Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Four Seasons Doll Quilt Swap Finished

Today I finished (last minute, as usual) my little quilt for the Four Seasons Summer doll quilt swap. I was inspired by the lollipop flower quilts that Hedgehog made recently, as well as Jan Mullen's book Free & Easy Circles.

This quilt was a good learning experience for me, it is the first time I started a hand applique project and actually finished it. I do think that I have managed to get over my applique paranoia! I realize now that as long as I am not doing that fussy fiddly precision applique (like the teachers in the classes I took were always teaching), I will probably be mostly okay appliqueing. I guess if I intend to do wonky, then my oopsies won't be so bad! LOL. On top of that, I decided to do some echo quilting, which I have rarely done. I also did that flappy thing between the quilt and the border because it needed that extra yellow zing, and I didn't dare make it any bigger. Again, I was happy with the outcome of that. The quilt is about 18X20".

My quilt is ready to be mailed to its new home this afternoon. I hope that my swap partner likes this cute little quilt as much as I do.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bargello Bowl Progress

In the last week, I've even made progress on my scrappy bargello. The center is together, and there is one border on it. Not bad considering that most everyone else managed most of it in February. Thats okay, my fabric is well aged :-)

I am planning a purple border for this. It would be done, but that day I just was not able to cut a strip without a big V in it. I mean, I know how, but the fabric, rotary cutter and ruler just couldn't manage to behave. I think I actually want to do words in this border, but I have to decide what words.

Finally, a flimsy after 6 years!

Six years ago, I took a class at my LQS, taught by one of my fellow guild members. I loved her samples, and I was really enthusiastic about the class. My Mom and my aunt Mia also took the class. During the couple weeks of the class, I got almost the whole top together. I had the center of the top assembled, the fabrics picked for the two plain inner borders, and the triangles borders for the outside were pieced. All that was missing was slapping those plain borders on then adding the final triangle border. But I didn't like it very much. It just looked so ugly, nothing like the gorgeous samples.

The class ended, and the project sat in a plastic bag for SIX YEARS. Until last week.

Last week, I decided to just grab some UFO and do something to make progress. Well, this was the project that jumped out of the drawer when I opened it. Ugh, I thought. Oh well, I'll just finish it, donate it and move on with my life. Besides, there was no way those triangle borders I pieced six years ago could possibly fit correctly. I am just not that accurate. Ever.

Well, let me just tell you that within an hour, the two inner borders were on there, and I was grumbling about how the triangle borders would never work out. I started pinning the first side of the triangles on, and miraculously, IT FIT PERFECTLY. And so did the other three sides.

That ugly quilt that I disliked suddenly turned into a beautiful quilt top. I'm so surprised. I went to guild the other night and told Sharon the teacher about this, and she told me that several people had the same experience: they were not happy with the top until after all the borders were on it. Interesting, huh?

Now I just need to quilt it :-)

Fabric Marbling

I promised the information about fabric marbling with shaving cream a while ago, and here it is! This was a simple and fun project that kept Thing One and Thing Two occupied for over 3 hours one afternoon....and it was not as messy as I expected.

You need: Fabric Ink, shaving cream, squares of fabric, a squeegee, toothpicks or coffee stirrers, plastic to cover your work area, and an apron to protect your clothing.

Squirt some shaving cream on your work surface, then smooth it out with the squeegee.
Add drops of ink on top of the shaving cream. You can use as many or as few colors as you wish.
Swirl the ink around with a toothpick or coffee stirrer as desired. Thing One was making straight lines back and forth, Thing Two tended to stir around in circles. Your choice.

When you finish swirling, it looks something like this.

Now, place the fabric right side down on top of the shaving cream and ink. Pat it with your hand to make sure the fabric is touching the ink.

Remove the fabric carefully, then use the squeegee to wipe off the excess shaving cream. Wipe the squeegee with a paper towel or damp cloth between every swipe to prevent stray bits of ink from getting on the fabric.

Use your iron to heat set the ink on the fabric. Once it is heat set, it is permanent and washable. (Note: wash your hands in cold water, not hot!)

And that is all there is to it!!

Catching up

Okay, I've got myself set up here temporarily while I wait for my new keyboard.

First off, the fabulous pincushion that I got in Linda's Pincushion Swap from Nicole. So useful...I love that I can put my pins in the top and it has the handy little space inside for my threads, scissors, etc. Thanks so much Nicole! Oh, be sure to check out the adorable measuring tape case she made...follow the link to the tutorial on another blog. More stuff for my 'to do' list!

