Monday, December 31, 2012

Final Finishes for 2012!

To finish up 2012 - it's Morsel, the December A Year of Schnibbles!  I just decided Saturday night that I wanted to do some of these - love those .pdf files that you can purchase.  I wouldn't have been able to do these if I had to go out to hunt for the pattern, but clicking and printing is so easy.  The two on the left were made with a candy pack of Marmalade.  I added some rickrack and French knots to the left one, and added one of my grandmother's old buttons to the middle one.  The right one is made with leftovers from fabrics from the quilting cruise I took in August, so this is a remembrance from that fun trip.  I added some antique buttons to that one, too.  These were really fun to make, and I may make some more. 

Besides the holidays, we've been doing a lot of this:
We've had 21" of snow in the last week and a half.  The first 15" came the Thursday before Christmas - that storm was when this picture was taken.  Since then, we've had another 6".  We're about full up on places to put snow. Plus, I missed out on all the quilt shop after-Christmas sales, since I didn't want to drive on slick roads.  Probably a good thing for my wallet, though...

I made a couple new Christmas tree ornaments for this year.
The sheep is from the Primitive Blog Hop and is free here. The Noel ornament is a Primitive Gatherings pattern from a couple years ago.  I won't have much time to look at them on the Christmas tree this year, but I'll be really surprised when I open the box next year!  I'm sure I'll have totally forgotten them by then.

Hope everyone is having a nice New Year's Eve!  I've got to go do some internet shopping now, since my bricks-and-mortar shopping was thwarted by snow!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Design Wall Monday - December 17

It's December 17, so it's time to start some Christmas presents!  I did start a Christmas present this weekend, but in an effort to not drive myself crazy, I think this will be a gift for Christmas 2013.  I bought this pattern at Primitive Gathering's Christmas Open House, and have been chomping at the bit to start it. 
Here's a closeup of one end.  Don't look too closely - miniature piecing isn't completely my thing, but I gave it a shot!  The little corner connectors were only 1 1/8" square.  The friend this is intended for isn't a quilter, so I don't think she'll be too critical of the piecing.  I'm ready now to give the snowmen some blanket stitching and faces and arms.  This whole runner is only 12 1/2" wide, so it should be easy to machine quilt.  The ends of the runner are cut off at an angle after the stitching- you can probably see my chalk lines for that. 

So that's what's on my design wall.  With Christmas coming up so fast, I don't think my design wall will be seeing much action for a couple weeks.  Hopefully, I can show this as a finished product before too long!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Christmas Party

SewCalGal is hosting a virtual Christmas party today, so I think I'll join in!  The party is a fund-raiser for Operation Homefront - go to her blog to check it out.

We're ready for our party - all the rabbits and bears have on their holiday finery!

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is our Cathedral Mouse tree.  A church in our area makes Cathedral Mice ornaments, with a different theme each year.  They've been doing this since the 1960s, so they've thought of a lot of themes!  This year's mouse was a Fitness Mouse - a girl with an iPod and earbuds, and a boy with little barbells in his hands.  Mouse Pickup Day is always the first Saturday of December, so that's when the Christmas season starts for me.  There's also a bake sale and craft sale there, too, so it's a fun errand. 

We have a small tree with just the mice on it - you can see the golfer, a Milwaukee Brewer, a jester, Santa, a railroad guy, and lots of others in this picture.   This tree creates quite an opportunity for our cat - she loves to bat at these and knock them off the tree.  Then if the dog picks it up to play with, the dog gets in trouble - it's a win-win for the cat!

The elves have been busy in Santa's workshop, too.  I've finished a few cosmetic bags for our guild gift exchange this Thursday.  This is a bag with a vinyl inset so that you can see what's in the bag.  I just love them, and I've even conquered my fear of zippers with these.  The pattern is "What's in Your Bag?" from Stitchin' Sisters.

