Monday, December 30, 2013

Design Wall Monday - Last of 2013

CG's First Quilt - Layer Cake Lemonade
It pleases me to show what is on my design wall today -- CG's first quilt.  I reported on our team sewing here.  Today I am considering what I can pull from my stash to put on the back.  I have settled on a light turquoise that picks up colors in many of the pieces.  Yes, I see that we have two identical sashing strips next to each other.  We flipped and flopped so many times trying to not have same or similar pieces next to each other .... I'll try to fix that before it goes to the quilter. 

Check out what others are doing at Patchwork Times.

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Friday Finish

My grand-daughter is 9, in the 4th grade.  She has been knitting since she was 5.  Her mother got a new sewing machine from DS#2 for Christmas two years ago and it wasn't long after that CG expressed an interest in sewing.  So last Thanksgiving I passed on my inexpensive Janome which thrilled her mother since she is rather protective of her grandmother's Featherweight and her own Janome Magnolia.  This prompted an immediate search for the proper sewing table and within a week CG had made an 11-foot chain of felt circles, pushing one after another under the presser foot, getting a feel for speed and control. 
CG's First Sewing Project

By last Christmas she had made a simple bean bag and this year she made a lovely pillow case for her bed (which I forgot to photograph ;o ).

Rejoice!  The last seam!
For Christmas I gave her a Moda Layer Cake and a very easy pattern called Layer Cake Lemonade which I learned about from Jo at Jo's Country Junction.  (Free from  Christmas night we organized the 10-inch squares into 2 groups, then further divided into four groups of 5 and three groups of 6.  She started sewing early Thursday morning and had all groups of 5 together and one group of 6 before we went out to lunch.  That afternoon she was able to get the whole quilt top together.  Toward the end I was pinning the next long seam as she was stitching unsupervised.  She did amazingly well with her 1/4" seam, even though this pattern is VERY forgiving.  Absolutely NO seams to match. 

I would recommend Layer Cake Lemonade for any beginning quilter, especially the youngest.

Layer Cake Lemonade

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas is for the Birds ...

..thanks to this lovely birdbath gifted me by DH. 
(It is Wildlife Wednesday, after all.)

We've had a lovely, leisurely Christmas Day.  Everyone declaring it the BEST Christmas EVER!  Grandkids spent lots of time with their new electronic games, but CG finally found time to divide up the 10-inch squares in her layer cake so that we can start sewing on Layer Cake Lemonade in the morning. 

I had some time this afternoon to finish cutting my 4-patch combos for Celtic Solstice.  I have 77 pairs of twosies ready to stitch.  Sadly, I am here without the cable to get my pictures to the computer, so documentation of all sewing activity will have to wait till I get back.

I hope everyone had a pleasant day.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Eve Eve (a/k/a Celtic Monday)

Clue 1:  Done! 
Clue 3:  Done!
Clue 2:  Almost there ;)

Clue 4 - 4-Patch Blocks
As easy as Clue 4 is, I've only managed to make 35 4-patch blocks in between the busy-ness of last week.  I have the strip sets sewn for the remainder and the parts will go with me to Arkansas tomorrow, along with the unfinished chevrons.  Hoping to have some sewing time in the lull following the Christmas morning excitement and in between games with the kids (young and old) and walks and meals and games ..... you get the picture. LOL

We had DS#1 and family over yesterday for an early Christmas.  While the older adults were having a serious discussion about who-knows-what, the two 20-somethings started joking soto voce, turning over their tickle-boxes.  I laughed so hard my sides hurt!  So glad GS#1 made it safely from DC; he said the tornado sirens were going off when his plane hit (literally) the tarmack at BNA Saturday night. 

SIL is here to take care of her mother while we get a break from care-giving to spend time with DS#2 and family.  9-yr-old CG is getting a layer cake and a very easy quilt pattern.  I am looking forward to having some quality sewing time with her while we're there.  She has been knitting since she was 5 and sewing since I gave her my small machine last year.  She's always "up" for a craft project.  Will post pictures (with Mom's approval, of course).

Best wishes and travel blessings to all.  Merry Christmas!

