Monday, December 26, 2016

The Best Christmas Gift

The safe delivery of a precious grandbaby
who arrived late Thursday evening.   Mama and son went home yesterday, so happy!

Mama said to me yesterday "I never knew I could love anything so much."  Now you know, sweet girl!   Daddy is smitten.

Our little Christmas burrito, snug in his Tardis blanket!

The Christmas placemats remain unfinished ... maybe next year.  Tomorrow the fun begins as we head east to visit this new little family!

May the blessings of Christmas remain in your heart all through the year.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

And the winner is ...

Greetings from snow-now-melting country!  May the thaw continue until the built up snow/ice on the roof is gone at least!

Star production has slowed to a snail's crawl, with only a couple more needed to round out my hoped-for total. Our new grandson has yet to make an appearance, but here is his first Christmas ornament made by Grandma, using bits of his baby quilt fabrics.

And now, the winner of this giveaway
is Dana Gaffney of Stormy Days blog fame, who said:

I need to check out that tool, seeing those annoying threads pop up under a piece of white is one of my big "make me whine" things. I still haven't found time for a star but I bookmarked the tutorial.
Congratulations Dana, I'll get your package out as soon as I have your mailing address!

Still lots to do before Christmas, so if I don't post again before then, wishing each and every one a blessed Christmas with family and friends!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

'Tis the Season ... for a giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.

This post should probably be titled Seeing Stars!

When I wrote earlier this week, 25 of these little stars were finished.  And now there are 48, with another five or six in the queue.  All should be finished later today - yay!  Then it's on to the Christmas baking marathon.

'Tis the Season for giving, and someone who comments on this post will win one of my handmade stars plus this nifty little gadget, which Kyle at Timeless Reflections recommended highly in a post earlier this year.

This is just the tool for when those stray dark threads suddenly appear under the surface of your in-progress quilting or worse yet, in the most visible part of your completed quilt!

So, the usual rules - giveaway is open to U.S. readers, and if you are a no-reply commenter please leave your email address in your comment so I have a way to contact you if you're the lucky one.  I'll draw a name from the proverbial hat on Saturday afternoon and ship early next week.

And the question remains, will this grandma's best Christmas present arrive before the 25th? His mama's birthday is tomorrow, now that would be a perfect birthday gift, don't you think?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Stalled and Fast-Forwarding

The other day Dana at Stormy Days asked the question what do you do when you're stalled with a quilting project.  I suspect the unanimous response was not "clean the house"!  But her question had my name written all over it because ... my first Christmas project for us in many a year, stopped in its tracks by some really awful machine quilting that I'll never be happy with, right in those pretty Dresden plates.
Fabric in the Dresdens from a recent blogaversary win from Kyle
at Timeless Reflections - Thanks Kyle!

What to do, what to do? Of course the offending parts will need to be unpicked and redone, perhaps with some big stitch hand quilting, but that will need to wait until after Christmas.  The binding could still be added at this point, some big chunky candlesticks plunked right on top of the worst of the quilting and it could be used this season.   The binding is all prepped, and two matching placemats have been pieced and ready for quilting, but ...
Minus its binding, and the dresdens need to be re-quilted, but I do love the overall look!

So, what do I do when a project is stalled?  Stopped dead in its tracks?  Why pull out a bin or three of fabrics, spread them around the room, and start cutting of course!  Late in November Doreen at Treadlemusic shared this link to a tutorial at "Crafting a Rainbow" for these sweet Scandinavian folded stars.  I was off on a new adventure!
The first two

I'll tell ya, these are addicting!
And then there were 25 !

Somewhere along the line I had this great idea to make one for each of our church families to serve as this year's Christmas card.  That would be about 40 total, then there are the family Christmas gifts, a few close friends, and of course the members of our quilt ministry!  Yikes, what have I gotten myself into, lol!?

These little babies are super stash busters, I'm going through my bin of Christmas fabrics and whittling it way down, not to mention the fat quarter bins.  Each star uses a little over one square foot of fabric, so it doesn't take long to use up a lot of those oddball fat quarters that never seem to make it into a quilt because they don't seem to "go" with anything else.   When they're folded down into 3/4 inch squares and triangles all those little bits magically transform themselves into a colorful, cohesive whole, at least that's what I'm telling myself!

These are a bit fiddly to make and require a LOT of finger dexterity!  I found a small black paper clamp a necessary tool to hold the folded star points in place while pushing the fabric ends down under the central woven squares with the wooden point-maker thingie that came with my dresden template.
I also learned it's best to cut those fabric ends to the correct length before pushing them under the center squares rather than attempting to trim them after the fact as shown in the tutorial!

After completing 17 in one evening there was a bit of carpal tunnel complaining in my left wrist, so I'm progressing a bit more slowly now, no more marathon folding, just a few each day and all seems to be well.  There are over 30 completed as of this morning, except for adding the hanging ribbons.  

And that's the news from this little corner of snowy Western New York!  That Christmas runner may still get the binding added later this week, but I'm not betting on it.  These are way too much fun!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Quilty 365 - December Link-up

Ever since finishing up the last eight circles early in November, I've been dithering with the math and whether there is enough of my chosen background fabric to achieve this setting for a queen size quilt large enough to serve as a bedspread.
I really want to use the burnt orange fabric for the setting triangles as well as sashing the blocks, but at this point I still don't know if there's enough of the setting fabric!!  Just how hard can the math be? Well, as of now, apparently just a little too much for this aging brain since every time I sit down and try to figure it out I come up with a different number!   Most of those numbers indicate we'll run out of the chosen fabric before we run out of quilt, if it's to reach the hoped-for size, using a narrow coping border then a wide outer border of a complimentary fabric.

Several blogging friends suggested using the burnt orange to sash the circle blocks and using a different fabric for the setting triangles. So, earlier this week after attaching the sashing to about 45 of the blocks I auditioned several possibilities for alternate setting triangles.
Two dark possibilities - definitely too dark

A closer view of the left-most fabric in the previous photo, a possibility for an outer wide border - maybe

Better, but ...

Hmm, maybe for a narrow coping border

Truth be told, I'm not fond of any of these choices for setting triangles, but I'm glad that I went through the exercise of auditioning some different fabrics. A straight edge for the burnt orange just looks better to my mind's eye. So now, with the still-fuzzy math and brain overtaxed, we're kind of flying by the seat of our pants so to speak.  I'll reserve enough fabric to make setting triangles in that burnt orange fabric and build whatever size quilt I can make with what is available.  As of this morning a little over 100 blocks have been sashed, though the rows have yet to be laid out for final assembly.  I'll need to take over the living room floor to do that, someday when hubby and the dog have retired for a nap or the night.

It's fun pulling out all 366 blocks and seeing all the different fabrics that have gone into this project over the past year.  Linking with Audrey at Quilty Folk, then I'll take a break from this project for a day or two and work on a couple small Christmas items.  Time to finish them so we can use them this month!