Monday, December 31, 2012

One Last Post This Year

I know I'm pushing it close. It's almost 11pm here in CST, but I wanted to update everyone on the last of my finishes for the year.  First up, another baby blanket.  I love this color! We don't have anyone expecting right now, but there's always someone around the corner and now I won't have to scramble.

Next, I am able to cross this nursery rhyme quilt off my 2012 list! Isn't it cute? It's 37" x 46". This one also will be waiting in the closet for a new owner.

Finally, there's this cute little wall hanging I made the hubs for Christmas.  He used to live in the Florida keys and is a HUGE Parrothead (fan of Jimmy Buffett) so I thought this would be a nice trip down memory lane for him.  He was very surprised and pleased.  We try to do at least one handcrafted gift to each other each year.  I had wanted to do more, but ran out of time. 

So, that's it for this year.  I'm pleased with my quiltiness this year.  I've pushed myself and tried some new things.  I made the biggest quilt thus far. I have done some blanket-stitch applique. I've gained some confidence in my quilting ability and feel good about my progress.  Tomorrow, I'll talk about my expectations for 2013.  In the meantime, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Finally! A Friday Finish!

I finished this batik jelly roll race top a month or so ago, but finally had the opportunity to quilt and bind it this week.  I think the collection is called blueberry.  In all honesty, I'm not sure I will use this pattern again.  It was easy enough, but there isn't enough variety between the strips and the changes between strips are oddly placed.  Even so, this quilt is growing on me.  The more time I spend with it, the more I'm liking it.

You can see the quilting a bit better in the second picture. I did in the ditch between the strips and a wave through the strips and the outer border.  I used a smokey blue thread, but I went through two spools (one full and one not) and part of a third.  I also realized that I don't have much variety in my thread collection - mostly white or darks (green, blue, purple and red).  I'm going to have to remedy that.  

Anyway, I was having some difficulty choosing a binding.  I had bought some 90" natural flannel for the backing and had enough left over for the binding as well.  I like using flannel for the back for added warmth and softness, but the natural cream color would be striking against the dark outer border.  So, I asked the hubs' opinion.  Essentially, the choice was between the fabric for the backing and the fabric for the border.  He said the border fabric would be better and he was right. It was perfect!

This is, by far, the biggest quilt I've ever made and completed.  All in all, I'm pretty happy with it... and the cats are thrilled! ;o)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Another finish...

My brother and his wife had a baby this year, so naturally, she gets a new Christmas stocking this year.  I had to get it done last weekend so that it would be included in the box I sent to my parents for Christmas.

Pretty cute, eh?

I'm spending the afternoon quilting the batik quilt top I made last month (?).  We're supposed to be getting 6" of snow today, but it only just got overcast.  I'm not sure I believe it, but at least we'll have a new quilt to cuddle under and a big pot of turkey soup if it does snow (carcass and veggies are simmering on the stove right now and I'll make pasta dough about 6pm).   I LOVE homemade soup!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Charitable Projects

In light of the tragic shooting in a Connecticut elementary school, I feel like I should say or do something but not sure what.  Then I found this project going on.  For those of you who want to do something, but aren't sure what there is this is a good opportunity.

Wishing everyone some peace and healing.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

12-12-12 Sale

Wednesday, as you all know, was the unique date of 12-12-12.  Many retailers had special sales to commemorate the uniqueness and my LQS was no different.  They sent me an email the night before (did I mention I'm on their mailing list?) saying that for every 12 fat quarters a customer bought, they would get an additional 12 for free!! Well, I couldn't pass up a deal like that!  So, even though I was in the middle of studying for my last final, I took a little time to visit the shop and pick out some fat quarters. 

I didn't go with any plan... which may or may not have been a problem.  I ended up getting quite a few reproduction pieces and a few ideas for quilts. Like this blue and brown option...

Or this black and brown...

I liked these flannels...

I always pick up any new hockey prints I find (because it's the best sport EVER) and a few other that will fit into my stash nicely. 

And finally, I added these.  I don't really have any Civil War/Reproduction fabrics, but lately I've really been drawn to a number of quilts that have used them.  So, I thought it might be time to start gathering some to use in a scrappy quilt.  I love them, but I'm noticing that I need more dark reds and browns.  I ended up buying two sets of 12 and getting two sets of 12 for free!

I took my final on Thursday morning and received a 98%!! WOOHOO! Beyond that, I graded Thursday afternoon and evening and got those final grades submitted.  Thursday evening, my hubby's college's football team played in the national championships for their division so we ate dinner at a local sports bar & grill where they had it on the satellite.  Even though the team lost in over time, it was a lot of fun and we're very proud of their first championship game!  Then Friday I did a little cleaning and sewing. The same tonight, with the addition of an awards ceremony (my hubby's colleague won tonight, but hubby won last year).  

