Saturday, April 30, 2016

April Wrap-Up

I just love April, and here we are saying our farewells. It went by in a blur, most certainly. I began the month by cutting out several quilts - one erroneously - then off to Canter's Cave Quilt Retreat.

I finished All In a Row at quilt camp.

I finished Abby's bridal quilt top and it is at the quilter's. (No post on this yet; I will share after the wedding in June.)

I prepped Eventide for my May resolution and it is at the quilter's.

I began Molly's baby quilt.

I made pillow cases to match Abby's quilt.

I did quite a bit of mending for DH and DD2.

I had a sewing class day with Claudia in which we made zipper bags.  I also sewed with Sharon and at Terry's, giving me lots of time at the machine.

That pretty much sums up my sewing activity. Other stuff took a bit of priority, too. The courses at OUC kept me with a steady stream of essays and finals to grade. Various events with our kids, family and friends, plus the normal stuff around the house that everyone knows must be done - all combined to keep me B-U-S-Y.

On top of it all, I managed to do more blogs this month than any so far in 2016, beating the January total by 1. I sort of set a goal for myself - attempt to write one every day. I don't often achieve that goal, but it keeps me on task.

Here is a collage of non-sewing things that have popped through my world in the last week.

My twin nieces and their parents took a week to go to Siesta Key in Florida for vacation. The girls drew my name in the sand with a heart around it. They also had quite a sand sculpture going. The crazy cow bird at the window has been pecking at his reflection for a full week now. And DH's iris are so full of color; they are quite the show-offs this spring.

What will May bring? I will definitely get the baby quilt finished. I should get both Abby's quilt and Eventide bound. I'd like to make more blocks for the Best of All quilt - the one I cut erroneously.

And I must try to get as much of another commissioned quilt done as possible - Elisa's king quilt.

I don't think I've mentioned it, but I have a t-shirt quilt waiting in the wings, too.

Staying busy. I like it that way. Off to a bridal shower!!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Baby Quilt Commission

Several months ago, I was asked by a young friend and second-time mom-to-be to make a baby quilt for the little girl she was expecting this summer. She told me the colors in the nursery will be peach and gray. Here is a bit of what I have come up with.

I wrote about prepping the design before retreat and actually bought the fabric while at the retreat; then got super-busy with school responsibilities and finishing other projects that this had to wait its turn. On Tuesday when Terry had us all over for a sewing day, I spent a couple of hours cutting and stitching this. I'm ready for borders, which I hope to do this weekend.

I've become particularly enamored with this specialty print with the baby sayings on it. All I could find was a fat quarter, so I've used it all here in the top, and am thrilled with how well it suits the color requirements.

I spent yesterday finishing the grading for Spring Semester. Then I had to dive into my book for our book club - the meeting is today at 11:45am. I have about a hundred pages to go. The book is The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman. I had a hard time getting into it, but where I left off late last night (2am!!), it was getting really good, so I think I can devour those final 100 pages easily enough.


Busy day ahead! Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bridal Surprises

Coming up in June, my niece Abby will be getting married. I mentioned several weeks back that I would be making a quilt for her, and it has been delivered to Terry for quilting. I was very happy with the finished top, and I had an ah-ha moment when I finally decided on what to do for backing.

All the aunts are hosting a bridal shower for Abby this Saturday, and my contribution will be a couple of accessories to match the quilt. Here's a sneak-peak.

I am confident that no one can guess what this is, so my secret is safe until Saturday, right???

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Resolution Update

My big resolution for 2016 is to try to get one flimsey per month off of a hanger in the closet and out to be quilted and finished. As most resolutions go, I am already off track, but I am optimistic that I can get a few more done by year's end. Which is the whole point, anyway.

I did January's - Vincent, my Van Gogh-inspired quilt using Avignon fabric by American Jane. Below is a picture of it, and here is the post of its finish.

For February, I sent off my scrappy 16-patch stars. It will be coming back to me this week ready for binding. A bit late, since we are nearly through April already, but there have been some snags along its journey to being finished. Terry, my friendly quilter, had some health issues and then the backing I sent was causing her machine to skip stitches - these were the most significant of the snags. Hopefully, we are back on track now, though, and last I spoke with Terry, this Tuesday is the target delivery date. Below is February's quilt.

I was in a quandary about what to do for March, and since now April is about over and May is looming, I don't know which month to assign to this quilt. I suppose I will call it May, and just accept the fact that I skipped March and April. *sigh*

May's quilt is my beautiful Eventide made from Roman Holiday fabric by 3 Sisters. The pattern is a Carrie Nelson/Miss Rosie's Quilts design, and I love everything about it. Having such a pretty quilt hanging in a closet is almost criminal, so off it will go to Terry for quilting. Here is the post from when I finished the quilt top clear back in August of '14.

