Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A December Finish and Soft Packages

Late this afternoon the last stitch was put in the grandson's Christmas quilt - yay! So happy to have this one out of the way so other holiday preparations can begin.  So, without further ado, here are the finish photos, very hastily shot while our new four-legged friend was outside briefly. 

The front
The back

This was free motion quilted with a fairly large meander leaving the quilt nice and soft. I used a variegated thread in the bright border and then in the outer border repeated the variegated thread but used the even feed foot and my machine's serpentine stitch.
Finally found a great use for this variegated thread!

I was about finished photographing the back when in bounded this guy heading straight for the quilt (of course)!
The only in-focus shot of the whirling dirvish!

We're having to watch him like a hawk as he can find more stuff to get into the minute we look away.  Pretty much like having an inquisitive toddler in the house, but there's been a lot more laughter around here these last couple weeks so it's all good. We have decided that the Christmas tree will need to be a table-top one this year for obvious reasons!

In today's mail was one of those small squishy packages that we quilters so love to see, and this one was the result of having won a recent giveaway from Barbara Woods - this sweet gathering of fat quarters! Thank you so much Barbara!

Keeping those in the path of the raging fires in California as well as all the firefighters in our prayers tonight.  

The last major finish of 2017

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Post-Thanksgiving Rush

Just a quick update for those of you who read to the end of the last post and were left in suspense.  Cliffhanger is over - on Saturday we adopted Gibbs!

If we had adopted his sister, we would have a Ziva (our names).  As you can see it was a tough choice ... and they weren't making it any easier!

They are six months old and full of energy. I think the decision was made after we watched "Ziva" happen to look up and spot a ceiling fan and immediately launching herself skyward in an attempt to reach the pull chain! I think that amount of energy would doubtless put us over the top, though her brother is no slouch in the energy department either. We definitely have our work cut out for us!

Who, me?

Needless to say not much has been accomplished on the quilting front over the last few days. I did manage to cut the binding for the remaining hexi table toppers as well as the grandson's Christmas gift quilt, and began quilting said quilt, in a very large and somewhat weird looking meander. I was attempting to avoid stitching over people's faces in the panel, and my machine always hangs up on the seams if I've pieced the back of a quilt top. This only happens with the free motion foot, using the even feed foot for ditch or straight line quilting presents no issue.  At any rate, I doubt a 4-year-old will care much what the meanders look like as long as his beloved Star Wars heroes are on his quilt.
So, my goals for December are to finish this quilt and have it wrapped and under the tree when the family arrives on Christmas Eve. And, there are 4 or 5 hexie table toppers that need their binding sewn on as they are gifts for more distant family members. Then we'll concentrate on doing some training of our new furry toddler, wrapping gifts, and hopefully even getting a bit of holiday baking done ahead of time.  And a tree, there needs to be a tree with grandkids here! There are also 10 family members with birthdays in December and January! Busy, happy times.

From our little corner of the world to yours, wishing you a happy, and healthy week ahead!

p.s.  The kitchen and dining room are painted with everything put back in place just in time for the new arrival!  I'm awfully thankful to not be dealing with paint cans and trays this week!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Another gift quilt in the rough

In an earlier post a couple weeks ago I wondered if it was possible to pull off another bed size finish for a Christmas gift - this year - yes, insanity I know.  But pedal to the metal, here is the beginning of said quilt, now a completed top and a completed pieced back (Or maybe he'll decide that's the front, my grandkids have been known to do just that!). 

The top (I think!)

and the back

And here's a close-up of the back showing that little sashing cornerstone fabric that I fell in love with.

I had enough of this fabric for the entire back, but figured it was a little bit dated for a modern 4-year-old Star Wars fan!   I just love it though, and I'm sure the remainder will find its way onto the back of another quilt in the not-too-distant future.  It's a Riley Blake Design from 2014 called Rocket Age by October Afternoon.  Pretty cool huh, especially for those of us of a certain age who remember things like 'decoder rings'!

So, this afternoon the batting was cut to size, and I'll get this layered and pinned on Tuesday morning at quilt group when I have access to the big tables, then on to some simple machine quilting.   The quilt top measures 62 by 75 inches, a substantial twin bed size. 

Tonight's task though is cutting binding for this, plus the five hexie table toppers awaiting a finish for Christmas gifts.  It's going to be a busy month, especially if some pending big news becomes reality, details in a week or so.   Oh, and I need to finish painting the kitchen and dining room before next weekend!  Whew!

A blessed and safe Thanksgiving holiday to all!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Meanwhile on the Design Wall

These are hst blocks stitched together during our quilt group this week, slapped up on the design wall, to see if this potential layout would work for a wheelchair-size quilt. 
Only two more hst's needed to complete this layout!

