Sunday, October 27, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Today is Trick-or-Treat day here, so I'm wishing everyone a Happy Halloween today!  Ours is always the Sunday before.  We haven't had many kids stop by, though, so I imagine a lot of this candy will go to work with us this week.  We've had a really nice day for trick-or-treat.  Some years the kids all have parkas over their costumes, but this year we could actually see the costumes.

Ta-Da!  Hocuspocusville is done, quilted and bound and ready to hang on the wall.  I free-motion quilted this on my sewing machine. 
I quilted around the outside of the embroidery in each block, and then around some of the items inside each block.  I don't like to quilt over embroidery - to me it looks better outlined.  Then I quilted cobblestone streets and "spooky" skies in each block.  After about the eighth block, I figured out an easier way to do the cobblestones.   After 12 blocks, I'm so over both cobblestone streets and spooky skies.  I'm glad I don't have another whole quilt to do this way, but I'm happy with the way this one turned out.

The pieced blocks got leaves in the tan areas and a pumpkin in the block.  There is giant rick-rack around the center pieced area, which gives it a nice touch.  This quilt was a pattern by Crabapple Hill Studios.

For Halloween, I also finished Hallow Wee House, a cross-stitch pattern by Chessie and Me.  This was a kit I bought on my trip to Country Sampler with Donna in August.  It was a lot of hours of cross-stitching, but it's really cute!  The kit had silk thread, which I hadn't used before.  This whole thing is only about 6" tall, so it's some really high-count fabric.  I have to use a magnifying glass these days for cross stitch.

October was a great finishing month - I also finished Sampler Stars from the retreat this summer.
So now all the projects from that retreat are finished, and I can go again next year (my self-imposed rule - all projects must be finished before I go again)!  This was one of the patterns from Paula Barnes of Red Crinoline Quilts.  It was a lot of fun to make, and is just meander-quilted with a matching thread.  Do you like my makeshift design wall?  I just hung this up in front of my fabric cabinet and set some stuff on top to hold it there.  Luckily, it didn't pull off those milk bottles filled with buttons - otherwise, I'd still be in there picking them up.

These weren't on my UFO list, but they got started and finished in October - 12 thread catchers for my guild retreat next May.  We each had to make 10, I think, but I had enough fabric for 12, so they're getting 12.  Our theme is "Strawberries and Cream," so we each had to use strawberry fabric and green lining.  The green matches better in real life than it does in this picture!  These will be the table favor for the guests. 

There was a fun surprise in yesterday's mail.  When Barb and I went on our epic trek across Iowa, hitting every quilt shop in sight, she was buying pieces of Minkee and chenille to make taggy blocks for babies.  So she sent me one!  It's really soft with the Minkee on some sides
and different textures of chenille on other sides, and the tags all feel very satiny.  I'd think a baby would love cuddling with this block.  She did a great job on this.  I'm going to put it away in the box of goodies for future grandchildren!

So it's time to make plans for November already.  My plans are to get the stitching done on the Primitive Gathering's Block of the Week Freebie:
The flowers and leaves are all fused on and ready to blanket stitch.  This isn't a huge quilt - I think it's 24" square.  The curved edge was much easier to do than I thought it might be.

Finish quilting this snowman table runner for a Christmas present.

And quilt the Bee in My Bonnet Row Quilt I made earlier this year.  If you missed this pattern when it was free, Lori Holt has published this in a book now, along with other projects made from these blocks.  Her instructions are great!  This is a pretty big quilt, so the quilting is going to take awhile.

So there are my plans - I'm off to link up with Carrie's blog!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October Already?

It's time to post a couple finishes, and my UFO plans for October.  I seem to do better when I write down my UFO finishing plans and link up to Carrie's blog.  I haven't done that the last couple months, and my finishes have been pretty slow!

I did get a couple things done --
My Civil War Cross Stitch from the Country Sampler Grand Old Flag Gathering is framed!  I found a wonderful framer - she did a great job and is reasonably priced, too!  She helped pick this frame  - it's black with a dusty gray finish on part of it, and looks very old.  It fit just right with the time frame of this sampler.  I'm really happy how this turned out.  It has glass in front of it, so a little challenging to get a picture without reflections.

