December 02, 2011

Christmas Show 2011!

It’s time for SewCalGal’s 2011 Christmas Show!  (I'm almost late)

My entry was made from a pattern by Kindred Spirits, called "Let It Snow...Let It Snow."   It’s probably my favorite Christmas/Winter quilt—the colors just make me happy.  It's machine appliquéd and handquilted in red.

The pattern is quite old so I doubt it's still available (I couldn't find it online), but there were a couple on Ebay a few minutes ago if you're interested.    Unfortunately, it’s beginning to show its age as a few of the fabrics are fading with time, especially the black and white stripe.  I'm thinking of adding a pretty ribbon or a bias strip to cover it up--one of these years...just have to figure out the right one!

Be sure to enjoy all the lovely quilts in the show.  And be sure to enjoy the holiday season—and find lots of time to curl up and sew! :)

December 01, 2011

November's UFO!

November's UFO  was #3, which I finished earlier (instead of doing #11 in September).  Then the plan was to do #11 this month, but I decided to swap it for #12 instead (since they both just need to be bound and #12 is bigger--yaye for easier December!)   So here's my #12, all finished--up close so maybe you can see the lovely quilting Yvette did.

It only took a mere...hmmm...maybe 25 or so years to finish--which never would have happened without the UFO Challenge.  Thanks Judy!

And thanks to my lovely (shy) daughter for showing me she could hold up the whole quilt (relatively well) all by herself! 

Be sure to check out the other November UFO finishes at Judy's Patchwork Times.   Only one more UFO month to go! :)

November 01, 2011

Scatterbrained October

The Patchwork Times UFO Challenge for October was #5, a Roseville Block that I finished and posted about in early October.  Here it is again for the UFO Challenge followers:

The vase fabric is from a panel of Field Bouquet by Kaffe.  The block reads a bit dark, but I like how it turned out, although it had its moments of stress.  Partway through I managed to cut a hole in it, which led to a few days of depression, then a bit of moving around of the circles.  But it could have been so much worse, and ended up just fine.

With my UFO done so early in the month, you are probably wondering what I did the rest of the month.  Well, so am I--October was a very scatterbrained kind of month!

First, I worked on the King George, and finished this block (totally ignoring the other block already in process).  It probably wasn't the best fabric choices because they blend into each other, but sometimes you just have to try something, and I like that green fabric!

Then we found a new home for the kitty that had adopted us.  I still miss her though.  She would come out to say hello whenever I got the mail in or went outside.  But she'll be much happier--or at least warmer--in her new home.  (I'm afraid she is missing the ability to roam at will, but hopefully when snow comes she'll be happier to be inside.)

Next, I started work on the Roseville house panel--here's a sneak peak of it.  But soon I got distracted, and started the bottom panel too (no photo of that).  Neither are very far along.

And then (here's the confession) I started TWO new projects.  There isn't much to show, and I doubt they are going to move along much until after Christmas, but here's a preview.  The first group is strips for a pattern called Hugs & Kisses, and the second group is just some 2.5 inch squares I started sewing together, a bit of a leader/ender, but once I get started, there is no stopping for awhile, so it's hard to say which is the leader or ender.  Eventually they will likely be used in a quilt called Coming Up Roses, unless I get sidetracked again.  More on these when they're further along...

The UFO Challenge for November is #3 which is another Roseville block (also already finished, because I swapped it for #11 back in September).  Guess I will have to get to work on #11, which is now back from the quilter--before I start another new project! :)  Only two months to go!

Scoreboard for the Month/Year/Total Project:
Roseville Blocks – one finished in October -10/13 blocks, 1/4 panels, 0/4 borders completed
Flower Garden Blocks – none completed in October, 9/24 blocks completed
King George III - 2/12 completed, one in October
UFO Challenges Completed - 10/12, up to date (with the substitution)
Old projects Entirely Completed - 4
New Projects Started – 11, including Hugs & Kisses and Coming up Roses in October

Happy Stitching!

October 28, 2011

Black Cats visit the Blogger's Quilt Festival!

The quilt I would like to share with you for Blogger’s QuiltFestival is Black Cats. 

Although this isn’t a new quilt (at all), it is my most Halloween-ish quilt, and one I haven’t shown. 

So Happy Halloween from my Black Cats!

The quilt was made from a pattern by Country Threads called Thomas (copyright 1989, so doubtful it is still available). 

 It was a fun pattern to make because of the chance to use so many different fabrics (more fabrics are always more fun!)

The cats are pieced, then appliquéd onto a background which is pieced.

  Hard to believe, but I actually did hand quilting on these! (Look at the back legs of the cats)

Be sure to visit the Blogger’s Quilt Festival and enjoy the numerous lovely quilts that are participating!


