Quilt Projects

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's Not Quilting But . . .

I thought I'd post about this newest project anyway.

I know I shouldn't have done it when I have so many other projects going but I just couldn't stop myself. I've been looking at this method of making a rug for a while now and finally ordered the little instruction booklet and over-sized crochet hook.

Using strips of fabric and a couple of simple crochet stitches it comes out looking like a cross between a braided rug and a rag rug.

My start of the rug is presently only 8-1/2" x 20-1/2". I'm shooting for somewhere around 24" x 36". It's fun to do but not as smooth or easy as regular crocheting that you can just kind of fly through.

This is proving to be tough stuff using fabric strips instead of yarn and Paul Bunyan's mother's crochet hook. Feels like I'm working with a telephone pole.

But I am liking the way it's looking. I'll keep you updated on my progress.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Cheer

Last year Beth over at Love Laugh Quilt was making the most darling small wall hangings. She's just chock full of innovative ideas and comes up with the best quilted pieces. I admired her little Christmas-y hangings and told her I thought they were just the most perfect, cheerful little decorations.

Well, wouldn't you know, a few days later I got a package in the mail with a couple of pieces of the panel she used of the little retro-clad children playing in the snow. She even enclosed some left over pieces of fabric she had used for the borders.

So using what Beth had sent me and augmenting with some of my Christmas fabric, I made these two festive little "pictures" of my own.

This is the smaller of the two and measures about 7" square.

This one is about 9-1/2" x 8".

I keep them hanging in my quilt studio year round and never tire of looking at them while always thinking of Beth.

When the holiday season comes, I hang one beside the front door and the other one on our bedroom door. Perhaps you might have thought of it as a small favor, Beth, but I've gotten a tremendous amount of enjoyment out of your kindness.

Sending best wishes to all of you for a wonderful Christmas spent with family and loved ones. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Revisiting Thanksgiving

This past summer my daughter took a small office in our town in which to set up her web design business. There are three or four other rental spaces in the same building and they all go off of a comfortable main lobby. She wanted to have a colorful quilted wall hanging to put on her door that opens out onto the lobby.

I've done two for her so far, the first one being this autumnal/Thanksgiving one and the second a Christmas one that she has up right now.

This is a shot of the full wall hanging which measures approximately 23" x 43". Technically, this isn't a quilted piece in that it's a pre-printed panel. (Or "cheater's cloth" as some people call it.) My daughter saw it and fell in love with it and asked if I would make it into her door hanging. Of course, I said yes even though working on a pre-printed panel isn't my favorite thing to do since the part I like best about quilting is the piecing. The pre-printed panel involved no piecing, just hand quilting. And hand quilting. And more hand quilting!

This is a close-up of some of the side detail.

The leaves on the tree were fun to do.

The center sheaf of wheat.

She wanted the hanging to say "Welcome" so I made this block with the appliqued letters and sewed it over a bottom part of the pre-printed panel. I think it worked out well. If you didn't examine it closely, you wouldn't know it wasn't an original part of the panel.

I'll post pictures of the Christmas hanging soon. Which reminds me, I'd better get started on something to put up there after the holidays! (Hmmm, I'm seeing lots of blue fabrics, I'm seeing snowflakes, I'm seeing sparkling snow drifts, I'm seeing . . . )

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hi, Remember Me?

How do I jump back into updating my quilting blog regularly when it's been an empty, lonely space for so long? When I'm still not doing nearly as much quilting as I want?

The little blurb in the right hand column of my personal blog (A Home Grown Journal) announcing that I was back in my quilt studio may have been a tad premature. (There is this thing called Christmas and the New Year that tends to throw off normal scheduling for a period each year.)

I've truly missed quilting and visiting with all of you here on my quilting blog. Not only have I not had the time to post these last several months, but time spent in my quilt studio has been limited. Very limited. One of my resolutions for the coming year is to make (and take!) time each day to do more of the things (quilting, quilting and quilting) I enjoy and that nurture my soul. It may have taken me way too long to realize it, but my daily list of Should Dos and Must Dos will never be done. Let's repeat that: It will never be done. If I'm going to have the time I want for the fun things I want to do in this life time, the time to start doing them is NOW.

Wish me luck. I know I'll need it. Change is never easy. Even a good change doesn't feel comfortable at first. I've been a Type A personality all my life and most mornings when I wake up, stupidity continues to reign supreme. I still think at the start of a new day, I can DO IT ALL. If I just work fast enough all morning, I'll have all afternoon to quilt. Except that The List is never done by afternoon time, so I ignore my need to go to my quilt studio where my creativity can thrive.

