Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Presents! I love them!!!

When I met my friend Marianne for our annual Bonnie Hunter quilt workshop trip a few weekends ago...she surprised me with a bag full of beautiful gifts!

Just look at this set of place-mats that she pieced and free motion quilted on her Bailey 13" table top quilting machine!

They are SO pretty and bright!  I LOVE THEM!!!!!!  (Just realized from the photo that I need to go and turn the one on the far right upside down to match the others!) :) :) :)

Here's some close-ups....just look at the free motion quilting of vines, flowers and leaves!  Awesome!!!!

The backs of the place-mats are just as pretty as the fronts....she used two fabrics...same designs but different colored backgrounds....

As if the place-mats were not enough....she also surprised me with a quilting book I had been wishing for since it's release last year....Civil War Sampler by Barbara Brackman.  Remember, I enjoy the history behind quilt blocks...actually, I enjoy history in general!

Do you see the beautiful bracelet I'm wearing in the above photo!  Another gift!  Marianne's daughter, Kim, thought it would be special if she made her mom and me matching bracelets.  It's beautiful!  Thank you Kim!

Thank you Marianne!  It felt like Christmas!!

On a side note....I finished sewing the binding on a table runner made months ago using Civil War Reproduction it is....

Until next time....happy quilting!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mama's Baby Quilts (& one of my own too!)

I've been quilting away trying to finish as many of my Mama's quilts as possible before two of my daughters head to Tennessee on Saturday.

Along with the quilt tops Mama had sent with me to New York, she had also sent a large piece of solid lavender fabric in case I could find a use for it.  When I got it home and measure it, I realized it was approximately 58" wide....perfect for most baby, toddler and lap quilts.  Also, it was nearly 7 yards long!!

This first quilt is 46" x 63".....

I used a quilting design/pantograph called "Cloud Nine" by Urban Elementz.

Little bit closer look....

Here's the back....I turned off the flash on my camera in order to get a better view of the actual quilting stitches....

The second quilt is 47" x 61" (one of my favorites that she made)

I used the same pantograph called "Cloud Nine" by Urban Elementz for this one also.  Here's a picture with my hand on it to give a better idea the intricacy of the quilting....

This third quilt is 41" x 41"....

This time I decided to use a different pantograph called "Page Boy", also by Urban Elementz.

A peek at the back.....

I still had plenty of the solid lavender backing fabric left so I search through my own projects and brought out my own baby quilt top I had assembled a couple months ago using some embroidery blocks.  Because of the six embroidery designs, I decided to do some free motion quilting.  Since I didn't use the same free motion design over the entire quilt...I guess I can "very loosely" call this custom quilting. (I say that with a BIG chuckle because I have a LONG way to go!)

Front....this quilt is 30" x 40"....

Closer view....

Basically, I did a little bit of "stitching in the ditch" around the outer pink border and purple border...then I added some free motion flowers in the purple motion up and down squiggles inside the pink border....petite meandering in all the center blocks surrounding the six embroidery blocks...and last but not least a small, loopy, ruffle around the inside of each embroidery block.

Here's the back....

I'm tired now....but there's no rest for the weary!  I must go cook supper! :)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Birthday Blocks Heading to Texas

It's that time again!  Another quilter is having a birthday in our "Birthday Block Swap" group.

Wanda requested her blocks be made using Purples, Teals and Light Blues.  This time I searched for patterns in my old magazines and books.

This first one is called "Old Maid's Puzzle".....

This second block is called "Constellation"....

Now to see them side by side....

I'm very happy with both of them and I hope Wanda likes them as well.

Today is a busy day at our home, my daughter Emily's college graduation is tonight.  The weather is not very nice unfortunately.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the thunder, lightning and hail that is predicted will hold off at least during the time it takes us to walk the couple of blocks from the parking area to the coliseum and then back again afterwards.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mama's Scrappy 9-Patch

My Mom used the scraps saved from years of sewing clothing (she made all my daughter's Easter dresses as they grew up, etc.) to make this 9-Patch Scrappy Quilt.  She has made several 9-patch quilts using scraps, but this is the first time I get the opportunity to quilt it for her.  This quilt top was put together to produce a serviceable quilt....color coordination was not important.  Yet, as I quilted it, it became more beautiful with each passing day.

