Friday, January 16, 2009

Still rotary rolling along!

Still have "cutting fever", so I'm taking advantage. I've been cutting triangles to get my pinwheels finished for Bonnie Hunter's Old Tobacco Roads, her September 2008 mystery. All the bricks are cut, as well as the corner pieces. I might even think about cutting the flying geese for the borders.

Sindy Rodenmayer at Fat Cat Patterns has been posting both Bear Paw Sampler Blocks and a Pinwheel Sampler. Last trip to see the grandkids, I took a couple fabric selections to make quilt blocks with the eldest kids. They are just too busy, but at least they picked out their favorites. Last night, checked through the journals I created for those patterns. The pieces are fairly large, so I'm already thinking about putting those fabrics in the path of my cutter, while it's hot! It's nice to have many choices to sew for those days when one's brain wants to shut down, but sewing is appealing in a mindless way.

As I get some of these projects closer to completion, its good to downsize the container in which the project has been stored. Santa's of the World had a really big tote, since it contained extra fat quarters in anticipation of making borders. Since all the borders are now cut and ready to assemble, that container is down to only being about one-third full. Thinking about going to Miss Mary's, it seems like a good idea to combine several projects into one tote, thereby eliminating trips to the car to haul in stuff . . . being -19 outside, I find my mind is working harder on eliminating trips outside! Targetting to have two totes for projects, my Featherweight, and applique kit seems like a really good plan. Then, I only have to worry about clothes, and my food assignments!

About a year ago, I fell in love with a Christmas quilt by Lynette Anderson, called, "Friends for Christmas". The quilt has penguins portraying the three kings, a snowman, and whimsical reindeer. I had to have the book, and it should have drool marks on the pages. Yesterday, I got a sneak preview offer from Homespun Hearth for a kit to make the quilt, since I previously purchase the book from them. They didn't even have to threaten me with any kind of weapon . . . I jumped right on that bandwagon. One can never have too many Christmas quilts, to my way of thinking.

OOOOOH! That reminds me . . . I have a self-assembled kit for an Anita Shackelford Christmas quilt that appeared in Fons and Porters Love of Quilting. As soon as I finish the Santa's, and another Christmas quilt in progress, I'll have to decide what to start on next! Reminds me of a new acronym I learned today from a quilting chat . . . SABLE . . . Sewing projects above and beyond life expectancy!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

1320 feet or 1/4 mile, and counting . . .

Just an approximation of the distance I have cut with my rotary cutter in the last few days. Saturday morning, I awoke to a nice glaze of ice on everything. DH had been out to breakfast and back, and said there wasn't any reason to leave the house again. I said I needed to get my shower and get dressed, and he said I might as well stay in my robe and pj's all day, and be warm and comfy!

I cleaned up my Featherweight in anticipation of going to Miss Mary's Quilt Cottage on the 22nd. Not wanting to start another mystery before finishing Bonnie Hunter's Old Tobacco Roads, I have been saving the clues for Double Delight for a later date. Well, I peeked at the quilt in one of the later clues, and it was like an arrow right through my heart! I decided I could go through my pink scrap drawer and pull out fabrics to put into a container to save for it. I have a tote full of swatches from Mr. B's Fabric Club, and lately, I have been good about pulling things from that stash for these scrappy quilts. With those two sources lined up, it wasn't too far a jump to cut some to size, just in the interest of keeping the proposed quilt kit neat and tidy. Then, I found out there was a Monk marathon on television all day . . . perfect . . . I'll just cut until I get tired of cutting, or watching Monk, whichever comes first. Pretty soon, it was time to go to the blue scraps to select what was needed for eighty 3 1/2-inch squares. Put those in a little sandwich bag, and cut more pinks and neutrals. Then, I located some yardage, and four fat-quarters, to cut setting triangles. Had another actual quarter yard to cut setting corners. Might as well find a brown and cheddar. Found a perfect brown and cut it up . . . then, realized it was a bit smaller than needed, so I found a compatible brown to finish out. Had a perfect cheddar . . . but not enough . . . rounded up a light old gold, and cut what was needed from it. Now, I have a complete Double Delight kit to take to Miss Mary's . . . and my rotary cutter was just warmed up, and there were about 8 episodes of Monk to go.

What shall I cut next? I've been diligently working on the embroidery of my Santa's Around the World, so I could cut the piano key border, which would permit removing extra fabrics from the tote that one has been stored in, and have it ready to assemble, too. First, calculate size . . . then go through the scraps to cut as many "keys" as possible from scraps. That gave me about 40, and I needed 84 . . . on to the fat quarter stash put aside for this quilt, and cut the "keys" needed. That one is ready to go.

