Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mid-January Update

Although I did not make it an "official" New Year's resolution, I think I am going to be trying harder to finish up a few more projects this year than in previous years. So I guess my first "finish" would count as one of these, even though I only started it on Dec. 27. A bit of background - our Christmas was protracted this past year since I was sick on Christmas Eve evening and Christmas Day and the next day was just beginning to get better. By that night DH was sick and he ws just beginning to get better by Sunday. During this time we missed the Christmas Day gathering at his mom's house, that we had only missed 2 times until this year in the 33 years we've been married, and we had to postpone the gathering with our kids until New Year's Day. His brother offered us 2 tickets to the Falcons game that Sunday but we had to pass on that too - DH barely felt like watching it from the couch. We were at the home of one of our daughters and her husband - They are newly pregnant and we were all so afraid she would get the stomach bug we both had, but thankfully she didn't. On Saturday I was ready for some retail therapy so I went to A Scarlet Thread, a great quilt shop in McDonough, GA where we were staying. Along with a "few" fat quarters, a Rowenta iron, and 2 pillowcase kits (see the previous post for one of the Spiderman pillowcases) I also got a cutting mat and rotary ruler to leave at their house. That way, when I am there from now on I won't have to worry about bringing a mat from home and have it warp - ask me how I know that happens - and I can work on a greater variety of projects. With the mat and rotary ruler I was able to cut out all the 6" squares for a rag quilt for this daughter and her husband, plus enough to get started on one for us. On my previous post I have pictures of the first 5 rows of it, but now it is finished and UPS will deliver it to them tomorrow. Here it is on our couch Snowman Rag Quilt finished on couch and here is a close-up - Snowman Rag Quilt close-up I did try it out for a few minutes and it is very comfy - hopefully it will help keep them warm in this cold weather that even GA is feeling. I think DH is glad to be rid of all the little "sprigs," as he calls them, that are a necessary by-product of a rag quilt, but I do plan sometime to make one for us too - and next time I will try to clip as I go so i don't have 15 rows to clip at one time! Washing it at a laudromat the first time was a good idea, but I was able to do it a second time in my washer. It is about 60" x 75" and has a square of white flannel in each square so is pretty heavy.

I also made a pillowcase for me last week to demo it to the Senior Center quilting group that I lead - Yellow/Blue Pillowcase Not actually quilting, but since I used some of my quilting fabric I'm considering it a project finished. This pattern is really easy to do. I had not made pillowcases until these, so don't know if the way described in this pattern is typical or not. It has you sewing the border, the body of the pillowcase, a folded strip of accent fabric, and the other edge of the border all at one time (with the body of the pillowcase rolled up so that you can reach the other edge of the border). This makes a tube sort of thing that you turn inside out, then make French seams across the bottom and up the side and Voila!! - done!! You could also serge the seams but since I don't have a serger I'll stick with the French seams.

My next project will be to try to finish Lillian's quilt - 10 blocks to go with the hand quilting, and the rest of the boders. I will be trying to do 2 more this afternoon/evening. If I could do 2/day all next week I might be finished by the end of the weekend, but I'm not sure my wrists and thumbs will hold up to that much quilting.

While in the midst of writing this post I have had a couple of welcome interruptions - youngest DD who is also a quilter has emailed me for advice about where to get some wide backing for a large quilt she is making as a commissioned work for a niece of her employers in the Hudson Valley of NY, and while I was replying to her email my oldest daughter called while on her way to a quilt shop in Marietta, GA. So now oldest daughter is looking for wide backing fabrics for youngest daughter and I've had a nice conversation with both of them! Oldest daughter has recently gotten back into sewing a bit. She made some neat gift bags for Christmas, and is now working on a dress for her middle daughter, and we even discussed how to use some of her scraps to make a kind of crazy quilt looking bibs for her baby. As a mother of 3 under the age of five and a practicing attorney, she is doing well to even find her sewing machine!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

After Holiday Update - More Paper-pieced Ornaments, Table Runner, Pillowcases, etc

How did it get to be January so soon? My blog definitely needs some updating on projects I finished last month. I did make more of the paper-pieced Christmas ornaments - 4 paper-pieced bow ornaments These are the 4 paper-pieced bow ornaments - purple for DGD Reba, red for DGD Lillian, the other two for great nieces Lauren and Sofie. Here are the 6 gift package ornaments - 6 paper-pieced package ornaments soccer balls for DGS Atticus, snowmen for DD Kristi and DSIL Micheal, baseballs for great nephew Anthony, stars on blue for us, Spiderman for DGS Jack, and other stars on blue for a friend at work. And the green Christmas tree that was in my previous post about the ornaments I sent to DD Allie. They are all made from Carol Doak's paper-pieced patterns, and all but the tree have a pocket in the back for putting a little something in.

DD Kristi requested a table runner for Christmas, and after looking for awhile and not finding what I liked I decided to make this one for them - Flannel snowmen table runner It is made using some flannels that I had purchased a couple of years ago to make her a rag quilt, but hadn't made it yet. I designed it based on their table measurements - it is about 70+" long and 14" or so wide. Here is a close-up showing the backing - Flannel snowmen table runner front and back close-up These fabrics are from the "Let it Snow" collection by Maywood. I liked it so much while working with it that I bought more of the pieces I could find online to make a rag quilt for Kristi and Micheal and also one for us. Some of the fabrics that I ordered turned out to not be flannel - because I didn't read the description carefully enough - but I think I have enough for 2 throws. I have started on theirs and have enough blocks cut for the beginning of ours, but will finish theirs first. Here are the first 5 rows of theirs (front view) - The front of Kristi's Snowman Rag Quilt and back view - Back of Kristi's Snowmen Rag Quilt I like to stagger the rows so the intersections are not so bulky. I think theirs will be 15 rows long and ours will be a bit longer.

I also completed 2 projects that weren't quilting. I made several felt food items for Jack and Reba's play kitchen - some of them are shown here in the kitchen - Some of the felt food Altogether I made 2 donuts, 2 pancakes, 2 strips of bacon, 2 fried eggs, 2 strawberries, 2 sandwiches with 2 pieces of bread each (1 white and 1 wheat) with 2 colors of lettuce, 2 colors of cheese, 2 tomato slices, a slice of ham and a slice of roast beef, 1 apple, 1 pear and 1 banana. I made all of these from kits I bought at Lily Bean Market I have some other felt food patterns but I thought I'd stop here and see how they go over before I make more. I'd never even heard of felt food before last month, but there are LOTS of patterns out there!

I thought this would be the end of my projects for Christmas, but I was at a quilt shop a few days before we had our Christmas with our kids and saw some kits for Spiderman pillowcases. I've never made pillowcases, but it sounded pretty easy so I got 2 and made one each for DGS Atticus and Jack - here is Atticus with his - Atticus with his Spiderman pillowcase I did some more hand-quilting on Lillian's quilt but have not finished it yet. I have 12 more blocks to do and the borders that are on the edges by those blocks. I have finished the borders on one end and part way up the sides. I can work on it for a while some days, but not every day because it hurts my wrists/thumbs too much. I did have it with us while we were in GA last month and took a picture of her with it - Lillian with her quilt She seems to be looking at it pretty intently!