Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Another finished quilt

I don't think I ever mentioned that one of the members in my guild has been diagnosed with cancer and has had surgery and now the follow up chemo/radiation, I'm not sure which.  The guild has a policy of making and giving a quilt to members or their spouses who are seriously ill. We don't keep a supply of quilts on hand, but make them up one by one as they're needed. Fortunately, we've only had to make 2 quilts in the 5 years I've been a member.

I suggested that we all chip in with fabric and talent and make a quilt for Diane while we were at retreat.  Everyone brought 2.5" strips of a variety of yellow fabrics and we stitched them into 12" blocks.  I overestimated how many blocks we'd need to make a generous throw quilt for her and we ended up with enough extra blocks to make a second quilt to keep on hand for when we may need it.

Since I was the organizer of this project, I took the finished top with me after retreat and got backing fabric on sale. Another guild member who does long-arm quilting offered to quilt it up which she did in 2 days.  I asked another member to make up a label which she printed off on fabric. I got the label yesterday and framed it up and did some hand embroidery on it. Last night I finished the binding and label and the quilt is ready to go to Diane on Tuesday night at the guild meeting.

Here's what we made for her:  "Rays of Sunshine" (photographed on a gloomy, dreary day).

I love all the yellows and golds in this quilt.  While I was stitching on the binding, it felt so warm and snuggly on my lap, I know Diane will feel loved when she wraps up in this quilt.

Unknown to us, Diane is a bee keeper so it's very fitting that we included some bumble bee fabrics in this quilt.

And this is the label Becky and I made together for our friend.

The other thing I didn't mention after retreat is that I sold my red "Santas" table runner--

after I'd finished the embroidery and worked out the faint staining from the red dyes, and added the checkerboard border and quilted it up--to one of the gals at retreat who fell in love with it when it was finished.  She took a look at my Etsy store, Jolly Ruby  as well and decided to buy the embroidered Halloween table runner as well.

In addition to these sales--and remember every penny of sales goes to the Jolly Ruby fund which helps enhance the lives of people with disabilities--two other retreaters asked me if I would make "Santas" table runners for them as well. I'll do my best to get them finished by Christmas but I didn't make any promises.  They're okay getting them a little late.  Whew!

Then, the other day, I got a call from a person who lives a few blocks from me about making a memory quilt for her out of napkins she's saved from various events she's attended in her career.  So, of course I said yes!  This is going to be fun--and easy!  And she's not in a big hurry to get it.  Whew again!

Today, I have done my house chores and will go for a walk when I'm finished with this. Then, into the sewing room to work on a charity quilt block that needs to be done by the end of the week. What's on your plate for this Friday?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Gloomy Friday

Well, this week has just flown by. I've had something to do every day since I returned from retreat on Sunday and it seems as though I've accomplished nothing!  Especially in quilting. I wanted to keep up the pace I set at retreat but here at home, there's always something distracting--computers, tv, yardwork, grocery shopping, and the occasional house chores. Yuck!  I just want to keep quilting!

Although today is gray and overcast with spits of rain, I stopped by the garden this morning to see if the winter rye had sprouted yet--and it has!  I've never planted a cover crop like this so I'm anxious to see if it helps any. For those of you who don't garden, we can plant a crop of a winter hardy seed like winter rye and it will sprout in the fall and with luck, continue to grow in the spring. It all gets turned under before planting, adding lots of nutrition to the soil. Some refer to this as "green manure." 

This is the long view of the garden with my 4 brussell sprouts still standing there.

This is a closeup of the winter rye sprouts--they're about an inch or two high now. I have no idea how high they'll get before snowfall.   It's an experiment!

I have worked on a couple of things this week.  For our guild gift exchange in December, we are to make a zipper pouch with a surprise inside, and a second zipper pouch to be donated to a sale we're having later in the year.  I've taken a lot of kidding this past year over the crumbs I save, so I decided to make up some crumb fabric and use that to make the pouch.  Each side is different and it measures about 10" by 8."

For the surprise inside, I am putting in a bundle of 3 fat quarters from my stash, a charm square of Christmas fabrics that I'm never going to use, a new Frixion pen and a note pad with three wooden magnets. Oh, and I'll add some chocolate when the time comes. (If I get the chocolate now, it'll be gone by the time of the December meeting!)

