Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Pineapple Quilt

 Have you ever fallen so much in love with making a pattern that you just couldn't stop? Earlier this year I took a class on making pineapple blocks using a wonderful new ruler that makes them easy peasy. In fact, they are so easy and fun to make that I actually ended up making 80 blocks. Yep, 80! Without borders, my quilt measured 80 x 100. I don't even own a king sized bed!
Of course, the quilt needed borders desperately. I had pulled all of the colors from a wonderfully colorful border print that I already had, but I had lots of choices on an inside border. Here are a few that I check out.

Each color completely changed the look of the entire quilt. So I called in a couple of consultants, Sinbad and Spook. They were charged with selecting the perfect color to complement both the blocks and the border.

 So they looked at it from one perspective...

and another...

and finally chose the green. The quilt is at Mom's right now waiting to be quilted. I'll take some pictures when I get it back.
In the meantime, I have a very ugly quilt to play with over the summer. I have LOTS of African fabric scraps (I LOVE African fabrics!), so I decided to throw them all into a pineapple quilt of their own. I have two different background fabrics - the sandy looking fabric in the blocks in the top left and bottom right and the blue/purple/black fabric top right and bottom left. I'm going to alternate them. Isn't it wonderfully hideous? I'm loving it already! African fabrics come in such a wide variety of colors and color combinations that it was impossible to find a workable background. I wanted black, but too many of the fabrics themselves had black backgrounds. The same for white. So I'm going with clashy-clashy. We'll see how it turns out.

We'll just leave Spook contemplating his next fabric choices. He hates it when the floor is bare of quilts, so I had to give him a lone block to sit on. Silly cat.
See you later,

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy Spring!

Well, spring is officially here, although you can't tell it yet by the temperatures **shiver**. We're in for below normal temps for our retreat next week. Yuck! Oh well, we are making quilts, aren't we? We'll just huddle under our creations. I hope to have some photos of THAT in the next post. :P In the meantime, here's an appropriate "huddle" photo for inspiration - Tessie making good use of my batting a few years back.

I've been seeing a lot of these little critters around my yard lately, although the grass underneath them isn't nearly this green yet.


I can't wait until my guild's namesake - the dogwoods - start blooming! I do love those white and pink trees. Mom has a beautiful specimen in her front yard.

Sigh. Come on warm weather!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Retreat projects

With retreat coming up next week, I've been trying to decide which of my MANY UFOs to take with me to work on. So far I've selected three.
I'm working on the last three applique blocks for this BOM from Sager Creek. I've been sidetracked lately by the pineapple quilt blocks that I've been making, but I really would like to get this project finished. Once I finish the applique blocks, I only need to sew up the borders, then I'll have the quilt top finished. So this is the first project.


My second choice is the pineapple quilt itself. I really LOVE making these blocks. With the trim tool, the block is super easy and fun to make. I have 38 finished so far, but I haven't sewn any together yet. I'm holding myself back. I know that once I sew together the first two blocks, I won't stop until I have all of the finished blocks sewn together. And then I run the risk of getting bored. So, I'll just keep making blocks!

My third project choice is my chocolate quilt. I have actually gotten quite a bit done on this quilt recently, but I got sidetracked by the applique quilt (see Project 1 above). So many sidetracks that I think I've lost track of the main rail. So what's that bright light at the end of this current tunnel? the sun or the train?
Of course, we're still a week away, so I have plenty of time to add three (or a dozen) more projects to my list. I wonder how far I'll get on any of them?
Almost time to head home. I picked up my lunch bag this morning, but put it back down in order to carry out the trash. When I came back, I forgot to grab my lunch when I went out the door to head to work. So what does that mean? Well, I image that Maxie got into the Styrofoam carrier of rice and that I will find rice and white Styrofoam bits scattered from here all the way over to there. Sinbad undoubtedly found the banana nut bread that I've been saving. He's nuts for bread (hee, hee), so that will be scattered in little bits alongside of the rice. The avocado should be safe. The strawberries are in danger of being licked, and I'm sure the heavy cream has met its doom. Sinbad and Spook can't resist cream. Time to draw a deep breath and face the music. Or the broom and dustpan. Wish me luck.
Until later,

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pineapple Trim Tool

What a tremendously fun day I had Saturday at Sager Creek Quilts and Yarnworks in Siloam Springs! Thank you again, Pam and Cliff Goggins.
As a full-time teacher, I don't get to take very many quilt classes - maybe one or two a year. I'm only available on Saturdays, and I like to spend those with my husband. So when this Saturday Pineapple Block class came along using a new easy-to-use Pineapple Trim Tool by Creative Grids, I had to think long and hard about it. Hmmm, do I want to give up one of my precious Saturdays for a quilting class? Who am I kidding? Yes!!! Get outta my way!
As it turns out, I am so happy I took this class. This block is traditionally pieced using paper piecing, but I refuse to paper piece (blah!), but this version does away with the paper and just uses a trimming ruler. The block looks like this (the blue blocks - ignore the quilt top backdrop). These gorgeous blue and cream blocks were made by a very good friend of mine. Aren't they great?
Well, here is how my project has progressed. Last week I showed you the sorting and selecting portion of the project - supurrvised by my able assistant Callie.

