Sunday, March 31, 2013

NewFO Projects - March Edition

I can see right now that the pace of NewFo's actually being completed is going to go by the wayside if this warm spring weather continues!  It's time for planting, weeding, pruning, and generally being outside every gorgeous minute we can!

I did manage to bring one NewFO to completion yesterday, this little baby quilt that will go in the donation pile at the upcoming Piecemakers guild meeting.

I had the urge to quilt feathers since it had been a couple months since I last practiced them.   A lot of fun, though it is amazing how a lack of practice slows one's progression around the borders!  I definitely need to keep working on making the continuous design more smooth.  Quilting was done with Aurifil 50 wt. white thread throughout and I pieced the batting from my stash of light-weight poly.  Here are a couple close up shots and one of the back, which I love as much as the front of this quilt!  The backing is a vintage print on a very fine fabric.  Very delicate and perfect for a little baby girl.  Luckily there are at least three more yards of this fabric in my stash for future projects!

Another sort-of NewFO for the year is the Tropical Sunrise quilt.  I actually had the top and back pieced nearly two years ago, but getting it out again this month and starting the FMQ it almost seems like a new project.  It's coming along slowly but surely.  A few issues with quilting the left-hand sides of the feather fronds.  I'm almost sure it's operator rather than machine problems, something about the reverse movement of the hands is causing the top thread to shred, most annoying.  Changing needles and rethreading the machine has not changed anything, and I'm able to quilt the other side totally without issues, so I'm pretty sure the problem is self-inflicted.  Anyway, here is the most recent photo of that project.

So, that's about it for March.  I'll be linking up with Smitty this month at the Cat Patches Linky Party, so head on over and check out all the other "March MewFO"  projects by clicking here.

Wishing everyone a beautiful Resurrection Sunday!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mail Call!

Late in January I learned that my name had been drawn for one of the grand prizes for SewCalGal's 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge.  Late today the UPS truck came lumbering up the driveway, and lo and behold a box from June Tailor, Inc. containing these goodies was placed in my hands!
The Shape Cut and Twist 'n Stitch rulers look especially intriguing as I've not used a slotted ruler previously.  I just finished watching June Tailor's demo video for the Shape Cut on their website, and this tool looks like it will be extremely useful for a variety of cutting jobs, especially strippy scrappy quilts.  I can see using the continuous line quilting templates especially for some of the baby donation quilts our guild makes each month.  Thanks so much to SewCalGal and to June Tailor for this great prize package!

On the sewing front, I took a break from the Tropical Sunrise quilt to do some freehand FMQ on my current donation quilt.  The FMQ was completed yesterday and now the quilt has been squared and binding attached to the front, with hand stitching the back of the binding to begin later this morning.
Here's what it looked like directly after FMQ before the edges were squared and trimmed.
And the back.  I think the continuous feather border is a bit more visible on this side.

Today it's back to Tropical Sunrise and quilting what seems like hundreds of free motion ferns, and in the evening hand quilting continues on the setting triangles on the Biblical Blocks quilt.

Last, but certainly not least, there are just a few more days left to help support Pam Stahl's efforts to raise funds for the Blood-Water Mission to build a well in an African village that will supply clean pure drinking water to people who have never known that luxury.  Your donation will also give you a chance to win a gorgeous king-size quilt created and hand quilted by Pam!  You can read the story of her Living Water Quilt by clicking on the link in the sidebar to the right.    The drawing takes place on Easter Sunday.    As Pam said in her last blog post, the quilt is just a prop.  But, wouldn't it be a wonderful thing if the winner(s) of the Living Water Quilt allowed it to warm their home for a time and then continued its story by adding another chapter, a new mission and sending it forward to begin again, and then again.   The possibilities are endless, and this intrigues me.   Quilters can dream.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring Cleaning

This has been a week of catching up on a lot of those nagging 'gotta do' chores, you know the ones - taxes, laundry, grocery shopping, and this:
Yep, it's time for spring cleaning!  This is the cat who attacks whenever I try to brush her with a regular grooming brush, but here she sits and loves being vacuumed!
The ears only went back when she saw the camera - she hates the pre-flash.  However, not enough to leave the couch and her weekly defurring session!

