Friday, November 27, 2015

Quilt #8 2015 - Sarah's Comfort Quilt

I was excited to get this quilt on the frame, as it is a gift for one of the women who was in my Girl Scout troop and was one of my best friends growing up. She has lost both of her parents already - her dad passed away earlier this year - and my mom and I thought it would be a good a good idea to send her a fabric hug. My mom did the piecing on this one with batiks left over from a guild quilt a few years ago. She then passed it off to me to make the back and quilt it, then she finished it off with the binding. 
I decided that swirls would look nice on this one - building off the design, but adding some curves to the straight lines. I used a light purple Superior Brytes on the top and Bottom Line in the bobbin. They worked okay together, but I still had a few issues with the Brytes shredding. It seems to be a pretty finicky thread on my machine. 
My mom mailed off the quilt a few weeks ago, so we hope that it will be well loved and well used. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Quilt #7 2015 - Be Warm Inside and Out

The next quilt that went onto my frame after Easy Street had to be something really easy! I picked up this panel that I put into a top at my spring retreat this year and it was on and off the frame in just about an hour.  I thought for a minute or two about trying to custom quilt it, but then came to my senses and decided upon free-hand loops as a good design. 

I am pretty sure that I used Bottom Line thread on the top and bobbin, but it may have been Robison Anton on the top (I didn't take great notes on this one!).I used a scrap of Warm and Natural batting, and it quilted up perfectly. It now has the binding sewn to the top. It is in my bag to go to bee to stitch down the binding to make this another finish in the year of the kits!  I am happy to have this little cutie done :) 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Quilt #6 2015 - Easy Street

Two years ago at my bee retreat in the spring, I finished my Easy Street quilt top. This was a Bonnie Hunter mystery (the first one I've done) and I enjoyed the process of making it and love the finished quilt top. Originally, I planned to quilt it with a panto, but later decided that this quilt could benefit from some custom quilting.

I finally made a quilt back earlier this year and loaded it on the machine in June. There it sat, because I didn't know how I wanted to quilt it.  After a couple weeks of walking by it, I started in the borders, with a paisley (hard to see in the picture because the thread matched so well). 

After that, I moved on to the green squares and quilted them with a dense back and forth. 

Then I got stuck again. In the end, I decided to do some custom quilting in each block, and then fill in the rest with tight loops. 

I wanted to have some continuity from block to block, but didn't take pictures along the way or make good notes, and I wasn't really enjoying the process on this one, so by the time I got to the final blocks, I couldn't remember what I'd done for the first few. 
In the end, I finished it, but it sits on the chair in my sewing room and I am not really happy with it. The only part I really like is the green squares. Several of the blocks are okay, but a few of them are just yuck.  I think I am going to rip out a few of the blocks and then do some stitch in the ditch around the pinks.....more to come on this one because I am not ready to bind it and call it done yet...but I am also not ready to deal with it yet! 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Quilt #5 - 2015 Purdue Pride

I have been way behind in blogging my quilting this year -- actually, not too far behind, because I haven't quilted that many. I downloaded all my pictures from my phone to my computer yesterday, which makes it way easier to attach them when I blog, so I am going to try to catch up this week. 

Way back in May, Jenna asked me to make a quilt for her teacher.  She had a special connection with Mrs. Greci and also had her twice - once for 2nd grade and once for 4th. We agreed on a pattern and fabric from my stash, deciding to use Purdue colors, since Mrs. Greci went to school there. Luckily, I had a sweet treat that fit the bill perfectly. I was so glad to use of one these pretty packets of fat quarters! 
I added one fat quarter and some yardage for sashing to finish at a nice size lap quilt. The pattern is Radio Way by Jaybird Quilts and it was quick and easy to put together. Jenna helped me with pressing, design wall layout, and snipping blocks apart while I was chain piecing.  
When I loaded the quilt, I decided to do tospy-turvy hearts following the horizontal lines on the quilt. This design takes a while to do and it gets a little boring, but I really love the way it looks when it's finished. I had a great thread combo on this quilt - Robison Anton gold with Superior Bottom Line in the bobbin. I used Warm and Natural for the batting. 
The quilt was wrapped up and delivered with a nice thank you note on the final day of school. Rumor has it that Mrs. Greci loved the quilt. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

October 2015 Cooking and Accomplishments

I am going to throw both topics into one post this month because I am already more than halfway into November!  I have a good excuse, my husband and I just got back from a 10-day trip to Hawaii to celebrate our 15th anniversary.  More to come on that later...

In the meantime, we only made one new recipe in October, but it was really good! This one is from the Feb 2007 issue of Midwest Living and is the Wild Rice and Turkey Soup. It came at the perfect time, as it cooled down (before it warmed up again!), and I love soup on a cool day. This was a really tasty soup, and I bet we will make it again with leftovers from Thanksgiving! 