One final this afternoon; several essays to get graded; another final on Wednesday; a book to get read by Friday; bridal shower for niece Abby on Saturday; final grades to be submitted as early as possible. Just a normal busy week around here. Whew.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Pam's Project

Frienzie Pam is one for projects - we have done several at her house over the years, and she is always game for any new thing we come up with. Actually, it's usually Pam who comes up with new things! Her penchant for projects carries over into her church's youth group, and this particular project definitely would appeal to all we quilters.

Various ladies in the church sewed the blocks of this quilt together after the youth drew the Zentangle designs on the white centers.
Each block has a Bible verse written on it, or just the chapter and verse. This stunning creation will be auctioned off for missions efforts of the youth group.

As striking as the front of the quilt is, the back is equally interesting. In order to place the label prominently, Pam pieced this colorful row of blocks into the backing fabric.

And the label contains the names of all those whose hands helped with the making of the quilt. What a wonderful project, from beginning to end. When we saw this quilt on Wednesday, Pam had only to stitch down the binding, and I understand she had a volunteer ready to do that task. If I learn how much the sale of the quilt brings in, I will be sure to report it.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Quilting with Claudia

The sewing lessons with Claudia are becoming more and more focused as she is really getting the hang of all the basics of the craft. The lesson we had on Tuesday was more about efficiently cutting fabric for an entire quilt. Getting a good, workable system down makes the job go faster, as we all know.

Claudia had done a great amount of work prior to coming over. She'd collected 24 different fabrics of the brightest and most vivid variety and tried to closely imitate the colors in the pattern picture. Her system for keeping the colors straight was highly organized; she'd gone so far as to cut a swatch from each piece, label it, and glue it to a color guide that she created for the pattern. It was impressive.

We set about cutting from about 5 of the fabrics to see if we could establish a sort of rhythm or system that she felt comfortable with. I think she will do fine, as she refines her techniques at home with the other 19 fabrics.

Establishing a system for the sewing part was another of Claudia's requests. So we sewed a couple of 9-patch blocks. An added bonus to going ahead with this step was that it introduced her to the notion of 'subcutting.' After she has her 3 strips (light, dark, light) sewn together, she then had to press, then go back to the cutting table to cut the sections (in this case we were working with 2.5-inch strips). So subcutting is now something she understands and can refine at home on her own.

Teaching sewing and quilting-related classes has been interesting. I've enjoyed meeting and helping novice quilters. And I, myself, have learned so much in the process. I have been a teacher all my life, and it makes all the difference in the world when your student is eager to learn - and enthusiastic about gaining new skills. Claudia is this type of student. But it goes both ways, you know? I am an English teacher by profession, so I am having to learn as I go how to best teach this quilting stuff. I'm glad Claudia's so easy-going, for I certainly have been slow to pick up on a few things from the teacher side of things. My hat's off to those many home-ec teachers I know and love, for I can now relate to your situation! *wink*

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Zipper Bag/Zipper Lesson

Serendipity describes how our zipper lesson came to be yesterday when Claudia was here. She requested a lesson on learning to sew in a zipper, and I had been wanting for the longest time to make a little zipper bag that I had seen online. Consequently, we had a happy meeting of the minds, and came away with a couple of nifty little bags.

The fabric for outer and lining bag parts were fat quarters from my stash. I had a couple of 9" zippers, too, but Claudia brought a 22" zipper, so we had a lesson about cutting a zipper down to size, and saving the end, because zipper pulls are available in sewing stores.

After we cut our 7"x 9" pieces, we began zipper application. It was not a smooth lesson. We faced issues that we eventually attributed to using inferior thread. It may have been something else, but we did finally get things going, and we finished our bags.

These bags are fresh off the sewing machine - not even pressed yet. It is billed as a 15-minute bag, but I think you might have to get your learning curve out of the way before expecting those speedy results. Anyway, we set these aside, and proceeded with our  quilting plans, which I will bring you tomorrow. Here are a couple more views of my bag after pressing.

I will definitely be making more of these bags; I think an assembly line of them would be the way to go.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Glorious Spring

We are having the most spectacular stretch of weather here in Ohio. I believe the weatherman said on last night's news that we have had 8 straight days of above-normal temperatures and not a drop of precipitation. Trees are sprouting leaves and flowers are budding at incredible rates. If you can imagine the classical "Flight of the Bumblebee" music by Rimsky-Korsakov, then you will be able to imagine the blur of changes spring is bringing with her. And I love it!!

