Think about this.....

...the only thing scarier then reaching out to the unknown is settling for that with which we are comfortable.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy Christmas and Merry New Year

With the holidays whizzing by it's hard to keep up with blogging and all the comings and goings that happen around our house; family, friends, celebrations, and of course, eating.

I have come to the conclusion that my huge oak tree doesn't entirely lose its leaves until later in the winter so that I have something to do first thing in the spring to work off those unwanted chocolate pounds and to put some muscles back where my winter pudge has parked itself. It's a win-win situation I think.

While visiting with family and friends, however, I have been able to work on those hexagons. I'm not sure where I'm at with them, but I have completed enough to fill three pockets on my hexy project bag. Probably around 75 if I had to guess. I'll count them today while I'm pressing them. I have completed three additional flowers so we'll add those to the pile as well.

Fabric santa was very good to me this year. Andrew purchased 22 yards of thirties fabric for a dresden project I have my eye on. Jim purchased me a Kona solids jelly roll in light colors and my mom purchased not only the light color solid jelly roll, but the bright solids as well. I have already begun the Bottled Rainbows quilt featured in an earlier Quiltmaker magazine.

I also received from my mom a fantastic cooler full of charm packs, templates, and various yardages of civil war print fabrics. It was Christmas within a Christmas!!! I was beyond speechless.

Speaking of Quiltmaker...I have been selected to participate not only in the Volume 7 100 Blocks test team, but also the elite Scrap Squad for 2013. What an awesome beginning to the new year right around the corner. I can't wait to put all those scraps to use this year. Watch for the six quilts I'll be making for the squad.

Here are the Christmas quilts that adorned our home during this holiday season. A few of them went out as prizes for the annual DeGroot Christmas party. This year the family had to decorate bulbs with glitter pens and votes were taken to identify a few of the winners.

The last "cow" quilt was actually a gift to my middle son, Ben, for Christmas. He loves cows and I wanted to design a wall hanging designated to our family favorite sitcom, Friends.










Sunday, December 16, 2012

95 Total

I have three completed flowers, enough hexagons to make another three flowers and while visiting my mom today in celebration of Jim's birthday, basted a now total of about 95 hexagons.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Another Finished Product (Project)

I struggle sometimes to think of that perfect project for whatever.

I thought I had the reunion quilt figured out for this upcoming year, but the pattern I was tossing around in my head wasn't tried or true, it was brand new. I didn't want to chance a family quilt to, well,  chance. So I had to vary my thinking.

After pondering this for a few months, and while talking to Papa on the phone yesterday, I finally came up with a splendid idea. The whole family loves to garden, and if they don't love to garden, I KNOW they love to eat. And...since the previous two years have been wall hanging quilts (used to wet their appetites for upcoming years and hopefully higher bidding) I wanted to make a useful smallish type of quilt.

Rag quilts ahoy! Voila~

P.S. 12 more hexagons done this evening...but no flowers.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What did I do today?

I started off thinking this morning that a pin cushion specifically for my hexagon project was in order. So I made that. It's a cute little flowery thing that folds up into itself. It will hold all my basting needles, pins and hand sewing needles too!

After making that, I had enough fabric left over to make a bag to match the pincushion. My thinking behind this is that I needed a place to store all the squares I pre-cut, the paper hexagon templates (for the English paper piecing), a pair of scissors, a couple of spools of contrasting thread, and of course, the basted fabric hexagons. So I made a bag.

I had an outstanding block to complete for my Quiltmaker 100 Blocks Volume 7 (yep, I'm doing that again) so I pulled out the box of fabrics they sent to me (I'm also making a real quilt for them for this next issue) and made my block. That took a while because it was kind of intricate.

Tomorrow is sew-in and I don't really have anything in the works right now (my string quilt is coming along and I completed what strings I had a last night). I do have a few quilts in the block stage (coffee cups and weird jelly roll thing) but I don't have the fabric for the sashing on the coffee cups and I'm rethinking the "off" blocks of the jelly roll thing, so those are not an option for tomorrow.

I have to start the DeGroot reunion quilt and have been tossing around ideas in my little brain. I received some Farmer's Day charm packs a few weeks ago that I ordered from Missouri Star Quilt Company, and made a decision to make a rag quilt with those and the 7" jeans squares I already have cut.

I was short 9 charm squares so I cut up any other "fruity" fabric I had laying around and now have enough to make a nice picnic quilt for the reunion, so I think that's what I'll do at sew-in.

After I cut those squares out (it only took me a 1/2 hour or so), I started into my hexagon project. You're going to hear a lot about this I'm afraid. I thought about it today and started crunching some numbers. I want the quilts finished size to be about 80x100. One side of the hexagon is 1", but across the hexagon is 1.75 inches. It looks like I'll need about 4,571 hexagons to complete it. I did 7 more tonight, so I have a total of 8. I even made my first "flower" complete with hand stitching the individual hexagons together. This took longer then I had anticipated, but it's something new and I think over time, the speed will greatly increase.

It was 10:30 before I came back upstairs, but because I did such a variety of projects today, I'm not as tired as I usually am when I just press and sew all day long. Food for thought.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hexagon's Anyone?

The Date: 12/12/12
The Purpose: I haven't posted again in a while and wanted to journal my way through what will be the largest undertaking of any quilting project I have conquered so far...a 1" hexagon quilt.
The Numbers: I just don't know yet. I plan on about 2-3 years for this quilt and hope to complete it totally by hand (except maybe the quilting portion). I would like for it to be a large queen sized quilt.
The Reason: Because everybody needs one of these projects to work on. :-)

Here's the first hexagon so it's officially begun today!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Did you think I forgot about ya?

With the coming of autumn comes the dreaded leaf detail. We spend hours raking, blowing, mulching, and hauling our leaves every year and this year is no exception. More work I think since our huge red oak tree dropped most of its leaves this past week-earlier then previous years.

Because we have the leaves to deal with, less is done in the quilting studio. Not good! However, I have managed to fit in a few small projects here and there. None worth publishing here today since none of them have been quilted as of yet.

I am once again on the Quiltmaker test block team for volume seven. My first three blocks were completed today while Jim blew the last of the leaves away from the house. It had been nearly three days since my visit downstairs so it was time to get back into the swing of things.

I'm working on a large queen top with great fall colors and a modern circle pattern. I did a small circle pattern quilt similar to this one using some charm squares with a Christmas theme a few weeks ago. I've also fit in a few small Christmas projects (wall hangings and table runners) into my brief studio visits but that's about it.

One other thing that I do take time for is knitting. I started a class about three weeks ago to learn to knit. I'm loving the quiet time at night to be able to do something productive rather then just hangin' out here on the web. I quit my leaf/quilting stuff around 8 or 9 o'clock and then come up and slip in a Disney movie to listen to while I clackety-clak away with my knitting needles.

Until next time, and hopefully I'll have some completed projects to publish...




Thursday, October 4, 2012

VA Quilt is History

The ugliest quilt I've ever made is this very one. Fortunately, a lucky (or unlucky) VA will receive it for Veterans Day this year in November. This is what we did during our sew-in a few Friday's back. I know it'll keep some lucky recipient warm because while I was finishing the binding at quilt guild tonight it was certainly keeping my lap warm!

Did a one day project yesterday from a finished quilt I saw online. I decided to take my designing skills to the next level and drafted the pattern out. I then did a few test squares and found that it wasn't all that hard. I don't know what I'll call this one yet, but it looks like a drop of water hit the pond and now the rings are leaving the center. Picture to come when completed.

Today I worked on my Craftsy block of the month blocks and they actually turned out pretty awesome. They were paper pieced (my fav) and so we got along much better then the drunkards path from last month. I discovered curves are not my forte.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Two for Tue

I decided to do some smaller projects (again) for the fall time because we don't have many autumn decorations around the house. I remember as a young girl when my then step-mom used to decorate the house/apartment to the nines with her holiday trimmings. Now that that boys are out of the house and I have the time, I want to do the same thing.