Linking up with Bonnie at Quiltville.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Eve Eve Eve

Clue 4 - 4-Patch blocks
I don't know where last week went.  I managed to spend some time every day in the sewing room, trying to stay up with Bonnie Hunter's mystery, Celtic Solstice.  Clues 1 and 3 are done, except for trimming.  I'm pleased that very little trimming has been needed, thanks to Bonnie's great tips and I may just use the 3-1/2" blocks "as is" unless there is an obvious mis-shape on any of them.  The Clue 4 four-patch blocks are relatively easy.  I finally get to use my Christmas bulb inspiration fabric!  35  finished; 85 to go. 

On The Dot Markers
Clue 2 -- the chevrons -- well, that's another story.  However,  I think I have mastered them.  I stopped drawing the line on the little squares and just use a line on my machine bed to keep me aligned.  I press the square up/down before trimming the excess.  When I trim the finished chevrons I use these handy static-cling dots to mark my ruler.  The orange one is the center point, points aligned along the center seam.  The purple one points to the 3-1/2" corner, points aligned along the diagonal. 
72 chevrons are finished and sorted into groups of 10; 38 still to go.  The unfinished chevrons and 4-patches will go with me to Arkansas next week. 

After mailing Christmas cards and wrapping all the gifts I had on hand, I realized I still needed something for the two older grandsons.  So I ventured out very early yesterday (getting ahead of the predicted rough weather) to pick up a few last-minute things, which involved a stop at a LQS to pick up an order.  Of course, I couldn't pass up a sale and came home with this versatile green.  I've had the same fabric in a goldy-tan and found so many uses for it.

I had two finishes this week -- "aprons" for MIL (we don't use the word "bib" around her).  I try to have seasonal aprons for her to help mark the year's progress.  These will be for spring and patriotic occasions.  Each takes a yard.

Previous balance:  8.5
Fabric in this week:  2.75
Fabric out this week:  2.00
Added since 10/1:  9.25

Linking up to Judy at Patchwork Times.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Retreat Report and Design Wall Monday

Well, my retreat began last Tuesday noon with a slippery slide halfway down the driveway. 

Yes, it's really this steep!
I would have taken a picture of my predicament except that the camera was packed and DH was convinced if I even touched the car it would continue to plummet down the hill.  OK, that's a little exaggeration, but it was clear if I continued on that path I could end up over the edge on the other side of the street.  Two bags of ice melt later I was able to make it to dry pavement and had clear sailing the rest of the way to our retreat center -- the Nazarene church camp in Dickson County.

First, let me explain that we call our little group of 20 the S'mores because the common denominator when we formed 10 years ago was that we wanted to sew s'more, eat s'more, and laugh s'more.  These are the sisters I never had.  I love these girls!  Our numbers were down this year due to illness and scheduling conflicts.  We did have 18 present for the gift exchange on Wednesday.  The rest of the time those who could stay worked on projects ranging from last-minute Christmas gifts to Bonnie Hunter's mystery -- that is, in between trips to the snack table for chocolate and more chocolate!

Wonky chevron units

I tried working on the Clue 2 chevrons, but my travel machine doesn't do its best on bias, so I turned my attention to Cathedral Stars.  I'm proud to say that I have the blocks all together, ready for the borders.  Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of it all together. 

I thought my Cathedral Stars was really bright (at least by my standards), then Donna put her blocks on the wall left of mine.  Nevertheless, I'm really happy with how it's turning out.

The rest of my time I spent on "Jubilee."  I finished the 20 blocks but I'm concerned the lighter blue stars don't have enough contrast and will look unbalanced with the darker red and green stars.  I'll keep them on my design wall this week and try to come up with a balanced layout.  Or I might consider a sashing different from the background ..... 

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times.

Celtic Monday 3

Twenty-five pinwheels:  Done! 
One hundred HSTs:  Done!
Clue 3:  Done! 

Wish I could say the same for Clue 2, but more on that later. 

