Friday, December 25, 2015

The big reveal

The hours leading up to Christmas were filled with much last-minute sewing. The secret project:

Trip to Melbourne
(a/k/a Spare Change)
And the recipient's response:

@donnadb is thrilled!
The pattern is Spare Change from the book Loose Change by Kansas Troubles. I had been gifted a pack of 10" squares of Melbourne by Benartex -- hence the name "Trip to Melbourne" -- and I cut the 5" charms from my stash with a wavy blade when I couldn't find my pinking blade.

"Cool Beans" quilting
Even though it's a little larger than a lap quilt, the colors are perfect for their family room.

Also up, Triangle Frenzy.

Triangle Frenzy Table Runners
I had assembled the tops to these table runners back in July, but I put off the finishing work until it was almost too late.  I used a lightweight batting (Quilter's Dream Select) and did a stitch-and-turn-right-side-out finish (I'm sure there's an "official" term for that). Simple stitch-in-the-ditch quilting holds the layers together. This is one of those projects where the fabric does the work.

Displayed on my husband's plotter because there was no room elsewhere
I managed to get four finished for the sitters who are such faithful companions for my mother-in-law (a/k/a The Queen Mother). We would not have been able to manage have a life the last 8 years without them.

Santa was very good to me.

The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters and Red and White Quilts: Infinite Variety.  Kinda all over the place, isn't it? But I am thrilled with both!

Christmas Dinner - pot roast, pasta, red/green salad

Waiting for cheesecake followed by another tabletop tournament game.
Merry Christmas, Y'all!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Blessings

To One and All!

Whew! This has been a weird December and an even stranger Christmas week. The temps have been WAY above normal, which led to big storms on Wednesday in the Southeast. Family and friends all seem to have survived and for this I rejoice.

The Queen Mother had a rough spell last weekend; for a time it was doubtful if the Main Man and I would both be able to make the trip to Arkansas to spend Christmas with Son-2 and family. However as QM began to improve, SIL assured us she could manage without us so we headed out amidst the storm predictions mid-morning Wednesday. Our timing couldn't have been better; we managed to find a window between the storms in northern Mississippi and northeastern Arkansas with only a couple of short stretches of heavy rain.

Texts were flying Wednesday night as the storms approached Nashville.  My concern peaked when I received a reverse 911 call (first time ever) from the City of Brentwood about the approaching tornado potential so I directed SIL to get QM and the sitter into the closet. They were fine and the community was spared; I'm sure we'll return to a lot of downed limbs on the hillside, but no reports of damage.

Here in Conway we've spent the day walking, eating, watching bowl games, and playing Camels Up, game 2 in the sub-tournament within the Holiday Tabletop Tournament 2015. Last night's game was Over and Out. I'm currently in 4th place (out of 6) - so sad.

Good smells are coming from the kitchen. I am trying a new (for me) crockpot recipe for bread pudding and Son-2 is cooking a jambalaya soup. Yum-yum!

The Christmas tree is buried under piles of presents from families far and wide. It will be a long and joyous morning. But first up is the Christmas Eve service with music, bells, and smells.

Best wishes to all for a very merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Is it Christmas yet?

Little change on the design wall

Not much to report at this time since most of my sewing has been gift related, to be revealed at a later point in time. Suffice to say I'm honing in on my Christmas objectives. Shopping is done, almost all the wrapping is done, and gifts have been delivered to Son-1, et al. across town. Their gifts for Son-2 family remain in the van, ready for the trip to Arkansas.

Geese on the Move
I did find time to make four more Geese on the Move blocks in between binding and washing a quilt. Which leads me to a question. Do you have a front-loading machine? Mine does not spin enough water out of a quilt on a regular cold-water wash. I end up having to run a second rinse and spin cycle so that it isn't a soggy, drippy mess. Is there a better setting for me to use?

I still have a Kindle cover to make, three table toppers to finish, a fidget quilt to make, not to mention multiple loaves of cranberry-orange bread on the agenda today. Oh, I almost forgot, getting the guest room ready for SIL. I'd better get crackin'!

