Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Quilt #20 - Kathy's Batik Table Runner

Kathy gave me a top of hers a while back and asked me to quilt it up with my choice of design. It is a pretty contemporary design and once I laid it out, I decided to quilt it along the lines of the design to highlight the chevron shapes. I quilted swirls in the chevrons, then took the quilt off the frame and stitched in the ditch along the straight lines to make them pop a bit. 

This was a quick and easy one to do - I used a blue/brown/tan variegated Lava thread on top and Bottom line in the bobbin and they were a good combination. Kathy supplied the Warm and Natural batting, which is one of my favorites. 

Next up, one of my own UFOs! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

November 2014 Re-Cap

Now that we're halfway through December, I am finally getting to my recap from November! My goal for the month of November was to quilt, quilt, quilt. I did a great job focusing on my quilting and finished the project that was on my frame Dec 1, then quilted 4 more tops! Three of them were small, but that doesn't matter in the land of UFOs, does it? 

I did  minimal other sewing, but wound up with 16 3/4 hours in my studio, not counting hand sewing time. I think that's the highest I've had in quite a while when I wasn't on a retreat. 

Here's what I got done in November: 
- Finished quilting Loralei's Blue and Grey batik quilt
- Loaded and quilted Melissa's Rail Fence
- Loaded and quilted fall candy squares table runner
- Loaded and quilted small wonky trees wall quilt
Bound and ready for gifting
- Loaded and quilted Kathy' table runner (still to blog)
- Made cash and carry bag (teacher gift)

It was a great month for quilting and I am really glad to have some of my projects done and some of the ones I had for others done! 

I am not going to set specific goals for December. I have a little holiday sewing to do, and hope to get one or two tops finished, but if not, that's okay too.  I have been spending more time on the couch recently working on my stitching and crocheting, so I still feel good that I am getting something done! 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Stash Report - Weeks 47-49, 2014

I have been spending most of my quilting time over the last several weeks on quilting finished tops rather than starting new ones, and it is really nice to clear out some unfinished projects.  The small bit of usage I have over the last few weeks is for bindings, a Christmas present, and birthday fat quarters for my bee. 

For the bindings, I found some in my stash to work with all the smaller tops I've done recently - the wonky trees, and the fraternal twin table runners.  The wonky trees is all sewn down as of this morning and it will become a Christmas present. The table runners have the binding attached, but not stitched down yet, so I will work on that at upcoming bee meetings.  There's no rush for either of these. 

The gift is for my daughter's teacher - a Cash and Carry bag from a Terry Atkinson pattern. I picked up a couple kits in Shipshewana, and this is the first one that's finished. 
I still have a few presents to work on, but hope to have plenty of time over the break, which will start for me next Friday! 

Here's the official accounting: 

Fabric added last three weeks: 0 yards
Fabric used last three weeks: 1 3/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 47 1/2 yards
Fabric used year to date: 59 1/4 yards

Net fabric used: 11 3/4 yards

It won't be my best year for fabric usage, but that's okay - it gives me something to work on next year! 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

November 2014 Cooking Challenge

Before I counted up this month's recipes, I thought we'd done pretty well - I would have guessed 6-8 recipes.  It turns out we only made 4 new ones from the recipe folder, plus two off the internet.  The others were ones that we tried again from last year and the good news is that the two together gave us a month with pretty good variety.  Here are the four new recipes we tried this month: 

Penne-Wise Pumpkin Pasta - I pulled this one out of a Rachael Ray magazine several years ago but was never brave enough to try it!   I intended to make this in October, but was a little unsure about it still, so finally Mike made it one night when I wasn't home and I ate leftovers when I arrived.  It was okay - it was fairly bland, so we added some hot sauce to the portions that the adults ate, but it didn't do much for us.  The kids didn't like it at all! 
Apple Chip Snacking Cake - this recipe was a result of having too many apples in the house, so I dug through the dessert recipes until I found one that called for apples.  In the end, it only used two, so I still have a bunch of apples!  This recipe came from Hershey's website and the date on the paper says I pulled it off in summer of 1997!  This was a tasty cake - the right combination of fruit, chocolate, and cake - and I think we'll make this again next time we have too many apples! 