Happy Stitching and Happy Halloween!

October 04, 2011

Progress--UFO #5

Finished another Roseville Album block last night.  Hooray!  I've been working on it on and off for awhile, trying to get ahead of the game.  It is UFO #5, and the UFO Challenge for October, so I'm ahead for the month.  My goal is to finish out all my UFO's so December will be a month off to enjoy doing whatever I want.

It's the last block of the center nine, so now there are "only" three panels, three blocks, and the borders to go!  It's a dreary, dark day outside, so the colors don't show up real well, but you can get an idea of what they all look like.   (I would wait, but I want to move the blocks off my design wall.)

Back to work....Happy Stitching!

October 01, 2011

Spot, Dot and Flo--plus 1

As promised, here are the three Flower Garden blocks I haven't shown you--plus one of their friends who had a circle added to her top to spice it up a bit and was out and about with them at photo time.  They are all on the same background fabric--Kona Snow--but somehow are choosing to look as though they're not.




September's UFO

September was a good month for projects and I accomplished more than usual, so that’s a good thing.  Unfortunately the September UFO wasn’t among the things finished. 

My September UFO Challenge was the two quilt tops shown above which both needed to be finished (bordered, quilted, and bound).  You can read about them here if you want, but the short story is one of the two is at the quilter’s (not due to be finished until October 10th) and I have decided not to finish the other watermelon one, pending making a new “top” for the back, so I can have a double sided tablecloth.  (Still unfinished, but moved to a “new” UFO category!)

Since I couldn’t finish my #11 this month, I have unilaterally decided to substitute UFO #3 for it—just finished yesterday afternoon:

Next month’s UFO Challenge block is #5, another Roseville Album block—only 1 more center section block to go!  I'll show a photo of all of them all together next month (assuming #5 gets finished!) 

I also finished three Flower Garden blocks, which I'll post as soon as the blocks are ironed and the sun comes out for a photo.
Scoreboard for the Month/Year/Total Project:
Roseville Blocks – one in September -9/13 blocks, 1/4 panels, 0/4 borders completed
Flower Garden Blocks – 3 completed in September, 9/24 blocks completed  (photo soon!)
King George III - 1/12 completed, none in September
UFO Challenges Completed - 9/12, up to date (with the substitution)
Old projects Entirely Completed - 4
New Projects Started – 9, including the Portraits in My Garden started in September
Happy Stitching!

September 20, 2011

Les hexies sont finis!

The scary hexies are now a top! (And no, I do not speak much French so hopefully that is stated correctly.)

The top was made from a French General kit that I was lucky enough to win in a giveaway from Thelma at Cupcakes N'Daisies.  (Thank you Thelma!)

I made the kit just as directed in the pattern, although I just had to add a few more different French General fabrics (if ten fabrics are good, fifteen are better--I can never resist more variety).  Of course I just told myself it was because I wanted to add a smidgen of green to make the quilt be a bit more Christmasy without it being a Christmas only quilt.  Here's a closer view... 

The kit had a generous amount of fabrics even without my additions, so now I've quite a bunch of French General scraps as well as some half hexies and quite a few whole hexies, so I'm sure you'll see another hexie project here sometime--but not soon.  First I've got a few  million other UFO's to finish, and of course, this still needs quilting!

Happy Stitching!

September 19, 2011

So far in September...

In honor of 9/11 (or maybe just for fun) this patriotic balloon passed over our house on September 11, giving us all a treat—except for Tessa (our golden) who felt the need to protect us and bravely chased it off.

Then it was back to work (play).  This month’s UFO Challenge is #11, which for me is two quilts that both need to be quilted.  (What was I thinking--two??!)

One of them, the New Wave, is at the quilter's now.  This is a photo of the top when I first finished it a year or so ago.  I  pieced a back for it, and even though it was on my living room floor for several days, I apparently didn’t photograph it—guess you’ll have to wait along with me until the quilting is finished—likely not until sometime in October.  So it's as finished as can be for now!

The other UFO quilt is a Watermelon top, which is now all ready to be quilted—the borders are on and the back is pieced.  But when I thought about getting it quilted, I had second thoughts.  I’m not sure I want the expense—at least not now (the king size teal quilt and my daughter’s quilt were big and expensive, and I’ve two more currently being quilted.)  I would likely only use it for a summer tablecloth--it does fit perfectly on my picnic table.   Hmmmmm...

Wouldn’t it make more sense to have a two sided tablecloth?  I’d like to come up with a good idea for the back.  Maybe something summery—flowers?  Fireworks?  Fall leaves?  The backing is a tiny green check.  I would love suggestions. 