I finished another quick little project -
This is an antique sugar mold.  When Barb and I were in Marion, we picked up kits for this at Cottage Rose - it's one of their patterns.  It was really quick to make up.  There is also a strawberry pincushion to go with it, but I don't have that sewn yet.

I have lofty goals for October:
Get Hocus Pocus Ville quilted and ready to use for THIS Halloween!

Get Sampler Stars quilted and bound.  This is my final project from Grand Old Flag.  My "deal" with myself was that I couldn't go next year unless this year's projects were done, so I'm motivated to finish this!

Get the Summer Block of the Week Freebie Blocks trimmed and set together.  I have the finishing kit, so I'm ready to go on this when I get a little time.

Get the rest of the Summer Block of the Week Blocks trimmed and set together.  I ordered the finishing kit but don't have it yet, so this is on hold until then.  All 13 blocks are ready to go, though!  There are still no words inked on them - I'm still on the fence about that part.

So that should keep me out of trouble for October!  Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Barb and Kathy's Excellent Adventure, Part 2

The Corn Fest was more fun than anticipated.  There was a parade...

My mother is a clown.  (Really, that's my mother with the pink hair!  She did face painting in the park after the parade, too.)

I think LOTS of people should have this sign on their car.

I got to see several of my old classmates, some of whom I hadn't seen in about 30 years, so that was fun.

There was a quilt show, and unbeknownst to me, my mom entered two of the quilts I had made for her.  We won a blue ribbon!
This was a Lone Star quilt top that my grandmother had pieced.  After my grandmother passed away, my mother gave the top to me to finish.  This was early on in my quilting career - I finished this quilt in 1991.   The top includes a lot of feedsacks and fabrics from my mother's childhood.  I added the cornerstones, setting triangles and borders, and hand quilted it to death.  I kept track of my hand-quilting time; I think it was 120 hours or something like that.  After it was finished, I gave it back to Mom.

When we went to pick up the quilt, I found that we had won Viewer's Choice, too!  They said they liked my hand quilting.  Not many people (including me) do a lot of hand quilting any more, so a quilt with hand quilting is kind of rare in a quilt show these days, I guess.  So I have a blue ribbon and a purple ribbon to add to my quilt wall.  I was pretty excited!
In looking at this quilt, a lot of the colors are popular again - there is quite a bit of navy blue, that icky green, pink and cheddar.  I'd do a lot of things differently on this if I were finishing it now, but I guess I'm happy with it the way it is!

After all the Corn Fest activities, and visiting with our families, Barb and I headed back to Wisconson on Monday.  We found some more shops to stop at!

Our first stop was in Cedar Rapids at Pine Needles Sewing Center.
This shop is also a Bernina dealership, and they have tons of everything and very helpful service. There were quilt models everywhere in this shop - you could spend all day in here!

Village Needlework Store
Our second stop was Village Needlework, a shop which sells everything you can think of for cross stitch, needlepoint, etc.   They have an online store, so if you need any type of cross-stitch floss, I can recommend them.

Our third stop was Cottage Rose Quilt Shop, a shop in downtown Marion.  I had quit taking pictures by this point, but it's a cute shop in a historic building, in among lots of antique shops.   Marion is a neat place to visit.  Cottage Rose does some of their own patterns, so it's worth taking a look at their website!  We each bought a cute little wool kit that uses an antique sugar mold.  I have mine almost done and will put it on the blog next week.  It was a quick project that will be a fun memento of our trip.

The last stop (and we were dragging by this point!) was Mill House Quilts in Waunakee.  This is a huge shop in a converted historic feed mill.   They were a Top Ten Shop one year, too, and it's worth a stop just to see the mill!   They, too, have everything - wool, reproduction fabrics, batiks, kids fabrics, everything! 