This is what happens when trying to use up scraps.
First I had some 2-1/2" strips.  I started using the Easy Angle  (upper left) but was getting way too much waste when it occurred to me that I could just cut the strips into 2-1/2" squares and again on the diagonal (bottom two).  I also had some 2" strips which required using Easy Angle (upper right).  Never fear, it works out in the end.
Back to Clue 2.  I took my cut pieces with me to retreat last week, but my travel machine (Janome 760) doesn't seem to like sewing on the bias and I was getting really wonky units.  So I decided to put those aside to sew at home on my Pfaff with dual feed.

One trick I have learned on any machine is to stitch sew-n-flip units from the side rather than starting at the point to avoid having the machine "eat" the points.

The second thing I tried today was to press the newly added pieces up (or down)
before I trimmed the excess.  The result was a much straighter unit. 
Hoping to get the remainder of these done before Clue 4 is revealed on Friday.  Then I'll be caught up.
Linking up with Bonnie at Quiltville.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Tip for Tuesday

When you live on a steep hill and know ice and snow are coming, it would be wise to pack for retreat and move the car to the street.  Don't ask me how I know ... LOL


Yes, it's that steep!

So I am sitting at the kitchen counter drawing lines on little squares, just what I would be doing if I were at retreat.  Hoping the big melt will come by lunch time.

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Finish! and Guild Monday

Not a quilty finish, I know, but I'm proud to say that DS#1 finished the Honolulu Marathon yesterday!  With a gimpy knee he wasn't even sure he would be able to run.  Needless to say, it wasn't his personal best; his goal was just to finish.  And he did! 

I belong to Courthouse Quilters in Dickson County.  It's a 25-mile drive.  Yes, there are other guilds closer to me and I have belonged to a couple of them.  But I find this group of ladies so down-to-earth and open and, well, just refreshing!  We have lots of talented members who share their knowledge and expertise.  We don't stand on protocol.  Our "official" meeting time is 5:30 p.m., but we start gathering at 9 a.m. to sit and sew and socialize.  It is so uplifting to open the door to the church basement and hear conversations and laughing.  Today is guild day and this is what I will be working on.

Celtic Solstice, of course.  It's cut and ready to go.  (The divided tray fits in the Protect-n-Stor boxes I talked about here.)  Today I'll mark the diagonal line on the squares and pin matched sets together (that's my O brain objecting to totally scrappy).  Sewing will be done at retreat tomorrow.

Scarlet and Grey - Go Buckeyes:  Cutting the pieces for a new class sample.  You'll have to wait to see that one.  I'm still trying to decide which colors to put where.

Jubilee:  A new project (NewFO?) that I will be working on at retreat.  The pattern by Margot Languedoc Designs uses 20 squares from a layer cake.  I'm using Moda's "Aspen Frost"  and "Grunge" background.

Star Gazing

Star Gazing:  Also by Margot Languedoc Designs, another new project that will be going with me to retreat:  The blocks are big.  This one will go together fast.  I still need 2 or 3 more fabrics for the stars which I'm hoping to pull from my newly-acquired "Scrumptious" layer cake.  The Scrumptious background is the inspiration for the colors I pulled from my stash.

Linking up with Bonnie and Judy.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hanging the Greens and Sunday Stash Report

I stayed completely away from the sewing room yesterday and concentrated on decorating for Christmas.  Keeping it low-key this year with a minimum of objects that will have to be put away again in January. 
I love being decorated; hate the cleanup.  I reckon because it falls primarily on me and I'm never sure if it's appreciated.  It was a lot different when the kids were younger and I still go the extra mile when the little ones are going to be here.  One new thing this year:  lights on the deck railing.  Well, they will be when the ice melts this morning and it warms up enough to drive a few tacks in the railing.

My plans to make a dent in the stash last week by making a couple of backs got waylaid by Celtic Solstice.  I was determined to finish clue 1 before the second one came out on Friday.  Happy to report I did!  But I can't count it out till the quilt top is finished.

I did add a Moda "Scrumptious" Layer Cake that I have been looking for since October.  At least it was on sale!  I bought several other pre-cuts at the same time, but since they are gifts and already wrapped I'll save myself the trouble of adding and subtracting.