And what about the quilting?  How do I make it look ok on both sides?  Would I need to hand appliqué something on after the front is quilted?  Or would an all over design quilted right across appliqued flowers or leaves look awful?  Any and all suggestions are welcome!

So with the borders on the Watermelon top, and summer when I’d use the tablecloth coming to an end, I’m considering it done—for now.  Sometimes just making a decision about a project’s next step is enough progress.  While it is still a UFO, it’s a totally different UFO! J

I’ve also started working on the Roseville Album again.  Picking out little bits to appliqué always makes a horrible mess of my sewing room.  One day while I was sitting on the floor (my only clear area), folding up the many Kaffe fabrics I’d auditioned for the latest Roseville block, I came across this pattern.

Forgetful me.  Back in July, Kelly at I Have a Notion had a giveaway, and I was lucky enough to win this lovely pattern designed by Amanda Murphy called Portraits of My Garden.  I'd kept the pattern out—so that I would remember to blog about it, but of course, it got buried in the mess of Kaffe fabrics spread all over the sewing room.  So many THANKS Kelly--sorry to be so slow--I am thrilled to have won it!  (Kelly has several other patterns by Amanda Murphy available in her shop--check them out here.)
And since I was sitting on the floor, and since either getting up or continuing to clean would take effort, I read the pattern instead.  It looked like it would be quick.  I’ve been trying to resist buying new fabrics—except where absolutely necessary (which is pretty often).  So I started trying to remember any fabrics I had that would be big enough for the background piece (I think 2.75 yards if I remember).

Not sure why, but I remembered a piece of fabric I had bought during one of my pregnancies—at least 25 years ago.  I had planned to make a Laura Ashley sort of jumper  (very  IN at the time), and it took quite a bunch of fabric—enough to cover my growing baby bump.

Although I was a bit concerned that the flowers wouldn’t look very good cut up and resewn as in the pattern, the piece was large enough (and then some--that baby bump is now 6'6" tall, and it wasn't little then).  I started digging out any and all fabrics that would possibly coordinate.  This became my own personal stash challenge—no new fabrics.  And in no time, the center portion was done.  (It goes together really quickly.)

Figuring out the borders wasn’t quite so easy.  I confess I hate piecing borders.  I generally like to buy the full length and figure I will use any extra fabric on something else just to avoid having a seam.   So this was a struggle.  Anything I had that was long enough likely was purchased with something else in mind, and rather than use up something that belongs to another UFO, I forged ahead and pieced some borders.  The narrow pink I had plenty of, but the green floral was a remnant I bought on sale to make a pillow or something (??) and was just barely enough.

I followed the pattern as written, but after finishing, didn’t like the green borders.  I decided they were too busy and/or wide, or maybe too narrow for such a big print, so I cut them down and added some more of the background fabric to kind of calm it all down.  Actually, I added ALL of the background fabric that was left—which makes determining how wide the borders will be pretty easy.  Here's a close up view:
And here's the finished top, being double checked by my assistant, who is not my cat.  NOT.  Just the neighbor's cat who has decided she would rather live in my yard than at home, and the neighbor doesn't seem to care (or feed her, given her hunger level).  So I guess I have a new outdoor only assistant (I am really allergic).  She's a nice cat though, and wants to learn to quilt, if anyone would like a kitty....

And, I am still working from time to time on the hexies.  More on them to come soon!

Happy Stitching!

September 01, 2011

Conquering Fears...

My UFO #7 in the Patchwork Times UFO Challenge is finished!  Finally!  I started this quilt about 1992 as a gift for my mom--so hmmmm almost twenty years ago--aren't you impressed with my speed of completion?

When I first started it, the pieces in each block were made of the same two fabrics, with a different two fabrics for each block, but when I put the blocks together, it looked too choppy, so I picked it all apart and stitched it back together with the fabrics mixed.  (insanity!)  Then I decided I wanted the outside triangles on the edge to both be dark to make a bit of definition. So I picked it apart again, and replaced the white with teal.

When the top was complete, I showed my mom. She is a non-sewer, non-quilter, and grew up in the age where poor people had quilts on their beds and rich people had bedspreads. (She was excited when she could afford a real bedspread.) 

Her response to the top was, "Why would I want that?!"

Yes, I was crushed.  But I spread the quilt top out on a queen size bed of mine, looked at it, and decided it would be better as king size anyway, given the block scale, and for balance.  So I took it apart, and added a row.  Of course I sewed the new row into the wrong place and had to pick it out again before it was put in correctly.

