Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Day # 12: Another day, another party...

  I test drove a new (and out of character for me) outfit- a red, purple and bronze silk Chico's tunic over a red turtleneck, black stirrup leggings, and bronze shoes. The leggings reminded me of the stretch pants I wore in second grade, ca. 1962, amazingly comfortable, as were the shoes I bought over a year ago, but never wore until tonight. I think I need to use that red/purple/bronze/black palette in a quilt.
   Tomorrow is back to work, then my open sew group at night. I have a neat little demo for my groupies- sssshhhhhhh!!!!; it's a surprise.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Day #11- Just a brief post tonight

     Tonight was my quilt guild's holiday party. We have a potluck (apps and goodies) and a silent auction of member's handmade items. I bid on several things, won these two cute star ornaments.

I've never seen ones like these before, and can't quite figure out how they were made. I try to make or buy at least one handmade ornament every year.
     I finished piecing the quilt back. I cut the tan backing in half horizontally, then added rows of four different fabrics in varying widths that (sort of) coordinated with each other. I may not quilt it right now, but I bought a backing yesterday and have everything ready to go.


Monday, December 11, 2017

Day # 10- No pictures, but tomorrow is another day...

     Started the day with a simple errand (running out to get a $10 Walmart gift card for my husband to give at a holiday party Yankee Swap), and wound up two hours, three miles, and four stores later with nearly all my Christmas shopping done. Don't you love when that happens? I even bought the dog a new bed.
     Back home, I mixed up a big batch of fruitcake batter, and while those babies were in the oven I finished the beading, quilting, and binding on my wreath wall hanging. I wove in the ends on a crocheted cap. I addressed Christmas cards. I cooked a double batch of chicken and spaghetti squash. I updated the calendar on my web site. I dragged out a batch of half blocks that needed pressing before sewing the halves together. All in all, nothing terribly exciting, but a lot of nagging stuff finished.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Day #9 - Sorry, not THIS year!

     Gwen from Tillalili had the booth next to me, and I couldn't resist these fat quarters. The top two fabrics are "Jingle Birds" from Moda, the one at lower left is "Pixie Noel" from Riley Blake, and I don't know where the navy/white dot fabric is from. I'm itching to design a table runner, but I'm not feeling the love (understatement of the year) for any of the designs I've been doodling. I think I need to step away.

    The crocheted hat is coming along, but the directions have me wondering if anyone actually tested them on humans. Oh, it's easy enough to follow, but I've been crocheting for many years and never had a gauge issue before this. When the directions for "age 7 to 12", come out way too large for my medium to large adult head, something is amiss. So, I tore it out and started making the "age 2-5" version instead, which is likely to fit its 8 year-old recipient. On top of it all, I don't have much yarn left, and it only is supposed to take one ball for any size up to "adult small".  After supper I'm going to finish it- if I can. If I run out, I'll add some cotton yarn from my dish cloth yarn stash.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Day #8, Wrapping Things Up

     I finished the Boxy Stars quilt top this morning. I'm thinking of doing a pieced back. I have some leftover 108" wide  fabric in a subtle tan tonal floral and a long strip of a Moda Kansas Troubles print. If I make a few extra boxy star blocks I should be good to go.  Striped border look familiar? It was left over from my nephew's quilt back and borders, and I still have about a 6" strip left, so you just might see it AGAIN in another quilt or two.

     I also did some beading on my wreath. I'll post another picture when it's beaded and quilted, but here it is, sans beads.

    The adorable background fabric is from Ink & Arrow. This was made in a fun workshop with Judy Lancaster last month. I saved just enough of the darker green fabric ("Ombre Scroll" by Quilting Treasures) for binding, but all the rest of both greens was put to use in my poinsettia ornaments.

     Having vintage 3-armed pole lamps all over the house is perfect for hanging ornaments out of the way while the glue dries. I also loop my binding and border strips over them.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Day #7- According to AccuWeather...

