Wednesday, October 31, 2012

WIP Wednesday!

I have actually been quite busy behind my sewing machine.  However, I am trying to focus on Christmas gifts (the family will be SO shocked if I don't give something that has come from my sewing machine!).  Sharing WIP's may be a little tricky as included in my extensive viewing audience for this blog are potential recipients of said WIP's.  Please be patient and come back on December 26 for the grand unveiling of these and other projects:

Staying with the Christmas theme (a HUGE holiday in our family!), I am working on my second Charlie Brown Christmas tree skirt.  "Second?" you ask?  Yes, we are one of those homes with multiple Christmas trees...each with a different decorating theme.  There is the family ornament tree (an ornament for each person every year), the "dressier" tree in the living room and the Charlie Brown Tree.  My dear husband is a SERIOUS CB fan!

Now, if only I could find Christmas Vacation fabric...

My wonderful nephew and his wife have purchased a vintage (early 1960's) Airstream and have made a family project to remodel it.  This beauty was a huge hit at a recent family reunion.  When I saw this brightly colored trailer fabric, I just knew where it would fit right in!  Two pillow tops for the Airstream!

My backlog needing to be quilted is growing!   Time to get back to practicing FMQ'ing!

I am linking up with Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
PS  My thoughts and prayers are with those dealing with the storm aftermath.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Birthday Stash = Storm Preparation!

I celebrated my 57th birthday last week in grand adding to my fabric collection!  To add to the fun, these goodies came from three states!  Fair warning...many pictures!!
Our first stop was a trip to Maine where we scooped up my mother in law and headed to Windham to the Calico Basket Quilt Shop.   I didn't count but I would not be surprised if there were at least 8,000 bolts of fabric in this store!  Yikes!  A really nice store with a wide range of fabrics, supplies and the biggest selection of patterns and books in one place I have ever seen.  From this stop I added the following:
Classic Christmas fabrics to augment a Moda Christmas Spirit jelly roll I have plans for.
Inspiration piece.  We just repainted our bedroom and bathroom in neutral greys I (love colors in fabric but consistently steer towards neutrals for wall colors...weird).  I am thinking of aqua/turquoise color themes for these rooms and this little beauty caught my eye. 

After spending a fun day with my mother in law (including a drive through Windham to see the lake where my in-laws met!), we drove south to New Hampshire to have dinner with our oldest son and his wife.  Included in the wonderful birthday gifts from them was this:
They just returned from a vacation in Washington and Idaho.  While in Seattle they stopped at Undercover Quilts and bought me this super fat quarter bundle...don't you love the way the store folded them?  See the little fish on the top cute! 
They also brought back for me this fun Seattle piece...I see a regifting of this fabric (in a different form of course!) in the future!

Next on The Birthday Tour was my annual October trip to visit our son living in Chicago.  This is his sixth year living there and our 10th/11th? trip to the Windy City.  In each of these trips we try to see a little more of this great city.  Having checked off most of the "must-do's" in downtown Chicago, we have broadened our scope to the various neighborhoods around the city.  I decided we MUST visit Bucktown this trip.
Here we are standing in front of The Needle Shop in Bucktown (thank you Jacquie for the recommendation!!).  Bottom Line:  My son has permission to move to Bucktown.anytime.  Relatively speaking, a small shop but what an incredible selection of current, beautiful fabrics.  I loved every little piece of fabric in the store!  My son and husband wished me a Happy Birthday and set off to find coffee.  Recognizing that in fact buying a little of every bit of fabric might just be over-celebrating my birthday, I decided on the following:

Those gray rooms need some bright home dec fabric.  On the left is Ikat Medallion.  The cool flowers are Jessica Jones fabric available I understand exclusively at this shop.
More Christmas and bright this time! (Michael Miller - Tree Trimmers, Michael Miller - Yule Critters, Valori Wells - Wrenly Christmas)
 I do need some basics to go with all the colors!  (Dear Stella - Chevrons, Lotta Jansdotter - Little Florine)
What can I say?  I just had to have these fabrics!  (Melody Ross - Vintage Ladies, Michael Miller - Wooden Horses and Alexander Henry - Zhivago)

What a wonderful birthday!  And I have a visit coming this week with my third son and his soon-to-be-wife! The party just continues!

We think we are prepared for Sandy's visit to the Northeast.  Bread, flashlights, water, fabulous fabric.  I hope everyone is safe and gets through the storm with minimum damage.

PS  I am so thankful for a family that understands and supports my new little hobby.  Yeah!

Friday, October 19, 2012

A "Sort of" Finish and an Earlier Finish

Happy Friday!  This week I completed the last two blocks of my first BOM...the Craftsy Block of the Month.  Here are the first 10:
And here are the last 10!
I had SO much fun learning a new method each month!  Even foundation paper piecing turned out not to be so bad!  I can't wait to see over the next two months how these will all come together in a finished quilt.  

I thought I would catch up and share with you some of the projects I completed in this, my first year of quilting.  We have a dear friend (who also happens to be our acupuncturist) who opened a new office and after much thoughtful research named it Water Lily Acupuncture.  The following is now hanging in his office:
The pattern is from Eleanor Burns' Quick Trip Quilts and was inspired by the paintings of Claude Monet.

Have you seen on some of the quilting class sign-ups a classification "confident beginner?"  Is there a "crazy beginner" category?  Really, what was I thinking?   Firsts or seconds on this project:  those appliqued water lilies, FMQ'ing attempting a water movement, hanging quilt sleeve, label on the back.  Yikes!  BUT, I had a wonderful time making this and Yong-Jun was quite pleased.

