Monday, November 29, 2010

Design Wall Monday - November 29th

My Thanksgiving was good.  I hope everyone in the US had a good holiday.  The frantic dash to Christmas is officially underway I suppose.  I didn't do any Black Friday shopping, but we did participate in Small Business Saturday.  I did most of my on-line shopping last night, so I'll miss Cyber Monday.  Hope your holiday shopping is well underway and going well. 

Not as much going on with the design wall as I would hope.  I'm still working on hand sewing the binding to one quilt.  I did finish the second block for the Layer Cake Quilt Along over at Moose on the Porch Quilts. 

Since we spent a lot of the holiday at my in-laws, so I didn't get much sewing done.  I did finish one Grandmother's Flower Garden block and made a good start on a new  EPP block over the weekend.  

That's it for my design wall this week.  What's up on your design wall?  Check out Judy's Patchwork Times to see what's going on every where else.  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stash Report - November 28th

A pretty relaxed weekend, but not much sewing going on as we spent the weekend with family.  Not sure how much sewing will happen on my machine between now and Christmas, there is more shopping to do, gifts to wrap, etc.   I did get the second Layer Cake Quilt Along block made before we started the flurry of Thanksgiving baking.  I also finished another Grandmother's Flower Garden block while hanging out at the in-laws.  So here is this week's report:

Used this week = 0.4 yards
Added this week = 0 yards
Used year to date = 47.4
Added year to date = 356.
Net used for 2010 =  (308.8)

I did find a small error in my spreadsheet, so this week's numbers have been corrected for that, in addition to what was actually used this week.  I'm still striving to reach 50 yards used by the end of the year. Only a need to use a little over 2 and half yards in 4 weeks, totally doable.  I did manage to stay on the NO FABRIC wagon for another week, even with a trip to one of the local quilt shops. 

Check out Judy's Patchwork Times to see other stash busing/stash enhancement progress.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Favorite Things Friday - November 26th

I hope everyone in the US had a Happy Thanksgiving yesterday and is recovering from both culinary adventures in the kitchen and at the table!  Happy Friday to everyone else, the weekend is almost here! 

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all those things we are thankful for.  So since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are just a few of the things I'm thankful for. 



I'm thankful for all God's creatures who inspire such such awe in our world. 



I'm thankful for the changing seasons, each with it's unique beauty.



I'm thankful for all the colors in our world.


And most of all, I'm thankful for my unique and somewhat quirky family.

Have a wonderful weekend!  Check out Mrs. P over at Quilting in my Pyjamas for other wonderful favorite things. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Design Wall Monday - November 22nd

Not much sewing this weekend due to kiddo's out of town swim meet.  She did well, taking time off almost every event she swam.  We also had the opportunity to see my Mom and Sister for dinner on Saturday, which was nice since we are spending Thanksgiving with my in-laws. 

So what's up on the design wall?  The Seeing Stars BOM is still up and so is the purple/yellow scrap quilt.  But no progress to show on either of those projects.  Last weekend I made the binding for the a mystery quilt I ordered from  Homespun Hearth in Monument, CO.  They have a quarterly mystery quilt program called Agatha & Sherlock's Quilter's Mystery of the Week.  I ordered one of the kits last year and had a lot of fun with it.  I'm still hand sewing the binding to the back of the quilt.  Hopefully I'll get that done this week and I'll be able to post about a finish which takes one more quilt off the UFO list! 

I decided on my fabrics for the Layer Cake Quilt Along going on over at Moose on the Porch Quilts.  The squares are all cut, so hopefully that block will come together tonight. 

The pattern calls for 4 colors, but I couldn't make that work with the layer cake I'm using, so I decided to just use two fabrics.  \It's a good thing they don't give grades for these blocks because the block definitely will not look like the one given with the instructions! 

Check out all the other design walls over at Judy's Patchwork Times

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stash Report - November 21st

Not much going on in my sewing room this week.  Kiddo has a swim meet this weekend, so no sewing yesterday.  I may get some time this afternoon to start on the 2nd Layer Cake Quilt Along block.  It should go fast once I get started.  Last weekend I did get the binding put together and sewn on to the "Party's at My Place Mystery" quilt from last year.  That's about it on the fabric out for the week.  No fabric in this week!  So I'm still firmly on the NO FABRIC wagon until at least January.  So here's how the report looks this week:

Used this week = 0.4 yards
Added this week = 0 yards
Used Year to Date = 46.8 yards
Added Year to Date = 356 yards
Net Used for 2010 = (309.3) yards

Check out how every one is doing on stash busting/enhancement over at Judy's Patchwork Times. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Favorite Thngs Friday - November 19th

Thursday evening in the States, just one more work day in the week.  The illustrious hostess of Favorite Things Friday, Mrs. P over at Quilting in My Pyjamas, is well into her Friday afternoon (it's 9 PM central time Thursday in OK, 1:30 PM Friday in her part of the world).   Isn't that cool?  OK, well, I think it's cool to know that somewhere in the world it's already Friday. 