And, that is why a quilt takes twenty years to finish--lack of preplanning!  I worry a bit that the fabric will fall apart the first time it's washed--it's been picked apart that much.   Here's a closer view of the lovely quilting Yvette did, and the fabric on the back.

I wanted to hang it and take a long full photo, but it is just too big for me to handle--and yes, that is a whole lot of binding!  And that's all I've accomplished this past month--at least that I finished.  But I have an admission to make.  I've started something new--and not just one new project, but TWO! 

I've always been drawn to the circle type quilts I see on so many blogs, so I purchased a pattern called King George III Quilt, available here.  It wasn't exactly what I had been looking for, but it was close enough and I didn't think I would ever draft circular patterns on my own.  (I later figured out that the pattern I had been looking for is apparently a BOM from Amitie--oh well.  There's also another lovely circle pattern called Camelot by Trish Harper if you, too, want circles.) 

The King George pattern had languished in my sewing room due to my fear of hand piecing.  I've tried hand piecing a bit in the past and found it difficult and tediously slow.  But now for some reason, it doesn't seem so slow (perhaps it is at my pace now).  Here's my first (and only) completed block.

It went together relatively well (although I was short on the green fabric so couldn't make all the pieces match completely--as my daughter points out.)  And I guess the block isn't really done since it is still a circle and not yet put into a square, but since I'm not sure what I'm going to use as the background, this is done for now.

My second new project was with hexagons--another project I had postponed due to fear.  It is from a wonderful French General kit, Reine des Abeilles, I won earlier this year from Thelma at Cupcakes N' Daisies. I had decided I would work on it this fall, so I cut out the pieces this month (to be ready, of course).

But then I couldn't wait, so I started piecing them together.  Here's part of the first panel (on top of the other projects on my design wall).                       

Turns out that circles, hand piecing, and hexies aren't that scary after all!

Scoreboard for the Month/Year/Total Project:
Roseville Blocks -  8/13 blocks, 1/4 panels, 0/4 borders completed, none in August
Flower Garden Blocks - 6/24 completed, none in August
King George III - 1/12 completed, one in August
UFO Challenges Completed - 8/12, one in August  (up to date)
Old projects Entirely Completed - 4, including the Teal Quilt in August
New Projects Started - 8, including French General hexies and King George III in August (this explains a lot about my growing number of UFO's)
UFO's to Finish - More than I can list on two pages!  So sad...and truly SCARY!

Happy Stitching! 

July 31, 2011

July's UFO (and May's too!)

The number drawn for July’s Patchwork Times UFO Challenge was #2.  Since I’ve been working ahead, my #2 was done back in May—click here to see that post, but for a reminder, here’s a photo of finished #2, which is one of Kim McLean's Roseville Album blocks.

 So what did I do in July? 

Well remember this package?  It was a birthday gift for my dd, and inside the package was this pillow, which was just a teaser for the rest of her birthday present. 

Which was this:

If it looks familiar, it is my May UFO, CapriccioALL FINISHED--but kept under wraps.  Since my daughter opened it last night, I can finally show it to you.

I tried to use bright, happy colors and fabrics that I thought she would enjoy, although I have to admit that it is sadly lacking in dog prints.  I guess I just don’t buy many dog fabrics—cats are a different story thanks to Laurel Burch designs. 

Since the top ended up reading a bit more yellow/green than I planned, the backing fabric I’d purchased didn’t really seem to match the front of the quilt.  But neither did anything else I tried—even yellow or green, and I couldn’t find anything else that I thought would work better.  After mulling it over, I decided to go ahead and use what I'd bought since the red print would give her an entirely different look if she wanted to “redecorate” just by flipping it over.

I’m glad the red stayed as it adds to the cheerfulness, and I think it looks great with the quilting Yvette did in yellow.  The red backing is from the line, Lift Your Spirits by Wendy Bentley for Timeless Treasures.  The pillow center panel and the label on the quilt back are both from that same line too.

Gotta admit, though, my favorite part is the black and white squiggly binding!  I love it and have to remember to buy more! (I think it's by Blank Textiles--called coffee something or opposites attract.) 

But this has been done for a couple weeks now.  So what did I do the rest of July? 

Pretty much nothing!  I have prepped some more Flower Garden blocks, but have barely put in any stitches.  I’ve been itching to start something new (hexagons keep calling my name), and been doing some retail therapy and a little mental planning of a new project, but looking at the calendar (and knowing tomorrow will bring a new UFO Challenge number) is holding me back. 

Maybe I’ll go clean on my sewing room so I’m ready for a new UFO….or work on some quilt binding, or maybe I’ll just take a nap and rest up…..there must be a reason they call these the lazy days of summer.

Happy Stitching!