Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Little "Season"-ing

Lest you think all I ever do is work on tiny things, I thought I would show you the progress I have made on my "It's So Vermonty" quilt. (The inspiration for this quilt and its name are explained in this post.)
Yes, this really is made from Bonnie Hunter's Crabapple pattern in her Adventures With Leaders and Enders book. I wanted it to fit my Queen size bed, but I didn't want to make more trees than originally called for (see all the ones I have yet to sew are lined up at the bottom on design boards). So I cut up some fall colored batik yardage to make setting squares. If you enlarge the photo you may be able to see that I have fussy-cut swirls that are in the batik. Haven't yet decided on what to use for the setting triangles, but I will wait until I have the trees finished before I worry about that.

I never did get the Halloween decorations out this month. I mostly use scarecrows and pumpkins (Halloween is not scary at my house), but they are still in their boxes. The only decor I managed to muster was stitched stuff--the collection of little black and orange quilts I made last year, plus the Flying Scarecrow pillow designed and stitched by the very talented  Kaaren (The Painted Quilt blog) that I won in her drawing last year. Fun bit of trivia (for me, anyway)--Kaaren and I discovered that we share the same birthday. We already knew that we share a similar taste in fabric. : )

One of my little Halloween quilts never got quilted. I had every intention of quilting it this year, but as the holiday approached and I could see it wasn't going to happen, I hung it up anyway. Maybe I should have trimmed the fraying threads first.
This quilt was based on Julie Letvin's Pool Lil' Punky Pincushion pattern. I made a bunch of those, and managed to keep one for me.
Once I had made those I felt the urge to incorporate the happy little gourd into a small quilt. I wanted to make it in Halloween colors, but use repro fabrics. This is what materialized--and maybe one day I will actually get it quilted.

This summer I saw a cute set of "wool" ornaments hanging in a LQS, but there were no patterns nearby. Upon inquiry I learned that they came as a kit, and you could not get the pattern by itself. I didn't want the kit--I have plenty of wool, and it appeared that the kit included felt, not felted wool. I decided I could live without them. Fast forward a few months and I found myself in another, more obscure, LQS. My mother had asked me to take her to try to match a fabric, that she had been unable to match in the other local shops. As she decided on a fabric, I browsed the notions and patterns. Lo, and behold, there was the ornament pattern without the kit. I nabbed it. This evening I was not in the mood to stitch, though there is plenty of stitching I should be doing, so I grabbed some wool and the pattern and started tracing and cutting. I made a good start. They aren't as dark as this photo makes them appear. Even with a flash, the colors wouldn't lighten up. I am trying to make them just a bit more primitive looking, so I am adapting some things. I probably won't get to stitch these up until December, but it was a nice diversion for me to cut them out.
BTW, the pattern, by Rachel of Greenfield, is available online here.

I'm pooped. I wasn't going to write this post in the wee hours, but when I looked at my schedule for the coming day, I thought I'd better get it done. Now I'll be a zombie all day for lack of sleep, but I guess I can get away with that on Halloween.

Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Done and Done!

I have now completed all of the challenges I plan to do as part of the SewCalGal 2013 FMQ Challenge. With the deadline less than a week away, I can breathe a sigh of relief!
I had only planned on doing one more, but you will see that I succumbed to two!

"It's All About Borders" was a challenge provided by Patsy Thompson. Her challenge in Dec. of 2012 was what I was working on last year when feathers finally started to click, so I have a soft spot in my heart for her. : )
For this challenge we were to create a quilt, table runner or wall hanging with 8-10 borders. In each border we were to quilt a different design, with at least two of them coming from Patsy's 2012 tutorial. We could design it in any way we wanted. Here is my finished piece.
Hard to see the quilting in that photo. Here are some close-ups.

The back side.
The fourth and eighth borders were from Patsy's tutorial. The third border was a variation on one of those designs. The first, second and sixth borders were made using stencils. The fifth border was based on Sarah Vedeler's Spiral tutorial in the November 2012 SewCalGal FMQ challenge. The seventh border was my take on a border design from LuAnn Kessi's sketchbook.
I had a lot of fun putting this together and choosing and quilting the border designs.

The last challenge I chose to complete was Quilted Postcards by Janet McElroy. We were to create one or more quilted postcards, with the option to participate in an organized exchange.  I dug into my batik scraps to make these four postcards, using Janet's tutorial.
This gives you a little better view of the quilting on them.

 These were fun to create, but more time consuming than would be practical any time I want to send a postcard. : )
They are all now addressed and ready to send off. Hope to get them in the mail tomorrow. I am not participating in the swap, but am sending them off to mostly unsuspecting recipients. What fun!

This is about all the quilting that has happened around here this month. Prepping for our trip to NH, taking our trip to NH and recovering from our trip to NH took a good chunk of the month. Then I spent a couple of days sick, and finally, on Tuesday I looked out my kitchen window to see my MIL lying in her driveway (she is my neighbor, across the pasture). She had tripped and fallen, breaking her upper femur and lower hip. So I have spent many hours this week at the hospital. I have been stitching on my little house blocks there. Maybe I'll share those next time.
Until then,
Janet O.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Back Home Again--So Much To Share!

Still trying to get back into routine, but thought I could share a few things with you.
The night before we flew out I had an idea and I pulled out the little "Building houses from scraps" kit. I put all of the houses out on a design board and started switching up the pieces, so they took on a scrappy look. This was the result (excuse my very thready design board).