I made a cute little table topper on Monday and then finished it yesterday. I then decided to utilize the half hexi template I had ordered from Missouri Star Quilt Company and try out my hand at that with some of the scraps I picked up from the yard sale the week prior.

This template was very forgiving and the blocks went together relatively easy.

Guilty...again!

Still not posting as often as I should, but honest, I've been busy making stuff, and going to guild meetings, and going to shows, and, and, and...you get the idea.

Anyway, since our last visit, I have completed ten little birds to hang on branches near the front door. They are so cute and you can't help but smile when you walk into the house and see them.

The ASQ guild (Across the Square Quilters) in Charlotte has had me very busy. I volunteered to complete a baby quilt for a local charity called Siren. We did a Friday and Saturday Sew-In to make lap and bed quilts for the VA's in Battle Creek. Mine is about 100 stitches away from being done and I'll take it tomorrow night.

I utilized my half hexy template from Missouri Star Quilt Company and created a cute little lap quilt top just to see how the template worked. I have nearly completed a small and medium sized Christmas wall hanging and have also delved into a larger, self designed (kind of) coffee cup quilt made with scraps and yardages I procured from a yard sale over Frontier Days. This last project is on-going and will probably take a few weeks longer since I only work on it between all other projects.

Also from Missouri Star was a binding tool I've tried out now three times and what a blessing!!!! No more bulky binding ends and a huge time saver! Invest in one if you're serious about quilting!

Craftsy posted up the last of the two blocks in their series. In November we'll be sashing, bordering and piecing our quilt top together. December will be show and tell time for all of our completed projects. The TRR guild (in Hastings) received a snowball block for the 10 1/2 inch we donate each month and I received an honorable mention from last months elder care facility contest for my donated wall hanging.

What else? I did not receive the Treasurer position at TRR which is probably just as well. I think driving over there is going to be too much for me to deal with in crappy weather and honestly, January's meeting is now cancelled therefore I will actually only have had access 10 of the 12 months of my paid membership.

I have yet to obtain a long arm. The "Christmas" quilt was then added to the pile to be quilted since it's really too big to get under my machine. I've tried. Honestly, I have. But even the baby quilt was difficult to quilt and I seem to, no matter how well I baste and am careful while quilting, get a pucker or two under the damn thing. So, last count, the pile is at 20 tops.

Until next time!

Friday, September 14, 2012

I Love My New Guild

What an absolute hoot! It's so good to laugh and socialize with these amazing women! And the talent and community involvement is far above any other that I would have expected. I have been given the task of completing a baby quilt with some leftover donated scraps so I'll take care of that sometime over the weekend.

The Christmas project I've been working on is coming along so well. I inserted the vertical sashing strips yesterday and will continue with the horizontal strips today...if I have time after my painting adventures downstairs.

I picked up (hopefully) the correct paint last night before guild and will be down in the depths of the basement once again to work on my circles. My earlier goal was to have this room completed prior to weekend so I only have today to finish. Don't know if I'll make it or not. If not, no worries since nobody else really gives a hoot whether I finish it or not. Right?


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Christmas in September

Many of my family and friends ask why it is I'm starting Christmas things in September. My reply is, "December is too late to begin Christmas things." So there you have it.

Today's completion wasn't actually even a "want to" kind of thing until I stumbled upon it on Friday last week. It only took a day or so to finish even though it has some hand embroidey within its schema. I procured this pattern from my wonderful friends at Connecting Threads through their available free downloads.

Tomorrow I have to go pick up the correct paint for my hand painted circles I'll be putting in the improved downstairs bathroom and hopefully within the next few days between my painting venture, I can finish the other Christmas thing I mentioned on a previous post.

I have a larger-ish wall hanging to finish the hand binding on and hopefully we'll squeak that in too?!? Did I mention my quick little "Life's too Short" pic? Here it is.

I forgot to mention the birds too. I made these 10 little birds to just have hanging around the house. I'll get a pic of them tomorrow maybe and share those as well. They turned out just darling as all get out.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

More then Quilts

I found a few little decorative/quilting projects to do in the internet Friday morning. It's always a good thing to find this stuff. Then, I received a phone call from one of the cousins and she informed me of a lady in Charlotte who was selling a bunch of quilting fabric! Yeah!!! Jim had to head home this afternoon for a tooth extraction so we headed to the yard sale to check out what Amber Lynn called me about. Wow! What a find! We picked up about 33 yards of fabric and a few miscellaneous bags of fat quarters, as well as a bag of really cute scraps. I'll use the scraps in my two new patterns I found that morning.

Meanwhile, Jim's nephew called and said they were coming back to Michigan the second weekend in October. Yes, they'll be staying with us. Where are we going to put them (upstairs or down since they're bringing not only Owen (their son), but their nephew as well? Since there's more room downstairs, we settled on that. Dilemma though! Ugly bathroom/utility room down there.

I had been grumbling about this room since we moved into this house. I hated going in it and tried to think of some inexpensive way to improve its looks. We came up with some ideas that weren't going to break the bank and took off with what we came up with.

The whole "renovation" is going to come under $100. First we had to paint the ceiling. Thankfully, Jim handled that daunting task because we used a pounded green to make all the wood, piping, etc. more uniform in color.

After he left for work on Monday, I continued to paint all the walls a very stark white. What a huge difference!! However, since the walls were a very bright and imposing yellow, it was clear one coat was not going to be enough. Today I had to apply the second coat.

I then fashioned what I'm called swags for the ceiling. They are random lengths and widths of fabric to drape from truss to truss to create some esthetically pleasing effects intermingling with the pip works above. The fabric I used has a white background but with various colored circles within it. Once I pinned those up, the room started really taking shape.

My painting from this morning was dry after hanging the swags so I could now start painting bright circles throughout the room to break up the stark white walls and add to the playfulness of our makeover. However, the paint I picked up this morning between projects was the incorrect paint type. I then began rethinking just how to do these circle-things on the walls. I thought maybe some fabric circles instead of painting, but then after talking to Andrew, decided to maybe just do some quilted wall hangings instead.

Funnily enough, I saved a Missouri Star Quilt Company tutorial on doing circle quilts just recently. A sign maybe? I'll do a few blocks tomorrow and see what becomes of my efforts.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Too Long!

Okay, so I haven't been very diligent in corresponding lately. I have no excuses except perhaps that my Mac decided to eliminate the blog shortcut in my menu options (or whatever). Still no excuse though because I did have it written down right here next to me on my pile of other useful computer information.

Anyway. I have been pretty busy with not only family things (graduation, open houses, reunion, etc.), but my quilt making process. Well, only the tops (still) but all in all, the weather hasn't kept me away from making more and more tops.

I think the piano has around 27 at last count. Time for the long arm!!!

Not only did I complete a top for Jim's niece and her new husband over the last two weeks in July, I also made a new quilt for me for our bed. It's called Snake in the Grass. I have also completed one of next years fair entries called Under the Bigtop.

Last week I completed two fall table runners and this week I've worked on a new Christmas wallhanging and on a Christmas quilt that I shall not get too specific about because it may become a gift. We'll have to wait and see what reactions are during the holiday season.

Amongst all of the above mentioned projects, I continue to do my two Craftsy blocks of the month as well as my Quiltmaker test blocks for the book coming out next spring. Let me see...anything else? I did take an afternoon out to do some decorating things. I made a little wallhanging that says, "I am a Quiltmaker, not a Seamstress" for my studio and I chain pieced a whole bunch of yellow (and a few orange) triangles to decorate the sunporch with; thank you Amy Gibson for the idea. They turned out really cute!

Laura (my machine, not my future daughter-in-law) was a little under the weather during the last of July. She was gone for a week and her little "issues" are still issues right now (auto threader and sensor for bobbin not working, still squeaking in the needle up position), but nothing that prevents me from sewing. Just little things that make sewing easier when you have them.