After I selected my border fabric (the fabric at the top of the photo below), I pulled the appropriate fabrics out from under my napping fabric guard and began to cut. I cut many strips at 1 5/8" and some at 2 1/2' (for the corners). I still didn't have the light background fabric that I needed. And, as it turns out, I didn't cut nearly as many strips as I needed to even get a good start. This pattern requires a lot of strips of a lot of different fabrics cut into a lot of different lengths to provide a good selection for each block.
One quick trip to Sager Creek on Friday for a light background fabric and I had everything I needed. All of my light background pieces are a pale green that matches the pale green in my border fabric. The dark fabrics are a selection of about two dozen fabrics. The next day, surrounded by my far more talented friends, I began to sew. And sew. These little blocks come together surprising quickly, but boy do they seem to take a lot of fabric!

Here are four completed blocks (simply laid side-by-side, not sewn) next to the border fabric. It has promise. I have completed several more blocks this week, but since I need about 80 total blocks, I see myself sewing for quite a few more evenings. It's a good thing this is so easy to do. We used Creative Grids' Pineapple Trim Tool. It lets one make a 6", 8", or 10" block. With its trim-as-you-go technique, each block come out perfectly. I LOVE THIS TOOL! Mom and I were going to share one since my class was last weekend and hers is this Friday, but I decided that I don't want to share. I don't want us both wanting to use the tool at the same time, so I bought Mom her own. Hands off my new ruler, Mom!
Maybe by next week I'll be able to show you the finished quilt top (ha, ha). I doubt it, but I can always hope. : )

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Pineapple Plans...

I signed up! Sager Creek Quilts in Siloam Springs, AR, is offering several new classes. I rarely have the time off from work to take classes, but they just so happen to be offering the Pineapple class (see below) this coming Saturday as well as next Friday. Mom is taking the same class next Friday with our friend Rosie from Rosie's Quilting World at http://quilter64.blogspot.com/. I wish they could have joined me in my class. I couldn't join them because I work during the week. Sigh.

page 3

Anyway, I decided to use batiks for this quilt, so I pulled out all of my batik fabrics so that I could start selecting. At least that was my plan. I eyed my shelf full of more than a hundred (literally!) batiks and decided to take them one stack at a time. Hours later I had a...  Well, I was going to say a nice tidy pile, but actually, what I had was a mess. With a cat on top. Of course.

I had so many lovely fabrics to choose from! There were purples in every hue, blues and pinks and peaches, too. I had dark greens for an earthy feel and a black border print with a touch of teal! There were reds and yellows if I was feeling hot and cooler tones if I was not. A stack of brown and some vivid orange, and... Oh. Shoot. Nothing rhymes with orange...

Oh well, enough waxing poetical. So what did I finally choose? Nothing that you see above, of course! I've been cutting fabric every evening after work this week, but I'm not going to show it to you yet. Primarily because I don't a photo of the fabrics with me at this time *grin*, but it'll be nice to show them to you in a nice cut pile.

I've always wanted to do a Pineapple quilt, but I haven't had to nerve to try until now. It's not that the block looks particularly difficult, but it does look time consuming! In case you haven't noticed, I have added another page to my blog -- my 2014 To-Do List. Must of it is carried over from 2013 (of course!). And from 2012. I'm not confessing anything before that. Actually though, I completed seven of the quilts that I had on my 2012 list and nine from my 2013 list. On top of those, I also finished several quilts that I started and finished in the same year, so they never made it to my To-Do List.

I already have three quilts on this year's list ready for quilting and one almost bound. It would be nice to check off some finishes early on this year. I need to add this appliqued flower quilt to this year's list though. I have it mostly done, but I'm still lacking three appliqued flowers and the pieced border. I wonder how many years this quilt will spend on my lists? : )

I've gotta go. I have a Dogwood board meeting, and since I now happen to be the guild president, I don't suppose it would look good if I played hooky. See ya later!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Secrets revealed...

Yes, I've been keeping secrets. For months.

First, the quilting related secret... In November I was elected President of one of my local quilt guilds, Dogwood Quilters. I certainly didn't seek this position. I have my hands completely full at work right now (my school president retired in January, and my supervisor - the second in command - quit over the Christmas break), so I really, really didn't want more work, but...

Unexpectedly, I'm enjoying the position so far. It's a two year stint, and I'm only two months into it, but I'm working with some fantastic people on the board, and the members are very encouraging. Huh. I may live through this after all. **smiling**

Still on quilting (I'll share my second secret at the end of this post)...