And for the lining, I used this funky frog fabric (do you like alliteration?) that I found in my stash.

For the pouch to donate, I'm going to make some fabric out of the huge amount of selvages I've been collecting. In fact, I may make more than one pouch out of the selvages since I think they'll sell and it will make a little dent anyway in my collection.

At retreat I began making pinwheels as part of finishing off the embroidered blocks I made last spring, the Farmhouse Window Sills pattern.  I only got as far as finishing off 2 of the 4 blocks so this week, I finished off the other two and now need to make more pinwheels to put the top and bottom borders around the blocks.  In this pic, they look rather yellow, but they're more bright when you see them.

I also assembled the 9-patch house quilt and put on the hourglass border.  I thought I had enough green for a third border, but no, not quite. So this top is done.  As I said in a previous post, this will be donated to the new Habitat House neighbors we'll have this spring. Again, thanks to Sharon at Vrooman's Quilts for the idea of using my leftover 9 patch blocks.

Also at retreat, we all worked on making a strip quilt for one of our members who's been diagnosed with colon cancer.  For some reason, no one took a pic of it, but, trust me, it turned out very nice.  I have fabric for the backing and will get it to the quilter soon.

That's how my week has been. I have to get down to the sewing room now and make up some blocks for the Civil War Jubilee quilt that I'm in charge of for the guild quiltalong.  And maybe I'll make a few pinwheels as well.  :)  Hope your day is going well too.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Post-Retreat Weekend

I was at quilt retreat with my fellow guild members from Thursday through Sunday. My sides and my face are sore from laughing so much, and I have to replenish my supply of Depends.  Today will be quiet.

Nuff said. Pics to follow at 10.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sing a Song of Halloween

Here it is, the completed wall hanging called "Sing a Song of Halloween."

I'm happy to have finished it and it's now up for sale in my Etsy shop, Jolly Ruby.  I think it's rather cute and would be great in a home with small children as it's not tooooo scary for them!  I think Halloween should be all about fun and not so gruesome and super frightening--unless you're a teenager and then it should be all about zombies and vampires!  Yeah, I remember those days!

I got the Fall table runner pinned but was too tired to begin quilting it and am I glad!

I was just going to do simple quilting but today I've changed my mind.  I follow Lori Kennedy's blog, The Inbox Jaunt and today she posted a tutorial on doing a Japanese  Lantern design.  I've been doodling it with paper and pencil and I think I've got this one!  It will be perfect in some of the long strips in the center blocks of this runner.  I'll find something else for the borders--maybe Lori has another design I can put in the borders.  I love her work and I'm so grateful that she posts all these tutorials so we readers can work on improving our machine quilting skills.

Before I begin on Lily's skirt--I know, I know1  I have to finish it so it can go out in the mail tomorrow!--I have 4 plants that have to go into the ground TODAY!  I got them 2 days ago and instead of planting them on Sunday when it was 75 degrees and sunny, I've procrastinated until today when it's 48 degrees with a predicted high of 58!  What was I thinking!

I also have to run a couple of errands and then it's into the sewing room.

Last thing. Don and I went to the movies last night (a rare occurrence for my stay-at-home husband) to see "The Martian."  O! M! G!  It was SOOO good!!!!  I've been a Matt Damon fan since "Good Will Hunting" and absolutely loved him in "The Martian."  If you haven't seen this movie, I highly recommend it. Don enjoyed it so much he said he'd like to go more often so maybe there's hope yet!

Have a wonderful day no matter what you're plans are.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Santas have been saved!

Indeed, the bleeding has stopped!  Thanks to two cold water soaks in Oxiclean for many hours each, the bleeding seems to have stopped. And better yet, the red bleeding has virtually disappeared from the muslin! In the picture above there seems to be some reddish tint in some places, but that doesn't show up when I look at it here in my house.  I'm so happy that the Oxiclean did the job and my embroidery work has been salvaged!  Now I can move on to adding the borders and finishing up this table runner in time to get it in the shop before the holidays begin! Whew!  Disaster averted!

I've finished quilting up the Halloween banner and sewn on the binding, Now I need to get the hanging sleeve on it so I can take some photos of it and get it in the shop.  I'm happy with how it turned out and hope that it sells so it can brighten up someone's home for this holiday.

