Thursday, February 28, 2013

Manuscript: Round 2!

Look-y what came today! Yippee! It's the manuscript for Quick and Easy Hexie Quilts with pictures and diagrams included!  This is our last chance to go through it with a fine toothed comb checking for mistakes.

It was just like Christmas morning flipping through the pages.  This is one COLORFUL book!  AQS did a fabulous job photographing our quilts.  The layout and design of the book is absolutely stunning!  Happy dance!

There's still time to pre-order - look on the right sidebar....
Most people don't realize that it is best to buy books directly from the authors; otherwise they just get a tiny royalty.  Let's keep quality quilting books coming out by supporting the authors!

I accomplished a goal:  I knit a sock. Okay, I know I need another one or it doesn't do much good.  :)  The second sock only needs a heel, so I can finish it lickety split. It's not perfect by any means - the fit could be better and the ribbed cuff is definitely too loose. Hopefully I'll do better with the next pair.  It is cute though...

More words on the latest Secret Project? Yes, indeed! And in cursive, at that!

The only art class I had in school was in middle school - 8th grade. One assignment was to make a collage on poster paper, cutting out bits of magazines and gluing them all over. I used words on mine (like WOW, GROOVY, HAPPY) scattered throughout the pictures. The teacher gave me a B, writing a note on the back, "NO WORDS!"  She never told us not to use words. GRRR! I got a B on my report card for this. My mother hit the ceiling - went to the school and complained.  Yup, Mom was a bit of a helicopter parent. (I'd never made a B on my report card...)  Long story short: the grade was changed to an A.  And now I give myself permission to put words on my quilts if I want to!  So there to my middle school art teacher!

Isn't it sad when poor teachers squelch the creativity of students? I was turned off by art for years.  Thank goodness for all the GREAT teachers out there - I know they outnumber the bad ones.  And isn't it ironic that now I make art through my quilts?

Okay, for the February summary:
1.  One quilt finished.
2.  One sock finished. :)
3.  Almost done with the quilt top for Secret Project No. 5 (the one with words!)
4.  Reading:  oops, didn't finish a book.
5.  Healthy eating:
     January- lost 9.4 pounds
     February- lost 6.0 pounds (goal was 4 pounds)
     Total weight loss - 15.4 pounds YIPPEE!  I'll try for 4 more pounds gone in March....


Hubby and Daughter 2 planted 120+ tulip bulbs last fall.  The first red one is open today; hello Spring!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Beautiful Day for Quilting

Two sunny days in a row!  Loving it!  I just got back from a nice walk - settling in to sew again.  I'm currently working on some appliqué for the citrus/black/white quilt (yes, another Secret Project).

But yesterday I began the cutting for our guild mystery quilt.  There are 25 clues for cutting!  This may take some time.  But I think all the cutting for this quilt will be done this month.  Next month we'll probably start the sewing.

Yesterday I went to my small sewing group - so much fun! I adore this little quilt. It's made from a panel, but I had to look several times before I realized it.  It really looks like machine embroidery and appliqué.  The maker said it came as a kit.

Oh my!  Tomorrow is the last day of the month!  I'll share my progress report tomorrow.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Quilt Design on the Fly

I finished the appliqué on my latest quilt and even added two borders! I can't wait to get back to work on it today. There will be more borders, more hexies, more happy on this one.  Did you notice?  That last border is the FOUND half square triangles that were in my stash!  I had enough of them to go all the way around - serendipitous!

Yesterday was GORGEOUS here!  After lunch we parked at the condo and took a long walk...

by Toomer's Drugs...

Under the iconic (now dead) oaks...

To the baseball game! It was Baseball Bingo day - fun to play, though hubby had to help me bunches. I mean, really - how's a girl supposed to know when a 6-4 putout occurs?

On the walk back we saw lots of students "hanging around" to study in the sun. Fun afternoon.

I still haven't finished knitting my socks, but Daughter 2 has finished her sweater. She learned to do this on Craftsy. Lovely!  Great job!

Today I have to brave the chilly rain for a dental appointment.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

S is for.....?

It's really hilarious how this quilt design has morphed into something totally different from where I started. It was planned to be a very symmetrical design, all perfect and even and geometric.

BUT the design is now very wonky, freeform, and anything but symmetric, even, or perfect. And I LOVE IT! And it has a word on it!  Fun and happy!

I'm learning it is good to be open minded and let the creativity flow - it sometimes takes you to places you would have never found otherwise.  Don't get stuck in a rut!  Play the "What If" card constantly! You'll be amazed at what happens...

