Friday, May 31, 2013

May NewFO Project

Here it is the end of May and it still seems like April with our cool, cloudy and rainy weather.  I spent a lot of those rainy hours in the sewing room, completing Tropical Sunrise and working to tidy up a bit, cleaning and oiling some vintage sewing machines slated for sale.  And, I even started and finished a stash-buster NewFO project!

Our church ladies group held a sewing bee on my birthday(!), so after we all ate a hearty and delicious brunch followed immediately by one of the best birthday carrot cakes I've ever tasted, we set to work on our service project, sewing tube pillowcases for the local hospital's pediatric ward.  The hospital allows the children to take their special pillowcase with them when they are discharged, so the need is constant.  After rummaging through my stash I found enough children's fabrics of suitable size to make a dozen pillowcases.  Here are some of the preliminary fabric combinations I chose:
I only finished two cases during the get-together, but last week managed to finish the other ten.  Then early this week while looking for a green fabric suitable for a new baby quilt, I happened upon a couple yards of fishing fabric, suitable for an older boy, so yesterday I finally completed the last two cases.  Fourteen pillowcases = nearly 15 yards of fabric!  A great stash-buster wouldn't you say?
Here are a couple photos of the finished pillowcases, minus the two that were made at the church on the day of our sewing bee.  The fabrics for those are shown in the photo above, top row middle and right.

So, that and Tropical Sunrise are how I spent my merry month of May!  Linking up to Cat Patches May NewFO Linky Party where you can see what other intrepid quilters have started during May, and even enter your own new projects!  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Anniversary Giveaway Winners Announced!

I hope you're all enjoying your holiday weekend.  Lots of rain in our neck of the woods but we still managed to get a lot accomplished.  And, I've even been able to piece a few more star blocks on my version of Checkered Past 1862.

This young fellow showed up this morning - spotted him drinking from one of the bird baths just outside our dining room window.
His mother and two sisters weren't far away, though they were munching on some shrubs rather than the hay in the nearby field ...

OK, on to the winners of last week's Anniversary Giveaway.  Drumroll please, and the prizes go to:

Dora the Quilter - Bundle #1

Ruth - Bundle #2

Congratulations to both of you!  

I've sent both winners an email requesting their addresses.  If by chance I don't hear back from one of them, I'll draw another name after a week or so. 

Don't forget to check out all the gorgeous quilts entered in the Quilters Blog Hop over at Amy's Creative Side.  Voting is going on this week, so be sure to vote for your favorite in each category.  I have quilts entered in the Home Machine Quilted and Bed Quilt categories.  Lots of fabulous eye candy in each of the categories!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

First Blog Anniversary Celebration Giveaway!

It's been a quiet lazy kind of day, so much so that here it is 7:00 in the evening and I just realized, this is my first anniversary blogging and I had promised a giveaway to celebrate!

Well, since this was also my birthday weekend, how about two giveaways?  Thought you might like that!  So, here we go:
Here is giveaway #1, a fat quarter bundle of Pet Friendly Park by Caleb Gray for Kaufman Fabrics.  These cute fabrics would make up a sweet baby quilt top.

Or, how about a selection of six fat quarters from Robin Pandolf's Lansdown Road Collection shown here for giveaway #2?

How to enter?  Just leave a comment telling me how you plan to celebrate the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend, and which bundle would be your preference should my handsome random number generator choose your comment from the proverbial hat?  That's all there is to it!  And, I'll leave the drawing open until next Sunday evening and hopefully announce the winners the following day.

Hope you have a fabulous week, with time for quilting and all your favorite activities!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Bed Quilt Entry

This is a quilt you've seen before if you're a regular reader, but it's one of my favorites and so here it is again, being entered in the Bed Quilt Category of the Spring 2013 Bloggers Quilt Festival hosted by Amy's Creative Side.  This quilt is #13 in the Bed Quilt Category.
This toddler/small twin bed quilt was made for my youngest granddaughter last year, when I decided to make bed-size quilts for each of our six grandchildren.  I had purchased the flower fairy panel before she was born, after my son mentioned in passing that if the baby was a girl she would be needing a fairy quilt!

I participated in SewCalGal's FMQ Challenge last year and this quilt provided an opportunity to practice quilting many of the techniques and motifs learned, especially the Diane Gaudynski-style echoed feathers all around the borders.  I had a blast quilting the central panel with all sorts of meandering leaves and flowers, more feathers in the fairy wings, and the scalloped name quilted in the sky section.  The quilt is machine pieced and was quilted on my vintage 1942 Singer 15-91 machine, using Aurifil 50 wt. thread in top and bobbin for the majority of the quilt, and YLI silk 100 for the leaves in the smaller fairy panels.

Quilt Stats:
     Pattern generally follows one issued with Michael Miller's Flower Fairy and Fairy Frost line
     Finished Size is approximately 58 x 75 inches
     Quilt completed 2012

Linking up in the Bed Quilt Category at the Bloggers Quilt Festival.  I hope you'll join the fun and enter your favorite quilts (two entries are allowed this time), and then visit each of the other fabulous entries in this and all of the categories and nominate and vote for your favorites!

Tropical Sunrise - Finished just in time for Bloggers Quilt Festival!

