Thursday, January 28, 2016

Last minute quilting jobs

I've been busy all week finishing all the quilting jobs I can before we leave for 5 weeks on the Gulf of Mexico.  First of all, I had to organize the projects I want to take with me. Don will be  golfing nearly every day and I'll be at my sewing machine while he's on the course. So I have to be sure to have enough projects to keep me busy.  Fortunately, I have many, many ideas of quilts to make--it's a matter of organizing them!

I worked on making a cover for my daughter in law's sewing machine which has neither a case nor a cover, poor thing.

 I took strips of scrap fabrics and some of my mountain of selvedge strips and stitched them into a cover. I even found cowboy fabric for the end/side pieces!  I enjoyed making hers so much, I made one for myself as well, but mine has butterfly fabric instead of cowboys.  Here's Erin's:

Here you can make out the strips of selvedge I inserted.  

And here's the cowboy on the end--Hee Haw!

And I wanted to get the center pieced together of the Allietare! quilt from Bonnie Hunter.  She always has a show and tell at her workshops and I want to take this with me for that. I'll also take along the border fabrics so I can get that top finished up while in the South.  I don't know about you but I think this quilt is turning out absolutely beautifully!  In person, it looks like Mediterranean tiles. 

One of the classes I'll be taking with Bonnie is Jared Takes a Wife, one that I've done before at a previous class with Bonnie.  I made it very scrappy and I don't like it very much so I picked out fabrics that I thought would look good. I made a sample block and I like it a lot.  This will be throw sized.

I also had ideas of getting this sandwiched so I could quilt it up and bind it while I'm gone but that's not gonna happen. I appliqued the watermelon seeds on and assembled the blocks but the pieced backing is still in pieces.  I still want to get it finished in time to be put in my Etsy shop for the summer. 

Tomorrow, I'll be cleaning house, doing laundry, packing and getting everything ready so we can leave Saturday morning. Of course, my lovely husband will be helping with all this so it should be pretty darn easy.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Farmhouse Windowsills

Thursday evening when the Handwork Group was at my house, I unstitched the embroidered blocks in the Farmhouse Windowsills quilt that I'm working on. Yesterday, I began the process of stitching a narrow flange around each square and placing them back into the quilt. Today I finished it.  

This is the entire quilt top laying on the floor of my sewing room--very poor lighting in there, I'm afraid.  And below are the individual blocks surrounded by their green and cream pinwheels. These pics look very yellow compared to the real thing.

The aqua flange makes each block stand out. Before, they kind of faded into the background and weren't noticeable at all.  Now to make up a backing and get it quilted. Don't know when that will get done but I'd like it to be finished by the first of April.  There's a show in a nearby town in the middle of April and I want to enter it and see how it does.

Other than working on this quilt, I've been assembling fabrics to take to the 2 Bonnie Hunter workshops I'll be attending on Feb 3 and 4th. She's going to be in Gulf Shores, AL those days and I will be too!  I joined the local guild there and there was an opening for the classes and it was offered to me! We'll be making Jared Takes a Wife one day and Roll Roll Cotton Boll the other day.  I've already made these 2 quilts--Jared in a class with Bonnie in Illinois, and Roll Roll when she offered it as a mystery.  I like the Roll Roll one very much, but my version of Jared leaves much to be desired!  I made it very scrappy and it looks crazy, chaotic to me!  I like to have a bit more of a controlled scrappiness so the second Jared is going to be much more controlled!

Both of these quilts will be throw sized since I need a couple of quilts to donate to charity and that size is so much more manageable to quilt and finish up than bed quilts.

We leave for Alabama a week from today, so I'm trying to get my sewing things organized and ready to pack into the car.  But I think I'll be able to get some stitching done in between packing up!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Not much quilting done yesterday, but I did finish the center of the AAUW quilt that Bonnie and I began this week.  What do you think of our revised Tessellating Stars block?

This is the center of the throw sized quilt.  Instead of placing the 4 sections of  the star blocks together to make the tessellating star, we decided to place them so there is a zigzag design.  We placed a 2" sashing between the rows and I'll add a narrow black border around the entire center. Then I'll make a pieced outer border using the HSTs that I made out of scraps along with more of that brick red fabric.  

Other than assembling this quilt center, I made ready for the Handwork Group which met in the evening at my house.  The group is open to anyone from my guild to come over and work on some hand work--embroidery, knitting, sewing on binding, etc.  Usually 5 or 6 people come over and we take over the living room with the fireplace and have lively conversations while we stitch away.  I always spend more time laughing and giggling than actually stitching!

Last night I worked on taking apart this embroidered Farmhouse Window Sills quilt. This is the picture of the pattern that I used.  

