Friday, June 10, 2016

A Bag for Ann Marie

I am so blessed to have many wonderful sister-in-laws.  The SIL that has been in my family the longest is Ann Marie, married to my oldest brother for 45 years (this alone will earn her sainthood!).  Ann Marie is famous in our family for being the first of Italian lineage, a fact my parents just loved to tease her about, and of course an amazing cook!  Not only is she beautiful and strong and possessing of a limitless heart when it comes to her family, Ann Marie is also a cancer survivor.

As part of my attempt to organize my various craft activities, I found a bag of finished cross stitched items from my many years of addiction to that activity.  Rediscovering these two birds, I knew just who I should give them to.
This is the zip top tote pattern from Anna Graham's book Handmade Style.  I modified the exterior to accommodate the two cross stitched birds.
In addition to being a bird watcher, Ann Marie is also a kayaker (yes, my type of gal) so this was the exact time to use this kayak fabric I had impulsed purchased some time ago.

The bottom panel denim fabric (Robert Kaufman) as well as the interior (Cloud 9) came from a newly discovered store, Pintuck & Purl in Exeter NH where there might have been some more impulse fabric acquisitions that I will share in another post!  I had a lovely chat with Maggie and look forward to visiting often.

This is the first time I have applied leather straps to a bag.  I love the look and the leather was quite easy to sew through.  Also this is the first time using Annie's Soft and Stable as a stabilizer.  I was a little nervous when the package arrived as to whether it would be difficult to work with but it turned out to be uneventful (even despite the fact I forgot to change the needle size on the sewing machine) and the sturdiness it gives the bag is amazing.

She was surprised to get this "just because" gift.  It's only a bag but it is filled with love for this very special woman.    Love you Ann Marie!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Splendid Sampler Update - Blocks #16 - 27

This will surely not continue, but as of now, I am up to date with completed blocks. As the weather improves, I will certainly go into my seasonal summer slow down and this project will be one of the first impacted!

#16 - Pieces of Friendship

#17 - Family Stars

#18 - Lina's Gift

#19 - Measure Twice, Cut Once (I may have taken a short cut on this one!)

#20 - Nature's Walk (Payback for cheating on the last block!)

#21 - Sweet Candy

#22 - Goose on the Loose

#23 - Hand in Hand (Another new and fun technique!)

#24 Inspector Side Kick

#25 - Sunday Best (OK, so I got the template reverse backwards....)

#26 - Dreaming of Dresdens (more appliqué...)
 #27 - Sewing Machine (...even more applique!)
With very little exception all the fabric has come from my scrap bins.  Now that we are more than a quarter of the way completed, I think I am going to be a little more purposeful in color selections going forward.

Linking up with Lorna's Let's Bee Social Party!  Have you seen her raccoons?  I know I said this about the dogs, the giraffes, etc. but these are the cutest!!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Pillow Palooza Continues

The next room in line for some personalization is the family room.  It is a large, comfy room with a soft sectional, gas fireplace, pool table, piano and space to hang out.  I love this comfortable beige, neutral color room, perfect for adding pops of color and changing as the mood fits.  Right now I am into blues and blue/greens.  Navy blue, light blue, aqua, teal all make me happy.

The five pillows together:
To make the pillows a little sturdier (again, this is a high traffic spot) I went to Joann fabric to find home dec fabric for the backing.

I liked this fabric so much I decided to make a pillow out of it.

I dug into my quilt magazine collection for inspiration.  This pattern is by Maureen Cracknell and was published in Love Patchwork and Quilting Issue 8.

Not sure I love all the quilting on this but I do love all the fabric!

Not sure what provoked me to be so compulsive, but I did match the fabric on the back zipper fold.

This feather quilt is a pattern by Jo Avery in Love Patchwork and Quilting Issue 9.

So much fun to make and again the zipper fold match.  I guess I thought these pillows would work on either side if I did this.