...snow will be starting in 38 minutes. Hmmm....we shall see.
    I'm off tomorrow, so until I have to head outside and help with the shoveling, I'll probably be hunkered down with one of several choices:
    I can layer and baste the quilt and start quilting it.
    I can work on my knitting, which, as it's a sweater for me, probably will get pushed aside.
    I can immerse myself in the million-page, tiny-print book on my end table.
What I can't do is:
    Bake fruitcake (I don't have all the ingredients on hand). Yes, I bake fruitcake. Yes, I eat fruitcake. Yes, I like fruitcake. So does my entire family. People have strange responses when you tell them that. My favorite came years ago from a male co-worker, "Good God, woman!"

It's beginning to look a lot like...fruitcake!

     I had to make an unexpected trip to the vet; little Rosie was in a lot of pain. We couldn't pinpoint where she hurt. She'd move like she was hurting, then suddenly be wagging her tail like nothing happened. Every so often she'd shriek in pain. You can't imagine how loud a 4 1/2-pound dog can be. It turned out she somehow injured her neck.
     I cooked a tiny hamburger, smooshed it into a million pieces, and mixed in her pain meds. As much pain as she was in, she couldn't resist the beef. She's now curled up in her bed by the radiator being sad.

Rosie on a happier day

     Today I added the last blocks and sashing to the Boxy Stars quilt. I'd have had the border cut and sewn on by now, but I made this instead.

     It's a fun little tree farm quilt from Other People's Material. I made a much longer version for myself; this one will be donated to my guild's silent auction next week. 
     The cute tree print was from the scrap table at the guild's show. I found twelve rectangles of it. They were the inspiration for the quilts. See the garlands on the trees? I free-motion quilted the same design on my green triangles. And on the print pieces I quilted swirling snowflakes.
      After much procrastinating, I treated myself to an AccuQuilt Go cutter for my birthday. I cut "some" half-square triangles in shades of blue and green with the included die. I think I got a little carried away. I still have enough for at least two more quilts like this. I LOVE not having to trim all those dog ears!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Day #6- Some book notes and more

    Today I made a bit of headway on the scrap quilt. Three of the four rows sashed and joined; I'll finish the top tomorrow.

     Nothing at the book sale struck my fancy this morning. Last year I came out with only four books,  two of those were added to my brother's Christmas gifts, but the remaining two were without a doubt  two of the three best books I read all year:

      I was happy to later pass them on to others who enjoyed them as much as I did. Sadly, the one person I would have loved to have given "Team of Rivals" to, my paternal grandfather, passed away 41 years ago.

    I did a little shopping later in the day, and found a lone skein of Keppi yarn at Ocean State Job Lot hidden on the shelf behind boring brown wool yarn. It's going to make a cheery hat for a special little girl- this fun yarn even comes with its own ready-made pom-pom.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Day #5- Winter is just around the corner... this past Saturday, one of the rare days Rick and I were both home, we decided on the spur of the moment to go hiking at Bluff Point. We had a glorious time. It's the perfect hiking place- shoreline, woods, hills, etc. And rocks- lots of rocks. You can still see old stone walls that probably once marked property lines- too rocky for fields or pasture in many places.

     I love the leathery browns shades of oak leaves in autumn. And wouldn't this hollow log with lichen make a great fairy house?

In the 17th century this was the homestead of Connecticut's colonial governor John Winthrop the Younger.

     And here we have Rick atop a rock.

     Looking forward to our next outdoor adventure.

     On the quilting front, I'm making progress on my scrap quilt. Pictures of that as well as another completed piece may come as soon as tomorrow or the next day. The 6" blocks are all sewn and trimmed, need to be joined into larger
12" blocks. The sashing and cornerstones are all cut. I think I have enough striped fabric for a border, and if even have an appropriate fabric for backing, although I may change my mind and go scrappy there too.


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Day #4- Hasn't killed me yet!

     Wow! Four consecutive days!
     I had a few minutes to kill before work today, so I ran into my favorite consignment shop, armed with a $1 off coupon.  Five minutes and $7.83 later, this is what I left with.

