Monday, December 16, 2013

Carried away by Magic

Looks like Little Irish Bear is up to her ears in HST's!

The Facebook page for Celtic Solstice has been fun to follow.  A few quilters suggested using the 'Magic 8' method for Step 3.  Time to learn something new!  I tried it out, and it worked like, well, Magic.  Eight HST's in no time at all.  I always trim each block to square it up, so it was no extra work there.

But, apparently I got carried away and read my note of '40 squares' as '40 pairs'.  Now I have nearly twice the HST's I need for the small quilt!

Not to worry.  I have a couple ideas for using them up.
1.  Pinwheel blocks will look great alternating with the Irish Puzzle blocks I'm making from the bonus HST's that I'm trimming from Step 2. That would make a nice lap size 'bonus quilt'.
2.  I will want my Celtic Solstice to be queen size eventually, and so will need to add borders to the small size CS pattern.  They might work out great there.
3.  Something entirely  new might come to mind later in the Mystery.  Who knows?

Celtic Solstice, and all my other quilting, will be put away today until after Christmas.  We have the neighbors over for a Holiday Open House this coming weekend and then our children and their spouses will be here for the holidays.  Have to magically transform the 'quilting' room back into a bedroom, and my 'cutting table' back into it's original purpose as the dining room table.  I'll enjoy seeing your progress in the mean time, and will eventually get my CS done.  No timetable, no competition, no pressure!  Just loving the creative process, and learning something new every Step of the way.

Monday Linkup for Step 3.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A tisket, a tasket, a little scrap basket

This week's sharing at Vicki Welch's Real Studio Tour has to do with creative storage ideas.  Not being all that creative, most of my fabric stash lives in old copier paper boxes and are stored in the laundry room cabinets.  Um...and on top of the counter, stacked nearly to the ceiling.  Well, there's a bit of a mess there, but we won't go into that just now.  I can still reach the washer and dryer.  That's all that matters, right?

But recently I've taken over the upstairs bedroom vacated by our recently married DD and have my sewing machine in there.  Now, I try to keep the mess under control, which basically I can hide it all in less than an hour if company is coming.  But some things can be hidden in plain sight.

One of my second-hand store finds was this fairly good-sized picnic basket.   It sits out all the time, and looks cute as can be, but it has a secret life.  Open up the lid and inside are my zip-loc bags of scraps.  All sorted by size from 1.5 up to 6 inches.  Here you can see 4 inch and 3.5 inch bags just bursting out the top.  There's even a little orange ruler to quickly measure a scrap when I'm putting things away.

Whether I'm searching for a particular size strip or square for a scrappy block, or have been cutting yardage and have a bit left over from the end of a strip to put away, I'm into the basket nearly every day.  Making a real effort to square up and sort away my little bits of scraps really keeps them under control, and makes it way easier to find just what I'm looking for.  There's a bag for triangles too.  The bonus is that it's easily portable, and I can pick up the whole thing and take it wherever I'm working on a quilting project.

When a gallon-size bag is so full I can't fit another scrap inside I know it's time to search out a small scrap quilt project that uses that size of block or strip and have a little fun!

Thanks for stopping by today for the 'tour.'  There were lots of good tips for unconventional quilting tools shared last week and I'm sure there will be some great ideas for storage shared this week too.  If you have a moment, leave a comment.  I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Celtic Solstice week 2

Getting a little farther with Celtic Solstice.   The greens are cut, and neutrals too.  Since I goofed up reversed colors and cut all the 'orange' triangles in step one out of yellow, I've decided to first concentrate on the parts of the mystery that have green, blue and neutral.  It should take me long enough just to get that far that the final reveal will be out and I can decide if switching orange and yellow will be ok.  With the yellow reading 'light' and the orange reading 'medium dark' it may make a big difference in the look of the quilt.

Or, it may be just fine.  Bonnie Hunter's quilts usually are very forgiving that way.

So, most of the greens and neutrals have been cut for step two and assembly has begun.  As you can see there are lots of blue/neutral pieces from step one still waiting to be done.  No sewing for me this past weekend because we went to visit DD and SIL in northern Wisconsin.

