Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Snow Day!

Today was another snow day! This time no one went anywhere. The winds came up and caused havoc on the highways when white out conditions resulted. Brrrr it is cold out there!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Fun Pictures!

We often see pictures of quilts with legs on the Internet.

When I am finished a customer quilt--if the weather is nice--I clamp the quilt to the deck railing and take a picture of the finished product. However, the weather lately has been anything but nice and so when the weather does not permit taking the quilt's picture outdoors, I resort to the quilt hanger with hands and legs. I prefer the 6'7" model as his height allows for the largest of quilts to be held flat without folds at the floor and his arm span allows for a quilt to be held out nice and wide without wrinkles.

The reason I am showing this first picture is not so much to show the quilt but to show you the attire of the quilt holder - well most of the attire of the quilt holder. You can see the bright yellow Hawaiian shirt. What you can't see is the bright blue shorts! Notice the bare legs and lack of socks. (He did resort to slippers.) He said he was wearing the outfit to bring about nice weather--if you dress like it, it will come. He felt if he dressed like it was Spring karma would intervene somehow and it would be Spring. If nothing else, his outfit brought a bright spot to an otherwise dull day yesterday. Yes, bring on Spring!

This is Joey--enjoying a moment in the sunshine as it came through the living room window.

And I couldn't resist this one--all pooped out! Joey looks like he is trying to grab onto that quilt before it decides to go somewhere.

This Quilt Has Handles

Our guild sponsored a workshop last Saturday. The workshop was called, "This Quilt Has Handles" and the instructor was Carola from Carola's Quilt Shop in Gibsons, BC. The workshop was not so much about the article that we were going to make - a purse - but about quilting and embellishment techniques that we could use on other projects.

These are pictures of my 2 quilts so far--one quilt for the front of the bag and the second quilt for the back of the bag. My quilts are still minus the handles and the finishing part, that is why they are still two flat pieces.

You can see the techniques we worked on--free motion quilting, prairie points, bias strips, decorative stitching, yarn couching, and bobbin work. I did not get to practice putting beads on by machine during class, but I will take the time to practice that technique before doing the final steps to assemble my bag.

This is a picture of the steps to making prairie points from a strip of fabric. We cut our fabric strip 2" wide. The instructor used a serger loaded with decorative variegated thread to add a rolled hem to one long side of our strips. (top of photo)
We then re-measured the strips and cut the strips into pieces twice as long as the width of our strip. (middle of photo)
Once we had our rectangles, we folded the sides of the rectangle to the center and pressed. (bottom of photo)
This technique allows you to make prairie points that end up being only two thicknesses of fabric--more suitable for adding to embellished garments or quilts rather than the traditional prairie points made from four thicknesses of fabric.

2008 Quilt Show Challenge

This is a picture of the fabric for our quilt guild's 2008 Quilt Show Challenge. The name of our show (to be held in September 2008) is: "Quilts From the Heart".

The "rules" of the challenge are simple.

1. Purchase your kit for $2.00. (The low cost of the challenge fabric is thanks to the Liquidation World fabric sale!) The fabric is a strip 8" wide by WOF. Basically, the organizer bought what fabric was left on the bolt and divided the piece by 24 (total number of kits). You don't need to use all of the fabric, but we are to use enough that it is clearly visible (a 1" square would not suffice).

2. Your quilt must include at least one heart motif.

3. The outside perimeter of your work should be no smaller than 72" and no bigger than 168".

4. Your work must have a hanging sleeve.

5. You must include a label on the back of the quilt, and then cover the label with a piece of fabric to ensure anonymity.

6. Quilts are to be submitted at the September meeting in an unmarked bag.

7. Winners will be determined at the quilt show by Viewer's Choice.

8. Have fun!

This sounds like my kind of challenge--especially, rule #8!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Double Four Patch Progress

This week I finished putting the borders on my Double Four Patch quilt. Friday night I loaded this quilt on the long arm and I finished the quilting before supper Saturday night. I was still inspired and my energy levels were high so after supper last night I continued on and finished machine sewing the binding to the front of this quilt. I now only have the hand sewing of the binding to the back of the quilt to do.