Next, I finished my July tote bag for the British Quilt List challenge. I feel like an overachiever, finishing before the last day of the month! LOL.

Computer woes

Don't panic if you are looking for those posts with pictures that I promised. My laptop is still on the blink. Apparently there is something wrong with the keyboard and we need to replace the keyboard. For now, I'm posting from a computer that has no ability to upload pictures (it doesn't have a memory card slot, and my camera doesn't have a cable). Ain't technology great?

In the meantime I'm going to be stitching as much as possible on the many projects on my to-do list. I've got at least one UFO to the flimsy stage and another one getting very very close. I'm certainly not lacking things to do while I wait for the computer to get fixed.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

And the winner is......

With the help of a random number generator, I determined the winner of my 200th post giveaway. The winner is:
Marsha! Now, Marsha is a brand new blogger. She just started a blog so that she could participate in Linda's bag swap. Nothing like a little motivation, right? So go on over and visit her blog and send her some encouraging comments. We all remember how scary it is when we first started blogging.
Marsha, I don't know what I'm sending you yet...wait about a week and you'll see what googies I have come up with for you. But take a minute to email me with your address, please!

I'll post a real post tonight, when Mom's taxi is finished with its pick ups and drop offs for the day!! I thought summer was supposed to be relaxing? Who has time for that? My kids have just as many places to be now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

200th post extravaganza

Well okay, maybe its not an extravaganza, but this is my 200th post!! I'm much slower than a lot of bloggers, it took me over 2 years to get to 200 posts, but here I am.
I've had so much fun since I've started blogging that I can't even begin to tell you all about it. But I think that any of you that have been blogging for a while know what I mean.

Okay, so I'm going to do a giveaway in celebration of my 200th post. But I don't know what the prize will be just yet. So it will be a surprise giveaway. Comment here, and take your chances. Someone will win something. Maybe MORE than one someone will win. We'll just have to wait and see!

In other news, today in the mail I received a gorgeous pincushion from Australia. It was made by Nicole. My camera is still packed in my luggage, so I don't have a picture yet. I'll do it tomorrow for sure, after I get some sleep, unpack and slog thru the piles of laundry and mail that await me. Did you notice that I managed to open the squishy package the minute I walked in the door today, but NOT the piles of bills?? LOL! Do come back to see it, it is so pretty and very clever. Never mind how envious I am of the lovely applique. Thank you so much, Nicole. More on this tomorrow...

I have also signed up for the Stitcher's Angels Swap on Helen's blog. That looks like it will be lots of fun!

If you are interested in swapping a bag, check out this new swap that Linda has just announced.

Please leave a comment, and maybe I'll pick your name as a winner in this drawing!!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Pincusion Swap

My pincushion for the swap was mailed back on Monday. I expect that the recipient will get it early next week, as it has a long journey to its new home in Australia.
I surely hope that she will like it as much as I do...I am quite pleased with the result. I found a pattern here that caught my eye, and I adapted it a bit: I used 5 1/2" squares and I left off the wrist strap, and I added embroidery from the Sublime Stitching book by Jenny Hart.
Along with the pincushion, I sent a zippered pouch to my swap partner as well. The pattern for the zippered pouch can be found here.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Lazy summer days

Thing One, Thing Two and I are enjoying a quiet week of relaxation this week. I decided that I am tired of dance classes dictating our schedule and our lives on a daily basis, so since there is no Girl Scout Camp this week, we would take off to the cabin. Of course Thing One objected: She's missing dance class two days this week. Bah. Two absences won't be the end of the world...and it is doing wonders for my sanity!

On Friday night we went to the local fireworks, the rest of the weekend we spent just relaxing and hanging out. More of the same on tap for the next several days.

Over the weekend, I finished up the pincushion that I had to mail out today for a swap. I was very tempted to keep the pincushion for myself, I liked it so much!

This afternoon, the The Things and I spent the afternoon marbling fabric squares. As I mentioned earlier, we bough a kit at the Vermont Quilt Festival, and both kids were very enthusiastic about trying this project. I figured that they would try it a bit and then wander away to do something else. Boy was I wrong about that...instead they both spent almost 3 hours playing with the shaving cream, fabric and inks. The had a blast!! In the end, they made 52 squares of marbled fabric. I think I made about 6 of those 52, they did the rest. I did take step by step pictures which I will share later, but tonight I'm just too tired to even try.
Those fabric pieces are probably going to be some sort of a quilt, pillows or something. We'll see what happens with them over the next little while.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Slow progress

I haven't exactly been sewing at full speed lately. I've been trying to relax and enjoy myself a bit lately, and family obligations and activites have been taking center stage.