I have all the parts and pieces basted in place, ready to appliqué.  I'd planned on working on it at the double header baseball game today, but it's a bit too cold outside for me.  Hubby went on (bundled up like crazy).  But not me.  I'm sitting in the warm house, with the warm doggies in my lap, and a warm quilting covering all.  And I stitch....   :)

So, how many basket blocks were stacked up in my last post?  53!!!!  I need to make many more before I'm done though.  I never guessed I had that many made already!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

This Quilt is on Fire!

I'm singing the Alicia Keys song - yup, This Girl is on Fire! - as I write this!  I knew that once I got the color story right that this quilt would start coming together fast!

Above was the before.  (That background is not fabric - it's my laptop computer.)  This color scheme included rust/gold paired with various greens and my favorite blacks and whites.  Mhew....

Now we're talking!  Now I'm working with bold lime greens.  (And of course the blacks and whites are still with me!)

Here are some fabrics I pulled from my stash to go with the new look.

I made LOTS of half square triangles - I think these will be a border.  Happy, happy!

And while going through possible fabrics, look what I found!  A box of greeny and white half square triangles!  I don't even remember making these!  Maybe they'll find a place in the quilt, too, though they are smaller that the ones I made yesterday.

Last night I finished all the parts and pieces.  Today this quilt will really start coming together!

Here is yesterday's basket.

And then I counted the stack.  How many do you think I have here?  Guesses anyone?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Quilter's Block

We'll all heard of Writer's Block.  I think I have a case of Quilter's Block.  I've had pieces of a quilt (not the one in the picture) on my design wall for over a week now.  Every day I move things around, hoping to get the design right.  I can't make it work!  I love the background, but it doesn't fit with what I'm try to accomplish.

This morning I realized it's time to move on.  I'll put the background aside for a future project and rework the parts and pieces.  So today I'm planning to play with some new background possibilities.  What fun!  So freeing to let go of the past and move forward.  (This could be said about so many things in life.)  Once I figure out the new background, I think this quilt will TAKE OFF!  I hope so, anyway....

I did make a basket block yesterday.  Isn't this a bit of happy?  I don't know how many I have at this point - guess I'll have to count them soon.

I picked up my sock knitting last night - hadn't touched it for a couple of weeks.  I would love to finish my first pair of socks by the end of February.  Do you think I'll make that deadline?  I'll give it a try, for sure!  I already have yarn to make the next pair.  Yup, I'm already accumulating a yarn stash!  Oh dear...this could be dangerous!  :)

The sun is shining here today - glorious weather!  I think I'll try to fit a walk in this afternoon.  I need to move more, I know.  Though my weight loss since the first of the year is going very well -  I've already met my February goal.  Maybe I can even lose another pounds before March rolls around.  :)

Have a happy day!

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Friend-ly Weekend

We had a wonderful whirlwind weekend with lots of friends visiting us. Thursday through Saturday we hosted one of my high school friends and her daughter while they went apartment hunting here. Loved seeing you, Dawn and Ivy!

Saturday morning, one of hubby's friends came from B'ham with his sister and nephew for a quick tour of our house before they headed to the basketball game.

Sunday evening my best bud from college days came over with her two daughters. I hadn't seen her for about twenty years, but we've stayed in touch. So fantastic to see you Carol, Katie, and Beth! It's always good to see old friends!

This afternoon was all about new friends. I went to a guild member's home and hand sewing with a group of women. Everyone here is so welcoming to me. Our guild library is kept in this home so I had a chance to browse. Look what I found! My first book!

Here are the two projects I'm working on this week - still hand quilting on this Secret Project.

And more hexie flowers for the next Secret Project.

Check out The Hexie Blog to see one of Victoria Findlay Wolfe's latest quilts....

Saturday, February 16, 2013

More on Tiger Tape

I thought I'd try to show exactly how the Tiger Tape works.  Mine is 1/4 inch wide and it's marked with lines to give the quilter 9 stitches per inch - a perfect amount for quilting with perle cotton.

And here it is in action.  Can you see how I try to line up each stitch with the lines on the Tiger Tape?  I have to admit that my stitches are SO much more even when using the tape.  I'm getting better at keeping the ends of the tape stuck down while I'm using it.  And I've not had any more issues with getting the sticky stuff on my needle - I must have been sewing too close to the tape edge the first day.  So I will keep using it on this quilt, which is coming along nicely.

Check out The Hexie Blog to see where I hexied yesterday!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hand Quilting!

I forgot to update you on my latest Secret Project; yes, I did finish the top on Saturday! Made that top in SIX DAYS! Love a Quick and Easy Hexie quilt!

Sunday afternoon I pieced the backing and basted it all together. Tuesday I started the hand quilting. (Remember I was gone to Birmingham all day Monday.)  I'm using white DMC  Perle Cotton No. 8 and a crewel needle.

