Saturday, December 31, 2016

fourth quarter of the finish along

Well, despite setting low goals for the fourth quarter finish along, knowing I was having surgery and all, I only finished two of the three items on my list. The third one is, however, well under way! I'll just add it to my first quarter goals for 2017 and be happy with that.

My first finish this quarter was my wonky dresden neighborhood quilt. I had so much fun with this one!
My second finish is my most recent bee quilt which has already been put to good use.

My Liberty plus quilt is still a work in progress.... although I am nearing the end of the piecing! I am thinking now that it may become a pretty pillow. We will know soon. This is the only goal I didn't reach in the finish along for the whole year. Pretty proud of myself for that.
How did you do with your quilty goals this year?

I'm linking up over at A Quilter's Table

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

a little quilt for Christmas

I want to share a little quilt I made for Ally for Christmas. Ally is a huge fan of Llamas and succulents. So, when I saw the line Lovely Llamas by Michael Miller, I knew I needed to do something for her! 
I made a simple economy block mini quilt for her to hang in her apartment. Along with the featured prints, I used three different grunge fabrics (Ally loves grunge as much as I do!) and I think it turned out really cute! The finished quilt is 24 inches square.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

rope bowls

With all of the coiled rope bowls popping up on Instagram, it was only a matter of time before I went down the rabbit hole too and gave it a try. My first bowl came out pretty good (even if the edges are a little wonky!)
I'm still getting the hang of molding the shape of the bowls and evening out the top. Let's just call it organic and move on, shall we?
My second bowl is equally wonky  organic and quite a bit larger! I loved pulling out green strips I had on hand as I am rather loving the newly announced Pantone color of the year, greenery! I intend to explore this color even more in the new year. I don't think I've ever made a quilt that featured green so that will be a new adventure for me.

Also, I'm guessing there will be more bowls. And maybe, just maybe, I'll master those wonky edges. Or maybe not. Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

weaving houndstooth

My poor loom has been sitting empty since October! While weaving is relaxing and fun, warping the loom is labor intensive and required more up and down, back and forth, than I was capable of just after my knee surgery. Until now! Last weekend, hubby helped me get everything set up and I warped the loom to try something new! I had been wanting to weave a houndstooth pattern for a while. I used this tutorial and found it to be simple, even though it looks complicated. Love that!
I ended up with two yards of 20 inch wide fabric when I took it off the loom
wow, this picture makes it look really blue!
And decided to make it into pillows

I was able to get two 14 inch square pillow covers out of the fabric. I really love the way they look (duh! AQUA!)

The back is bound in fabric envelope style, allowing a pillow form to be inserted
I am thinking about making a bunch of pillows like this and filling up my etsy shop. Poor little shop has been sitting empty for ages!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

ornament swaps

December is always filled with fun gatherings of friends, gift exchanges and yummy food! This year has been no different. Two of my Christmas gatherings included ornament exchanges and, as always, I added some happy decorations to my tree! 

Our December McKinney Modern Quilt Guild meeting is always fun and festive. I was dead last to choose my ornament, and took the last ornament left wrapped on the table. It turned out to be this sweet little tree, in aqua and red which was perfect for me! The maker was a new guild member who said she was a new sewer.... but I did not get her name! I hope to get to know her at future meetings and let her know how much I love this little tree.
 On Crafty Tuesday we had another fun ornament swap. I ended up keeping Joellen's little felt mitten, filled with candy canes and I just love it too!
It's so much fun to have these treasures to pull out year to year. They always remind me of good friends and good times.

Somehow I managed to not take a picture of the ornaments I made for the swaps! I made two identical sets, and I had to steal this photo from Mahriam's (three owls handmade) instagram feed! So here is one set, hanging on her tree....

They were fun to sit and hand stitch during my recovery.

Have you made any ornaments this year?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

where did November go?

And just like that, it's December. Wow! My November was filled with recovery from surgery, physical therapy, doctors appointments. I'm happy to report that I am doing great! Back at my sewing machine, mostly working on secret Christmas gifts. This time of year is so hard for blogging. So many secret projects.

November ended with a full house at ellyn's place! All of my kiddos were home for the weekend, including Steve's girlfriend Lily. It was so much fun to have them all together. Lots of laughter, food, oh, and Gilmore Girls, of course!
We even found time for a family photo shoot. 

