Sunday, December 19, 2010

Design Wall Monday 12-20-10

Jump over to Judy's blog at Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday and for great inspiration.

I'm still hooked on socks - no quilt on my design wall. I knitted the two in this photo and am now knitting the mates, using my "two-at-a-time" method - two sets of double-pointed needles! The only sock yarn I have any experience with is this Patons Kroy sock yarn - I like it and am fascinated at how the striping effect works. I mean, how does it know I'm finished knitting the cuff and now would be the perfect time to change colors? Or maybe I'm giving this too much thought?

I have yarn for two more pairs of socks and then I've got to put this down and get back to work on my quilting.

Word for the year - my friend Laura, at Mixonian, suggests selecting a word that will guide you for the year. My word for 2010 has been adventure - I've tried to see everything, even negative events in my life, as adventures. I must admit that using this word as a guide helped me to view events a little differently. It also gave me the inclination to do something different on the weekends, like the Sunday morning we got up early and drove all over eastern North Carolina photographing old and crumbling barns. I also used "adventure" as a driving force for trying some new cooking techniques or foods that I'm not familiar. In other words, the word "adventure" helped me step out of my comfort zone.

My word for 2011 is "Simplify". I plan to simplify my house so it is easier to clean and maintain. I plan to simplify my "footprint" in this world. I plan to simplify the food I eat so my diet will contain more natural foods and less processed foods. I plan to also use this word to guide me in my quilting, crafting, and sewing. Give it a try - select a word and let it be a guide for you in 2011. I would love to hear what word you select.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Introducing Winston!

Oh! My! Gosh! Is he adorable or what? Winston has had a bad run but his luck just changed. He was obviously someone's pet and somehow got away from them and became a stray, but not for a very long time. However, during the time that he was a stray he was probably clipped by a car because one of his hind legs is dislocated and he has "road rash". He was in the city animal shelter for only a few days; my sister saw his photo and fell in love. That was last Thursday. Saturday she and my mother went to the shelter and met Winston in person (Winston is the name they gave him, he had no collar). They paid the adoption fee but had to leave without Winston because the shelter will not let animals go to their new home until they're spayed/neutered. Yesterday Winston was neutered and my sister and mother picked him up at the end of the day and brought him home. So, besides being in a shelter for a few days, he was neutered and was given shots, AND his back leg hurts. When he got to his new home, however, he saw that dog bed and knew what it was for! He's settling in and is becoming, once again, the pet he was destined to be. Today he goes to the vet to have his leg checked and start the process of getting it treated.
What a lucky pooch and what a lovely Christmas gift he has been given - the gift of a new, loving, gentle and happy home. On the other side, he's a lovely Christmas gift for mother and sister because he brings a bit of fun and life to their household and is something they can love and care for.
My other sister also has a rescue dog - Frankie - a chihuahua/Jack Russell mix - he's quite a charmer!
And my dog, Charleston, is a rescue dog - I love him to pieces.
Rescue dogs ... all they need is a good home and second chance. They give you back so much more than you could ever give them.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Design Wall Monday 12-13-10

Still no quilt on my design wall, but I can boast my first finished pair of knitted socks, and the start of a second pair. Can't believe how much I'm enjoying knitting socks. Even more, can't believe how much I'm enjoying wearing them!

What fun we had Sunday ... I hosted an "earring-making party" at my house. Everyone brought a drink or appetizer, and I supplied all the beads and findings, showed the delightful ladies how to make a pair of earrings, then let them have at it. They must have had a good time because around 50 pair of earrings were made - a fun way to get some Christmas shopping done. This is the 2nd year we've done this event. There is one rule at the party ... no one can make fun of how many beads I have ... am rather self-conscious about it ... hahaha

Sometime this week I plan to go shopping for more sock yarn.

Am linking to Judy's blog at Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My First Finished Knitted Sock

Notice I said "sock" not "pair of socks" - hahaha But it's finished, it fits and it feels good!
The sock pattern is from the Patons Yarn website and is just a basic sock pattern. The yarn is Patons sock yarn in "clover colors".
Wow, my leg looks huge in this photo - it's really not that big - I'm just a horrible photographer. Next ... start the other sock.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Design Wall Monday 12-6-10

So much has been happening causing me to be absent for a while. I'm back, but not with a quilting project. Knitting has captured my attention; maybe that's because the weather has turned cold and I love to sit and knit when it's cold outside.