I've also been working out what to do with the little bonus half-square triangles and came up with an idea.  A traditional block called Irish Puzzle (also called Bear's Paw) will be just the thing!  I've worked out the math to be able to use the 1.25 inch bonus HST's and make a 7-inch Irish Puzzle block.  You can find more details here.

Irish Puzzle

What to do with all those tiny little bonus HST's (half square triangles) from Celtic Solstice step two???  It's a Puzzle.  An Irish  Puzzle to be exact.
Yep, there's a block for that!
Little Irish Bear was delighted to find that the traditional Bear's Paw block is also called Irish Puzzle according to Maggie Malone's "5,000 Quilt Block Designs."

My little HST's are squaring up to 1.25 inches.  It looks like we'll have a whole lot of them in green/neutral and green/yellow.  So let's do the math.

The Irish Puzzle block is made up of four 'paws'.  Each of those uses 6 tiny HST's.  In addition, cut one light corner square at 1.25 inches, one green square at 3.5 inches and one light square at 3.5 inches.

From the 3.5 inch squares, make a pair of 3 inch HST's.   (I already had leftover neutral 3.5 strips from step one.) Stitch 1/4 inch on either side of the diagonal and you have two HST' that square up to 3 inches. Easy as can be!

When sewing the 'paws' together, make sure that your seam is scant so the strips of small HST's fit against the 3 inch HST correctly.  (My seams were a little big at first and finished a little shorter than 3 inches. Oops!)

Four 'paw' blocks make the 7 inch Irish Puzzle block.

Little Irish Bear is very proud of his idea for using up those Celtic Solstice bonus blocks!

Friday, December 6, 2013

A little non-traditional tool

How's this for a non-traditional quilting tool.  Cookie cutters!  Let me explain....

December 3rd, Bonnie Hunter shared this link on Facebook to a tutorial by Jenny Bartoy at Stumbles & Stitiches for adorable strip-pieced Christmas tree ornaments.  Who could resist giving them a try and making a few?  Not me!  But after my first attempt I decided to tweak the pattern a bit and use the 'quilt as you go' method.  My ornaments will not be two-sided, but have a muslin back where I can ink in the date and maybe "To: and From:" for a gift tag.

So, I layered 5x7 squares of muslin and batting.  Then raided my 'under 2 inches' bag of scraps and strings.  Layering the first two fabrics right sides together I stitched a 1/4 inch seam through all the layers.  Flip it open and finger press, then add the next strip.  In no time I had a nice little 5x7 piece.

Then I cut out the Stocking Ornament from Jenny's pattern.  From an old bit of clam-shell packaging I made a clear template so I could see where the stripes would fall. Just before stitching 1/8 inch all around the edge I tucked a ribbon loop in the top corner for hanging.  I used a colored thread on the top that matched the stripes.

Here's where the Cookie Cutters came in.  Jenny's Christmas stocking is adorable, but why not use some other shapes too?  Using the Cookie Cutters as patterns I made these:

Linking up with the REAL Studio Tour with Vicki Welsh, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? with Sarah Craig and  Finish it up Friday with AmandaJean.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Celtic Solstice first step

In every journey begins with a first step, and so it is with this year's holiday mystery from Bonnie Hunter called Celtic Solstice.  My journey will be more leisurely than most, but I'll try and keep a few blocks up to speed with the clues posted each Friday.

And so, without further delay:

Enough of the pieces to step one have been cut to get me started:
 lovely sky blues and rich golds play with neutral creamy whites,

and the first few blocks have been made.

Another exciting quilting journey begins...  Who knows where the road will lead?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Celebrating Thanksgiving

Every day is a day to recall the many gifts and blessings that we have, but it's so wonderful to have a whole day set aside to share that feeling with family and friends.  Today we have that opportunity here in the US to celebrate Thanksgiving and I'm so excited that both of our children will be home for a day or two.

Among the things I am thankful for this year are all the sweet and kind comments that you have left on this little blog over the past year.  It's so nice to have your encouragement and to share your love of quilting.
Thank you!

