Friday, March 21, 2014

Hands 2 Help Signup Time

Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict has announced that it's time to sign up for Hands 2 Help.  I've done this for the last couple years and it's a great chance to finish and send some charity quilts.  This year there are three excellent charities to choose from, and Sarah always has lots of prizes and guest bloggers along the way to make it more fun for all of us.  Be sure to go check it out if you are interested.  The signup time to get a chance to win a prize goes through tomorrow night, but you can still sign up after that.  Quilts are not due to be sent until June 1, so you've got time to finish one.  I've been making some charity quilts as the winter wore on, so I think I'm ready for this!

Country Threads UFO Challenge for March was #4, which for me was the Primitive Gatherings 2013 Freebie Block of the Month.  It's done and hanging on the wall.  I had it finished except for quilting and binding.  I'm not sure what happened, but I didn't have much fabric left for the binding, so this one got a really skinny binding.   I liked the red fabric, though, so I wanted to use it.  Maybe I was supposed to bind in the tan, because I had a fair amount of that left.  Anyway, it's done - I think this is the first time I've ever gotten one completely done before the next year's BOM started.  It usually starts in June, so I've got two months to do something else before it shows up!

This mat has been in my workbasket for a long time, so I got it out and finished it up.
This is Oval Flower Mat, also by Primitive Gatherings.  I really like it, but it's really big and I don't have a great spot for it, so I think that's why it has languished in an unfinished state.  Maybe I need to buy some new furniture so I have a place to display it!

One other UFO I have finished this month is this moose quilt.  I made this quilt top several years ago to teach a class on Quilt In A Day's Flying Geese rulers (which work really well).  The brown fabric is a Holly Taylor Northwoods print with moose, bears and trees.  I finished it up with a meander and star pattern, so this is ready to be sent off to someone.  I think this may be one of my Hands 2 Help quilts this year.

The brown fabric in this quilt is really pretty - it's cotton, but it looks like suede and has a very rich look to it.  This quilt finished at about 70"x80", so it's a nice lap size.

Winter is slowly going, but we still have snow on the ground and highs only in the 30s and 40s each day.  I'm so ready for a 60 degree day.  I guess all this winter weather leads to great productivity in the sewing room, though!  The snow has melted enough so that I can see how much damage the voles got up to this winter, so I'm going to have to trade quilting for lawn repair in a couple months.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Silver Lining

The silver lining of all the winter weather we've been having (and continue to have - it's only 32 today) is that I'm forced to stay inside and work on my projects!  This month I've gotten out some spring projects and finished them.
This Easter redwork pillow was a free pattern from Kaaren at The Painted Quilt awhile back, and I had the stitchery done, so I finally got it made into a pillow in time to display this year.  I love how it turned out.  Kaaren has lots of fun free patterns - if you aren't familiar with her blog, it's worth your time to check it out!  She has a new spring pattern up now.

Last year I won a giveaway from Buttermilk Basin.  There were two items in the giveaway, and I got the towel finished.
This rabbit does have an eye, but it's black and doesn't show up very well in the picture.  The rabbit is wool, on a pretty spring towel.  I started the other project I won, but it isn't quite finished yet.

It's been way too cold to go out shopping, so I've been shopping in my sewing room cabinets.  I'm amazed at what I'm finding!  This chick table mat kit was one of my finds, so I made it for spring.  Who knows what else I have hidden away that I've forgotten about!  The stores are probably missing me, but I think I could keep busy for years on what I've already bought.

And I've been working on the blocks from the Tone It Down quilt in American Patchwork and Quilting.  All the blocks are done now and set together, but I don't have a recent picture.  The pattern shows up a lot better once the blocks are set together.  I like how this turned out, but it's a little small for a bed, so I think I'll have to add a border or two, so it's not quite done yet.

The Country Threads UFO Challenge number this month was #4, which is my Primitive Gatherings Summer Freebie 2013 quilt, so I'm in the middle of quilting that and hope to have it finished yet this month.  I love these challenges - it really helps me to focus on one project!

My friend Donna at Brynwood Needleworks is having a 5th blog anniversary giveaway, so hop over to her blog and sign up. I really enjoy her blog.  Donna used to have a store here, and I was her customer, and then she was my customer later when I had a store.  Now we're long-distance friends who get together to go quilt shopping once a year.  It's a fun way to keep in touch!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

And It Was Free!

Last June, when I attended the Grand Old Flag event at Country Sampler in Spring Green, I was lucky enough to win this door prize.
It's a stack of Fat Quarters of every fabric in the American Spirit line, which is designed by Jeanne at Country Sampler.  I was thrilled to win this!