I've knitted a sweater for Sweet Charleston. He actually seems to like it!

And I finished the Sea Lettuce scarf (Lucy Neatby - I think the color yarn (Lion Brand Amazing in Rain Forest) is perfect for this scarf.

And finally, I ditched the knit-two-socks-at-a-time method and have decided to just learn how to knit a single sock. Maybe after I've learned that the knit-two-at-a-time method will make more sense to me. Anyway, this sock pattern is from the Patons Yarn website and the yarn is Patons sock yarn.

It will probably be after Christmas before I get back to my quilting projects

Today I'm linking to Judy's delightful blog at Patchwork Times. I never fail to learn something from her blog.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Preparing Ahead for Thanksgiving

This year it will only be 4 of us for Thanksgiving - my sister, her daughter, my boyfriend, and myself. We are meeting at my sister's cottage and having "Old Movie Day". We have also decided to forego the typical turkey/dressing/side dishes type of food and instead are having lasagna, homemade Italian bread, a "garbage" salad, and a key lime pie.

I made the lasagna two weekends ago - so it's in the freezer, ready to pull out and toss in the oven. My sister is making the salad. I'll make the bread the morning of Thanksgiving so I can take the dough to my sisters and we can all enjoy that seductive scent of homemade bread baking off in the oven. The key lime pie I'll make the night before. The whole point of this meal is that no one should be cooking themself to a frazzle trying to get everything ready for the Thanksgiving meal. And clean-up should be super easy, too.

My niece is going to a "gourmet" popcorn shop and picking up several flavors of popcorn to have for watching movies.

My boyfriend is in charge of getting the drinks.

I've downloaded to my iPod some classics. So we're pretty much good to go - should be a wonderfully relaxing day.

I'll still roast a turkey sometime over the Thanksgiving break, though. I love to have a turkey around the house to pick at for sandwiches.

This is one of my favorite holidays of the year. And I wish for each of you and happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Design Wall Monday 11-2-10

Wow! Cannot believe that it is November. I'm linking today to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times. And I'm so excited to have something to show since I missed last week.

This quilt was a UFO from a couple of years ago. The pattern is from the book Fantastic Fabric Folding by Rebecca Wat. I decreased the size from a 65" square bed throw to a 40" square wall hanging. The flowers are a 3D effect and I did not think I would use it on a bed. Plus I plan to add beaded flower centers and petal tips, so it will be better suited as a wall hanging. There is still a lot left to do: quilt sandwich, quilting, binding, beaded flower centers, folding back each flower petal and securing it to the quilt top with a bead - there are 65 flowers so there are 260 petal tips to deal with - sounds like a good evening-in-front-of-the-TV type of project.

Each flower starts with a 6" square. No matter how precise I was about cutting the squares and folding them, each finished 3" square flower was anything but square. It was frustrating but I decided to slog through and see what happened. As the petals were sewn into the 9-patches that helped to square them up. I did learn that if I were to ever make this or another origami type pattern again, I would take the time to baste down all the petals so they would be out of the way during quilt top construction.

In the book, this pattern is shown in more pastel colors, but I'm drawn to more vibrant and loud colors. I'm naming it "Wild Flower Patch".

Am still knitting the Sea Lettuce scarf, too. Am over half-way finished with it. but got waylaid by this quilt top. It feels good to see some significant forward progress on a UFO. There are still a couple more UFOs waiting in the wings ...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Design Wall Monday 10-18-10

Dash over to Judy's at Patchwork Times for some fabulous quilting inspiration today. She's hosting Design Wall Monday.

On my design wall is a project I started 2 years ago - an origami quilt from the book "Fantastic Fabric Folding" by Rebecca Wat. The quilt will be a simple 9-patch - the pattern is "Inside Out Flowers". I bought the fabric for the flowers during a shop hop event and cut out the 6" squares and started folding, then for some reason, I don't remember why, I put it down.