Since we've established that it is indeed Friday somewhere, I should move right along to my Favorite Thing.  Well this week, I guess it's things.  If I didn't have one of these there were be a lot fewer pictures of kiddo.

My guy gave me this for Mother's Day a couple of years ago.  I carry it in my purse most days.  This is my "quilt show" camera that I use to take pictures of all those beautiful quilts at the shows.  It's also, my "oooh, I like that sunrise camera", "oooh, I like that flower camera", and my "oh quick, where's the camera" camera.

As much as I like my little camera, I love my Canon 20D!

For most of my quilt photography, I use a Tamron Telephoto lens

With a Canon Speedlite 580EXII flash

And a Ray Flash ring flash.  Which is great for spreading light across the whole area of a bed size quilt. 

My husband is a photography enthusiast and he takes wonderful photos.  Kiddo has taken photography at school and though she doesn't have a digital SLR, she gets some pretty amazing shots with her point and shoot.  We have a standing rule when we travel, anyone can call for a halt if they see a shot they really want to get.  It can take us a while to get where we are going sometimes.  But, we've made some incredible discoveries by getting off the beaten path when we make time to stop and get the cameras out.  So though I love taking pictures, my very favorite times are when we are sitting at some coffee shop passing our cameras around to see how we each captured the day. 

What's your Favorite Thing this week? 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Charming Christmas Cardinals

Nina-Marie over at Creations..Quilts, Art....Whatever has linked up to an online Christmas Quilt show at  SewGalCal's.  Lots of beautiful eye candy to check out.  Just click on the button to go have a look (But not before you check out my entry!). 

So here is my entry.   Last year, before the local quilt shop had to cut back on hours due to family changes, they were still offering classes.  I signed up to take a class based on the Quilt in a Day pattern "How Charming".  I played around with 3 different sets of fabrics before I finally decided on a Christmas theme.  Then the class was canceled because no one else signed up. It's not a hard pattern and I had signed up for the class mainly as a reason to start a new project.  So I had my own all day class on the same Saturday as the canceled class.  I didn't follow the layout guidelines exactly, but really liked how the quilt came out.

I did learn one very valuable lesson when making this quilt.  In order to fussy cut the cardinals, I had to cut them as diamonds, on the bias.  I had heard that spraying pieces cut on the bias with starch reduces stretching.  But you are supposed to spray on the starch before you cut out the pieces not after!  Thankfully I had not cut the strips for the red frames yet, I just cut them a bit larger and then cut the final square to size, that worked really well and kept everything the right size. 

I collect cardinal fabric, I just love the deep red of those birds.  This was the first project that seemed to be just the right place to use that fabric.  I don't do my own quilting, this one was quilted by Lesa Foreman at the Corner Sew and So.   

Thanks for letting me share one of my favorite quilts.  It's almost time to pull it out of the closet and enjoy it during the Christmas season.  Hope you get a chance to enjoy the rest of the Christmas Quilt Show. 

Design Wall Monday - November 15th

It was a nice, easy weekend and I got to spend 2 afternoons of it in my sewing room.  So what do I have to show for it?  I got caught up on the "Seeing Stars" BOM sponsored by Country Junk'tion.  Now all that is left is the center block and the borders, which haven't been posted yet.  I have the fabric picked out for the center star, so I'm ready to go once the pattern is posted. 

I spent the rest of the weekend prepping two quilts for binding. I did get the binding made, sewn on the front, and started hand sewing the binding to the back for one of the two.   

What's on your design wall?  Check out Judy's Patchwork Times for more design walls. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stash Report - November 14th

The 2008 BOM quilt top is on it's way to be quilted, so nothing more on it till it needs to be bound.  I had the chance to sew Saturday afternoon and finished up three blocks for one of my BOMs. Also finished one purple and yellow scrap block while working on the 3 BOM blocks.  So just a bit out, but nothing in.  I managed to stay on the NO FABRIC wagon for another week.  One of  my favorite shops had a sale this weekend, but I decided to stay home to avoid the temptation.  So here are this week's stash numbers:

Used this week = 0.6 yards
Added this week = 0 yards
Used Year to Date = 46.4 yards
Added Year to Date = 356 yards
Net Used for 2010 = (309.7) yards

So I continue the slow climb towards 50 yards out.  How are your stash busting efforts going? 
Check out Judy's Patchwork Times to check on all the other stash reports.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Off to Be Quilted

The 2008 BOM top was sent off yesterday to be quilted by the very talented lady at Keep'in You in Stitches.  Over the last week, I posted the story behind this top (here and here).  For some reason getting this sewn together seem to stretch out forever!  Maybe it was that I didn't just sash this one, but actually added other pieced blocks?  Here is the completed top. 