In the sewing studio, I was busy prepping for both our Guild Quilt Show and my annual retreat to Shipshewana.  Here are the projects I finished during the month: 
- Teal Riviera Purse - which I entered in the quilt show and won a 1st place ribbon for!!

- Made a back, loaded, and quilted a comfort quilt for a Girl Scout from my troop (when I was a kid)
Comfort Quilt - pieced by my mom, quilted by me
- Made a fabric book for Jenna's teacher's new baby
- Sandcastle wallhanging top (a kit!)
- Wonky Reindeer top 
- Star tree quilt top
- My first Bendy Bag
- Midnight Mystery part 2 (which I haven't taken a picture of yet - I will get one when I do the next step!)

No cross-stitch was finished in October, but I got really close, so you'll see at least one for November! 

All in all, it was a great month between the retreat and the quilt show and I think it has spurred me to keep moving on a few things. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Stash Report - October 2015

I made the decision a few weeks ago that I will do monthly stash reports going forward - that should give me enough activity to actually report something! 

October was a great month with two big events - my fall retreat and our biennial guild quilt show. Both were great fun and both impacted my stash report :)

Purchases from my retreat - 1 book, 3 patterns, 1 cross-stitch kit,
4 FQs - 3 bought, one at my seat, and 1 iron (from Vermont Country store, came just before retreat!)
In the used category, I had quite a bit due to pre-cutting for retreat, which included cutting out a fabric book, two Bendy bags, a Christmas quilt kit, a small wall hanging, and a reindeer block. You can see almost all the finished projects here. (I didn't get the second Bendy bag done as I didn't have the right zipper with me!)  I also made a quilt back for a comfort quilt my mom and I have been partnering on.  
Purchases from quilt show - cross stitch fabric (2 bags), stitching frame,
ironing pad, astronomy kit -- (and pressing stick, which is currently hiding!)
In the added category, I did pretty well. I picked up a couple fat quarters at retreat and then purchased a panel to make for my husband (hopefully for Christmas) that ties to his favorite hobby, astronomy. 

Working on all the projects at retreat had a great effect on my report, so I continue to add to my usage: 

Fabric added this month: 2 1/4 yards
Fabric used this month: 9 7/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 15 5/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 137 yards

Net fabric used: 121 1/8 yards

I am really pleased with the progress year to date and glad that all the fabric I donated to our guild helped raise funds for our future activities and programs!  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Shipshewana Retreat 2015

My retreat was so much fun! It always is enjoyable to get away with no laundry, no cooking, no "mommmm" requests, and time to really dedicate to a craft.  I took several projects with me with the goal of making some good progress. A few of them were kits, and a few were patterns I've wanted to make a while. 

At this retreat, we all have a full 8 foot table to work on, and you can see the ironing board and cutting table that are along the outside wall. I pulled out all my projects and lined them up on the right side of my table so that I wouldn't forget all I brought! I always bring too many things, because there is always something that I either don't feel like working on or can't finish. 

I made lots of progress over the weekend, and laid out my finishes during our Saturday night show and tell - here's my little corner (you can click on the photo to see everything a little bigger) -- I'll walk you through all my projects. 

I started with the Christmas wall hanging in the front, adding a binding by machine. I'll stitch down the back side at upcoming meetings or while watching TV.  In the middle are three cross stitch projects that I had framed in Cincinnati (at Keepsakes). A friend who lives there picked them up and delivered them to me. I am so pleased with how they all turned out! 

On the right is a small wall decoration of a sandcastle. I still have to add some hand embroidery to this one to finish it, and then quilt and bind it. Moving to the left front corner is a fabric book, which will be a gift for my daughter's teacher's first baby who was born over the weekend. Behind the book is a Bendy bag. It was a really fun little bag to make - as are may of the Lazy Girl Designs

Two more projects that didn't fit on the end of the fireplace are Rudolph (with three dimensional ears and antlers) and my Christmas Tree/Star top. He has googly eyes that I will add once I quilt him. This one is about 15x18" and the face is paper pieced.
 The tree is a kit that I've had for many years, and it finished around 55" square. When I bought it, we had a blue couch...but we got rid of that a few years ago, so I will have to figure out another plan for this quilt...once I get it quilted and bound. Based on my previous retreat experiences, that won't be anytime soon! 
I started one final project before we left retreat - it is a small paper pieced card holder for Christmas cards. It isn't really far enough along for a good picture, so I will hold that until I can maek some more progress. All in all, it was a very good weekend for me. In addition to all the good work, we had an awesome dinner at an Amish farm, visited five quilt shops, and I made some new friends, as our group grew from 12 to 16. I am already looking forward to next year!