Thursday, October 28, 2010

Finally...a finish

Thank you to all who left encouraging comments on my last post.  Immediately after I published the post, we left for a three-day trip to the ranch and I did not see what you said until today.  I do appreciate hearing from you.

My husband was anxious to finish some chores at the ranch including cleaning out a stock tank and getting things set up for the beginning of hunting season the first weekend in November.  The trip gave me a chance to load up Fiona (a.k.a. HQ16) and work on this project. 

The pattern came from this book. 

The author calls it the “Two Step.”  I think I will name my version “All Boxed In and Singing the Blues.”  Although the entire quilt is done in a single block pattern, the color placement gives the optical illusion of movement and blocks of differing sizes.  I chose to quilt it using a simple meander.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Design Wall Monday - 10/25/2010

I have been using this as my leader-ender project for a few months.  Instructions for this block appeared in Bonnie Hunter’s “Addicted to Scraps” column in the May/June 2010 issue of Quiltmaker.  She called it Carolina Chain and it has helped me gain a new appreciation for the importance of value.  I have had to set several blocks aside simply because the value difference wasn’t great enough.  Although I have several blocks remaining to piece, I suspect this will become a throw rather than a bed size quilt.  I’m really not looking forward to matching all those seams.  Units for the blocks are cut from 2-inch strips.

Check out other design walls at Judy Laquidara's site, Patchwork Times.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Not My Usual Quilt Cub Meeting Day

We celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Marble Falls Quilt Club today.  One of the things the members were asked to do was participate in a challenge that included a heart motif.  The project could be a quilt or clothing item and the heart could be incorporated any way we chose.  There were some extremely nice entries and I was unprepared when they announced my Heart and Home quilt had won second prize.  One of the bees had made really cute heart ribbons and my prize included a gift certificate to a local quilt shop!

This project had languished in my stash of unfinished projects for well over a year.  The challenge gave me the motivation I needed to finish it.  It was a pattern published by Design Originals called “Heart and Home.” I used a jelly roll from the Madeira Collection by Blackbird Designs for Moda.  This was the first time I had attempted hand appliqué and free motion feathers in my quilting.  

After the meeting, I joined some quilting friends for lunch – just about the nicest day I could have imagined!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Design Wall Monday

This weekend our local Dear Jane Club met and I switched tracks from the projects I’ve previously reported on to work on these applique blocks.  My version of the quilt uses batiks and tone-on-tone fabrics, and I’ve completed 34 blocks. These blocks do not bear close scrutiny.  I know there are easier applique methods than needle-turn, but I have my heart set on mastering that skill.  I should get lots of practice as I continue working on this quilt. 

As always, Judy’s Patchwork Times website offers lots of inspiration on Mondays.  Be sure to check it out.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Another Little Jo

I joined a group of quilting friends for a sew-in at the local quilt shop two days this week.  A sew-in is sort of like a mini-retreat where you get to go home at night and sleep in your own bed.  We had a great time and it made it possible for me to complete this month’s Little Jo project before the club meeting today.  This is my second Little Jo quilt and, again, it is quite small with blocks measuring 3 inches.    It took a while to get the hang of it, but I finally learned how to make passable Ohio Stars.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Handmade Gifts

Judy at Patchwork Times is inviting us to post ideas for handmade gifts.  I have two to share. 

This pattern for a heart pin cushion is available for free at Fat Quarter Shop.  I have made several for gifts for quilting friends and have even had direct requests for them.  They are nice and large.  I modify the pattern slightly.  Instead of using the plastic pellets called for, I make a separate little packet of sand in the center of the pincushion because I like the added weight.  I buy my sand in little bottles from craft stores because it is clean.

I posted about this gift a few days ago.  It is an extremely easy pattern that can be found in this book Down & Dirty, Quick & Easy, I Need a Last Minute Gift Project Book! by Linette Dowdell and Kim Fillmore.  I have made several of these as hostess gifts and use them myself.  I also modify this pattern.  I prefer to use handles made out of the fabric I use for the bag rather than the webbing the pattern calls for.

Thank you, Judy, for the opportunity to get gift ideas early in the season!

Monday, October 11, 2010

An Early Project

I haven’t figured out what it is about us Texans and armadillos.  My personal experience with these critters has not been positive.  If left undisturbed they will plow up your yard and tunnel under your foundation.  But being crazy for all things Texan as I am, this was the first quilting project I undertook after retiring and coming home to the Hill Country I love so much.  With the encouragement of several new quilting friends and a lot advice on how to get started, I made this wall hanging in 2007.  It still hangs in my sewing room.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Favorite Vintage Tool

I just love it when you can take a tool, especially a vintage tool with a sentimental connection, and repurpose it for quilting.  The wooden block in the picture belonged to my father who used it in his printing business from the mid-1940s until his retirement in 1978.  His print shop used the old letter press process that Gutenberg would have easily understood.  When type had been set and locked in a frame, the wooden block was used, in conjunction with a mallet, to tamp it down so it was flush and ready for even inking. 

I discovered the hard way that my HQ16 does not like really bulky seam intersections like those in the quilt I blogged about yesterday.  When I saw some of my quilting friends using a modern tool to flatten their problem spots, I remembered I had held on to this tool (I wish I could remember the correct term for it) as a memento of my father.  Since it was exposed to a lot of print shop oil and grease over the decades, I wrap it in a thick towel, lay the problem area in the quilt top on it, steam it with my iron and then tap firmly with the mallet.  The results I get are as good as those using the newer tool.  The mallet is a new purchase from the hardware store.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

One of Last Year's Projects

Work continues on the projects I've posted about before, but they are all at that stage where there is little new to show, so I am documenting a quilt finished last year.  This was a kit designed by Charlotte Angotti and presented to the local quilt club as a "Let Me Surprise You" workshop following our monthly meeting.  I believe she named it Huckleberry Friend.  It was the most challenging project I had attempted to that date and I was so very relieved when it was finished.  As you can tell, some of the borders were not captured in the photograph.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Singer 301

Now that I am a lady “of a certain age” who is rapidly approaching yet another decade birthday, I find that I more and more appreciate anything vintage that has proved both its worth and durability over time.  This is one of my vintage sewing machines.  She is a Singer 301 that I bought on E-Bay when I discovered my beloved Featherweight was missing after a cross-country move.  I love this machine and she works like a dream.  She dates to the early 1950s and gives me a very pretty straight stitch.  For well over a year, she was my favorite machine to take to Sit N Sew days at the LQS.  Eventually I found a good deal on a Featherweight at an estate sale.  I now keep this 301 set up at our ranch house so I can continue work on projects without having to carry machines back and forth.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

576 Half Square Triangles Later

I finished this quilt in August.  Unfortunately, it is too large for me to get a picture of the entire quilt.  This was made from a Moda Heritage Collection for a Cause Kit that I purchased in 2008 at the Houston International Quilt Festival, and I have been working on it off and on ever since then.  It required constructing 576 half square triangles, quite a challenge for me.  I chose to to paper piece them, which gives me much more consistent results than the other methods I have tried.

I used a simple meander for the quilting.

My daughter expressed an interest in it and it went home with her recently.  It’s one more UFO off my guilt list.  I will hold on to the instructions.  I really like the pattern, but think I would use modern prints or possibly batiks next time around.