Friday, September 30, 2016

Quilt for Kevin

Two posts in two days! Wow! Anyway, I started this quilt last spring sometime, in the hope that I would be able to finish it before cold weather came to Vermont, where my brother lives. My brother is a cancer patient, although after 10 years of fighting it, he seems to be finally doing pretty okay right now. For anyone who has no direct contact with cancer (lucky) we are easily chilled, even in warmer weather. So Vermont in the winter? BRRRRRR
 I wanted to keep it simple and very usable. The last quilt I made him has photo transfers of family, so he doesn't want to use it and ruin them. I get it. But he needs a warm quilt. So I chose fall colors and the pop of bright green with the cats on chairs by Laurie Wisbrun which has been languishing in my stash. Kevin has a black and white cat so this is purrfect.
 I had my hubby stand up with his arms stretched out to find the size for wrapping up, Kevin is taller, so we added on a bit. I tried to make it very random in the placement of the blocks.
 I used a different batting than I usually do. This one has a bit of polyester in it and a bit more loft.
 The best part is the backing. I used an old flannel sheet. Cozy and warm. This quilt is very warm. I know as I was working on it through the summer and into September. A plain red for the binding to tie it all together.
 Speaking of ties, that is how I quilted it, by tying it. I did do a big stitch quilting every other row just for stability and to anchor the thing. It's kinda big, you know?
 Adding to the fall theme is a leaf and rake print by Dear Stella. Reminds me of when we were kids and we used to rake leaves together. Back then, you raked them into a pile and burned them to get rid of them. Ha!
So, all folded and washed and sent off to Vermont. I know he may see this before it arrives, but as I have said before, I am impatient sometimes when it comes to sharing. I can't wait! Snuggle up Kevin and keep warm. I love you!
Sharing with Crazy Mom for Finish it Friday.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Meanwhile...back at the Clambake

I have been trying to work on a quilt I started over a year ago when I was home during chemo and radiation for breast cancer. Rachel, of Stitched in Color had a Clambake quilt along. If you go to her blog and search using the word clam, you can find all the relevant posts.
I was able to get all the almost 500 clam shells traced and cut out. It was actually a good, soothing activity for me, sitting at the table and watching TV while I traced and cut.

I got the backing made and added the batting. This is a quilt as you go method. I started pressing the curved edges under and sewed the first few rows. I was liking it, but struggling with fatigue made sewing less fun. Finally, I stopped all together and folded it up. I think I had about 8 or 9 rows and I need 34 for the entire quilt.

The time has come to get back on that horse. I hope to be able to add several rows a week until it's done.
 They are not perfect. This is hard, but my muscle memory is improving. That's why I want to keep at it and get it done.
 The curve edge of each clam has to be starched and ironed , before pinning and stitching through all 3 layers.
 Here are a bunch, pressed and ready. This is one whole color row. I am being very random about my placement of these.
I am improving. I am trying to go slow so that it looks good. So, what are you doing these days?
Talk to you soon.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

It's in the Bag

Sometimes, when I am reading blogs, which I do for a part of every day, I find a project that I just can't resist. Sometimes it's a quilt, but sometimes it's not. I was reading S.O.T.A.K. Handmade the other day and Svetlana had made some great reusable grocery bags. Now I have a bunch of those plastic-y ones that I bought, but these were cute!
 This is the first one I made. I stuffed some things in it just to see how it worked. It is styled after those plastic bags that grocery stores use so many of. So for me, part of the charm is that it is a size and a shape that is familiar to me. I know how much will fit. Those store bought bags are so deep and get very heavy very quickly.
 So last Saturday I took them shopping for a true test run and they work great!! The pattern comes in 3 sizes. I made 3 large and one medium and one small one. I can see the large ones will get used the most, but I am happy to have one of each of the others.
 The red and green one here is the medium. Perfect size for just a few items. The pattern is available at Michelle patterns. I love using some of my pretty fabrics for such a useful purpose. To be honest, some of these have sat on the shelf for quite a while. They are reversible and machine washable.
This is the smallest one. In this picture it is holding two heavy 48 ounce jars of mayo, just so you know. The bags are sturdy and very well stitched to reinforce the seams. They are very easy to load up at the store. And yes, I am going to make more because A)they are fun to make and B)three is not enough for a regular grocery run. I hope you try them out. I think it's a great idea, and this is my own opinion. Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Blogger's Quilt Festival

I am so happy to have another chance to participate in this festival, hosted by Amy Ellis at Amy's Creative Side. I love seeing all the beautiful quilts every year and it is so inspiring to me. Here is my entry for the small quilts category this year.
 I made this quilt a number of years ago. I have never blogged about it. It hangs by (gasp) push pins in my bedroom and has for over 10 years. I had a difficult time getting pictures where the colors were true to life.
 This is the closest to true colors for this quilt. The fabrics were all purchased at my LQS, which sadly is closing this year after 23 years in business. I remember that all the fabrics were purchased to match with the leaf print.
 This is a shot of the back so you can hopefully see the hand quilting. This was done back when I only knew how to hand quilt. The quilting lines were marked by tracing around a jar lid with a white colored pencil. I would mark a few and quilt them, and then mark a few more.
 I took the quilt outside where it is cloudy, to try and get a better color representation. It is still kind of off. When I made this quilt, I was still pretty new to quilting.
 I feel like I have talent, sure, but a lot of luck went into my early quilts. This is still a favorite one.
The colors here are a little bit better. The quilt pattern is called Milky Way. The fabrics are a mystery, sorry. The quilt measures 120 inches around, so 30 x 30. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Happy Anniversary Quilt