A couple new ornaments are prepped for stitching.  When I was decorating our big tree, I pulled out an ornament I made in 2010.  I really like these ornaments, so I thought I would make a couple more to tie onto gifts this year.  These are a pattern from Primitive Gatherings.

And speaking of Primitive Gatherings, I finished the free pincushion from their Christmas Open House.  This is a Christmas gift for myself.  It was fun to make.

Thanks for dropping by my Christmas party!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Design Wall Monday - November 19

Finally, a blog post from me!  I think about posting a lot, but it just never seems to quite happen.  I have been working on some things, though.

I have three goals right now - reduce the size of my stash, get some charity quilts finished and on hand, and reduce my pile of UFOs.  The quilt above meets the first two of the goals.  It's a column quilt from a free pattern at Nancy's Notions.  I saw this quilt a couple years ago at the Quilt Expo in Madison.  It used up a good amount of scraps from kids quilts and is destined to be a charity quilt when it's done.  It needs a border and then I'll quilt it.  It's twin bed size, so a fairly large quilt.  I love the colors in it, and the little bit of solid black really makes the colors pop. 

 And this quilt meets my third goal.  It's Harvest Jumble from a book by Jo Morton.  I bought this kit from Country Sampler several years ago and finished the top, but just recently got it out and machine quilted it.  I love how it turned out!  Country Sampler does such a good job of choosing colors, and their kits are almost too pretty to take apart so you can start sewing.  The cheddar print surrounding this is a great color.  This quilt got done a little late for fall decorating this year, but I can't wait to get it out next year.  It's about 60" square, so a nice size for a lap quilt.  This quilt was also one of my UFOs in the UFO challenge on my sidebar, so I'm excited to get to cross one off!

Thanks for stopping by!  I have some extra time off over the Thanksgiving holidays, so I'm hoping to get lots of quilting done and have some good things to show you next week.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival


I'm having so much fun seeing all the quilts in Blogger's Quilt Festival that I decided to participate, too.  Amy from Amy's Creative Side hosts this festival.  If you're stopping by my blog for the first time, welcome and I hope you find some fun things!

The quilt I'm entering into the Blogger's Quilt Festival is one of my Summer Block of the Week quilts from Primitive Gatherings.  I believe this was from 2009.  I love their Block of the Week program - each week of summer, for 12 weeks, you receive a block pattern and fabrics and wools to make that block.  At the end, you can purchase a finishing kit if you want to, or you can finish it your own way.  This quilt is wool on flannel, and all the wool is blanket stitched by hand.   Part of my fun summer ritual is to get the block all prepared during the week, and then spend some of my weekend sitting on the deck and stitching - very relaxing!  When I look at these quilts, I'm reminded of summer and the slower pace.  In my memory, the weather is always perfect, too!

I've participated in this program several years, and two of the quilts are even finished!  This quilt is hand quilted with perle cotton.  It's hard to see from the picture, but it is quilted in straight lines through all the half-square triangles.

Here's a closeup of one area of the quilt.  The wools in this quilt are very bright and pretty.  I really enjoy wool applique - if you've never tried it, buy a simple kit and give it a try.  It's not the cheapest hobby, but you get a lot of hours of fun out of one kit, and something nice to enjoy when you're done.  There are several different methods to do wool applique, but the method I have most success with is using Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 on the back of the wool.  It keeps the edges neat, and I can iron the appliques into place before I start, and then the project is completely portable without having to go back into my sewing room.

Here are the stats for this quilt:
*Quilt Measurements:  47" x 58"
*Special Techniques used, if any:  Wool applique on Flannel,  hand blanket-stitched
*Quilted by myself
*Best category – Hand Quilted, Applique

Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to go to Amy's Creative Side to see all the other quilts in the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Design Wall Monday - October 22

Wow, what a difference three weeks makes!  The last time I blogged we were having beautiful autumn weather.  That's done - the leaves are all off the trees and we are into the gloomy, rainy part of fall now.  Yesterday I raked our leaves into piles and pulled up all the summer flowers.  It's time to put everything to bed for another season.
I've been sewing, too!  This is Winter Break from Weekend Quilts by Judy Laquidara.  I got this book as a gift last Christmas, and I've been wanting to make several of the quilts in it, but didn't have enough background fabric.  These quilts are big, and take a lot of background fabric.  I finally got a bolt of black and a bolt of white, so now I can really make some quilts.  This one was really fast and easy, especially after finishing Orca Bay!  This quilt was all squares and rectangles, so it went together pretty quickly.  It's ready to go into the to-be-quilted stash (a pile which is growing alarmingly tall).