I'm kind of missing my family tonight.  As I was working in my sewing room today, I thought a lot about them because I was cleaning up, making the kids' ornaments, and picking out fabrics to use in the stocking for the newest addition of my side of the family.  We have to get the last of the packages mailed on Monday so I need to finish these to include.  I'll post pictures soon.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Two Birthday Finishes

Last Thanksgiving (2011) was my family's year to gather together.  My niece was carrying around her other aunt's purse (also my sister - there are four sisters and two brothers). I asked her mom if she would want her own bag or purse to carry around.  MB said she'd rather have a quilt for her bed.  I've never made a quilt that was bigger than a baby blanket before so I told MB I would see what I could do.  That's when I started planning.

First, I knew that I would have to make one for her brother, too.  You know, it wouldn't be fair to make one kid a quilt and not the other.  Besides, his bday was first, but her quilt was WAY easier to plan.

Did you know that it is impossible to get Syracuse University fabric? Apparently,they do not license it which makes it terribly difficult to make a quilt for a young man who LOVES Syracuse basketball!  What's an aunt to do but get creative.  Last Christmas I kept an eye out for clearance t-shirts as I was also looking for the non-existent Syracuse fabric.  I found two so I snatched them up for $5 each.  Then the hubs and I were walking through a sporting goods store this summer and found a third.  Over the course of the last year, I gradually picked up fat quarters of basketball themed fabric to fill in.  I found a great flannel online that was sports-themed and basketballs were prominent.  That still left me wondering what to do about surrounding/framing the t-shirt panels.  I went to Hobby Lobby when they had a flannel sale, but was underwhelmed by the selection and the hubs said not to force it just because the nephew's bday was coming.  I ended up finding a GORGEOUS navy check flannel to use.  The final quilt is about 57"x 60" so I patched the back together with the sporting flannel, a strip of leftover squares, and then an 8" strip of the navy flannel.

Syracuse Quilt for HB1

As I said, her's was way easier to plan.  I went to the local quilt shop (LQS) and found the green kitty fabric.  Did I mention that my niece LOVES cats? Seriously.  The kid is crazy about 'em! So, I picked two complimentary colors, fussy-cut the kitties for the centers of the stars and added a white-on-white daisy print for the background.  Originally, I was just going to do a white border, but then I was going to do a checkboard along the top and bottom, but had enough leftover squares that I changed my mind and went all the way around and added a 4" white border around that.  Her backing is hot pink Minkee that matches the pink on the front and I bound it will a swirly pink flannel.  It was a total pain in the tush to quilt!!! I ripped out stitches three times last night before calling it quits for the night.  The Minkee, while incredibly soft, is also incredibly slippery and kept being brought through.  I finally got the tension and procedure right this afternoon and it took me 6 hours to quilt it.

Kitty Quilt for HB2


I just love these quilts and I'm pretty proud of them.  I feel pretty sure the kids will love them, too. And that's all that really matters. :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Easy Street Mystery

Have you guys heard about Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery quilt, Easy Street?  You can see the latest linky post here.  Bonnie originally suggested a grey and white as neutrals, deep purples, teals and lime greens as colors for the quilt and many quilters are following that suggestion.  But there are several others who are creating their own color schemes.  I have to admit, while I like the  original color pallet I'm not in love with it, so I would probably choose a different combination of colors.  I was thinking chocolate brown and cream as the neutrals, and rich red, pink and tan as the colors.  Or maybe red, green and blue.  Or pink, green and blue. Or yellow, orange and red.  

My semester is almost over (both teaching and taking classes) and I am anxious to get creative in my sewing room.  Dr J has completed his section of our Christmas gifts, but I still need to do my part, and there are two Christmas quilts I was hoping to get to, and his quilted gift.  I can't wait to get in there!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Birthdays and Provence

My birthday fell during the Thanksgiving break.  Given my final paper and exam schedule, I was able to take a little time to sew.  The hubs was very worried about the gift he bought me for my birthday.  He'd spent the majority of the allotted amount on this one item and he had a hard time coming to terms with it.  He kept saying that he hoped I liked it and I could return it if I wanted.  Needless to say, he wasn't instilling the utmost confident in the gift!

Anyway, I opened my gift first thing after breakfast (which the hubs made me!).  Imagine my surprise and supreme pleasure to find he had bought me this little baby!

It is so nice! I loved using it on my projects.  Speaking of projects, I finished the project I was working on in the last post.  I really like it and I believe the young man it is for will love it!  I'm hoping to put the borders on the companion piece and get that quilted on Thursday after I hand in my first final exam of the semester (I handed in two final papers last week).  If I can get the two mailed to their owners Friday, then I will post final pictures this weekend.

The other project I worked on was the Memories of Provence Block of the Month (BOM).  I first wrote about this in October, here.  I was able to find a quilt shop willing to allow me to join so late in the game.  Karylee at Quilt Sampler was awesome and mailed block one to me right away.  So, that's what I sewed on my birthday.

Isn't it gorgeous?? I love it just as much in person as I did in the pictures.