So, that's our Great Shop Hop of 2013!  After two recent outings with friends, I need to stay home for awhile and sew up all this stuff I bought.  I've been keeping track of yardage in/out this year, and I'm way in the red for this year.  I may dig out by year end, but I'll have to get busy in order for that to happen!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Barb and Kathy's Excellent Adventure, Part 1

A couple weeks ago, my friend Barb asked if I'd like to go with her back to our hometown for Corn Fest, an annual event that's become sort of a reunion for classmates.  This was a big decision, since we'd have to miss the Madison Quilt Show (always fun) to go to Corn Fest.  We decided if we stopped at a bunch of quilt stores along the way, we wouldn't miss the Madison show so much.  So that's what we did!  Here's our little Personal Shop Hop Across Iowa.  (A warning here ... never quilt shop with someone who's expecting a grandchild soon.  You will end up with bags full of baby stuff.  A whole bunch of that stuff jumped in my bags, and there are no babies in my near future.  If I get invited to a baby shower, though, I'm set for the next few years).  Our trip "back home" takes 7 1/2 hours driving time - with our stops, it only took us about ten hours - that's not too bad, is it?  We didn't stop much to eat, though LOL.

Our first stop was JJ Stitches in Sun Prairie.  (You didn't think we'd actually get out of Wisconsin before we found a store, did you??)  This is a great store, but I had been there just a few weeks ago with Donna, so didn't do too much damage to my wallet at this store.  I joined a BOM here last time I visited, so I'm anxious to get started on that.

Our second stop was Vintage Threads in Dyersville, Iowa.  This shop was a Quilt Sampler Top Ten Shop a few years ago, and it was wonderful.  Lots of vintage as well as bright fabrics, and a very nice, helpful owner.  We did a lot more damage to our wallets at this store!  The store is in a nicely restored historic building and is lots of fun to visit.

The owner of Vintage Threads suggested we travel a little on down the road to Manchester to shop at the store there.  That was "sort of" on our way, so we changed our itinerary a little to add that one in, and I'm so glad we did.

This is The Quiltmakers' Shoppe in Manchester, Iowa.  This picture doesn't do it justice - it was chock full of inspiration and models of everything from wallets to aprons to quilts.  It was a nice, bright, airy shop with something for everyone.

The Iowa stores all had flannel receiving blankets, made of only two pieces of flannel.  The backing is brought around and mitered on the front to give the appearance of a binding similar to the satin bindings you usually see.  A kit for a blanket like this jumped into my basket, and I'm anxious to try this method.

Our fourth stop was Inspirations in Hills, Iowa.  This store was also a Quilt Sampler Top Ten Shop, and it's full of reproduction fabrics and a ton of baby and children's fabric.  Another receiving blanket kit jumped into my basket at this store!  Inspirations is also in a neat, renovated historic building with lots of, well, inspiration!

Wisconsin has great quilt shops and we're a little spoiled, but I think Iowa can give us a run for our money.  The shops we visited we all wonderful, and each had their own special charm.

I'll be back tomorrow to tell you the rest of this story!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Design Wall Monday, September 2

You can tell summer is over by what's on my design wall!  These are the Block of the Week blocks from Primitive Gatherings.  I have 11 of the large blocks done, and 10 of the freebie small blocks.  There are thirteen blocks in each, I believe, so I have a little bit left to do.  I haven't inked in the words, and don't know if I will - I'll decide that after they're all done and trimmed.  The thought of writing on them in ink scares me a little after all that work!

Anyway, that's all the quilting that's been going on around here lately!  I don't know where August went, or summer for that matter.  I spent a fair amount of time running around with friends and shopping at quilt stores, but not all that much time actually making anything.  I'm well prepared for winter, though!

My big plan for September is to get Hocus Pocus Ville quilted.  This has been pieced for a very long time.  My big hangup on this one was my backing fabric.  I had ordered some Ghastlies fabric for the back, which I thought would be perfect.  It had a very white background, though, and my quilt is more tan, so I've been thinking about what to do about this - change out the backing (which I'd already bought) or dye it.  Yesterday I decided to just take the plunge and dye it tan.  I think it worked pretty well.

The original backing color is at the top of the picture, and the dyed one is below it.  They are laying on my embroidered block, so it looks like a pretty good match to me!  The white on the back would have just been too stark.  I love that Ghastlies fabric, though!   I'm going to get this basted tonight and hopefully quilted during September. 

That's it - if I can get this done, and my other few Blocks of the Week done, I'll consider September a good month!  I have one more running-around-shopping-at-quilt-stores excursion planned, and then I'm staying home to actually work on some of it!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

End of July Update

Wow, July sure raced by, didn't it?  I did get a few things on my July UFO list done.  It's a good thing Carrie is cheering us on!