My Millennium quilt needs sashes and cornerstones . . . and star points, since it is getting a star and sash setting. Have about a dozen blocks sashed . . . so, cut prisms until the main setting fabric is used up. Will have to fill in with a couple of other Millennium prints to finish those out. Cut lots of half-square triangles for the star-cornerstones, and squares for the center of the stars. Also ready to go.

Get ready for bed, and think about work the next day . . . how dreary . . . think about my quilts some more. What else could I get ready?

Morning comes, and driving to work, re-think the Christmas quilt . . . it's going to be nearly square, and I'd like it to have some added length. How about a title . . . "Here comes Santa Claus" . . . now, I'll be singing that all day! A nine-inch border with words . . . won't Laura be proud of me . . . lunch hour, I cut two strips to make that border . . . can't decide if it should be on top or at the bottom of the blocks, but it needs to be inside the piano key border . . . cut six more piano keys. Went to the computer and did a banner in Printmaster of a swooping "Here comes Santa Claus". Started marking letter templates, and cutting some of them out while preparing dinner. Went through the fabrics again, and picked a red and a "peppermint" stripe for the lettering.

When dinner was over, and dishes were done, back to my post in front of the television to think about what else might be nearly ready. Really need to finish my perfume bottle quilt for my cousin, Diane. Have about 40 blocks set in attic windows, and another 80 blocks needed to be set. I'm using a black with gold confetti, and a gilded window-pane print from Michael Miller. Cut lots of strips, and using the large EZ Angle, cut all the attic window pieces to complete the remaining blocks. That will be ready to set together at Miss Mary's.

Already packed for assembly are two other projects. One is Somewhere in Time, a BOM from Block Central last year . . . all pieces are cut and ready to assemble. Also, have all blocks and pieces ready to assemble a Paducah Booth Hop from a couple years ago.

Still feel like cutting . . . need to start on my Farmer's Market, since it will be a BOM at Guild. Brought that tote upstairs . . . templates are all made, fabrics selected for the first block. Ready to cut the background, and launch the applique.

Cutting urge waning, but I can cut more pieces for my Old Tobacco Roads mystery, and get it out of the way. Have the four-patches all done, but need to make more pinwheels, and can cut the bricks needed. Might as well get that one ready to go.

Need to check on my Sweet Tea quilt. Started putting borders on blocks, and that could go along to be finished. Not much cutting to do there.

Wonder how much it will cost to rent a POD to have all this stuff delivered to Miss Mary's?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Santas almost ready to assemble!

On August 15, 2005, I went to a now-closed quilt shop's Monday Madness, to begin collecting blocks for quilt designed by Quakertown Quilts' Susan Garman called, Classic Santas. Once a month, I dutifully attended to collect the kit for a "free" pieced block, and the applique Santa block to which I had subscribed. The concept was that the first pieced block was purchased for $5, and subsequent block kits were free, if one attended the meeting, with the previous month's block completed. I kept up with the pieced blocks, until the last meeting, when I was visiting grandkids. One of my friends kindly purchased the last block for me, so, my pieced blocks cost a grand total of $10. Each month, I also acquired fat quarters or half-yards of some of the other fabrics included in the kits, looking forward to being prepared to make the border. The original design included six-inch duplicate blocks of the 12-inch finished blocks, to be used as spacers. After making about four of them, I decided to continue with the pieced frame, but use some design elements from the applique blocks. Yesterday, on my lunch hour, I stitched down the last berry on a mini-block featuring three candles, with holly leaves and berries. Now, I'm attending to the embroidery embellishments, such as eyes for the Santas.

In two weeks, our little group will be going to Miss Mary's Quilting Cottage for three days of non-stop sewing, and nearly non-stop laughing. I'm in hopes of having all the embroidery embellishments done by then, so that I can assemble the quilt top. I've got a few extra embellishments up my sleeve, intended to personalize this quilt a bit more from the others made on the same program.

My DSIL will be arriving from Texas to play with us, too. It's such a joy to have her here, and I feel so fortunate that we are so close in hearts, since the geographic distance is large. We've been amused in recent years at how many people ask, or assume that we are biological sisters. Some say that couples start to look alike after living together for years . . . but who would think that the wives would begin to look alike after being married to brothers for years! Some of the gals from Guild, who see Jan at our fall Retreat, ask how my sister is, and knowing they mean Jan, I always say just fine. As to resemblance, at this point in time, we both have salt and pepper hair, wear glasses, and enjoy the same activities.

When I return from the mini-retreat, I should be receiving some blocks from a Quiltville Swap exchange of Bonnie Hunter's Boxy Stars. I have about twenty additional block units made, so I'll have another quilt top to put together. I can't believe how many wonderful people I have met on-line through some quilting groups. It's just too much fun.