I am linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish It Up Friday!  Have a great weekend!

PS  I am thankful (often) that I don't know what I don't know.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

And one more table runner...

I finished all three of the table runners from last week, including this one:
But I had all these little scraps left over, SO I had to make another!
OK...I really must move off this pile of fall fabric onto other adventures!
I also spent many hours working on foundation paper piecing as part of the Craftsy Block of the Month (which has been just fantastic for this rookie!).  Is it just me or is that a very slow piecing method with lots of fabric waste?  (Of course it is ME! Practice, practice...)  Perhaps I need more instruction...I should have attended Lee's class!   I am linking to her WIP Wednesday!

PS There is no shortage of project ideas roaming around in my head to tempt me away from fall table runners!  Thank goodness! 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Why do I quilt?

I've only been at this quilting thing since February.  But I am hooked.  HOW CAN THIS BE?  Let me count the ways...

1.  I have been sewing since I was a very young girl.  

Senior Prom the high neckline!

In my early days my sewing was primarily clothing (amazing and sad what one can do with polyester knits!) and then moved into the home dec area.  I had hit a long dry spell without much sewing (actually looked forward to opportunities to hem pants!) was time to find an outlet!

2.  I LOVE just about everything I see in the so-called modern quilting world!

3.  These quilts:  made by my mother in law. 

When I saw the reactions from my sons when these lovely quilts reappeared and heard their fond memories of sleep overs with their grandparents, I knew that a few pieces of fabric lovingly assembled had the potential of creating great emotion and happy memories.  I wanted in that game.

4.  Really, are all quilters so nice???

5.  I love the process of converting flat (albeit lovely) pieces of fabric into something multi-dimensional.

And so on and so on.  Maybe the quilting honeymoon will end and I will get irritated with the growing volume of UFO's but I doubt it!  What drives you to quilt?

PS  Quilting entered my life at the perfect time.  I was looking for the next learning experience and there it was.  KAZAM!  Oh yeah.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thinking backwards today

First, one table runner finished...two to go!  I have to say I am one of those folks that enjoys to hand sew the binding on. 

Today I am working on paper piecing.  The thread puller-outer has been busy.  Is it just me or does this seem like thinking backwards to anyone else?  I love the clean lines resulting, but getting the angle of the fabric correct so that when you flip it to the good side it covers the space has been a challenge solved only by using a super large scrap.  Like so many other things in this new quilting adventure...practice, practice, practice.

So excited to be linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts today!  Another major milestone in my quilting blog!

PS  I am thankful to be getting all this practice pulling out stitches...I have a feeling this skill is going to come in handy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Table Runner Mania

The cure for a rainy fall Sunday afternoon involves a sewing machine, a fireplace and a few football games...oh, and a big fat bundle of beautiful seasonal fabric, of course!

The results:  Not one...

Not two...
But three table runners! 
The fabric is Autumn Breeze (Moda) and the patterns in order are:
1.  Tossed Leaves - Hedgehog Quilts by Terry Albers
2.  A disappearing nine-patch with 5" squares
3.  Little Charmers II - Heather Mulder Peterson

Phew!  Finally to remove any doubt as to my commitment to this whole quilt/blog thing, I am even attempting to link this post to one of my (many) favorite linky parties!  (OK can we get some applause for just figuring out how to put the button here!!!).
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

 PS  I am thankful that the baseball season is over around here! 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Today is the 35th anniversary of our wedding.  Wow. 

Why so serious?

To celebrate this milestone, we treated ourselves to a weekend at the Mount Washington Resort...amazing!  My idea was relaxing, my dear husband's idea was hiking mountains.

OK, so the hiking was actually terrific.  The views were spectacular and the weather was perfect.  And the wine and spa treatment after weren't so bad either...

PS  Today I am thankful for my Maine musician who has stood by my side all these many years!  (Even with my new found addiction to fabric stores!) Love you!

My first post!

After countless threats to do I am with my first blog post.  First came quilting, then  discovering the amazing quilting blog community who have unknowingly been holding my hand through my apprenticeship.  Like most things in New England we can credit or blame it on the weather!  It all started on a mild winter day, with no snow to play in I found myself wandering around our mega LQS mumbling to myself "I think I can, I think I can."  Enter:  super helpful (and patient!) employees, a supportive husband and next thing you know: the beginning of an addiction. 

The first post just wouldn't be complete without the first quilt!

My first completed quilt!
My lovely daughter-in-law's brother and his wife welcomed a beautiful daughter into their family this year.  Lucky girl being born into not only a wonderful but incredibly talented family!  Not daunted by the high standards of creativity in that family, I decided to make this baby size quilt for the new Grammie when her granddaughter came to visit.
By all reports the quilt has been a great success and has enjoyed much tummy time with the new grand baby!  This quilt was the perfect size to practice FMQ.  I did a little stitch-in-the-ditch, outline stitching, flowers and stippling.   I know, crazy for the first time behind the wheel!

Pattern: Fiona from 3 Times the Charm (Me & My Sister Designs)
Fabric:  Mostly Ruby by Bonnie & Camille

What is my favorite part of quilting?  Picking the fabric, cutting those precise little pieces, sewing the little pieces together until something magical appears, quilting, binding...yikes!  I can't decide!  Stay tuned as I work through this dilemma (I know, edge of the seat stuff)!

P.S.  Today I am thankful for periodic mild New England winters. 
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