Other than a couple of UFOs that need to be bound, I think this is the last quilt from the UFO list I'm going to tackle this year.  I'd like to spend time catching up on some current BOMs, plus some time working on new projects. 

What are you going to work on for the rest of the year?  Meeting your UFO goals, finishing Christmas gifts, or non quilting stuff? 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Favorite Things Friday - November 12th

Yeah for Friday!  Nothing big on the "to do" list this weekend, so maybe we'll get a little housework done and a bunch of sewing.  My favorite kind of weekend!

It's time for Favorite Things Friday!  I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's post this week.  Mrs. P finally delivered on her big "favorite thing" that's she's been teasing us with for the last couple of weeks.  Congratulations to Mrs. P.  Check out Mrs. P's post and all the other cool favorite things over at Quilting in My Pyjamas.  

So what's my favorite thing this week.  With the time change back to standard time in the US, I can again see the sun coming up on my way to work.  I love sunrises.  Here are some of my favorites. 

I've been lucky the last year to have an east facing office where I can see the sun come up, even when it's dark when I get to work. 

My husband and I have been early risers for many years.  We never tire of watching first light steal over the rose buses and light the brick outside of the dining room window while we sit at the table with our coffee.   That's usually a perfect start to any morning. 

What's your favorite thing this week?

A Story of 12 Quilts - Part 3

I really like BOMs.  No matter how busy I am, I can usually manage to get one block done a month.  In 2008, the local quilt shop offered the Brown Bag BOM.  Each participant brought a brown grocery bag with enough fabric to make 12 blocks. Then each month you took home a different Brown Bag and brought it back the next month with a completed 12.5" block inside (see Part 1 for a full description of the BOM guidelines).  The 2008 BOM quilt was made from a set of practice blocks I made each month to be sure I didn't waste anyone's fabric working out construction issues.  Part 1 and Part 2 show all the practice blocks and the corresponding blocks that went back with each brown bag I contributed to.   

During the last BOM meeting, we each got our Brown Bag back after 11 months of traveling and each showed off what was in our bags.  Here's what was in mine:





Pretty cool blocks, I was pretty happy with what was in the bag.  As was most everyone else.  Yes, there were only 9 blocks in my bag, as was the case for most of the other participants.  There should have been 11.  Many of us had started reporting in at the monthly meetings, at about month 5, that the bags were short on the number of completed blocks.  That last night, the quilt shop owner apologized to many of us saying that some participants had just been too busy to make blocks for the bags they had taken home.  She had insisted that all bags be returned each month, so they could be rotated.  You really only had a month to work on the block.  I do understand that there are times when things that come up which can make completing a project with a time constraint difficult, but I still felt a bit cheated, as I had made 11 blocks and put a lot of effort into the program.  Not much to be done about it at that point.  The shop owner had tried very hard to get everyone to finish their blocks prior to our last meeting. 

I wanted to make my last practice block for the 2008 BOM, so I made block 10 for the Brown Bag Quilt as well:

After trying to come up with a quilt layout using only 10 blocks, I decided to make two more blocks so I'd have 12. 

One of these days I need to get these set together, but probably not this year.  It will probably stay a UFO until next year.   Due to family issues the sponsoring quilt shop has had to cut back on hours, staff, space and fabric, so I haven't been there in about 9 months.  So I don't know if anyone from class ever finished their quilt tops.  It would be fun to see how each individual set their blocks. 

Thanks for letting me share the story of these 2 quilts.   This was probably the most challenging BOM I've done, but also one of the most fun.  If you have a group that participates in a yearly BOM program, this one is worth a try. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Design Wall Monday - November 8th

Finally, a weekend at home!  October was really busy, so it was nice this weekend to be able to get caught up on some household chores, plus get back into my sewing room.  The 2008 BOM top, back and batting is all boxed ready to be sent out for quilting, so that's off the design wall. 

