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.

I just finished Jane Austen's Persuasion

  I've seen the movie numerous times, the BBC version.   Click on the BBC link for the video trailer, Most Faithful to the Book and Most...