One of our teachers for that event was Paula Barnes of Red Crinoline Quilts, and she gave a door prize of one of her patterns to each of us.  The one I chose was Second Hand Clothes.  After I got home from the event, I decided to make Second Hand Clothes from all the dark prints in this line of fabric.

This quilt is done and on the bed! 
It's a big quilt, and I couldn't get a picture of the whole thing.  This is a double bed, and it's plenty big for it.  I think it was 85" x 93".  I quilted it myself on my Juki, with a wool batting.  The quilting isn't perfect, but I love it anyway.  And it was free!  (If you don't count the muslin, batting, backing, and spool and a half of thread.)

This was a very easy pattern - it would be a great pattern to teach someone to quilt.  It's all just squares and rectangles, with triangles on the borders.  I had a great time making it.  Working with a nice line of fabric like this is just so pleasant!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

UFO #1 is Done!

The UFO for Country Threads' UFO Challenge for February was #1, which for me was My Favorite Things, the 2012 summer freebie quilt from Primitive Gatherings.  I'm happy to announce this quilt is now quilted, bound, labelled and hanging on the wall of my sewing room!
This was a fun quilt to make (but I guess I always say that.  You never see a finished product of the un-fun quilts).  We received the 12 blocks in the center each week with our Block of the Week order.  The finishing kit was a little different - it had the instructions and some of the motifs for the borders, but with the additional instruction to add our own "favorite things" to personalize it.  This is a challenge for me - I can follow directions just fine, but being creative is a stretch!  Nevertheless, I added the animals in the lower left, changed the top left and right motifs to spring and summer and added the tomato pincushion after the word "quilting". 
Here's a little shot of the corner with some of my personalization!  I see there is an extra thread that I didn't snip, so I'd better go back and do that.  I may still quilt something in the sashings - I left them plain, but they may need a wavy line or something.  I'll let it hang on the wall for awhile and see if it sags or anything.  So, I can check this one off my UFO list! 

The cold weather has allowed a fair amount of quilting time lately.  I also finished this pillow for my son's birthday.  It was actually supposed to be a Christmas present last year, but this works, too!
I found some fun comic book fabrics on one of my shopping trips, but they didn't have much - only about 1/4 yard, so I made this little reading pillow.  It has the comic book fabric on two sides, and a matching red fabric on the third side.

I thought these were just a cute shape when I saw the pattern in the store.  They have straps on each end; they were labelled as a travel/reading pillow, but I doubt it will ever travel anywhere.

My design wall has some of the blocks from the Tone It Down Quilt-Along from American Patchwork and Quilting.  I started this before Christmas but it keeps getting put aside for other projects.

I have ten blocks done, and parts of several other blocks.  These seem to take a lot of time to construct - all the small blocks are 1" finished and I'm making the blocks out of scraps, which always takes longer.  I've been working on all the sections, so once I get that done, the blocks will go together fairly quickly.  I've always wanted to make a Burgoyne Surrounded quilt, so this is it! This will be a pretty big quilt.

We are supposed to get 5" of snow tomorrow.  I'd love to take a snow day and work on this, but I doubt I can manage to pull that off.  Unfortunately for Wisconsin, 5" of snow isn't enough of an excuse to stay home!  Our road crews are just too efficient sometimes.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

February 1 Is Finally Here!

Is January finally over?  It's always been my least favorite month, but this year has been particularly trying.  I've had enough cold and snow to last for a long time!

One good thing for the cold, it allows for lots of indoor time for quilting.  When Primitive Gatherings had their after-Christmas sale, I bought a Juki 2010Q, and I've spent quite a bit of time trying to get the hang of it.  I really like it so far, but need a lot more practice on it. I started out my practice on a Soduku quilt.  The fabric for the top of this quilt was a giveaway at a retreat I went to several years ago, so it's good to get this one done.
This quilt top was more challenging than necessary due to the fact that I received only 8 of one of the fabrics, a fact I didn't discover till I was well along with piecing, so I had to scrounge through my stash for a substitute.  It's the floral in the center of the top row, and blends in amazingly well!  This is Charity Quilt #1 for 2014, and is about 55" square, so a nice lap size.  It also features "unique" quilting! LOL

The second quilt I practiced on is this Popcorn the Bear panel, also a Charity Quilt.  It was a lot of fun to quilt, with no seams to deal with.  I've always loved this print, so I'm glad I got to work on it.  I have another panel just like this one to make up someday.  If both of these quilts fit the criteria, I'm ready for the Hands 2 Help challenge.

