Friday, November 22, 2013

Expression of Gratitude

It's been a little quiet around the blog lately.  Has it really been 10 days?  I seriously don't know where the time goes.  I guess it just means there has been a lot going on.  At least I feel like there has.  I do have a couple of finishes to show you.  I finished up the two Quilts of Valor I have been working on.

Here's the star one.  I worked on it several days in October, sandwiched it on Halloween, and quilted and bound it this week.

I chose a star and circle/double circle motif for the quilting.  Can you see the stars?  Then I did echo quilting inside each of the star points.

I quilted a star in the center of the center square and then echo quilted in the corners of the main square around the star.

It made for some pretty dense quilting and such lovely texture.  Not perfect by any means, but it was fun, and I think the finished quilt turned out pretty well.

I did a really scrappy binding to mimic the scrappy border around the star, which you'll just have to imagine, I guess, since the only photo I took of the binding and the label were blurry.

The second quilt is more a mix of traditional and modern, I think.  The flag is  the central image, surrounded by a border with cornerstones, a narrow border, squares with 9-patch cornerstones, another narrow border, then asymmetrical wide borders and scrappy binding.

The quilting is just swirls, but I like it.  It reminded me of the flag, blowing in the wind.

And I did remember to label them - unusual for me.

I hope that these quilts warm and comfort those warriors who receive them  I am grateful for their service and their courage and their sacrifice.  I know a little of what it means. And I know a little of the sacrifice of their loved ones too - the wait and the worry and the loneliness.  Where would we be without them?

Thank you to all those who serve and have served.  God bless.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

More Swappy Stuff

Well, it's clear from the photo above that I really need to keep my REAL camera in the sewing room because these iphone shots are just not awesome, but since I've already given this little pillow cover away, it's all I have.  I finished the tree just before I headed for bed the other night, and overall, I'm pleased with how it turned out.  I made it for my swap partner in the ECMQG Christmas Swap.  Such wonderful items were swapped at the meeting yesterday.  It was so fun to see everyone's creativity, and all the squeals of delight.  Unfortunately, my partner wasn't able to attend, but she sent a surrogate, so I hope she liked it.

And while I really liked this little tree, I only have enough of this wool felt for one more.  I looked at the local hobby shop and wool felt is scarce as hen's teeth.  And boy!  Is there a difference in quality.  Whew!  I can't believe we used to take this stuff for granted.   Anyway, I don't have enough of this to make this ornament for all my partners in the Trim the Tree swap, and no time to order more from my online source.  See what I get for waiting until the last minute!

So, I decided to go a different direction for the TTT swap.  These ready-to-fill ornaments fascinate me.  There are so many things you can do with them.  Last year I bought round ones and filled them with scrapbook paper rings.  My friend filled them with sand and attached a tag from where she lives.  This year, I found these cute Christmas-light shaped ornaments and decided to fill them with various sized pom poms.  It was a fun and easy craft and I had a lot of fun making them.  I attached a little plaid bow, and voila!  One Christmas ornament.  I think I will make a few of these for my tree.

So, I'm making progress on completing these swap items.  Two more (or is it three?) to go...  Or did I say that yesterday?  Anyway, I AM making progress.  Really!

Friday, November 8, 2013

More Swappy Stuff

You know, I seem to go in spurts.  I say I'm done with swaps and I'm going to concentrate on finishing up some quilts, and then all of a sudden I'll lose my resolve and commit to several swaps.  I used to joke that it was an addiction, and I'm beginning to think it really is.  And what was I thinking committing to so many that are due between now and Christmas??  Dumb.  Really dumb.  But I'm making a lot of progress and having fun, so what the heck.

This one is a Reverse Modern Maples mini quilt for my partner in the Schnitzel and Boo mini quilt swap.  My partner said she liked autumn, and what is more autumny than leaves?  I quilted it with loops and leaves and it went pretty fast.  I apologize for the picture - it's the only one I took and the package is already on its way to my partner.  I need to remember not to rely on iphone pictures.

I've been playing along in the Super Swaps group for a couple of years now, and the items to be swapped are always different.  The item this time was an ornament, and I found a cute pattern in a book called Sew Merry and Bright.  I loved the wonky tree a couple of the other projects, but the book hasn't arrived yet, so I had to fake it.  I think it turned out kinda fun.  Hope my partner likes it.

I made my pinwheel blocks for the Pinwheel Passion hive of the 3x6 Bee.  I used one of the tutorials from Rachel Griffith's (ps i quilt) Block of the Month tutorial.  I think this one was month 6. I tried another block first, but just didn't like the way it turned out, so went with this somewhat less detailed block, although I really like it.

When I receive all my blocks, I should have enough citrus blocks to finish up the last citrus quilt. 

I'm working on a gift for my ECMQG swap partner even as we speak.  This one needs to be finished TODAY, since we're exchanging them at the meeting tomorrow.  My partner wanted something a bit non-traditional, so I dug into the remainder of my Ruby FE bundle (by Bonnie and Camille) that Amanda got for me at Sample Spree at Quilt Market in SLC in 2011.  I have made at least 2 quilts and 3 or 4 other items from this FE bundle.  I am continually amazed at how far a fat eighth will go.