Give Thanks and in all things be grateful.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A good weekend

It's been a busy weekend, but the week ahead looks pretty crazy too, so a quick post for you now is in order.

I had the day to myself as Hubby made a day trip north to the cabin.  Out came my niece's wedding quilt blocks, and on came the Vikings game.  I could trim blocks while watching the game, and head to the sewing machine or the ironing board while they had game breaks.

My leaders and enders project has been Countdown to Christmas- a free pattern from Temecula Quilts.  Those darling little stars are only 2 inches finished!  This won't be the final design, but it's what I have up on the design wall.

The end result: a couple more blocks completed, and a tie game between the Vikings and Packers.  So at least we didn't lose to our son in law's home team!  It's pretty funny, that in our household the wife likes to watch the home sports teams, but the husband doesn't really care.  Go figure.

And, after the game I had time to bake a couple loaves of banana bread.  The house smells heavenly!

With the family all coming home for Thanksgiving on Thursday, and Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt first clue on Friday, it's going to be a great week!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Preparations for Celtic Solstice are underway

There's quite the buzz around Bonnie Hunter's new mystery quilt, and clues begin the day after Thanksgiving.  Since I have NO shopping plans that day, I'll be ready to jump in.  (Long ago I learned my lesson that waiting for hours in long lines is Not worth it to me, even for a great bargain.  And don't even get me started on the stores who insist on opening on Thanksgiving Day.)  But back to important things....

Here are a few of the fabrics I've found to use in my Mystery Quilt.  My neutrals are still in my stash, but I have lots of variety to mix it up there.  On the other hand, my 'orange' will be all the same fabric.  It's that yummy red with just a hint of red-orange.  So, one red, two blues, three yellows and four greens.  Hmmm,  I sense a pattern here.  (laughter)

My favorite find is the Currier & Ives print from Quilting Treasures.  The cottages with rolling hills in blues and greens remind me of my visits to beautiful Ireland.  It's going to be the backing for my Celtic Solstice.  Perfect!  Don't know if I'll use the shamrocks on white- which is sitting on MaryEllen, my 1954 Singer.  Perhaps for binding, but I couldn't help adding that fabric in.  It looks so very Irish!

So, this wee bit Irish girl is ready to sew.  But first, I need to get as many blocks for my Niece's wedding quilt done as I can.  Five done already, but it takes 2 hours to get each block done.  56 pieces in each block, plus a bonus block with another 32 pieces which I'll be using in the borders.  But, that's another blog post altogether.  And I'd better get to work!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Bonus pinwheel star

It's been a busy quilting week!  Wednesday a good friend came over and we pin basted Chinese Coins and Lanterns.  It's all ready to start quilting when I get into the mood to do some quilting!  Probably after we get some snow, which always seems to get me into the spirit of having a warm quilt on my lap as I work.

But first, I started cutting and piecing a second wedding quilt which will be for my niece.  Two blocks finished!  Don't think I'll share them with you just yet.  I don't think she looks at this blog, but you never know.

Piecing the blocks results in an abundance of Bonus Squares from trimmed corners.  Each block can give me 8 red/grey HST's, and 4 HST's each of light blue/grey and print/dk blue.  Can't waste those!  So I played around and put them together into a variation of Pinwheel Star.

I might be short on the print fabric for the quilt and there isn't any more at the store.  I was thinking I'd need to make the print border narrower, but if I can use the star blocks in the border it might just all work out.  
What, you thought I'd actually follow a pattern exactly?  Probably has never happened!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Chinese Coins and Lanterns

Since June I've been working on an original design for a wedding quilt and tonight I finished the top!  The Bride is the daughter of close friends who were former neighbors.  The Groom was born in China, and the couple met in graduate school.

First I started saving tiny pieces 1.25 inches x 3.5 inches to make Chinese Coins.  It wasn't long before I had a gallon size bag full.  Using a technique recommended by Bonnie Hunter, I joined the pieces using old telephone book paper as a backing.  It really helped keep them from stretching all out of shape, and kept them squared up so nicely!

The five rows of Chinese Coins make the center medallion for the wedding quilt.  The coins signify prosperity of course, and the red sashing is because in China red is the color of celebration.