These are all from scraps donated a year or so ago, from which we've made several quilts so far, and the pile seems never-ending.  We received them as 6-1/2 inch (more or less) squares all pinned together but mostly not sewn, into nine large quilts!!  After unpinning and working with the fairly wonky squares for a few of our first donation quilts, we decided to trim the remainder into uniform squares, either 6-1/2 or 5-1/2 inch, depending on their original size.  I'm thinking this layout with the addition of two more blocks will make approximately a 45x45 inch quilt, just about perfect for the nursing home request.  There are several more that can be made from the remainder of the squares, perhaps next year.

Snow in the forecast for tonight, as well as this weekend. So, between painting the kitchen ceiling and walls and working on yet another quilt destined to be a Christmas gift, I won't mind a bit being inside out of the cold!  And hopefully, I'll have both the top and back flimsies completed to show you in the next couple days.  Yes, this quilt will have a pieced back too.  Crazy I know, at this time of year, but you work with what you have for the situation at hand!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

November Finishes!

Wowzers, three finishes in less than two weeks?  Unheard of around here, until now that is.

I stayed up late Monday evening sewing the binding onto these two quilts.  You've seen the in-progress tops before, but here they are, all quilted, bound, washed and fluffed. These two are both destined for our local nursing home as part of our quilt ministry.  So, drumroll ...

First up, the Bow-tie Quilt, made up of vintage scraps from the quilt ministry's stash:

Machine quilted simply, ditch stitching all vertical and horizontal seams, that's all it seemed to need.
A closer look

And the fun vintage men's shirt quilt pieced over the summer, again with pieces from our ministry stash:

This too was machine quilted, ditching ESS (every-stinking-seam), then a serpentine stitch diagonally through all the triangles, the quilting may show up a bit better in this shot.

In some ways, my favorite part of this quilt is the back, an older piece of very soft batik, that was gifted to me when I retired from a co-worker who was downsizing her stash in preparation for moving to a much smaller home. I've wondered for years what I was going to do with this batik, given the design, which actually appears in reverse at the opposite end of the piece. I had to piece the side borders to give it the needed width, but still have a good size chunk of the fabric left.
I wondered if there is any special significance to the design/emblem? If anyone knows, please let me know!  

While I hated to cut up the piece, it makes for a wonderfully soft and cozy backing for this quilt! Here's a slightly closer view that may show the quilting a bit more. 

I wish I could say that I'm on a roll and there will be more November finishes, though in all likelihood if there are any they will just be those hexie table-toppers that are sitting patiently, all layered and pinned and awaiting their turn under the needle. But that's OK, I'm pleased to have these two finished and on their way to their new home. These are number 7 and 8 on the Opportunity Quilts side of my 17 in 2017 scoresheet. Don't ask how the other side is coming along ...

A bone-chilling 17 degrees here this morning, and the ground was pure white with heavy frost. A sign of things to come, I'm sure.

Monday, October 30, 2017

October Finishes - Yay, there are Some!

So happy to report that the Quilt for Which I (still) Have No Name is finished!  All bound, washed, and photographed for posterity, since it will soon become a Christmas gift for my son and DIL.  I'm quite sure they are not even aware of my blog much less read it, so I can show a few photos of this latest finish now.  My husband really likes this one and not-so-secretly is hoping they won't like it so he can keep it. I can guarantee that won't be happening, but the batik tote remains nearly full, so he can hope another one rolls off the finish line - someday.

While it was still having the binding stitched to the back, we had what appeared to be our last nice, warm and nearly sunny day for the fall, so the quilt was scooped up for an early morning outside session just as the sun began rising over the hilltop behind the house.

That proved to be a good decision since now that the quilt is completely bound and washed, our weather has turned absolutely awful, with over 3 inches of rain in the past 24 hours and several more inches expected, plus high winds, and the possibility of snow tomorrow here in the higher elevations of western New York.
Some photos taken inside after washing and drying:

After ditch quilting all the blocks, I quilted an all-over meandering leaf design except on the borders.  I do like the overall texture this design imparts without the quilt looking overly-quilted and becoming stiff.  I used my Janome 7700 for all the quilting, and Aurifil 50 wt. thread was used throughout. The batting is Hobbs 80/20 cotton/poly blend - my favorite for bed quilts.

I made a first attempt at Lori Kennedy's feathered leaf fmq design after watching her demonstrate it on a recent episode of Sewing with Nancy.  It looked like it would be fairly easy to do, and it was, once I had drawn lines to mark off the beginning and end of each unit. Although Lori's feathered leaves look way more relaxed and natural than mine!  Oh well, maybe the next attempt will be better?!

One last look at the completed quilt, laid out on the guest bed to finish drying.  The top measured 91 inches square before quilting.  The batting was pre-rinsed and dried on low heat in an effort to minimize shrinkage in the final quilt.  After quilting and washing, the quilt now measures about 88 inches square.

One more small finish for last week - the first of the hexie table toppers, very simply machine quilted with straight lines and bound, and already gifted over the weekend.

The second-youngest grandson recently turned 4 years old and I have yet to make him his big-boy bed quilt.  Pondering whether I can pull that off before Christmas.  Time will tell!  Happy Monday, and I hope the weather is better in your neck of the woods.