We've been snowed in (I know, I know, everyone has been snowed in!), so I've gotten a lot of quilting done with school cancelled for so long.

First, my latest great niece (grand niece? Which is correct?) was due on January 4. Her folks live in New York, so she needed a nice quilt to welcome her home. I had some wonderful bubblegum pink fabric with lively little bugs and butterflies, which I paired with a coordinating blue floral fabric. I tried to piece it so that the focus was on the pink. I shared photos of this quilt in the last post.
Well, here she is! Welcome Amelia Wren. Isn't that a lovely name? It took her parents three days after her January 17 birth to figure out who she is, but they eventually settled on the perfect name for this beautiful little bundle. I can't wait to her in person! Look at all of that hair!!!
And just a few days ago I got an email from her proud mama showing me three-week-old Amelia trying out her tummy time floor mat. She was 9lbs 3oz and 21 1/4" at birth, but look how tiny she looks on that huge baby quilt! : ) I have no children of my own (at least not any without fur!), but I always make big baby quilts because babies just don't seem to stay small for very long. : )

Here's Ruby the fur baby checking out her new charge. Poor Amelia looks like she's done a face plant on that quilt, doesn't she? Well, I'm sure she'll be doing somersaults in no time. Go, Amelia! Work on those push-ups! Give her a nudge, Ruby.

And I was so pleased to finally get all three purple borders on my Purple Diamond quilt (folded in half in the photo due to limited floor space in my sewing room). Notice the use of the word "was." Past tense. I realized when I laid out this quilt and measured it that it's too narrow. It measures 112" long by 88" wide. I'm going to send it to my sister, who has a new king sized bed. If I add another row of diamonds, the quilt will be 112" square. THAT's the size I need for a king sized quilt. So I'll be spending this weekend "unsewing" the entire four borders (one white and three purple) on one side so that I can add the final row. I did check, and I have enough fabric for the extension. It shouldn't take too long to finish it for the second time. I think I'll like it better at a more usable size. It's a good thing Mom got a larger long-arm quilting machine. : )

Now, for the second secret...

Ta da! Meet Spook. In October (hence, the name Spook), I snagged this Spooky little feline out of the middle of a county road between two highways. He was determinedly and quickly heading for the major inter-state highway that I was also heading for.

I snagged him. He snagged me. I was wearing white. Guess which one of us got the worse end of the bargain out of that little snatch and grab exercise...
I dropped him off in the sunroom of my house and headed back into work (after washing copious amounts of blood off of my white shirt and white jacket). When my husband and I got home, Spook had made himself quite comfortable on a heating pad on one of the armchairs and declared that he was never leaving. Well, that suited us just fine. Isn't he adorable? And isn't Spook a great name for a grey kitty with orange eyes who was found one week before Halloween? By the way, he's an extremely loving kitty who adores giving kisses. And more kisses. And even more kisses. The bloody start to our relationship was simply because vehicles kept driving by and scaring him while I was trying to stuff him into a car with a running engine. I should have turned off my engine first. Live and learn. And, in the meantime, buy lots of bandages.

So why did I keep him a secret for over three months? Well, some of you may remember that I adopted two abandoned tom kitties over the past year and a half and lost both of them rather tragically just months after their arrivals. I didn't want to talk about Spook until I was sure that he would be with us for a while.

There are differences this time. The other two boys were each two years old and confirmed outside kitties when they came to us. Spook was only six months old and a confirmed insider. He occasionally dashes outside when we open the door to come in, but he's easy to catch. He's always crouching down getting ready to "attack" a rooster. Let's hope he never actually gets to the pounce stage! Those roosters will teach him a lesson he won't soon forget!

So how did my existing feline residents take the news of another mouth to feed? They were a little startled at first, but they warmed up quickly. **See how well that sentence goes with the picture? Hee hee **

Sinbad has been delighted to have anther boy to rough house with. The two of them tumble all over the house attempting to rip each other's ears off. Then they curl up together in front of the heater to sleep it off. Even the girls have developed a little more pep in their steps now that there's a youngster to remind them of their youths. It's impossible to walk through my house right now without something squeaking, chirping, rattling, or dinging underfoot because Spook loves toys. If it has feathers, it's HIS! Thank goodness he's not outside, or my bird feeders would be surrounded by dozens of little naked bodies.

