Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Helpful Hubby

I just posted the text below on Quiltville Chat but decided after doing it that it deserved a wider readership - so here it is.

After reading recently the laments of Bonnie Hunter and others about the lack of help from hubbies during the holidays I just had to write to speak up for the other side. Yesterday my DH took off 1/2 day from work, which he rarely does, so that we could go to the tree farm we've gone to most of the last 20 years and cut our tree. Since the farm is out of town, we combined it with a trip to get one of cars its 120,000 mile check-up. The car part of the trip did not turn out as planned - something about gaskets - and may end up costing us as much at $1500 and they are keeping the car over the weekend. They gave us a loaner though and we decided to proceed with the other part of the trip. We got the tree, Dave with our 2008 tree didn't mess up the loaner getting it home, put it up and decorated it last night. He cut the tree, put it in the stand, carried up the boxes of decorations from the basement, unfurled the lights while I placed them on the tree, put as many ornaments on the tree as I did while we both hummed sang along to some of our Mannheim Steamroller Christmas albums, and swept up afterwards. We put up a tree every year even though our 4 kids are all grown and gone from home - and we go to GA where most of them are every year for a week or so at Christmas. Soon he will help me select a photo for our Christmas cards and help write the Christmas letter.Then together we will sign the cards and put the labels and stamps on them.To make this a quilty post, I will also say that he takes great interest in what I am quiting on, and will help with fabric selections for the ones I make specifically for us. Oh, and he also helps with the dishes every night, vacuums every weekend and will even squirt cleaning stuff in the bathroom bowls without my asking. I think I made a terrific choice almost 34 years ago when we met and married - and I think I'll keep him around!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Christmas Ornaments, Another Fabric Basket and Lillian's Quilt

I was home all day on Friday - this doesn't happen often these days since I work 2 1/2 days and volunteer at the Senior Center one day. I decided to get an "early" start on Christmas ornaments. Carol Doak recently gave her Yahoo group a new pattern for a paper-pieced ornament. I made two of them, as well as 3 others of her patterns. In this picture Paper-pieced Christmas ornaments the new one from her is the package. They all have a two-piece backing that forms a pocket, in case you want to put a little treat, gift card, etc in it. I'm thinking I will make these for our grandkids (4), my mom and siblings (3), my great nieces and nephew (3), our kids who don't have kids (2), misc. others (???). Hmmm, good I got started this early I'd say!

Earlier this week I finished another fabric basket Lillian's fabric basket- this one is for Lillian, our youngest grandchild. It goes with the quilt I am making her. I am slowly doing the hand-quilting on it, but my thumbs and wrists are making the hand-quilting a challenge. I have 7 of 35 blocks quilted - here is one of them in progress, Lillian's quilt but it is hard to see the quilting stitches.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Signature Quilt for Carolyn

During the past couple of weeks I have been working on a quilted signature wall hanging for my supervisor at the hospital office where I work part-time. I finished stitching the label on about 9:30 this morning - so not much time left before it was to be presented to her at noon. Here is the front, Carolyn's Quilt the label Carolyn's Quilt Label and the basket Carolyn's Basket with Button and Heart that I made to go with it, now with a big daisy button and little heart on the frog's chest. I spent many hours on the quilt, especially since I got the center with the signatures on it last Wednesday night. I machine quilted around each of the star blocks, and quilted a star design inside each of the 9-patches, then hand-quilted hearts inside the 6 frog blocks. For the border I hand-quilted stars. I've not done machine quilting and hand quilting together in the same quilt before, but I felt like I could do a better job with the hearts and stars by hand. What would the quilt police say???

I am finding tonight that I have a surprising feeling about these two items. I knew all along that I would be giving these away - that is why I was making them, but I find that I am missing them more than I expected. It is like I made them so quickly, and gave them away so quickly that I didn't have time to properly say good-bye to them. Is that why it generally takes me so long to finish any one project - that I just don't want to say good-bye to them??