So, nuh-uh. Nope. No more. I'm going to try my durndest to make a big change. At the end of the day instead of saying, "Oooof, am I tired. I got a lot done today but I'm beat," I want to say, "Look at what I created today! What a high! I feel so energized I can't wait to get back at it tomorrow!"

If I'm not quilting, there's not much to post about on this blog. It will be after the holiday season, I'm sure, before I can implement my big change and wangle regular time in my quilt studio. But it's coming . . . as I hope regular blog posts will be also.

It's good to be back . . . even though it's just this much so far.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I'm Still Here

I'm still here, but I sure haven't had much time for quilting lately. It's been two weeks since I last posted and that almost makes me feel worse than not quilting.

If I weren't so slow moving and cranky when I don't get enough sleep, I think I'd start staying up half the night to fit all the things into a day's time that have been falling by the wayside recently.

Our early spring has allowed us to get outside to start on yard, garden, and wood work much earlier than usual. This in itself is a good thing, but at the same time I feel my winter inside has been cut short.

In the past couple of weeks, I've been sneaking in minutes of quilting time here and there to work on a set of six summer placemats.

I had originally ordered these seventeen coordinating fat quarters thinking I would make a quilted summer tablecloth with them. Lacking the time to come up with a pattern for the tablecloth, but hearing the lovely fabrics call out to me every time I passed the doorway to my quilt studio, I decided to go with the placemats which would be relatively easy and something I could work on piecemeal when I had a few spare moments.

To date I have all six constructed and quilted,

. . . the binding sewn on two,

. . . the binding cut, pieced and ready to be sewn on two more,

. . . and two that still need the binding cut, pieced and sewn on.

Then, of course, I'll have the hand sewing of the binding on the reverse sides to do.

With luck they will be done by true summer time, and I'm sure I'll enjoy using them. At least I hope they'll be done by then. Maybe I will start trying to get by on four hours sleep a night. Nah, I KNOW that won't work!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I Should be Ashamed

I should be ashamed to show you this, and I probably would if I hadn't improved . . . a lot.

This is a potholder I made a few years ago when I was trying to learn how to quilt with a meandering/stipple stitch.

Oh. My. Gosh. Have you ever seen a sorrier result, even as a first attempt?

And, of course, the flip side isn't any better!

The big question is: Why haven't I destroyed this? Burned it. Buried it in the garden. Let the dog tear it to pieces.

Well, I guess it is an excellent example of a bad job. :o)

Friday, April 9, 2010

In Honor of Spring . . .

Let's go fly a kite! Do you remember flying kites when you were little? Or with your kids?

I had a wonderful Uncle Winnie and I remember him taking me and my cousin Jeff to the city park in the town where I grew up to fly kites.

Our town had a very popular semi-pro baseball team and the stadium for their games was in the park. Uncle Win took us out into the middle of the ball field and got us set up for kite flying.

I remember two things about the adventure. Number one, trying and trying and trying to get the kite up in the air. (Actually, I think Jeff and I might have been just a wee bit too small to successfully manage the feat ourselves.) And, number two, after finally getting it up (no doubt mostly Uncle Win's doing), standing holding on to my kite string and thinking the kite waaaay up at the end of it must have been at least a mile away. If I let my imagination take me back, I can almost feel the tug of the kite string in my hands.

But back to today and the quilted wall hanging I want to share.

I'm pretty sure this was the second quilt I made for hanging in my husband's third grade class room when he was teaching. I got the pattern out of a Fons and Porter quilting magazine.

Late March and April was usually the time it went up in the classroom.

I liked to think that it would be fun for the kids to stare at and daydream of being outside in the warming, fresh air instead of inside a stuffy classroom. (Apologies to my dear husband, Mr. Teacher, who would rather the kiddies had paid close attention to his teaching!)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I Have A Problem

Spring hasn't even fully arrived here in the Northwoods and already I'm wishing for frigid, snowy days of winter when there's absolutely no work for me to do out-of-doors. Why? SO I CAN QUILT!!

The following pictures taken in my quilt room this morning could have been taken a month ago. Seriously. Nothing would look any different than it does today.

This pile of mumble-jumble just keeps growing (it's fallen over a couple of times already) as I stack more things on top. It's waiting for the Magic Organizational Fairy to come and clean and rearrange the storage areas so it all fits in. Somewhere.

These are a pair of my husband's pants that have a split seam. He goes through stages where every piece of clothing he owns seems like it needs mending and one item or another lives with my quilting projects for a period while patiently waiting to be made whole again.

