Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween - Day of the walking dead...

Day of the walking dead. That description hits close to home right now. My husband and I have spent this entire month feeling like the walking dead. I'm still trying to overcome the bronchitis I got after the laryngitis went away, and my husband was just diagnosed with walking pneumonia. Ugh. We're both waiting for our antibiotic prescriptions to kick in. Needless to say, I've done no sewing lately.

I did, however, find enough energy last weekend to finish my Christmas quilt top. It's currently at Mom's, waiting to be quilted. Then I'll have a second project staring accusingly at me, waiting for me to bind and label it.

I was not sure how well I'd like my Christmas quilt after I got it started, but after I found the right border fabric for it (Thank you, Sager Creek!), I've decided that I really love it after all. Amazing, isn't it, how every quilt seems to go through an ugly teenage phase where we quilt parents are never sure if we've raised the poor things right and if they'll ever find someone to love them? And then they grow out of their quilt acne into beautiful, friendly, and (more importantly), lovable quilts. How relieving. ; ) Anyway, here are a couple of photos that I took as I was attempting to finish the quilt.

Below is a photo taken when I was trying to iron the completed quilt top. It doesn't look all that great when you just see the middle - you have to see the completed quilt with its borders on to lessen the busy look of the fabrics. By the way, the lump in the middle? That lump is the reason I had to stop ironing.

Tadaa! If you could see under the quilt in the photo above, this is what you would see.

No, I did not put the quilt on top of Sinbad then try to iron him. : ) I was ironing first, and he snuck under the top all on his own. I went from a nice, flat ironing surface to a bulging, moving surface. When that cat wants warmth, he wants warmth!

I don't have a photo yet of the entire quilt - I'm waiting until the quilting is done before I take a completed picture; however, here is a sneak peek at one of the corners. Now, how old-fashioned is that fabric? Isn't it wonderful? Since the 12" blocks are old-fashioned scenes on a cream background, I needed a quiet, old-fashioned border to calm the quilt down and pull everything together. Tune in later to see photos of the finished project after it's quilted. 

Hopefully, I'll be feeling better soon and can post more often again. I really need to get back to sewing! So MANY projects! In the meantime, here's my gratuitous kitty photo.

Sinbad says Boo! And have a great and safe Halloween! Meow!

Until later,

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Christmas throw progress...

I've finished the main portion of my first Christmas quilt. I've been gamely building 2-square segments into 36-square blocks all week, and I've finally finished enough for my first quilt.

As a general rule, I don't buy charm packs or other precuts. I prefer to cut my own fabrics both because I enjoy that aspect of quilting and because I'm more accurate than large factory cutters - and I value accuracy. However, I occasionally find myself in possession of precuts because of give-a-ways, gifts, or door prizes. That was the case with three 5" charm packs of old-fashioned Christmas fabrics. I decided to use these all in their own quilt. Since I didn't have quite enough, I threw in some of my more modern prints, but I tried to keep it as old-fashioned as possible.

I then pulled out this rather sweet piece of yardage and decided that it was just the right mood for the alternating 12" squares to go with my 36-patches.

Once I started sewing the blocks together, I decided that I rather liked the quilt, despite the rather busy look of it.


I'm trying to decide whether I need to finish the quilt off with a two or three inch border of Christmas print that I stole borrowed my mother generously agreed to donate to the cause or to finish it as it is. I may sit on the decision until I make the next quilt. The next one will be the same pattern but with more modern, flashy Christmas prints (read that as lots of sparkly silver and gold!). I figure that I've had all of these fabrics for years and have never touched any of them, so I might as well sew them all up at once in this really simple pattern.

Well, lots more cutting to do before I get the next top finished, but I'll let you see it as soon as I have some progress. I'm trying to decide whether to use one fabric for the 12" blocks or to mix fabrics. I'll have to experiment. Maybe rows of red fabrics, then green fabrics, then blue fabrics, etc.? Play time it is...

More later...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yet another new project - my first Chirstmas quilt!