I'm bringing it back out but unfortunately, the flowers I've already folded were not stored well and need to be ironed out and re-folded. - on an upnote, I had only folded about 25 so I'm not out much time. This quilt needs 125 flowers. But after that it's just a simple 9-patch and should go together quickly. Because of the 3-D type of effect of the flowers, Rebecca said she tied this quilt instead of quilting it (she was a guest on Alex Anderson's Simply Quilts show). The background is white/green and the flowers are all these lovely spring and summer colors. As a little embellishment, I think beaded flower centers would be a lovely extra touch.

As I've been typing this blog posting, however, I've pondered the Inside Out Flowers quilt and have decided I would enjoy it more as smaller wall hanging, than as a bed size quilt. The piece in the book is 65" x 65" and has 25 flower 9-patches and 24 white/green 9-patches. I'm going to make it 40" x 40" so it will have 13 flower 9-patches and 12 white/green 9-patches.

I've also been seriously bitten by the knitting bug and have several projects going. At the encouragement of Judy at Patchwork Times, I'm attempting to knit, for the first time, socks. I bought the book Knitting Circles Around Socks by Antje Gillingham and have my first pair going. I do spend an incredible about of time, though, trying to keep the two balls of yarn untangled. So I decided to also knit a pair of socks the old fashioned way - one sock at a time on double pointed needles so I would have something to compare it to.

And I'm knitting a scarf - I think a row of seed beads might find its way onto this scarf ...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Flipflop Dishtowels

Am linking to Judy's Patchwork Times blog today about handmade gifts.
Flipflops are popular in my neck of the woods as I live relatively close to the beach. These dish towels are super easy to make because you start with pre-made, inexpensive dishtowels from Walmart - this is their Mainstays brand, 2 for $3.99, solid white, a waffle weave type fabric. Trace the flipflop design and strap piece onto Steam A Seam and fuse the fabric to the dish towel, then satin stitch around all of the pieces or just the main pieces. You can also add beads. I also add either rickrack, fringe, or bias binding along the bottom edge of the towel for a little extra color and finishing touch. Only your imagination limits what you can do with this. So far, everyone I've either given these to or shown these to have loved them.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Design Wall Monday 10-11-10

Update on 10-14-10 - Judy at Patchwork Times has a great post today about handmade gift items. I'm linking to it and am also updating this post with instructions for the flipflop dish towels. The dishtowels come from Walmart - 2 for $3.99 - Mainstays, plain white, kind of a waffle weave pattern. The design is fused to the dishtowel using Steam A Seam, then I satin stitch around all or most of the design. I also add binding or fringe or rickrack along the bottom edge for a little extra finishing touch. Last night I hosted Bunco and these dish towels were a huge hit! I also showed them at work and walked away with orders for 2 sets. The design possibilities are endless and it would be easy to match a kitchen decor.
Update on 10-13-10 - linking to - some super cute and fun ideas here!
Update - on 10-12-10 I'm linking to Today's Creative Blog for Get Your Craft On Tuesday. Lots of great ideas!!!!
I'm taking a bit of break from quilting to make some other sewn items that will either end up being gifts or items to sell at a local craft show in December. The fabric boxes are from a pattern - if you want the pattern name, let me know and I'll send it to you. They were easy to make once I figured out the pattern, which was a bit difficult to follow. But now that I know the technique the baskets can be made in any size. I also found that using store-bought binding is a lot easier than making your own binding. I plan to use the baskets as bread baskets and when they're not in use simply untie the corners and they lay flat for storage. These boxes are 8" square except for the black one that is 6" square.
The flipflop dish towels are a big hit at work today - I already have 2 orders to make 2 sets of 8 (2 for each season of the year). Super easy peasy lemon squeezy. I made 2 sets with Christmas ornaments on them, and 2 sets with Christmas stockings, but it's the flipflop ones that folks seem to like.
As usual on Mondays, I'm linking to Patchwork Times. The more I read Judy's blog, the more I enjoy it - she's talked lately of knitting two socks at one time and I ordered the book she recommended yesterday - should be in Wednesday or Thursday and I'm excited about giving that a whirl. I admire how much she accomplishes and how independent she is in their style of living - I'm not sure I would ever be that independent but I certainly plan to put some of her ideas in place in my life.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Design Wall Monday 10-4-10

I've been sewing the binding on to two quilts previously shown in my blog - the red & white quilt for my cousin and the black & white foundation paper pieced quilt - so I guess those are still on my design wall. And I'm still working on the 2' x 6' townscape wall hanging. When not sewing, though, I've been knitting. In the blog Textiles 4 You a knitted scrubby pattern was featured and I've made a slew of them! And in another blog that I totally cannot remember right now, a link to a pattern for an Irish Hiking Scarf was provided - I promise to try to figure out which blog I got it from and publish the link. Anyway, it was a fun and fast scarf to make and those 3 cables make it look so "wintry".