I'll bet this baby quilt has been in this same position on the sewing machine partially quilted for at least four weeks.

Literally the only thing I have done in this room in what seems like FOREVER is to spend 10 or 15 stolen minutes here and there trying to finish the last blocks to complete this quilt that I think must by now be permanently adhered to my design wall . . . because it's been there so long.

Sign. Well, there are only so many hours in each day and if I'm doing one thing, I can't be doing another. (How's that for profundity?) I need to shape up and learn to enjoy and appreciate what I am doing and completely block out the plethora of other things I'm thinking about.

Anybody got an old set of horse blinders I can borrow?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Another Log Cabin Design

Somewhere around Easter each year, I put this wall hanging up. The colors are definitely those of spring and even though our spring weather here near the Canadian border won't start for at least another month, we're all so eager for the first spring flowers to add color to our drab landscape.

I cut so many 1-1/2" strips of fabric when I was making this wall hanging that I had enough left over to make a baby quilt! This always happens when I work without following a pattern. You'd think I'd learn . . . but I don't.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Stop World, I Wanna Quilt!

I have been such a bad blogger lately. I can blame it partly on our very unusually warm spring weather up here in northeastern Minnesota. Most years we'd be still at least knee-deep in snow at this time of year but because of the scant amount of snow received over winter, and early warm temperatures, the ground has been bare for weeks now and we've been deceived into thinking spring has truly arrived early.

This has all coaxed us to get outside to get a jump-start on spring chores which, of course, means piddling little time found for quilting right now. Today was the first nasty weather day (rain/snow/sleet/hail) we've had in over three weeks.

To have something to share with you today, I'll have to rely on a little table mat I made a while back when I wanted something to go with my Easter decorations.

I was also in a period when I was making full-sized quilts, baby quilts, and wall hangings using traditional Log Cabin blocks. (But when you get right down to it, does any other block say QUILTING more than the Log Cabin Block? I think not!)

This little piece is only about 12" square and made from scraps that I thought looked both spring-like and said "Easter" to me. I wish I had a bunch in various sizes just like this one to use under plants and other Easter decorations throughout the house.

Maybe someday when I'm caught up on everything else, I can make some more. (Hahahahaha!)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Featured Quilt of the Week Hiatus

Due to unavoidable diffooculties and time constraints (read: Life!), the Monday Featured Quilt of the Week post is going to be absent from this blog for a while.

But never fear! There's usually something else "quilt-ish" going on that will be worthy of filling the page.

Since our snow has all but completely disappeared and Easter will be here in three short weeks, this past weekend I decided my house decorations revolving around the theme of "Snowmen" had to go, and Easter decorations were brought out.

We aren't holding our breath until it truly comes to pass, but it sure does seem like we will have an early spring here this year. Night time temperatures have been staying way above freezing, and we've actually had several sunny days which have pushed day time temps well into the 50s . . . whoo-hoo!

So along with the rabbits and baskets filled with eggs, I brought out some wall hangings and table runners with a spring motif.

I've had this table runner for a couple of years now.

I machine pieced and hand quilted it.

It's not an original design, but rather taken from this book, "Mostly Table Runners Two" by Jane Wnuk, Linda Green, and Kathi Mundigler.

Here's what the sample looked like in the book. A pretty simple design that would lend itself to any number of fabric choices. You could make it in colors to coordinate with each season!

I don't work with floral fabric a lot but had to stick a couple of florals in my rendition of this table runner just to make it say, "Spring!"

Friday, March 12, 2010

Frustrated But Hopeful

As spring approaches, I'm beginning to feel eager to get outside to the yard and garden but also know that it will take time away from my quilting.

I know that's why I feel a bit of frustration that the events of this past week have conspired against me spending any time in my quilt studio. So tonight I decided that even though I haven't had time to quilt, I could at least pull out a spring-ish wall hanging or two to decorate the house with. (It's definitely long past time for the snowman theme to disappear!)

I made this small wall hanging (14" x 14") several years ago when my quilt group's challenge for the year was "Baskets." I named it "Basket in the Cabin" because the background is made up of four Log Cabin blocks. I've always felt a little disappointed with it 'cause I placed the appliqued basket just a smidge bit too low. Dang. How the heck could I have missed that until AFTER it was appliqued in place?

Okay, if I'm so bummed out over lack of quilting time, why don't I just go into my quilt studio tomorrow morning with my morning latte and blissfully quilt for a couple of hours? Somehow I have the feeling that my dirty kitchen floor, pan of bars needing to be baked, pantry to be sorted, bills to be paid, and weekend's food to be prepared will be patiently waiting for me when I come out. Yupper, that's a darned good idea . . . and I'm gonna do it!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Featured Quilt of the Week - "Candy Patches"

As I started constructing this baby quilt and putting completed blocks up on my design wall, the colored patches on the neutral background reminded me of the dots of colored candy we used to get on the strips of white paper when I was small. Anybody else remember those?