With the quilt top on the frame, my daughters would look at it and pick out fabrics that they remembered from their early childhood.  One by one, each of them started asking questions like, "What does Grandma intend to do with this one?"  Who is Grandma giving this one to?  "I wouldn't mind having this quilt if Grandma doesn't have anything special in mind to do with it."  I told them that their Grandma doesn't take hints very well! :) :) :)

The size is approximately 85" x 96" and will look nice on a full or queen size bed.

Here's some close-ups of the blocks after quilting was completed....

The back....

I turned the flash off to get a better view of the actual quilting....

I think Mom will be pleased with the end result. :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Charlotte's Baskets Workshop led by Bonnie Hunter

I had a wonderful time in Glen Falls with my friend Marianne as we both attended Bonnie Hunter's quilt workshop.  This year the class was on her design called Charlotte's Baskets.  The instructions are included in her latest book called String Flings.

Because Marianne lives on one side of "no where" and I live on the opposite side of "no where", we have yet to find a quilt workshop in any location that allows us to ride together.  She drove a few hours from her side and I drove 3 hrs & 40 minutes from my side to meet in Glen Falls.

Thanks to my dear hubby Ray and his hotel points, we were able to book a room for "free".  When I checked in, we were given a free upgrade to a suite.....SOOO NICE!!!

Although we didn't really have time to enjoy it, (our mission was to quilt and sew as much as possible)...we had a balcony with a lovely view of Lake George.

Compared to our Lucy/Ethel crazy, adventurous trip last year to a different quilt workshop in Wellsboro, PA...this trip was pretty tame.  Thankfully, Marianne had her own, new Garmin that she updated prior to her trip...unlike last year when she used her hubby George's (who doesn't believe in updating maps...because he is a MAN!!)  Plus, if something had gone wrong with her Garmin, I arrived armed with my own that had been recently updated also! :) :) :)

We didn't get lost one single time!

We arrived Thursday afternoon and had enough time to visit a local fabric shop called Patti's Quilting Fabrics.  It was a wonderful shop and was filled with beautiful fabrics.  We ooohhed and aaahhhed each section and THEN we were told there was another level to the store.  We went downstairs and found my favorite section.......the SALE/CLEARANCE section!!!!!!   LOLOLOL

Oh my goodness!!!!!!  I have been such a good girl this entire year, practicing frugality and using fabrics from my stash...but this was a rare opportunity for fun!

Marianne did as much damage as I did but I don't have any photos as evidence.

The next morning we arrived at the local Fire Station for the quilt workshop.  Imagine my happy surprise, when Bonnie Hunter recognized me in the parking lot!  She only meets thousands and thousands of crazy quilters each year so I truly didn't expect her to remember me.  (Mama always said I was SPECIAL!) LOL

Marianne and I grabbed the opportunity, while it was relatively still quite, to get a photo taken with Bonnie.

I was SOOOO excited to show Bonnie my finished quilt that I started during her workshop last year.

She liked it!  She liked it!  She liked it!   LOLOLOLOL

Marianne and I found a table in the back corner to set up our sewing stations.....

It's hard to see....but to make it a little easier, I drew a big red circle around myself and wrote "ME" in big red letters on the photo! :)  LOLOL  Did you find me? let your eyes slowly slide to the left and you will see Marianne sitting at the table also. LOLOL

Marianne is sewing up a storm on Eva, her 1948 Singer Featherweight.....

And I'm not too far behind on Ruthie, my 1947 Singer Featherweight....

Boy....was it HOT in this place!!!!!!  Oh my goodness!!!!!!!!

During the morning half of the workshop, we concentrated on making the center, flower basket part of our blocks.   This is Marianne's....somehow I forgot to take a picture of mine at this stage.