I enjoy Design Wall Mondays at Patchwork Times because I always get so inspired by the awesome quilt projects featured there. I also find Judy's blog interesting because she is so self-sufficient - it's an admirable trait.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Design Wall Monday 9-27-10

I'm still working on Front Street Memories so my design wall has not changed much, just moved to my dining room table so I have more room to work. I did, however, spend quite a bit of time updating my quilting scrapbook. I have a record of every quilt and quilted items (like tablerunners) I have made along with a photo, and in most cases I even have a photo of the recipient if it was a gift. I am so glad I've taken the time to assemble this simple scrapbook and I love going back through it and remembering the various pieces I've made. It was was overdue for an update. I include photos and a brief paragraph describing the piece, the title and date, the inspiration, who machine quilted it if it was machine quilted, if it won any ribbons at a show, etc. Once a quilt is given as a gift, sometimes it's very difficult to go back and try to get a photo.
Am linking to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times today. Her blog is such a source of inspiration for not only quilting, but cooking and just enjoying life in general.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Fabulous Dream

This is Fletch. Fletch was 2 years old when he came to live with us in 2002. He was supposed to be my son's dog, but ended up being my delightful, big, sweet, stinky baby. Fletch was a very big guy - about 110 lbs but not overweight. He was smart and wanted so badly to be a lap-dog. He loved to snuggle. He was a gentle beast in every way. He passed away during Christmas 2008. It was very unexpected as I didn't even know the big guy was sick - he hid it so well or maybe I just didn't want to see it. It broke my heart to have to kennel him on Christmas Eve 2008 because we were going out of town and it was one of the few places the big guy just couldn't go with us; I kept telling Bruce that I felt just awful that Fletch wasn't going to be with us for the holidays. 2 days later the vet called to tell me Fletch was seriously down with lung cancer. We left Atlanta right away but it's an 8 hour drive and Fletch died 2 hours after the vet's phone call. Not for an instant when I left him at the kennel did I think I'd never see him again.
Well, last night I had a most delightful dream. I was sitting on my living room floor and had called Fletch to me so I could put his collar on. He came up to me and sat down, then scootched in real close which is what he would do when he wanted a hug. I wrapped my arms around his big neck and could smell his oily skin, feel the roughness of his fur, feel the substance and warmth of his body. We sat like that for a long time but gradually the dream faded. I did not want to get out of bed, trying to keep that feeling alive for a little while longer but eventually reality called and Charleston was asking to go outside for his morning constitutional, reminding me that it was a new and wonderful day.
It was a delightful way to start my day, with an unexpected but most welcomed visit from my big guy. I still sorely miss him.

Front Street Memories

It's rocking right along. This has been such a fun project. I've spent this week adding the "gingerbread" and imaginging and dreaming more things to add to it. Am working on the store fronts now and thinking about printing some images and words onto fabric for iron transfer. Does anyone have any suggestions about that technique?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Design Wall Monday 9-20-10

On my design wall this week is Front Street Memories. It is a 22" tall x 6-foot long applique wall hanging that is a whimsical tribute to my hometown of Beaufort, NC. I've named the buildings after the businesses that existed when I was a little girl - some still exist but most have since closed up shop. There is a ton of detail work left to do: shutters, flowers, flower boxes, boards, window panes, maybe a cat or dog, dressing up the store front windows, shop names. Even though there is a lot left to do, it is all fun stuff. I'll satin stitch around as much of the detailing as I can. I will use the sewing machine and embroidery for some of the detailing as well. For the building names I plan to use a transfer. And I may even use pen & ink for some of the detail work.