Callie (below in an old photo) just does her best to ignore the little beast and retain as much dignity as she can. Surprisingly, though, since Spook's arrival, Callie has become more playful. Toys are now of interest. It's amazing how revitalized the house has become with the advent of a furry rug rat who doesn't let a little bad temper ruin a good playtime. : P

As for Ladybug (below), she's just thankful the new addition isn't going to provide unwanted competition for outdoor resources (mice, voles, field rats, etc.). Other than that, she has always gotten along very well with boys. I can't let the girl kitties around her (she is universally hated by my girls), but she shares the sunroom very nicely with Sinbad and Spook. Which is a good thing since she was shut up in the room for almost two weeks thanks to the snow and wickedly cold temps. Needless-to-say, she's delighted to be out and about again now that the sun is shining. : )

Well, all of my secrets (and the cats) are now out of the bag. I'm back at school and my sewing has once again taken a back seat until weekends. Tonight I have a Stashbusters meeting, so I get to talk quilting with friends again. What project do I want to take to share? Hmmm... I've been working on so many this winter...
See you later! I'm off to inspect the possibilities.




Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Purple Diamond Quilt

A few years ago (nope, sorry, but that's as close as I can remember time-wise), Mom and I participated in a square exchange with the Eureka Quilt Guild at their retreat. The color for that year's exchange was purple. I got received about 100 or more 7" squares of mixed purples. Yeah!
Well, I used many of them with a white confetti background to start this Stashbuster's pattern. It's been on my To-Do list ever since. I wanted to use each fabric only once, but I think I'm going to have to use Mom's stack as well in order to get this quilt large enough. That means either waiting more years to get an adequate number of 7" purple scraps or go ahead and use repeats. Yep, repeats it will be. I want this finished. It's official - I'm raiding Mom's stash. :) 
I sewed together the blocks I already had made and added a couple more. The top is currently lap sized. I will need to double the size and add borders before it's finished. I going to like the pattern when it's all finished. I'm hoping that this will be one of Get 'r' Done projects for 2014. Wish me luck.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Happy New Year! Okay, so I'm a little late. : / In that case, I guess I'll have to wait another year to say Merry Christmas, huh? I think I also missed Trick or Treat? Okay, so I've been gone for a while - again. But I have a really good reason - quilting!

That's right. After three months of not being able to quilt after my foot surgery, I am now back in my sewing seat. In fact, I haven't been able to tear myself out of it! And I have gotten quite a bit done. Let me show you a little.

First of all, in December I got another of my Christmas quilts completely finished. Remember this one from the end of 2012? Since no one else in my family likes this one, I get to keep it. Yeah! It's actually my favorite of the Christmas quilts. I do love busy!

I also finished two baby quilts.

This one went to my wonderful nephew and his equally wonderful wife in New York. Their baby is due any day now. Actually, she was due on the fourth, but I don't want to put any pressure on the little momma. : )

The top picture is the front and the next is the back. The front has butterflies and the back has Tinkerbell. Since I had to mail the quilt in a hurry, I didn't get any close ups.

This second quilt is one I started several years ago, but I finally finished it! Dragonflies this time. Now I just need another niece to get pregnant, only this time with a boy. What's with all the baby girls in this family?

That brought me to a total of eight finishes on my To Do List for 2013. That's the good news. The bad news is that that is only one-third of my list done. And I've added more UFOs. Oops.

Speaking of UFOs, here is one for my 2014 list. It's only a UFO because I didn't get it bound last month. You might remember this quilt from Sager Creek's Stashbuster's meeting this summer. It's called Flying Birds, and I love the pattern. Here is the sample that Cliff made to show us.

I really tried to make one like this. I started looking for colors like the ones above. Nice, earthy colors. Nothing bright. Nothing weird. Then I found the fabric. Do you ever have a fabric just call your name? Loudly? Just begging you to use it? Oh. You don't. Well, in that case, neither did I. (Just kidding - I really did!)

 Here it is. Isn't it just fabulous? Yes, I know. Not exactly what I was supposed to be looking for. But when a fabric starts talking to me, I'm not brave enough to ignore it. ; )

I chose all of my colors with care - and yes, everything came out of my stash. No cheating and buying new fabric for this one!

The problem came when I tried to put it together. It insisted to sewing itself together in a completely different way than the pattern dictated.

Here are two very dear friends of mine at Stashbusters trying to figure out how this is the same pattern. It really is the same block. Can you see it? This quilt makes me smile. : )

Mom did a fantastic job quilting this for me, but it's currently languishing in my to-bind stack. I hope to get to it next week. I'll get pictures of the quilting when I get it finished. I asked her to quilt it in a happy, sunny way, and boy did she deliver! It has flowers and dragonflies all over it. Hurray!

I really need that warm, summer look right now with all of this snow. I was supposed to be back at school on Monday of this week, but so far I have only worked once - yesterday - and even then we were sent home at noon. I really need to go in tomorrow to prepare for the students, who start on Monday. Tomorrow is supposed to be okay weather wise. Not for my husband, though. His school is more rural and is out again tomorrow. He will be working make-up days far into the summer this year. Sigh.

So, what am I working on now? I have pictures! But it's bedtime already. You'll just have to wait. : ) Good night, and don't let the weather get you down. Smile, and keep on sewing!