I finished an anniversary quilt a few weeks ago, for my daughter and son-in-law. Their anniversary isn't until October 1, but I couldn't wait any longer, so I gave it to them this weekend. What can I say, I get excited when I finish a project and it was a secret for so long already. So, this is what I did.

When they were married, 5 years ago, I made 100 cloth napkins in sets of 4, 6 and one set of 8, for the wedding reception. The plan was that later, they would use them at home. And use them, they did. Awhile back she gave me all the scrap fabrics she had from those napkins and it sat here for over a year until I got the idea to use it for a quilt for their anniversary.

 I wanted to do triangles. I have long wanted to make a quilt of triangles. I had such a variety of amounts here, once I cut out all the triagles, I had to find a way to make it look good, and random.
 So I stared rearranging them on the wall as hexagons in color groups that looked good to me.

 And I just kept on moving them around until I had used almost all of the triangles.

 This is the final arrangement on the design wall, all sewn together before quilting.
                     And this extra wide fun fabric is the backing!
 The top and bottom are straight lines, but I decided not to cut off the side angles to make it straight. Instead, I let them swerve in and out along the sides.

 I found enough solid green in a couple of colorways in my stash to do the binding. I made a bias binding to help ease in the indents and curve around the hills and corners. It's not perfect, but it works.

 My daughter commented that those napkins are so faded now from all the washing over the last five years, but these are so bright, just like the original fabrics.
 I love the way this turned out so much, and it will be a constant reminder to them of that happy day.
The colors will stay bright longer, since it won't be washed as much, and no one will be wiping their mouth on it. :)  Talk to you soon.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Summer Solstice-All Together

This is the next phase of the Simmer Solstice QAL. Where we put all the blocks together. For me, that meant only 4 blocks. 4 very large blocks. Each block is 40 inches square to make a queen size quilt for my bed.

This is one of the blocks. I love the size because it helps to show off the Mendocino prints that I love so very much.
 Next I laid it out on the bed to see how I liked it with the sashing, as in this picture.
 Or maybe without the sashing as in this picture. After discussing it with my husband and getting my daughter's opinion, I decided without.
Omalley's opinion is that either way, it will be a cozy quilt to sleep both on and under. So, yay!
 So, the assignment was to sew all the blocks together. My problem with that was, I wanted to quilt each block separately, and then attach them to one another. I couldn't see fighting all that fabric to quilt it on my Bernina. I had a specific quilting motif in mind.
 So I decided to do it my way and see if I could still meet the deadline. And the answer is yes!
 I love the secondary design that putting the blocks side by side gives this quilt. I quilted it in Aurifil 40 weight thread in a hot pink color.
 It's a little hard to see here, both indoor and outdoor shots, but it looks great against the grey background.
 I am pretty happy with it. I am planning to take the sashing strips and put a grey border all the way around the quilt and quilt it with waves, cause, you know, mermaids and fish?
 The points meet up pretty well and now I have to decide on a back. I am thinking of buying some extra wide backing fabric. I love how easy that makes a large quilt to finish.
 I will still have a bit of wrestling to do with this baby. I need to quilt the centers of all those squares still. I am thinking on how I want to do it.
 When it's done, I will be back to show off the final pictures to you. The parade of finished quilts may come before I get done, but if so, I'm okay with that. This baby is so close, I know I will go on to finish it.
Thanks for reading to the end. Thanks to Melissa for a great quilt along. I have loved every minute.
Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How I Write a Blog Post

I don't know how you do it, but when I write a post, especially if I have  nothing specific that I want/need to share, I flip through my photos and see what I can cobble together to make up a blog post. This most often happens when I am in between projects or just noodling around with small projects. Like now.

So here is what I have to share with you today:
 This was just some noodling around with shapes and applique and color. I like it and am going to quilt it as soon as I figure out how I want to do that.
 These leaf shapes are still floating around in my collection of WIPs. I left them with my daughter to see if she could find a cool way to arrange them. I am stumped right now.
 This chunk of extra wide backing fabric is on the back of a secret sewing project. Once it is gifted I will post about the front.
 Wanted to make a strawberry. Just one. I have been doing lots of straight line quilting lately.
 Small feather wall hanging for daughter number 2. She requested a few small wall hanging size quilts for her home. Fall colors are her favorites and she picked these out.
One more small wall hanging for the same daughter. Just finished, not quilted yet. I have to look at it for awhile before I know how it needs to be quilted. Any suggestions?

So, that's what I am working on here, along with a bunch of other things. Talk to you soon.