Then the quilt just sat in my work pile for a few months.  I was puzzled on what to do next.  There are a couple different blocks called Chinese Lantern so I picked one that finished at 12 inches.  I made up 8 blocks which used up all the big floral print samples that I had.  They had been part of a group of fabric samples gifted to me in, oh, about 1995.  Time to use those up!

Serendipity came along when I spotted a string of fabric flags at the Thrift Store.  There were six different colors and Chinese words:  Love, Peace, Happiness, Tranquility, Courage and Wisdom.  I knew they just had to become part of the design.  Trimming the edges made them 8x10 inches, a very usable size.

I was finding a fair amount of fabrics with Japanese prints, but none that really looked Chinese.  I was worried about just picking something 'Asian' and have it be all wrong.  Something like putting Shamrocks on an Italian quilt and saying, well, they're European and it's close.  I didn't want to get caught making that type of mistake!  Finally I found a nice floral print last week that would work. Hurray!  Sashing for the flags and lanterns!

Here's the final result:  Chinese Coins in the center.   Flags along the sides.  Lanterns top and bottom, staggered to add a little motion.  More coins in the border were cut 1.5 x 5 to echo the smaller coins in the center, and finally a red outer border. Final size is 87 x 92 and will fit a queen bed.

Ready for batting and backing.  Then the hard part...quilting a queen quilt on my sewing machine at my dining room table.  I'm usually in the mood to do that during the winter months, so this might take another rest until after the Holidays.  I'm just so happy to have the top finished!

Friday:  Linking up with Sarah  - Whoop Whoop!
and Amanda Jean for a Friday Finish.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A busy week

It was a busy week in the sewing room this week.  I finished up a couple of  projects that I'd love to share with you.

First I finished quilting and binding the autumn Monday Mystery #6 by Sherri Falls at Little Bits of This & That.

Next I put binding and quilted the final border on Wonky Stars.  I think I will donate this quilt to a silent auction benefit for a little boy who is in cancer treatment if I can make the right connections.  The event is coming up in a few weeks.

Finally, I learned that my absolutely favorite fabric store, Mill End Fabrics, is going out of business after 45 years.  Disaster!  So I headed off early in the week to make sure I could get fabric that I need for two queen wedding quilts that need to be done by spring, and of course the fabric for Bonnie Hunter's new mystery Celtic Solstice which begins the day after Thanksgiving.  I made it to three of their four Twin Cities Stores.

When I told DH about the stores closing he laughed and said, "They aren't totally going out of business.  Their inventory is just being transferred to our house."  lol  What a sweetie.  He never even asked how much I bought.  Let's just say it was a lot, and leave it at that.  But when it's your last chance to average $3 per yard....need I say more?  They will start their discounts next week, but I wanted to be sure I could get enough of what I needed for those wedding quilts before the mad rush began.

Thanks for stopping by.  Hope you get a chance to Quilt Awhile this weekend.

Check out the links at: Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween finish

Just in time for Halloween the little pumpkin door hanger is quilted up.  I tried free motion writing for the first time in the borders.  DH asked if that was just in case someone mistook this for a Christmas quilt.  Very funny dear!  

I really enjoy Halloween. The smiling pumpkin faces, adorable and creative costumes on excited children as they bustle through the neighborhood after dark ringing door bells seeking treats. It's fun to count how many witches, princesses and hobos that arrive at the door. Not to mention all the sweets I 'sample' before the children arrive.

But no tricks for me. I'm definitely NOT a Haunted Graveyard type Halloween  person. The frightening, evil and violent aspects that some people attach to the holiday - I can do without.

Linking up just for fun:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pumpkin patch

Don't you just love all the wonderful ideas that are out there on quilting blogs?  Such fun to get inspired by things you see and give your own version a try.  This week I needed to burn off some creative energy and put two ideas together.  Lori at Humble Quilts posted a block that begins by using an already made orphan block.  Sheri at Little Bits of This and That had a Monday Mystery quilt which included a cute pumpkin block.  So I put the two ideas together.