Tonight, I finally stepped out of my box and ventured out beyond the house. I attended a meeting for an organization called Experience Art in hopes of beginning a community band (or orchestra, or whatever they decide to do). From there I headed to the Yarn Garden and signed up for a knitting class. It's on my bucket list and I figured the teaching jobs just aren't pouring in like I'd hoped. That class begins in early October. I went one step further and explored a new quilting guild in Charlotte who call themselves the Across the Square Quilters. I am so very excited about this guild because it's nearby and the ladies there an absolute hoot. I haven't laughed so much in such a very long time. They meet every Thursday and I look forward to attending as many weeks as I can! I was so impressed with the group I joined right there and then so I wouldn't miss any future fun!


Friday, June 29, 2012

Finally!

Caleb is now officially an MSU student. We have his class schedule for the next year, his financial aid has been dealt with, he has attended orientation, and yesterday with his money from his open house, we purchased his new computer. Unfortunately, summer won't become "monotonous" for another few weeks or so. Fortunately, however, I'm just the cab in most of it because it's all Caleb's fair stuff we're dealing with.

Okay, so how could I forget the family reunion? We do have some things to do in that respect since we are in charge of purchasing, bringing, and preparing all the food for about 80 folks, but other then that...

...I WILL still get in some quilt time. I received two QM blocks during last weeks open house preparation frenzy and didn't get to work on them until yesterday after we dropped Andrew off to head back to CA. But it didn't matter anyway since my sewing machine was having a P.M. done to it. I was notified yesterday there were some gear issues with her but all is well now (except for a part that had to be ordered because now the "hook" isn't evenly stitching). I guess when that part comes in she'll be back to 100%. Meanwhile, I just have to deal with an occasional uneven stitch now and again.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

July Sunbonnet Sue

July Sunbonnet Sue
Here she is. This has to be one of my favorites. Unfortunately, it's my last "monthly" sunbonnet series wallhanging. I have certainly enjoyed working on these and they always bring a smile to my face when I look at them everyday. I think perhaps I'll have to find another monthly series to occupy my time during the week while Jim is in the road.

Just received word this week that I wasn't even considered for an interview at the local elementary school. We have talked to other teachers in the area and it's simply a small town political thing. I'll probably never get a teaching job in Olivet, so as long as we are here, I am retired from teaching. It's kind of sad. I enjoy it so much, but after having to wake up to the electric chicken this week to take Caleb into AOP at MSU I remember once again why I like staying at home and waking at my leisure.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June Sunbonnet and Bookshelf

Sunbonnet Sue for June has been nearly done for about three weeks now. I finally finished her up this weekend and just snapped her pic yesterday. She's on a quilting cruise complete with rotary cutters.

I found this little bookshelf project somewhere out there on-line. I subscribe and peruse so many web sites it's hard for me to remember where I get some of what I pull off for later use. While I enjoyed making this little wallhanging, I would not use this particular method to make this into a full sized quilt. It took me two full days to get it together and it only measures 15x22 inches.

I'm now working on the July Sunbonnet Sue but will have to hold up for a bit since I have graduation open house stuff to deal with for a few days while Caleb is at his college orientation.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Visiting and Creativity

While Jim's mom and aunt were visiting this weekend (mom was down for two open houses), I found myself once again playing with some of my handcrafting projects. I am still making yo-yo's for next years fair entry (and will be probably for another six months). Saturday I made about 10 or so of them.

Sunday while they came over I started picking out fabrics for a little bookshelf quilt. Once I got them cut, I set them down to put together on Monday. The point is that even while visiting with company here at the house I can still work on being creative without impeding our conversation or communication process.

I like that I can be my own person in my home and nobody takes offense. Some people develop a real interest in what I'm working on (such as Jim's Aunt June), and others just nod and politely comment. Actually, most of them just nod and politely comment, but I can create even while being in my family's/friends presence.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

It's been a while

With Caleb's graduation, the trip to Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City, and the preparations for Caleb's open house, I haven't had much quilting time. I have been able to create two Quiltmaker 100 Blocks Volume 6 blocks, but as I said before, I can't show them to you because they are a secret until the publication comes out next spring.

I have finished the blocks for my Quilt of Valor quilt. I'm still contemplating on how I'm going to do the borders but I have pieced the blocks together and it turned out pretty nice.

I have also started and completed the top of a quilt called Good Morning. I made it to replace the pinwheel quilt I personally use on our bed for added warmth and when I'm sick on the couch. Everybody needs a quilt to call just their own.

Pictures will come as I complete the quilts. I have decided to stick to my rule of, "No pics until completion" because I was getting confused on what I have/had posted and didn't want to duplicate myself. I will post individual blocks that will probably not go into a quilt like I did New York Beauty below. Bear with me on this decision because I have so many quilts that haven't been quilted yet and don't actually know when I'll get to them. Sticking a whole quilt under my machine is kind of daunting and with the weather finally becoming summer-like I don't want a warm quilt laying all over me. I'm sure you understand!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New York Beauty

Funnily enough the Craftsy class I'm currently taking with Peggy Martin includes a block she calls "New York Beauty". Like all the classes I take, I do a test block to see how well we get along. This particular block was the very reason I wanted to take the class because I like the sharp points and the overall visual appeal.

There are many possibilities with the block and I feel like what I did with what I had in my stash turned out pretty well. I really enjoyed making this and not because it turned out pretty well (I still have some boo-boo's in it) but because Peggy finally showed me how to overcome the dreaded "piecing curves" phobia I've struggled with since beginning my quilt making craft.

New York Beauty Block
I've always wanted to make a double wedding ring quilt but neglected to do so because of the intricacies of piecing convex and concave curves together. Mystery solved today! Another quilting milestone overtaken. Whoot whoot! If Andrew and Laura didn't have their very busy kitties they would probably receive one for their wedding next March. Hmmmm??????

Monday, May 21, 2012

Papa

So this is what I'm talking about when I say a portrait quilt.

This is the pic I used to duplicate for Jim for this upcoming Father's Day.


This is what the quilt looked like completed. Pretty cool huh?
Papa


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Where'd who go?

Not that anybody missed me here...'cause I think officially, nobody really reads my blog, but I can't believe it's been over a week since my last post. I truly hope this isn't a trend and it's more like a quick hiccup.

I believe my graduating senior has occupied most of my time and will continue to do so for the next month. Afterwards, things should settle back down again.

Quilting-wise, I have actually been piddling with a few little things. I've been working on one block or so a day with a class I'm taking with Peggy Martin at Craftsy. It's a different kind of paper piecing method that I am really enjoying. I'm on block number four of about 12 that are included in the class. I love how well the points on these seemingly intricate blocks come together so easily.

Mom finally made it back over to do a final layout of a 10 1/2" block string quilt that was hanging around downstairs for the last six months. I want to get this together this upcoming week.

I've also been playing with my portrait quilt I made in Aniko Feher's class. I think, maybe, possibly, it'll be completed by this weekend. I was able to get it onto the background fabric and yesterday completed all the zig-zag stitching around each of those little pieces; it took a very long while to complete. Ahh...the life of a quilter.

While catching up with Jim last night from his weekly run, and while relaxing for the evening, I finally grabbed my "P" size crochet hook and started my first rag rug (I hope to be making these for Christmas presents). I discovered that it's harder crocheting fabric then it is yard. There is no give in the material like there is in yarn so I think I need to work a little more loosely with my stitches, otherwise, I feel like I'm fighting for every stitch I take.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

??????

Jim's face is pretty much finished up until I can get to the store to purchase a very fine needle for my machine so that he can be zig-zag stitched between each piece. That will take some time!

Meanwhile, the June Sunbonnet is in progress. She's now on her third day and I don't see an end in sight today. This particular one is extremely intricate with different corner pieces, borders, etc. Four days for Sunbonnet is just too long!

Mother's Day is coming up and I'll be giving mom her Ragg quilt and pillow. Hope she enjoys them!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Classes are Awesome!

I have met many a person along my life's path who thought they had all the knowledge they absolutely needed to know to complete their life's journey. Isn't that sad? While I am closing in on my 18th full year of building quilts, I still have a long way to go in honing my craft.

Knowledge is power and without it we have a tendency to do things our way...or just no way at all. The "our way" may be right...or it may be totally incorrect creating a longer or worse way of doing things.

