Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It's December already

Thanksgiving was a blast--always worth the extra work.  We had 22 people and tons of good food. My request to my sister was for her to make a 7 layer bean dip, a dish our paternal grandmother always had at Thanksgiving.  Kathy was dubious but researched how to improve this simple dish and knocked it out of the park by melting the cheese a little and then adding finely chopped olives on top. Yum. We had great weather and there was plenty of room for everyone.  It was a really good day.  I even got gifts!  My SIL Laura bought me this beautiful pheasant--which is actually a gravy boat.  Isn't it lovely?  From Williams-Sonoma (but no longer available).

November's end included some shopping, sewing, planning, and a lot of family time.  Grant's cousin and her husband came up from further south and we had a thoroughly enjoyable takeaway dinner at home Friday night.  We hadn't seen them since DD Elaine's wedding three years ago.  They always loved our kids and its a great thing to see them enjoying them as adults.  Grandson Cove was greatly admired, of course :)

Then on Small Business Saturday I did a little "me time" shopping.  It was all me because the only thing I bought was fabric! I started out with an online sale at Green Fairy Quilts.  A fat quarter stack of Minnick & Simpson Crazy for Reds was on for a great sale, with free shipping.  I couldn't pass that up.  Then I went out to Superbuzzy to catch their sale, and ended with a few purchases at my local fabric store.  It was a very satisfying few hours and no fighting through crowded mall parking lots.  Selfish, I know, but it wasn't all for me!  Here's the loot:

A little Cotton & Steel, some Kona, an acrylic template, and some prints.  Some of this is for a Christmas gift and some is for a baby quilt. And some is for a Modern Quilt Guild December challenge.  The challenge involved blindly choosing two crayons and then making a no more than 24" quilt from only tones of the selected colors. 

My crayons were yellow-green and gold (metallic).  Now, while these are colors I like, it was a little challenging to come up with an idea for a quilt, until I saw this post on Diary of a Quilter of her mini tree quilt block.  While I do prefer her color combo of white, red, and green for the Christmasy look, I think the gold and green will make cute trees too.  Another great idea for mini trees is on Amanda Jean's blog, Crazy Mom Quilts.  She has a pattern for her trees.  I like both of them.  I'm going to be stitching that up this weekend for the guild meeting.  We're also having a gift exchange and a fat quarter game.  Looking forward to it. 

The black and white Kona will be used in my next project, which is a baby quilt for a friend of my daughter's.  A few weeks ago we went to Superbuzzy to choose a pattern and fabrics for the future baby boy, due January 1st. 

We chose the Scout pattern from Cluck Cluck Sew.  I picked up the black and white Kona for the center stripes.  I'm afraid I will have to use these fabrics without washing since the 1/4 cuts might skew too much to get the several width cuts I need from each print.  I know lots of people don't wash their fabrics first but I always have.  I do have a box of Color Catchers!

Meanwhile, the Winding Ways quilt blocks are still being sewn.  I'm hoping to get them all done by the weekend and then call my quilt commissioner to come help lay them all out in rows.  Oh, and then there is the decorating, shopping, partying, card addressing, and general Christmas mayhem that fills up the next few weeks...trying not to panic!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's to time well spent with those dear to us.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Design Wall Monday

On and off the Design surface are the Winding Ways blocks.  Due to some recent time sitting in doctor's waiting rooms, I was able to pin a bunch more pieces.  These curvy blocks require a lot of pinning, which of course adds to the total time it takes to make a 12 piece block.  But after some dedicated hours I have a pile of finished blocks:  

All 36 copper blocks are complete, and join the 6 cream blocks already sewn, and the 9 combined teal and copper blocks for my planned layout.  I have 30 cream blocks to make before assembly can happen but I'm feeling that downhill slope!  Feeling virtuous, I allowed myself to start a new project.  Well, this is two year old idea that I've wanted to make. 

This is a picture of the finished mini quilt I made in 2012.  I bought this as a kit at Helen's Hen House Quilt Shop in Florissant, MO (the website now shows a new name and location for the shop), which I made and gave away in 2012.  I always meant to make one for myself, and was reminded of this during my scrap drawer organization a couple of months ago, when I found some leftovers from the kit. 
Most of the browns in my new Turkey came from a bargain-priced scrap bag I bought at Helen's Hen House. I had fun digging through my nicely sorted 2.5" and 3.5" scrap drawers for additional prints and background selections. 
Poorly lighted shot of the quilted sandwich. I changed the kit layout to add a plain row to the right of the tailfeathers. 
This fat quarter for the backing also came from Helen's Hen House.  I used a couple of leftover triangle-squares for corner hangers and will bind this with a Jo Morton print.  I had a really fun time putting this together and plan to get the binding on tout suite.  

