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