My stash report for the first week of December 2013:
     Last reported = 5.5 yds
     In = +3 yds
     Out - nothing to count
     Total enhancement since Oct 1 - +8.5 yds

With our small group Christmas Retreat coming up this week, I have great plans to finish Cathedral Stars.  Plus I have two new projects that could be finished if I apply myself.  There will be a lot of gifting, eating, and laughing, so I'm not sure how much sewing will get done!

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times.


Friday, December 6, 2013

A Friday Finish

We have not experienced any ice or snow, yet.  Tomorrow could be another story.  I hope you are safe and warm.  (Sorry, Son, I know you're suffering.)

If you're reading from a Northern clime you probably think we Southerners are all softies.  I spent enough time in the Midwest -- Arkansas and Kansas -- to have learned how to negotiate snowy roads.  But you need to understand that we live on a hill -- a VERY steep hill -- and we have an invalid mother living with us who requires 24-hour care.  So every time the weather gets touchy I worry about how we would handle a health emergency.  We've been lucky for over 5 years; I know our day is due ......

So, to keep my mind off impending doom <g> I spent the morning in the studio cutting Clue 2 for Bonnie Hunter's mystery.  I even sewed one unit, just to see how it goes.  I'm not sure about the yellow plaid ....  I'll draw the lines and pin sets together at guild on Monday.  Then work on them at retreat.

This afternoon I finished the binding on my new Christmas wall hanging.  We don't always put up a tree, especially if it's our year to go to Arkansas for the holiday, so I thought this would be an attractive substitute.  It is a panel, very easy to put together.  And my quilter did a beautiful job on the quilting.  (It's not hanging crooked, I was standing crooked. LOL)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Don't like the Weather?

We have a saying around Middle Tennessee.  "If you don't like the weather, just wait a day."  At this time yesterday it was 75.  Right now, at 3:30 p.m. it's 45.  Tomorrow night it's going down to the high 20s.  I think we will miss the worst of the ice and snow, thanks goodness.  But our family in Arkansas might feel the brunt of the winter storm.  The other branch of the family is headed to Hawaii, woohoo!!

Anticipating that the day would be dreary (that was an understatement!), I headed down to the "studio" early to finish Clue 1 of Bonnie Hunter's Mystery before Clue 2 is introduced tomorrow morning.  I'm DONE WITH ONE! 

The neutral I'm using is a confetti print with all the colors in it.  Looking forward to the second clue.  I need to address cleaning and decorating tomorrow so it will probably be Monday at guild before I get the cutting done.  I plan to work on it at our small group Christmas retreat that starts Tuesday.  Three days of sewing, eating, laughter, and loving.  Can't wait!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Tip for Tuesday

Do you like to take classes from talented quilters?  From a teacher's perspective I can tell you how nice it is to be able to see your name on the back of your machine.

 So often a hanging name tag will hang on everything -- scissors, cutters, rulers -- and pinned tags not only leave holes in your T-shirt but are hidden behind your machine as you work.  With your name on the back of your machine the teacher can call you by name and will remember how thoughtful you are!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Celtic Monday One

The first clue of Bonnie Hunter's mystery was revealed on Friday, but I couldn't do any sewing until Saturday.  So far I've made 30 of each unit.  The rest are cut and poised by the machine.  Hoping to get at least 10 made each day.  Since I'm making the smaller size, it's not out of the realm of possibility.

So this is what's on my design wall today.  I'm thinking Bonnie might have us match star points.  Hmmm......

You can tell from my pictures that I am using a limited palette of fabrics. I have boldly substituted red for Bonnie's orange.  <g>  It will be fun seeing what everyone else has accomplished, especially those who go off on their own colorways, when we link up at Quiltville.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Finish = Stash Reduction

A finish -- finally!!  The Tall Tree was finished and shipped to its new home.

So here is where I stand since October 1.

Beginning total:  11-1/2 yds
Fabric in:  0 yds
Fabric out:  6 yds
Current:  5-1/2 yds

You're probably wondering how I could use 6 yards in a wall hanging.  This thing is 70 inches long!

Black Friday specials were hard to resist so I ordered some pre-cuts that will be counted next week.  I'll be working on Celtic Solstice along with everyone who is doing Bonnie Hunter's new mystery.  And with a fairly open week I should be able to get those backs made that I've been projecting for the last month.

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times.