The center patch is larger than Lori's directions, but I just adjusted as needed.  The candy corn HST's were leftover from a quilt I made my cousin's daughter last year.  This was actually my second attempt.  The first time I used a darker green border, and the candy corn triangles just looked wrong.  Not wanting to make more HST's I dug into the 1.5 inch bag and found enough golds, greens, rusts and browns to make a checkerboard border instead.

DH says they'll make nice door-hanger decorations for out kids apartments.  Great idea honey!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Early morning stress relief

What in the world can cause a woman to turn on the sewing machine at 6am and quilt for an hour or so?  Well, things have been a little crazy here the past two weeks.  My father has not been well, and while DH went up to the Lake to pull out the last boat and dock, I stayed behind at the last minute.  This morning I woke up in the dark at 5am and just couldn't get back to sleep thinking of all the bad things that could possibly happen - worst case scenarios and all that.  Sheesh!  Had to do something to break that cycle!  Good thing no one else was home to be bothered by the noise.   Do you use quilting as a stress reliever sometimes too?  I have to say it worked pretty well!

The original idea came from Temecula Quilt Co.  Her lovely version is called Savannah Steps.  I added a big button in the center and tried out a new border template with autumn leaves.  The Courthouse Steps pattern led me to title this little quilt "One Step at a Time."  Good advice when dealing with difficulties, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Quilting in the rain

Last Saturday at the Lake it rained almost all day.  What a great day to dig into some UFO's and WIP's that were in my quilting tub!

First, I finished quilting a table runner made from leftover block pieces.  I tried something new by attempting to quilt 'pebbles' in the white spaces.  Not too excited about how they turned out.  Well, practice would help, but I think my stippling looks better and is way easier.  But it was worth a try!

My next project was to put borders on Bricks and Stepping Stones.  It's a free Bonnie Hunter pattern that I started piecing over a year ago, and then it languished.  I had run out of 3.5 inch blocks.  But now my scrap basket has caught up and I finished up the final 20 or so blocks last week.

The inner black border was an easy call, but what to do for the outer border?  Most of the fabrics I auditioned looked too busy.  Then I pulled out a skirt that I bought for $3 at the Thrift Store a few weeks ago.  It was hand died batik made in India and looked like it had never been worn.  I couldn't decide whether to keep the skirt and wear it, or use the fabric for a quilt.  In the end, the quilt won.  I really like how the circles play against the squares and rectangles of the quilt.  What do you think?

 I wish I had taken a photo of the skirt for you before I cut into it.  You'll just have to use your imagination I guess.    In the end I decided the print was a little too bold for me and I probably wouldn't wear it much.  Have you ever bought a garment and then cut it up for a quilt?  It took a while to get up the nerve to cut into it!

Friday, September 27, 2013

New Favorite block - octagon star

Here's my new favorite block.  I love it!

 It's from the Fat Quarter Shop's Decade the Halls quilt. You can get the free pattern here.  It's the most adorable star in an octagon which they used for their ornament block.  It's so easy because none of the points have to match up! 

Yes, that's right.  Take a close look at the octagon corners and the star points.  Not an exact half square triangle.  No matching to a corner point.  And the stars have an overlap too.  Lots of wiggle room!

I'm going to try a few without the ornament top and hanger, and alternate with plain blocks.  Should be a great way to use up some scraps!  It makes a 5 inch block (4.5 inches finished) which is a really easy size to work with.  The pieces aren't too tiny.

Here's how far I am with the official pattern...

Monday, September 23, 2013

#7 goes missing

Pam Buda at Heartspun Quilts has been putting out clues for a darling little quilt called Nabby's Dowry.  I've been pretty busy, but I already had the HST's made from leaders & enders and I decided to follow along.

Making up one block each week was really easy - and made for a nice break from my other projects.  Or maybe I just needed an excuse to procrastinate a while.

Anyway, the big reveal, and time to put the blocks all together came.  I laid out all the blocks on the floor and pinned a number to each block to keep them in order.  Then took them into the sewing room and started putting them together with a little sashing.  Got nearly done and suddenly - no block 7.  Not here, not there, not anywhere!

After two days of searching I finally gave up and just made another block.  Now that the top is together I'm sure #7 will show up any minute.

