Thursday, May 23, 2013

Screen Porch and Emily's Quilt

I know that I usually try to keep my posts, few as they are, to the topic of quilting, but for the last few months, since November really, the idea of adding a screen porch to our house has been foremost in our minds. Finally it is actually coming to life. After talking 2 builders, deciding on the basic plan, getting the HOA approval, getting a re-fi mortgage with cash out, and getting a building permit, the first holes were dug a few weeks ago. Then after a 2-wk wait for an inspection of the footings the builder was able to start filling the footings. The project involves changing two windows in our bedroom to French doors, and cutting a door in the sunroom brick wall. Here are some photos of the process to date.

The supports for the roof are going up as I write this. The metal roof will start right under the soffits and slope a bit towards to back yard. We will have white pickets inside on the lower portion of the screens, and a screen door on the right side with a path eventually leading around to the patio. Oh, and a small triangular hot tub (in the outside left corner) and a TV (in the inside right corner) will be two of the furnishings inside the porch. Other furnishings to be determined when it is closer to being finished. You can draw all you want on graph paper, which I have done, but only when you actually see it in person do you have a real sense of the space. Right now it sure is looking BIG! Pardon the spacing of the pictures - I can't seem to get that quite right!

Now an update on my quilting. I haven't finished the Skinnie wall hanging for us, but I have been working on Emily's quilt. They will soon be moving her from her crib to a twin bed, and I want this ready to hang above there when they make the move. I have finished the hand-quilting on the center of the quilt and am 1/2 thru with the hearts and loops on the border. Soon will be ready for a decision on the binding - purple like the border and backing, or green like the flange. That will be up to the parents, but I'll bet they go with the purple, especially since the binding on Reilly's is the same as the border and backing.  

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Spring Skinnie Finished and Donated

As usual, I didn't get a very early start on this little project for my guild meeting, but I thought I had it ready to add the binding by last Saturday night - guild meeting is not until Thursday afternoon, so I thought I was doing great. I had used the blue marker to mark the border for my hand-quilting, and after finishing that quilting I had wet the border pretty thoroughly to get rid of the blue ink. Then I discovered that the pink batik fabric I'd used for the petals of the flower and in the border had run through to the backing in one corner! I tried to rinse it out, after taking out the quilting in the offending corner, but of course that didn't help anything. So, what to do??? I had already decided that I liked it well enough to do another one for us, but hadn't figured I'd need to do it this quickly!

So Sunday morning found me starting another one. I figured if I did the piecing and applique on Sunday I could do the quilting on Monday and Tuesday and the binding and hanging sleeve on Wednesday then I'd be OK. The background of the 2nd one is a little different from the first one, and I substituted a lighter pink for the petals but otherwise it is pretty much the same. I looked several places for buttons but didn't find any that I liked better than what I already had. 

Here is the finished one that I took to the guild meeting

and here is a close-up of the top of it  

 I still need to finish the one I am keeping - re-do the corner of the border and then add the binding and hanging sleeve. I found some butterfly and bug buttons on Hip Girl Boutique that I ordered to add to mine. They should be here in a few days so I'll see how they do.

Next on my quilting agenda is to trim the Blooming Nine-Patch 
I got back from my quilter last month put the binding on it. I also need to finish the hand-quilting on granddaughter Emily's quilt.
I am almost finished with the center section. Then I'll be ready to do the border. I plan to do the same pattern on it that I used on her sister's quilt
which I think was a heart and loop design, but I need to double-check that. This is one rainy weekend, so if the baseball game we have tickets to for tomorrow afternoon is rained out like tonight's was, then maybe I could get the center section finished tomorrow. That would be quite an accomplishment for me! If I do too much hand-quilting at one time I regret it later with achy shoulders and thumbs.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spring Skinnie - My Monthly Mini

Each month one of our guild members donates a "monthly mini" to the guild. Other members buy $1 raffle tickets for the drawing, and at the end of the business meeting the winning number is drawn. A few months ago I won the "mini."  This 48" square quilt was made by Harriette - with this donation she has now officially raised the bar of what the "mini" could be! 