More of Allie's Quilts

Allie, our youngest daughter who works on an organic farm in Ancram, NY, sent me photos of her most recent quilted wall hangings. They are a set of three carrots Umbelliferae Embrace Mother and Child Lover Friend that go along with other vegetable designs she has been making recently - see my earlier post. She has an exhibit of her quilt projects this month in the cafe area of the farm store at Hawthorne Valley Farm in Harlemville, NY. She hung the quilts last Thursday, and had sold these three before she got them all hung, with the understanding that they will remain with the rest of the exhibit until the end of the month. Now she has also sold 2 of her cow designs (Hans and Bodo) and one person has asked her to do a vegetable design of her choice for her. As you can imagine, Allie is very excited about all of this. I'm hoping she will send us some photos of the whole group of quilts.

Monday, October 27, 2008

String Quilts, Fabric Baskets, Carol Doak's October BOM and Long-Arm Quilting

I have been working the last few days on several different projects. One is my first string quilt. I have suggested this as the next project for the Senior Center quilters, so I am working on an example. No surprise - mine is yellows and blues with a few teals and golds thrown in. string quilt blue yellow 4 squares My guild had a work day Saturday where most of us worked on string quilt blocks that were more scrappy than this, but like mine they did have the same color thru the center of each block. I only have enough of the dark blue fabric to make 3 more 4-block units, then I will use a different fabric or 2 and mix them up, but I do plan to have all blues in the corners so that the centers of the big diamonds will be blue. The blocks could certainly be different sizes, but I am squaring mine up to 10". I am trying to make my stripes varying widths so I don't have anything to match up except the center dark blue stripes.

I've been working on a secret quilted wall hanging over the last week - not ready to show it, but here is a fabric basket I made yesterday to go with it.
Carolyn's Basket I'd been seeing these on Vera's blog and thought they were really cute, so I went to Pink Penguin and printed the directions. I'm sure I will be making more of these! It is about 4" x 6" and 4" tall, not counting the handles. Thank you Vera for posting your pictures!

Recently Carol Doak started a new BOM on her
Yahoo Group - here is my October one. Carol Doak's Oct '08 BOM Each block will be a 7" square. I already have plans for whipping up another one with a different kind of tree and a creek instead of a road. She has already given us the November one, but I am not looking at it, or the pictures that others have already posted, until Nov 1.

Friday I used a friend's long-arm machine to quilt the Senior Center's first Turning Twenty quilt. I had practiced on it a couple of times and selected the stars and loops pantograph to do on this quilt. I got there about 1:00, chatted for awhile and then we began loading the quilt. When I got down to the actual quilting it took about 15 minutes to do a pass across the quilt, then about 10 minutes to reposition, etc. We were taking it off the machine by 8:30, and we had taken several breaks. It is just my first attempt, but not too bad. I thought this pantograph allowed a bit of freedom about exactly where you put the loops, as long as they don't run into the stars! rays quilt front quilted closeup Here is the back of the same quilt rays quilt back quilted

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Monsieur Beauregard" ~ and Other Allie Quilts

Last weekend DH and I went to Columbia County, NY to visit Allie, our daughter who works at Thompson Finch Farm in Ancram. She is our youngest, and the only quilter. In between tending and harvesting strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples and the other garden produce this summer and fall she has also been busily working on some more quilted wallhangings. I mentioned some of her pieces in a previous post but now she has more. The model for "Monsieur Beauregard" Monsieur Beauregard Monsieur Beauregard Close-up is a Beauregard sweet potato that graces her doorstep. Here she shows the original and the quilted piece. Allie with Monsieur Beauregard She used some Paris street scene fabric for the background and painted over it. If you look closely at the larger view of it you can see the design in the background. She also painted the fabric for the potato to make it more the real color.