In case I don't get back to the blog, I extend my 

Best Wishes for the Merriest of Christmases 

to all my loyal readers.

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times and Main Crush Monday

Monday, December 14, 2015

Design Wall Monday

What's not there

The Postman safely delivered Cardinals Rule to its intended recipient, my sister-in-law.

Cardinals Rule hanging in entry hall
Yes, I know it was intended for her mountain cabin, but it will hang in her home's entryway till she goes back up after the holidays. It was hard for her to get a good photo; I'm just pleased she went right out and got a rod to hang it!

It definitely completes her holiday setting.

View from the dining room
Guess what? Now she's wanting something for Spring! Any ideas?  It has to be narrow to fit between the great room windows in the log cabin.  When she and her friends built the cabin several years ago, I made an original design bargello in fall colors to represent the mountains around the cabin.  If I play it right I can make something that will go from spring through summer. I'm thinking that with some color changes, "Come Fly With Me" might fit the bill ...

"Come Fly With Me"
.. just sayin' ... The geese can be interpreted as mountains ...

Looks like geese have been the game of choice lately! Geese on the Move (a/k/a Geese Migration) took a back seat last week; I'll try to get back on track with my one-a-day plan this week.

Geese on the Move
Geese Migration is a Cynthia Brunz design so I'll be Linking up with Oh Scrap.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Coming Out

... I admit ...

Regular readers may have noticed a slight change in my quilting direction over the last few months. Now I'm ready to come out of the closet and admit -- drum roll -- I've joined the Music City Modern Quilt Guild.

That's not to say I've given up traditional quilting altogether; Heaven knows I have too many traditional UFOs to abandon cold turkey!

I found myself drawn to new fresh colors and minimalist designs. And I just wanted to understand what the "modern movement" is all about.  Please don't ask me to define it; I'm still learning.  But what I CAN tell you is that even at my 71 years I find the energy of these young women very contagious.

Today was the annual holiday party and gift exchange. I am excited to show what I made for my exchange partner .

The QAYG pattern is "Come Fly With Me" designed by Karen Montgomery.

The strips are from a Bali Pop and the solids I snuck out of the Yoder's Row-by-Row kit, probably Kona.

The back is "Black, White & Current" (Henry Glass).

Whew! I feel so much better ....

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Quick Retreat Update

OK, Friends, I'm trying something new today.  I forgot my camera so have taken a few photos with my tablet.  Aside from the terrible lighting, I haven't figured out how to zoom or get things straight, so please bear with me.

We're missing a couple of friends, but things are perking right along.  In between lots of conversation and a bit of frivolity, I've managed to get bindings on two quilts ...

True Blue in Black and Cream
Elegant Garden
True Blue is a Miss Rosie pattern.  I don't remember which book I found Elegant Garden in.

And remember the yellow and grey Exploding Pineapple blocks?  The rows are together and the border I first rejected as overwhelming has made a comeback.

Exploding Pineapple
Pineapple Border
The party and gift exchange was today.  Lots of lovely and useful gifts, but this one takes the cake:

Nancy R knows me too well!! 
I think I need to change my profile picture.

Having a great time. Will give a full report when I get home.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

You Know It's Almost Christmas ...

.. when the Fat Lady rings

New bells for me in this quartet verson
The annual Christmas program at our church was wonderful, as usual.

We are blessed to have so many talented musicians -- I guess that's to be expected in Music City, though.  One of the youngest performed a song that she had composed herself!

Abby singing "All I Want is You"
She looks very professional, doesn't she?  In addition to the adult choir, praise band, strings, and brass ensemble, there was the requisite song from the kiddie choir ...

I was sitting in the row behind the bell tables and couldn't get pictures without obstructions, sorry.

I mention all this as an explanation of why I've fallen behind on Geese on the Move. Oh, and there was this interruption, too.