Here's my example: The past two days have been spent with an instructor on how to do portrait quilts; something I've wanted to venture into for quite some time now. There were about 12 or so of us in the class and we were all very new to this technique. As Aniko explained each step, each student complied readily to do what she needed to do to keep progressing in a forward motion, except one.

Day two found the "sideways", or noncomplying student behind. And as additional steps were introduced, the student became even further behind. Aniko had to finally step in to take control of things because the student wasn't actually there as a student, she was there to work her way and no other. She wasn't listening and instead becoming frustrated and only completing what she was comfortable with. She wouldn't ask questions so she continued in this matter until Aniko finally recognized what was going on.

While we all have our way of doing things (methodically, or whatever), when taking a class or learning a new technique, listening is key. Step outside of your box, listen to the instructions, ask LOTS of questions and learn something new. Without this flexibility it is you that I hear mumble under your breath at meetings and exhibitions, "I could never do something like that," which to me is the hardest of all to hear.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Completing odds and ends

It's been a week since I've updated. Probably because nobody really cares (at this point) so I was having a bit of a pity party. But then I thought about it and found that I don't care that nobody cares. I care and that's all that matters to me. I love working on my quilts and expressing myself in writing at the same time so why not continue what it is I enjoy?

While it would be excellent to have others actually care, I guess it's asking too much?!?

Anyway, here is our May Sunbonnet Sue flying around with her May pole.

Here too is what I did accomplish last week. In addition to my mom's quilt and pillow, I made one for the sunporch (quilt) and two pillows to go with it. They turned out really cute. I hope to make more of these in the future.

Since last week, I have been analyzing what projects I have going at the moment and am finding myself in a lot of different things. I need to finish some of these up and move along. So, that's what I'm doing. I cleaned a little bit yesterday and today. I am trying to get a handle on the strings I've accumulated of late by setting those into string blocks, and organizing my priorities and projects.

I have guild tonight and then a class tomorrow and Thursday, so I'll be busy learning yet another technique with which to share the love of fabric through quilts.

Meanwhile, and to wrap things up, I received another Quiltmaker Block for Volume 6. The technique used was a turn-edged applique and I must admit, I'm not too all about that. Remember, I can't post my pic here because the book is a secret until its release next spring, but trust me when I say it isn't one of my better pieces produced.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Craftsy Rocks!

It would probably be a dream of mine to actually be an instructor for Craftsy! I love the platform they have created for learning and teaching alike. It's a win-win situation and I haven't had a class yet that I didn't absolutely love...and that says a lot really since I am a teacher myself.

My third ragg quilt is in the works. Most of the weekend was spent running around with my amazing husband and visiting with two of our boys. We enjoyed a leisurely day of shopping, eating, relaxing, and visiting. The weather seemed nice from the inside, but outside our warmer temps are fighting to come back. I did get a little cutting done on some jean material and all the cotton squares cut for this next quilt. I will keep this one for our sunporch and will be making two pillows to go with for the futon out there.

I should be able to finish those up today so we may see you back here yet this evening if I can get pics before I lose the sun. Happy creating!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Country Ragg Quilt

This one has a country appeal to it and I find the colors rather soothing. The animals particularly like this quilt for some reason. I had to shoo the cat off of it twice last night while trying to fluff out the seams and then today, while shooting pics for here, I no sooner grabbed the camera and found the dog on top of it. At least somebody appreciates all my hard work. ;-)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pic Tomorrow

Despite having a plethora of other stuff to do today I was able to complete the Ragg Quilt. It is still, as we speak, down in the first dryer phase getting the threads out. This is a recommendation that Ginger from Two Sisters fabric store suggest I do. The reason is to reduce the number of threads into the washer and it's link trap. It's much easier cleaning a dryer lint trap then mucking up the washer's.

Because it's so late at night I'll shoot pics of the quilt tomorrow, provided I don't head over to Wyoming to this really big estate sale with my mom. Apparently there is a LOT of fabric and other quilting items over there. The sale actually started today, but circumstances being what they were/are, we decided to head over tomorrow instead.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Another Ragg Quilt

I had to do at least one more ragg quilt! This one is going to be made out of jeans and country cottons. Yesterday I cut all the jeans material out (thank you Goodwill for your cheap jeans-$1.69 per pair) as well as the cotton materials. I am starting them at 7" and will make the quilt 9 x 9 squares.

Tonight I sewed the backs and fronts together and then laid them all out to see what we had and I think this is going to work out well.

The problem is that despite my having purchased a special needle for my machine (100/16) to accommodate the heavier fabrics Laura is making some crunching noises. I don't think it's her necessarily but rather the needle trying not to break. Another problem that may be up and coming is the fact I'll have to put four layers of fabric through the machine tomorrow to piece the quilt together. Cross your fingers!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Project Completed

Here is my little wall hanging creation. It certainly brightens up the darkly trimmed kitchen and it's something different then what I usually create. I find that it's nice to be able to divert off into another realm rather then sticking to the worn-out route on occasion.

Overdoing during the weekend left me back on the couch for most of Sunday and part of yesterday. But then I picked myself up, dusted off my ever widening backside and got on with life. A cold can only keep me down for so long. If only I wasn't so dizzy with this one!

After I finally shook the cobwebs out of my head and started to function as a normal human again, I found the pattern for the Converse tennis shoes from the my last issue of Quiltmaker and started on my first square set. There are two squares in each set; one for a side view and the other square is a front view of each pair of tennies. They are foundation paper pieced and seemed to go together with just a little difficulty. I will try to complete a pair at least every other day or so.

I started cutting out the jeans material from the 17 pairs of jeans Jim and I picked up on Friday. Because of the size limitation and not wanting to waste much material, I'm making the squares 7" to start. I know this will end up into a smaller finished size, but I had so many pairs of jeans that would not yield an 8" square. It's a rag quilt so I don't think there are too many does and don'ts in them which is nice to begin with.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Sick, sick, sick

Okay, so I haven't been that sick, but still, sick is sick when you don't feel your usual self. I'm more of the suck-it-up and you'll-get-through-it type. However, when a pattern for a quilt is sick or my machine is sick, that's another story.

I purchased a lighthouse wallhanging pattern through Yardsellr.com and am disappointed in it. The directions are sketchy and very wordy and I'm having a hard time getting all the little tiny pieces to work. I think this is one for the scrap heap and I'll try to find a different lighthouse pattern somewhere else. I should have known better and did some more research before jumping in to purchase...but the price was right, yada, yada, yada. Today's motto: Live and learn.

The yo-yo's are coming along well. I used to work corporate and we used to use these little hole reinforcer thingies-they looked like little white donuts and they were used when a three-hole punched punch became ripped. In corporate we used to call them paper assholes. I have come to the conclusion that yo-yo's look like fabric assholes. See for yourself.

When the yo-yo's are made into a coverlet you don't see the little pucker-y end. That side goes down. But I'm making an eclectic wall hanging and some of these will be displayed with the pucker side out. I think I shall name the piece "Bear your best side". No? It's being done in purples and yellows in honor of my best friend in Arizona. This way she and I will be "together" when we can no longer be together.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cold Today!

It's kind of hard to work on the sunporch when the outside temps are hovering at around 40. This means the sunporch is hovering only a few degrees warmer making it hard to sew anything. I did manage to grab a few minutes out there sewing my second Craftsy BOM flower and bumblebee down. I hand sewed the honeycomb because I wanted it to actually puff up a bit making it appear more 3D-ish.

I don't know if I mentioned that I purchased a pattern for a lighthouse wallhanging a few months previously. I had a PayPal balance I needed to use and the lighthouse will fit perfectly in our bathroom. I began reading the instructions for it and started to make a few foundation paper patterns. The pattern actually wants me to freezer paper the design, but I would like to be consistent throughout and so will try a few blocks with the foundation method to check for accuracy.

I also cut out several more circles for my yo-yo wallhanging and then sewed six of them together while on the phone with Jim, who is on his way to Chicago today.