On the sewing front, during breaks from tax return prep earlier this week, I found this sweet vintage animal fabric in my stash.  I think it was part of a bundle received from a retired schoolteacher friend a few years back.
I bordered each block with a tiny raspberry Cranston Mills print, also a vintage 1980s(?) piece.  Only having a fat quarter of this fabric dictated the size and number of blocks for this little baby quilt.
Here it is with borders added.
This is now layered and pinned and awaiting a turn to be quilted on the Janome.  I may take a break from quilting the Tropical Sunrise quilt to do some FMQ on this one so I can get it bound and ready for donation at our next guild meeting.

Weather continues in typical March fashion around here, blustery, downpours, hailstorms, and those all-too few sun-breaks.  The cold will hopefully deter the fruit trees and blueberry bushes from blooming prematurely.  We definitely could use more than four plums on our tree this August!

I see this little blog is fast approaching 100 followers.  When that day comes, we will celebrate with a giveaway!     My first blog-iversary is coming up in May, which definitely calls for another celebration giveaway.  

And that's the news from our little hillside home in the west.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Test post - trying to set up Bloglovin to replace Google Reader when that goes away.  I'm getting too old for this stuff ... sigh

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Happy International Quilters Day!

I hope you're having a great quilting day.  Since the rain is pouring down here, there's no earthly reason to go outside (unless of course my wonderful mail lady delivers a package up the hill to our door).  So, it's a guilt-free quilting day, all day long, since there's crockpot chili leftovers for dinner!

Here's what I've been working on today - the free motion quilting of the first couple of blocks on the Tropical Sunrise quilt.
Finally getting the hang of quilting this motif after numerous drawing and practice attempts.  I'm absolutely loving the way this Aurifil variegated thread is picking up the hues of the surrounding batiks and warming up the black areas!  I'm using color 4150 in the 50/2 weight for the quilt top and color 2370 for the back which blends in perfectly with the more neutral gray-green and brown batik of my backing fabric.  Another photo in slightly different lighting:
This quilt is going to take awhile to complete the FMQ, good thing it has so many luscious colors to look at the entire time!  Better yet, I think there are enough leftover pieces to make another smaller lap or twin size quilt for me!

Back to the machine for another round.  Tonight will be hand quilting time on the Biblical Blocks quilt while we watch another old movie.  Last night was Fried Green Tomatoes - one of my favorites.  Hope you're having a lovely colorful quilty kind of day!

Friday, March 15, 2013

And the Winner is ...

First I'd like to thank all who read and commented on my blog post for Quilt Gallery's Quilters Blog Hop with Giveaways.  I've met lots of new-to-me bloggers over the past week and it has been great fun.  Thanks also to those who chose to follow my little blog.

Being a rather low-tech kind of gal, I employed my personal random number generator, aka hubby, to choose two numbers, just in case his first number turned out to be a no-reply blogger person.  And his first number was 47 which just happens to be:
Mary-Kay has already responded to my email, and I've learned that she loves hand applique, so I will choose a vintage magazine with that in mind to add to her prize book package.

Thanks again to everyone who commented!   I'll be hosting another giveaway in May when I celebrate yet another year of life as well as my first blogiversary.  Now, off to the sewing room to celebrate National Quilting Weekend appropriately!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Signature Friendship Quilts

As mentioned in my last post, our program at Monday's meeting of Piecemakers Guild was a presentation of antique and vintage signature quilts by quilter and teacher Peggy Gelbrich whose website is Yellow House Quilter.  Peggy has had quilts published in Quilters Newsletter and Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting, as well as having been nominated for Teacher of the Year for Professional Quilter magazine.

Peggy's long-time interest in the history and significance of signature quilts in the lives of our foremothers has led her to collect a wide variety of these quilts and to research their origins. Also known as friendship quilts,  I believe the earliest one in her collection dated to the mid 1850s.  She graciously allowed me to share some of my photographs of her quilts here.  I was so busy trying to capture images of these quilts that I didn't take notes of her comments regarding individual quilts, so without further ado, enjoy the beauty and occasional humor of these wonderful examples.

Each of the embroidered wheels in the example above contains sixteen signatures between the spokes!  Although the entire quilt is not pictured, it appears there are well over 700 signatures on this early quilt!

Peggy traced the applique outlines of the above quilt and is currently creating a reproduction.  Note the faded areas where the colors now appear brown or tan.

 This sampler quilt had a couple of independent-minded stitchers - note the deviation from the conventional white background on two of the blocks!

A delightful modern signature quilt Peggy received several years ago from a group of friends, the signatures appear on the free-floating teabag tags.  Note also the free motion quilted cup and saucer in the top row.
A beautiful embroidered example, and my very favorite block (of course!) shown below.