After everyone went back home (boohoo!) I finally found time to prep my hand dyed fabrics for use. I thought I'd share about them today.
Back in October,  Joellen and I took a fun fabric dying workshop from our friend Melissa (you can follow her at My Fabric Relish) Melissa's workshop is so great! She does all of the prep work, you make a huge mess in her garage and then she cleans it all up! Such a deal. 

Melissa approves of Joellen's mad dying skills
I came away with a dozen beautifully dyed fat quarters. I want to use them all in one quilt, but I'm having a hard time deciding exactly what I want to do. I've been keeping a pinterest board of modern solid quilts, hoping the answer will come to me. Thinking this will be a good project to begin 2017.

Meanwhile, I'll just keep admiring this pretty bundle!

Friday, November 18, 2016

woven baby blanket

Hi It's me! Sorry for the blogging break. Just over 2 weeks ago I got a new knee and now I am walking without a limp and in very little pain! Amazing. I'll spare you the pictures of my most attractive scar.... let's just say my surgeon could use a few lessons in hand sewing. Seriously though, he did a wonderful job and I am most happy. And ready to get back to my crafty life...

Just before my surgery I finished up my very first handwoven baby blanket for a baby due next week. Silly baby, I guess no one told him the schedule. He actually arrived four weeks early. I finally got his blanket mailed off to him this week and I hope he enjoys it!

Since my loom is only 25 inches wide, I wove twice the length I needed for the blanket, cut the woven fabric in half and joined the two halves with hand stitching to make the size I needed (about 40"x45"). The yarn is a variegated acrylic baby yarn. It wove up beautifully, just a plain weave. The only problem I had was that the yarn would pick up a lot of static after several passes through the shed. I finally came up with a solution! I kept an unused dryer sheet handy and would swipe it down the length of the weft yarn every now & then. Worked like a charm!

I bound the two unfinished edges using a strip of quilting cotton, just like I do with my towels. It added such a nice finish to the blanket.

I learned a lot making this blanket. It's not perfect, but I do think it came out quite nice! 

Friday, October 28, 2016

back to my childhood! bee quilt finish

You all remember the 1970s right? Everything was neon bright, yellows, oranges, lime green? Ok, maybe some of you don't remember. You young things, you! But the rest of you know what I'm talking about. In the early 70s I was that preteen girl who wore smiley faces (for you young kids, you would call this an emoji) on her t-shirts. One year I was a smiley face for Halloween! Wish I had a picture of THAT! We moved into a new house when I was in the fifth grade. My bedroom was perfect, bright yellow walls, built in bookshelves under the eves. Everything was perfect EXCEPT for the butterfly wallpaper on the front wall. Yuck. It was very girly and not my style. 

One day, I asked my mom (please note she was on the telephone and distracted at the time) "if I tear down that ugly wallpaper, will you paint my wall orange while I'm at camp?" Not hearing me at all, she waved her hand at me, "yeah yeah" and went back to her call. That was all I needed! I ran upstairs and 15 minutes later I was back with armloads of ripped up wallpaper. That got her attention! But, she had promised. When I returned from camp a couple weeks later, my wall was bright orange.

Mom also helped me acquire an orange shag rug and a bright geometric quilt for my bed. She even painted my desk bright yellow. I was a happy girl.

40+ years and a generation later, both of my older kids LOVE orange (Steve had us paint his bedroom wall bright orange years ago. That's my boy!) and when we moved to this house a couple years ago, Ally had us paint one wall of her bedroom bright pink. They are my kids for sure.

To Ally's credit, her tastes are more subdued and mature than mine. She paired her pink wall with black and white, a color scheme she has carried with her to her new apartment. With her room empty, I decided it needed a new quilt to welcome her home on visits and other visitors in her absence.
Pardon the bad lighting, but here it is! She isn't terribly fond of the change, but her black bedding is tucked into the closet for her to use when she's here.

This is my latest bee quilt from my Sew Bee It group with the McKinney Modern Quilt Guild. I gave each of the girls fat quarters of three of the four colors (pink, orange, yellow and green) and a fat quarter of white and asked them to make me two different blocks from Sew Mama Sew's 2015 Modern block of the month. The blocks I received back were fantastic! Of course, since I have sixteen blocks, some are duplicates. Turns out none of the blocks are in triplicate which is perfect. And the blocks that are from the same pattern look so different from each other because of color placement. Can you even find the four duplicate blocks?

I used a simple setting, a row featuring each of the four colors with wide white sashing in between. My friend Diann added her magic on the longarm...