Spring Beauty in our woods.
Claudia is coming over today for some lessons on a quilt and to learn how to sew a zipper. I have no new sewing pics or projects to share. I hate to report that spring cleaning got hold of me yesterday. *shaking my head in shame* Also, I mended! Blecchhh! A pair of jeans, 2 work gloves and 5 socks - all for DH. And, finally, it is near the end of spring semester, and responsibilities with two classes have kept me busy. Consequently, the wildflower pic will have to suffice for today.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, April 18, 2016

King-Size Commission

A few posts back, I wrote about the possibility of having several quilts commissioned to do. One has been confirmed and the fabric purchased. It will be a king-size quilt for a young married couple, and will have a modern feel to it. Elisa has requested black, gray, tan and beige for her color scheme, as this matches her existing decor.

Here we have the fabrics which will go into the quilt. I had a blast selecting them, and Elisa was in agreement with all of these. (I bought one additional fabric which we have rejected.) That's pretty good odds, and if we are on the same page this early in the game, I think I can create something for her that she will love.

Would you like a closer view?? I expect I will begin this quilt as soon as spring semester ends at the end of the month.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Summer Breeze Finish

Today feels like summer, so it seems like a good idea to share a recent finish from Denise, who came over for a few classes through this past winter. I wrote about the Summer Breeze visit, but I mistakenly called it Summer Beach. geesh

Summer Breeze was a pattern that Denise had purchased through Craftsy. Her finish looks exactly the way the quilt was intended - an inviting quilt which brightens and livens an airy beach house.

 John Keats was correct; "a thing of beauty is a joy forever." I guarantee this would bring any quiltmaker lots and lots of joy.

Take a look at this picture which shows the backing fabric. Perfect. I love absolutely everything about this quilt, and really do think I will add it to my to-make list, using similar colors. What a fresh, clean quilt. I defy anyone to not want this on the bed through the summer months. The wonderful bright colors are controlled by the white, which makes it all the more appealing. Wow. It sure does make a statement.

It is beautiful, Denise! You should be quite proud of your finish!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

All In A Row - A Closer Look

At the retreat a week and a half ago, I worked hard to finish the group sew-along we worked on, All In A Row by designer Kim Diehl. I thought I would show a little bit about my construction process. I talked about pulling the fabric and cutting the kit prior to going to retreat. You can click back here to review, if you like.

Going from the preparing of the fabric to this finished flimsey was quite the fun journey. I would never have made this quilt if the girls hadn't agreed to make it a group sew-along at retreat. I am ever-so-grateful that we did it. I just love my finish, and am considering hand-quilting it.

I've prepared a collage of photos that represent the major parts of the construction process. First up was to make 25 little 9-patch blocks - all with individually cut 1.5" squares. That is what you see in the upper left photo.

In the upper right photo, you can see that I have made all the HSTs for the corners and the bars for the sides of each churn dash. I lay out every single block and stack them up on top of each other. This is how I keep the parts straight, and know that all the right parts are being sewn together.

The lower left photo shows the chain piecing process. I have attached one seam top to bottom on all 25 blocks. I lay them back out beside their remaining parts, and proceed to chain piece these seams in the same way.

The lower right photo has all the parts sewn, and ready for pressing.

That is very abbreviated explanation of the way I manage chain piecing. It works for me, so I figure (if you could follow those details) it might also work for others.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Frankfort Girls

Last Friday - yes, I'm way behind - we met at Jan's for coffee and conversation. Jan even made a pastry for us! This warrants an exclamation point because Jan considers the word "cook" a 4-letter word.

So here are the projects we had to share. Not much narration today, friends, just pics and captions.

Jan's Nutcracker; she has a huge collection.
JoAnn has been making little banners for a display rack she recently bought.
And also from JoAnn, she is now binding her tulip quilt.
Sharon O. has been working on this darling cross stitch.
Sheryll has nearly completed a block for a sampler.

Sheryll also has this wonderful little quilt ready to quilt and bind.
Terry was absent on this particular Friday; and I worked on hexies, but no pictures of them to share.

Busy, busy around here today! Spring has finally arrived, and the place is all abustle!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Huge Splash of Color

Sharon was here to sew on Tuesday, and oh my goodness, what a riot of color came together over at her sewing table! The colorful 2.5" squares were leftovers from a previous project. Rather than let them wither away in a tub, she has been stitching them together - with absolutely no plan or idea of what would result. So often we work this way - no preconceived notion of how the finish will look, but confident that through the process, inspiration will take hold and a thing of beauty will result.