Have you ever used Tiger Tape?  You stick it down and quilt along the edge- it provides a guide for even stitches.

I've had some in my stash for YEARS, but had never even opened the package.  I gave it a try.  My stitches were very even, but it was a bit of a battle to keep the stuff stuck down.  The ends kept coming up.  And I got some of the sticky on my needle. :(  The jury's still out - I may try again with it today.  Or I may continue without...

As promised, here are some photos of the beautiful hooked rugs I saw Monday at the Birmingham Quilt Guild meeting.  All were made by these sisters.

I wish my pictures did the rugs proper justice - LOVeLy!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

More Quilt Guild Inspiration

Before I get to more photos from yesterday's guild meeting, I want to show you my latest finish (3rd this year). I know. The mistake is front and center, sticking out like a sore thumb.  I finished the top about 3 years ago, discovering the mistake as soon as I finished.  Too lazy at the time to fix it.  Then it became a piece to practice machine quilting and sat for about two more years.  I finally put the binding on it, finishing the hand stitching Sunday night.  I donated it to the Cuddle Quilt program at BQG Monday morning.  Whew!

Here's a quick shot of an adorable sweat shirt jacket C was wearing - bet you didn't know I took a picture of your back!  :)

The speakers for the meeting were two sisters from Tennessee who have written String Quilt Revival.  Their program was wonderful - here are a few of their quilts:

By the way, these patterns are not in their book - they sell them as separate patterns on their website.

I was also enamored with their hooked wool rugs.  I have done only a bit of this, but seeing their work made me want to do more.  I'll share some rug photos tomorrow...

A Riot of Color!

Don't you just love this? I braved the rain/storms yesterday and headed to Birmingham VERY early yesterday morning. I spent the morning at the Birmingham Quilters Guild meeting. I had not been to a meeting since March of last year because of our move.  It was SO good to see my good friends there!  Lots of hugs!  Lots of fun!

Show and Tell at the Birmingham guild is always akin to an elaborate quilt show.  The guild sets up an elaborate hanging system for EVERY SINGLE meeting for show and tell.  Two quilts really caught my eye yesterday.  And they were both made by the same person!  You go girl - Gwen C!

First was her Lego quilt.  Look at all the tiny bits she used.  And I LOVE how she even incorporated tiny strips of half square triangles!  LOVE IT!

This one caught my eye from across the room.  Had to get a closer look....

I know - it's just simple squares.  But the colors are so beautiful and calming.  I think she said that the shirts all came from a Thrift Store.  Gwen is a fabulous Thrift Store shopper - I'd love to go with her sometime.

She used a wool batting and hand quilted it with a heavy thread, akin to Perle Cotton.

This is what I don't miss about Birmingham!  If my windshield wiper hadn't gotten in the way, you'd see miles of red tail lights ahead of me.  And the rain made it worse!

I spent the afternoon getting a mammogram, ultrasound, and visiting a breast surgeon as a follow-up to my appointments last year.  I got a great report - no change in my cysts - so I can now go a year before my next mammogram.  And I can just have it done here in Auburn from now on!  Yay!

I took so many picture yesterday and I have lots more to share.  Stay tuned - later today I'll post more.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sashing Shuffle

I worked with my stack of 3" squares yesterday.  I spread them out and randomly grabbed two at a time.  I sewed them in twosies, and then in foursies, and then....

I needed eight sets with 7 squares each and 3 sets with 25 squares each.  Yay!  The sashing is pieced and ready!  Today I'll machine appliqué the last block (I did the other 5 yesterday) and thens sew on the sashing.  Yes, I'll finish this quilt top TODAY!  I just started it on Monday.  Who says hexie quilts are too time consuming?  Nope, with the Quick and Easy Hexie technique you can make a hexie quilt very fast!

We went to the Auburn gymnastics meet last night (against Arkansas).  Lots of fun to watch those girls fly through the air.  Both daughters and our son-in-law went with us and we had dinner at Chipotle beforehand.

Be sure to check out The Hexie Blog - there is an awesome quilt featured there today!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Paper 53

Have you heard of Paper 53? It's an App. I downloaded it onto my new iPad that I got for Christmas. Basically it's an App you use to draw, sketch, and color with your finger. Like finger painting, I guess. Over the weekend I drew this man.  I'm not sure where in my mind he came from.  He just started appearing under my finger.

Once he was done emerging, I decided he looks a bit like a young version of my father, except without the glasses.  Do I dare add glasses to the picture?  I don't want to mess it up....we'll see.  Today would have been my father's 89th birthday.  Happy Birthday, Gee.

I've also discovered that Paper 53 is a wonderful way to practice free motion quilting designs.  I'd love to learn to quilt feathers.  Need more finger practice!