After our catered lunch, there was a time for "show & tell".  Marianne was able to show off her beautiful quilt top from Bonnie's mystery quilt pattern called Easy Street.

The last few hours was spent learning to "string piece" using foundation paper.  This was a totally new experience for me but I loved it!  I don't know why I've been afraid to try this in the past.  It's SO easy and relaxing!!!!  Here's one of my string pieced blocks...just need to cut it on the diagonal and remove the paper from the back and it's ready to add to the flower basket section of the blocks.

After we had finished a few and cut them on the diagonal...then we got to sew them to the center of our blocks....

Marianne decided to only use neutral, light strings for hers....isn't it beautiful!!!  She used civil war reproduction fabrics only.

Now here is my wilder version....I used a little bit of everything in batik, solid cream, and a mixture of dark and light civil war reproduction fabrics...

As I held my blocks up for the picture, Bonnie Hunter suggested that when I finish all my blocks and am ready to add sashing between them, to use a fabric in the same green as the shirt I'm wearing!!

When the workshop ended, we quickly packed up our stuff so we could visit one more fabric shop before it closed.  The shop is called Adirondack Quilt Shop and it is another fantastic place to find gorgeous fabrics.

It took me a few minutes, but I finally stumbled upon the SALE/CLEARANCE section again! LOL

And yes, Marianne did her own damage there but once again, I didn't get a photo! :(

To finish off our evening, we drove to Saratoga Springs to meet up with others from the workshop (including Bonnie) for dinner.

We had such a lovely time and our trip was quickly coming to a close.

Marianne and I were dragging by the time we went back to our hotel....but we still had enough energy to play through our fabric purchases and dream about how we were going to use them!

In my next post, I will share the lovely gifts that Marianne surprised me with.....but you have to wait until next time!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

One New Quilt Top - One Finally Ready for the Bed

In my little bits of spare time in between all the other quilting and sewing projects, I've been working on another bed size quilt top.  It doesn't really have a name.  It was not a store bought pattern, but a computer designed one using EQ.  The last border was attached Sunday afternoon.

Any ideas on what to name this?

The quilt top finished out at 88" x 88".  By the way, that is sunlight streaming through the window onto the bottom middle of the quilt top.  I don't know what I would do if Kirsten was like most teenagers and her room was never  relatively clean.  I use her bedroom floor to spread everything out to measure during construction and to take a photo of the finished top.  It's the only room in the house big enough to do so!

I don't really have any plans for the quilt yet...but I'm sure I'll think of something.  For now, it goes on the stack of "items waiting to be quilted and finished."

On the topic of "items quilted and ready to use"....I can officially say I have a completed bed size (queen) quilt for my own bed.

This is the quilt top I started last summer when I attended a Bonnie Hunter workshop with my friend Marianne.

Bonnie Hunter calls this pattern "My Blue Heaven"...of course, since there isn't really anything blue in my scrappy version, I have named my quilt "Happy, Scrappy Stars".

As a reminder, Bonnie offers this quilt pattern and tutorial FREE on her website...

I did have an extra incentive to get the quilt completely finished and ready to use.  My friend Marianne surprised me a couple of months ago by signing us both up for another Bonnie Hunter workshop that will be hosted by a quilt guild in Glen Falls, NY.....THIS WEEK!!!!! The actual workshop day is Friday, May 10th but we both have about a 4 hour drive (from opposite directions) so we plan to meet in Glen Falls on Thursday and check out a few of their local fabric shops.

During Bonnie's workshops, after we take our lunch break, she has a time of "show & tell", where she asks the participants to bring and show any quilt projects we have made using her designs.  I can't wait to show her my scrappy version of her pattern.  When I took the photo above of the quilt spread out on our bed, Ray did the appropriate amount of "oohing & ahhing" over it.  Then I told him that I was happy he liked it but he couldn't sleep under it quite yet....not until AFTER I take it to show Bonnie Hunter and then the very next Wednesday will be my own quilt guild meeting and I want to take it for "show & tell" at that time also.  After all that is done, the quilt will officially be put on the bed and slept under!