I decided I should contribute one too, but I wanted to wait a few months for people to forget what this one looked like! I have decided to try to make the "Spring Skinnie" from the March/April 2013 issue of Quiltmaker

I signed up for the May meeting, so this must be completely finished by May 2. It will be a challenge for me as I have only once done fusible applique and and a machine blanket stitch. I really would like to have one for us too - I especially like the idea of related but different pieces for the seasons, and even have an idea or two about where I'd like to hang one for us, but first things first -- DO ONE FOR THE GUILD. Once it is assembled the next challenge is quilting it. I really only do straight lines in machine quilting, so if it is gong to be by machine it won't look like the one in the magazine. Or it will be hand-quilted. Will anyone really want that - I don't know.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Quilts of Valor and Orange Crush Mystery

One the 2nd Monday of most months our guild meets at A Scarlet Thread (my local quilt shop) to work on Quilts of Valor. I have completed 4 and have another one my design wall. I've blogged about them before, but since I just started blogging again after a long hiatus, and since my previous blogs are currently missing the photos, I'll post here a picture of the ones I've done so far. I do the piecing and binding, and one of our guild members does the long-arm quilting on them.

This was my first one, completed in July 2011. It is using Bonnie Hunter's Starstruck pattern.

The next one I made was this one from a pattern by Laura's Quilt Lakeside that is distributed by A Scarlet Thread. I turned it in at the March 2012 meeting. 

The next QOV quilt I made was this one using the "Big" Star Quilt pattern from Country Threads. Our group has made several of these. We adjust the pattern a bit to fit within the range of the QOV size requirements. I started working on this one in October 2012 and turned it in at the January '13 meeting. 

The 4th one I completed was partially made by one of the other members of our group. I added about 1/2 of the stars and put them together. This pattern we call Floating Stars - a adaptation of a pattern from McCall's Quick Quilts July '05 issue. I turned it in at the February '13 meeting.

I am working on another one of the Big Star Quilts now, using the same fabrics. Since the center of it is a square we have to add some at the top and bottom to make it fit within the range of sizes for a QOV. Depending on how much fabric I have left of these pieces the top and bottom inserts might end up being a different size or arrangement.

Yesterday we worked on making the 10th Anniversary Block, honoring the 10 years of Quilts of Valor. There were 8 of us there and we had 30 made by the end of our 5 hours. When we make a QOV we also have to make a pillowcase as a presentation case, so I have made 4 of those as well. I have hand-sewn the binding on a couple of others, and took one that was donated to us and removed the binding and replaced it with a better choice. I frequently see another pattern with stars of some kind in it that I add to the collection of ones I want to do for QOV, and I still have a lot of red, white and blue fabrics, so it looks like I will continue with this project for awhile. 

At the March guild meeting my long-arm quilter friend returned my Orange Crush Mystery. I have blogged about this one before. I started this Bonnie Hunter mystery in March 2008 and finished the top in time to take it back to my old guild in Lexington, VA, when Bonnie came there to teach a class in February 2011. Unlike most of my quilt projects, this one was not for anyone in particular; it does not really fit in my color scheme in our house, but I am so far unwilling to give it up either. I gave it to my quilter friend in February, and have now finished the binding on it. It may be hard to tell from the pictures, but the binding is made from all of the blues that are the centers of the orange blocks.

The orange, green and black fabrics are constant throughout the quilt and the rest is very scrappy. I think Bonnie used red where my green is, but I love this combination and knew a long time ago I wanted to bind it in the bright medium blues from the orange centers.

