Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I'm Definitely Intrigued - Clues 4 and 5

I'm a little behind with the clues.  We spent a week in NC for Christmas and then I came home with either the flu or with some yucky virus.  I've finally felt well enough to be vertical, do some laundry, unpack and spend some time at the machine.  So all my clues are not finished, but at least I've done some of each.
Clue 4 has been kind of awkward for me.  The pieces have to be in exactly the right position and it's not easy to get into a rhythm.
Clue 5 was super easy, just squares.
So this is where things are right now.  With grey, cloudy skies in Pensacola, working with these colors has been so enjoyable.  My friend Linda at FlourishingPalms thinks maybe I've gone over to the "Bright Side" LOL.  Not so sure about that, but I have enjoyed these colors and I am so anxious to see where this is going.
My DGD had a show and share for me when we got to Charlotte.  She had displayed both of the quilts we've worked on together.
She was so excited to show me.
The best part of my Christmas this year was spending the day with these people, my family.  It was the first time in about 7 or 8 years we have all been together.  My brother, sister and I are so blessed to have been raised by these Godly and precious people.  I do not take it for granted to still have them in my life.
I wish you all a Happy New Year and maybe some stitching time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Grand Illusion Clue 3

This step has been so easy and so much fun.  It was a little rough at first, I didn't quite read all the directions, so I had to spend a little time with the frogs - ripit, ripit.  But once I got in the groove, can I just say that working with these limey greens puts you in a great mood.  This is a happy color! And I felt so "modern" LOL.  I really cannot wait to see how this block fits in the quilt. I had my reservations at first about these colors, but I think this is going to be a great quilt.
Here are two possibilities for the double diamond units (it probably won't be either).  Adding the green has changed the whole balance of the quilt.  I bet the next step has a bunch of yellow, we've still got a lot to use.
I realized I didn't have any kitty fabric in the quilt, so I found 2 different prints that will work as neutrals.
I love mixing all these fabrics together!! And I can't wait for the reveal.  
I had to work today so hopefully will find a little time to stitch tonight.
'Tis the season to be merry :).

Monday, December 15, 2014

A QAYG Chevron Finish

I have finally finished this fun QAYG Chevron quilt and will turn it in tonight at our Guild meeting.  
I got the idea for this quilt from Maureen's blog tutorial here
We always seem to be short on boy's quilts for our charity projects.
This was a fun method that used a lot of stash fabrics.  I started this last spring and I'm glad to have a finish!
It almost looks like an I Spy quilt with all the novelty fabrics.
I didn't make it as big as the original, but it will be perfect for a small boy.
And here's a picture from Thanksgiving of me and my DH with our 4 precious babies.  
Life is good.  
Hope you get some stitching in at the busy time.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I Just Couldn't Help Myself

Several years ago I watched with interest Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt, "Roll, Roll Cotton Boll".  I didn't participate until the quilt was revealed and I was hooked.  This is my 5th BH mystery - I've done RRCB, Orca Bay, Easy Street and Celtic Solstice.  Mysteries are hard for me and I'm always so uncertain at this point.  Will I love it enough to justify spending so much time?  But I've found that I do enjoy making the blocks and guessing what it will look like.  So, I've taken the plunge again and started.
The newest mystery is called Grand Illusion and I'm using the colors that Bonnie suggested. These broken dishes blocks were clue one.
These pink and black blocks are Clue #2.
I didn't have to work today and this is where I started this morning.
After a fun sewing day, this is where I am now.  I'm probably done until the next clue comes out Friday.  I must admit, I don't love these colors, but the last color in the group is green.  I'm going to reserve judgment for a few more clues.  Bonnie has a way of making these random blocks look amazing.

 I have tons more units to make even though I usually make mine smaller.  I do need to make a few more broken dishes - I don't have nearly enough even if I make my quilt smaller.
Stay tuned, it's going to be a happy quilt.

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Little Christmas Wallhanging

On Friday afternoon, my DGD decided we should go to Nana Girl's studio and make a quilt!!  I guess the fact that she was leaving at 5:30 AM the next morning was not a factor.  So, upstairs we went.  She looked thru my books and picked a pattern.  Then she picked fabric after telling me that she didn't really like scrappy, she liked things to match.  She decided on the green and the swirly red (which was her favorite).  Not finding anything suitable for a border, her mom ran her up to JoAnn's while I kept cutting and sewing.  By Friday night, we had this finished top.
My all-time favorite go to books for great, easy ideas are Kim Brackett's Scrap Basket series.  I gave Cameron all 3 books and she picked this quilt.  
She desperately wanted to finish it but there just wasn't time.  I promised her I would finish it quickly.  Saturday I basted and started quilting.

Picking the overall swirl design was easy as she kept saying the red swirly fabric was her favorite.
I decided on stars and loops in the border. 
A bright green was perfect for the binding.  It got mailed off by Tuesday
and should arrive today.  I'm hoping for a phone call to see how she likes it in person.
My youngest DGD was also in my studio working on a "quilt".  As she is only 3, we had to get a little creative.  She picked scraps of fabric she liked and using a stapler declared she was "making a quilt".  No picture was taken, but here she is enjoying an ice cream cone. :)  Can I just say that Nana Girl had  a precious, memory filled afternoon.
These are the best times in life. 
Have a happy stitching day,

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Turn to Page 19

My newest copy of Quilter's Newsletter came in the mail a few days ago.  