Another one of her quilted wall hangings is "Hans" In Memoriam, Hans
The model for this one was Hans - a bull at Hawthorne Valley Farm in Harlemville, NY. Allie worked at this farm last year, and still goes to the Inwood Greenmarket in Manhattan for them sometimes. He died prematurely and Allie created this quilt in his honor. Here is a close-up of the work on it. In Memoriam, Hans, closeup

She made "Lily's Peas" Lily's Peas for a friend who used to work for a food magazine - this was made to resemble a photo in the magazine. Here is a close-up of the stitching on it. Lily's Peas Close-up

Another one of her quilts is this rolling chicken coop Chicken Coop modeled after one on a farm she worked on this spring. I think my scrap pile was raided for several of these blue fabrics - but what a wonderful use of them! The background fabric has text on it about chickens, painted to blend with the blues. Chicken Coop Close-up

Another quilt she made is this one of dried tomatoes - again painted and quilted to emphasis the colors. Dried Tomatoes She says the title of this one, "Plump Thing with a Naval," is a translation of the Spanish word for "tomato." I am amazed at the way she quilts the lettering of her some of her titles in cursive writing! Dried Tomatoes Close-up

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Back of Lillian's Quilt and the Quilt Frame at the Senior Center

Last night I finished the backing for Lillian's quilt - Backing for Lillian's Quilt Here is the front Lillian's Quilt Top Finished . I have the backing and batting together now, just need to add the top to them and I will be ready to baste it.

Today I went to the Maury River Senior Center, where I lead a quilting group and teach a computer class, to demonstrate using a quilting frame during a community festival. Yesterday I took the Pantry Quilt over to set it all up. The frame I was using was a Hinterburg that was donated to the Center. We had to drill a bigger hole in each side of the legs to get the bolt thru that is a attached to a stabilizing piece. One of the gears on it was turned the wrong way, but we couldn't figure out how to get it off. We even tried hammering it off but it wouldn't budge. This afternoon, as I was taking the quilt off the frame, the director of the Center showed me that the gear has a screw - no wonder hammering it wouldn't make it come off!

DH came over to see how it was going for me and took a couple of pictures. Here's the long view Pantry Quilt at Senior Center and a closer up shot - Pantry Quilt at Senior Center - closeup In the backgroud you can see my Grandmother's Flower Garden, that is still a work in progress, and the Turning Twenty top we recently finished. The sampler on the wall with the gold sashing is the one our group made for the Center last year.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pantry Quilt Backing is Done!

I've never pieced anything this big this quickly. Saturday night and Sunday night I worked out a design using leftover fabric from the front of the quilt and a few fabrics that I bought for the front but never used. After several hours of drawing, measuring, etc I discarded the first design I had and then came up with this one. Pieced Backing for the Pantry Quilt Sunday night I started cutting out the pieces, then this morning I started putting the pieces together. You can't see it but there is a white square in each corner. My thinking is that when I have finished quilting it I could add a few appliqued jars to the large white area, but I don't want to add them now. I am planning for the hand quilting to be outlining the jars, inside and out so I wouldn't want to have jars on the back that would have the quilting around jars on the front showing. However, I have plenty of time to think about this because it will be a long time before I finish the hand quilting on it, unless there are lots of people helping me quilt it at the Senior Center this Saturday.

Next I need to lay out the batting, trim it on one side and piece it on one end. Then I will be ready to begin basting. I have been spray-basting smaller things in the last year or so, but because this is so big I think I will baste it by hand. I'll be using my big Q-Snap frame to do that. I don't use it much for quilting as the height does not suit me, but it is convenient for basting.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pantry Quilt Update