We were supposed to get a snowstorm today, so I ran all my errands yesterday with plans to stay inside and sew today.  We only got 2" of snow, which at this point we hardly notice, but I stayed inside to sew anyway.  Every time I go to a retreat, I wish I had an iron caddy to bring the hot iron home in, so today I finally made two.

The one on the left is for the travel iron, and the other is for the regular size iron.  They match the snap bag I made a year or two ago, so now I have some great stuff to take to my next retreat!   (They really do match - it doesn't look like it in this picture, but they are made from fabrics in the same line from Buggy Barn).  I even found some cool old buttons in my Grandma's button box.  The caddy pad opens to an ironing surface covered with a reflective fabric.  There is also Warm Tater batting inside to protect the table from the heat.
These were fun and pretty quick to make, once I figured out the first one.  I can't wait for my next retreat so I can try them out!

I also had a couple quick pincushion finishes.
The pineapple pincushion was a pattern from Buttermilk Basin.  The bottom pincushion was the freebie kit at Primitive Gatherings' Christmas open house.  I've had both of these stitched for awhile, but had run out of walnut shells for the stuffing.  I bought a bag yesterday - the smallest they had was 12 quarts, which is a BIG bag.  Wonder how many pincushions I can get out of that?  I'm guessing it's a lifetime supply, but we'll see!

Country Threads picked #1 as their UFO for February, so now I need to get to work on quilting My Favorite Things. 

Hope you're staying warm!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Paint Chip Challenge

My quilt guild is having a paint chip challenge.  The idea was that we each got a paint chip with three colors on it, and we have to make a project using only those three colors - no added background colors.  For an extra twist, we got a piece of fabric we also had to incorporate, which may or may not have matched the paint chip.

Here's the paint chip and fabric I got:
The paint chips are very PINK, and the fabric is red, so this was definitely a challenge!  I also decided to make do with what I had on hand in the fabric stash, so that added an additional element of challenge.  The thing that popped into my mind as soon as I saw this paint chip was "Malibu Barbie,"  so I made Barbie quilts for this challenge.

First I made a modern quilt for Wisconsin cheerleader Barbie:
This was my own design, and quilted on my sewing machine.  One of my 2014 goals is to get more proficient at machine quilting, so I practiced on this quilt.  As you can see, the red fabric became a few flowers.  I couldn't figure out what else to do with it.  It really matched nothing!

Vintage Barbie also needed a quilt:
I thought for a vintage doll I should use a more traditional pattern, so this is a basic four-patch quilt, and hand quilted.  When I was setting it together, I thought the corners looked cute without that final triangle, so I finished it that way.  So, yes, that was a plan and not an oversight!  The red fabric is used as the backing on this quilt.  This is my original Barbie doll, and she is probably close to 50 years old now.  She doesn't look too bad, considering the life she's had!

The daughter of one of my coworkers got a Barbie dream house for Christmas, so I think I'll give these quilts to her to furnish her house once we're done showing them at our May guild dinner.

We are all revealing our projects at our January meeting, so it will be interesting to see what everyone did with their paint chips.  They weren't all pink - that was luck of the draw.  I was surprised how many pink fabrics I had in my stash, though.

This was my #10 item on my list, so the January UFO is done!  I started these back in September or so, but they got put on the back burner over the holidays.  This was a fun challenge - sometimes it's nice to be forced to go out of your comfort zone a little.  This much pink is definitely out of my comfort zone.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Welcome, 2014!

I'm not sure how it happened, but it appears I haven't posted since Halloween, so I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  I've been quilting, but I guess I just haven't been blogging about it very much.

Here's what I've finished since my last post:
This snowman pillow (pattern from Primitive Gatherings).  It was supposed to end up as a 15" pillow, and mine is 17 1/2" x 18", so I obviously disregarded some instructions somewhere!  It works fine with an 18" pillow form, though.

I enjoyed making it so much that I dug through my bright wools and made a smaller version for a Christmas gift for a coworker.  This one ended up 14".

And I finished this Snowman Runner (also a pattern by Primitive Gatherings).  I machine quilted this on my sewing machine.  My Christmas decorations have been put away, and snowman season has begun in my house.

This year I'm going to participate in Country Threads' UFO Challenge.  I've listed my projects on the sidebar, so I hope you'll see some progress on them this year.  I had NO problem coming up with 12 items to work on!  The first one is #10, so I'm busy working on that already.

We're having a record cold snap here for the next few days, so I'm hoping to hunker down in my sewing room and get lots done.  Keep warm!