So, from this vantage point, 2009 is going to be a productive one in terms of finished quilt tops!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

New Year . . . New Ideas Whirring!

The Old Tippecanoe Quilt Guild Scrap Bag Challenge was revealed at the December Christmas Party. That's my friend, Viki, surveying some of the 17 candidates. The weather was terrible that night, and kept only those who were not just dying of curiosity to see the results from coming. We'll have another display later in the year when weather is more cooperative.

Here's my entry. It turned out very nicely, if I do say do myself. The rules indicated that up to 20 pieces of scraps no smaller than 4-inches square were to be placed in a bag. There wasn't to be any deliberate color coordination. I received Cheryl's scraps which included some dress-making scraps, some brights, and even a piece of decorator fabric. I think I used thirteen or fourteen pieces, adding only the light gray background. Mine was one of only two that were hand-quilted. Sort of got my inspiration going in that direction, too, so I've resolved to finish a quilt that has been on my frame for entirely too long, as well as one I removed from my hoop to quilt the challenge piece.

This is Marguerite displaying her entry which was voted favorite quilt. It was called "Galaxy Diner", and featured conversational prints of Coca-Cola products and space novelty prints. It was adorable, and, as usual, the machine quilting is fabulous. That's just Marguerite's usual manner of working. In other words, Perfect!

This is an aging applique project that I have decided needs to be completed in 2009. The blocks were made in a scrap quilt class called "Scrap Soup". After assembly, it seemed to call for some applique in the borders, which is an adaptation of a Pat Andreatta pattern called, "Serenade". I decided to call this quilt, "Serendipity". I probably put it away because I got tired of all the little curlicue vines and the quarter-inch circle berries. Only one corner and one border remain to be finished, so it's first on my list.
In about 2 1/2 weeks, our group is making our little trek to Miss Mary's Quilting Cottage for 2009. I have two quilt tops ready to assemble and border; one is the Somewhere in Time BOM that was featured in 2008 on Block Central. The other is blocks from Paducah Booth Hop which featured a fabric line by Judy Martin. I found a medallion applique that is rather whimsical and well suited to the fabrics, making it a center block, to be surrounded by the hop blocks. The border will be a scrappy one, including all the fabrics in that colorway of the fabric line.
I'm also hoping to have my Santas of the World ready to assemble. All the Santas are appliqued, all the large pieced blocks are complete, and there were to be in the original design by Sue Garman, fourteen 6-inch pieced blocks to match the large ones. I made about four of them, and then got the inspiration to use the red piecing around the edge of the small blocks, and feature some applique element from the Santa blocks in the center. The elements I chose are a little wagon, a rocking horse, a pitcher, a couple of horns, a star, and a doll house. Have all the red pieced portions cut, and just need to applique three more mini-blocks. On each of the Santa blocks, I began to embroider their country of origin, name in that country, and English translation. So, I have a little embroidery to do, too.
This morning as I was whizzing the one-inch half-square triangles through my Featherweight, I thought about another of my "PITS" . . . project in tote storage . . . some gingerbread men and a gingerbread house. My friend, Laura, has us all thinking of placing lettering on our quilts in some fashion or another. Those whirring wheels in the back of my head suddenly spit out, "Welcome to Ginger City, a Gingerbread Village". So, whirring onward, I imagined the letters being gingerbread, too, with rick-rack trimming. Steaming along behind that image in my brain was a gingerbread steam engine, with "Ginger City Railway Company" down the side. I had to jump up and run to the basement to get that tote, and make note in my journal. Can you guess what Christmas quilt will be next on the agenda?
I'm collecting the clues for Bonnie Hunter's newest mystery, Double Delight. She said she would be posting clues sporadically, which I decided might give me a couple weeks between clues. Fooled me . . . last I looked, there were three clues up already. And, I'm still working on the last one, Old Tobacco Road. Have the four-patches done, and have begun assembling the pinwheel blocks . . . decided to think only in terms of 96 pinwheels . . . instead of 388 half square triangles!

I think I hear my Featherweight calling me to join more fabric pieces together. Need to bless that little beauty with a good cleaning, oiling, and a new needle. Also, need to do the same for DSIL's beige Featherweight which lives at my house for her periodic visits from Texas. Actually, it's jointly owned by us, so she always has one to use, and that way I get to keep it . . . otherwise it would have been looking for a new home! DH thinks 8 sewing machines ought to be enough to keep me going!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Will this one work, Paulette?

I promise to post this evening and include lots of pictures, but for the moment, this is a message to Paulette. An errand of mercy, one might say, to help her find a necessary fabric! My e-mail is not cooperating right now, so this provided an alternative! Wow! Picture is better than I thought it might be!