Sharon began by stitching 16-patch blocks. After all those were completed, she just continued attaching them - what is shown above are 4 16-patch blocks sewn together, and she has 16 of them. A gorgeous 4x4-block quilt is in the making.

While working on these over the recent few weeks, her idea for how to finish began forming when she saw the post that my daughter wrote. You will see definite similarities. That moment of inspiration arrived! Her plan now is to apply creamy white solid sashing strips around these colorful blocks. It will look spectacular. I will happily provide follow-up pics as it comes together. :)

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Canter's Cave Accomplishments

It seems as though I've been prattling on about the retreat at Canter's Cave for a very long time, and I do apologize for dragging it out so long. Today I will share with you the actual accomplishments we made while at the retreat. I have things from JoAnn, Sheryll and Terry for your viewing pleasure.

First, JoAnn. She was into making lots of small, easily accomplished projects, and therefore, she had several. She was the one of us who's already made the All In A Row quilt that we worked on together, so her time was free to make other things. And she did.
Now that I have these 4 photos arranged in a collage, I think I might have given JoAnn credit for one that is not hers. Well, let's just say that the two hexie blocks are definitely JoAnn's, as well as the patriotic quilt. The upper right picture is either hers or Jan's, and the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that Jan had this to show us.

Jan made the quilt from blocks that Terry gave to her; she is going to pay it forward to one of her daughter's special needs students who will soon be graduating from high school.

The patriotic quilt is a community service project that JoAnn's Florida guild is heavily involved in. The quilts are finished and given to veterans who have retired in the central Florida area.
The quilts above are the gorgeous efforts of Sheryll. Her All In A Row quilt top was the first to be completed at the retreat. Seeing hers gave me the boost I needed to keep working on mine. Her other quilt was one she had in progress and finished while at Canter's Cave. It is a pattern called Laura's Hat Pins, made with 4-inch blocks and finishing at 30.5 x 36.25 inches. Really pretty - delicate and whimsical.

The two projects above come from the sewing machine of Terry. Her purple and tan quilt is one she had started before arrival and finished quickly before moving on to All In A Row. Her blocks are laid out on the right, and she stopped there because she planned to revisit an old UFO friend - Long Road Home. Yes, that's the same quilt that she wanted to make so many, many months ago. Instead, both Sheryll and I have finished ours, and hers is still in the early construction stage. I do not have any pictures of her Long Road Home progress, but I'm sure I will have in the coming weeks.

Jan attended retreat for just one day. Since she was still in a cast from her recent rotator cuff surgery, she was unable to stay and do any significant sewing, but we did enjoy her company and she did, as always, bring us treats. She goes way overboard in treating, that's for sure! A bag full of goodies and a t-shirt!

Laura, Susan and Sharon O. were present, too, and I've shown most of what they did. I do want to bring you one more post on my All In A Row quilt, but that may wait a few days, as it really has nothing to do with retreat. I will focus more on how I constructed it - my assembly line.

I hope all these pretty quilts have given you some inspiration for your own quilt-making. I sure am inspired from seeing these wonderful friends creating such fantastic quilts.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Canter's Cave Wrap-Up

It's been a week since we arrived at Canter's Cave for our quilt retreat, so I think it's high time I got around to providing my wrap-up of all our work. We certainly were a flurry of activity, have no doubt about that.

First up, I will show you some of the recent finishes the gals had to share as we began our retreat. These are things that were finished before coming, yet needed to be shared.

Susan, a member of the Circleville guild, had the guild's mystery quilt finished. They worked on this when they had their own retreat about a month ago. I would love to make something like this; the construction would be so easy, and the variety could change for whatever purpose you had in mind for it.

A few posts back, I wrote about Sharon O. and her appliqued windows wall-hanging. It was my assumption that her project would be finished with 4 windows, but look - it was to be 6 windows!

The 3-D effects that go into this quilt make it so whimsical and fun. This will be a real treasure for the wall in her dining nook.

Laura brought her work-in-progress to show us. And yes, we all reacted with amazed wonder at this incredible Courthouse Steps effort using 1-inch strips. This is half of the quilt finished. The quilt requires 144 5-inch squares, so she still has 122 of them to make, in other words. Wow. The pattern is by Jo Morton and comes from American Patchwork and Quilting magazine, December 2010. Go ahead and get your own started! *yeah, right*

JoAnn had recently finished this wall hanging, and if it looks familiar, you are correct. I made the same pattern last year at this very retreat. I like her use of pastels for the flowers and green  for the border. Mine has a blue border, a checkerboard-look for the sashing, and brighter tulips. Click here to see mine under construction. Click here to see my finish.

Tomorrow,  I will have the new projects ready to share.
Happy Quilting, Friends!