Instead of making multicolored pinwheels in the sashing, I made them all out of the green fabric you can see on the right, and the neutral fabric peeking out in the top right of the pic. The result was that the embroidered blocks didn't stand out--not enough contrast.  

I think these blocks are beautiful and I really want them to be the focus of the quilt. I took one block out and added a narrow flange of turquoise using the same fabric I used for the narrow 1st border. When I put the flanged block back into the quilt, it looked just right!  So last evening, I spent ripping out the other 3 embroidered blocks. Today, my task is to stitch the flanges on them and put them back into the quilt.  Wish me luck that the entire quilt looks better with the flanges inserted!

Before I go to the sewing room, a trip to the grocery store is in the works. Jo's coming today and she want vegetarian "comfort food" for dinner. That used to mean something with mashed potatoes and gravy but now she doesn't eat red meat or poultry and I'm hard put to make gravy out of seafood!  If you know how I can do that, please let me know, okay?  However, I did find veggie balls with pesto sauce and mashed potatoes and onion gravy and that will have to do, along with some veggies and salad.  I'm looking forward to see how the veggie balls taste. If they're good, they'll join my growing collection of vegetarian recipes.

Gotta get going now. Have a wonderful day!  However, if you're in the path of the big storm out east, stay safe and warm,

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Quilting with Bonnie

No, not Bonnie Hunter!  My friend Bonnie spent the past 3 days at my house and we sewed until we were collapsing in giggles!  We always have so much fun when we're together!

Our quilting adventure didn't go exactly as planned though.  We were going to use a jelly roll of Kansas Troubles that I had, along with some coordinating fabric that Bonnie chose, to make a Tesselating Star quilt. However, I realized the night before Bonnie got here that I wouldn't be able to get all the cuts out of a jelly roll strip if I stuck to the original pattern.  Needless to say, I should have checked out the instructions at Sew Jewelry before I began anything.

At any rate, I thought that we would simply make the strips 1/2" shorter than what the pattern called for and end up with a slightly smaller star block.  When Bonnie arrived, we set to work and cut all the pieces we'd need for 30 blocks for the throw quilt we want to make. And that's the second mistake we made--should have made one block before doing all the cutting! When we sewed the strips together and set up the block, I realized that changing the length of the strips without changing the width meant that the 4 sections of the star wouldn't fit together. Aaargh!

So, we moved on to Plan B.  We took the 4 sections of the star and rearranged them to come up with a rectangular block that we could work with. We sewed all 30 blocks and retired for the evening with a glass of wine before the fireplace. On Day 3, we laid out the blocks on the floor and decided that we'd put a spacer strip (or sashing) between each row of blocks like this:

We both liked how that was coming along so that will be the center of the quilt.  I'm thinking of putting on a narrow 1st border in a dark color--maybe black--to contain the center and then a pieced border using the half square triangles I salvaged from the scraps we cut off as we were piercing the "stars." I've become addicted to converting these little triangles into additions in the border of my quilts or to be used in another way--a doll quilt maybe.

In addition to working on the quilt, we went for a walk on a cold winter day, saw "The Revenant" at the movies (Don't ask me why this film was nominated for so many awards!  We all agreed that it was a colossal waste of time.) and fixed several yummy meals and consumed a couple bottles of wine.  All in all, a wonderful 3 days!

Now, back to normal. I have people coming over tonight for "Handwork Group" and have to do a bit of housework and preparing for that.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Happy Birthday to me!

Yesterday was my birthday, and it was a pretty darn good day!  I won't let you know how many years the planet has been blessed by my presence but some would say that I'm older than dirt! If I'd had a cake (watching the calories, you know!) it would likely have looked like this one!  LOL

Don and I had done the majority of housework throughout the week so it was nice to have a clean house for the day. But I needed some groceries since my friend, Bonnie, is spending a few days here to make a quilt with me. I've been wanting to make this recipe for beef-bourguignonne-pot-pie that I got from Barbara who lives at Three Cats Ranch and blogs at Cat Patches.  So I spent the majority of the afternoon cooking and fussing with it. I have to say that although I didn't make it into a pot pie but served it over egg noodles, it was amazingly delicious!  This recipe will definitely stay in my book. I don't eat animal food most of the time but when I do, I want it to be as tasty as this dish was.

Other than that, I just took it easy, and received phone calls and so forth from family and friends. The best birthday present is yet to come:  Bonnie arrives tomorrow and I get to spend 3 days with her! She and I have been friends for at least 40 years and we are closer than sisters.  I think every woman should have a sister-friend like Bonnie and I do.  People like that make life just so much more rewarding.