As usual, I tend toward an old-fashioned feel for most of my quilts and because I randomly chose both the colored squares and the neutrals from my scrap basket, I think this one looks as if it might have been made a hundred and fifty years years ago from someones carefully saved scraps.

For the backing fabric, I used a simple red dot on a white background.

There is something about polka dots, large or small, that I find so appealing. Always good in a quilt for a little one.

I used a meandering quilting design but quilted only on the neutral fabrics leaving the colored squares to stand out on their own. I didn't want any of them to slip into the background.

This quilt, along with many others, is detailed on my website. Go there and click on "Shop Now" to see all that are for sale.

Have a great week, everyone, and I hope you have time for lots of quilting!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Glory Be!

I've decided to take a short break from turning out baby quilts and work on a full-sized quilt (well, okay, a small full-sized - only 64" x 64") that I've been wanting to do for a while.

It's a pattern I got from Bonnie Blue Quilts. They specialize in reproduction inspired quilt design patterns, kits, and fabrics.

This pattern is called "Glory Bound" and this is what it looks like so far on my design wall. I've gotten all of these 8" x 8" blocks made but that's all, so far. The rows are still not sewn together.

I probably didn't tackle the cutting for this quilt in a very smart way. I cut everything for the whole quilt before starting any sewing, and believe you me, I didn't think I was EVER gonna get it all done.

Then the construction of four gazillion half-square triangles started. That actually went pretty fast (compared to the cutting anyway) because I had the Olympics to watch while chain piecing them. (Although watching anything on the little half-functioning TV in my quilt studio is not the greatest experience!)

Anyway, I'm about two-thirds of the way through the block construction which is going very smoothly so I'm hoping to have that part of the quilt done before too much longer.

Civil War reproduction fabrics (along with 30s fabrics, of course) are my favorites, and I'm really enjoying working with the gorgeous ones in this quilt.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Featured Quilt of the Week - "Quintessential Buttercups"

What fun I had making this quilt! When I started making the eight inch blocks, I didn't know how many I would make, but ended up using twenty different traditional block patterns.

Believe it or not, I actually had trouble choosing just twenty patterns out of all I wanted to make. I'm pretty sure there's another sampler quilt coming up.

I think I used ten different fabrics in varied combinations in the blocks.

But if you count, you may come up with a different number!

For the backing fabric, I spent a long time trying to decide between one of the blues used in the front or the yellow I used for the sashing and outer front border. I thought about this for days before I made the decision to use them both in a pieced backing.

I experimented with a wavy grid pattern for the quilting and am very happy with the results. This particular quilting design adds a lot of interest to the back of the quilt.

You can read more about this quilt by going to my website and clicking on "Shop Now."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rescued From The Round File

I did it. Rather than tossing this almost-wall-hanging-that-never-shaped-up into the wastebasket, I finished it.

It's now a little 15-1/2" x 19-1/2" doll blanket. And I have just the little girl in mind to give it to.

I made the backing from the bunny fabric . . . had to piece it to have enough . . . and used Thermore for batting so it would be light and easy for the sweet girl to wrap around her favorite doll.

For quilting I did straight-line stitching in the ditch. Put on a yellow binding and another UFO is finished thanks to the encouragement from my blogging quilting friends!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Featured Quilt of the Week - "Sunshine and Lilacs"

I started making this baby quilt by selecting the backing. I had intended to use yellows, purples, and oranges, drawn from the backing fabric for the piecework on the front of the quilt.

I had no trouble at all selecting yellows and purples, and I really liked the way they all looked together. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't make any auditioned oranges work. It took a while (slow learner?), but then it dawned on me that there are times when I need to be flexible enough to let go of preconceived ideas and let the fabrics speak to me. Well, okay then. I guess I don't need the oranges! The only orange color you'll see is in the few blocks of backing fabric I used on the front for continuity (and a few dots of orange in one of the lilac fabrics).

This was an enjoyable quilt to do in the wintertime. So bright and cheerful and a reminder of the colors of our coming spring.

I quilted it in an all-over meandering stitch which I think does a good job of pulling the whole quilt together.

I especially like the quilting on the back where it gives a sense of the flowers scattered helter-skelter in a rolling field.

As usual, you can get more information on this quilt by going to my website and clicking on "Shop Now."