The weather forecast is for cool days this week--temperatures below zero. This is perfect weather for stitching binding as you can enjoy the warmth of the quilt as it is draped over your lap while hand stitching. You know where
you can find me in the evenings this week!

First Finish for 2008

This is my first quilted finish for 2008--Mexico Strings. I quilted this quilt on New Year's Day and put the last hand stitch in the binding on January 9.

This quilt finished 47 1/4" x 62 1/4" and will be making its way to Pam for her Quilts For Mexico project. Pam will be taking the donated quilts to an orphanage in Mexico later this year. I encourage you to make a quilt and donate it to Pam's project to help her reach her goal of 200 quilts!

The blocks for this quilt were foundation pieced onto used color catcher sheets. Once the sheets are covered with strings, I trimmed the blocks to 4" x 9". The sashing is cut 2" x 9" and cornerstones are 2" square. The outer green border is cut 6" wide--no special reason other than that is the width of my ruler (6") so strips are easy to cut.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bring on Spring!

This was the only fabric that I purchased in the last week. I bought one meter of this fried egg fabric called, "Sunny Side Up" by Susan Pisoni for Fabri-Quilt, Inc. The fabric store that I purchased this fabric from did not have the rest of the coordinated fabric in the line, just this one print. This is a fabric that I noticed once before when I was in the shop and did not make a purchase at that time. When I was in the shop on Friday night, they had just 3 meters of this wonderful fabric left. It is a good thing I didn't wait any longer. This fabric coordinates perfectly with my chicken collection and I am sure I can use it in a wall hanging for the kitchen or a table runner for the dining room table.

On Saturday, it was a very grey and rainy day here. I am fed up with winter, snow, and rain. Bring on Spring! My daughter and I decided that we needed something that would remind us of Spring so we headed out to the local greenhouse. We found these pink and purple coloured cyclamens and the bright red pot that reminded us of Valentine's day. This would do the trick so we brought them home. As you can see, today (Sunday), the sun came out for a while and is streaming in the windows as I took this picture.

I also purchased a new pattern on Friday while at the quilt shop. This pattern is called, Spirals and is by a Canadian designer that manufactures her patterns under the name, "Designs to Share With You". The table runners I have been making are from the same designer. Her patterns are fairly easy to understand and follow. There was only one step that was a bit confusing in this pattern, but I soon figured out what she meant and was well on my way.

Since I was still in the Spring mode, I shopped my stash for this bright tulip fabric. Perfect for Spring! I made one table topper with just two "rounds" of strips using green as the accent colour. This was my son's favorite.

I made a second table topper with three "rounds" of fabric using purple as the accent colour. This was my daughter's favorite.

While I did buy fabric this week, I did bust stash in that I shopped my stash for the fabric for these projects. I also used up some of my bits of leftover batting to quilt these. Both table toppers are quilted and ready for binding. I won't be putting the binding on these until I purchase some Elmer's school glue. If you are curious what I am talking about, check out You Tube and look for Sharon Schamber's recent three part video on binding. She has some wonderful tips--one of which is using Elmer's school glue instead of pins.

After purchasing bright colourful flowers and working with bright floral fabrics, I feel like spring has to be nearby. At least it was spring in our house this weekend!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Project Progress

This is the progress on my projects since New Year's Day.

1. I have pieced another 17 color catcher string blocks. They still need to be trimmed, but that is a job I will leave till an evening in front of the TV. This is an ongoing project. As I have color catchers and strings of fabric, I continue to make these and store them in a box. When I have enough to make a quilt, I sit down and piece the top. I will never run out of string blocks, nor will this project ever end.

