Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday Update

It's been a super productive week for quilting!  Clearly, I'm not one of those quilters who just have one project going at a time, and work on it until it's done.

Last weekend at the Lake my sister helped me pin baste two tops from my UFO pile, a twin-sized redwork Christmas quilt and Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street from 2013.  I'm seriously trying to put a dent in the pile of unfinished quilts this spring!  It will take a while to get them quilted though. But, it's real progress!

There was also lots of playing around with my scrap bags while Hubby was ice fishing.  With the 2-inch scraps I finished up another round on a split 9-patch leader/ender project.  Here's what it looks like with three rounds of blocks.  It will be a while before the next round is done because I'll need 28 blocks.  Don't you just love how deliciously scrappy it is?
Speaking of scrappy, have you been keeping up with Circa 2016 sew-along from Temecula Quilt Co.?  Last  week's clue was just one block.  But it was so cute, and I had so many scraps, that I just kept on going.  Can you say "Got Carried Away?"  Here's what the design wall looks like now!
It remains to be seen whether I stick with the sew-along plan, branch off in some new direction, or just make two quilts.

Also on the 'design bed' this week is the start of a denim & flannel rag quilt that my son requested for his birthday.    NOT my favorite materials to work with.  Let's just say that boy's mother really loves him! (wink)  He wanted a very heavy quilt to put across the bottom of the bed.  Having something heavy over his legs helps him sleep better.
If all goes according to plan, this will empty a box of old denim jeans.  And, I've sure gotten mileage out of a set of old flannel sheets that had bears and trees. This must be the third quilt that has blocks from it. But now, they'll be All Gone!

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Seasonal Skinnies

I've been so anxious to show you these four little "Skinnies" from Quiltmaker Magazine!  In January our son "hinted" that his lovely bride would like me to make some seasonal wall hangings for their new home for her birthday.  My first thought was this series from 2013 by Margie Ullery.  The fabrics for the Spring Skinnie had been pulled and put in a bag with the magazine a couple of years ago.  I never found the motivation to make it for myself.  But when I could make it for a gift, I went right to work!  They've been finished for a month, but I couldn't share until they were gifted.  So, Happy Birthday to our dear daughter-in-law!

Spring Skinnie - Quiltmaker March/April 2013
Summer Skinnie - Quiltmaker May/June 2013
Fall Skinnie - Quiltmaker July/August 2013
Winter Skinnie- Quiltmaker September/October 2013
 Our son also asked if I would make him a heavy denim quilt for the end of their bed.  So, I guess you'll be seeing that when his birthday rolls around.  I love that he asks me to make quilts for them because I enjoy doing it, and I know they are appreciated.  What a great kid!  

While I'm bragging about him, could I mention that he made his first quilt in 3rd grade, and his second in 6th grade?  A couple of weeks ago he needed to hem a pair of pants for his karate class.  Instead of bringing them to me, he asked me how to do it, then pulled his wife's sewing machine out of the box and hemmed the pants himself.  That's the way to make your mother proud! lol

Monday, February 15, 2016

Flying through February

February is pretty cold here in Minnesota, but my sewing machine has been smokin' hot!  I've had lots of time in the quilting room, and am so happy to have some finishes to share with you.

While cleaning out a corner of the quilting room I came across a redwork cardinal that I did several years ago when I was experimenting with my new embroidery machine.  Time to do something with that!

Turning this into a little one-block 17-inch table topper was a delightful winter afternoon project.  It's all quilted and the binding is ready to hand-sew down tomorrow during my volunteer time sitting at the Welcome Desk at church.

Next, I finished up my version of the Summer Sampler from Temecula Quilt Co. from last summer.  The sampler blocks were supposed to be little 3-inch blocks, but I just wasn't in the mood to make teeny-tinys last summer.  So, I went with full size 6-inch blocks.  That gave me large spaces in the alternate blue blocks to play around with some free-motion quilting.

I went to the Inbox Jaunt and checked out Lori's tutorials for free motion quilting designs.  Lots of very cute ideas there!  It was fun to try some of them out.  I wasn't being very careful.  The quality of my free-motion quilting is, quite frankly, horrible.  But, I learned a lot and became much more comfortable with FMQ than I was before.

