Thursday, March 18, 2010

Instant retirement!

One of my finished quilt tops for 2010. This was a Block of the Month kit from our now departed, "Sew Creative" quilt shop. I always like to make some changes to make my efforts just a bit different from others participating in the same BOM. For this one, I purchased a couple scrap bags of the fabrics, and made many different tea-cups in the borders, changed three of the fabrics in the four pieced tea pots, and used piping to frame the blocks, instead of a mini-border. The pattern was Sweet Tea by Quakertown Quilts (I think!)

This was a BOM purchased on sale; the pattern is Lori Smith's Ode to the 30's. I highly recommend the BOM's offered by Stitchin' Heaven in Quitman, Texas. Each block kit came packaged with a fabric swatch detail, noting the block piece to which it was assigned. That made it nearly impossible to make a mistake. Also, the pieces were generously cut. Since I'm somewhat of a scrap nut, I kept all the scraps, and if a fabric appeared for the second time, I tried to cut as much as possible from the left-overs. That left me with some nice large scraps for future projects!

This one is Old Tobacco Road, and it is large, as the photo shows. This was completely made from scraps, and is a Bonnie Hunter design. I love it! Her designs always start with small components, but she launches each project with simple blocks, and before you know it, those little pieces have turned into a giant gem! This was my second mystery of Bonnie's designs, but there will be more. I've got Double Delight in progress, and just need to make about 9000 three-inch nine-patches to finish it!

Finally, my most favorite BOM, also started from the shop, Sew Creative. This was Santa's of the World, and included a pieced block as well as an applique block each month. Once again, wanting to put my stamp on it, I made the choice to change some of the mini-blocks to a red pieced frame around some component in the applique blocks. In the center, you can almost see the gold jug, and a little wagon block. Others included a doll, a doll house, a rocking horse, a star, horns, a heart, an evergreen tree, and candles.

To put my own mark on the individual Santa blocks, I embroidered the country of origin and the name of the Santa. The kits included one white fabric to be used for all the pieces of the beard. I found a panel to make a stuffed lamb, and used it to cut the largest pieces , which gave more depth to the beard.

My final alteration was to add the topper, "Here Comes Santa Claus!" For this, I used some software (Printmaster Platinum) to create a banner in the appropriate size, and interesting shape. I marked the letters on red fabric, and appliqued the peppermint stripe letters to it. Then, I trimmed them to leave about an 1/8th of an inch around each letter, and appliqued the doubled letters to the background. It makes it appear to be satin stitched in place, but it is all hand-applique. I think I like this addition best of all! It gave the added advantage of adding some length to a square quilt. Finally, I finished it all off with a piano key border of many of the fabrics used in the top itself.
I finally rounded up the hardware to my quilt frame, . . . put it where it was safe, and it was so safe, I couldn't find it! The frame is up in our den, where I can easily see the television . . . if I want to. I have a quilt nearly finished in the frame, and I'm focusing on finishing it, soon.

Just three days after my last post, my boss called me in to terminate my job. I think I'm mostly over the shock now . . . and beginning to enjoy not hearing the clock radio click on in the morning when I'm warm and cozy in my bed. I should give kudos to General Electric. My mother bought my radio for my 11th birthday, when I was just starting in junior high. It has awakened me for the last 52 years. They just don't build them like that any more! Now it is in semi-retirment, at least. I'll probably have to use it occassionally, but not every day!
So, I'm all set . . . if there is a cotton or wool yarn shortage in our future, I have a very good stash to protect my interests. Since my last day at work, I have been knitting socks (pix next time). Yesterday, I decided that I would begin knitting mittens for Christmas, and I found some lovely patterns on-line. The first pair, called "Cabobble Mittens" are on the needles, and the cuff is nearly finished, using some yarn I hand-dyed. If I can make a pair every two or three weeks, I'll have a nice selection to share at Christmas.
Watch for more pictures and projects here!