This pillow was the recipient of a lot of IG love!  Just a bunch of HST's lined up to create the chevron effect.

Simple quilting seemed right here.

Lastly, I love this fabric so much I could not cut it up.

Just made a pillow, lightly quilted around some of the flowers and added piping.  This may be my favorite of the bunch.

After all these pillows, it's time to make a quilt!!  After I deal with the naked walls in the room I will share pictures of the entire space.

Happy Friday!  Linking up with Amanda Jean's finish it up Friday party!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Finished - 2012 Block of the Month Quilt

Yes, you read that correctly...started in 2012, finished last month.  I loved making each block with Amy Gibson's help as part of the Craftsy 2012 Block of the Month.
 I made the quilt top and then it sat and sat in the quilting queue as there were other quilts that needed to be finished.  Earlier this year I looked at the queue and there was ONLY this quilt.  It was so much fun following along with Leah Day's Craftsy class where she recommends block by block quilting designs for this sampler.

Back in those early days of my quilting addiction, I hadn't built a fabric stash.  This quilt was pieced with scraps of fabrics that I picked up here and there.  My leaning towards cool colors was evident even then.

I hope you enjoy the pictures of early spring in New Hampshire.

The backing fabric was selected years ago and I'm quite pleased how it blends.

In summary, I love this quilt.  It represents my introduction into quilting and gave me confidence to take risks in my quilting journey.   But wait!  No quilt tops in the quilting queue is a problem!  I'd better get to work on some new projects!

Happy Friday to all!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Finished - Minecraft Quilt

As I described in this post, this fun Minecraft quilt has been donated to David's House, a home away from home for families of children being treated at the local children's hospital.
I have been working on improving my free motion quilting.  However, straight line quilting was the obvious choice for this quilt and it was not fun.  After hours of practicing to develop the smooth movements of FMQ'ing, sewing all these straight lines was a challenge and, frankly, a bit boring.  I am all the more impressed with those of you who so beautifully straight line quilt!  

Adding to my frustration was the use of a different batting than my normal cotton choice.  I had won a package of Dream Green batting that was the perfect size for this quilt.  A soft, environmentally friendly alternative batting seemed like a good idea.  I used my usual "belts and suspenders" basting method of spray and pins yet everything was still very slippery during the quilting.

Perhaps I should have anticipated this but more disappointing is that the green batting shows through on the lighter colors.

However, it was indeed very soft after washing.

Linking up with Amanda Jean's finish it up Friday party.

Monday, April 11, 2016

My First MQX Experience

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Machine Quilting Expo held annually right here in my home state of New Hampshire.  We (including my saintly husband) spent the first half day viewing the amazing quilt show.  I took a zillion pictures of the inspiring quilting.  Unfortunately I have not developed the habit of photographing the quilt description labels so with apologies to these makers, I am sharing just a few pictures without giving you deserved credit.
 The above quilt ("Controlled Chaos") was made by the New Hampshire Modern Quilt Guild (that I have recently joined!) and won first prize in the Quilts Among Friends.  Fantastic!

 The next day and a half was spent in three different half day quilting classes on the Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen, the quilting machine I have at home!  This was the first time I've spent so many hours practicing machine quilting. Typically I do a little warm up on a practice sandwich and then jump right into the project at hand. It was interesting to get various opinions from the teachers and fellow students about thread and needle preferences, quilting design selection, favorite marking tools and gadgets and so on.  And I learned so much!  

I admit running out to the vendors at break to purchase some different types of quilting threads to experiment with.  I can't wait to share my thread experimentation with you!

The only problem with all of this is that, believe it or not, I don't have any quilt tops in need of quilting!  I am completely caught up!  Yikes!  It's a good thing I have this lovely pile of fabric ready to cut into for my next room in the lake house!

Stay tuned for posts on two finished quilts!

P.S. In case you're wondering, my husband spent the day and a half I was in classes reading, watching movies and going to the gym.  What a trooper.
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