Today's haul

     It's rare for me to find one, let alone five quilt books that I don't already have, let alone want, so this was a treat.
     Sometimes it's just a theme, or combination of colors, that gets the imagination working.
     I also managed to get a few minutes at the sewing machine early this morning, and again before dinner, working on the new Boxy Stars I mentioned a couple days ago. After reluctantly settling for my second choice for the sashing (all I had left of the "perfect" fabric was a couple of strips) I decided it would work just fine. I'll probably have pictures in by the end of this week.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Day #3- Supernova

     Earlier in 2016 I submitted a design to a major quilt magazine. Like Twisted Star, it was a design I had done a while ago, but it wasn't until I changed my color selection, that I decided to do something with it. The Powers That Be liked it, and wanted to hold onto it for a while. Then, all of a sudden, while I was in the midst of other projects, it was "officially" accepted for publication, not in the magazine to which I had originally sent it, but to another of that publisher's magazines.
     Things moved very quickly from there. The magazine would provide me with fabrics, so I poured over the suggested textile companies' websites. Once my box of fabrics arrived, I got to work.
     Supernova was published in the October/November 2017 issue of McCall's Quick Quilts. It's a large (for me) quilt, so I had it longarm quilted (a special shoutout to Kathie at Stitch Chicks in North Franklin, CT for her lovely cloud quilting).

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Day #2; Three's Company

Making the scrap quilts I posted about yesterday was a great way for me to get over "Quilt Designer's Block". I discovered after they were done I was ready to tackle some of my own new designs once again.
   Design #1 had been languishing on a sheet of graph paper for a couple of years. Once I ditched my original (very uninspired) color palette and thought about using OPM (Other People's Material), things began to take shape. In my bag of "dead lady's stash" was a huge piece of  teal tonal fabric, and a smaller piece of teal and tan bird print. Two fabrics down, two to go. A beige tonal was a no-brainer, even though I begrudgingly had to purchase that. I was still missing one fabric. VOILA! A customer had actually given me a piece of fabric because she was unable to find a suitable coordinating print in a heavier home-dec fabric, and was tired of shopping around. She hadn't even bought the fabric in the first place- another person had given it to HER. The dark mustardy gold reproduction-looking print was perfect, and Twisted Star was born.

Twisted Star

     Somewhere during the process of making that quilt, I played around with the original design. Keeping the same basic block, and using five fabrics instead of four, I came up with a quilt that looked, 3-D, A Whole New Dimension.  I used two values each of two colors, along with an accent fabric.
A Whole New Dimension
     I'm not a fan of doing straight-line quilting, but this pattern called out for some so I forged ahead. The accent squares each have a quilted flower.

     But wait; there's more! Same block, this time only three fabrics and a more modern look. I love this pattern, and thought "Twist of Fate"was the perfect name.

Twist of Fate

   This was another fun one to quilt,with dense loops and hearts on the nearly-white print, and lots of little curlicues on the grey.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Day #1: Alive and kicking!

     Wow! Almost a year and a half since I last posted. I have no good excuse for this, so I am challenging myself by participating in Cheryl Sleboda's "31 Day Blog Writing Challenge". This is Day #2 of the challenge, but as I only found out about it this morning, it's Day #1 for me. Which means I won't finish the challenge until 2018.
    2016 ended with several fall shows, including a new one I had never done before. I also had the opportunity to take a workshop with Bonnie Hunter, and was inspired to put some of my scraps to use in two of her free scrappy patterns. I hesitate to call them "my" scraps, as truth is, most of them were other quilters' cast-offs.
    I made Bricks and Cobblestones for a nephew. The picture isn't great, but it was cold and damp and I wanted to get back inside to my hot mug of coffee. I LOVED making this quilt. and got rid of some seriously butt ugly scraps in the process.
Bricks and Cobblestones
     Of course that didn't make a discernible dent in my scrap pile, so I made a Boxy Star quilt. I didn't realize until the other day, that a year had passed since I finished the quilt, but I had never taken a picture of it. See the bright green piece with the white scallops in the second row down, middle block? It's OLD! My guess is 1940s. I only had a small piece-enough for just one point of one star.

Boxy Stars

    When I make a scrap quilt I have one of two rules. Either I have to make it entirely from my stash, as I did for Boxy Stars, or I can only purchase fabric for the outer border and/or backing (Bricks and Cobblestones).

      Playing with these colors and fabrics was a great way to keep my creative juices going until I came up with some new designs for 2017.