2. This is the color catcher string quilt that I quilted on New Year's Day. It now has a binding machine sewn to the front. All this quilt needs is the hand work to fasten the binding to the back of the quilt. I will be taking this project with me to work on at my Monday night quilt group.

3. This is my dryer string diamond quilt. I finished this quilt to the flimsy stage back on May 27, 2007. It was time it was quilted! I quilted it using the Baptist Fan template. This one just needs the binding now.

4. This is my Christmas Patience Corners quilt. I worked on adding blocks to this one in the last couple of days. Currently this top is 73" wide. I bought some backing on Friday (from the last of the bolts left from Liquidation World's sale) that was 108" wide. I think I will make this quilt as wide as I can to make maximum use of the backing. That means I will likely need to add another 1 1/2 blocks (if you count a group of four squares as a block) to the width of this quilt for a total of 7 1/2 blocks in width. I started this quilt top back in December 2006.

This is a picture of the wide fabric that I bought for the back of my Patience Corner quilt. It is bright and wild. Those flowers are at least 10" across. I think I mentioned before that bright green is my new favorite colour!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Second Blogging Anniversary, 314th Post, Gratitudes

It is two years today since I started my blog.

This is also my 314th post.

I am grateful for the friends I have made through this blog and look forward to continuing to "talk" to each one of you in the coming year.

I will leave you with a picture of my aunt taken this Christmas with her new quilt (my mother on the left, my aunt on the right). She wrote to thank me for the quilt and she mentioned that it was much too nice to use....but she has heard that if you don't use them, you don't get anymore! My mom has heard me say that if you don't use the quilts you get, you won't get more in the future. Do you suppose she passed on this bit of advise to her sister? LOL

.....they are learning--quilts are made to be used. After all, how can you feel the warmth and love transmitted from the quilt maker if you never wrap yourself in the quilt?

This quilt is called, Christmas Gratitudes and is from a pattern developed by JudyL who was inspired by Jeanne.

My gratitudes today are:

* Quilters who are willing share their patterns and inspiration with the rest of us.

* Family members who appreciate my work and aren't afraid to put my creations to use.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

We spent New Year's Eve at home with our kids and their friends. Tradition on New Year's Eve in our house is to eat simple snack like foods including cold cuts, cheeses, dips, chips, etc. and to watch movies. We stay up until we watch the ball fall at midnight in Times Square and then head to bed. A quiet bunch really!

This morning, both my husband and daughter had to work and my son slept in. I was able to start the first day of the new year having my coffee with my on-line friends. We kept the communication lines open and checked with each other as we worked through our chosen projects for the day. We all spent the day quilting and working on projects that we plan to donate to our favorite charitable group(s).

This is the quilt that I worked on today. Over the last couple of days I pieced some of my Color Catcher foundation string blocks into this top. Today, I was able to get it quilted. It is now trimmed and "binding ready".

I love the bright green border. I think that this bright green is my new favorite colour!

I am thrilled to report that everything used in this quilt was from existing stash. I even pieced the batting from 5 different strips of batting that were leftover trimmings from other projects. (Colette, the batting leftovers from your purple quilt are in this project! Thanks for leaving them behind!) I used up thread leftovers on 6 different bobbins. (It is a pain to keep changing the bobbin so often, but it is worth it to empty the bobbins of all that thread and have them ready for new projects.) The backing was made from 11 different pieces of fabric some of which was left from my garage sale find last summer.

I was concerned about the added thickness of the Color Catchers so I quilted this one with a simple pattern--The Wave. I did not need to be concerned, there were no issues at all with the extra thickness caused by the foundations so I will be a little more adventurous the next time around.

I have many of these blocks left in my box. In fact, I still cannot close the lid on the box as there are enough string blocks left in that box to make at least another 3 quilts! I can see more of these little quilts in my future!

Today could not have been more perfect. I spent the day quilting and chatting with friends. Today was the last day of my holiday and tomorrow it is back to work!