Thursday, February 9, 2017

January + snow = quilting

1st photo

I have put some of the blocks together on the design wall to see how "Sleigh Bells" looks.  I see some things that look great and some things I want to change. I pinned the red floral house block over a pink house that just didn't work.  I'm still deciding if the red floral works.

2nd photo

I decided that I want the deer block up higher so I'm going to take out the row with the angel (1st photo of design wall) and put it under the deer block.

I finished the little block with the kids in snow suits.  I remember those snow suits.  We used to stuff our full skirts (with full slips underneath) inside those snow pants to walk to school.  Do you remember those full slips from the 50's?  They were so much fun to wear and play dress-ups using the elastic waist as a headband around your head and letting the full fabric drape down behind your shoulders like really long hair.  Tell me that I'm not the only one that used to do that?

I'm working on the fourth large block (above and below).  I'm hoping to get it done today.  I've got the trees and the night sky done.  I just need to baste the house and swiftly (ha!) stitch it down.

I haven't had a chance to work on the Peppermint Quilt very much.  There are only so many hours in the day to divide between all my projects.  But I did finish the crosshatching for the basket above

This is a picture of the two blocks I have finished.  There are only four blocks so I'm halfway.

I made another 'Rising Sun' block, left.  I'm hand piecing so this is a project with which to relax.  (I didn't want to end my sentence with a preposition.)  Those Jr. High English teachers just stay with you, don't they?  I'm thinking about adding black to some of the blocks.  But then, it wouldn't be true to the original painting.  The block on the left is much nicer in real life.  The photo makes the small sheep print look very dull.

My granddaughter had a wax museum program at school.  The children wrote reports, made posters, and dressed up like the person they had chosen.


There was a button taped to the floor and if you pressed it then each child would tell you who they were and a quick piece of information about them.

We got to see Abraham Lincoln, Pocahontas, Jackie Robinson, Kid President. . . lots and lots of historical persons of interests.

 Look!  We even got to see Frida Kahlo!!!

Have you seen the new program 6 Moda designers are presenting?  Go check in out here.  It's called BLOCKHEADS and its a 48 week BOW.  The blocks will be 6" finished and each designer, in rotation, will present a block each week.

I ordered this;
called "Hope's Journey" by Betsy Chutchian to make the blocks for this block of the week program.  I'll use some of my reproduction scraps too.  I think it's going to be a fun and fairly undemanding in the time department.  (Don't you love those greens?)

If you stayed with me down to this point - I thank you for enduring.

Hope you have a great day and can sneak some stitching into it.

Monday, January 30, 2017

It's all about the snow

I have been working hard on the snowy quilt top.  I wanted so badly to finish it in January but alas, it isn't to be.  I did make a big dent in the number of pieces that are left to applique.  I don't want to stop because I'm afraid it will go to the dark side (UFO pile).

It has been a snowy month both inside and outside.  We have received about 25" of snow this month in various parts of the valley (which I am very grateful for) and I have been working on snowmen.  Above is the next large block for "Sleigh Bells" by Jan Patek.  Have I mentioned that there are no sleigh bells or sleighs of any kind on this quilt?  I need to come up with another name.  This was a fun block to do.  Notice the blue moon.

I also finished the three snowman baskets.  I decided to sew on buttons instead of doing small circles of black applique.  It was easier and it gives the quilt top a little texture.

The antlers on the deer didn't seem to show up very well on the previous block (above) so I did a back stick around them (below) with a lighter color of floss to help them stand out.  I like it better now.  Yes, my deer is still leaping off the ground next to the startled cat (also not touching ground)

I also was able to applique the 3rd angel.  I know this is supposed to be folk art and I really do like the style or I wouldn't be going to this much work.  My quandary is . . . why do the deer, snowman, and cat get eyes while the angels remain sightless?  Inquiring minds want to know.

I managed to get two of the 10 or so houses done today.  I was hoping for a better showing and I've got 3 more hours till bed so I might get more done.  It always surprises me how long it takes to cut things out.  I spent hours just picking out fabric and cutting it for the houses this afternoon.  But, the decisions are made so now all I have to do it stitch.  The window on the left still needs some embroidery.

One of the reasons I didn't get more done is because my daughter has asked me to cross stitch a few designs to make Christmas stockings for her four children.  I finished the cute little skating mouse in two weeks.  I soaked it, and hand washed it but the fabric still has a lot of sizing in it so it didn't press up very well.  Does anyone have a secret for softening the cloth ?

The next design is a little boy mouse building a snowman - back to the snow again.

My husband and I love to do puzzles and this is one of my favorites based on a painting by Tom Newson.  This year we were seldom at the puzzle table at the same time but my great husband finished everything but the quilt and then walked away letting me build the quilt by myself.  It took great restraint and I appreciated it.

Every year I look at the constuction of the blocks in this quilt and the colors used, it just makes me happy.  Last week it occurred to me that I had some red, green, and blue fabric from about 15 years ago that would look very striking in a replica quilt.  I bought the fabric with a churn dash idea in my mind that I lost interest in long ago.

So I looked through my books to find out what the name of this block is.  It's called "Rising Sun".  I looked through other books for a pattern and then searched online, all in vain.  So I drew out the block on some graph paper sizing it to 12" finished.  Cut up the graph paper and made templates out of plastic sheets.  I traced around the templates and then added 1/4" around each as I cut them out.

I'm not much of a curved piecer because I haven't had much practice so I hand sewed this block  together.  I think it turned out great.  I've got another block cut out but I'm making houses tonight so it will have to wait.

I did get another large block hand quilted on my "Peppermint Quilt" (no picture) but it has definitely taken a back seat to the cross stitching.

So, I've been busy but no finish to show for it yet (unless I count the skater but she still needs to be made into a stocking).