Cardinals Rule
The requested wall hanging for SIL's mountain cabin was finished after a couple of false starts. AND quilted by me!  I stitched in the ditch around the panel, did a fancy stitch down the center of the red diamonds, and did a little outline stitching along the branches to keep the center from sagging.  It's going in the mail today!!!

Heading out to the S'mores Christmas retreat later today. I'll try to post updates but the WiFi there can be tempermental at times. Hoping to get binding put on two large quilts, finish some more Christmas projects, and get a final layout on the pineapple project.

Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Geese on the Move

Days 5, 6, and 6.5

Yes, I know I said one block a day,

Day 1
... but some projects are just irresistible.

Day 2
And this one just makes my heart sing!

Day 3
I can't stop thinking about it,

Day 4
... planning the next block,

Day 5
Day 6
laying out the pieces ....

Day 6.5
Before I know it another block is done ...

Day 7
... and yet another one on the table.

Day 7.5
My favorite blocks so far are the beige/tan ones; I could love a whole quilt in just those colors.  I think grey will be the next color to work with, adding to the light area in the center of the top.

The pattern is Geese Migration, designed by Cynthia Brunz.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Monday, November 30, 2015

DWM - Geese on the Move

... Flying ve-e-ery slowly

In spite of the Thanksgiving holiday festivities I've been making steady progress on Geese Migration. So far I've kept up with my goal to make one block a day.

Geese on the Move - Day 4
A flock of four blocks and a gaggle of the flying geese units completed ...

Each block consists of five flying geese with the same solid sky/wings (I'm never sure what to call the pieces/parts) flanked by five rows of three assorted squares.

In studying the pattern picture, it seemed that the maker made most of the blocks in graded values of a single color, so that is the approach I am taking.  I am using my Japanese taupe collection enhanced by other fabrics in my stash that have "the look" of Japanese taupes.

Even though the nature of Japanese taupes is very subdued, there is a surprising amount of color in those prints. Still, it has been challenging to keep the subtle "mood" while inserting color to make it more interesting. I am really looking forward to seeing this finished, but Christmas projects will be taking priority over the next few weeks.

The Cardinal Rule
Wilmington Prints

Today I need to get started (and hopefully finish) a small wall hanging for SIL's mountain cabin.

The pattern I planned to use will make it too big to fit in the space between her living room windows so I will probably just add some borders and callerdun!

She had requested something for Christmas but I thought this panel was not so in-your-face-Christmas and could carry over into the winter months.

Check out what others are working on at Patchwork Times.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

WIP Wednesday

The picture I didn't have yesterday:

The pattern is "Geese Migration"
 by Cynthia Brunz who blogs at QuiltingIsMoreFunThanHousework.  The pattern and a tutorial, available through Mary Fons' Dear Quilty, can be found here.

Even with everything else I need to accomplish today, I managed to stitch a test block.

Senior grocery shopping is done; now to put everything away and vacuum-pack the meat to make room in the fridge for Thanksgiving essentials.  I'm going easy this year -- just the three of us for Turkey Day. Son-1 and family will come Friday afternoon and stay for a casual potato bar dinner.

Yesterday, a horrible crashing sound came from the Queen Mother's Suite.  As I raced in to help I found the sitter propping up the antique secretary and saw items from the secretary, including a Christmas tree and a bag of York Peppermint Patties, in bed with Mother! I'd have laughed if the sitter hadn't been in obvious need of assistance.  I guess this afternoon we'll be swapping some furniture with pieces in the storage unit.

Maybe I should title this post "Why Is It? Wednesday."

Why is it that calamities happen at the worst possible time?

Why is it that all the toilet paper rolls run out just before company comes?

Why is it the grocery is out of the key ingredient needed for the Thanksgiving menu? 

Why does the washer have an error message when there's no chance of getting a service call on a holiday?

That's my Wednesday!

Hop over to Freshly Pieced  to see what others are working on this WIP Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I take it back ....

... every word!

Or, at least the "lugubrious."  I didn't bother to look up the meaning. Nann, I'm surprised you didn't catch me on that! I had a former boss who'd ask me if I'd had a lugubrious weekend and I'd say "if that means well-oiled, then yes."