This is Times 3 by Mountainpeek Creations.  I used all blue background I Spy type fabrics for this one, with tone-on-tone fabrics for the small squares.  This will be a donation quilt - I wanted to make one for a boy this time, so this one fills the bill.  It  has trucks, robots, racecars, pizza chefs, cats getting X-rays, pirates and lots of other stuff.  They should find plenty to look at in this one!  My stash of I Spy fabrics would be getting smaller if I didn't keep buying more every time I go anywhere.  The manufacturers just make too many cute kids prints.

And the September Banner of the Month is done!  There is a cat for Halloween, and then a cornucopia for Thanksgiving, and then I'll have the complete set.  I've really enjoyed making these.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Beautiful Weekend!

It's been a beautiful fall weekend in southeastern Wisconsin!  The temperature was great, skies were sunny, and the trees are all turning.  This is a very pretty time of year here. I had great plans for the weekend, but scrapped most of them to sit on the deck and stitch and read instead.  We won't get too many more of these weekends before the snow flies, so I have to strike while the iron's hot.

 I finished my May banner...

and my June banner.  I'm slowly getting caught up, but now I'm skipping a few months to work on October's banner.  My geraniums on the deck are still pretty, despite a few frosts lately.

All the blocks for Evelyn's Album (Block of the Week from Primitive Gatherings) are done, and waiting for the next step.  Since I'm #507 on the waiting list for a finishing kit, these will go into a box for a little while, I think!

And the freebie blocks from the summer are all stitched.  I have the finishing kit for these, so plan to work on getting this together next.

The house is decorated for Halloween.  I got out one of my favorite quilts.

This is Pumpkin Crazy, from one of the Need'l Love books a few years ago.  I've always loved purple, green and orange for Halloween.   A store in town had kits for this quilt, with hand-dyed flannels for the pumpkins and leaves.  The crazy stitches are by hand, and I machine quilted it on my domestic machine. 

 Holly enjoyed some deck time this weekend, too!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Orca Bay Spare Parts

My Orca Bay top is done!  I started this quilt last winter when Bonnie Hunter started her mystery sew-along, and most of the blocks were finished as the mystery went along.  When we got to the part about putting it all together, I laid out my blocks and wasn't crazy about the way they looked, so the blocks all got put into a box in the closet.

Every time I opened the closet this summer, those blocks begged to come out and get put together, so last week I finally listened to them and put them all together.  I have to say, they must have spent their summer in the closet doing stretching exercises, because all the string-pieced blocks were really stretchy on one side.  But I battled them into place, and once I got the borders on, I really like they way they looked.  I love the borders on this - I think it adds a lot to the finished quilt. 

I have a few spare parts left over.  I thought I had everything counted out correctly, but it's very possible I miscounted.  There were a thousand parts to this quilt!  I think I'll try to incorporate some of these parts into the label, once I get around to quilting this.

So now I'm ready for Bonnie's new mystery this year.  Orca Bay was the first one I've done, and it was really time-consuming and involved a whole lot of piecing, but it did really use up a lot of stash fabrics (not that you can really tell there's anything missing from my scrap box!).  This quilt kept me busy and out of trouble last winter, so I think I'll try her new one in a couple months.  This was my first try at string piecing.  These blocks aren't perfect, but this is the busiest quilt I've ever made, so I doubt anyone will notice unless they are trying to find problems.  If they're looking that hard, they deserve to be rewarded by finding something!