I also took a looksie at a Converse Shoe quilt pattern. This is also a foundation paper pieced design and thought of Ben right away (he nearly lives in his Chucks), but know that I can not make any more quilts for family members. I have to start selling these things...don't I? Maybe for his graduation gift if it doesn't sell in the next year? I know he'd love, love, love it!

For now, I'll head down to my fabric stash and start picking fabrics out for the lighthouse wall hanging. I should also take a look and plan my May Sunbonnet Sue while I'm down there. Hopefully tomorrow will bring warmer temps and a forward progression towards sewing.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Weekend

Didn't do much quilting on Friday since food shopping and preparations needed to be completed. After those tasks were indeed done as far as they could be until tomorrow, and before our son and my father arrived, I was able to get a Craftsy BOM block completed.

This month we utilized a method called English Paper Piecing. I have never attempted this previously, but truly enjoyed doing it! However, it is very time consuming. There is a lot of hand stitching done which I'm not very good at, but am getting better.

The second block is a challenge block, meaning our instructor, Amy, challenged us to come up with a block more in alignment with our quilt "theme". I am trying to get my head around something to do with bees. I think maybe I'll make a honeycomb (since honeycombs have six sides to them) and I'll applique a bee or two onto the rest of the block. Hmmm...my creative juices are starting to gurgle. This could be dangerous.

After Jim leaves tomorrow for his weekly work week, I'll be able to get back into my normal routine. Last week was a bit chunky since Caleb was on spring break, but it was great having him around to help out with fires and such (our temps have gotten back down to normal-50's in the daytime, 30's at night).

Thursday, April 5, 2012

First Rag Quilt

So, here it is. It turned out really cute and will make a nice baby quilt for somebody. Probably more towards a girl then a boy, but there are all those cute baby colors within it.

Completed my first of two Craftsy BOMs. We used hexagon shapes today and did a lot of hand stitching. I don't traditionally like to hand stitch anything because I'm not very good at it, but actually found this block enjoyable. It was very time consuming but it was worth it.

Also completed two pillow cases for our guild. We are donating them to the Eaton and Barry county CPS folks who currently pick up kids' toys and belongings in black plastic trash bags. The kids are traumatized enough and when they see the trash bags, feel like their belongings are being tossed away. The CPS department will be providing pillow cases to replace the trash bags. I'll take pics tomorrow and show you.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Craftsy Rocks!

I have mentioned in previous posts about a web site called Craftsy.com! Love, love, love it! I am taking a class with Jenny from Missouri Star Quilt Company through this site and she introduced a class that makes traditionally tough quilts into not-to-tough to make pieces. She is giving us about 10 quilts to complete throughout the class.

I started her class yesterday and my first nearly finished quilt is in the dryer "as we speak". I'll take pics tomorrow when I have daylight. The quilt is a Rag Quilt and can be done in flannels, denim, homespun fabrics, or anything else you have the desire to make look raggy. The first quilt I completed was done with what flannel fabrics I could come up with out of my stash. After sorting out pastels and brights, found that I was the least short in the pastels and needed to only purchase another three yards to make a complete quilt.

Since last night was guild night I thought it prudent to patronize the Hastings local fabric stores. They have two that I know of for sure, but Google says there are four. Two Sisters fabric shop had the three pastels colors I needed (mint green, light blue, and a light yellow) to make the quilt interesting and offered a 20% discount to guild members, which I did not even know. So bonus there!

The blocks are larger in size; 10 inches to start. A larger seam is taken because after piecing the top together you snip 1/2" cuts about 3/4" apart and then wash and dry the quilt to fray the edges of the unfinished seams. The quilt sure is soft, and like always, haven't really taken a look at it closely yet until photos are taken tomorrow. We shall see...stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Guild Day Today

Tonight is my quilt guild meeting and today during the day I think I'm going to take an on-line class from one of the Missouri Star Quilting Shop owners via Quilters Club of America. I also have my BOM from Craftsy and that's always fun to watch.


As I promised yesterday, here are my April wallhangings.

Monday, April 2, 2012

QM First Block

With the weather and Jim's new bizarre schedule it's been difficult to get some quilting in, but I think I have a handle on this. Maybe?

Received my first Quiltmaker test block for their 100 Blocks Volume 6 book assignment today and was able to squeeze that in. I can't publish any pics here because we are sworn to secrecy...well not really sworn, but kindly reminded not to share until the book is published next year.

But I can show you my April Sunbonnet Sue and fireplace wallhangings. I'll do that tomorrow. Don't you hate it when people keep you in suspense? Something like when people say, "I know something you don't know," and then they don't tell you. Ugh! Actually, the pics I got today aren't really that great since I forgot to snap them prior to hanging them up, so I'll wait for some good light tomorrow and get better ones.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

One our way again

Yesterday was spent applying the parts to the backgrounds for each monthly wall hanging. They'll hang around for a few days until the yucky weather arrives again.

Today I completed my guild block as well as the first of two Craftsy BOM blocks. I hope to complete the second tomorrow, but it seems rather difficult. It's a string quilt block, but has a few angels that I may not do so well at. We'll see.

It's weird having stuff on both floors of the house. I'm so used to having everything at my fingertips, but I'm getting my exercise running up and down stairs to fetch/complete items needed. Perhaps an extra ironing board and table may be of assistance on the sunporch. I'm certainly NOT going to haul all my fabrics up and down every six months so I'll have to continue some running I'm afraid.

Little Projects

Over the course of the last few days I've completed most of what was on my "to-do" list. I have my April Guild block completed, I completed the March Craftsy BOM's and the tops to the monthly wall hangings are completed and have to be quilted this upcoming week. I have also started and finished a really cute bag from Allpeoplequilt.com. Not normally a seamstress, I found that this project was easy to construct with pretty clear directions and was actually a pleasure to make.

April Wallhangings

So, here is the picture of the bag that I made last week. It turned out kinda cute.

The last few days have been spent appliqueing my April wallhanging and Sunbonnet Sue. I still need to whip stitch the binding on, but otherwise they are completed. Tomorrow is supposed to be a wet and cold day, so that sounds like the day to complete them.

Since we are nearing the end of the month, I'll have my Craftsy BOM to do next week. I'll probably continue on with my Timeless Treasure blocks since they will take quite a while to finish. The weather has turned colder again, so working outside is rather sporadic. I think I'll just stay in for a while since most of my outdoor chores for the spring have been completed and simply work on quilts.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Finally

I broke down and brought Laura upstairs-for now anyway. Colder weather is supposed to be heading our way so I may end up back downstairs, but for the time being I have her and my ironing board on the sun porch.

I started making my April fireplace wallhanging as well as my April Sunbonnet Sue. I have the backgrounds done for both and will continue with those tomorrow.

I also have a number of projects lined up or in progress actually. I am working on a yo-yo wallhanging type of thing and have about 10 of the 130 yo-yo's done. This will be a work in progress throughout the summer. No hurry here.

I  have a cute little purse/bag thing I'm going to try, and I have been selected to be on the Quiltmaker Test Block Team for the next issue of the 100 Block Volume 6 book. I still need to tackle my Craftsy BOM for March as well as my April block for the TRR guild. Good thing I'm all done working outside for a while!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Now it's been two...

...two full weeks without actually firing up my sewing machine? That's like 1/25th of my year. What's wrong with me?

It's called unseasonably warm weather and taking advantage of it! Because we have such a large yard and so many trees to clean up after it only makes sense to take advantage of the warm temps because I'm sure they won't be here very much longer. I've never seen such a weird winter (very mild with freeze/thaw cycles throughout) and now we have moved from winter to nearly summer literally overnight.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Still Nothing

Since the weather here in our great mitten state has been unseasonably warm (mid to upper 70's all week), I found the need to clean my yard rather then doing any quilting. It's amazing how, after even a mild winter, the amount of debris found in just the front yard alone that needed to be raked and hauled away. Our great red oak tree pooped a lot of sticks and bark this year, not to mention the acorns. Holy cow, the acorns!