Progress on the purple and yellow scrap quilt has been slow since I haven't been sewing much (this is my "leaders and enders" project). I've been playing with the layout a bit.   It's been fun to see this quilt come together. 

There is something new up on the design wall this week. The first block in the Layer Cake Quilt Along over at Moose on the Porch Quilts was completed.  The layer cake I'm using for this project doesn't really have any lights, it's all mediums and darks. So I ended up just using my "background" fabric to make this block.  I like how it came out, but it definitely doesn't follow the color placement used by the block designer (Gene Black).   

I also  cut the fabric for the October and November blocks for the Seeing Star BOM, but didn't get much farther than that this weekend.  

So that's it for my design wall.  What's up on yours?  Go over to Judy's Patchwork Times to post yours and check out the other design walls. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Stash Report - November 7th

Sewing actually happened this week and this weekend.  I made the backing for the 2008 BOM quilt and finished a couple of blocks for other projects, so I have yardage going out. No fabric in.  So I managed to stay on the NO FABRIC wagon for another week.  Here's this week's report:

Used this week  = 9.7 yards
Added this week = 0 yards
Used Year to Date = 45.8 yards
Added Year to Date = 356 yards
Net Used for 2010 = (310.3) yards

So definite progress this week.  That feels really good.  Looks like 50 yards out is attainable by the end of the year.  Just a drop in the bucket, but you have to start somewhere. 

How did every one do that went to the Houston Show?  Find out over at Judy's Patchwork Times. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Story of 12 Quilts - Part 2

Yesterday, I finished adding the final borders to the 2008 BOM.  I'll post a picture of the completed quilt later.  This BOM was a lot of fun and quite a learning experience in many ways.   The rules (as noted in Part 1) required participants to make a 12.5" block from only the fabric in the brown bag we were given at every monthly BOM meeting. 

When I opened the bag from month 7, I realized that red and green was a popular color combination.  This was the 3rd bag containing that color pairing.

Block 7:  Patience

You would think by the time I'd gotten to block 8, I'd be cruising.  Well not quite.  Bag 8 contained only 3 fabrics.  So which fabrics to use was easy, but for some reason, I couldn't find a block pattern that I liked which would work for the 3 fabrics from the bag and for the 4 fabrics I wanted to use in my practice block.

Block 8:  Irish Chain

I like brights, but apparently even I have my limits on that front.  The month 9 bag contained eye searing yellows, oranges, and a focus fabric that mixed all of them together.  Not at all my personal taste.  But what an opportunity to play with a unique, out of my comfort zone color palette.  The brown bag block certainly makes my practice block look a bit dull. 

Block 9:  Arrow Crown

Month 10 was another bag with red and green fabric, the 4th one in this BOM.  Of all the blocks from the BOM, this is my favorite. 

Block 10:  Mountain Star

Brown Bag number 11 wasn't very inspiring. It contained 4 fabrics, two browns, a peach and a beige.  Again not my color palette, but it was another opportunity to work outside my comfort zone. 

Block 11:  Eva's Garden 2

At the meeting for month 12 we got our own bags back and were finally allowed to look at what other's had done with your fabric choices.  I'll talk more about that in Part 3.  Since there were only 11 of us participating, there were only 11 blocks in the bag.  I had to finish the 12th.  I'm not sure how I ended up with the same green and pink color scheme for both quilts, in general, I'm not all that in to pink.

Block 12:  Aztec Jewel

In terms of being a participant, this BOM was a lot of fun and.  What a wonderful opportunity to dabble in color theory, working in color palettes I would never chosen for myself.   Plus, I challenged myself to try some difficult blocks, those with lots of pieces.  You have to pay a lot attention to your seam allowances in those cases.  It was always a good feeling to finish a block and find that it measured 12.5".  My confidence in that ability improved a lot over the course of the year.

I'll close Part 2 with a list of the sources for the blocks. 

Quilters Mix and Match Blocks, published by Leisure Arts, 2004:
     Blocks:  Magic Squares (Magic Triangles in the book),  Laural Wreath,
                   Square and Star, and Memory

Block Party by Marsha McCloskey, published by Rodale, 1998:
     Block:  By Chance

Quilter's Cache Website, Marcia Hohn
     Blocks:  No Name Block #2 and Patience,

501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks, by Judy Hopkins, published by That Patchwork Place, 2008
     Blocks:  Irish Chain, and Arrow Crown

5,500 Quilt Block Designs, by Maggie Malone, published by Sterling Publishing Co., 2004
     Block:  Aztec Jewel

Unknown:  Mountain Star, Eva's Garden 2 (Shows why it's important to keep good notes!)