Speaking of sewing machines. Thursday I packed up my machine and took it to the shop for servicing. They had it ready Friday and Saturday I gave it a work out. It runs like it's brand new! Now I'm just sorry that I waited so long to take it in for servicing. Oh well, live and learn. It's now working well.
I'm linking up Monday to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My House - I Love My House

And it's really a nothing special house. It was sort of a track-home in a nice neighborhood. You know the saying - don't buy the most expensive house in a crappy neighborhood, but buy the cheapest house in an expensive neighborhood ... that's kind of what I did. Initially the house was a 3 bedroom-2 bath-one floor very plain but open design 1550 square foot home. It's probably one of the smallest homes in the neighborhood, and one of the most plain homes - at least it was!

That was in 1999.

Since 1999 I've made some major changes. First thing was finishing out 3/4 of the attic and adding 400 sq ft of living space - one big open family room and a half bath with a beautiful wooden spiral staircase that leads to the upstairs space. However, lesson learned about using a contractor that might not know what the heck he's doing ... the job took 6 months and I had to call and fight every step of the way to get the contractor and his workers to my house to do the job - 6 months was waaaay too long for this job. Also, the top of spiral staircase met up with the slant of the roof so there was only about 5 feet of clearance space - you had to really duck and almost crawl to get into the space - this is definitely a major design flaw that the contractor should have warned me about so we could look at placing the spiral staircase somewhere else or doing a totally different stair design. After some haggling-fighting-threatening-nagging the contractor did add a dormer over the spiral staircase that corrected the problem and actually added a lovely additional window and look to the space. That contractor has since gone out of business ... doh! The spiral staircase ... I love it - it is like a piece of art just hanging out in my house.

Then I added a sunroom onto the back of the house in the space where the little useless pre-fab "deck" used to be - that added 160 square feet of wonderful space and is a 3 season room although I use it all but maybe 30 days out of the year - yeah, it gets a little cool (okay COLD) in the winter but I still love it. I bought a portable A/C unit specifically for that space. Were I to do THAT over again I would upgrade my main A/C unit and have duct work run to the room. Again, the contractor that did that job should have suggested that because I was very vocal about how I wanted to use the room every single day. It's especially fabulous to be out there during a thunderstorm. And my cat thinks I had that space built just for him. Of course, he also thinks I had the spiral staircase built just for him.

I've also painted, added granite countertops in the kitchen, added a whole row of countertop space and cabinets in the kitchen with shelving over it, remodeled the master bath, redone all the landscaping, added a beautiful and large deck space off the sunroom and then added a pergola on the deck. I've repainted the front door and shutters from red to a blue color. Oh yeah, I removed the stupid cheap-o front door that came with the house and installed one with a large oval glass insert. I've changed out light fixtures and ceiling fans. I'm sure there are many other things I've done to the house to personalize it but those are the major things that come to mind.

There are still many things I'd like to do to my house - that saying, "House Done - Man Dies" scares me out of my wits! hahahaha I'd like to add crown moulding in the living room and hallway. I'd like to put down new flooring in my kitchen/dining area. I'd like to rip up the only carpet that remains in the house (the bedrooms) and put down wood floors. I'd like to remodel the 2nd main floor bathroom into something a bit trendier (I'm formulating a plan for that now). I'm getting a bit tired of the paint color so I'd like to repaint. Whenever my son is out on his own and totally moves out, I'd like to reclaim the upstairs space that is now his "man cave" and change it into a humongous craft and sewing room. I removed the door on the entry-way closet making that a more open space and mini-mudroom, which has just shown me that I now want to totally remove that little closet space and make the whole living room area open. And the "wants" and ideas just keep rolling.

But the house is soooo imprinted now with my style and the way I live, I cannot imagine living anywhere else. I've named it The Burrow because that is what it is to me. A safe and comfortable burrow that totally reflects my style - it's a space that I look forward to coming home to.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Design Wall Monday 9-13-10

I'll be linking to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

I had a very productive week quilting-wise. I finished two quilt tops. The first one is Ocean Mist made with the Ocean Mist jelly roll by South Seas Batik; the pattern came from their website as well. I added my own take on the borders. Overall it went together well.