What's next for me?  Well, Lily is waiting for me to sew her a skirt and mail it to her so I think I'll do that this afternoon and include it in the package that I mean to send her and her mother on Wednesday.  I also want to get this table runner finished and in the shop as soon as I can so I'll get that quilted up today or tomorrow. Just straight line stitching in the center blocks and something more elaborate in the borders. Should go pretty quickly--Famous Last Words!

I also have to continue working on what I'm going to take with to quilt retreat which begins on the 15th and ends on the 18th. That's 4 days of sewing bliss!  I'm so ready to go and have fun with all the wonderful ladies of the guild!  I've never been on a 4 day retreat before--only 2 and 3 day ones--so I'm a little apprehensive that I'll have enough to keep me busy.  I want to take along 6 projects as well as some knitting and my Kindle so I can read or knit if I want.

I'm taking along a double nine patch quilt that I've worked on sporadically over at least the past 3 years. The Farmhouse Window Sills project is coming with as well.

I'm taking everything to make up a Christmas table runner that I've had on my mind for a year or more now, and I'm taking along all my Row by Row patterns and kits that I collected over the summer.  I may bring along some of my huge scrap collection and play with crumbs if I like and I'll bring along the houses and hourglass blocks I made last week and turn them into a finished top.  And I may find one or two other projects to bring along as well. We'll see.

If that's not enough to keep me busy, I'll just have to sit back with a glass of chilled wine and enjoy the hot tub, I guess.  Ain't life tough?  But, now I have to get the sleeve on the Halloween banner!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Help! My Santas are bleeding!

Indeed, the Santas I embroidered in red perle cotton on muslin have bled all over the muslin!

I'm so disappointed--no, crushed is the better way to describe how I feel.  I spent many hours over the past month stitching these little guys--had the border fabrics picked out and everything--and now it's useless.  I followed the directions in the pattern to wash it in sudsy water--I used tepid or room temp water--with a splash of white vinegar to set the color.  Didn't happen!  I could see the water turning pink as I gently swished it around.  After drying and pressing, the red is still on the muslin and the whole thing is ruined.  Crushed, just crushed.

I just asked Prof. Google if there's anything I can do to rescue my poor bleeding Santas and she says I can soak the item in a solution of powder bleach and water for 8 hours. I have nothing to lose so I'll give this a try today and see what happens.  I may end up with all white Santas!  That would be different, eh?  I'll let you know how it turns out.

Yesterday afternoon, after I finished my work on the back yard flower beds, I began quilting up this Halloween banner I'd been putting off. It's just a printed panel so all I have to do is quilt, bind and attach a hanging sleeve. Simple, right?

I'd pinned it a week or more ago but for some reason didn't have the mojo to begin the quilting.  I know that Halloween is coming up quickly so I want to get this done and in the Jolly Ruby shop as soon as possible so it can be sold before the holiday.  This is what I did yesterday

and this is what I have left to do today, I hope.

Here are a couple of closeups for you.  I outlined the pumpkin and cat as well as the flying geese.  Then I did a row of spirals below the pumpkin and meandered all the rest of the center of the panel.

I thought for Halloween, I should try to make it a bit scarey so I wrote a couple of "Boo"s in the meandering for fun.

Then I outlined the "sing a song of Halloween" on the bottom and meandered all the rest of the bottom.

While I was quilting up this piece, I decided to try a new method of hiding the thread ends. I'd seen this video on Barbara's  Cat Patches blog and I'm including a link to the video for you to check out as well.  What a great technique!  Instead of threading the needle with each set of threads that need to be buried--and you know that in a large quilt that can add up to many, many times!--all I needed to do was keep one needle threaded with the loop and use that repeatedly to bury the threads!  You have to watch the video to see how it works. I'm not going to even try to describe it.  Trust me that it's a great time saver and as easy as can be.

That's it for today. Have to find the Oxiclean and soak the Santas.  We'll see if Oxiclean lives up to it's advertisements!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Guild meeting

Last night was guild meeting and I introduced one of 3 block of the month projects that we're offering this year.  Mine is the Civil War Jubilee pattern designed by Barbara Brackman for Moda Fabrics. I think she's also launching a fabric line by that name as well.

Barbara is what I would call an authority on Civil War era quilts and fabrics. She's published quite a few books about these topics and I have some of them on a wish list for myself!  I've been following her blog at Civil War Quilts for a couple of years and although I've not been making the blocks and stars, I find it very interesting to read the stories she adds about the fabrics, patterns and quilts that she writes about. Disclaimer here:  I'm a history buff!  In case you hadn't noticed.