I have not pieced by hand in years (other than hexies--and that is a whole different thing). My goodness, my skills were rusty! I couldn't even seem to stitch a straight line. When the lines are stamped on the fabric, that is pretty silly not to be able to follow them.
By the time we touched down in Manchester, NH I only had 1 house finished and another nearly done (we were up at 2:45 a.m. to catch our flight, so I dozed a lot). We were always on the go while visiting DD#1 and her DH, so I didn't pick it up again until awaiting our flight home. I got three houses finished, total. I need to unpick my first attempt. Those Y-seams stumped me at first, and house #1 is pretty wonky. It is the house in the upper right of the photo below--isn't even the same size as the others. I am really liking these little scrappy houses. Tempting to just work on them, but I am going to try and keep them as my "on the go" project, and let it get finished whenever! Thanks again to my dear friend Annie Miksch for this thoughtful gift!

Since DD#1 lives 10 minutes from Keepsake Quilting, a visit there was inevitable. Blogging friends Grace (acityquilter blog) and Vic (Park Hill Farm blog) had arranged to make the effort to meet up with us there.
Vic, me, and Grace
Tough decisions made at the cutting counter.
I had been saving my pennies for this experience. I had been warned that Keepsake did not have a large selection of CW repro fabrics, but must say I was very surprised at just how small it was. MY LQS, whose selection is not huge, carries more than Keepsake. Luckily, KQ had very different lines of fabric from what I can get at home, so I found plenty to purchase. Now, if it is batiks you are looking for, you will find a room full! That overwhelmed me. I had to walk away and think about it and return with a narrow focus of what I wanted to buy.

After that very hard work of making decisions, carrying bolts of fabric and opening the wallet, it was time for nourishment. Vic and Grace took us to a lovely establishment called The Canoe, where we dined and chatted and laughed.

The day before this grand adventure Angie and I had visited Quilted Threads in Henniker, NH. This shop was a recommendation from Mrs. Goodneedle, and it did not disappoint!

 So here is my haul. To the left is the fabric, Aurifil threads and Valdani flosses I picked up at Keepsake Quilting.
On the right is the fabric I purchased in Quilted Threads.

The Primitive Gatherings pattern was at Quilted Threads, and Patchwork Stars was in the sale bin at Keepsake.
Angie and I have been making pineapple and log cabin ornaments for my other daughter's fundraiser in November. Angie has her share all finished and I was able to provide them transportation back to Utah. Aren't they lovely? Now I need to get my share finished!
When we were at Quilted Threads Angie found some 1/4" hexie papers. Oh, my goodness, they are small. She vacillated as to whether or not to buy them, but they finally found their way home with her. The night before we left she actually started playing with them. Can you believe this? Can you even see it? I left the needle and thread in the photo so you could get the proper perspective. That is a small spool of thread.
We had a wonderful trip. There was so much to do in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. I will leave you with this shot as DH and I took a canoe ride in the canal behind our daughter and SIL's apartment. It ends up in Lake Waukewan.
Until next time,
Janet O.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Last Minute Stuff

As I approach departure for a trip my "Need to Do Before Leaving" list seems to take on a life of its own. I find myself crossing off a few less critical items just to save my sanity. I was considering doing  that to the line that reads "prepare handwork project," when this arrived from my friend, Annie M. (no blog). It was assembled specifically for plane and airport time.
How cool is this? The little kit contained everything I need to make a dozen of those cute little houses that were known as "Building Houses From Scraps" in blogland last year. It is the perfect project and such a well thought out kit. The pattern pieces are ingeniously stamped on the backs of the fabrics with a rubber stamp from the designer (which you can purchase here, just be advised that shipping to the USA will about double your outlay). The houses are all gorgeous Fall-colored repro fabrics! The kit includes the reference sheet, craft scissors--compatible with TSA rules--needles, and thread. I can just grab it and go. I am so excited and can't thank Annie enough! She did suggest taking a piece of flannel on which to lay out the pieces.
                                                      I decided, instead, to do this.
I cut up the box in which it arrived. The lid was just the right size. Then using my trusty glue gun, I covered it with some pretty repro fabric, and then glued a piece of cotton batting to one side--a mini design wall. On the right you can see the project and the container in which I take my handwork when I am on the road. My little design board fits right inside. You can also see that I got all of the house parts cut out and bagged up. I am set to go!

I am very late in the game with these, but I finally completed two doll quilts for the Get Your Mrs. Claus On project headed up by Debbie (Stitchin' Therapy blog). She has already reached her quota for this year, but I wanted to get them finished before leaving. They will be early for next year. : )

Not much else to share. I have been making more pineapple ornaments for DD#2 to sell at her fundraising booth next month and I've been sewing eye masks for cancer patients to wear during treatments, as part of a service project DS#2 was in charge of at the local university.

I will be absent from blogland for over a week, while I spend time with DD#1 and her DH, meet up with a couple of blog friends, do some sightseeing in New England, and hit a quilt shop or two. Now everyone behave while I'm gone, okay? :)

Until next time,
Janet O.

p.s. When I posted this little quilt in July someone told me the pattern, by Lisa Bongean, had been available free on the internet, but they couldn't find it anymore. I happened to stumble across it and thought I would share the link.