I should add here that the way I am adding photos to the blog now is SO simple! If I had realized that way back I would have had a much easier time of it! Before, I was doing some kind of convoluted thing with loading my pictures to Webshots, then copying the code from there for a small size to put in the HTML code for the blog -- then Webshots went to subscription only and so all my links to those pictures were lost. I still have them on my computer, but adding them all back in will be a long-term thing. I might still do it, because the main reason for my blog is to keep a record of what I am doing for myself, but adding those photos back in will be a bother.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Trying Again to Blog!

I am going to try again to post regularly about my quilting life. I guess we'll just see if this time goes any better than the last time I tried to start again with the blog. It appears that I have lost all the pictures from my previous blog entries because they were on Webshots which is now a subscription site, and I did not pay the subscription. So, I will be trying a different way to load pictures. If this works OK I might try to go back and put the pictures back in this way for the old blog entries. Doesn't that sound like fun!

Today I went with other guild members to the Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum in Carrollton, GA. It is a cold and rainy day here and there - not at all like GA should be in April. Fortunately I was not one of the drivers for this 1 1/2+ hr trip thru Atlanta traffic. We all ate at cute little restaurant on the square in Carrollton before going to the museum. I was disappointed to see that there were not more quilts on display, but I don't think they have been open for long. The quilts there right now are from a guild in Canton, GA. It is always interesting to see what other quilters are doing, so I'm glad we went.

One of my guild friends just gave me back my most recent finished quilt that she had quilted for me. It is a Blooming Nine-Patch and will go in our sunroom. The backing is like the fabric in the center, and the binding will match the outer brown border I think. I may have to curl up under it tonight even though it hasn't been bound yet! She did a feathery design on it, but the photo I took of it doesn't do it justice. I'll try again when I get it bound. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Another Baby Quilt

I have written earlier about trying to decide on a pattern and fabrics for a baby quilt for our 6th grandchild who is now expected to arrive on September 1. Mom-to-be-again Kristi is scheduled to have a C-section that day. She, her DH and 2 yr old daughter Reilly live only about 10 minutes away from us and are preparing to welcome Emily Ryan Stephens into the world that day, unless Emily decides to come early. Kristi is an elementary teacher and started teacher workdays this week. She will have 3 months of sick leave saved up to take after Emily comes, and is planning to work until the day before she is scheduled for the C-section. More power to her! Hope it works out just like she plans for it.

In the meantime, we have been looking at patterns and fabrics to see what we can come up with. I think we have narrowed the pattern down to Winding Way, with using just 2 fabrics for the main part, with perhaps a 3rd fabric for a narrow inner border, and somehow using the same two fabrics, or maybe just one of them, as the outer border. It needs to go with this nursery set so needs to have lilac, teal and lime green in it. I have bought way more than enough material to possibly use for it, but still we haven't decided on which ones to use.  I found some online that I bought to see how they would do, but the main one I wanted to use has a background that won't do - sometimes you just can't tell how the fabric looks by seeing it online. I even called the shop that I ordered it from to confirm that they sent me the right one, but they did. I hope that DD and hubby realize that just because I made the Quilt of Valor quilt in 2 weeks, I won't be making this one in that period of time! I like the Winding Way pattern, but the curves will be tricky. Here are two blocks in that pattern.  
  The one on the left I have sewn together, the one on the right has not been sewn. Here is the other pattern I could use
  Only one of these "flowers" has been sewn, the rest have not.  I would probably want to hand sew this one, and I will hand quilt whatever pattern I end up doing. This uses the Spinning Star template from Come Quilt With

No decision will be made for the next few days. Dave and I are off to New York to see the Braves play the Mets this weekend with about 30 other members of the Braves 400 Fan Club. We'll be home late Sunday night, then he leaves Tuesday morning for a week in CA with his brother helping him measure for new drapes at hotels in several different parts of the state. That is my brother-in-law's business, Dave is just going along to help out - and maybe see some new sights along the way. I have several things planned for the week so don't expect to get bored at all!