The second quilt top was one I had not intended to finish so quickly. Saturday I finished Ocean Mist so I decided to start cutting out the fabrics for Cabin In The Orchard (from the book Patchwork Comforters, Throws & Quilts). Usually I put my own spin on fabrics for quilt patterns that I like, but I loved the fabrics used in this piece. The focal fabric was the apple fabric. I found a great match for it and immediately knew that I was going to make this quilt. I love the color red, so that is probably what appealed to me about it. So anyway, Saturday I started cutting out the fabrics and by the time I called it a night half the quilt top was finished. Well, I couldn't wait to get up Sunday and get back to work on - 5 more hours of work and the entire quilt top was finished - and I love it! This one obviously went together very easily. I love the Log Cabin block anyway - it's so versatile.

So now I have nothing on my design wall - yet! My next few projects are all applique starting with an original design by me that I'll post next week.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Wedding Quilt - pondering the borders

The main part of the quilt is together and now I'm pondering the borders. I like the purple-red border; it gives the piece a little extra pizzazz. And the wide blue border makes the blue "flag" pieces on each block pop. I'll probably go with this design but I'm leaving it on the design wall for 24 hours so I can keep walking by and looking at it.

What do you think?

I Love Autumn!

I know it's still 2 weeks away, but I am so excited to be seeing the signs of autumn. The corn fields are ready to be tilled under. The farmers are busy harvesting soybeans and peanuts. Tobacco harvesting is just about finished. Cotton harvesting will begin soon and the little white puff balls are starting to peek through the green foliage. The air looks clean ... it's clear and feels crisp in the mornings, and has a delightful fresh scent.

I love moving a little slower during the autumn season ... taking a little more time to hang the clothes on the line, sweeping the front porch and sidewalk every day instead of just a couple of times a week just as an excuse to be outside, preparing some of the houseplants that have vacationed in the shade garden during the summer for their journey back into the house for winter, fixing a sandwich for supper and sitting outside on the deck and just staring at the creek and the trees as the leaves begin to fall.

This photo was taken in my hood last autumn the day after Thanksgiving and is one of my all-time favorite photos.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Design Wall Monday 9-6-10 - The Wedding Quilt Continues

Monday I will be linking to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

The wedding quilt ("Ocean Mist") is coming together nicely. In fact, so far it's gone together beautifully. There are 7 more blocks to piece, each one becoming a lighter and lighter hue. It will be framed with a border of the white fabric. A 2nd border will be purple-red batik and a 3rd border will be the same dark blue batik that all the blocks have in common - what I'm calling the little "flag pieces". It should be ready for Lilly Lucier to machine quilt in about a week. I'm pondering whether I should send it on to Lilly or be patient and wait for her to come to the quilt shop in a couple of weeks ...

This quilt has been my first foray into the world of jellyroll fabrics. I would buy another jellyroll in a heartbeat. What a great way to get to sample a whole collection. In this jellyroll there were 2 strips of 22 different fabrics.

My next quilt will be a lapsize quilt called Cabin in the Orchard. It is from the book Patchwork Comforters, Throws & Quilts and features my favorite color - RED. I can hardly wait to get started on it. I need one more dark red then I'll be ready to start cutting. After that I plan to work on several applique projects that will not require my sewing machine's services ... since my machine and I are still having a love-hate relationship, when I get to that point I will pack it up and take it to the shop for some much need maintenance.

I hope everyone had a delightful Labor Day holiday weekend.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"Sunshine" Wall Hanging

This is a foundation paper-pieced star ("Maryland") from Carol Doak's book about the 50 stars of the 50 states. After this paper piecing project, I believe I will set that technique aside for a while. I enjoy it but am a little burnt out on it right now. I am pleased with the way this turned out. The photos don't do it justice because the "sun" is comprised of 4 different yellows and golds that don't really show up. It's approximately 42" square. My quandry now is whether to send it to Lilly Lucier for machine quilting, or quilt it myself. Lilly always does such a beautiful job; I'm leaning that way. Plus, this will be a piece I enter in our local guild's 2012 quilt show.

Next, Laura's and Ruben's wedding quilt is begging me to "get 'er done". It's comprised of white and varying hues of blue and green batik fabrics from South Sea Batiks Ocean Mist collection, hence the name of the quilt will be "Ocean Mist". I don't know the name of the block - once it's on the design wall and I post a photo, maybe someone can tell me. The quilt pattern came from the South Seas Batik website and it was easy to look at it and figure out how to make it. It will be 4 blocks wide and 5 blocks deep. The block in the bottom right corner will be the darkest hue and the colors progress to a gradual light blue in the top left corner. I hope to have several blocks on the design wall in a few days.

