Monday, August 31, 2009

8 Months of Christmas Blocks of the Month

I thought I would give you another tour of my blocks for the Christmas Block of the Month Quilt that I have been working on since January, 2009. I have 4 more months and 12 more types of blocks to make before I can begin piecing it all together, but I am impressed with myself for staying focused and reaching my goal each month. I have enjoyed making each block, but have discovered that I am not a perfectionist with certain types of piecing. My needle turn applique gets better with each piece. I also love choosing my own fabrics for each block type. This will be a treasure for me every year when I display it at Christmas, but I am not so certain that I will let people use it just for cuddling. Time will tell.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Does Not Belong, but........

Zoe came to visit this weekend. While her parents and other grandparents went to the game. Kevin and I had the pleasure of playing with the little sweetheart. This baseball toy is something I bought with Dean in mind, but all kids see m to play with it. Think it is all the different sounds it makes. Anyway, I had been saying that I wished the camera was close by so I could take pictures of Zoe hitting the ball and running the bases. I did not want to disturb her because then it would have been over. Found the camera a few minutes later, and started shooting. I did encourage her a little, but most of it was what she had been doing for 20 minutes already.

I cut the video at the last moment afraid I make her cry because I was laughing or she would start crying because she hit her foot. Neither happened. But the three of us did run lots of bases after that. The applause were deafening. (We did so much better that the Twins!) Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ta-Da-Ta! My Part is Completed!!!!!.....for this round

It is official. All of the Cousin Quilts that needed to be sent on have been mailed I finished these and the extra one over the weekend. Zoe, almost 3, was here while I was working on one of them, and we had a lengthy discussion about all the blocks that are the same as on her quilt. She told me that she wished she had one of the squares on hers, but maybe her new baby brother would have it on his. There is nothing fancy about these quilts, but I believe that they have been some of my favorites to make. I have had feedback about 3 others that have already been received by the next generation of cousins, and it seems to me that the quilts are fulfilling my dream of making each child feel loved and connected to each other. WARM FUZZIES to all who have played a role in this ongoing project. The next round of piecing can begin whenever the nieces and sisters are ready. I have lots of squares cut, already!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cousin Quilts

As Zoe says, "Ta-da-ta!" I mailed off four more quilts to have the binding edge hand stitched by willing volunteers. I finished the machine part of attaching the double fold binding for all 15 quilts, but have 3 left to do the hand sewing. No complaints from me. I love to do the binding, so I am glad to have 3 to finish off myself. Two of these are headed for South Dakota before the end of the month, and the other one is going into storage for safe keeping until another baby is announced. As cooler weather appears, I will start asking if any of the nieces or my sisters want to have a bundle of squares sent to them for piecing, but I would love to have another quilting weekend, so......

Instead of having to cut all those squares at once, I have been very diligent about cutting up the leftover backing and making squares or binding strips for the next ones. I have the squares categorized by color or theme, so later the sorting will be just as easy as it was this time. Will every bit of the fabric make it back into more cousin quilts? NO! I have been taking a few 1 1/2" and 2" strips from each to add to my strings and log cabin quilts stash. I am going to work on a couple of each of those blocks every week until I have enough blocks for several of each type - lap quilt and bed quilts. They are what I consider to be mindless sewing tasks for when I want to touch fabric but don't have the brains left to really concentrate.

However, today I have to get started on quilting projects for clients. I have everything scheduled and should be able to reach my goals without any trouble now that I will be working less hours at the quilt shop - Minnesota Shop Hop is almost finished! Fun and friendly experience to work, but glad I am not a shop owner or in charge of organizing it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What did I do on a 10+ hour drive?

This morning we drove Kevin's dad back to Lennox, SD. I sat in the back and completed this applique. Stitching was not too bad, but I did prick myself once. The red hat is rather odd, but it is what it is. I really like this block, especially with the background fabric I have chosen.
I need to complete one more type of block for the month of August, but I have two picked out. I might just do both types. Time will tell. Watch for the unveiling sometime before the end of the month.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Everyone is getting into quilting!

Everyone in the family is talented. Kevin and his dad made these small boxes during his visit this week. Based on the amount of oak and mahogany accent used and their effort, Dad figures that he can sell some like these for about $15 at his craft fair in November. If anyone is interested in purchasing these for the same price plus shipping and handling, just let me know. The top and box lids measure about 4 3/4" square. The interior is about 3 3/8" square and 2 1/2" deep. I am going to keep several, but the rest are available. (You should see the wall hanging shelves for quilts and the quilt stands.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

I have been humbled!

I was feeling really cocky about having quilted the six cousin quilts in less than a week, but then I started No.7. I was quilting along and had completed 24 of the 168 blocks before I realized that everything had shifted drastically about 40 degrees. I am still ripping out the stitches. Each one is a humbling experience.

How did this happen? Lack of pinning and attention. I had my MP3 tunes blasting and was singing at the top of my lungs to Amazing Grace when I spotted the error of my ways. Love to get lost in the music, but......

Thursday, August 6, 2009

14 Down - 1 to Go

I have been pretty busy quilting the last of this batch of
cousin quilts. I have one in progress on the HQ, but all the others are finished and will receive their bindings in the next couple of days. I have had fun experimenting with different designs. Since the quilt tops are all very similar yet random, I have chosen to show the backs. Knowing who will receive each of these has helped me know that some designs are more girly and some are neutral. The two green ones with loops and hearts are for the twins,and the yellow swirls is for Bryn, another baby girl. Zoe and Maddie got loopy ones, already. The rest of the quilts have loops, swirls, and stars. All the rest have been sent to or are going to the boys.
I have one back up quilt that will be awaiting the next little Byrnes. Then the cousins will have to start making more tops from the squares already cut and the remaining fabric scraps from these 15. We will continue this joyful gifting as long as needed. The original quilt maker, Pam, made embroidered quilts for many of the older cousins, but she passed away before the younger ones could be gifted. We are going to build up a surplus to ensure that all little ones will be fortune enough to be loved in this special way!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

More Cousin Quilts

Yesterday I quilted 2 more of the quilt tops made by my nieces at the end of May. (See June 2 post) That leaves four more that have already be assigned and one that is waiting for the next little Byrnes to make its appearance. I quilted the last two with loops and hearts which is one my favorite designs. When I want to make certain the quilt holds together even if some seams give way I generally quilt more densely. Considering that the quilt top makers were rather new at quilting, some had to draw on their only sewing experiences way back in Home Ec, I went with the dense quilting. (I do not mean to diminish their efforts because they did do a very nice job of maintaining the 1/4" seams, but I know the quilts will be well loved and wanted each one to hold up for decades, just like the ones many have that were made by Auntie Pam.) Sometimes I stitch this design more densely like this and sometimes I spread it out and vary the sizes of the loops and hearts much more.

Today I am going to do a few with swirls --- something new for me. I have been practicing on my acrylic overlay, and am hoping that it will translate as nicely as it has on the practices. I do not have a specific deadline for finishing all 15 quilts, but all these lovely children have been born or are due within the next few months, so I have made a mental deadline.

Along with the cousin quilts I have a number commissioned quilting jobs that need to be finished and mailed back to their owners. I have everything mapped out and hope to be able to stick to my schedule. August promises to be busy and September starting to shape up that way as well. The best part is that I am doing something that I love.