Linking up this week:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

2013 Heritage Days

What a beautiful Saturday for our community Heritage Days festival.  Sunny and not too warm.  Near 70 degrees, and just a little breezy in the afternoon.  There was a good crowd, music and food.

The Bloomington Historical Society had a big tent with photos and displays.  The one-room schoolhouse display was next to my quilting area.  Behind me was a blacksmith, and his wife who talked about the supplies needed to come west by covered wagon.  Farther over were old-fashioned games like three-legged races, sack races, and mini pumpkin painting.

Every hour there was a pie-eating contest sponsored by a nearby pie shop!  You should have heard the whooping and hollering after they shouted one, two, three, GO!

A long-time friend, Jenny, helped me this year.  She is a teacher and did such a wonderful job talking to the children who stopped in about quilting and sewing for a pioneer family.  My niece Sara Kay also helped with set up and took some photos before things got too hectic.  I'm so grateful to both of them for their help!

On the card table were the reproduction quilts I have done, or am working on.  The flag quilt in the back drew lots of attention.  The long quilting frame, which once belonged to the mother of my BFF from high school, held a completed Double Irish Chain quilt and Jenny covered her worktable with a Card Trick quilt.

Four quilt racks held examples of quilts made from today's old clothing - denim jeans & t-shirts, and some old quilts that had deteriorated to show how fabric can wear/fade/stress.   An old steamer trunk spilled more colorful quilts out and a couple ladders added some height.  All-in-all, a pretty good day to share quilting with folks in the community.  And I even had a chance to get over to the the food court for a hot dog and an ice cream sundae!  I couldn't have done it at all without the help of my wonderful DH who packed the van, unpacked the van, set up and took down and had a nice glass of wine ready for me when we got home.  What a gem!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Album Quilt Top finished

Just in time for Saturday's quilting demonstration at Bloomington Heritage Days!  It was a real 'nose to the grindstone' week here pulling together the reproduction of the 1893 Album Quilt which is in the Bloomington Historical Society collection.  But, this afternoon the top is finished.  And photographed!

It will be a wonderful hands-on kind of quilt to use when I talk about the original and the stories of the women whose names appear on the quilt.

In addition to the names on the quilt, I have also added married names and birth/death dates if I could find them.  Eventually I'll embroider on any last bits of information I find and then quilt it with Baptist fans - like the original.

Next step is to empty out my quilt chest and fill it with the quilts I plan to take to the demonstration.  I'll be there from 11-6, so stop in if you're in the area!

Linking up on Friday with Sarah and Amanda Jean.  Don't you love seeing what other quilters have been up to this week?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Buttons and Bows

The days this week are full of sitting at the computer and double checking my research on the Antique Album Quilt.  It's so easy to sit down and suddenly it's 4pm!  This morning I really needed a quilting break - so I worked a bit on gingerbread men.  This adorable FREE pattern can be found at the Fat Quarter Shop.

Though their fabrics are very nice... teal and lime are nowhere in my Christmas palette of colors!  So, off to my scrap bag for nice toasty brown gingerbread.  Though it seems I have my mind elsewhere and have not been paying attention.

If you look closely, the buttons and bows on two of them are mixed up.  Time to pull out the seam ripper!  But it should only take about 15 minutes to make them right.

It's funny.  Years ago my mother would always take the time to rip out and re-sew little mistakes and make things exactly right.  I couldn't understand why she would take the time to do that when they weren't THAT bad.  Now I find myself doing exactly what she did.  I am not as satisfied with 'good enough' as I used to be.  Ah, the impatience of youth! (Not saying that I'm anywhere near a perfectionist though. lol)

Monday, September 2, 2013

MN State Fair time

In spite of the excessive heat warnings this week, I managed to spend half a day at the Minnesota State Fair.  How could I end summer without being there?  This is only the second year I've gone alone.   Usually it's a family event but it was just too hot for everyone this year.

The benefit of going alone is that I can spend all the time I want looking at quilts.  My first stop was Roesbud's Cottage in Heritage Square.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Roseanne and we talked about the Album Quilt I've been working on.  She was so enthusiastic and encouraging, and generously offered to be a resource if the story of that quilt becomes a book someday.

