Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March Summary and a Virtual Quilt Show

I forgot to do my end of the month summary yesterday, so here it is:

March stash quilt - check. (2 stash quilt tops completed)
2 fabric drawers organized (green and orange)
Open Etsy Shop - check.  ( I still need to work on this.  My photos are not good, and I have many more items to list.)
Entered 2 quilts in the Quilting Arts 2010 Calendar Contest.

I'd say I had a productive month.  As for April, I hope to complete the Patches quilt.  And, as it's made entirely from my current fabrics, it can be considered to be a Stash Quilt.  I also hope to tweak my Etsy listings.

And now for the Virtual Quilt Show!  The Empire Quilt Guild of New York City recently held their quilt show.  Yesterday, photos of all the quilts from the show were posted on their web site.  WOW!!!!!!!  These are some talented quilters!  Click here to see the quilts.  Be sure to click on each category to see them all.  And don't miss their raffle quilt, Broadway Jane, the most amazing Dear Jane quilt I've ever seen.  You can even click on each block of the raffle quilt to see the details.  Don't miss it!

Monday, March 30, 2009

A BIG Mouth

I finished the mouth!  I've done a bit of the nose (not shown here) and I'm also working on his furry chin.  This project is actually going faster than I expected, considering it is all sewn by hand.  The only problem is that I'm now OBSESSED!  I don't want do work on anything else.  I don't want to make the bed, clean the bathroom, or put the dishes in the dishwasher.  I only want to work on this quilt.  No wonder it's going so fast.

You may remember that the photo of Patches shows only half of him.  The left side is just blue sky.  I'd originally planned to  use my January stash quilt as a background.  But now I've decided it's just not right for this.  So now I'm trying to decide what to put on that side of the quilt.  Should it just be blue sky, but done in a similar fashion to the portrait?  Or should I put something there...maybe flowers?

I'll have to think about this.  Here are some possibilities though.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Drive Through the Country

Today was an unexpected treat.  Last night we went to bed with the weatherman's strong predictions of storms and possible tornados in the wee morning hours.  I couldn't go to sleep - I guess I was waiting for the storms.  We don't mess around here in the South when tornados may be afoot.  Finally at around 3 am, after watching a taped Oprah, a Supernanny, and an episode of Hell's Kitchen, I drifted off.

The storm never came - just lot of rain.  But when I awoke this morning, the sun was shining.  Go figure.  It was supposed to rain all day today, but we haven't had a drop.

But it was too wet for hubby to do yard work or to golf.  So he suggested we take my parents on a mini road trip.  So off the 4 of us went.  We were gone about 4 hours, driving on country roads, by golf courses, and through woods, all just for the fun of being out on a spring day. 

We stopped for lunch at a country buffet restaurant in Oneonta.  The food was delicious, and the desserts, oh my!  It was all serve yourself, all you can eat.  Red Velvet Cake, Carrot Cake, German Chocolate Cake, Apple Pie, Peach Cobbler, ice cream, all HOMEMADE.  Yum.  Then we all rolled to the car and continued on our leisurely way.

 I love these huge moss covered rocks; look closely and you'll see a fern growing from the top of this one.

Then we saw the covered bridge.  Despite the fact that we were in my HUGE SUV, hubby had to drive over it.  We looked back and saw it from the rear....
It didn't look so wobbly and wonky from the other side.  After that big meal we felt pretty lucky to have made it across.  Of course to get back on our way, we had to turn around and go over it again.

Then we came across a sweet goat family.  Babies.....
And an adult.....
Hubby made wonderfully silly goat noises to get him to look at my camera.

And then back where we started, to drop my parents off at their apartment.  Isn't the Wisteria lovely there?
You can't tell from this picture, but this brick structure is the garbage dumpster for the apartment complex.  On the right side there is a brick ledge over which you throw your garbage bags.  Once a day a maintenance worker can push a button and compact everything.  On the left side a garbage truck can back in and empty the dumpster.  I've never see such a beautiful dumpster.