The weather is supposed to hang in there for another week, and since my yard is divided into about seven sections, I don't see where I'm going to be getting Laura back out anytime soon. Unfortunately. I have three sections done, but still have the whole backyard to do and much of the west side. It's nice to look at during the summer and winter months, but fall and spring bring a LOT of work where they are concerned. Having this many trees/bushes/flowers/plants in a yard creates a lot of work. The upside. I'm losing all the winter pudge (again) as I work, work, work.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Has it really been a week?

Yup, it has been a whole week and I have only turned on my machine once and that was to sew a button on Ben's jacket prior to leaving for the funeral. Aren't funerals fun? Not really. I deal with death in a bizarre way. I laugh. Make jokes. Shed very few, if any tears. I make inappropriate comments. I usually make an enemy out of one or more family members because of my death dealing ways. <sigh>

But I pretty much remembered to stay to myself this time around. I have learned quickly from past experiences to just be there for the mourning and be myself around my immediate family who know how each of us deals with death...which for many, is laughter.

I can't believe the dearly departed wanted any more suffering then what they had to endure. So we carry on as best as we know how, and in this family it is with laughter.

I feel like I've let Laura down and sentenced her to death by not turning her on at all. I also neglected to cover her up or look in her direction while in the basement. We were so busy visiting, running, catching up, preparing, and being gone that she was left to her own corner peacefully.

So, we will carry on beginning tomorrow as always. My only problem is it's beginning to get spring-like around here and I've been cooped up just about too long this winter. My yard is a shambles and the gardens are even worse. I have to remember my summertime schedule and ease into that because I know colder weather will be here again before the warmer winds chase it away. Note to self...don't, don't, don't move the studio back onto the sunporch too soon (even though I'm dying to do that very thing right after I get done blogging). Humph. I need two machines. One for up here and one for down there. I do have two machines actually, but Husky is very stubborn and not particularly enjoyable to use. He is not trustworthy, and frankly I haven't turned him on in almost a year, so he may have decided to permanently retire just as Jim's uncle Don just did. RIP Uncle Don!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Stutter Steps

Isn't it funny how one event in your life can alter the routine so engrossed in our being? Jim's Uncle Don passed away Saturday night and since then, the house has been up and down with busy-ness. While I was only able to piece three blocks last night, and none the night before, I still have a nice little stack started down there.

Today won't be a very productive day either, if at all. Actually, this whole week won't see much sewing action since Teresa arrives in a short while from now. We have to pick up Christe at the Grand Rapids airport by 1:00 today and Jim's mom will be here tomorrow. The rest of the family arrives on Wednesday night or Thursday morning for a Thursday afternoon funeral and somewhere in all of this I have to run in and pick up Ben (Caleb has his state FFA convention on Wednesday through Friday, so he won't even be here since he's up for state officer). Meanwhile, Jim started his new job with Dollar General today driving for them and reluctantly will not be able to even make the funeral.

And, Jim mentioned last night that they may all stay down here until Saturday or Sunday to spend time together. I have a feeling Aunt Shirley and I are going to be going through a lot of coffee.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bargello Completed

I soooo want to put a picture up of how the top to this quilt turned out. It's soooo pretty and will look amazing in some little girls bedroom someday.

With that completed, I now have the task of finding a new project. The one I selected I'm going to call "Timeless Classic". It has 100 blocks and each block has 24 pieces to it. It's a combination of paper piecing, block piecing, and bordering all in one block. I found the original pattern in two of my really old Quiltmaker magazines (Numbers 69 and 71). The completed block looks like a sand timekeeper but really scrappy and bold.

I tried a test block last night and found it to be a rather long (time wise) process in completing the blocks, but I rather enjoyed it and it'll be a nice project to just jump into whenever I have a free amount of time...or if I just want to sit and quilt for the whole day or night. Whichever, it'll be a fun project. However, I'm going to keep you posted here on the progress so that I can keep an accurate time capsule of how long it actually takes me to complete the top. I'm guessing around a month. Place your bets!

Bargello

Today will be the day I finish my first full-sized Bargello. This particular quilt is done in a full color wheel of color and I think it is turning out well. Both the panels were cut and sewed on Monday evening. The strips were cut yesterday and about 1/3 of the quilt was pieced also. Caleb's band concert was last night so I was shorted on actual production time, therefore I should finish the top tonight.

Thinking about my next project is always on my mind so I'll work on that while I am sewing strips together.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Day Away

Saturday was not spent at my machine. Nor was Sunday. In fact, after our power outage on Friday night, I haven't been back to Laura at all. That's okay. Once in a while new artistic juices need to flow and there is nothing better then a trip to East Lansing and Lake Odessa to get some great ideas.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Power Outage

I'm in the ending of setting the applique pieces to Sunbonnet Sue and had just set down for a quick coffee break and a phone call to my hubby. Blink. No power. Great.

This is the second time this winter so I guess my goal of completing Sue will have to wait since today we are headed into East Lansing to visit with Ben and his girlfriend Alisha. It's her 21st.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Monthly Wallhangings

The little Irish Chain-type wall hanging was completed on Thursday night. It turned out really cute. Perhaps I should post pics of these...but then again, I don't like to post them up until they are finally final. Otherwise I get so confused about what I've snapped and what still needs to be taken care of, picture wise I mean.

The fireplace wall hanging was completed last night, or at least up until the binding having to be whip stitched. I'll start Sunbonnet Sue today and should be able to get her nearly done by tonight but I'm running into a batting issue.

I just watched a QNN video on batting and how to select the correct bat for the correct job. I have a few batting selections down there that I would just as soon pitch rather then use. I think today I'll quickly stitch up a doggie bed for Lily with what I don't want to use and fill it with all my fabric scraps too. I'll double layer for ease of wash. Meanwhile, I have a feeling I'm not going to find enough of my favorite batting to finish my wall hanging today. Who knows? Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Another Top Completed

So my Block Buffet top is completed. In order to enter the contest, I have to complete not only the top, but layer the quilt, quilt it, attached all applicable bindings and hanging sleeves, and then snap pics of it finished for submission. We'll have to go batting shopping this weekend to find a correct bat for it.

Meanwhile, a new little 40 or so inch wallhanging is in progress from Allpeoplequilt.com. It looks like an Irish chain-type of quilt, but each section showcases a color and pattern of fabric of your choosing. I cut all the pieces out last night and put it up on my pseudo design wall for perusal. I'm not sure about one of the corners...it seems dark to me, so I may rethink that section but I'm trying to go for a purple/yellow/turquoise/red type of color scheme.

Off I go!

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's Monday

Apparently my little dog finds it necessary to whine at all hours of the night. She has learned that by doing so, her owner (my youngest son) will let her out of her crate to sleep with him rather then listen to her whine. We recognized this over the weekend while the son was away at FFA state officer selection weekend. Needless to say, the son and I didn't get much sleep last night because the husband of this group insisted she stay in her crate and for us to not give in to her. He sleeps through anything. I obviously don't.

I'm grumpy today because of it and need to get downstairs to calm down with my sewing. The newest quilt pattern is not called Block Party but rather Block Buffet. I did complete my 12 set-in squares last night and also the four template blocks. The template blocks didn't come out as well as I would have liked despite my being ever so careful with them. I just think triangles and I need to come to some kind of understanding...either that or I need to purchase some spray starch to hold them better while sewing for more accurate seams.

Either way, more today.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fun-Filled Weekend

But not with my quilts, which is unusual! Caleb had a state FFA competition, so Friday evening was spent getting him clothes, dropping him off, and finally delivering that quickie bargello I created two weeks ago as a donation to local charity. We also went to a production given by the MSU Musical Arts department at the Warton Center. It was amazing!

Yesterday we found ourselves enjoying being "kid free" and did some shopping, visiting, and then home to begin a new quilt for a contest. It's called Block Party (I think) and it was a mystery block of the week thing that began last November. I failed to participate but once the clues were all out, found the quilt to be rather pleasing and decided with some prize initiative, to do the quilt after all. So it's my next project.