Late last night I finished the top on the Pantry Quilt Pantry Quilt Top Finished I like the braided border even better now that it is all done. (See the previous post for why I am working on this quilt now.) It was not as difficult as I thought it might be, but time consuming since there are a LOT of 1.75" x 5" strips in it - 85 each on the top and bottom, more on the sides. The quilt is 78" x 98" which makes it a bit bigger that the t-shirt quilt I made for Dave - and therefore the biggest quilt I have made to date. (Disregard the white sock on the couch - this was taken late last night and Dave was asleep on the couch!) Now I am working on a plan for the backing. I did not any wide backing fabric at Walmart that I liked, and don't have time to go out-of-town to a quilt shop this week, so I am taking a page from Erin and Bonnie Hunter and making do with what I have. I have some of the white left, and some of the woodgrain, as well as some multi-veggie prints that I bought to use on the front but ended up not using, so they will be on the back. Hopefully I will have that done by the end of today. I also have to piece some batting - the biggest piece I have is not quite long enough but is wider than I need, so I will try to piece it together. Any advice there?

Speaking of Bonnie Hunter - she has a great new book out - Scraps and Shirttails: Reuse, Re-purpose, Recycle! The Art of "Quilting Green" My autographed copy arrived a few days ago, and after going thru it quickly I was even more inspired to try to make do with what I have for the back of this quilt.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

How Do I Decide ~~~

One of the online quilting groups that I belong to recently asked the question - "how do you decide what to work on next?" It got me to thinking about how DO I decide. A few days ago I was working only on Lillian's quilt - see the previous post - but had to stop because I ran out of one of the fabrics for the backing of her quilt and had to order more. Fortunately, I was able to still find it where I got it first - Thousands of Bolts - and it arrived yesterday. Just have to wash it, cut one piece out of it, add it to the backing and I'll be ready to sandwich that quilt and start the hand-quilting on it.

In the meantime however, I met with the Senior Center quilting group and began to make plans for the demonstration that "we" are going to participate in on Oct. 11. Months ago I agreed to set up a quilting frame that was donated to the Center and have a quilt on it to be showing hand-quilting. This is to be part of their presentation for the "Mountain Days" celebration in Buena Vista where the Senior Center is located. So, we need a quilt to put on the frame. I had thought that maybe one of the other members would like some help on hand-quilting one of her quilts that is ready to quilt, but I was wrong. On to Plan B - to put another quilt on the frame --- but which one? I don't have any that are totally ready to quilt and the one that is the closest to being ready, Liliian's, I really don't want any help on. I go thru the other possibilities - BargelloBowl (no decision on the border yet and not very mountainy looking), Orange Crush Mystery (blocks are finished, but not sewn together yet), the quilt as you go blocks I started 20+ years ago (they are quilt as you go, not suitable for a frame), the Senior Center's Turning Twenty (but I have already made plans to quilt that on my friend's longarm). That brought me to my Pantry Quilt that we made at the Senior Center a few months ago. Others have finished theirs, but in my typical fashion, I had not finished my border nor decided on the backing. It would be appropriate for the frame however and I wouldn't mind having some help on it, and I did plan to hand-quilt it -- I just have to finish the borders and decide about the backing - before Oct 11. I wanted the border to be braided, like Bonnie Hunter does on some of her quilts, but had not finished sewing them together, and was really worried about how easy it would be to put them on. Since it seemed like the best choice for the up-coming demo, I am now working on it in spite of my concerns. Here is a picture of the quilt with one border on it - One Braided Border on the Jar Quilt The braid is made out of 1 3/4" x 5" strips from the fabrics in the jars. Last night I finished sewing on the first side. With lots of spray starch on the braided strip, and a pin on each strip, and slow, careful sewing I think it turned out pretty well. I have the the other side finished and starched, but not trimmed yet. One little problem with the quilting frame we have at the Center - there are no cloth leaders on it to attach the quilt to. One of the resourceful ladies in the group suggested that I temporarily sew a strip to the top and bottom of my quilt that I could then wrap around the rollers and pin in place. Sounds like a good idea, but I'm not sure I want to do that with these braided borders on the top and bottom, so I'm thinking that I will just sew some muslin strips to the top and bottom as they are now, after I get the other side border on, and let those muslin strips be what wraps around the roller. Would that work - I'm not sure. Maybe the muslin strips need to have some batting on the outside edges that would be the part wrapping around the rollers first - I'll have to think about that. Oh, and decide about the backing - pieced from what I have or buy a "fat back."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lillian's Quilt Top Finished