My Patches quilt is coming along,  I finished his teeth.  Now I'm adding his tongue above the teeth and his lower lip below.  His mouth will be finished this weekend, and I can move onto fur.  I'm looking forward to fur. 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

More Teeth and a New Way to Bind a Quilt

I realized very quickly last night that I had not prepared enough to applique during TV.  I was done in 15 minutes flat.  So this afternoon I prepared 4 more teeth to stitch.  These are tiny little pieces.  Thank goodness the pieces will start getting bigger soon!

I'm not sure why I started with Patches' teeth.  I'll prepare other mouth areas tomorrow, and work my way outward and upward.

I promised I'd share the new binding technique with you today.  It involves stitching binding to each of the four sides of the quilt separately (4 pieces of binding).  At each corner the 2 pieces of binding are stitched together in a way that stitches in the miter on both the front and the back.  Pretty cool.

It's a bit tedious, especially at first.  I may experiment with the technique on my own to see if I can make it a bit easier.  The first corner I did, I made the mistake of sewing a triangle, because that's what the instructions say.  But I realized I only needed to sew two sides of the triangle, like an arrow sort of.  So beware of that before you stitch.

Now that you are totally confused, look at the instructions here and you'll see what I'm talking about.  Let me know if you try this, or if you have another unique binding technique.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Beginning of a Portrait and a Giftie

What a fun day I had!  Don't get me wrong, I didn't do anything exciting or new, but still, I had a great day.  The weather here is not pretty; we're in for rain (and LOTS of it!) for the next several days.  But that's fine with me.  We need it, and I enjoy spending time in my studio with the sound of the rain spattering on the roof.

One of our guild members dropped by to pick up her round quilt - she wants to redo a few things.  And she showed up with a goody bag for me - Kaffe Fasset fabric!  What a treasure!  Thanks so much, Elizabeth E.
After she left, I took a leisurely trip to the grocery store to stock up.  Suddenly I'm in a cooking mood, which I haven't been for the past couple of weeks.  I bought a couple of whole chickens which I'm roasting for dinner tonight.  They are smelling lovely right now.

As for sewing, I did more quilting on the Sunrise quilt.  It's coming along nicely.  Then I machine stitched the binding on one of the Starry Slice quilts.  I tried a new technique - more about that tomorrow.

And then I started the next portrait - Patches.  I like to vary the way I do portraits.  Life's more interesting that way.  Remember the last one was done by fusing strips of fabric.  This one will be done with hand applique.  I know - a bit time consuming, especially since this will be a fairly large piece.  But I'm excited about it.

I plan to prepare a few pieces each day to hand stitch that evening during TV watching with hubby.  So here's what I'll be stitching tonight.
This is a tooth.  It has 4 different fabrics in it.  Each of the pieces has a freezer paper pattern ironed to it's backside.  It's a start.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cleaning and Quilting and A New Haircut

Today was a good day to catch up.  I spent the morning straightening the studio, sweeping up threads and bits, clearing off my cutting table.  Then I gave my sewing machine a spa treatment, cleaning out the lint, changing the needle, threading a new spool of thread, and changing out the quarter inch foot for the free motion quilting foot.

Once the cutting table was clear, I was ready to baste a quilt.  Of course, I grabbed the Sunrise Through the Pines quilt first.  It's the only quilt top that has already shouted to me how it wants to be quilted, so it deserves to be first in line.

After I pin baste a quilt, I ALWAYS take a few minutes to steam iron the "sandwich" from the back side.  I carefully press the quilt top and backing fabric before basting, but I like to do a heavy steam press to the backside after basting, too.  I think it helps draw up the backing just a tad, helping to eliminate any little tucks that may try to creep in during the quilting process.  I do not prewash my fabrics, so this works well for me.

I hadn't planned on starting the quilting process today, but the quilt was ready and the sewing machine was ready, so why not?  Here's my start.
I've started with a variegated red thread.  I plan on changing the thread color often, though.