I love the modern triangles with the swirls to add some movement to an otherwise very angular quilt.
You might be able to see that she used a variegated thread, with citrusy orange, yellow & lime green which was the perfect choice. I made a scrappy binding, using all of the solids found in the quilt.

Also, this is finish #2 for me in the fourth quarter of the 2016 Finish Along. How is your quarter shaping up?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

wonky dresden neighborhood

Welcome to my Wonky Dresden Neighborhood! About a month ago I took this fun class from Martha Lindberg at Not Your Mama's Quilt Store. For me, one of the best parts of taking a class is seeing how different everyone's projects look just based on different fabric choice...

I started with a layer cake of all of the new grunge colors & I just love how mine came together. But everyone elses are so cool too! Makes me want to make another one. 

My finished quilt is 26 inches square.

And, I'm happy to say, this is my first finish for the fourth quarter in the Finish Along! 

Monday, October 10, 2016

NYC 2016

Last weekend I jaunted off to the Big Apple to visit my oldest daughter, Leigh Anne...
The main purpose of this visit was for the two of us to attend the She Is Free conference, hosted by her church, Liberty Church NYC. There's an incredible video here, if you want to see more about She Is Free. It was an incredible weekend!

We ate lots of great (gluten free!) food in NYC, of course. And on Sunday, after the conference had ended, I requested a trip to Purl Soho which Leigh Anne politely agreed to (she did not acquire the crafty gene sadly). I had been planning my purchase from Purl Soho and saving for it for quite a while. 

Isn't it beautiful? A fat eighth bundle of 56 different pieces of Liberty Lawn. OH. MY. GOODNESS. and since Liberty Lawn is 54 inches wide, a fat eighth is 9" X 27" which means even more incredible goodness! I plan to stretch this fabric and include it in many many projects. But I wasn't home long before I selected 30 prints and cut a 2 1/2" strip from each, prepping pieces for an English Paper Pieced plus quilt. 

I have dreamed of a liberty version of this quilt ever since I made my first EPP Plus quilt last year. When I finished prepping, I had a pile of tiny strips of Liberty on my cutting table and I couldn't bear to throw them away....
My friend Mahriam, the queen of "no scrap left behind" suggested I put them in a pretty jar! Brilliant. So off I went to Walmart where I got this cute, tiny jar for less than $3.
It was the perfect size! And now I will always have a little bit of Liberty making my studio a happy place...
I have added my EPP Plus Liberty quilt to my fourth quarter goals for the finish along.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Finish along fourth quarter goals

After an amazing third quarter, where I set my goals high (and reached them!) things are going to slow way way down in the fourth quarter here. I am scheduled for a knee replacement (did you know they make them custom now? pretty amazing) the first of November and my recovery, combined with the upcoming holidays will force me to take things easy in the sewing department.

That said, I do have some things I'd love to get done. So here goes....

1) Last month I took an awesome Wonky Dresden Neighborhood class from Martha Lindberg at Not Your Mama's Quilt Store. I love my resulting quilt top & am thinking of making it into a giant pillow. Or maybe a mini? Whichever, it needs to be quilted and completed.

2) These bee blocks have been waiting patiently to be made into a quilt top. My Bee mates did such a fabulous job on them and I plan to add a few more blocks to the mix and at least get the topper done and off to the quilter in quarter 4.

3) This deserves a whole post which I promise in the next day or two. A recent trip to NYC resulted in a beautiful bundle of Liberty Lawns. I promptly cut into them and prepped an English Paper Piecing project to do while I am off my feet. I think an EPP Plus Quilt entirely out of Liberty will be so yummy. 

So that's it. Anything else I get done will be gravy. What do you plan to get done by the end of the year? I'm linking up at A Quilter's Table.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

2016 finish-along, third quarter finishes

Whew, I did it! When I set my goals for the third quarter I didn't even begin to imagine I'd finish them all, BUT I DID! Yay! Here are links to my finishes.....

My Small World is done! I'm really proud of this one. It was a major project & I enjoyed it so much.

My swap for the Triad meets Mckinney swap is done, delivered & appreciated! This was so much fun to do.

Ally's pillows are happily hanging out on her couch, or wherever college kids keep pillows! ha!

My girls have matching San Francisco Swing Dresses and they both love them. 

The Pow Wow quilt has been delivered to a sweet new baby boy in Ohio and he is enjoying it very much.

So there you have it. Third quarter was a huge success for me! I'm linking up over at A Quilter's Table.