Saturday, December 29, 2012

Twitter Bee Quilt .... My first Bee Quilt :)

My first quilting bee journey that began here and ended here is now complete!  I sewed together the top and started hand quilting on Columbus Day weekend (October 8th) and finished shortly before Christmas.  It was fun quilting each star a little differently and ended up making some squares in between each block.  I love the final look and think this quilt is bound to be one of my favorites.

Long and Lean ... 35" X 58"
It's so cool imagining each square being crafted in the home of another quilter and from fabric that was scraps from her previous projects.  Kinda makes me feel like this quilt has some history already ... ya know what I mean?  Definitely a favorite.

Two slightly different creams on the back.  I am trying to show off the hand quilting here. 

Now ... on to my favorite month of the year

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Old Red Barn Quilt Challenge Throwdown

Ahhh fall ... how I love you. 

My quilt for this challenge came about from my love of everything autumn and my recent yearning for simplicity and sparseness in my life.  No need for anything overly complicated or overthinking the design.  Just an "ahhhh ... those colors look so perfect together."    Like looking over a grey and brown field into a brilliant woods.

The long hot days in the summer just wear me out and by August I feel all jangly and disjointed and sweaty.  My spirit always begins to lift when the colors start to subtly change and the evening grow cooler and longer.  When perusing the color palettes on design seeds I was instantly drawn to this one.

The fact that I was able to pull all the fabrics from my stash went right along with my new Almost Amish frugality.   Maybe I'll name this quilt simply autumn and leave it at that.

The quilt top measures 45" by 73"  I'll be hand quilting and then binding in one of the dark solids with maybe a splash of the prints. 

Unfortunately Hurricane Sandy came through here and ruined my fall photo shoot ... bye bye brilliant foliage.   Today is so dull and dark that I had trouble getting pictures that would showcase my fall colors.

This challenge made me examine my color choices and how they work together to form a pleasing aesthetic palette.  Just one more step in my quilting journey that started right here with the Old Red Barn Co.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Hexagon Quilt ... Finally!

I've emerged from my summer torpor and am so ready to begin my favorite time of year.  Suddenly fabric is appealing again!  Apples, pumpkins, cool weather, long evenings to sew ...   Even the Assistant has perked up and is demanding her after dinner walks again.

42" x 57"

To start off my quilting season I pulled out the hexagon quilt-a-long I started  years ago.  This was one I started before I really had the skill level to finish (points!) and it got me very frustrated.  I was hopefully starting this project here .... and giving up here.  A while ago I had a few days alone where I could actually lay it out on the floor and take my time sewing the strips together.  I carefully pinned, pinned, and pinned the strips and was pleasantly pleased with the outcome.  Gotta admit .... pinning IS necessary to get those points .... bummer.
love this shot of the back :)
 I hand quilted with perle cotton #12 because I wanted a finer quilting to go with the classic hexagon look.  I did the bulk of the quilting while watching two straight seasons of Boardwalk Empire (thank goodness for an HBO promotion) in a two week stretch. A good violent series is perfect for handwork because you can look away and get really involved in your stitching when it gets overly gruesome. 

What's next you ask??  I sewed together all the blocks I got from my Twitter Bee peeps and am ready to start quilting.  I've finally broke out my Accuquilt Go Baby and made 194 half square triangle blocks ..  use to be determined.  I'm trying to figure out how to make a "non-lame" Buffalo Bills (stop snickering people) quilt  for a Christmas gift.  And to top it off I'm entering the Old Red Barn color palette quilt challenge.  Does that sound like a lot? Well, I'm still on my fall high so we'll see how far I get with these.
 My "almost Amish" project is beginning with a big clean up of my sewing and fabric area.  Soooo .... naturally I'm on the computer now instead of sorting. Hmmmm .... full-blown Amish really don't have this problem, do they?? 
Some gratuitous quilt shots taken at our local cemetery
Ahhhh.... see why I love fall ... so beautiful!