If you notice on my profile photo, I got a new haircut yesterday.  My hair was getting long and shaggy, and I was ready for a change.  I have more trouble finding a good stylist, but I went to one I'd tried before and liked.  I told her I wanted the haircut of that American Idol contestant who got voted off last week - you know, the blonde with the pink streaks?  I wanted that look without the pink.

She watches the show and knew exactly who I was talking about.  So far, so good.  I wear glasses all the time (VERY NEARSIGHTED!!!), so as always, I removed them while she cut. After she finished cutting, blowing, and styling, I put my glasses back on to see the finished result.  It was cute, but it wasn't at all like the cut I wanted.  It was longer in the front than the back, opposite of the contestant.  But by that time I was more than ready to go back home, and didn't feel like waiting for her to cut more, though I know she'd have been glad to.

So home I went, straight to the kitchen drawer for the scissors, then to the bathroom where I began chopping off the long part in the front.  And now I like it!  So alls well that ends well, I guess.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Selvages and Dogwoods

Ta-Dah!  I finished my selvage quilt top today!  And like my other March quilt, it's green, too, with a touch of orange.  I got this pattern from the Selvage Blog - there's a pattern in the sidebar there for the Red Zinger.  But of course, mine had to be a Green Zinger.

The green fabric has a slight variegated stripe.  I cut it so that each "X" gets darker in the center.  It measure 43" by 43", and I can't wait to quilt it!

I had to share some Dogwood photos with you.  Our backyard is GLOWING with the white blossoms, reminding me of a few weeks ago when we had a dusting of snow.  I love this time of year!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

One Down, One to Go

I finished Sunrise Through the Pines today - yay me!  Finished size is 47" x 43."  

Okay, I know, only a quilt top.  Not REALLY finished.  But it's a step in the right direction.

This was SO much fun to make.  I love it's wonkiness.  I have big plans for the quilting process and can't wait to get started.  Imagine LOTS on wonky concentric circles of quilting, echoed with couched fibers.  Can you see it?  I have a very clear picture of the finished quilt in my mind, something that doesn't happen to me often.  Usually the quilting is the part of the process I struggle with - what thread to use, how it should look, how heavy should it be.  But this quilt is telling me loudly and clearly what to do next.  And I'm listening.

When I first finished the quilt, I decided it needed a bit more height, but I didn't want to add another row of nine patch blocks because I didn't want a square quilt.  I had a pile of little pieced squares left over though, so I added a row of them at the top and another row at the bottom.  I like the way they continue the design in a scrappy way.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Has Sprung!

This is my favorite sign of spring!  The vegetable market near our home has recently reopened for the season.  I took my mother this morning and we both stocked up.  Tonight's dinner at the Wood household will be baked sweet potatoes, fresh English peas, and squash casserole.  Earlier for lunch I had my first tomato sandwich of the year.  YUMMY!!

I got a few hours of sewing in today.  I have all the pieces cut for my Sunrise quilt (I think I called it the SunSET quilt yesterday - oops!).  Tomorrow I'll try to finish putting the top together.  I also made two more blocks for my selvage quilt - only a few to go.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Blocks Abound!

Here's one of the blocks I've made this week.  This is for one of my bee groups for our block exchange.  Remember the challenge I told you about earlier this year?  I designed a LOVE block for my block (see this post).  Each of us make one block each month for someone else, so by the end of the year we'll each have a nice collection of our own block choice made by our friends from their scraps.

This block is for Jan O.; she requested that the patten be made with Thirties reproductions.  She provided the white background.

