip block sets together. They are now pressed and squared up. I also pulled out another UFO/WIP which is my Winter Wonderland. I am still working on the "blue"work blocks.  A friend had her top completed on Friday. It is gorgeous and compelled me to pull it out for some attention.  I still have three BIG redwork blocks to complete but each stitch is a stitch closer to done!

I am also working on my guild's challenge quilt. Don't know if it will get done by the deadline but it will get done. Here's a preview of what it looks like on my design wall right now.  The challenge was to use an "ugly" fabric which was given to us.
 The ugly fabric will be used in a very limited way but will meet the challenge.  This is going to be fused raw edge applique with lots of thread painting.  It will be a nice sized wall hanging. wow these pics stink but you get the idea.!!

Headed to Florida Thursday evening for an extended weekend.  Then my sissy from Florida turns around on the following Friday to come to CT for a graduation party in Mass. Our little brother's triplets are graduating from high school. So a family reunion of sorts will take place. Things should settle down after that and hopefully sewing will resume at a quicker pace than the proverbial "snails' pace"! Happy stitching!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dirty Laundry

Don't know if you have run across this post from Crafty Garden Mom from a year ago with her 7 dirty quilting secrets but it has resurfaced as funny blog posts often do and it is hilarious!!!  When I was reading it, it was as if  she had read my mind.  But I would like to add a couple of  my own secrets to the "dirty laundry list of quilting"

I  am a lazy quilter.  It's true, I will look at a quilt pattern and if it requires anything with  7/8's or 8ths of any kind, I round up.  I am not known for my 1/4 inch perfection in any quilting circle so   I figure the extra 1/8 of an inch will "come out in the wash" as they say.  In addition, if it requires y-seams, templates, any type of precision or pieces smaller than an inch and a half, I'm OUT.  I will claim that it is because my quilting time is so little and precious to me but really I am a BIG FAT LAZY QUILTER.

I like to "pretend" shop for fabric.  I get numerous emails from websites like Equilter, (heart u!) with notices of special sales, etc.  On any given evening,  I can be found sitting with my ipad watching TV with hubby and loading up my cart with luscious amounts of fabric and then...  I close my browser and go to bed.  It doesn't always work but a lot of the time, the fun of choosing the fabric and thinking about the gorgeous quilt I could create is enough to keep me happy and out of trouble.

What about you?? Do you have a secret you'd like to share??

Monday, April 29, 2013

Tops completed on Retreat

I started attending this 4 day retreat about 2 years ago.  It is held in the Spring (April/May) and the Fall (October).  It had been held at a YMCA camp but as we ladies (not me!) are getting older there were complaints about the accommodations (bunk beds), so the gal who runs it decided to try it at a hotel in the area.  This was the trial run.  Well, let me tell you, it sure is nice after a hard day of sewing to put your feet up on a queen size bed! I don't now how she does it! Each room had a microwave, fridge and TV. In addition, the hotel is close to just about every store imaginable, including a quilt shop and Joann's. 

She also offers a mystery quilt and runs a batik FQ raffle and a thread raffle.

I arrived on Thursday just before lunch and stayed til 2:00 on Sunday.  Here's what I accomplished!

I made myself finish some WIPs before starting anything new. 

First, I sewed together all of the Sampler blocks from the Block of the Month which was run through a local quilt shop and ended in December.  You may remember some of these blocks. I have the fabric for the backing and will try to get that pieced soon.

Next, I put the borders on my "fabric softener" quilt.  The blocks are foundation pieced onto used dryer sheets. This quilt has been "in the works" for about 4 years. The fabric for the backing is at home. Guess I will be piecing backs and making binding next week.

Once I completed these, I started the "Happy Child" quilt using the fabric sent to me by Janet in honor of her friend.  This came out fabulous. I made the binding but was short on the backing fabric so some creative decisions will be made about that. Looking at it now, I may add a small black border. This is the quilt that I had "measuring and direction reading" issues. According to the pattern, these pieces should be 8.5 x4. I'm pretty happy with my "mini" version of this. 
Next, I made an I-spy quilt of sorts for Cayden. He just turned 1 on April 1st and we are headed to see them the first weekend of June for Bella's birthday (she has requested a Hawaiian Luau, lol).  I wasn't sure about the bright blue and orange but it works and I will be loading that right away. I ordered the backing from my ipad while on retreat and it arrived Friday. The back is ready to go. I am now waiting on thread. I want to use a variegated with these big solid blocks.