I also finished up a couple wool pieces -
One is my last wool Mat of the Month from Primitive Gatherings, and the right one is my Banner of the Month.  I'm months behind in the banners - I think this one is either May or June.  I'd better get going on the fall ones!

We've been having beautiful fall weather the last couple weeks - a very welcome change after this summer!

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 10, 2012

One Hour With Needle and Thread

It's time to report our success (or failure!) in Bonnie Hunter's One Hour With Needle and Thread challenge.  I have to confess that I didn't keep exact track of my time, but I did stitch for at least an hour a day.  I made quite a bit of progress on this quilt
It's easy to forget how time-consuming hand quilting is!  I quilted quite a bit on this house block, but I think it's done now and time to move on to another section.

I also did the blanket stitching on the Friendship Garden quilt that was started on the cruise.   The flowers, basket, leaves and stems are all wool, so they are blanket stitched down.  There is a cute kit of colored buttons that match this project that will go on the top part.  I'm trying to decide whether to machine or hand-quilt this.  It's a small wall hanging size, but that hand-quilting takes a lot of time!  Do you see those hexie flowers?  Pam Buda taught a class on English paper piecing that was great and very timely, as I'm seeing hexie flowers in every magazine lately!

The cruise mentioned above was the Great Girlfriend Getaway to Alaska that was held near the end of August.  It was a wonderful trip, with lots of time to sew and see the sights in Alaska.  The cruise left from Seattle and stopped in Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Victoria.  We had never been to Alaska before, so it was fun to see the sights and learn a little bit about Alaska.  The weather was fairly cloudy/rainy, which is pretty typical of August from what we heard, but most days cleared off enough to go sightseeing.  On the days we were at sea, we had our quilt classes.  The teachers were Pam Buda of Heartspun Quilts and Lynn Hagemeier of Kansas Troubles Quilters, both great teachers.  There were new Janome sewing machines to sew on, and the owners of the sewing machine store were with us to rethread our machines and refill our bobbins.  That was quilting heaven!

We started three new projects.  The first, Stillwater Creek, is a fairly large lap quilt made from Pam's new fabric line, Heart of the Prairie.

We also started the Friendship Garden quilt above, and another top called Spare Change from Kansas Troubles Quilters, which used a charm pack and the new Quilt Candy from Moda.  The teachers and travel consultant really spoiled us on this trip - every time we came to class, there were new treats like little kits, fat quarters and thread catchers.  They also had a door prize drawing for a new sewing machine, Go Cutter, and several other great prizes, none of which I won!

The best part of the trip was meeting the teachers and other quilters and getting to know them a little bit.  I got to meet two fellow bloggers, Lesley of The Cuddle Quilter and Gloria of Olde Green Cupboard Designs.

We took lots of pictures, so I'll show you a couple.  We climbed partway up a mountainside in Skagway and took this picture of our ship, the Norwegian Pearl.  There were always several cruise ships in the ports we stopped in.   The low-hanging fog/clouds were pretty typical of this trip!

Glacier Bay was beautiful.  The water was so still and green.  The ship got close enough to the glaciers that you can hear pieces of them breaking off and dropping into the water.

If you ever get a chance to go on a Quilter's Cruise, do it! 

This trip has inspired me to get out my Orca Bay blocks and start to put them together.  Now that I've seen whales in the ocean, I'm inspired to finish it!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Meeting Bonnie's Challenge

Bonnie Hunter has challenged us to put aside an hour a day for handwork, and I'm in!  I love to hand quilt but haven't been doing it much lately; this is just the motivation I need.  Here's the project I'm working on first:
This is a Jan Patek Girl Gang quilt top I made for a shop that I used to make models for.  When I got it out earlier this year, the following conversation ensued:

Me:  I'm going to finish this quilt!
My Family:  Why does it say "02"?
Me:  Because I made it in 2002.
My Family (incredulously) But that's ten years ago!!!
Me: Yes.  (thinking...If they only knew...)