I just finished piecing the top of Lillian's quilt - Lillian's Quilt Top Finished and am working on the back of it now. (Lillian is our new granddaughter who was born August 16.) I am planning to make the back one large 9-patch square like the ones on the front, using the purple/black/red fabric in the border and one of the lighter red prints, then make a wide border of the purple used in the narrow border on the front. I am also working on a plan for the hand-quilting designs using a few extra blocks that I had. I've used a couple of purple fabrics that I used in her sister Reba's quilt which I think is fun to do. The pattern is "Glory Days" from Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting magazine, July/August '08 issue - I've just made mine more scrappy than theirs. I'm hoping to get the back pieced today, then I'll be ready to sandwich it. I've used spray basting a lot recently so think that I will use that for this quilt, but want to try it on my little sample first since I'm not sure how it will work with handquilting. I'm planning to use a new kind of batting - Quilters Dream Green. It is 100% polyester and is made out of recycled plastic bottles. I'll post a photo of the back when I get it done.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Quick Zip System questions

A couple of days ago a quilting friend of mine let me come practice some on her Gammill. I used some of the pantographs she has and also did a little free-motion quilting. I have several quilts in progress that I would like to try quilting on her machine, but we are wondering how to best do that when she also has quilts to do for a few customers as well as for herself, and she has another friend who also uses her machine some. We are looking into the Quick Zip System as a way to easily change out quilts that we are working on since we don't think any of us would necessarily be able to finish one in a single segment of time. Does anyone out there have experience, good or bad, with this system? Here are 2 links to a description of the system - KM Quilting Supply and Quilting Connection. Sounds like she would need to have a machine set and then each of the users would need a quilting set.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fallen Leaves, Turning Twenty and GFG Progress

Last week I finally finished my Fallen Leaves wallhanging. Fallen Leaves wallhanging completed It is a tissue foundation pattern from Cindi Edgerton that was fun to do. I bought mine as a kit at Cottonwood in Charlottesville, VA - primarily because I couldn't resist the fabric that was in the kit for the border and backing. I searched online until I found more of it to save for another project. This is a project that I started last September when I bought the kit, then it languished while I worked on and completed other more pressing projects, mostlly for other people. I had even finished most of the quilting on it - just had to finish up some of the borders and bind it. Now I am looking for a special spot in our house for it to hang. I am pleased with the way the quilting turned out. I just used a regular foot and left the feed dogs up - I'm not ready to cut loose with free motion yet - and found that I was able to move the quilt around enough to to make the wavy lines thru the leaves. There was a lot of starting, stopping, and turning in the border but it is a good example of where I am now in my quilting odyssey.

The Senior Center group that I quilt with has finished the top of the Turning Twenty quilt Senior Center's Turning Twenty Quilt that we have been working on. We are planning to make the backing by using a lighthouse fabric in the center and a light taupe fabric surrounding it, since the recipient really likes lighthouses. I should have that pieced by our meeting next Wednesday, then we can begin sewing together the blocks we have for a 2nd one. These will be gifts for the director and assistant director at the Center - one of them knows who this one is for, but neither of them yet know about the other one, which is a pretty neat trick when both of them are usually there when we are meeting and working on them. Both of them are being made from fabric donated to the Senior Center, either by us or by other quilters in our area.

I am also continuing to work on my Grandmother's Flower Garden. This picture shows the progress to date - 4 rows of the 9 I expect to do will be done when I finish attaching the last flower on the left in the bottom row. grandmothers flower garden 34 plus I have laid out some of the fabrics I think I will use for the next row - the pink and green one is finished and the pink and blue one is partially finished.

