May 31, 2012

A Sneak Peek

I am almost finished with two projects that I have been wanting to complete for a very long  time. I will be returning to my scrappy stars quilt in a few weeks. In the meantime, here is a sneak peak at how it's coming together.

May 28, 2012

Downy Quilts for Kids

Judy and I have finished our Downy quilts for kids and I wanted to share them with you, in case you are interested in making one too. It was a very simple pattern and the kit came with the strips and borders precut. It included backing and all I had to donate was my time and batting. I really enjoyed this project and will be making another soon. 

Please forgive the bad photo-my husband is not the best photographer and Judy and I are both squinting in the bright sun. But the important part of the picture is the quilts-and they look great!

May 25, 2012

An Antique Vignette

I am not a clutter person. I know a lot of people who are very creative with lots of "stuff" around them. They draw inspiration from being surrounded by colors, shapes, and objects. I am just the opposite. When I am cooking, I have out only the ingredients and tools necessary for that recipe. And I put it all away before I begin the next food. That doesn't mean that I can't have something simmering on the stove, something baking in the oven and be tossing a salad at the same time. I can multi-task as well as the next woman-I just like a neat, clean work area.

I am the same way in my quilt room. I may have 4 projects going at one time, but when I am working on a quilt, only that fabric is spread around the room. The other blocks, fabrics, patterns, etc, are neatly stacked out of the way, awaiting their turns. 

I had a notion once to be a scrapbooker. I tried really, really hard to make scrapbooks for each of my children. So far, they each have three (maybe four) finished pages. I bought magazines for inspiration, hundreds of pages of scrapbook paper, die cuts, stickers, embellishments, glues, scissors.......I could go on and on, but I think you are getting the picture. It filled shelves in my quilt room and was taking up a LOT of space. So, I decided to declutter. I moved all the scrapbook supplies to the closet (shelves and all) and now  that space is a reminder of days gone by. Days when our grandmothers and great grandmothers cooked over a wood burning stove and sewed everything that was needed for the family. Quilts were a necessary cover for warmth, not a decorative design element in the room. When I glance up from my sewing machine now, instead of scrapbook clutter, I am inspired by this.

May 24, 2012

Book Review

I love quilt books. I collect them and read them just like a novel. I don't feel like I need to make a single quilt out of a quilt book that I purchase. I read it and look at the pictures and enjoy it, just like a great coffee table book. In fact, in my house they are coffee table books! I keep the newest ones out on the coffee table in my quilt room. I often learn a new technique, or pick up a tip on color, or read about the history of a antique quilt. I get a lot of pleasure from my quilt books.

With that said, I have to confess that I have recently acquired three new quilt books. :-)

The first book is not brand new, but it is new for me and it is very special too.  My good friend, Pam, went to a quilt guild meeting where Jo Morton was giving a trunk show. (Green with envy!!  She is a FAVE of mine!) Pam purchased Banner Day for me and had Jo autograph it to me!! I am in heaven.  
If you like Civil War reproduction fabrics and the quilts you can create from them, then you will like Jo Morton's books and fabrics. 

Several weeks ago I found a quilt book at A Scarlet Thread that I have never seen before. It was published in 2011 by Kansas City Star Books and is called Four Seasons at Minglewood by Debbie Roberts. Debbie owns The Quilted Moose in Gretna, NE and her shop was featured in the Fall/Winter 2007 issue of Quilt Sampler magazine. The cover quilt on this book is absolutely gorgeous! It features 32 pieced blocks around a large center applique' block-done in Christmas fabrics. I know I will never make this 101 X 101" quilt, but I would love to make a smaller version of it. One of my favorite things about this book is the fact that each individual quilt block is shown large enough to see the quilting pattern. That's a definite plus to those of us who may be quilting challenged. 

My third book was pre-ordered months ago and arrived on my doorstep yesterday. Hot off the presses is Kim Diehl's latest book, Simple Charm. I love her books (I own every one of them!) and knew that I needed this one too, so ordering it sight-unseen was a no-brainer for me. And she did not disappoint. This book of scrap quilts is wonderful. Kim has included table runners, wall and bed sized quilts, pieced and appliqued projects, wool and even an adorable cat. If you love the look of scrap quilts, you will want to add this book to your quilting library.

Happy reading and happy quilting! 

May 23, 2012

Too Busy Sewing to Blog!

WOW! Where does the time go? I can't believe that it has been more than a week since I last blogged. I have been so busy that I didn't even realize how far behind I am.

I have been busy sewing and quilting. I have Matt's quilt top all sewn together-except for the last two borders. I am dragging my feet about them because I can't decide how to do the corners of the biggest border. It is a directional fabric with a rather large repeat that would look terrible if the side borders do not meet up with the top and bottom borders just right. So, now I am debating. Do I want to put a different fabric in the corners? Or do I want to make it checkerboard or 4-patch in the corner? If so, what fabrics from the quilt do I want to use? Since I am not sure how I am going to do the corners of the third border, I do not want to attach the second border yet because I may want to do something in the corners of it too......Decisions, decisions. 