My Block of the Week blocks from Primitive Gathering are coming along.  I'm not caught up, as we are on Week 9 now, but I'm no further behind than last month, so that's progress in my book!  I'm enjoying working on them, though, so that's the main thing.

I finished two of the quilts from the Grand Old Flag gathering:
This is "Campaign", a little table topper from the Carol Hopkins class - it's quilted and bound and ready to use. 
And this is Sampler Baskets, also quilted and bound and ready to hang.

And these goofy banners are finally done.  It took all of 20 minutes to finish them, once I got around to it.  They only needed the hanging sleeve on the back.  A couple people asked about these - they are a pattern from Lily Anna Stitches, and were a Banner of the Month deal from Primitive Gatherings.  They fit on one of the small wire stands from Ackfeld Manufacturing.  I believe I have 11 of them done, and they were fun to make.

And last but not least, I finished the cross-stitch on this sampler started at the Grand Old Flag in June.  It needs a frame yet, but the stitching is done.  I really enjoyed getting back to cross-stitching, although this sampler was a challenge due to the high stitch count.  I had to use a magnifying glass to stitch on it. 

So, what's next for August? 

1.  Get these blocks trimmed and set together.  My friend Donna posted about this quilt a few days ago, and I got out my blocks to see where I was with this project.  The wools are really pretty, so it's time this one gets out of the cabinet and done!

2.  Keep working on my Block of the Week blocks.  Maybe I can get caught up?

3.  Get this Hocus Pocus Ville quilt quilted, so I can have it done for fall this year. 

That should be enough to keep me out of trouble for August, don't you think?

Earlier this year, I was having trouble with rabbits eating my tomato plants.  I came up with a solution that worked pretty well, so I'll share it in case anyone else has this problem next spring.

I took a clear trash bag and put it over the tomato cage, taped it pretty tightly around the cage at the bottom, and cut the top open and taped it inside the top rung of the cage so it couldn't slip down.  A really determined critter could have chewed through it, but apparently my rabbits are dumb and/or lazy, because they left them alone.  The plants seemed to like the trash bags - I think it made a little greenhouse for them.  I left the trash bags on them until about three weeks ago, because the tomatoes were starting to get ripe.  I know the die-hard gardeners will say that I should have been pruning these tomatoes, etc., but my tomato-growing process is to plant them and leave them alone.  We have six plants for two people, so we'll have plenty of tomatoes regardless.  Neglect seems to work in this case!  The plants that were eaten to the ground by the rabbits came back up inside their cage/bag, and they're nearly as tall as the ones that weren't eaten.  The tomatoes I've been getting have been great - there's nothing like a home-grown tomato.

Have a great August - hope you're getting lots of tomatoes to eat, too!

Friday, July 5, 2013

July UFOs and Ten Things This Summer

Sherri at A Quilting Life has inspired me to think about and list Ten Things I want to do this summer, and Carrie at A Passion for Applique is encouring us to finish UFOs.  Several of the things I want to do are on both lists, so this is a dual-duty post.

For UFO finishes in July, I have four things in mind:

1.  Quilt this table topper pieced at summer camp.  I don't remember its name, but it is cute and I want to get it done and bound so I can enjoy it.

2.  Finish these Banners of the Month from last year.  I think these only need hanging sleeves, so 30 minutes should take care of these projects.  What is my problem and why aren't these done?

3.  Quilt My Favorite Things.  This was the free Block of the Week pattern from Primitive Gatherings last year.

4.  Quilt the Sampler Baskets quilt, also from camp.  This is basted and ready to go.

For the rest of my Summer of Fun, I have these projects in mind:
5.  Put together the Primitive Gatherings Block of the Week from a couple years ago.  Julie at Julie K Quilts inspired me to get this out and take another look at it.  I love these little blocks and they are all finished, so just need to be trimmed and put together.

6.  Catch up on this year's Block of the Week from Primitive Gatherings.  We are on Week 5 already, and you can see I only have two done, along with three of the freebie blocks.  I haven't trimmed anything yet, because I hate that part and save it for last.  I don't know if I'm putting the words on these or not.  I'll wait to see what the quilt looks like finished before I decide.  I really enjoy sitting on the deck in the summer and working on these, but those days haven't been plentiful this year.  Hopefully July and August will be less rainy so I can do that.

