Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More on the Cousin Quilts

Just mailed 4 quilts to Jamie so that she can do the hand stitching on the binding. Two of the quilts will stay at her house and the other three she has will be mailed to other little ones as they are finished. That means that I have done my part for 8 of the 15 quilts. Each one is so bright and cheerful. Although the blocks are random, the tops seem to be very similar in their happy attitudes. I am using a variety of quilt designs and bright backs. The bindings are made from the leftover backing fabric of other cousin quilts. Any leftover fabric is being turned into blocks to await the next sewing weekend. For now there are no new babies scheduled after these quilts are complete, but there are still a lot of cousins left to change that. I have the storage, so I will just keep stashing the blocks until they are needed.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

More Christmas BOMs

I realized last night that I am going to be very busy with quilt camp preparation and the camp itself, so I decided to pick out the July blocks and make some of them today. I made two of the types so that all I have is the rocking horse applique to finish for July. There are two horse blocks, but they should go together with ease. There are only three parts to each one. I may work on some other pieced blocks during July, but this way I know I will continue to meet my personal goal of three types each month.

The red/green/white blocks really do measure 3 1/2" but they need more pressing to make everything lie flat. I used Thangles to make the triangle blocks and then fussy cut the little angels. The green block is 6 1/2 ". I used a speed piecing technique shown in the directions. It was a combination of several different ways I have used in the past to make triangles, but I used rectangles, sewed them like Thangles and then made two additional cuts. Quick block!!!! When I finish the rocking horse blocks I will take another photo with everything pressed out and hung on the design wall.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ta Da!

I have finished this month's Christmas BOM. Yes, I know that ostriches are not green or batik and elephants are not plaid, but the pattern called for green and plaid, so I ran with it. The cookie jar and ark are 12" blocks. The pinwheel (13) is 3". I am keeping up with my personal goal of creating 3 types of blocks each month. Based on the plan, I will have all the blocks finished by the end of December. I have Santa, a rocking horse, a large wreath, and and a 3-car train left to applique. There are also several paper-pieced blocks, some nine-patch, a butter churn with a bear in the center, and some star blocks. I am certain that I can finish by December. Then comes the making of the top and figuring out how to quilt it. "Quilt as desired." Will be my challenge for next year.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Just a quick thought--- I have only 4 days to finish my three types of Christmas blocks of the month for June. I will make it, but I could have been done tonight if I had focused on what the block actually looked like. About 9:00 PM I decided to take care of the last kind of blocks for the month. I made 10 like the first photo before I realized I was supposed to be making pinwheels. Fortunately I have enough fabric to make the 13 pinwheels needed, and I like the others well enough that I will incorporate them into another quilt in the future. Guess that is what happens when you sew most
of the day on a variety of projects. At least I was having a great time being in the studio for a WHOLE day. =0)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Good Morning

Got up feeling like this was going to be a wonderful day! Fortunately, even though we are actually having a hot day, I have great air conditioning and a backup fan. I have so much I would like to do and even have the ability to accomplish all these things, maybe not in one day, but all can be done. I have another quilt top set up for quilting and several more ready to be pinned, so I know what I can do whenever there is a little time in the schedule. I have finished the 6th "Cousins' Weekend" quilt and have plans to finish a couple others in the next few days, and then they will be sent off to Jamie to do the hand sewing of the binding. I have another project that I am also going to have finished before quilt camp, but it is still a secret, so I won't say anything more except it should be finished by July10th.

Thought I would attach the first video I have taken with my camera. It starts by showing the Noah's ark block I worked on yesterday while Kevin was fishing. Sorry the block is not well displayed. I still have more animals to attach, but I like the block even as it is.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Number 4

As I told you before, my nieces and I made 15 quilt tops the last weekend in May. They even used my HQ16 and quilted 3. Those have left for Texas. This one, with the monkey background has also left on a journey to Iowa, but I do not really know where it will end up. Jamie's quilt guild does show and tell, and she wanted one to share. I sent this completed one to her so she would not have to use any of her studying time to finish hand sewing the binding. Zoe thought that grandma had sent her more monkeys so it may become hers, but I have another one in mind for her. It has jungle fabric that matches her bedroom walls on the back. I have actually finished quilting the 5th one and have the 6th in the machine. At this rate, these quilts will all be leaving home before summer ends.
This is a great project for beginning quilters and their mentors. I used up a lot of my odd scraps, and they learned seaming and, of course, seam ripping. We all learned that some people need to feel very organized when they piece, and others are more flexible. Even so, all the quilts look random, thus proving that there are many ways to approach the whole piecing process! I will brag on them a little by saying that my nieces did a great job of maintaining the 1/4" seams! The finished quilt tops are simply fun, and those that are quilted are snuggly and worthy of lots of conversation.