Here is a close up of the quilted front....

Close up of the back....

You can't really tell in the photo, but I the backing fabric is actually a tan, mottled color and turned out really nice.  The quilting design is an edge-to-edge design called Mimosa, designed by Urban Elementz.  I used the solid chocolate fabric to make the binding for the quilt.  Believe it or not, I did not use my handy, dandy, binding attachment foot to sew it on....I did it the old fashioned way by sewing the binding on by machine to the front of the quilt, then turning the binding to the back and handsewing with a blindstitch.  It only took DAYS to handsew 350 inches of binding....but it looks great and I'm proud of myself! LOLOL

Now I need to gather up all my sewing stuff and start packing it up to leave on Thursday.  I think I'll go give my Ruthie (1947 Singer Featherweight) a spa treatment (oiling and cleaning) so she'll be all pretty and ready to sew up a storm at the workshop.  By the way....ALL the piecing for my Happy, Scrappy Stars quilt, including sewing the binding to the front of the quilt....was completed on my Ruthie!  She's a good ol' girl and a workhorse that LOVES to sew!

Friday, May 3, 2013

What A Tangled Web I Weaved!

I'm almost embarrassed to admit what I've been doing the past few days.  You will probably come to the conclusion that I am completely crazy and worry too much about my quilting blocks!  I will probably agree with you!

First you remember my last post concerning birthday blocks heading to Massachusetts?  Well, the birthday girl requested "fire-filled" oranges, reds, yellows, lime greens, etc.  I made two blocks but as I prepared to mail them, I just couldn't shake an uneasy feeling that I had not chosen appropriate colors and fabrics for her blocks.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVED the finished blocks, I just started to question if I had truly understood her request.  My youngest daughter and my mother both thought I was going a bit overboard with my worries and suggested I just go ahead and mail the blocks....but I couldn't do it! LOLOL

Rather than mail them off, I set them aside and started working on the next birthday girl in line to receive quilt blocks.  Peggi lives in Washington State and her only request was BRIGHT...any color combinations, just BRIGHT and if a neutral is needed...use white.  Easy enough...right?

So I started working...

1st block I came up with is called "Wind-surfing"...designer is Nan Baker.

2nd block I experimented with is called "Round Rosie"...designer is Pam Vieira-McGinnis.

I liked both of these blocks, but then the thought entered my mind that the last two blocks I made  would be considered BRIGHT and I liked them even better. :)

Here's a reminder of the last two blocks I had originally made for Chrissy in Massachusetts....

I'm so confused at this point!!  What should I do!!!

After more thought, I remembered Chrissy mentioning her love of butter yellows, etc...well, the yellow in the above two blocks is more bright lemon rather than soft butter.  Then I re-read the birthday list and realized that she has requested "light filled colors" not "fire filled colors".  Now I'm even more uneasy and confused!!!!!

Back to the drawing board (and my fat quarter stash)....

I pulled out a few softer colors of oranges, yellows and lime greens.

I made a second Round Rosie block...doesn't this look totally different from the bright version two pictures above (with orange, purple, yellow and pink flowers)????

Then I chose a totally different pattern for the second block....

This is called "Lattice"...designer is Cindy Lammon.

The two blocks together....

I feel better heart is no longer racing...

The more I look at this new blocks the more I think an entire quilt using these softer colors of orange, yellow and green would be BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

Here is a pic of the two brighter blocks next to the two softer blocks....

The packages are filled, addressed and Ray has taken them to the post office for me I can't second guess myself any longer. :)  The top two bright blocks are on their way to Peggi in Washington state and the bottom two blocks are now on their way to Chrissy in Massachusetts.

Are you wondering what I did with the first two blocks I shared in this post?.....

For now, they will go into my "orphan block" plastic storage container.  I may decide to use the "Wind-surfing" block as a pillow top for Amanda's beach-themed home...and keep the Round Rosie (right) to add to a future orphan quilt top.  Who knows....I have plenty of time to decide what to do with them.