I always feel so bad that I'm not a regular Quilt Shop customer.  Hancock, Jo-Ann and Mill End Fabrics are all so close, that I've never had to venture farther.  Most of my quilts are scrap and utility quilts anyway, and those shops keep me within my limited quilting budget. (at least most of the time!)

This year I concentrated on looking at ideas for quilt settings so I can feature some machine embroidery.
 Here's one with scrappy flying geese in the sashings between blocks featuring redwork birds.

And one with beautiful green embroidered cabins and northwoods Minnesota scenes that have piano key strips to square up the blocks.  Lovely!

And finally some redwork Santas surrounded by traditional stars.
There were so many beautiful quilts on display!  I love to admire all the work and creativity, but have never felt any desire to enter any of my quilts into a competition.  I love them as they are, mistakes and all.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Album Quilt blocks coming along...

This week I've been working on the album blocks for a reproduction of the 1893 'Indian's Womens Missionary Society' Quilt in the Bloomington, MN Historical Society Museum.  Heritage Days is coming up quickly on Sept. 21 and I'd like to have the top finished for a hands-on display.   Obviously the original fabric prints aren't available, but I've tried to come close whenever possible.

Here's what I have so far....

greens and brown


The next step will involve more research on the computer.   In addition to their English name I'd like to add birth and death dates for each of the women and men, and their Dakota name if I can find it.  The original has names written in ink, but I will use the embroidery feature on my sewing machine.  I've had ink bleed into fabrics before, and want to make sure the writing is clear and legible.

So, hours at the computer next week after the holiday.  Then comes embroidery, trimming, sashing and assembling the top.  Think I can get it all done by the 20th?

Linking up to share the finished blocks with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Lazy Sunday top finished!

It's unique, that's for sure, but the top is finished!  Looks like Bonnie Hunter's  Lazy Sunday - up to a point.  And that point is the sawtooth border.

Yes, I had all the blue and white pieces cut for the second pieced border, and had even made up a dozen or so of the sections.  But when the Mystery was revealed I found I had all the blocks for the main field done, so I set aside the border pieces and started putting blocks together.

Then, oops!  I discovered the first border went on backwards.   I guess I just threw up my hands and said...'This is where I make it my own.'  I didn't want to rip off the sawtooth border.  And, truth be told, wasn't really looking forward to piecing the second border - so why prolong the process when plain borders would be just fine for me?

So it's a finished top.  Woo hoo!  It will go in the 'to be quilted' pile for this winter when I usually go on a quilting binge.  But for now, it's still summer in MN and I have other things to do when I have time to Quilt Awhile.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Reproduction in progress...

The Bloomington Historical Society has a wonderful 1893 Album Quilt in their collection which I wrote about last year.  They've asked me to put together an interactive quilting display for Heritage Days (Sept. 21st) and I need to get busy with my reproduction of the Album Quilt.

I've done a lot of research on the women whose names appear on the quilt.  It was fascinating!  But now I'm on to actually piecing a reproduction.  The original is so fragile! I hope to get the top done by Heritage Days.
Here are the blocks I finished today.  I will wait to trim the edges until I am assembling the blocks so they don't stretch.

And here is the original:
Sharing on Design Wall Monday.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A flurry of activity

I must certainly have the quilty bug this week.  Lots of projects in the works, and I keep hopping from one to another.

First is a Mystery Quilt from Little Bits of This & That .

Got caught up with that and went back to another of her mystery quilts and gave that a try too.

Then I got caught up on Nabby's Dowry from Pam Buda.

My two boxes of flannel fabrics were out, so I hunted down this Kathleen Tracy pattern called Sweet Pea Doll Quilt and it's ready to quilt.

Today I pulled out a UFO project of Maverick Stars that finish at 6 inches and they're finished and ready to stitch into rows.

And finally..... a project I can't show just yet, but the Chinese Coins are coming along and five strips are put together with sashings. Still more design work to be done on that quilt which will eventually be a wedding gift.  Dinner with the bride's parents tomorrow night to celebrate my DH's 50th birthday.