Yes, yes, I know. Why on Earth am I starting yet another new project when I am so far behind on dozens of others? Well, we had our bi-monthly Stashbuster's meeting at Sager Creek Quilts last Thursday, and we received our new, free Stashbuster's quilt pattern. I haven't made the last few patterns (some I was too busy to start and others I just didn't like), so I decided that I needed to join in on the fun again and do another quick quilt. This month we got an extra easy quilt pattern. It is just a 36-patch alternated with a 12 1/2" square. Nothing could be easier!

Since I have tons of Christmas fabric and have never used any of it, I decided that now is the time. You can see some of the 12 1/2" squares I'm going to use with the 36 patches in progress in the following picture.

I want to show you a really neat way to make multiple square patches without having to cut each individual square itself. I learned this method from Dava (I don't remember her last name), who taught a class at my guild several years ago. I love the simplicity of it. So here goes:

If you need 2" finished squares (which this pattern calls for), you will need 2 1/2" unfinished squares to start with. Cut 5" blocks from each of your fabrics. I've started with a fat quarter below.

I've paired the 5" square from my first fabric with a 5" square of red fabric and sewn a quarter inch seam on two opposite sides.

Here is the flip side of that same 5" pairing. Again, you can see the opposing seams.

Now cut down the middle of the squares at the 2 1/2" mark. This gives you two pieces 2 1/2" x 5".

Turn the square and cut down the middle at 2 1/2" again. I've separated two of the four pieces so that you can see how this works. I actually have all four pieces cut in this photo.

Here are all four pieces separated. Now to see your pairs of sewn fabric...

Open the sewn pairings and iron towards the darker fabric. If you are making four-patches, you now have the pieces for two matching four patches. Just turn the bottom two pieces around and sew them back together with their counterparts. You will then have red/green on the top sewn to green/red on the bottom. Perfect four-patches!

Since I want a mix of fabrics for a scrappy look, I am sewing lots of five inch squares together and cutting them into two-patches. I am then sewing the two-patches together in sets of three to make 36-patches (three sets of two-patches by three sets of two-patches equals six by six, or 36 squares). Maybe it's not loads quicker, but I like this method. : )

I'll show you more photos as the blocks begin to come together. I have so much Christmas fabric, and this is such a quick quilt, that I may have to make multiple quilts! They'll be scattered everywhere!

And finally, my gratuitous kitty photo. This time I happened upon Tessie (the broken tabby) and Maxie (the tuxedo) curled up together in a very loving pose. These two have never shown much fondness for each other in the past, but as the weather is getting colder, they've decided to put aside their differences in favor of a warm cuddle partner. Oh, if it were only that easy with people...

Until later,

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Who knew that losing one's voice could be accompanied by a loss of interest in talking with one's fingers as well? I was in the middle of a class lecture last Monday when my voice suddenly started to fail. I think it was caused by allergies, but I've heard that there's something going around that seems to be causing this in a lot of people. Anyway, I've been fairly silent until the last couple of days. I missed Tuesday through Friday of last week. I've rasped my way through this week so far. I'm hoping to get back to normal by next week. I think I will have to stay quiet this weekend, though, if I want that to happen.

The good news is that I managed to get a lot of sewing done while I was out. I couldn't move a lot without coughing, so I restricted myself to working on my owl quilt.

As you can see, poor Swirly Belly's left eye went on crooked, so I actually removed it and resewed it straighter. This is a photo before the repair. I haven't taken a "fixed" photo yet.

I also had to tear out the eggs from little Mama Owl's nest and redo them. They were very lumpy looking in my first attempt. This is a photo of the repaired owl. A little better anyway.

And following are the reasons for my allergy attack. We have been enjoying some much needed rain after this summer's drought. Unfortunately, blooming flowers bring pollen, even in the fall. Aren't they lovely, though?

We're expecting a major winter storm to hit this evening, and the temperature is supposed to drop from 81 to 49. Ugh! There go all of my lovely flowers! Our lows are supposed to hit the lower 30's, so my flowers are going to be frosted. I'll have to take in all of my indoor flowers that I still have outside.

And finally, my gratuitous kitty photo of Sinbad praying for a warm bed to sleep in when this cold weather hits. Isn't he a sweetheart? Don't worry, Sinbad. You can come cuddle with me.

Until later,