Monday, February 16, 2015

A glimmer....

I believe the "light at the end the tunnel" analogy is way over-used.  But there are times when it just makes a point better than anything else.
So, there is a glimmer of light with this quilt.  I still love it -- and I continue to aspire to have the top finished by November of this year.  That doesn't sound so hard - but this is not a quilt I can work on every day.  Or even every week.
I have five large blocks to applique (of the original 16) and have completed nine of the border blocks (only 37 or so to go -- really -- 37, I think!).

If you have somehow missed my many posts on this quilt, this is Kim McLean's Lollypop quilt pattern and is done primarily with Kaffe Fassett fabrics.  My friend, mom22smartchix, finished her top as of this past weekend and it is fabulous.  We started together and chose different paths in our approach to applique and I hope mine is half as wonderful as hers when I get it done.  We've learned from each other - we've commiserated with each other - we have conspired with each other - but we never competed with each other. And I could look at hers for hours. She's a little wacky and is already planning her second one but that's another post for another day!

I hope you are working on a project that you love and are inspired to finish (eventually!).


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

I'm happy to say this quilt is in Toronto and waiting for our new grandson who should put in an appearance anytime between now and early March.
I learned a lot on this quilt and for the most part -- it was fun.  Make a mistake?  Just make it work. No ripping.  Just changing direction when something didn't go as planned.
I quilted with a light gray thread and let me tell you -- there is no place to hide when you are quilting solids with semi-straight lines.  No pattern in the fabric to hide your boo-boos.  No busy pieced blocks to hide your "oops".  No forgiving backing that hides your goofs. They are out there for everyone to see.
I know this is a bit unorthodox for a baby quilt -- and I had no idea how it would be received. Interestingly, when we got home, I began to get lots of questions about how I had quilted it as they looked more and more closely. I did lots of starts and stops and burying thread so anytime I "hit" a tree, I stopped, tied off, and restarted somewhere else.  Once I sent this picture of the quilt on Lola, our son understood -- and appreciated the effort even more.
So, I'm looking forward to meeting Rex Webb Steve (our grandson's choice of names for his little brother) in a month or two and seeing that little guy on his birch tree quilt.

I hope you are quilting for someone you love -- whether you've met them yet or not!


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Do over

Sometimes quilting just requires a "do over'.  This quilt is one of those.
I made this quilt for my niece-the-quilter 8-9 years ago and did straight line quilting since I did not have access to a longarm.  I called it "Tequila Sunrise" because she is a huge Jimmy Buffett fan. But alas, as it turns out Jimmy Buffett did not sing "Tequila Sunrise" but I think the name is perfect in spite of my feeble attempt.
As with this black and white quilt I did for my now daughter-in-law, the stitching started pulling and breaking over time and it needed to be fixed.
So, I loaded it on the longarm.
I quilted it with a curvy pattern so it wouldn't overlap the straight line quilting.
I pulled out the old stitching.
It was a little work but I was happy to do it....and happy to have it done.
It's now back home where it belongs and I'm thrillled it's "fixed" and should hold for another 8-9 years.

But --- I have one more to do and then I think I will have fixed all the quilts that I can remember that I quilted this way.  I want my quilts loved.  I want them used.  And I want them to last.  So a do over is an easy decision -- start to finish, it's easily done in a week and the binding is already done!

I hope you are avoiding do overs and starting the new year with lots of creativity!