So happy to report that Tropical Sunrise is finished!  The last of the binding was stitched down on Monday morning just prior to our quilt guild meeting, where it made its debut entrance into the world of the finished quilt.  I'm so very happy, both to have this finally completed, and also because I'm liking the way it turned out.  We've had off and on showery weather the past few days, and since I don't have anyplace to hang it outside that will accommodate its size, these photos were all taken indoors under various lighting conditions.
I machine pieced this approximately two years ago on my Singer 201A Centennial machine, and began quilting it approximately 2 1/2 months ago.   All quilting was done on my Janome Horizon, using Aurifil 50 wt. thread throughout.  For the ditch quilting I used black (color 2692) on the top.  All free motion quilting was done with a wonderful variegated yellow/gold (color 4150) as the top thread, and for the bobbin thread I chose color 2370 which blended with the back for both ditch and free motion quilting.

 I really loved how the variegated gold Aurifil 4150 played with all of the batiks, blending into the background of some and providing gorgeous contrast on others.  This is fast becoming one of my favorite go-to colors for machine quilting!
For the free motion ferns I lightly sketched in a few guide points for the stem with a Sewline ceramic lead pencil, and then quilted all the fronds freehand, trying to keep them organic in nature.

Here is a closer view of  a primary block:
And a secondary block:
And shown here on a queen size bed - sorry the lighting is not good in this room.
Stats for this quilt include:
     Pattern Source:  The Premier Fall Issue of Quilt Sampler Magazine (2004)
     Pattern Designer:  Jill Petit of Jillybean's Pride, Oakville, Ontario
     Finished size:  87-1/2 x 112 inches
     Machine pieced and machine quilted by me on my domestic sewing machines

I would love to make a smaller throw size version of this quilt sometime in the future, and may just have enough batik scraps to make one approximately 60x60 inches in size, perfect for our couch.

So happy to have this major finish to enter in the Spring 2013 Bloggers Quilt Festival in the  Home Machine Quilted category.    You can see all the quilts entered in this category by clicking here.   There are many more categories in the Festival that you can access by checking out the main Festival post here or clicking on the Festival button in the right sidebar above.  Enjoy the Festival!
This quilt is #9 in the Home Machine Quilted Category.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hand Quilters Blog Hop

The Celebrate Hand Quilting blog is holding their first blog hop this week, and I'm delighted to welcome members of the blog and its associated Facebook group to my little page in blogdom.  During the past couple of years some of my quilting time has been devoted to learning free motion quilting using my home sewing machines as arthritis continues to slow my hands, but I've also continued to hand quilt most evenings as well.  This blog is my attempt at documenting the quilts I've made using both machine and hand quilting methods, although most of my earliest quilts were never photographed and are no longer in my possession.

For those of you who are new to blogs, you can click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

My first real quilting experience began in January 1983, the month after my daughter was born, when I signed up for a community college class, taking her along with me to each two-hour session.  The class began by hand piecing an Ohio Star block and then learning some basic hand quilting, turning our blocks into pillow covers.  The remaining sessions were spent learning the needle-turn applique technique and creating a sample.  That same winter Jinny Beyer came to Anchorage and my friend Pam and I were lucky enough to attend her lecture and see many of her early quilts.  I was quite taken with her medallion quilts and purchased her book on the subject, so naturally my little applique class sample morphed into a primitive version of a medallion quilt.  This eventually became my first "real" quilt, and here it is in all it's simple glory.
It was February in Alaska, and back then the supermarkets knew how to draw customers by flying in planeloads of daffodils and selling them for $1 per huge bunch!  And how we needed those little harbingers of sunshine and spring!  I made the templates for my daffodils and leaves as well as the butterfly quilting motif by cutting them from cereal boxes.  I have no idea anymore how I managed to create the circle in the square but I'm pretty sure it was done on my old Kenmore vintage 1960s machine.  A couple of close-up shots follow.  The green fabrics especially have faded from their original hues.

Fast-forward thirty years to 2013 and here is what I'm working on currently, and have been working on intermittently for the past 16 or so years - my oldest UFO!
This is my version of Rosemary Makhan's Biblical Blocks queen size quilt.  The project was undertaken well before I knew very much about piecing intricate blocks or curved seams, or a lot of other quilt making techniques for that matter.  Each block had hand made templates, and the fabric I had chosen for the border print and which was also used in many of the blocks was not symmetrical, adding to the many challenges.  But it was the only border print available to me at the small quilt shop near our home at the time, so I decided to wing it, after all how difficult could it be to split and then resew portions to create symmetrical strips?  Ha.  At any rate, progress has been agonizingly slow but finally, at this writing the outermost borders are being quilted.  This quilt will not have any background grid quilting, it simply needs to be done and out of the hoop, bound, and on the bed before fall!  Not the best example of my work, but it most certainly has been my biggest quilting challenge to date, and  I simply need to get on to something else at this point!  A few close-up photos of progress to date:

Other quilts  for which I have photos that were completed in the interim between that very first daffodil quilt and today are documented in my blog.  There are summary pages by year that you can click on right below the blog header at the top of this page.   Most of my hand quilted work is summarized on the page link entitled Earlier Quilts, or you can click here to open that page.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will return in a few days when I'll be posting my most recent finish, another queen size quilt completed just yesterday!  I quilted this one on my sewing machine, a Janome Horizon, using free-motion techniques.   Also, May 19 will mark my first blogging anniversary, and to celebrate I'll be holding a special giveaway, so I hope you will plan to visit again soon.

Hope you have a wonderful day with time to quilt, or at least fond thoughts of the next quilt to appear on your design wall!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Yippee! Hoo-rah! and O Happy Day!

Tropical Sunrise is quilted!  And here are the final stitches just off the machine.
Those of you who read these posts regularly will know this project has been ongoing for a couple months, but tomorrow the binding goes on and in a few days a label - whew!

More photos when I can say it's done!

Now, off to do some outside chores in the 70 degree sunshine - my idea of a perfect day.