All the squares were cut last night and the first two sets of 9-patch blocks were made, as well as 2 of the 12 set-in square blocks. Tomorrow may be late in starting since we have to head back into Lansing to pick up the kid from state competition, drop some stuff off for the kid at state, and pick up our girl scout cookies. Yum!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Flutter-bye's


Here they are. What do you think? Did I do okay with the color constraints? I will be shipping this to Sherman, Texas tomorrow. Hurray

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fluttering Away

The butterfly quilt is nearly done. I'll spend today setting the binding and creating a name tag for it, but after a total of 31 hours, I'm ready for it to be loved in Texas!

With the added notions and embellishments I think it brought some zing to the empty spaces within the piece and something for Paisley to stare at while she's waiting for her sleepy mom and dad to get her out of her crib.

Pic will be on tomorrows post. I'm not feeling well today and so will probably just take it easy and bind this quilt and my name tag for the quilting guild. I've got it completed, but not bound up yet either.

Later...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Butterflies, Butterflies

My army girlfriend in Texas is a new grandmom. She has a beautiful little granddaughter who is simply, well, beautiful. And I don't usually say that about babies in general. You can say what you want, but truthfully, they aren't really that cute. However, this little girl is the exception; she truly is a cutie pie!

When Pat saw my latest Instant Bargello quilt on Facebook, she decided she needed me to make a quilted wallhanging for Paisley's room. I suggested a bunny, she suggest butterflies. The research was on.

I knew somewhere in all my magazines I remembered seeing a pattern for butterflies. The problem is, I have 10 years worth of magazines, and I currently subscribe to about 3 or so. Multiply that out and you have many, many magazines with which to search through for that "just right" quilt. 45 minutes later, Jim and I found it!

The challange: Paisley's room is done in pink, green, and grey. She has a white bedroom set so that gives me a little more leeway, but butterflies are supposed to be colorful, aren't they? I felt like Winnie the Pooh when he taps is noggin and mutters, "Think, think, think." How can I make this work? I love a challenge and set right in pulling and purchasing fabrics on Sunday and Monday.

Monday night everything was cut, and all the butterflies (11 of them) were assembled and put on the fabric wall. There was one butterfly that just wasn't flying right so he had to go and so 12 were actually made.

Tuesday was spent, ALL DAY embroidering antenna and flower stems. I mean nearly 8 hours of nothing but hand sewing. Considering I pretty much suck at needlework, that's a record for me at any race.

The quilt is a special quilt for a special family. This family opens their arms to us whenever we get together (which isn't that often, unfortunately). I love the fact that the extra two days I'm putting into it will be appreciated, but even more, loved!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Water Pools


My first attempt at circles. Up until the last two rows, it was going fine. And then the last two rows didn't seem to want to line up correctly and I had to fudge the assembly process. At any case, I guess it turned out okay. I like the colors, but then again, using batiks are easy breezy!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Table Runner


I'm not one for table runners. Quilters seem to like to make them, but in every house I've ever, and mean ever been to, I don't remember seeing a table runner on the table. So, why do we make them? Because they're generally a two-day project that enhances our quilting skills and gives us a break from the very much time consuming full sized quilt. I think.

When my McCalls Quilting magazine showed up last month (or thereabouts) I found a really cool table runner project to do. Again, I generally don't make these things as I feel they are pointless (except, I do have a table runner on my table), but liked the format in the way it's put together and may just repeat the process with a full-sized quilt if all goes well.

Yesterday was full of picking, sorting, cutting, and beginning sewing of the fabric...that's how detailed this runner is. Today I'll be sewing the more intricate aspects of it during the MSU basketball game (guys watch TV, I sew).

Here is a pic of yesterday's project.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Good Night!

I think I've entered into the age my father has talked about in the past. It's the age where we begin to slow down a bit, relish the simpler things in life, and hardly get a full nights sleep. Lately it's been the whining dog keeping me up, but last night, it was a combination of things. It seems like it doesn't take much to rouse me out of my slumber, unfortunately.

In the meantime, yesterday was a productive day with my string blocks. I completed 18 more, bringing the total count to 38. I'll need about 140 total to make a quilt, and after tomorrow, will probably put this project away for now and continue to add to it as my strings become available. I have diminished my strings considerably, and without becoming too repetitive, think it's a wise decision to put the continuous project away for now.

I found a "beginner" bargello-type pattern on line a few minutes ago, and think maybe I'll head that-a-way for a few days to see what I can do with it. It'll just be a wall hanging but it will introduce me to the bargello concept, which is this summer's "big" project for me coming up. I have fabrics up in my Connecting Threads cue so when funds are available, I'll be able to zip that on its way.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

String Quilt

Since I'm running seriously low on supplies around here, I have to channel my limited resources into something a little productive. I have so many end cuts stacked up (called strings) it was time to make another quilt out of them. Jim's sister Christe received one for Christmas this past year.

It's a no-brainer quilt and I can listen to music and let my mind wander while I'm creating something worthwhile.

I had my first quilting guild meeting last night with the Thornapple River Rippers in Hastings. What fun and great fellowship! The women there were all so friendly and helpful. With my annual membership I have access to wonderful monthly classes and get to make a cute name tag for subsequent meetings. I get to do this today using foundation paper piecing...my favorite!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Here it is. All done (okay, it's not all done, but the top is at least completed)! I'm not sure what I was thinking with my last post indicating I wouldn't finish the quilt until tomorrow because I knew it would be done today. Hmmm???

It turned out very long, so it will fit nicely on a twin bed.

On Point

When a quilt is not set in either a horizontal or vertical direction, but rather a diagonal direction, it's called setting "On Point". It requires setting triangles, rather then parking in square(ish) blocks to bring the quilt to a square(ish) size.

After last night, I think I need a tremendous amount of practice setting on point. While bringing the quilt to a close, and while trying to measure and add the three borders, found the quilt to be off over an inch from top to bottom. Jim was instrumental in helping me get the thing back in order, but a few of the blocks suffered because of my lack of squaring/planning.

The first one and a half sets of borders are on and tomorrow will bring yet another experience of putting blocks within the borders and trying to get them to come out right. I worry over this already.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Beyond the Block

This is a totally new quilt for me to conquer. After building a focus block the idea is to then build a set of "fillers" around the focus block until reaching the next focus block. Sometimes things don't always fit as planned...and sometimes they fit better then planned. In both cases, I'm finding I probably should have stayed more alert during my Geometry class in 10th grade because I can't seem to get angulation and setting square dimensions. Grrr!

But, the quilt is actually coming together okay. I'll see when I set the borders around the edge to see how well the quilt was squared and how much "repair" work I'll have to do to fix the measurements.

Meanwhile, yesterday, along with working on this new quilt type, I started attempting to build a web site-again. I have tried this two other times before and had very little success in my attempts. However, my father encouraged me once again to try and take a shot at it. I'm artistic after all and know how to manipulate computer "things", so I should be able to assemble a web site, right? More on that later.

Friday, February 3, 2012

New Beginnings

Wednesday night, I found myself in a quandary. What to do next?

I have plenty of fabrics in my stash, but nothing considerable of specificity. By this, I mean that I have lots on fabrics, but not much variety of any particular type. I have fabric in calico, batik, tone-on-tone, solid, flannel, strip, polka dot, and motif but nothing substantial in any of them. So, how does one start a quilt without current supplies (and for now, funds)?

Monday I received a book in the mail titled Beyond the Block. I received an advertisement in the mail a few weeks ago about joining the AQS and a page from this book was featured in the glossy advertisement. I had to make the quilt in the picture. It was just one of those "gotta" things we sometimes have to do. I promptly rushed over to my computer to order the book.

E-Bay sellers were getting $999.99 for the book I was in search of purchasing. I thought, 'no way'! Amazon...same thing. What? For a book that was published six years ago? What the heck?

I finally found the book at a reasonable price out there from some cut-rate seller and paid under $40 total with shipping. I ordered it on January 4th; this is what I mean about a cut-rate seller because the book took almost a month to get here. I think they sent it via mule or something, but finally, it showed up along with another book I ordered last week titled Fabric Books.