Since I took the day off yesterday, today, I need to get in the sewing room and clean it up so Bonnie and I can work in there.  So, off I go.  Another year older and another year better(?)  I hope so.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Clothes for Vera's dolly, Emma

As you may recall from a previous post, I've been making American Girl doll clothes for my friend Barb's granddaughter, Vera. I met Barb yesterday for lunch and I brought all the clothes for her to "shop" through. She was delighted with everything I'd made and ended up purchasing 7 outfits. Apparently Vera has been playing with her doll every day since she arrived for Christmas and has no clothes to change her into. Well, come Sunday when she gets her birthday present, she'll have lots of outfits.  Barb also had purchased several pairs of socks, shoes and boots at JoAnn's--half price even!

I've included pics of the outfits I remembered to take pictures of.  Sorry for the blurry ones, but anyone who's followed this blog for a time knows that my photography skills leave a lot to be desired.  But anyway, you can get the gist of the clothes.

Twirley skirt and Tee

Fuschia wool coat and beret (from a $4 skirt at Goodwill)

Tie dyed Tee to go with a pair of jeans I'd also made

Knitted skirt and white tee

School jumper and blouse
In addition to these outfits, I'd made a pair of pajamas from the pattern I had for Molly's clothes, and I also had made a little pink dress trimmed with tiny pink rick rack--it was very cute.  So now, I think Emma will be one of the best dressed dolls in the house!  Oh, I also picked up a remnant of pale pink fleece and made Emma a little tied fleece throw to snuggle in when she watches a movie with Vera. This was my gift to the little girl who shares the same birthday as me!  

Now I have to work on a couple of outfits for my own granddaughter's doll, Marie Grace.  I'll make a period gown and a couple of modern outfits as well.  

After I finished the doll clothes, I took out my Allietare units and finished all the Echoes of Pisa blocks like this.  

Now I have to finish the alternate block, Allietare Star, like this.

I think I have about 10 of these blocks left to make. Then setting triangles and corner squares and I'll be ready to assemble the quilt top.  Bonnie called for a scalloped border and she used a white gel pen to mark her black border.  I'll have to see if I can find one like hers--the white marking pencil I have really doesn't work very well and I should throw it out.  

What else is on my sewing table?  Well, I've used all my brown scraps to make 3 1/2" 4 patch blocks. I'll alternate them with cream colored blocks and will set them on point for the center of a throw quilt I'm making for my daughter's friend's wedding gift.  The border will be in the cream fabric with single brown diamonds surrounding the center. How much fabric I have will determine if the binding is brown or white.  Jo's coming home this weekend and I'll see how she likes what I've done so far.  

That's it for today. A little vacuuming and dusting are calling to me and then into the sewing room to make the doll clothes for Lily's doll and to work on the Allietare Star blocks.  

Sunday, January 10, 2016


Winter has arrived here in Northwestern Wisconsin!  With a vengeance too! Everyone has been marvelling at the beautifully mild winter we've had so far (Gracias, el nino!) but we all knew it would never last all season. Minus 11 degrees F when I woke up this morning, and a balmy -7 now, 3 hours later.  I went out to refill the bird feeders--the birds are all fluffed up trying to stay warm, and eating like crazy to have enough calories to warm them.  The good thing about this terribly cold weather is that it comes with beautiful blue skies and sunshine!  We've had day after day of gloomy cloud cover for so long, it was a pleasure to turn my face to the sun and let it soak in--until I was too cold to stay out any longer! Here's the view from my front door to the neighbor across the street.  Lovely, lovely sun!

I'll be in the house most of the day--television football this afternoon--Go Vikings! (but we all know they'll probably "choke," right?), got to get to the store for a few groceries so I can make something for dinner, and the rest of the time, in the sewing room, making a few doll clothes for my friend.  

(By the way, I finished the "Napkin Quilt" the other day and the customer was thrilled with it!  So glad she likes it and so glad that synthetic fabric is out of my house!) 

I've given several of the doll outfits to my friend already, and forgot to take pics before they left the house.  I have to make up 2 or 3 more outfits today and tomorrow. Have to get them to her in the Cities before the weekend so they'll be all ready for the granddaughter's birthday on the 16th, same day as mine!  In addition to the clothes, I found a remnant of pale pink fleece at JoAnn's the other day and want to make up a little tied fleece throw for dolly as my gift to her because we share a birthday.  Albeit, my actually birthday was approximately 60 years before hers, but what the heck!  

After I'm done with the doll clothes, I'll be finishing up my Allietare! blocks.  I've got more than half of them done and I'm absolutely thrilled with how they're turning out!  The colors are so vibrant--for once, I think I chose the perfect colors for this quilt!