Finally, I made a start on a quilt using the Fabric Fling pattern. Here is a picture of what it will look like. I am making my version in batiks. It calls for 25-30 FQs. I wasn't sure I had that many. Sadly, I had enough for TWO quilts! The FQs were prewashed and ironed. I cut them into 2.5 strips and started sewing them together. This one is 85 x 85. It will go on my bed or perhaps to my son, Alex, as he just got into his first "all by myself" apartment.

I have already given my check for the October retreat and have even talked my sissy into coming up from Florida for a weekend of quilting.  Gosh, I do love retreats!!!

Also, I FINISHED A BOOK!!  I finished my "palate clearing" book that I chose after Great Expectations. I got it for free through Book Bub. Life from Scratch by Melissa Ford is a cute "girlie" book. I was doing so much more reading earlier in the year and I seem to have hit a bump. I am trying to gain my momentum back. Next up is The DaVinci Code. Book Bub offered that for free recently so I grabbed it since I have seen the movie but never read the book.

Well that's it from here. I did lots of spring cleaning over the weekend. Windows cleaned, spring/summer curtains up, bedding switched over to spring/summer, vacuuming/dusting and flower beds cleared, cleaned and trimmed. Whewww!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The alphabet post - NOLA and MQX

I am back from my vacation to New Orleans. We were there for the Womens' Basketball Final Four. It ended well for us, UConn Huskies fans, with our 8th Championship.  It was a rough season but the girls pulled it together when it counted.  We had a lovely time in NOLA. We did a lot of eating, some drinking and even went on a swamp tour.

We got back on Wednesday and I was on the road again on Friday to attend MQX (Machine Quilters' Expo) in Manchester, NH.  I went with my quilting buddy, Diane. MQX was back in NH after being in Providence for a few years. Believe it or not, there was  SNOW on Friday!

 We had signed up for two hand-on classes with the longarm.  Everyone had their own machine to work with thanks to Gammill. Our first class was with Dawn Cavanaugh on Friday and we were with Linda Taylor on Saturday.   I felt like I was back in school!!! My head hurt at the end of each day with all the stuff we learned. I soothed my headache with a glass of wine! 

 I bought a little bit of stuff which you can see here.  My major purchase was the Leader Grips. I had seen these on one of the Handi Quilter videos so I decided to check them out.  The hubby of the woman who came up with this idea was there doing the demo. I was sold after I met up with him.  I hate pinning! I usually end up stabbing myself. This system will make loading much easier and I won't be so reluctant to turn the quilt to do some lovely border work.

Diane and I, the "unofficial" quilt judges (wink) were not as impressed with the quilts as we were last year.  Here are a few quilts that really caught our eye.

For the traditional quilter, this is a Dear Hannah. 

 For the paper piecing crowd

 For the art quilter.  This quilter, Barbara McKie, takes a photo, prints it on fabric and thread paints. They are amazing!
 My favorite by far.  The center of the flowers are old jeweled buttons or broaches. The applique is fabulous and it is sooo cute.  See if you can find the earthworm in the ground!
This is out of the box for many of us. The quilting on the gold fabric was fabulous.  The beading on the woman and the train of her gown was incredible. 

I returned to work for the next three days and then headed out to my Spring Retreat (Thurs - Sun). It's a tough life ladies but someone has got to do it! LOL!  I got lots done at retreat and will share those pics once I upload them from the camera. Til, then, Quilt til you Wilt

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My week in review

Flower Power is on its way to my fairy goddaughter, Bridie. As I posted last week, we have just completed week 1 of March Madness.  I spent most of Saturday and Sunday glued to the TV watching basketball.  I did work a bit on my scrap busting project.  This is what I got done after sewing down the binding on Flower Power. I am sewing 2.5 squares together to make blocks.  The pattern calls for 846 squares! This is going to take some time.

 I also worked a bit on my blue blanket. Boy, knitting goes soooo much slower than sewing.