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Quilt of Valor

Less than 3 weeks ago our guild got a request to make some Quilts of Valor for a group of 30 injured Marines who recently returned from Afghanistan to Camp Lejeune, NC. A week or two before that we had been sent 20 blocks from the Just One Star project that Moda promoted with a request to complete a quilt using them and adding sashing, borders and backing. The gal who got the request and I had both contributed blocks to that project - here are mine.
 Moda wanted enough stars to make 100 quilts, using 18 stars per quilt. It is our understanding that they got about 12,000 blocks  -- so they have farmed them out to various state organizations for further distribution. I've searched but have not found any information to confirm that number. Also, not sure my guild friend got info about finishing the particular quilt shown on the Moda page. Anyhow, she got permission from the person sending her the blocks for us to use the blocks she received to make a quilt for our specific request.

We scheduled an emergency sew-in for July 13 at our local quilt shop - A Scarlet Thread. There were probably 15-20 of us there during some part of the day - this is out of a guild of 35-40 members - good turnout I'd say. Our plan was to send as many as we could collect by that Friday (July 15) and then send more by today.  I did not have any red, white and blue quilts finished, or started, to contribute, but I do have lots of red, white and blue fabrics. For our particular project they were willing to take some that were not those colors, but they did want them to be no longer 70" with a width of 55-65", so I still didn't have anything finished to contribute. On Monday night I started looking for a pattern to use to make one from scratch. I looked at some that had larger blocks, but didn't find anything that struck my fancy. Eventually decided on Bonnie Hunter's Starstruck pattern. I had made a few blocks for another charity quilt using this pattern and really liked how it turned out. Unfortunately, it takes 16 pieces to make one 8" block and I thought I needed to make it 7 rows by 8 rows with one border. Hard to believe now, but I got enough pieces cut to make all those blocks out of my red, white and blue scraps, and to make two blocks to see how I liked the pattern. That is about 900 pieces cut in 2 nights. I must say here that although I am retired, and would therefore appear to have plenty of quilting time, my husband is now also retired and has lots of ideas about things he wants us to be doing - and none of them have anything to do with quilting! So mostly my quilting time comes after dinner and into the wee hours of the morning. Most nights during this project I was up until at least 1:30, and several nights it was 3:00-3:30.

On the Emergency Sew-In Day I managed to get two rows of 7 blocks each sewn together - that was with my being there from 10:30 - 7:00. So, only 1/4 of the blocks done - still lots to do. I let the leader of this project know that I wouldn't have it done by that Friday, but promised I'd get it done before today. After auditioning a single dark blue border I decided to put 2 borders on instead - a narrow red one and a wider dark blue one. That would allow me to only have 7 rows of 6 stars each, so it would take less time to make the 8" blocks. Of course now I have lots of extra pieces cut, but ... so be it.

After staying up several nights til at least 1:30 and sometimes as late as 3:30 I had the top finished, and the backing sewn together, in time to take them to the leader of this project the following Friday, July 22, so she could give it to the guild member who had agreed to do the quilting on it. The quilter was able to give it back to me on Sunday afternoon, and I added the binding, which I had made earlier, stitched down the binding and added the official QOV label by Tuesday night. I also made the required matching pillowcase for it, and washed the quilt, also required by the Quilts of Valor program. Here are pictures of the finished quilt front
 and back,
  a close-up of the quilting that was done on it,
 the pillowcase
  and the label

A word about the pillowcase - it is really pretty easy to make. I followed this pattern on Quilting. It looks really neat when it is done by the special trick with the cuff, and the French seams stitched on the one side and bottom. I used some of one of the reds from the top for the narrow contrasting flange; the cuff is made from the backing material, which is an official QOV fabric. The body of the pillowcase and the inner border may also be official Quilt of Valor fabrics but I can't say for sure - they are definitely patriotic though. The labels can be purchased in panels of several at quilt shops that carry the QOV fabrics. The binding fabric is also patriotic, and may be a QOV fabric. I made it using the continuous bias process described in this video - I love the way striped fabric done this way turn out to be diagonal!