So, that's what I've got done so far.  I still have two more swaps to finish, and then I'll begin working on Christmas gifts.  I have big plans, as always.  Don't know yet how many will actually get finished.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Swappy Stuff and a Sandwich Basket

I've spent the last couple of days working on some swappy stuff.  I finally bought the Noodlehead divided basket pattern, and made one for my partner in the Fabric Basket Swap.  It was a popular choice, apparently, as I noticed several of these in the Flickr photo pool.  It turned out much larger than I thought it would, and would be a great size to make to hold all those small things in a nursery or even toiletries in the bathroom.  For this one, I made a patchwork panel for the outside pocket and my favorite Robert Kaufman red dot, called Spot On for both the exterior and the lining. 

The pattern recommends fusible fleece, (which might have actually been a better choice) but I used Peltex, and I'm happy with it.  I don't like floppy baskets, so I wanted this to have some substance to it.  Consequently, I perhaps should have made the lining just a tad bit smaller so it fits a little better.  An extra 1/8 inch in the seam allowance might have made all the difference.  Still, the exterior and the lining matched around the top of the basket and I like the way it turned out.  I actually made a second aqua panel and decided not to use it, so there may be another one of these divided baskets in my future - maybe a giveaway?  We'll see how long it takes me to get it done.

When I did my Weekender class at Derrel's of Pensacola, some of the ladies wanted to do a class on this Bernina Quilted Tool Caddy .  The pattern is located on the Bernina website.  It's a really cute item but the instructions were... um... very hard to follow.  No wonder these ladies wanted a class.  I've been working to perfect the caddy and the instructions before I teach a class on them later this month. 

It measures 6" x 8" and can be made from 3 fat quarters.  Not a bad size, but honestly, I wish it was a little bigger.  It would be great if it really held a 6" x 8" cutting mat and a full size pair of scissors.  I may see if I can create one a little larger.  And I've figured out that if you cut it just right, you can make TWO from four fat quarters.  A pretty good return on your investment, I think.  One for a gift and one for me!  This one is in Flower Sugar, from a "warm" bundle I bought from my favorite fabric shop last time she did a remnant sale.  I sent this one off to my swap partner in the Simple and Sweet Scrappy Swap.

I really like having these random but coordinated fat quarters in my stash. (Aren't they pretty?!)  They have come in so handy already.  I hope she does another sale soon.

This one is Nicey Jane.  This one is the sample for my class.

Here's the inside....

And then I started another set with DS quilts, Baby Jane in aqua and...

Happy Go Lucky.  They are getting easier. This one still needs a flower or a button or something on the front, but that shouldn't take long.  This one will be for my partner in another swap I can't mention yet.  And there's one more, but no pictures yet.

Now to perfect the instructions....

And, just because they were in the background of the divided basket picture above, I thought I'd show you the quilts I sandwiched last week.  Brings a whole new meaning to the term "Sandwich Basket", doesn't it???  Can I just say that it feels so GOOD to have these ready to quilt!

So what have you been working on?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

13 in 2013 November Update

I really thought I was doing great on this 13 in 2013 challenge until I looked at the calendar the other day.

Here's the list I started with in January:

1.  Jelly Roll Quilt, finished March, 2013
2.  Fairy Tale Friends, finished March, 2013
3.  Teal/Red 3x6 Bee Blocks, finished 2 quilts, July, 2013
4.  Citrus quilt(s), finished 3 quilts, August, 2013
5.  Granny Squares Quilt, finished March, 2013
6.  String Blocks Quilt finished October, 2013
7.  Bow Tie Quilt finished September, 2013
8.  Bento Blocks Quilt (sandwiched and ready to quilt)
9.  Breath of Avignon Quilt
10.  Anthropologie Duvet Cover, finished April, 2013
11.  GMFG - this one is about 2/3 completed
12.  Lark Pinwheel Quilt - I used most of the blocks for Weekender bags, so I'm counting this one as finished
13.  Basket Quilt

On the one hand, I feel like I've accomplished quite a lot so far this year.   On the other hand, I still have a ways to go, and we're now officially into "gifting season", and I have high hopes of making a lot of my gifts this year.  In addition to that, I have several swaps and some donation quilts that need to be finished by various deadlines.  Yikes!

But I did finish my October goal, which was to complete the string blocks quilt.  That makes 9 out of 13 completed.  I still have the Breath of Avignon blocks and the Basket blocks sitting in their little plastic bags waiting for their turn.

Even though I had the bento block quilt sandwiched at one point, I decided it wasn't quite big enough to be useful, so I took it apart and added borders at each end.  About the time I finished doing that, I found enough blocks for one more row, so I decided that I needed to add them to the quilt or the extra blocks would forever languish in the orphan pile.  I took off one border and managed to add the extra row with only a minimum of fuss.

It is sandwiched again now, thanks to an incredibly hot and sweaty marathon sandwiching session on the primary room floor the other day.  I sandwiched it and 5 other quilts that day.  I bought king size batting and there is simply not a place in this house where there's room to lay out something that big. A king size bat will make about 3 large-ish quilts, so for an extra $5.00 (with a JoAnn's 50% off coupon), it makes sense to buy the bigger size.  My friend came in and talked to me while I was working, so the time just flew by.  It was a pretty productive day, despite the fact that I was totally worthless by the time I got home, and spent the rest of the day watching Season 7 of Hell's Kitchen.

So my ALYOF goal for November is to quilt and bind the Bento quilt.  It shouldn't be too hard, right? 

And if I'm really on top of things, I'll get the other two quilt tops put together.  Honestly, I would be totally jazzed by that.

I might just pull this off.