My film crew .... Middle son Jason and Jada  ... the Assistant couldn't quite make it up the winding staircase

Weekend Reading

My library checkouts from yesterday.  The Quilters Guide to Amish Quilts and Almost Amish:  One Woman's Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life.

Chapter One of Almost Amish:  Homes .... Homes are simple, uncluttered, and clean; the outside reflects the inside.   

That so does NOT describe my house right now.

And thus begins the first weekend of my "becoming almost Amish" project .....

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Baby! Oh! Baby! Granny Squares

The granny square phenomena that's been sweeping the quilting blog interweb even reached into my little part of the world.

I made this baby quilt with the Old Red Barn Group that I started my quilting journey with three years ago and we used this  tutorial from Jolene at Blue Elephant Stitches.  The best part of this quilt is it was a true scrap buster and I actually used all the scraps I have accumulated from my past projects.  Memories flooded back as I cut, sewed and reflected on the changes in my skills (better  ... I hope) and the knowledge I've gained from my many, many learning experiences (as I euphemistically call my mistakes).  I've got a long way to go before I feel even remotely accomplished but I have come a long from where I started.

::  hand quilted  :: perle cotton #8 :: 35" x 44"  ::  backed with a print from Joanne's ::  scrappy binding ::  that's all ::

I'm linking up to the Bloggers' Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side.  Please go over and check out all the wonderful bloggers and their fantastic quilts.  Be warned .... you'll be there a while!

Amy's Creative Side

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

That time I thought I'd start a movement

 My very first post on this red and white quilt was January 29th.  I put the final stitch in the binding and washed it on April 2nd.  I watched the entire two seasons of Shameless, all of Game of Thrones and many, many cheesy Lifetime Movie Network movies while hand quilting. That's a lot of couch time and TV watching/listening .....

52" x 79"
As I've been stitching away in the evenings I've been contemplating how much I enjoy the whole process.  (I know, I know ... I've said it before).  When I'm working on a gift for someone it gives me time to reflect on the person and why I'm making something for them.   When I'm done I feel like it's all mine because I've stitched every stitch.   I can start working on blocks for a new top while I'm hand quilting another but I don't get much more ahead than that.  I really need to complete a project totally and clean up my mess before I can give myself over to another one.  That does get frustrating when I have so many beautiful quilts pinned that I'd love to make and so many people I'd love to make them for **sigh**. That said, I still have no urge to machine sew my bindings.

 I've been interested in the slow food movement and it got me thinking that I'd like to start a slow quilting movement.   You know, a movement that would make someone that takes over two months to make a simple quilt feel good about themselves.  I even composed a whole blog post about it and had dreams of it taking over the interweb like Rossi's process pledge.  I'd be famous in blogland!

Luckily I googled "slow quilting movement" before I hit the post button.  Seems that lots of people feel the same way and have already started their own little movements.  Here and here are just two of the posts I've read on the subject.

My next project in the work.  Granny squares with the ORB gang!
I guess I'm not a groundbreaker in anything quilting-wise so maybe I can start a movement for people who have no innovation or original ideas.  Our motto:  We're the plodders and the followers ... not the inventors and the starters.   The nice part of my movement is there really is no pressure, we just do what we want.  Anyone want to join me?

The obligatory "quilt in the wind" shot

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Bee experience. The good, the bad, the recap ....

I just completed the last block for the eleven member Twitter Bee and have laid my rotary cutter down with a thud of relief, but also with a feeling of accomplishment.  I started out full of great intentions of whipping off a fabulous and perfect block (maybe even two!) as soon as my fabric arrived.  By the end I was stressed and late and racked with guilt over the lateness and doubts about the quality.  It's impossible to sew with a joyful heart with those envelopes staring at you from the sidelines ...

I did enjoy opening my mailbox each month and finding the fat packet and getting a little glimpse into the life of the sender.  Although I admit sending back the completed block and wondering where it would end up was definitely better.  Stretching myself to make different blocks was a huge plus.  It's nice to try something new without having to commit to a full blown project. 