Our third recipe this month is from a 2012 Cooking Light - Crisp Chicken Marinara.  It seems like we've tried quite a few recipes similar to this - breaded chicken with sauce and noodles. This one was billed as a lower calorie version of Chicken Parmesan, and it was good, but nothing to write home about.  I think we've had other breaded chicken recipes that I would put above this one, but I will hang on to this and we'll probably have it again.

The final recipe this month is from Everyday Food, and is Creamy Shells with Tuna and Spinach.  This one is billed as an update to old fashioned tuna casserole.  This one split us 50/50 - the guys liked it and the girls were lukewarm.  We all agreed that we like traditional tuna noodle casserole better, but we'll adjust the recipe a bit (less pepper, more of other spices) and try it again in the future. 
From searching the internet, I also made baked pumpkin, which I'd had about 18 years ago in Australia, and also Crash Hot Potatoes (I pulled the recipe from facebook, and it was a little different from this one, but close enough to give you the idea), which were a great way to have red skinned potatoes - they took a while, but we will definitely make these again! 
Baked pumpkin
Crash Hot Potatoes
We have one more month of our recipe challenge remaining and I have about 100 recipes left!  We'll try to get through several of them this month, but we'll have a lot left to continue experimenting with next year! 

Friday, November 28, 2014

On the Crochet Hook - Nov 28 2014

As I shared a few weeks ago, I have started to crochet, and I am having a really good time buying yarn and looking through Ravelry for patterns.  One of the early patterns I found is the crochet version of the Snowdrift cowl, and I thought it was really pretty.  When in Shipshewana for my retreat last month, I picked up some yarn to make it and I got it started (and re-started more than once) over the last few weeks.  It is an easy pattern to work on for a beginner, as it is just two stitches that you alternate, and then repeat row after row.  I have a long way to get to 60", and in the meantime, the kids have asked me to make them hats, so I will have more than one thing on the hook this time next week! 

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving - we spent a great day at my sister-in-law's farm and the kids enjoyed a donkey cart ride, skeeball with the cousins, games after dinner, and a movie and snuggle on the couch with their aunt. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Quilt #19 - Three Wonky Trees

Back when Shiisa Quilts was a brick and mortar shop in Bloomington, IN, I picked up a little fat quarter bundle that came with a pattern to make a small wall hanging.  I don't remember when I made it, but it has been a while, so it was time to get this one quilted. 

I have known for quite a while that I wanted to do some custom quilting on this one, but didn't know quite what I wanted to do until a few weeks ago, and after the last few that I have done, I was ready to get going. I put my microhandles on the machine so that it was easier to do the detail work and I pulled up my barstool to settle in for some tiny stippling. 
I used a rayon thread on this one and I was a little unsure of how that would work out, since the only other time I used rayon it shredded like crazy - so much that I decided not to use it within the first 5 minutes.  This time, it worked like a dream. I used a gold in the trees and border, and a blue in the background and I am really pleased with how it turned out. 
My only regret is that I didn't pick up any binding fabric when I got this...so I will have to dig a little to find something that complements it. Once bound, this one goes into my Christmas gift pile! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Quilts #16 and #18 - Fraternal Twin Table Runners

Back in March at my bee retreat, I whipped up a couple table runners - same pattern, but different fabrics - with Moda candy squares.  I added them to the lineup to quilt this month because I keep moving them around my sewing room - I didn't want to fold them up and put them away because then I'd have to add them to my UFO list :) 

Here's the first one - I went a little crazy on it! 
I wanted to work on doing some circle and some continuous curves (inside the squares), so I just went for it.  I saw tons of mistakes as I was quilting it, and I still see a lot of them after it is all done, but I am glad to have tried it.  I also did something different with the borders and did a different loopy design on each side. I think this quilting gives you lots to look at! 
On the second one, I was still thinking about some of the designs I had done on Loralei's quilt and I kept coming back to the back and forth, which I really liked the look of. 
I thought it would compliment the fence fabric and give it a more simple, modern feel. This was a fun one to quilt, and it is always nice to load a table runner and get it done quickly! 
I have another table runner on the frame now and I am looking forward to doing some fun quilting with it too!