7.  Get the Bee in My Bonnet Row Quilt quilted.  Which leads me to...

8.  Start the Quilty Barn Along at Bee In My Bonnet.  I don't have pictures, since I haven't started it, but go to the link and you can see lots of cute blocks.  I love the tractor she did a couple weeks ago!

9.  Quilt HocusPocusVille.  This top has been done for quite awhile, but I've been too intimidated to start quilting it.  I've seen some finished quilts on blogs lately, so I need to dive in.
10.  At Country Sampler's Summer Camp, I was lucky enough to win this wonderful door prize - a fat quarter of Jeanne's entire line of American Spirit.  Each of the teachers also gave us door prizes, and the one from Paula Barnes was a pattern I plan to use with this beautiful line of fabric. 

11. OK, I have more than Ten Things, apparently.   Last but not least, get together with a few quilting friends.  One I will see in August, one in September, and one I could see theoretically anytime as we only live 20 minutes apart, but between jobs, families, outdoor work, etc., we just never seem to get together.  I'm making that a priority in July!

Thanks for the idea, Sherri!  Having a list helps me get things done.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Claiming My Blog

I guess I'm moving to Bloglovin' with everyone else!  Please follow using the button on the sidebar.

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Summer Camp!

June has been a great month so far - I got to attend Summer Camp at Country Sampler in Spring Green, Wisconsin!  This was their Grand Old Flag retreat, held June 10-15, and it was fantastic - 5 1/2 days of quilting, cross-stitch, eating and shopping (not always in that order).  We even had root beer floats and S'mores one night, to make a complete camp experience.  The weather was great, and lots of the attendees thought they should move to Wisconsin.  (PS - The weather isn't always like this!)

This retreat was attended by ladies from all over the country.  I shared a table with three new quilting friends - Marie from Texas, Leigh from California, and Jodi from Illinois.  We had a great time and hope to go back next year.

All the projects had a Civil War/patriotic theme, and the store made up kits for each of our projects.  If you know this store, you know how beautifully they wrap and tie their kits.  I never want to take the kit apart, because it's too pretty!

Our project Monday and Tuesday was presented by Paula Barnes of Red Crinoline Quilts.  This project was Sampler Star.

This picture doesn't do it justice - it is wonderful, and Paula taught us how to use Star Singles for piecing the half-square triangles. These are square papers, and very easy to use.  I loved this method, and this top is done and ready for quilting.  We also enjoyed a beautiful trunk show of Paula's quilts, and lots of fun stories behind her company.

On Tuesday evening, Linda Lautenschlager of Chessie and Me started her projects - a cross-stitch box and scissor fob, and a Gettysburg 1862 Sampler.  Among other things, she taught us how to stitch over one thread.  That's something I didn't know how to do and have always avoided patterns that have it, but I won't now that I know the tricks!  We had stitched the pieces for the box ahead of time, so she taught us some finishing techniques for this cute box.

We even got to decoupage some scrapbook paper inside the box to finish it off.  I don't think I've used Mod Podge since high school, but it was sure fun!  Also fun to bring home a completely finished project.  The sampler is still a work in progress, and will be for some time, I suspect.  It's a lot of fun to work on, though.

On Thursday, Carol Hopkins (Civil War Legacies patterns) started teaching her two projects.  The first was a fun table topper, which I guess I don't have a picture of.  That top is also done.  On Thursday night, we had a trunk show from Carol and Linda.  They showed some current projects, as well as some beautiful and interesting antique quilts and samplers they own. 

On Friday, Carol taught her Sampler Baskets quilt.  All the patterns were created for this retreat.

These pieces were small - the tiny squares in the top middle basket finished at 1/2".  Carol had some good tips and tricks for us, too.  My version of this quilt just needs the borders added.  I loved all the color combinations the store picked for our quilts.

Then on Saturday, we worked on this until time to go home.  All week we had wonderful food, sometimes prepared by employees of Country Sampler, and sometimes we walked to local restaurants.  They also had great desserts and treats for us, and lots of door prizes.  This store really knows how to put on a party!

All in all, it was the perfect week and I can't wait until 2014.