After that, an apple quilt. Then 4 applique wall hangings.

Gosh, I love quilting ...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Design Wall Monday 8-30-10 - The Wedding Quilt

My design wall today is a design countertop in my kitchen. This pile of bags and fabric is the wedding quilt I'm making for Laura and Ruben. So far I have about 70% of the fabrics cut out and sorted into one block per bag and I have the bags in order of color placement because that is key to this quilt design. Then I discovered I was 1/2 yard short on the white fabric. Uh Oh! Will try to remedy that situation today. I also made a test block using scraps just to see if I would run into any issues. I don't normally make a test block but I don't have much fabric overage in case of errors so I'm treading carefully.

Also on my design ironing board is the foundation paper pieced wall hanging "Sunshine" - it is the Maryland star from Carol Doak's book on the 50 stars of the 50 states. It will be 9 blocks plus a border of some kind that is yet to be decided. I worked on it yesterday evening then got up at 5 this morning to work on it a bit more. It should go together easily.

Over the weekend I finished this baby quilt (Megan Lee) for a neighbor. I don't typically do "baby" quilts because I feel the child outgrows them so quickly. I prefer to do something I hope the child can grow with. So, instead of using baby fabrics and pinks, I opted for a soothing green palette with a few pink flowers and even a bit of blue.

And I finished this quilt for my bed, "Summer's Folly". A totally unplanned effect was how well the quilt and my collection of glass hens go together. This is a random Irish Chain design made from shirting fabrics and a tone-on-tone white.
Next Monday I hope to be showing a finished "Sunshine" quilt top and major progress on the wedding quilt.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What Is Your Favorite Part of the Quilting Process?

I'm trying to think if there is a part of the process I don't like.

I guess if I had to name a least favorite part it would be cutting out the fabric, however, I love the organizing part - cutting all the fabric and organizing it to make assembling the blocks go smoother, making sure I have all the pieces and parts I needs.

I really enjoy the design process and selecting the fabrics. I enjoy having someone in mind for a quilt and then designing a quilt specifically for them.

I enjoy assembling the blocks and watching the quilt grow as I continue to build it on the design wall.

I enjoy sewing together the rows and watching the design appear.

I enjoy adding the borders aqnd seeing the finishing steps starting to take place.

I enjoy dropping it off at the machine quilter (Lilly Lucier, Vanceboro, NC) and chatting with her about quilt designs, threads, etc.

I absolutely love it when Lilly calls to tell me she has finished my quilt.

It thrills me to unfold the quilted top at Lilly's and see how it has transformed.

I enjoy sewing on the binding and the quiet joy of whipstitching it down to a finished look.

And finally, I enjoy selecting a name, creating a label and sewing it onto the finished quilt back.

But probably my favorite part is when I give the quilt as a gift and I see in the eyes of the recipient the pleasure that quilt brings to them.

So, I guess I like the whole process.
The two quilts in this photo were returned to me today by Lilly. One is a baby quilt ("Megan Lee"), and one is a bed size quilt for my bed ("Summer's Folly"). The binding is on. All that's left to do is whipstitch the binding and add the labels. I'll have them finished by the weekend! Then photos for my scrapbook.

Do You Like Your Sewing Machine?

After totally wearing out a little Brother sewing machine I bought at Walmart for $80, I purchased this $500 Pfaff about 3 years ago. I have to say, it's been a bit of a love-hate relationship from the get-go. 90% of the time I like my machine but it does have some pretty annoying quirks. It tends to get jammed and knotted when I first start sewing so I usually have to use a fabric scrap (starty/stoppy) to keep that from happening. That's just a nuisance to me. Second, when the thread spool or bobbin thread get low, this machine can do some funky things which causes me to have to stop sewing and reload everything.

What I like about this machine is that it's mechanical, not computerized. So if/when it needs servicing the local shop I purchased it from can do the servicing.

Also what I like about this machine is that it's super easy to pack up and take with me.

For the last couple of weeks my machine has been having bobbin issues ... lots of knotting up. It's quite frustrating. Before I begin sewing tonight I'm going to give the machine a good cleaning, reload everything, load up about 10 bobbins with off-white thread, and replace the needle. Kind of start "anew" - maybe that will help.