Peggy made available a handout containing books and articles about signature quilts.  Among these are two books by Linda Otto Lipsett that are in my collection:  Remember Me, Women & Their Friendship Quilts and Pieced from Ellen's Quilt.  Both are excellent reads for anyone who loves the history of early quilts.  A third book also by Linda Otto Lipsett that also contains several friendship quilts, along with patterns for some of them, is To Love & To Cherish: Brides Remembered.   

We all enjoyed a delightful afternoon surrounded by these quilted treasures.  You can see a gallery of Peggy's quilts as well as patterns she has available and her workshops by visiting Yellow House Quilter.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Monday Meanderings

First, a quick welcome to my new followers, and if you are looking for the Quilters Blog Hop and Giveaway post, you can find it here.

Yesterday was another busy day.  Barbara, who writes the Cat Patches blog, and I met up for lunch, followed by a quick visit to our LQS which is handily right across the street from the little diner, then off to the monthly Piecemakers Guild meeting.   I did complete the block of the month, which is called Farm Friendliness (though I have no idea why), and here it is:
This block will eventually become part of a baby quilt to be donated through the guild to our local hospital's layette project.
Speaking of the layette project, here are just a few of the baby quilts donated by the guild members this month: 

Unfortunately I didn't start photographing until more than halfway through the show-and-tell for these quilts, and let me tell you, it's almost impossible to get these ladies to stand still long enough to get a clear shot of their creations.  This small group of ladies donates on average about 15 handmade quilts, 5-8 afghans, several receiving blankets as well as gowns and onesies each month.   The quilt shown in my February NewFO post was also donated this month.

During show-and-tell, Barbara shared with the group the story of her recently completed Two Grandmothers Quilt.  Friends, this quilt is truly amazing seen up close and personal, and Barbara's free motion quilting is absolutely perfect for this heirloom quilt.   If you haven't read the story of this quilt, you can find out more by clicking the link above, and here is a photo taken while she shared the story with the group.

Our program for this month was a presentation on the history and tradition of signature quilts, their meaning to those who made them, and the special significance they held for the person who received these gifts of love and friendship.  I'm awaiting a call back from the presenter and hope to have her permission to feature a few of the photos of the signature quilts shown as part of this program in an upcoming post.

Monday's mail also brought a package containing these wonderful folk-art shamrocks won during a recent giveaway, created by Cherry at Cherry's Prairie Primitives.
These would look great propped in a wooden bowl or basket, but I'm thinking of attaching them to a natural linen cord and hanging them as a group next to my kitchen entryway.   So seasonal, and my Dad would have loved these - St. Patricks Day was his favorite holiday.   Thanks so much Cherry!

Today is thankfully a stay-at-home day and I hope to finally complete all the ditch quilting on Tropical Sunrise and maybe even start the free motion quilting, as well as getting more hand quilting done on the Biblical Blocks quilt.  I can finally see the end in sight for this latter quilt - and I do mean finally - it's been sixteen years in the making.  It WILL be done this year, one way or another.  There, I've made the commitment - maybe I should have done that fifteen years ago, what do you think?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Party On!


Today's the day for the Quilter's Blog Hop Party with Give-A-Ways hosted by Quilting Gallery

Beat the Winter Blues - Quilters' Blog Hop Party 
 For my giveaway I've chosen a great book by Don Linn titled Sophisticated Stitches, Designs for Quilting, Applique, Sashiko & Embroidery.  In this book Don shares 66 new stylized quilting motifs and a unique method for transferring a design to your quilting surface without the need to cut templates.  I first learned about this method while participating in SewCalGal's Free Motion Quilt Challenge last year (link in sidebar to the right).  Don Linn was our guest tutorial expert during the month of April 2012, and taught this design transfer method, which I've found to be very useful.

For the lucky winner I'll also include one or two of the vintage quilting magazines from my collection, most dating back to the 1980s and early 1990s.  I'll be choosing these based upon your individual comments, so be sure to tell me something about what type of quilts you most love to create.

Please be sure that you're not a "no-reply blogger" before leaving your comment, or that you include your email address within your comment.  Followers of this blog, both new and long-standing, are welcome to leave a second comment.   This giveaway is open to anyone with a United States mailing address.
Giveaway will be open until March 14 at 8 p.m. PDT, and I'll announce the winner on March 15.
So, leave a comment (or two) and then head back over to Quilting Gallery and check out the rest of the party hopping blogs!