Tuesday, April 30, 2013

One Lonely April NewFO

 I can hardly believe April has come and gone so quickly, but here it is, NewFO link-up day again!  Barbara at Cat Patches hosts the monthly NewFO Challenge where the only requirement to enter is that you start something that month - doesn't matter if you finish it - ever!

Well, I'm here to tell you, wrestling a heavy extra-large queen size quilt through my machine took up most of the month, and it's still ongoing.  I'm finally at the point of finishing off the setting triangle blocks on Tropical Sunrise and hope to begin the outer borders by Friday at the latest!  While I had hoped to have this one completely finished by today, we're now looking at the end of May, especially with the warm sunny weather forecast for western Oregon for the next few days.  So much to do outside, and still I'd rather be quilting ...

So, early this month I was the lucky winner of a layer cake of Berenstain Bears prints, and did manage to start the first of two planned baby quilt tops from these fabrics.  So far there is this pile of pinwheel blocks to show for my effort, along with another pile of strips and squares waiting to be stitched up.
I'm using all the pastel prints for the first quilt top and there should be enough of the primary color fabric pieces to make a second top later this summer. 

There has also been a bit of progress on the Betsy's Closet embroidery quilt.   The second block is finished and the third about half-way along.
I'm not too pleased with the way the bow under the collar looks with the two colors called for in the pattern, and plan to rip out the darker threads and redo the bow in one color, possibly filling it in with a satin stitch.

So, if you haven't joined the NewFO monthly party link-up yet, why not head over to Cat Patches to see what everyone else has been up to and then join us!    It's easy, it's fun, and best of all, there's no pressure!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Quilt Show Lovelies

On Thursday, Barbara from Cat Patches and I drove to Rickreall, Oregon to attend the biennial Mid-Valley Quilt Guild Show, and we were not disappointed!  I was especially hoping to find some wonderful hand quilted examples, and there were an abundance on display, especially in the mid to large size range.  Here are just a few of my favorites.  You should be able to click on the photos for a larger view.

The quilt receiving ribbons for best hand quilting was this snow-white whole cloth bed size quilt, shown below.  Each block featured a different traditional design.  The side borders were quilted in simple channel lines about two inches apart, to further highlight the center blocks. 
I actually liked the reverse side of the quilt best, and thought the muted stripes added a nice touch to the otherwise stark white. 

My favorite quilt in the show was this gorgeous appliqued Baltimore-style family quilt.  The three-dimensional flowers were exquisitely done, and the 1/2 inch diagonal grid of tiny handquilted stitching was the perfect background for this masterpiece.  Sadly, two of the quilter's sisters passed away during the 4 years the quilt was in progress.

Another hand quilted favorite was this quilt depicting a folk rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas.  The maker chose to simplify the pattern designs  in the larger numbered blocks, which were all beautifully done in needle-turn applique.

Last for today is this gorgeous needle-turn applique quilt which took 10 years to complete.  The quilt was about half quilted when the maker decided her design was not working, so early this year she patiently removed all the quilting stitches and started again!  The result is gorgeous.  Unfortunately I neglected to get any close-up shots of this one.

I'm planning to post more photos from the show in a few days, but you can hop over to Barbara's posts here and here to see more great quilts from the Mid-Valley Quilt Guild show!

Hope everyone is having a beautiful sunny Sabbath!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A very lucky week!

Just so you don't think I've given up actually quilting and just hang out on the computer, here are a couple shots of Tropical Sunrise, which has been occupying me and my Janome for the past couple weeks.  Progress is slow but sure.  I think I've worked through the thread shredding issues, and so far today the only stop was to replace an empty bobbin!
I'm nearly finished quilting the fern fronds in all twelve of these 18-inch blocks, and hopefully tomorrow will be able to move on to the secondary blocks and borders.  The new Machingers gloves I posted about last time are really a godsend in helping move this heavy quilt around!
I will sure miss this quilt when it's completed and sent to its new home; I just love looking at all these gorgeous batiks.

Seems we've kept our mail person busy again this week.  Monday brought this set of Aurifil threads (my favorite) courtesy of Aurifil's sponsorship of SewCalGal's Golden Quilters Awards this year.
I love the great variety of colors in this set!   A big thank you to Aurifil and to SewCalGal for drawing my name for this prize collection.

And yesterday's mail brought all these, won during the recent Blog Hop Party with Giveaways sponsored by Mishka at Quilting Gallery.

Jeanette at Inchworm Fabrics generously provided a layer cake of the cutest Berenstain Bears prints
and let me choose any book from the current selection in her shop.  Having a small pile of orphan blocks among my stash, I chose the book shown here, and the featured projects are a great inspiration to get out some of those orphans and finish them up.   Thanks so much Jeanette!  Some special babies will be sporting Berenstain Bear quilts in coming weeks.

Speaking of orphans, my other win from the Blog Hop Party also arrived yesterday, and it is indeed an orphan!  Gayle of Gayle Bong Quilts gave away several of her orphan blocks to a number of bloggers, and this is the one I received.
Thanks so much Gayle!   I can think of at least one or two of my orphan blocks that should coordinate well with this one and become the foundation of yet another project.  Or, maybe just this block surrounded with a striped border of vintage men's ties.  This block just seems to speak ties to me, what do you think?