Pot Pinchers

Update 8-25-10: Linking to Hoo's Got Talent. Also linking to Someday Crafts.
This original pattern is actually a fish design - the pot pinchers are shaped/decorated like fish heads. And while that was what originally drew me to the pattern, I decided for the trial run pair I'd just make them kind of plain and I'm glad I did. I discovered several ways the pattern instructions could be improved. First, stack all the fabrics and insulbrite layers in the order needed and cut them out at one time instead of individually. Second, though the pattern calls for making your own bias binding, unless you really want a specific fabric, store-bought double fold binding would work just as good. Third, the pattern says the rickrack is optional - I think it's needed or something other type of embellishment or the edge looks unfinished. Will I make these again? Probably.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Design Wall Monday 8-22-10

I'm linking to Patchwork Times today.

What a fabulous sewing weekend. The Night & Day quilt top is finished and the machine quilter (Lilly Lucier, Vanceboro, NC) will pick it up Tuesday. This is a lapsize quilt and the main block is the Indiana Star from Carol Doak's foundation paper piecing book featuring the 50 stars of the 50 states. I'm quite happy with the way it turned out. The little white piping line adds a lot of oomph to it. I would describe this quilt as "active".

I also finished the quilt top for my cousin Ernie that my cousin Patricia and I are making together. I had finished my half a couple of weeks ago. So all I had to do was connect the two halves and add the white border. Lilly will also pick up this quilt top on Tuesday. There is still a bit more to do to it once Lilly finishes machine quilting it. I'll bind it and send it back to Patricia and she will applique onto the border the handprints of all of Ernie's children and grandchildren.

I've debated whether or not to discuss this quilt in my blog since it's a wedding gift for my friend Laura and her husband, Ruben, and I know that Laura reads my blog. I've gone back and forth about it but in the end I decided that though Laura and Ruben won't be surprised, I think they'll enjoy the whole design process. So here it is in the beginning stages. The inspiration is a jelly roll of South Seas Batik fabric called Ocean Mist. Laura and Ruben live in Charleston, so the name Ocean Mist is appropriate. I've sketched the block I like and have calculated out the quilt size and fabric needs. That's it so far. Later this week or this weekend I'll make a "test" block just to see how I like it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hat Flowers

I have really been into making fabric flowers lately. It's a great way to use up small fabric scraps and the whole technique thing continues to evolve. This is the simplest of all the flowers I've made and is, I think, the cutest. Certainly a cute and fun way to dress up a hat or purse. I have even pinned up all the flowers I've made (around 16-18 so far) on the valance in my laundry closet just to give it a fun and happy look. Today I'm linking to Someday Crafts.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Design Wall Monday feature Night & Day

Am linking today to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times. I've managed to get a bit more accomplished on Night & Day, and it is currently on my design wall. Now I'm able to see how the stars "float" when the blocks are put together. I'm set on doing the black border, and I've just about decided to add white piping between the blocks and borders. I think I'll use the black & white print fabric for the binding. The finished quilt will be 3x4 blocks so it will be a large lap-size quilt - I'm guessing about 48" x 60". The tempation to add a bit of red is so strong but I'm trying to resist and just keep to the black & white. Working on all 8 block sections "assembly-line-style" has made it much easier but each block still takes 1.5 - 2 hours to complete.

In the meantime, I went to the Triangles class on Saturday and learned so much. I made a tablerunner which will be a Bunco prize when I host Bunco in October. The class was held at Cotton Fields and we had 8 students so it was a very full class but lots of fun. This tablerunner is around 3.5 feet long so it is a good size.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bats In My Belfry

Well, not my belfry, but I do have a little bat living in one of my bluebird boxes. I discovered the little bugger yesterday while mowing the yard. I've declared her to be female and have named her Ms. Betty Bat. I'm hoping (hint hint son) to get a bat box for my birthday this year (are you listening son?).

Ms. Betty Bat was sleeping peaceful at the front part of the bluebird box but when I opened it she turned around and scurried to the back corner, so this photo is of her back side.

We'll leave her alone now - let her sleep in peace. I hope she hangs around for a while.
P.S. - I apologize - I realized 2 days later that I forgot to download the photo of Ms. Betty Bat to this posting.