We went to the Atlanta area again last weekend for a family wedding, a Braves game and to check in on some of the grandkids. I had time to make a quick stop at Tiny Stitches in Marietta where I met Melinda in person. I will definitely go back to that shop!

Friday, August 29, 2008

New Granddaughter and Quilting Progress

My quilting has taken a back seat since August 13 when I left here to go to Johnson City, TN to visit my mom for the night, then on to Marietta, GA to stay with our oldest daughter and her family. They were expecting their 3rd child on August 16 and needed some help getting ready and someone to stay with the older two while they were at the hospital. Lillian arrives Saturday afternoon just a few minutes before I got to the hospital. I would have loved to be there for the arrival, but was staying with the siblings. Our middle daughter and her husband came up to help with the kids, but I didn't leave quite soon enough after they got there. I did get to hold Lillian a few minutes after I got there and later that afternoon this picture was taken of me with the three siblings. Nana with Jack, Lillian and Reba If you look closely you can see that Jack and Reba were just as interested in Mom's crackers as in Lillian! After Lillian and her mom came home from the hospital my son and his son, Atticus, came from Athens, GA to visit - here are cousins Atticus and Jack in the Disneyland t-shirts we bought them Atticus and Jack in their new Disneyland shirts from us . Reba wanted me to take pictures of her too, so here is one of the best ones - Reba .
I had time for dinner at a cute little restaurant, The Fickle Pickle in Roswell, with my nephew, his wife and their new baby, Sofie. Here they are with the quilt I had just given them for her -
Wade, Sofie and Julie with Sofie's quilt Yes, Sofie has red hair - hopefully it will be as beautiful as her mom's!
I did get a little quilting done while I was in GA. I have started a quilt for Lillian -
Lillian's quilt I have eight more stars to piece and the outside border to finish piecing. Those stars are hard for me to get just right, so I have taken a little break from it and have been working on my Grandmother's Flower Garden. I now have 25 out of probably 91 flowers - Grandmother's Flower Garden with this on our bed I have a better idea of how far I have to go! I am sure after this weekend I will be getting back to Lillian's quilt, but this weekend we are going to DC to see 2 Braves' games, then back home Sunday night and the probably to Richmond for the last Richmond Braves' game Monday afternoon. I see more GFG flowers being made on these trips!

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Guild's Quilt Show and Allie's Quilts

My Guild, Rockbridge Pieceworkers Quilt Guild, has a quilt show as part of the Rockbridge Regional Fair in July. I joined the guild in August 2006, but was not ready to put anything in last year's show. This year I put two of my quilts in the show - the T-shirt quilt T-shirt quilt at the quilt show and the Butterflies and Hydrangeas quilt Butterflies and Hydrangeas at the Quilt Show. Neither of them won a prize, but it was neat to see them displayed in a public place. The quilting group that I lead at our local Senior Center also put a quilt in the show that several of us worked on, so that was neat for those ladies to see their handiwork on display. Senior Center Sampler hanging
For me the best part of the quilt show was that our youngest daughter entered 5 of her quilted wallhangings in the show. I am showing them here with their labels so you can see what she said about each one. She is in her second year of working on organic farms in the Columbia County, New York area. "Flame,"
Flame with sign "Chocolate," Chocolate with sign "Bodo," Bodo with quilt show sign "Wiltsie Bridge," Wiltsie Bridge with quilt show sign and "El Corazon." El Corazon with sign She has painted on some of them, and I think just did a terrific job on them. She has an art background, but has only been quilting for a couple of years.

Allie just recently finished a quilt for the daughter of her current employers that they commissioned her to make for their daughter's wedding. Here is a picture of her and my hubby with that quilt -Lila's quilt with Allie and Dave She designed the quilt herself, cut out all those orange flowers from some batik fabric and machine appliqued them on, machine quilted the quilt and included some botanical designs in the quilting and has a quote from Khalil Gibran quilted in cursive writing around the border - Quite an amazing job I thought! The couple did not see the quilt until the reception, where it was hanging up for all to see.