Thanksgiving is rushing up fast and there's a lot to do in the next few days, as we will host as usual and I've just learned of three more guests coming, making our total 22.  I've taken Wednesday off but this dear little grandson will be spending it with me, as his daycare is closed that day: 

Silly face, Cove, waiting for more snacks, please, at his last visit. He's getting close to 9 months old and already trying to stand alone for a few seconds, I hear.  Four teeth now, and as active as can be.  I doubt much holiday prep will happen Wednesday, but can't wait to have a Mimi day again!

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Monday, November 17, 2014

MQG Scrap Swap and Catching Up (again)

These last months of the year are speedy, aren't they?  Here I am, catching up after a long break again, my apologies!  But busy I have been.  In the quilty department, there is this:

The Modern Quilt Guild I'm now a member of has monthly meetings.  There are a great group of ladies and several men in our growing guild.  A couple of months ago there was a challenge where members signed up to swap a shoebox full of scraps and make a quilt out of the scraps--keeping the modern aesthetic in mind.  I was very lucky and my name was drawn to swap with one of the finest and most prolific quilters.  However, that was a bit intimidating and I pondered, made a board on Pinterest, pawed/sorted the scraps, and scrolled through many of my quilt show photos but still could not come up with anything striking, until, of course, the rapidly approaching deadline.  The funny thing is that one of the photos I happened upon late and thought, "oh that would be a great idea",  turned out to be of one of HER quilts at the County Fair in 2013! (here it is---note the Blue Ribbon)
  It was a good jog of inspiration, however, and off I went. 

In the box were a lot of solid strips and chunks, and a lot of prints.  I decided to separate them and make a two-sided tablerunner.   I played around with pencil and paper and came up with these banded pairs of solids.  We were allowed to add one fabric; I added the green Kona solid in Tarragon, as my swap partner Kathy told me she liked sage green. I actually took a scrap from the box and matched it.

 I thought making the banding in black and white would help unify the design.  I think it did. 

The alternate blocks got random triangles, mostly in the neutral scraps. The hardest part of this was getting the triangles on the corners, oddly enough.  Then, for the prints, I decided to unify them with one shape and started cutting tumblers. 

While my pencil and paper idea included a lot more open space, it didn't turn out that way when I laid out the cut tumblers.  I loved all her modern prints and wanted to use as many as I could, weaving in the background color, in a sort of color progression.

Very simple machine quilting and binding.  Originally I was only going to use the green for the binding but at the last minute I threw in the black and white print around one corner.  The binding got put on the morning of the deadline!

 My co-worker held it up for me during a quick photo break. 

Back view.  Finished size was about 21x50.

I was so excited to see if Kathy liked the tablerunner that I nearly forgot I was getting something back.  The first two pairs of swappers had fantastic ideas and some made multiple items from the scrap boxes.  Then it was our turn.  I showed Kathy what I did with her scraps first and was pleased that she really liked what I came up with. Then she revealed what she did with mine: 

I had by this time completely forgotten what was in the box of scraps I submitted.  Kathy took all the Asian prints and chunks and made a HUGE bag--probably 24x30".  She and her husband have been bringing similar bags to the Guild meetings that hold quilts to share and projects they are working on.  These have been much admired by all, including me (excuse the lighting making pics way too yellowed).

The bag is completely lined and has a giant pocket inside. Kathy even added some hand stitching around the handle opening and on the inside pocket.  The blue fabric surrounding the rectangles is what fabric she added.  She also made me a small bucket from other scraps, which I neglected to take a photo of, but now lives on my ironing board.  We both agreed it was a fun challenge for making your brain work, and I'm sure a lot of members were kicking themselves for not participating. I can't wait to use the bag for the next guild meeting :)  

Since my last post, I have been able to keep up my early morning sewing for a number of days.  It really is nice to get some stitching in before going to work, and inspires me to get back to the sewing room at night, too.  There is certainly enough that needs to be done in there. I'm working away on the Winding Ways commission quilt and hope to be sewing the top together before too long.  It is a challenge of another kind!