True confessions time:  Remember in 1999 when we all got the Y2K bug and traded 25 squares of fabric and signature squares, with the intentions of making a quilt with 2,000 pieces for the new millenium?  Do you remember seeing my finished quilt on the Internet?  No, you probably don't remember seeing it, because the squares are still sitting in their little envelopes in a box in my closet!   Am I the only one who hasn't started it yet?  My excuse is that I haven't had an idea good enough to start, but you'd think in 13 years something would have occurred to me!  I did a really great job collecting the squares - I have all the states, provinces of Canada, and lots of countries, too.  I can probably make two or three quilts when I get around to it.  I still have all the letters, too.  One of these days I'll reread all of them and start the quilts.

OK, I got off track.  This Girl Gang quilt is really soft and cuddly - it's flannel with a soft batting.  It needs a few hours of hand quilting, and then it will be done, only ten years after it was pieced.  It's also one of the UFOs on the list on my sidebar to get done this year, so I'm off to start right now...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Lovely Surprise

A nice treat arrived in my mailbox yesterday!  It's a beautiful pincushion from my friend Donna at Brynwood Needleworks.  Donna does wonderful silk ribbon embroidery.  That's one craft I've never really tried, so I'm happy to have this pretty example.  It's on a very sweet little Shakerwood style box.  It's way too pretty to stick pins into, though.  I think it will look very nice on a shelf in my sewing room.

There's a much better picture of it on Donna's website.  Thank you, my friend - I will treasure this!

I haven't posted much lately because I've been off on a quilting cruise to Alaska!  We just got back Monday.  Once I get organized, I'll post some pictures. It was a wonderful time, and if you've been thinking about a quilting cruise, I would highly recommend it.  It was the perfect mix of quilting and sightseeing.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Design Wall Monday - August 6

August already?  What happened to July?  Life seems to be flying past at a hectic pace.  My New Year's resolution of joining in the Design Wall Monday isn't being met - I think this is only about the fourth time I've been able to get around to it!

Primitive Gatherings Block of the Week
This summer has been so hot that there hasn't been as much sewing done as usual.  I have been trying to keep up on my Summer Block of the Week from Primitive Gatherings.  My design wall has the first seven completed blocks, plus four of the freebies that come with it.  I love sitting on the deck and hand stitching these blocks each summer, but most of them have been done inside in the air conditioning this summer.  We finally had a beautiful day yesterday - I hope it's the start of a trend.

It's always amazing to me how much the stitching changes the look of the block.  Here's the last block before stitching

and after stitching.

Primitive Gatherings made it easy for us this year - almost all of the blocks are stitched with the same tan thread, with a little red on a few parts.  I'm really enjoying making this quilt.  It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

I've started machine quilting last month's Schnibbles quilt Leap Year, and hoping to have a finish to show soon!  Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Year of Schnibbles - Leap Year

Leap Year by Miss Rosie's Quilt Company

The June Schnibbles pattern is Leap Year.  This one was easy and quick to piece.  I made mine lap size.  This was made with the Civil War reproduction strips that I rejected for the Block of the Week quilt in the last post.  Luckily, they were already cut the right size for this pattern.  My plan is to quilt this with cotton batting and wash it in hot water.  I'm hoping it will look like an antique quilt when I'm done.  I'm really happy with the way this has turned out so far!

Thanks to Carrie at Miss Rosie's Quilt Company for sharing this pattern with us!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


This is the Summer Block of the Week 2011 from Primitive Gatherings.  I promised myself I wouldn't start this year's blocks until I had last year's border appliqued, and it is done.  I'm doing a happy dance here!  These borders took forever - I think I started them in January.  A few small projects worked themselves in there, but I've been working on this big one steadily.  The flowers are all stacked, so it takes two or three trips around each one with the blanket stitch.  I really enjoy the process, but this one got a little tedious after about the 20th flower.  (Each of the cornerstone flowers is stacked, too.)
The store used a different setting, with piano key sashings and borders.  I pieced the sashings and borders that way, but didn't like the way it looked, so I ended up with a purple/tan Civil War reproduction fabric for the sashing and borders.  I'm happy with it - mine just looked too busy with my piano key fabrics. 