I have been working on a pincushion for a swap that I am participating in on Linda's blog. The deadline is next Monday, so as usual, I am working at the last minute to complete my project. I have always been a huge procrastinator, and this swap is no exception. You'll have to wait until it is finished to see a picture!

Last weekend I also finished a couple more blocks of the Teddy Bear stitchery quilt. I've got 4 totally complete, but I didn't get pictures of them yet. I'll share those next time, hopefully (and probably more than those!).

My studio is desperately in need of some organization and decluttering. I'm on my way down there now as soon as this post is finished. Unless I decide to just go to bed and deal with it another night!

I've also been driving my bulldozer thru Thing Ones bedroom in an attempt to keep the Health Department at bay (an exaggeration, but it was a HUGE mess) took me two full days to sort thru all of her junk and organize it all. At least now we can see the floor, there is room in the drawers for the clothes, and I know that there are no things growing under the bed.

As to those stitchery patterns that I bought at the quilt show last weekend, I'll share them now. I've had a hard time buying cute stitchery patterns around here, but I found some at the show. I've since checked out the websites of both these companies, and I'm sure that I won't be lacking in stitchery patterns any more!! Both companies have many great patterns. They are Bareroots and Crabapple Hill Here are the patterns I purchased.

Vermont Quilt Festival

Last weekend, Thing One and I spent a day at the fabulous Vermont Quilt Festival. We had a great time and enjoyed seeing all the quilts and shopping. I was, in fact, quite well behaved this year. My only purchases were 4 stitchery patterns, a huge (12000 yard) spool of thread for piecing, and this kit of inks and doodads for making marbled fabric with shaving cream. Think One watched Brian do a demo of this technique and she was enthralled. Once we talked to him about it, she was so excited about making marbled fabric that I couldn't resist buying the kit. So next week, while we are at the cabin my kids are going to make marbled fabric.

While we were walking around the show, we were surprised to see a whole section of quilts were being 'rehung' according to the volunteer. I later heard that someone apparently bumped into one of the poles holding the racks and the whole row toppled over...that is such a scary thought...I just hope that no one was hurt.

I'm going to show you some quilts from the show, but I'm probably NOT going to show the top prize winners because I've seen tons of pictures of those all over the place. Instead I'm going to show you some of the quilts that really caught my eye.
I'm also mentioning the quiltmakers name and the quilts name as well as the fact that I saw them at the VERMONT QUILT FESTIVAL, accordance with the program book guidelines for posting photos on a personal website (nice to see that spelled out, BTW, I've wondered if putting photos on my blog was legit or not)

This year, the collection of antique quilts on display was focused on 1930s quilts. There were lots of very pretty ones, and many great examples of how different the same design looks when colored or set in a different way. One of my very favorite quilts in this display was this one, Postage Stamp, owned by Debra Grana. This has more than 8000 3/4" squares and was probably made in Pennsylvania. I love the way the quilter used the black squares in this quilt.

This one also caught my eye and made me stand there looking at it for quite a while.
I don't have good notes on this one, but looking at the book, I think this is the quilt labeled as A49 in the show book, Philadelphia Pavements. I surely would love to have this quilt here at my house.

I love when I see a quilt in a traditional pattern that is set in a different way than you normally see. That was the case with this Tumbling Blocks Quilt (no information given in the book beyond the label of A 28, Tumbling Blocks.

I liked this quilt, The Geese of Sturbridge Village by Ellinor Allen because the quilting was pretty neat. And those reproduction fabrics are yummy, too!

I do think I need to go and buy this pattern. I wonder if I'd have the patience to actually complete this?? The quilt is Blueberry Pie by Betty Kisliner, and the pattern is Sampler Magic by Lori Smith. So pretty.

I came around a corner and saw this quilt, and said to Thing One "Hey, That's a Carolina Crossroads Quilt from Bonnie!" Quick check in the book, and I was right!
Mystery Leftovers by Kerry Mero.

This is one of my 'someday' quilts. Sliced and Diced, by Jim Brown. The pattern is Trail Mix by Mabeth Oxenreider.
Same design, totally different look. College Bound, by Avis Hayden.

Hmm...I have a quilt in this design cut out in one of my bins in Christmas fabrics. I wonder if I'l get to it this year? LOL. This is Stars and Scraps by Marlene Bottesi. If I remember correctly, the pattern in the magazine was called Morning Star?