Another Christmas BOM

This was a challenging block. I "cheated" and let my father-in-law use his embroidery machine to write "cookies" on the jar. I am not up to that kind of delicate twisting and turning. As it is, the holly looks more crooked in the photo, but maybe it will just look like it is a little 3-D when the quilt is finished. I am loving this project.
I have lots of big plans to work on these blocks out on the pontoon, but the weather is not cooperating. It has been either rainy (not enough for my grass) or too windy when we are available to go out. I am going to maintain my goal of three different block types each month, but I have not decided what will be next. Why get crazy----I have 17 days left.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Tooning Time

We have taken the pontoon out the last two evenings. Wednesday, I needed a light jacket because there was still a cool breeze, but it felt great to be out. Last night was perfect. We were out for a couple of hours. There were lots of sailboats and fishermen/women. However, the most spectacular sight was the bald eagle that swooped down and grabbed a fish from the water. Almost felt that I should stand and sing "God Bless America". This weekend we should have at least one day of tooning. Kevin is going to try his hand at fishing. I will be working on my applique blocks for the Christmas quilt, reading and napping.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Time for Embroidery

A client asked me to embroider towels for three different grads. Since I was in between projects it was something I could do today. Fastest turn-around I have done in awhile. I have to admit that I enjoy breaking out the embroidery machine every so often and doing something besides quilt labels or blocks. Isn't this a great idea for gifting a graduate?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cousins' Quilting Weekend

Not all my nieces were able to make it to the Cousins' weekend, but the five that did come were so task-oriented that we managed to have 12 of the 48x60 seek'n'find quilt tops completed before the last two left on Monday. I became known as the task master of the sweat shop, but it wasn't really me that was driven. Friday night we had dinner and then the 4 1/2 inch blocks were sorted into piles of 154 blocks. This was followed up by all the cousins sitting around roasting marshmallows and making s'mores. It was not a late night. Beds and airbeds were set up and everyone was in bed before 11:00.

After a reasonable bit of sleeping in, we had a breakfast of bran muffins, blueberry muffins, fruit, etc. Good food to keep the sewing slaves going for a whole morning of twosies, foursies, and eightsies! Four of the cousins had experienced some form of home ec during middle school, but that was a number of years ago. Once everyone started to feel comfortable the machines seemed to be humming at very respectable speeds. At times, it did feel like I might be the task master simply because everyone was so focused.

You learn a lot about people when they are quilting. Each of these girls has their own style. Jamie and Liz had already quilted with me so I knew their quirks, but I was surprised to find that the others, in the beginning, had a hard time with doing random piecing. Organizational levels varied, Brianna never had any squares out of place. It was impressive to see, but if you look in the backgrounds of many of the studio photos you will see I must not have inherited these genes.
I let each of the girls have a go at the HQ16 (midarm machine for quilting the quilts). Once again it was a study in quirks. Jamie has used it before and had even completed a larger quilt top that morning, but the others had never touched anything like it. All were very anxious, but that comes with a new experience. Emily and Brianna made it very clear that they had no need or desire to do more than the small section they tried on Porter's quilt. Erin, on the other hand, got the fever. The second quilt on the machine was anchored by me, and then she finished all but the last 5 inches. Then she declared, "I'm going to get me one of these." One the third quilt, Liz said she would start it saying she would do a little more. Then we rolled it to the next section and she thought she would do a little more. She finally admitted that she was more relaxed and was going to finish the whole thing herself.
Brianna had supplied us with the prerequisite rice krispie treats made with peanut butter, and chocolate and butterscotch morsels, and there was a bowl of jelly bellies on the table at all times. Despite the girls being fed and watered on a regular basis, I did hear a comment made to Kevin about how I had give the sweathouse workers a brief break of bread and water. I also know that there was a lot of texting concerning fingers and blood. I mentioned several times that they were welcome to take a break and do something else, but then I made a careless gesture that looked like I had cracked a whip.... We did break for supper. We went to Tommy Chicago's for pizza and were treated by Emily and Erin. YUMMMMM! Afterwards the girls ran to the grocery store and came back to sew more strips together (without prompting by me). Therefore, later in the evening, Emily lead them through some back cracking routines. (Did I mention that three of the five are pregnant?)

Sunday morning after church, we were treated to breakfast burritos prepared by Emily and Erin. Very tasty! Then it was back down to the family room for more sewing. They put together a total of ten quilt tops before the party started to break up. That is also when they quilted the 2nd and 3rd quilt tops. We ended with the taking of many photos on how one might use the quilts.
Emily and Erin did not leave until Monday, so they worked on a few more tasks. Emily put together two more tops and I taught Erin how to bind one of the three quilts that headed off to Texas with them. I finished up the other three tops on M
onday night. Quilting will be handled over the next couple of months.
Based on what I saw, I believe the girls had a great time that will be long remembered. I know that Kevin and I really enjoyed having them here. Hope we can do it again some time in the future!