So let's just stick with having a PLEASANT Thanksgiving!!!

Design Table Monday ... on Tuesday

..As if I need another project!

The Japanese taupes I purchased at Lolly's in Shipshewana were calling to me.  I had recently found a pattern in a magazine that I felt would be a good match.

Looking at the picture (which I forgot to photograph) it appears the designer used three different fabrics in five values (light to dark) in each block. And it looks like there is very little repetition in the 25 blocks.  That's 375 fabrics!!  Fortunately I had purchased a roll of 40 strips as a starting point!

You probably know how it goes.  Inspiration strikes and you start searching the stash for what might go with recent purchases and before you know it you have a pile of potential candidates.

Such was my case and I decided rather than earmark/isolate a large collection of fabric for this project or, worse, put it all back on the shelves and lose track of it, I should just go ahead and cut what is required. THEN put it back on the shelves.

 So this was my "design" cutting table on Monday. 

Cutting table - unnamed project - 100+ fabrics
I have cut eight 2-1/2" squares from each strip. (As it turns out, three  times what I need.) My plan is to start construction as leaders/enders as I finish up some end-of-year sewing obligations over the next few weeks.

Then, and only then, will I attack the flying geese....

Safe travels to those on the road this week.  I hope everyone has a pleasant and lugubrious Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

This is it!!

The Sashing Saga

For weeks I've been blogging about the pineapple blocks
made using Karin Hellaby's technique from Sew Simple Pineapple.
In case you missed it, I posted a brief tutorial here.

It all started with a small pack of fat sixths (12" x 22") of yellow and gray prints that I was using in the sample step-outs for my Exploding Pineapple class at Quilt Camp at Cedar Lakes.

The Sashing Saga begins
The resulting blocks were so pretty I decided to make a whole quilt, but the sixths were not big enough. Several shopping trips later, I was set to go bigger.

More grays and yellos
With 81 blocks finished, I was ready to pick a sashing/lattice fabric.  At the risk of repeating myself, I wanted to sash the blocks because the casual construction method doesn't guarantee points are going to match.  Plus all edges are on the bias and I feel sashing will stabilize them. AND I wanted the quilt to be a bit bigger.

Six of 81
My first choice was the plaid in the bottom right block. Several of the fabrics came from that collection so it had all the right colors ...

First Choice - too busy
...but it is a bit busy and blends too much.  My second choice was too heavy.

Second Choice - too heavy
My final choice is just right!

Just Right
I've added it to the right side of all the blocks.  Once I decide on the final arrangement I'll add the left side sashing on the first block of each row.

I will wait until the S'mores Christmas retreat where there will be a large enough design wall to do a complete layout.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Where in the World ...

... is Libby?

Actually, I'm home now. Guess where I was last week!

Hmm, need a hint?

Too subtle? How about this ...
Row-by-Row kit from Yoder's Department Store

Yep, Indiana Amish Country!  I HAD to go for a meeting of the Midwest Fabric Study Group.  (Umm, ri-i-ight, an 8-hour drive JUST for a meeting in Shipshewana, Indiana. )

One can't go to Shipshe without allowing time for shopping. And shop I did!  Five quilt shops in one day.  My wallet is busted!  The stash report is so busted I'm not even going to count anymore! 

I did get the one critical thing I was looking for -- a sashing fabric for my gray/yellow pineapple blocks.

Current pineapple sashing choice 

But I couldn't stop there!  Selections include more clear grays ...

 ... some luscious taupey grays/tans ...

... and a FQ pack of Kaufman solids ...

 Several large cuts of backgrounds, two 3-yard wide backs, and a roll of taupe strips round out the purchases.  I am trying to convince myself that it all has a purpose ... OK, if I live long enough.  But it sure was fun!

The gray/yellow pineapple blocks will go back up on the wall today with the latest sashing option.

More on the sashing situation later.

Hop over to Patchwork Times to see more design walls this Monday.