The best part is that I received thirteen beautiful and creative blocks of my own from eight fantastic quilters.  Two I never heard from although I made them blocks.  I have no hard feelings though because I have no way of knowing what the circumstances were with them. I just hope they're OK and am grateful that I've had a good year and my clan is all safe and healthy. Soon I'll have a quilt that is a lasting reminder of this great group of women.

Would I do a yearlong bee again?  Not at this point in my life.   I didn't realize how little sewing time I actually have each week until I started one extra thing.  Also spaces were reconfigured at my house over the year and I lost my dedicated sewing and fabric storage space.  Suddenly trying out complementary fabrics became an ordeal of pulling out bins, pawing through unorganized stacks and then trying to neatly fit everything back where it came from.   I had no way of anticipating this when I committed but a year can bring some pretty big changes.  I love being involved with the quilting world so an occasional swap,  shorter bees and quilt-a-longs are still a sure yes. 

All-in-all it was GREAT experience.  And I can confidently proclaim that now having completed it totally, cleaned up my last scrap pile and mailed off my final block. Whew!

Friday, February 17, 2012

This blog has been interrupted by tiny triangles

Am I crazy?!?!  I started a nice, simple quilt and whipped the top together in a matter of days (well, weeks ....  but it COULD have been days if I'd applied myself) but now I've sidetracked myself with these darn triangles.   Four corners trimmed off of thirty-eight snowball blocks = 152 two inch triangles.   Here's the crazy part ... I have absolutely no plan for them but I just can't stand to waste them.  Make a border?  Use them in the back?  Zig zags?  Pinwheels?  Spikes?  What would you do with 228 inches of tiny triangles?

You could be finished now if your maker wasn't obsessed with small triangles
I did finish the quilt that my hairdresser's mother started many years ago.  She had made all the log cabin blocks and I sewed them together, put a small border of white around the edge, pieced a back and hand quilted.  I was able to take it to it's rightful home this week and now it has completed it's journey.  It's being used by her Grandson and I couldn't be happier for them both.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tiny, tiny triangles

With each new quilt I like to expand my skills at least a little.  I'm wondering .... do you ever get to a point where you know and can do everything?  I'd like to think that before I leave this earth I'll make one "perfect" quilt.

This picture caught my eye on pinterest and I've been going back to it repeatedly so I finally decided to make it.  I don't have a pattern but I can see that it's just nine patch and snowball blocks.  I'm embarrassed that I actually did two pages of math (plus a glass of spilled wine) to figure it out. 

After trimming the blocks I've got a nice little pile of tiny triangles.  I'm sewing and sewing in my spare moments and then anticipate trimming and trimming but hopefully will have a sweet little border someday.  The tiny half square triangles are actually taking as much time as sewing the rest of the blocks all together.

In the end I'd like to showcase a simple hand quilting design  in the blank white areas.  I'm not a fan of hearts or swirlies but all my attempts at freehanding a design look shockingly like a pentagram.  If anyone has any simple design ideas I'd appreciate a link or a picture.

Thank goodness for a snowy, snowy Sunday to have a nice excuse to stay in and sew with Downton Abbey as my background noise.  What could be better?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Another woman's quilt blocks

Last Thursday I was getting my hair cut by my long-time hairdresser Kim and I was telling her of my new found love of quilting.  She mentioned that years ago her mother was learning how to quilt when she was sick so she could make a quilt for each of her grandchildren.  She died before she finished the last one ...  for Kim's youngest son.  Recently Kim found all the finished blocks and fabric and had been wondering how she could find someone that could put them together and finish the quilt.

I am so honored to be able to sew these blocks together and complete the wishes of a woman who wanted to leave each of her grandchildren a memento of her love.  I've thought of her a lot as I've been pressing and trimming and sewing the blocks that she made with hopes of leaving a gift of comfort for her grandson. 
I'm going to add a border and hand quilt and then bind with navy blue.  I really hope I can do this quilt justice and make it as nice as she would have and that a young boy thinks of her as he snuggles with it. 

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