I took at look at both books and started with the fabric book book (that sounds funny) first. I made our grandnephew a book on Thursday night and still had some time to work on another project so I started to study my new Beyond the Block book. WOW!!!! I'm hooked. More on this later but since Thursday night, this is what I've been up to.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Feeling Blue



It's funny how I feel so blue after finishing a quilt top. The end has arrived and you would figure I'd be elated to begin a new project. However, I feel like a dear friend and I have parted ways for a bit until we can begin again into the quilting process.

The Heritage Stars top is completed and with it begins planning for the next project. I have several different ways I would like to head, but with supplies being what they are currently, have limited options.

So the search begins. I have received a number of my bi-monthly and monthly magazines over the past week and have found several projects that peak my interest. I will narrow them down with the "Oh" and "Ah" factor and then see what fabrics I have available to make the final selection.

Meanwhile, here are a few shots of the new friend I created.

Monday, January 30, 2012

It's Monday...again!

I hadn't planned on doing much quilting yesterday, but found myself with some extra time in the evening and decided to sew the three large blocks together I had cut out the night before. They were just begging to be done on my planning table. I then sewed the two little and three big blocks together to see what they looked like.

That wasn't enough to do, so I picked out and cut the remaining two small blocks and one big block in that column out last night and marked those up so their ready to sew tomorrow as well. I could have done more, but even God took a day off to rest once in a while. :-)

Sunday, January 29, 2012




Only two small blocks completed yesterday because we went to visit my mom in the afternoon...which is about the time I work on quilts. I did get three of the larger blocks cut out to work on again probably Monday.

Today was spent binding the two monthly wall hangings I
do as well as the annual DeGroot Reunion wall hanging that will be offered in July for the White Elephant auction. I hope everybody likes it!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Half-Way

I have now completed half of the quilt top to Heritage Stars. It's turning out so nice and I feel like I'm falling in love (again). This one may be hard to part with. I'll get pics up later so you can see what I'm talking about.

Meanwhile, I have found an amazing sight to take quilting classes without having to drive and spend money on gas and lunches. I can take them from the comfort of my own home and the instructors are amazing! It's called Craftsy and the classes are relatively inexpensive.

I started one yesterday on a new foundation paper piecing technique and the cost was $30. This morning I found a class for the block of the month, where we'll be making two blocks each month with a finished 20-block quilt by Christmas. This particular class was free! Imagine, two classes worth something for $30. I would have burned that up in my truck alone just going to Lansing. Ya gotta love technology!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

1/3 of the Way

I can't tell you how much I love doing this quilt. Each block is a new experience in color/value and cutting. I have the first 14 small squares done, four big squares (which also have a small square in the middle) and then the only small/tiny square is completed as well.

I couldn't just leave everything on my piecing table before going to bed so I had to put all the blocks together--of course! It looks really good!!! I'm a bit concerned about all the seams and how the blocks are not laying very flat, but then again, I haven't steam pressed it and it's only 1/3 of the way done, so I have to remember that's why.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday? Already?

I can't believe it's already Thursday. It's nice having one of the boys home during the week to throw off your schedule (like mines so packed...really). But Caleb had Monday off as a records day and that will throw anybody off.

Wednesday I spent working on my February Sunbonnet Sue. She's so cute heading out to mail her Valentine's Day card in the mailbox, so the two monthly quilts are nearly done. I need a whip-stitch-binding-day because now I have three down there to do.

I did decide on my next project. It's called Heritage Starts published in the latest McCalls Quilting magazine. It's a combination of scraps and stars and should turn out very well. As I always do, I ran a test block on Wednesday night just to see how the measurements worked out and to see if it was going to be a fun quilt to make. I'm in love!!

This quilt is made up of 52 6" blocks and 10 or so 12" blocks. They are various colored stars and I am using (again) some of my scraps left over from previous quilts. The problem about using the ones in my "16-cube" section of fabrics is there isn't enough fabric to make into the pieces needed. Therefore, I'm having to work my way down into my other fabrics, which is okay because I love to delve into new designs.

Yesterday I completed the first column of the quilt which included 10 of the small squares and then did a test run on the first large star. It actually went very well and so then on to more today.

Unlike previous quilt making processes, this quilt is being put together one block at a time rather then the usual "assembly line" method. It's nice to take my time and just savor each block, it's colors and the creation process!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Well, Second Floor Walk-Up is completed...as far as the top is concerned. I am a bit disappointed on how it turned out. I feel like it's not as bright and cheery as the initial pattern I followed or like the picture shown in the magazine. On to other things I guess.

This is the block for my quilt guild for February. Pink will be the color of the month and so I completed this task while I had the chance.
The next few days will be taken to complete my two monthly wall hangings. Yesterday (after I put tother Second Floor Walk-Up and constructed my guild block) I was able to actually piece all of the fireplace wallhanging before shutting Laura down for the night. It turned out really cute and will get pics when the binding is completed. Until later...


Monday, January 23, 2012

How Time Flies

It's already Monday? Isn't it funny when even during the winter doldrums I find much to do during my day. Although my days are not as nearly harried as they used to be, it's a different kind of "stuff to do" now that occupies my time.

Saturday we broke down and went and saw War Horse, which was a very good movie despite it being wartime because it had my second passion in it...horses.

Sunday I had not planned on working on any quilting (we had to go and get some food for the teenager to eat), but after getting our groceries in, eating lunch (very late), and then watching our Sunday movie (Dolphin Tale...which was another very good movie), I still had an early evening and night to do something more productive then watching movies.

The second half of the blocks for that quilt were completed! Wow...that was quick! I love easy quilts like this. It'll be interesting to see if my fabric substitutions worked or whether I still need color venue education. Tomorrow will tell.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Project


This is what I started working on yesterday. It will probably only take a few days to complete this very simple quilt top but it will be a welcome change from the intricate work I have been tackling.

Somewhere in the next week I need to work on my monthly wall hangings. These include one that hangs on the side of our fireplace just as you would walk in our front door, and the other is a Sunnbonnet Sue depicting appropriate attire and surroundings for each month of the year. They are a nice diversion from making larger quilts that take up so much time.

Meanwhile, Jim is taking me to go see War Horse today and then off to the grocery store.

Friday, January 20, 2012

On to the next phase

It doesn't look like it, but these three borders were a lot of work! It, surprisingly, took me all night to get them on. I felt like I was making excellent progress early on in my evening, but then became halted somewhat when my husband Jim and I ended up getting into a rather in-depth conversation about something totally unrelated to quilting. Doesn't he know that from 2-10 p.m. we just talk quilting? Silly man!

But they're on and the top is folded and put away until I can quilt it. There are a few reasons why it won't be quilted right away, but I'll spare you the gory details and move along to my next endeavor.

While I was pretty much set on doing the "Hip to be Square" pattern, my new McCall's Quilting magazine came a few days ago. I have been working on a mystery quilt with the bi-monthly publication and step 2 is in the current issue. I need to complete that first. Then, there is a really simply, yet very colorful scrappy quilt that I just HAVE to make! I don't recall the name right now, but it has something to do with walking up to the second story. More later!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Progress



The first item of business yesterday was to complete my January Guild block. I decided on a dark blue and white the previous day and had already cut those pieces out. I then constructed the first picture above for my January block. On to the quilt.

I laid everything out on the floor (after I swept and washed it) and found this pattern to be very undemanding. I only had to fix a few glaring errors, and I had to actually construct an additional block because somewhere I lost count. That happens, A LOT! With all the blocks set in a way that I liked, I re-piled them up so that I could keep track of what order to sew them together.

I got on such a roll that after getting the 14 rows together fairly quickly I had enough time (and energy) to actually get the quilt top completed. Well, at least the bulk of it completed. The two pics above show the top as of last night, and a closer look at one of the finished blocks.

The next step is the borders. I don't know if I'm going to add two or three. I will be putting a thin, neutral colored border around the quilt to "close it in". The borders are supposed to create the finality of the quilt and where it ends in its design. The second border will be the flying geese units with a 2" block on either end. After that, I may attach an additional wider neutral colored border. We'll see?!?