A quick check of the cover told me that the pictures of the winning quilts were in this issue.
Turning to Page 19 I found my quilt "Dahlia Revisited".  It is still so incredible to me to see one of my quilts in any magazine, much less one that has been such a leader in our industry for 45 years.
I think the colors are pretty true to the original.
I haven't found a permanent home for this yet.  I may have to re-do some things in my studio.
I hope you can find a copy - it's a good article.  And I still feel humbled to have placed in the top five.  Hope you all are staying warm today - our sun is shining and things have warmed up a bit here.  I think it was 31 last night.
I'm working on the memory quilts today - trying to get ready for quilting.
Happy stitching,

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Purple Dresdens for Joyce

Yesterday I delivered this quilt to a friend of mine.  It's a purple Dresden Plate that was pieced, appliqued and partially quilted by Joyce.
I've never met Joyce, she is my friend's mother in law and she passed away last spring.
I know that she was an artist and a quilter.  Her husband found this quilt partially finished and wanted someone to finish it.  So my friend called me and  that's how I came to work on Joyce's quilt.  I've spent the last few weeks finishing the hand quilting  and adding the binding.
No one in the family knew when Joyce started it or how long she worked on it.  They're not sure why she chose purple and so those things will never be known. There isn't a lot of complicated quilting so I continued Joyce's design of simple edge stitching in the borders.  It's not a perfect quilt, but then, do any of us make perfect quilts??  In the end, what we want is a finished quilt that someone will love and enjoy.
So Joyce's quilt is done and I hope her husband will use it and enjoy it.

I feel honored and humbled that the family trusted me to finish this.  While I was quilting, I had time to think about whether someone I don't know will one day finish one of my quilts (or maybe more than one).  I'm so glad this quilt is no longer in a bag in the closet.

May we all keep stitching as long as we have days.

P.S.  Sorry this is so sappy, I just felt I wanted to share Joyce's story.

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Very Special House Guest

Two weeks ago, I had the extreme pleasure of hosting one of the sweetest people ever.  She also happens to be an incredible quilter.  Philippa Naylor came to Pensacola, FL from Yorkshire, England  (by way of Houston) to do 3 workshops for our Guild prior to her teaching schedule in Houston.  
I have been a huge, HUGE fan of Philippa's since I first found her book in 2009.  I read her book cover to cover and then made a quilt using techniques from the book and posted about it here.
Can you just see the sweetness in that smile??  She stayed at my house for 4 days and we had the best time.  I still kind of pinch myself that it really happened.  It was a dream come true.  I was able to take the whole week off work and took all 3 of her workshops.  If you ever get the chance to meet her and take one of her classes, do it.  She is amazing.
This is her new book she debuted at Market last week - it's incredible.  We learned so many of the techniques from the book and I can only say my brain hurt when we were all finished!  She is an amazing teacher (and we could all listen to that English accent all day LOL),
I'm still getting used to my new Juki, but found that it did really well in the machine applique department.
Philippa had so many samples there.  We learned how to make these wavy strips - so cool!
After appliquing a simple circle on with a satin stitch, Philippa took it to a whole new level.
Every piece was perfection.
There were so many ideas to try.  This variegated thread worked so well in these samples.
These were just her doodles!!  I could only hope that some day I could attain this control.

I had a project ready to go and so I was able to try out some of my new skills and  practice my machine applique and some detail machine quilting.  But I must say that one of the biggest things I've learned is to bury my threads - shout out to Linda H. :)!  Philippa said to tell yourself it's your most favorite part and embrace it.  The more threads you bury the more complicated your piece is.....I'm trying and honestly it's really not that bad.
Here is my first attempt at McTavishing.  What I find most interesting about this method, is that it really is like a signature.  While it's the same technique, every person does it a little different.  I'm learning but for my first try I'm pleased.

There's been a lot going on around here, but it's now time to go bury threads :).
Have a great day,

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Checking In

I am not sure what has happened to the last few weeks.  When I used to think about what my life would look like in my 60's, I never pictured being quite this busy.  But even with the busyness, I have been productive in the studio with odds and ends.
This is a project for a class next winter even though these colors are soooo fall.
The feathers in the orange blocks don't show up real well, but they are subtle and very pretty.  I wanted the pale yellow center to be different, so I quilted concentric lines and I'm pleased with the result.
The big feathers in the yellow blocks were fast and fun to to.  I know everybody says this, but feathers really are so much fun to machine quilt.  The rest of the blocks got stitch in the ditch. That is NOT fun.  And as Cindy Needham says, ESS.  Yes Cindy, I did every stinking single seam.  I didn't even want to count the starts and stops.  But the binding is on and the quilting on this one is done.
Hope you had a great day,

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bordered, Basted and Ready to Quilt

In the end, Purple Pickles got a border.  I really struggled with whether to leave it or whether to add a border.  After a trip to my LQS, I found this fabric and my decision was made.

It's got a black background and the exact two shades of warm and cool purple swirls. I added a small black border and a piping of lime green that has tiny black swirls.
Here you can see the quilt without the border.  I just felt that it needed a little extra "weight" to it as I was using some pretty dark colors.  Seeing it with the border added, this now looks totally unfinished to me.
Here is the final version.  I took it ouside to get a better picture and the center still looks washed out to me.  I will start with an allover stitch in the ditch and then hope for some inspiration.
It's a gorgeous day in Northwest Florida today, hope it is where you are too.