Below is the BOM for our guild for April.  I chopped off a corner (see bottom of center square).  I told you I'm a terrible piecer!  I never win these at guild meetings.  But I would mind winning these; I love the purple fabric.
And here's a peek at my selvage project.  I only need to make 7 more blocks for this one and then make a border, so it's almost done.
I need to make only 4 more blocks for my Sunset quilt, so at this rate I'll finish two quilt tops this month.  Since I'll have two drawers cleaned out this month (green and orange/yellow), and I will have two quilt tops completed this month, I'm thinking about using April to focus on quilting some of these tops so they'll REALLY be done.  Sounds like a plan to me!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Busy As a Hornet

I've been so productive the last couple of days, but I'll have to show photos tomorrow.  My camera is on a lovely vacation in Seattle with my daughter while she interviews for a summer internship.   I tried hubby's camera, but I couldn't get it to work for me.  She'll be back late tonight so I'll post photos in the morning.

I've made 6 more blocks for my Sunrise Through the Pines quilt.
I've made a guild BOM and a quilting bee BOM.
I've made several blocks for a selvage quilt.
I've worked on a gel glue resist portrait.
AND, I've played with the next major portrait project...trying to decide on a background, picking out fabrics, etc.

I've accomplished all these things with a horrid visitor in my studio - a hornet or yellow jacket or some such HUGE buzzing, winged, stinger insect!  He'd very loud and annoying, not to mention a bit scary.  I'll have to get hubby on the situation when he gets home.

I'm also on a daily mission of stalking the mailman:  the results of the judging of the IQA Celebrate Spring exhibit are to come in the mail this week!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Owlies and Hexies

This is not a quilting project, but I couldn't resist showing it.  Our younger daughter's spring break was last week; while home she had to decorate a plain wooden owl for her big sister in her sorority.  Didn't it turn out cute?  She decoupaged Amy Butler scrapbook papers to delineate the owl's features.  Let's hope the big sis doesn't read this blog - I highly doubt she does!

And now for more eye candy, below is a shot of another quilt by Judy Cloe.  I love everything she makes!  The is a One Block Wonder.  This fabric is perfect for this quilt.
I'm back to sewing today.  Daughter 2 left Saturday.  Daughter 1 arrived for her spring break Friday.  Daughter 1 left today for Seattle to interview for a summer internship.  Daughter 1 will return Wednesday night and leave to go back to school on Sunday.  Hubby and I need to install a revolving door, I think.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Round Quilt Challenge: Part 3

This is Needlework Makes My World Go 'Round by Susan Patton.  Click on the picture to better see some of the varied techniques used.

This is greenquilts.blogspot.com Make My World Go 'Round by yours truly.  This start out with white fabric.  I quilted the circle, put on the binding, and then dyed the piece.  Then I added the recycling symbol in the center on a selvage background.
And this is Colorful Cottons Make My World Go 'Round by Gerda O'Leary.
This was a fun challenge; it made us think in a different way, fitting something we love into a round quilt.  I nearly never decided what to do or how to do it.  It was amazing to see how each quilt took on a life of its own, pushing the quilter to create something unique.  It is so important in life to push the envelope, try new things, experiment, experience.  I once heard someone say, "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

So keep on stretching yourself, pushing yourself, and never settle for less than you are capable of doing.  My sermon for the day.  I'll get off my soapbox now. 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Round Quilt Challenge: Part 2

More round quilts for you viewing pleasure!

Below is Mariposaville Makes My World Go 'Round by Elizabeth Eastman.

Here is Color Makes My World Go 'Round, by Teresa Williams
Below is Love Makes My World Go 'Round, by Peggy Rhodes.
What have I accomplished this week, quilting-wise?  Almost nothing.  I'll get back on my March stash quilt next week.  So many quilts, so little time!!!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Round Quilt Challenge: Part 1

Round quilts abound!  I was hoping for 8 quilts, the minimum needed to enter the AQS Guild Challenge.  We had TEN quilts entered!!!  And what beautiful quilts they were!  The guild really came through with this challenge.  Over the next few day, I'll share the quilts, starting today with the top three vote getters.

This quilt is "Sudoku Makes My World Go 'Round," made by Ruth Ann Abbs.  It was the 1st Place winner.