Off to the constuction zone. . .


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Anxious to stitch

I've been struck with some enthusiasm for a quilt I started a year ago.  I hate to stop stitching even to fix dinner because I'm afraid I'll loose it (the enthusiasm I mean - my husband would say I lost it a long time ago concerning quilting -ha!)

This is a picture of my progress.

I am working to complete Sleigh Bells by Jan Patek

I finished the church (with the leaning steeple) and one angel late last year.  I got started on this deer block but didn't finish it till Christmas time.  I didn't notice till I had finished all the applique that the deer and cat are floating.  Oh Well. . . 

I made one of the snowman baskets last week. 

And I'm busy trying to get the other two done right away. I've learned to do back basting but found it difficult with this dark blue backing on the block.  So I traced the leaves out of freezer paper, ironed the templates onto the fabric, and cut scant 1/4" around it.  Then I pinned them in place and basted around the freezer paper.

This shows all the leaves basted into place.

And here are the leaves all stitched down.

Here are the two snowman baskets together.  I haven't sewn the faces on yet.  The carrot noses won't be difficult to applique but I'm not sure if I'm going to applique the eyes and mouth or buy buttons.

We've had some pretty cold days lately.  Notice how the frost has covered the weeping birch branches.

I am tempted to join the Rainbow scrap challenge this year.  It might be fun to make simple blocks in rainbow colors, using up scraps, having no deadline, just sewing for pleasure.

Lori at Humble Quilts said she'll be doing another small quilt swap this spring.  I don't want to miss out on this again.  I better get busy on a little quilt.

I made apple pie today to use up the apples that had frozen in the shed.  The house smells so cinnamony.  Can't wait till it cools and we can cut into it!!!!


I will be linking up to Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Is quilting really on the wane?

After reading Barbara Brackman's post yesterday I was a little sad.

 I knew the ever expanding quilt industry wouldn't last forever but it was a downer to read some of the statistics from last year.

It doesn't discourage me, just makes me sad.

I admit I don't spend as much on books and fabric as I used to.  Part of the reason is because I have a large stash but the main reason is because I am a traditional quilter who likes reproduction fabrics

and patterns and my local fabric shops/magazines are catering more to those who like the trendy colors and themes.

Kate Spain - cute but not me.

But, I have to tell myself that they are catering in that direction because the quilters who like that are the ones spending the money.  Makes perfect sense.

Also the many of the new patterns that are available are too simple and too "easy" for me.  I want a challenge, I want something intricate.

I guess they are trying to attract beginner quilters
I love the ideas that are coming out of Australia.  They seem to be going in lots of interesting directions.

Midnight at the Oasis by Jen Kingwell Designs
Jen Kingwell makes some interesting patterns

I appreciate designers like Barbara Brackman, Betsy Chutchian, Jo Morton, and many many more who are still carrying the banner of "preserving the past".  They haven't given up on quilters like me and I haven't given up on them.   In fact, there is a new book I've got my eye on because of the pine tree quilt on the cover.  Warming up to cheddar has taken me a long time but it sure makes this quilt sparkle.

Here is the book.

Regardless of the trends, I'm not giving up on quilting.  I have many more fabrics to piece and stitches to make before I'm finished!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

What's happening around here

I collected all the hexagon pieces I have finished and spread them out to see what I had.  I liked it so well I decided to start sewing them together so I didn't loose the arrangement.

They are upon a different quilt that is on the bed.  It's not all one quilt.

Sewing these pieces together is not for the faint of heart.  It's darn hard.  I've seen some big hexagon quilts and I have a new admiration for the makers!!!  I've decided to sew the units together as I finish them so it doesn't feel like such a big job in the end.   I've still got a bunch more to make.

I'm sure it would be easier to store a stack of blocks instead of this gangly bit of piecing but it will work out better as I go along.  I've only got 4 more of the 15 finished blocks to put together.

I've been getting some of the cookie and candy making done.  The snowballs (Mexican Wedding Cookies) are already gone.  I didn't really eat them all myself.  I had ALOT of help.

The fudge and peanut brittle are disappearing fast too.  I usually cut the fudge into what I call "logs" and then wrap it in foil.  It makes it easy to grab one and share when I'm out visiting or unexpected guests arrive.  I keep them in the freezer so they stay fresh for a long time.

I have a window on my new back door.  I bought 2 bundles of selvage edged fabric strips a few years ago.  This is from the 12 days of Christmas by Kate Spain.  I sewed the lower group together with the selvages showing last year and then never go back to it.

This week I decided I needed to get busy so I cut the selvages off the rest of the strips and sewed them together.  Then I sewed it together as shown and decided I didn't really need to quilt and bind it because then the light would show through better.  So I just made a sleeve in the top and hem it on the other three sides.

It kind of looks like stained glass.  It's just what I was looking for.

 I decorated my hutch with snowmen and snow related ornaments (and silver reflective things) this year.  I had some lights left over from one of the weddings a few years back.  So I put it under my batting/snow and it came together.

It's the time of year my DH and I love to do puzzles.  He's been sick (in bed) all week long with some ornery flu.  I hope he can "rise and shine" soon so we can continue on.

This is the gift my SIL sent us.  She ordered the Joan Walsh Anglund print online and then put it into a shadowbox and embellished it with a bow on the light post and glitter.  She also included the church, snowman, trees, and deer.  It is absolutely darling.

My only picture of the Super Moon.  I took this picture 2 days before it was full.  It came up as the sun (reflecting on the mountain-tops) was setting.  The sky was completely overcast the night the moon was full.

And finally some progress on my "Peppermint Quilt".  It's slow going but I'm enjoying every minute.

Hope you are well and truly enjoying the season.