Please tell me I'm not the only one to have done this STUPID thing!! On Friday, I received some "special" fabric from Janet.  I was so excited to get started with this project.  She sent me about 50 6 1/2 inch squares of Japanese fabric.  I had a project in mind for them and pulled the instructions to start cutting.  Wellll, I had the measurement "6 1/2" stuck in my brain.  It did not matter to my brain that the instructions said "cut 60 8.5 x 4 inch rectangles.  In my mind, it was 6.5 x 4 inch rectangles.  And so I merrily went on my way and cut those 6.5 squares into 6.5 x 4 rectangles.  Now, I decide to add some of my own fabric so I pull some of my FQs and proceed to do the same.  It is only when I am getting set to cut the 1.5 x 8.5  sashing strips that my brain finally sees 8.5.    Seww, what's a girl to do? I did a little math (which  I avoid at all costs) and figure I need to add 20 more of the smaller rectangles to make the quilt the same length. Basically, I will be adding 2 additional rows.  I'm tellin' ya, sometimes I am my own worst enemy. 

A few posts ago, I mentioned the bag of quilt tops which needed borders.  Flower Power was one and that is done. This is another.  I made two of these "chinese coin" style quilts a retreat or two ago and I spent an hour or so yesterday putting on the top and bottom border. REALLY, all it took was an hour. I also pulled the fabric for the backing and made the binding.  I have one top left needing borders. Hopefully, I will get to that one in the next week or so and that bag will be empty.

I currently have 7 quilts ready for quilting. All of them have binding, backing and batting cut and ready to go. Now to find some extra time to spend with Ava. Hmmmm

In Turning the Pages, I finished "Heads in Beds". It was an insider's view of the hotel industry.  A bit disturbing.   I am now in the midst of Life of Pi.  This is a wonderful book! And in true feast or famine style, I have another one waiting anxiously in the wings,  The Twelve Tribes of  Hattie.

We are headed to New Jersey this weekend to help a good friend who was washed out of her house after Sandy.  All the repairs have been made to her house and she is ready to move back in. We are soo excited to help her get back into her nest!   Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend. 

See ya next week!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Off the rollers

First and foremost, I hereby CLAIM MY BLOG through bloglovin!

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Now back to quilty news....

I finished the quilting on Flower Power yesterday.  I used Superior's monopoly clear and so fine #30 in the bobbin.  The monopoly has been "adjusted" and is not so shiny. Someone at Longarm Club had done a quilt with it and it looked great so I thought I would give it a try since this one had sooo many colors and I didnt' want the thread color to fight with the quilt.   It worked beautifully. Never had one breakage.  Only problem was trying to SEE it for threading purposes. Finally, I took the end and colored it with a black marker.  Worked like a charm.   I will be cleaning up the edges and adding the binding this weekend. 

Have a quilty day!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Scrap momentum

I made excellent progress this past weekend.  I finished up my string blocks.  There were strings leftover but I culled through them carefully and threw out all the ugly ones which included lots of CW reproduction that had been around, I think, since the Civil War. I just could not stand to look at them anymore!  This is what was left which is in the closet reproducing as I type.

Jeanne over at Spiral (click over and see her) had made some cute blocks with her strings which has inspired me to do the same and move them out quickly.

I also got the borders on Bridie's flower power quilt.  It took longer than I anticipated as I was 6 inches short on the outer border ( this is becoming a standard practice lately) and had to do some "magic" to make it work.  I am happy with the result. I have the back pieced and the binding made.  Once my mono poly thread arrives from Superior, Ava and I will get her done.  Today I am loading Flower Power on Ava.

Since I didn't have to work today, I stayed up late turning the pages on "The End of Your Life Book Club" which I finished.  It was a very good book. If you are a reader and a mom, you will enjoy this one. And I just got a notification that another book is available for me. Feast or Famine, I tell ya!

While Traveling in Blogland, I came across a super idea. I am a Bonnie Hunter fan but there are some folks out there that take stash to the extreme. One of them is Kathy of Kathy's Quilts  (click over and see her).  She is a scrap maniac. I was visiting her and she had a picture of her current leader/ender project. Kathy was using her little binding clips to hold together the parts of her little blocks!

I had been asked to put a picture of Think Pink's backing and label on here so look under "FINALLY FINISHED" if you are interested. 

Finally, here are the ingredients for my next mindless sewing project. As many of you know, March Madness is about to begin so I need something I can sew while I coach from the sidelines! :)

Stay tuned to see how this "recipe" turns out!