 Now I've just got to figure out how to quilt it.  This is a big quilt - at least big enough for a full bed.  I've seen some great quilting on the blogs; now if I can just replicate some of it with my sewing machine!  I got my Bernina 1230 cleaned and oiled, so I'm ready to tackle a machine quilting project when it's too hot to be outside this summer.

It's a good thing this is done - Block 4 of the 2012 Block of the Week arrives tomorrow.  It's going to be hot for the next few days, so I think I'll sit in front of the AC and get caught up on this year's Block of the Week!  I really enjoy these Block of the Week projects in the summer - this is my fifth year to do them.  Two of the year's projects are completely done and hanging on the walls, the 2011 quilt has the top done, and the 2010 quilt has the blocks made but nothing done with them.  I'm still waiting for inspiration on that one!

Thanks for stopping by.  I'm on vacation/staycation this week, so I'm hoping to have lots more to post about by the weekend!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

It's Done!

The Professional Tote by The Creative Thimble
A few months ago, I saw The Professional Tote on another blog, and decided that was exactly what I need for traveling.  When my friend Donna and I went on our own personal quilt shop hop a couple weeks ago, my primary quest was fabric to make this tote bag.  When we walked into the second quilt shop, the owners were just unwrapping the new fabric from Buggy Barn, and Donna and I were both drawn to the wonderful paisleys and colors of this fabric.

I wasn't sure if I had what it took to make this bag - it has 3 zippers, two velcro tabs, two cord locks, and a ton of topstitching, not to mention sewing through interfacing everywhere - sometimes many layers of fabric and interfacing.  The pattern is great - it looked intimidating at first, but if you follow the instructions step by step, it goes very well.  I got to use lots of little-used features on my sewing machine, like the zipper foot, buttonhole foot, and topstitching foot!  I guess I'm used to doing quilts - I was wondering if I'd be able to get this bag done before my trip later this summer.  It never occurred to me that I'd be able to make it in a weekend LOL.

This is the back side of the bag.  The feature that sold me on this pattern is that horizontal strap right above the pocket.  It's a strap that slides over the handle of your rolling suitcase, so the bag will sit on top of it and not slide off to the side.   The pockets at the sides have cord locks and elastic cord, so your water bottle or umbrella can be cinched up in there.

The inside is also a Buggy Barn fabric.  There is a key fob, zippered pocket, velcroed pocket, and three other pockets inside as well.   The top zips shut to keep everything inside safe.  When you get done with this bag, there are no raw seams left exposed.

The only thing I'd do differently if I make this again is make the zippers all zip the same direction (duh!).  I didn't realize until I was done that the top zipper zips left to right, and the inside pocket zips right to left.  Maybe I can consider that feature a pickpocket deterrent.

I can't wait to go somewhere so I can use this!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Design Wall Monday - May 28

This nice long weekend included some quilting time! I pieced the top for this lap quilt - Urban Cabin by Atkinson Designs. It was really quick and fun to put together - this is a pattern I'll use again for charity quilts. The large rectangle can be strip pieced, or you can use a striped fabric and skip that step. This still needs some borders and then it can be quilted.

I also had time to finish up my Doc quilt for the Schnibbles Parade.  I added a row, to make this a lap-size quilt.  That meant that the borders needed to be adjusted to fit, so I had to get a little creative with that.  I'm really happy with the way it turned out - the fabric is Lovely by Sandy Gervais.

A couple wool projects got finishing touches this weekend, too...
Tulip Basket Table Mat

Pincushion Candle Mat

The other quilt I'm working on is last summer's Block of the Week from Primitive Gatherings.  This top needs to be done before June 6, when the 2012 BOW starts!  The borders are taking forever!  I've been working on them for months, but I think I'm getting close to done.  I'll post these when they're finished.