One big lesson is that my small sewing machine table is not good for free-motion quilting.  (Yes, I knew that already, but was too lazy to take everything into the dining room table.) The quilt wasn't supported enough and suddenly, right in the middle, it's a tug of war.  It took three days, but I got through it and am really pleased with the finished quilt.  It has a very humble and folk art kind of style.   I hurried outside to take a quick snapshot in the driveway for you before it started snowing again.  (in below-zero temps I might add)  You might be able to see some of the designs in these close-ups.  Every one is different.  Isn't it fun when a quilt that you don't expect to really like, turns out to be one you love?

Iris, apple, house, pie, dandelion, bird, kite, cherries, owl, tomato pincushion,
race car, oak leaf & acorn, bee, turtle, pencil, football, hyacinth, sewing machine, cat, mittens

Candy, dragonfly, windowsill garden, puzzle, baseball, pumpkin, spider & web, house
birdhouse, umbrella, shamrock, thread, bunny, sailboat, heart, fence, apple core, flower, truck, pine tree

Wait, there's more!  Two toddler whole-cloth quilts were finished up too.  I had two pieces of 'cheater cloth' about 1-1/2 yards each.  I loved the fabrics and decided to quilt each of them to a warm and cozy piece of polar fleece.  The Disney Mickey Mouse & Pluto was quilted to blue fleece, and the delicate pink and tan Simple Nature by Cynthia Coultier for Willmington Prints was quilted to a light pink fleece.  Both are copyright prints, so I decided not to post photos of them. But they're cute, and soft, and will be all ready when I need a gift for a new big brother or big sister.

More quilts in the works.  February is always a very productive quilting month around here!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Let it Snow!

Finally, finished quilts to show you!

Who remembers Daisy Kingdom?  These kits were all the fad about 20 years ago.  The printed fabric was meant to be cut apart and used in embellishing sweatshirts, or in other craft projects.  I found this one at the thrift store for under $1 just after Christmas.  Clearly, it was someone's unfinished project!

 A couple of 9-patch blocks, and a little checkerboard strip coordinated perfectly, and this week "Let It Snow" went into the 'Finished!' category.  Perfect timing - we had a huge snowstorm on Tuesday and it gave me the time to finish this up!

Let it Snow!  23 inches square,  original design

The binding still needs to be hand sewn down, but I'm going to call it finished anyway.

I do volunteer work for two organizations, and very frequently there is nothing to do while I wait for the phone to ring, or a visitor to stop in.  So, I've started using that time to sew bindings down.

There is one more quilt in the hand-binding tote that I'm working on, and it's a UFO from last year.  I quilted this with variegated thread, which I usually don't use, and it turned out very nicely.

The whole point of making this quilt was to use up those little red and yellow pinwheels that were left over from another project.  Think I went overboard?  I have the name of the designer that inspired this on a slip of paper here somewhere, but it has mysteriously vanished.  I'll update as soon as it turns up.  But for now, I'm just glad to call it a Finish!  The backing is a heavy yellow flannel print, so it should be a cozy quilt.
Update: The quilt below is inspired by "Cabin in the Woods", an Ellen Murphy design in the book American Homestead Quilts.

Courthouse Pinwheels  44 x 54 inches
And one more carry-over from last year, Tucker, which was a Temecula Quilt Co. sew along.  By adding another star block section I was able to make mine into a cute little table runner.

Project count for 2016:
Unfinished projects on January 1st: 17
Finished by February 5th: 3
Started new: 6
Finished new: 4 (gifts, so I can't show you them yet)

And just to round out the statistics, in 2015 my finishes were:
1 queen quilt
1 twin quilt
7 lap quilts
4 baby/crib quilts
11 wall hangings
6 table runners
6 table topper/candle mats

Linking up with other finishes at Crazy Mom Quilts.blogspot

Monday, February 1, 2016

Tapa Cloth

January 2016 has been a whirlwind of travel for us.  First a quick trip to San Diego, CA.  Then a week later we were off to San Antonio, TX.  Two unexpected escapes from a cold Minnesota winter!
Hawaiian tapa cloth: San Antonio Museum of Art
We didn't see any quilts in the San Antonio museums, but this caught my eye.  In the San Antonio Museum of Art was a Tapa Cloth from Hawaii.  We are used to seeing traditional applique Hawaiian quilts, but this piece of bark 'cloth' has a geometric design that looks just like traditional quilt piecing to me.

Decorated Tapa, or bark cloth, was used in ceremonial clothing for chiefs, mats for ceremonial dances, bed sheets and room partitions in the late 1700's and 1800's.  It might be fun to make a quilt inspired by this piece someday, but the math to figure out how to get the blocks to fit together would be tricky. Could you see it as a decorative runner across the foot of the bed?  Possibilities!