Friday, March 08, 2013

Midweek progress that wasn't

This.... (oatmeal in the crockpot)

This.... (hamburger veggie soup- recipe courtesy of Paula, the quilter. This recipe is fantastic!!!)

this and this....(you all know what these are)

as well as grocery shopping kept me from doing much sewing, on Wednesday :(

But I did get my March pillowcase for Princess Bella made and have started the scrappy inner border for Bridie's quilt.  And TODAY...........(I know this looks like the picture from 3 weeks ago but it is actually from this morning) Today is snow all day!!! And to that I say WOOO HOOO! cause I'm staying home in my PJs and heading for the sewing studio.

I am now turning the pages of  The End of  Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe It was recommended by a quilter friend. So far, this one is pretty interesting. A little rambling. I am amazed at how many books people find time to read. They must not be quilters! :) 

 I borrow ebooks through my library and my number came up on this one. When that happens, I have 2 weeks to read it or it magically disappears! It really isn't a bad system, I always have 5(the max) books "on hold" waiting for my turn.  So my other books are pushed to the back shelf. Yess, I now have BOOK UFOs. LOL!

Monday, March 04, 2013

A Finish and future plans

Here is the finished and in use Pie-eyed Snowmen quilt.  I had premade my binding for this and when I started to sew it on, I realized it was too short, hence, the green and red binding.  Hey, its done!

This is my PP top from the October retreat. (Boy, I sure do get lots done on retreat!) I want to work on something a bit smaller before I jump back into a big quilt. There are a couple of fillers that I have seen in Machine Quilters magazine and on Leah Day's website I want to experiment with so this has been squared up and will be loaded on the frame to work on for Wednesday. I have the PERFECT backing for this which has been sleeping in my stash for about 5 years if not longer. See, having a stash IS a good thing!


I also watched some basketball this weekend so more string blocks were made.  This project is losing its fun factor but I only have 16 squares left and I am determined to finish them up and dump any remaining ugly strings in the trash. Some of them are soooo old and I am sooo sick of them! Why do the ugly ones reproduce in the drawer??

Anyway, I think I told you about the bag o' quilt tops I found in my closet that need borders. Yes, a bag of tops! This is one of them.  I made this on retreat and since my fairy god daughter's birthday is coming up, I thought I would finish it for her.  She is turning 11 at the end of March. I think this will be a hit.   I am going to add a thin scrappy border and then I have a stripe that was part of the flower fabric which is long enough to be the outer border. Sewww, gotta get moving on this.

I am now turning the pages of a new book.  I finally finished Great Expectations. A weighty tome indeed but very enjoyable.  I have Les Miserables next up on the classics list but need to "cleanse the palette" with something a little lighter first. This one is called "Life from Scratch" by Melissa Ford.  I picked it up through Book Bub for free. She is divorced and learning to cook and has a blog and loves her blog friends. It is cute and easy to read.

We headed to a local winery for a tasting on Sunday, bought a couple of bottles and proceeded to open one at home so there was very little sewing done yesterday. I stuck to my rule of "mindless sewing only" when wine has been decanted. :)

Have a great week! Stop back on Thursday for the midweek progress!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pie-eyed Snowmen

I quilted the second of my jelly roll strip quilts that I made on retreat in October. This was not an actual jelly roll, just random fabric that I had bits and pieces of which I cut into 2.5 inch strips. As you can see, the fabric is quite old, "primitive" in fact, but still useful.  I had an Anne Bright panto called "Snowman Kit" that I have wanted to use. When I laid it out, it had more elements than I really wanted. I wasn't crazy about the boots and carrot nose and the snowmen only had one arm!

So here's what I did.  I had bought the Creative Grid from Colorado Quilting Company when I got my Sunshine and basically all I used it for was to hold down my panto. DUH!!! This time I laid out the panto, used the wet erase marker to draw out the elements I wanted, tweaked it here and there and Ta da! Pie-eyed Snowman. They look as if they have been hitting the sauce for a while and ran all over my quilt. 

I used a brown Omni thread in the top and bottom which looks orange or red in this picture.
This is only my 5th or 6th quilt with my HQ and I always learn something to remember for the next time. This week's lesson is to make sure I put the backing on the right way! As you can see, I ran out of backing before I ran out of quilt.! OOOPS! Luckily, it's a jelly roll strip quilt so I just stopped quilting when I ran out of backing. It's a little shorter than when I started but it still looks good.

 I started sewing down the binding while watching the Oscars and will post a finished photo in a few days.  Hope you had a productive weekend!

Latest finish and a preview

I am taking this one with me to Florida for Cayden who is now ON THE MOVE. Just started walking! Not sure why the pictures are so pinky! I ...