2nd Place went to "Yummy Sushi Makes My World Go 'Round," by Norma Gene Perry.
And 3rd Place went to "Music Makes My World Go Round," by Elsie Ruby.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunrise Quilt Block Update

Sorry for the delay; it's been mighty busy around the Wood household.  Daughter two arrived Saturday for her Spring Break, along with her boyfriend.  So we've been nonstop this weekend. Daughter one will be here Friday for her week off.  The dogs are loving every minute of having extra hands to pet them, laps to sit on, and more faces to lick.  Mickey even got to go along on a hike this afternoon.  I think he'll be one pooped pup tonight!

I spent the afternoon getting ready for our guild AQS Guild Challenge - our meeting is tomorrow and the quilts are due.  I so hope there are at least 8 quilts entered, since we need at least that many to enter the competition.  I'm cautiously optimistic.  Tomorrow after the meeting I'll have lots of pictures to post; you may remember that these will all be round quilts, so I can't wait to see them.

I've made participation ribbons for all who bring a round quilt, plus I have a first, second, and third place ribbon for the top vote getters.  I have slips of paper ready for members to use to vote, numbers to pin on quilts (to use in the voting), a recycled coffee container to put the slips in, paper and pens, straight pins, etc., etc.  I hope I haven't forgotten anything!!

By the way, I've deleted the instructions for the Sunrise quilt from my blog posts.  I realized I was infringing on the copyrights owned by the Material Obsession blog, and I certainly don't want to do that!  Best to everyone! 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sunrise Through the Pines

Every morning I see the sun rise through the trees from my kitchen window.  This morning it was especially vibrant.  Which brings me to my March stash quilt.  I decided to use yellows and oranges to go with the greens for the quilt.  So yes, believe it or not, I already have the title for the quilt as you can see from the title of this post, and by the end of the month I will have cleaned out and organized not one, but TWO  drawers of fabric.  Can you believe it?

Here's what I have so far:

I've made nine blocks, each finishes at 9 inches.  Each block is a nine patch made from 3 inch finished squares.  Almost all the squares are made from wonky strip pieced units.  What I discovered when I began was that (like most things in life!) this is a bit more complicated than it first seemed.  There are four different nine patch variations involved.  A couple of them have a solid square or two.

I plan on building the quilt out from the top and the right, so that the perceived center (the sun) is not centered, but is more in the lower left of the quilt.  I'm pleased I've made so much progress since I have two bee meetings this week, and spring break for our kids for the two weeks after that.  And since this is NOT going to be a bed quilt (YEAH!) it won't take as long.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Snow Day!

We did indeed get snow!  When all was said and done we had about 3 inches.  This is our home.  Do you see those 2 dormer windows?  That's my studio.  There are 2 identical dormers on the back of the house.  The light reflecting off the snow gave the BEST light to sew by today.  The entire house seemed bright and cheerful.
Prince decided he doesn't care much for snow; he preferred napping by the fire.
Mickey was quite confused.  His tennis ball turned into a big snow ball.  The bigger it got, the prouder he was.
At times it almost seemed like a blizzard.  Snow is such a rarity here, and we do enjoy watching it fall.  Luckily there were no power outages around here, so my sewing machine could purr all day.  And it did.
I finished the February stash quilt well before lunch.  Now I need a name.  PLEASE HELP!!!  I'm terrible at naming quilts.  I thought about "A Day Late and A Dollar Short", but in years to come it probably won't make any sense.  I'm quite proud of this quilt, mainly because I haven't made a quilt this big in years.  And I just plain like it, too.

As soon as I finished the quilt, I spent an hour or so straightening up the studio.  I decided I couldn't start another project until I'd neatened up a bit.  Once that was done, I started working on my March stash quilt.  I actually made 4 blocks.  Ironically enough, I realized that this quilt is a nine patch - how funny is that!  Though it is so totally different than the Feb. quilt.  Tomorrow I'll show my progress on this new quilt.