More news regarding Bonnie Hunter:  My husband and I will be spending the month of February and part of March near Gulf Shores, AL this winter and I located a quilting guild down there. I joined them so I could participate in their retreat toward the end of February. Well, the retreat is full, and it's on a weekend when we're expecting guests anyway, but unbeknownst to me, the guild is sponsoring 2 days of workshops with Bonnie!  These too were filled when I joined, but the other day I got a phone call from someone down there asking me if I was interested in taking her place at the workshops!  Well,"YES!" I cried in response.  So, the week we arrive at our cottage on the Gulf, I'll be sewing with Bonnie. How lucky am I!   

We'll be doing "Roll Roll Cotton Boll" which I did when it was introduced as a mystery a few years ago.  I've decided that I'll do it this time in neutrals with pale greens and blues in a throw size.  Then I'll donate it to a charity that I promised to make a quilt for.  The other workshop is for making "Jared Takes a Wife," another quilt that I've already made up.  I'm not happy with the choice of colors in the one that I made, and I have enough coordinated fabric that I can make a second one that will be more to my liking. Again, probably just a throw sized quilt that I can donate--or maybe I'll keep it if I like it enough.  So, I'll be doing some extra packing in the next few weeks, getting these projects assembled and ready to go when I hit the shores of Alabama!

And another, and just as good, piece of news is that my extremely good friend, Bonnie, will be arriving in a week to work on the quilt we'll be making for her AAUW fundraiser next fall!  Bonnie and I were BFFs before anyone had ever heard that term.  We are closer to each other than we are to our sisters, if you know what I mean.  I have 2 people that I consider "sister friends" and Bonnie's one of them. So, spending 3 days with her will be a real treat!

That's it.  Got to get a bit done on the doll clothes before kick off.  Stay warm and dry where ever you may be--if you're in the Southern Hemisphere, Stay cool!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Welcome to 2016

Related image

Here's wishing every one of you a wonderful 2016 to come!

In the blogs that I've been reading this morning, many are reviewing the past year in terms of quilting accomplishments.  I can't do that since I am miserable at keeping a record of the quilts that I've made. I always intend to keep a diary, but somehow, it never seems to happen.

Many bloggers are also listing the 2016 quilting goals they've set for themselves. I have done that in the past but somehow by the time May and June come around, these goals have escaped my mind!  I've even tried posting the goals next to my sewing station and although that helped a little, I still did way too much ignoring of them throughout the year.

So, for me, there is the satisfaction of knowing that I did accomplish quite a bit of quilting in 2015 although mostly piecing and not nearly enough actual quilting of the tops.  I managed to piece and quilt 2 throw sized quilts that were donated to charity. Both organizations have asked that I make quilts for them again for 2016, so that's on my list of things to do. 

This yellow Chunky Churn Dash quilt was a block exchange in the guild and I made it up to donate for my friend Lois's charity for homeless families in Northern MN.  

My friend, Bonnie, helped make this Flying Geese quilt and, although she'd never made a quilt before, she's ready to work on another one for her charity, the AAUW scholarship fund.  That fills me with happiness--she and I have been friends for nearly 40 years and I'm so happy that she enjoyed making the quilt with me last year that she wants to do it again! This is the quilt where I mastered quilting feathers! Yay!

This is a stack and whack quilt that I made for my husband since he was whining a little about not having a quilt for himself.  I finished piecing it and quilted it up and now it's in the upstairs TV room where he never even notices it!  Oh well, I like snuggling under it myself on these cold winter evenings.

I made a number of things that sold in my Etsy shop but fell down when it came to making things for the Christmas holidays when I usually have my best selling period.  This year, I'm going to be making Christmas items all year long so I have them ready for the selling season.  Resolution #1, I guess!

Okay, I guess I'm compelled to set some goals for myself!  Resolution #2 is to work on making items to sell in the Guild craft shop at the 2016 Quilt Tour which benefits the domestic abuse program in our community.  I've already made a list of things to work on, one of them being to make up several outfits for 18" dolls (American Girl style), and I've knitted 2 skirts and one sweater already.  

And Resolution #3 is a perennial one--to quilt up the tops I've pieced and which are now hanging in my sewing room closet.  I've been procrastinating on these for years and it's time to get them done! I have posted them on my right side bar and will make a note when each of them is completed!  (Be careful not to hold your breath too long on this one!) First to be tackled is the king sized log cabin quilt that I pieced for my son and his new bride.  

I don't have a pic of the completed top but here's one of the blocks--scrappy blues and neutrals around a pink block.  My plan is to get this one sandwiched up during January and take it with me to Gulf Shores to work on quilting it during our winter vacation in February and March. I want to bring it back home completed!  

And then to try to work on quilting a top in between piecing new projects.  Wish me luck!  Some of those quilt tops have been waiting 10 years and more!

And this image captures my New Year wishes for you, my reader, and all the people who touch my life.  Lets make 2016 the best ever!