I think that qualifies this as a lucky week, don't you?  Now, back to the Janome.  The wedding quilt awaits.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mail Call ... and Giveaway Winner!

Last Friday was another happy mail day, when a little box containing these goodies arrived, courtesy of Quilters Touch:
This package was part of the monthly prize bundle from the Free Motion Quilting Challenge and so worth the wait!   I've used a couple other brands of machine quilters gloves over the past two years, and these new Machingers are far and away the best!  The fit is, well like a glove should fit, snugly and without sliding around on the hand.  The fingertip grips move the quilt sandwich so easily without the pressure needed with the other gloves, making for much easier quilting.  I love these gloves!  I'll be watching the DVD soon.  I've always stitched my bindings to the quilt front by machine and then hand stitched the backs, but I'm looking forward to learning a quicker method, especially for the donation baby quilts our guild makes.  Thank you Suzanne of Quilters Touch - this was a fabulous prize!

So, on to the giveaway from last week celebrating the recent 100 follower milestone.   I asked commenters to answer the question 'If you could be anywhere else in the world today, where would that be?'    And the winner is Doreen of Treadlemusic who said:

I would like to be on a plane hopping from one bloggy friend's house to the next...circling the globe!!! That would be so awesome!! Congrats on your milestone!! Hugs, Doreen

Congratulations Doreen!   Since you are a no-reply blogger I'll need for you to send me an email with your snail-mail address so I can get your package out to you.  My email address is on my profile page.  
We'll be celebrating again next month with a giveaway or two on my first blog-a-versary!  

Wishing you all a great quilting Tuesday, as I go off to spend a couple hours at the car dealership  having the latest issues on my aging car addressed.  Thankfully, having hand projects to work on makes the time pass fairly quickly.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Catching Up

If you are looking for my current giveaway post, click here.  Today is the last day to leave your comment for a chance to win a yummy charm pack.  

After a stormy weekend the sun has been shining brightly for the past hour or so, and a welcome sight it is!  The wind blew most of the plum blossoms off the tree but hopefully the bees have had time to do their magic and we'll see some plums later this summer.  The apple trees are now budding out quickly and the pears will be in full bloom later this week.   Hoping we've had the last of any hard freezes for the year.

We did get out between storms on Saturday and dug up most of the new raspberry starts that came up from runners outside their designated area, and the entire row was weeded and mulched.  A few of the starts were replanted into the sparse areas of the row, but this other batch will soon be loaded in the car and off to their new home on another hillside not too many miles away.  Hint:  watch for a future episode of Smitty's escapades digging in the garden!
My sister will take home another batch tomorrow when she comes to pick up her cat after a week-long trip to the other coast.   We also have new neighbors just down the hill who will be gifted with future starts that are sure to crop up in the next few weeks (I hope they want them!).   We were gifted 5 or 6 starts of these plants eleven years ago by a co-worker shortly after we moved up to our hillside acres, and have nursed them through deer attacks, numerous transplantings and other adventures and those few starts are now a 25+ foot row that provides all we can eat during the summer plus around 20 quarts for the freezer or jamming.   I love gifts that keep on giving!

Today is quilt guild day, and I'll be taking the latest baby quilt to donate to the layette project.  I'll also take along this quilt to show the ladies what is destined to become my next hand project after completing the quilting on the Biblical Blocks quilt.   
This little vintage primitive Sunbonnet kids crib quilt was acquired fairly recently.  I was aware that Sunbathing Sue had been inundated by a rogue ink wave, but it appeared that there was enough of the border fabrics to remake the bottom of the quilt by removing the entire bottom row of blocks and piecing the good portions of the borders around the remaining nine blocks, which will still leave a quilt of nearly 44 x 44 inches.  The old ink stain is set in and if I experiment with various methods of removal it will be after that block is removed from the rest of the quilt.  The two right-hand blocks in that last row will become either one or two pillows, perhaps edged with some of the vintage ric-rack from my small stash or some cluny lace, maybe both.  Do you have any other ideas for these extra blocks?  Please send them my way if you do!   The fabrics in the remainder of the quilt are in excellent if a bit faded condition, and the batting puffed up nicely when it was washed earlier this morning (these photos were taken before washing).  It appears to be entirely made by hand, the quilting is quite primitive and 4-5 stitches per inch, only outlining the appliques and the blocks.  The appliques are similarly stitched with fairly large hand stitching, which leads me to think this was probably created by a beginning stitcher, perhaps a fairly young girl.

Gotta run now, and pack up those raspberry plants, all my gear for quilt guild, and finish the laundry before heading out.    Tomorrow I'll announce the winner of the giveaway and share some recent mail goodies.   Til then, enjoy the sunshine in your neck of the woods!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Magical Monday - a giveaway!

It's April 1, so is it an April Fool joke or have I really just this morning reached 100 followers?!   Well, the sun is about to rise on another beautiful day here in the northwest, and in celebration of this milestone, let's have the promised giveaway! 
I have a charm pack of Moda's Field Notes by Blackbird Designs for one of my readers, so please leave me a comment telling me, if you could be anywhere else in the world today, where would that be?   I'll choose a winner one week from today and announce the winner on Tuesday, April 9. 

Next month will be my first blog-a-versary and there will be another giveaway, or who knows, maybe two or three, so stay tuned!

Wishing you all a Magical Monday!