Friday, December 26, 2014

Planting a forest

Ever had an idea that seemed logical in your head and once you executed it - you weren't so sure?  That's what's going on here.
This started out as a version of crazy mom quilts "birch trees".  I love this pattern and bought it with the intent of making it for our new grandson who is to put in an appearance in early March.  I started piecing the brightly colored birches - I studied her version - I pondered lights and darks.  And then it took a right turn.
And I began to wonder if I could do more realistic birch trees.  And would that make sense for a baby quilt?  So I began to do a search on Pinterest and Google and came up with a beautiful and sophisticated wall hanging from tallgrass prairie studio's "night forest".   Isn't this lovely?  And I loved the contrast of lights and darks and all the different fabrics she used.
I still wasn't sure but I was intrigued and decided to try it.  It's for family, after all, and if it's a little too "out there" or non-traditional, they won't have trouble telling me.  So I started and had no idea what I was doing.  I went through my strings; I pulled some pre cut strips from my bins; and I dug into my strips from men's shirts.
I had forgotten how much I Iike improvisational piecing.  I just put away the ruler and started cutting.  It went together quickly and when I did something I didn't intend to -- I just made it work.  This is what the first version looked like when I added strips.  The first image is the finished top and there was some evolution in design -- but not a lot. No pinning!  Just cut, sew, and repeat.
This required me to stop working on the Quiltville mystery for a few days but I'm hoping to get caught back up while I ponder how to quilt this.  I love the negative space but I've learned that dense quilting on a baby quilt takes away any "drape" until it's been washed a number of times.  So, rather than create a "stiff" quilt for "Rex Webb Steve" (the name our grandson has chosen -- we're not monogramming anything just yet!), I'll restrain myself and not over quilt it.
I hope you are finding time to "create" and improvise occasionally and enjoy the process! Looking forward to a wonderful 2015 and more creativity!


Saturday, December 6, 2014

And now there are 10...

......and "only" six to go.  ONLY.  Only?  Only.  No matter how I say it -- it's still six blocks and I'm not working on any of them right now.  My goal to get Kim McLean's Lollypop Quilt appliqued this year won't happen. So - "maybe" 2015. MAYBE. Maybe? Maybe.
Nevertheless, I do love this quilt and I will finish it -- and the border blocks too! It will be huge. It will be a terror to quilt.  It will be a quilt I keep forever. It will be done!
I'd like to say I've accomplished all matter of other things. Not the case. I have started a lot of things -- including the mystery quilt by Bonnie Hunter. Here are the remnants of step 1. Step 2 is about half done.

I have a few things I have to get done by Christmas so I'll work on the mystery quilt as much as I can - but I'm going to have to start focusing on gifts and commitments (not to mention Christmas, baking, decorating, and the best -- family).

I hope you are enjoying the holidays - finishing a few things - starting new things - and loving every minute of it!


Friday, November 21, 2014

One more time...

Once again, I needed a baby quilt and I turned to my old faithful pattern.  These are darling puppy dog (and a few kitty) prints that were gifted from my friend, logcabinquilting.  This went together like a charm (as it always does) and was in the hands of the new grandmother within a week of cutting the first fabric.  So thankful for generous friends -- and I have many of them.
Speaking of puppy dogs, this is our newest family member.  Farley joined us three weeks ago today and he does love fabric.  He's happy to sneak a scrap (or quilt block) from my quilt room and carry it around. I am not happy with that behavior so we're working on it. He's about six months old and still a puppy -- literally.
I hope you have generous friends, great patterns that never let you down, and a faithful companion of some sort who also loves fabric!

Best wishes for a wonderful family filled Thanksgiving!


Sunday, October 26, 2014


Have you ever seen such a wild quilt? This is for our 4 year old grandson for Halloween and was loads of fun to do. Thanks to logcabinquilts who has been reducing her stash (I know - I don't get it either) and offered fabrics to me, I was gifted all these cute Halloween fabrics. Some were yardage and others were small pieces but this pattern is perfect for those. Thank you, LG.

The pattern is from Wanda at Exuberant Color and she has a great tutorial on her blog. Click here for a direct link to her Cross Quilt. But pay attention to her instructions -- they are spot on and it always takes me about two rows of sewing to get my rhythm down right. It goes together like a dream and uses 6.5" strips rather than five 2.5" squares.  Goes together much faster. Thank you, Wanda.
The backing is fun and looked darling on the quilt. Candy corn fleece - what's not to love! And I think is really what my grandson likes the most.
And since this is for a 4 year old, will never be entered in a quilt show, and was just for fun, I decided to try my hand at free-hand quilting spiderwebs (in purple thread).  No rulers - no templates - no real plan.  He loved it and it's pretty forgiving!

So in the end, it was fun, went together quickly, I learned a lot quilting it, and it got to Toronto well before Halloween!

I hope you're finding time to quilt for someone you love!