Matthew was at our house on Sunday and I showed him the quilt top. He was so happy to see that it is almost finished! 

I am also almost finished with a small charity quilt that I am making. Downy fabric softener has a program called Quilts for Kids. You can click on this link to find out more information about receiving a free kit that you make into a quilt for a hospitalized child. I will post pics of mine as soon as it is finished.

I am working on my next blocks for my Summer's Last Bloom block swap. We will be mailing dark tan on cream this month.

Back to the sewing machine. Happy stitching.

May 16, 2012

Friend Time

Oh, what a great time we had! My two best quilting friends came for a visit last week. It is not easy for us to get together these days-we do not live anywhere near each other. But, when we are with each other we do all the things women love to do with their friends-we talk, laugh, eat, cry-and we quilt. It is always so good for my soul when we have had a visit. I am rejuvenated and ready to take on the world again. They inspire me and lift me up like no one else can. Girlfriends are the best! Thanks for coming to visit, Pam and Anne.

I have been dragging my feet (for a VERY LONG time) finishing a quilt that I started for my youngest son. He painted the bedroom where he was living a beautiful shade of blue and then handed me a paint chip and asked me to make a quilt for him to go on his queen size bed. Well, I took so long to make this quilt that he has moved and no longer has that blue bedroom! Every Christmas and birthday that pass I just know that he is looking for a large box to unwrap, hoping this will be the special occasion that his quilt is finally finished. 

So, while Pam and Anne were visiting we looked at Matthew's quilt blocks I had finished and talked about what I still needed to do. They encouraged me to get them made and check off this UFO. When I got up the next morning, the two of them had cut out the last 23 blocks for me and had them stacked nice and neat so that I could sew them up quickly! 

Well, I am on top of it. All 56 blocks are now finished and the first 5 rows are completed! I see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is bringing me joy to know that it will not be long before I can actually have this quilt finished and my son can have it on his bed. 

I took my scrappy stars off of my design wall and put that quilt on hold for a bit so that I could finish this, but they will be back up before you know it. 

Here is a picture of Matthew's quilt, so far. I will post another pic of him with it when it is finished. 

May 12, 2012

Oh, So Proud!

The new Better Homes and Gardens Quilt Sampler magazine is out! I have been looking forward to this issue for months. You see, my favorite quilt shop is in it. On page 58 is the write up for A Scarlet Thread in McDonough, GA. The owners, Karen and Ken Taylor, are two of the nicest people you would ever want to meet and I just could not be happier for them. 

Karen and Ken have made their shop into a fabulous quilting destination. Walking through the front door will awaken and excite your senses. Everywhere you look, you are inspired to create. If this shop doesn't get your juices going, nothing will! The staff is friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. 

A Scarlet Thread offers everything a quilter or craft sewer needs-from applique to zippers and everything in between. 

May 2, 2012

Summer's Last Bloom-the plums

I have my plum blocks sewn together for Summer's Last Bloom. This quilt is going to be SO gorgeous when it is put together. This is such a fun swap!

I have one more set of pumpkin colored blocks to receive and I will post a picture of them. We are all currently working on dark tan blocks. 

May 1, 2012

Pickin' and Grinnin'

I know this is a funny title for a blog post, but if you keep reading, you will quickly catch on.

Several years ago I made a new quilt for my oldest daughter and her husband. I made them one about 10 years ago and the two of them were fighting over it constantly! So, I decided to make them a second throw quilt so they each have their own to snuggle under while they watch TV in the evening.

I love quick and easy patterns and my daughter loves simple, clean lines; so when I found Cutting Corners by Pieces from my Heart I knew we had a winner. I used a fabric line from Moda by Brannock and Patek called Hemming House. The quilt went together quickly and by the end of the weekend I had the top finished. My daughter and I both loved the way it turned out.

And then it sat. I am great at making quilt tops-not so great at finishing them. I decided to give this one to a long arm quilter and let her do her magic. I had seen other quilts that she quilted and I liked her work. 

Unfortunately, when I got my quilt back, I was not happy at all. The pattern she quilted it in and the thread color she used were both fine-but the quilt top had been stretched too tightly when it was loaded and the end result was puckers and wrinkles and a quilt that was stretched out of shape. I had no choice but to get out my seam ripper and begin picking out all those stitches. I worked on it for several days and had made so little progress that I put it away, totally discouraged. 

Fast forward too many months later. I have promised my daughter that by this July the quilt will be finished and in her house. I got it back out of hiding and a friend spent most of an afternoon helping me pick out stitches. We chatted about all kinds of things and the time passed quickly. We made a lot of progress and I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I continued to pick stitches for many hours each day over the next ten days. 

I am pleased to say that now the pickin' is over and I am grinnin'! I need to let the top rest a bit before I mess with it again. I have two quilty friends coming for a visit next week and I am going to ask them to help me get it layered again and then I am going to quilt it myself this time. I have at least 8 weeks to get this quilt finished and I just know I can do it! Stay tuned-I will post pics when I am finally finished!