Without realizing that it was the 150th anniversary of the ending of the Civil War, Don, Lily and I stopped at Appomattox Courthouse, VA . . .

Image result for appomattox court house

in our travels last June and found it very interesting.  It's a national site and as always the rangers were extremely knowledgeable and entertaining as they described for us General Lee's surrender of the Army of Virginia to General Grant's Army of the Potomac in April, 1865. Which was the beginning of the end of the war.

Image result for appomattox court house

There were 2 or 3 more armies that had to surrender before the war was officially finished which was in June, I think, of 1865.  

What better way to commemorate the 150th anniversary than by making a Civil War era quilt! I decided to offer a Civil War quilt to the guild as a monthly exchange.  Many of the quilters who expressed interest the Civil War Jubilee said they couldn't make it to all the meetings to do the exchange so we decided to make it a quilt along instead. We'll each work on our own blocks and make our own quilts, using the same Jubilee pattern.  It's not what I had in mind, but I'm okay with it.  I just want to use up some of my large collection of CW fabrics and get another quilt on the bed!

So, today, I hope to make up a few more of these blocks, but first, I'm in the garden. Don cleaned up the second half of our garden plot and spread horse manure all over it. Today I get to dig it in as I did the first half last week.  Then, my gardening chores will be finished except for cleaning up a little bit of flower bed that's left over from last week.  I hope you have a more exciting day planned than shoveling horse shit doodoo.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

I'm getting quilt crazy--again!

Arrrrgggghhhhhh!  I can't stand it!  Everywhere I look, I see another quilt that I simply have to make!  I have such a long list of quilts that I absolutely must make, I'd have to live as long as Methuselah in order to get them all done. And not develop Alzheimer's  or some such thing.  What's a gal to do?

This is what's set me off today.  This is from the Moda Bake shop and I just love it!

kate spain canyon fabric

I've been wanting to make an orange peel quilt for some time now and this is perfect.  I will make it out of one of the Civil War repro jelly rolls that I've been saving for who knows what but it'll be perfect in this quilt.  So, the directions are cut and pasted and printed, stapled together and are ready to go into my sewing room, and who knows when I'll get around to actually making this quilt! Aaaarrrggghhhh!

The second thing that caught my interest is this.   Sharon at vroomans quilts posted this house tutorial using 6" nine patch blocks for the body of the house.

I have a stack of waiting-to-be-used either 6 or 8 inch nine patches left over from a guild exchange that will be perfect in these houses.  Sharon included how to enlarge the blocks to accommodate other sized nine patch blocks, so I should be able to figure it out.  Every home should have a house quilt, don't you think?  

In the meantime, I've worked up a half dozen or so blocks for the guild block exchange that I'm in charge of this year.  We're making Barbara Brackman's Civil War Jubilee pattern out of 6 different color groups and then exchanging blocks every month. These are the blocks I've done up--37 left to go!  They go together very easily. The hardest part is deciding which 2 fabrics to use in each block. I've decided that I'm not going to be a stickler for the Civil War fabrics--mainly because I don't know enough about them to know exactly what colors and patterns were used during that specific time period.  I'm just going to ask the group to use fabric repros from the 19th century--nothing from the 20th or 21st centuries.  Don't want any Amy Butler or Kaffe Fassett, or 30's repros mixed in with the 19th century colors and designs.  It should work okay.  I hope.

I've also been diligently embroidering while watching TV in the evenings.  Thank goodness for Netflicks and Hulu Plus!  I only have one Santa left to stitch and this will be ready to be bordered and quilted and put in the Jolly Ruby shop on Etsy in time for Christmas.  

Also in progress is a cover for my daughter's stand mixer.  I'd made her placemats and a table runner out of 30's repro fabrics with a kitchen window valance and now she wants a cover out of the same kind of fabrics.  She's just bought her first house and is wanting to make it oh so nice!

Before I begin working on any of the above projects, I'm going to spend some time today in my flower beds, getting them ready for winter.  That may take the rest of the day since I've sorely neglected them this summer!  We have a beautiful cool but sunny day here, perfect for working outdoors.  I hope your day is beautiful too.