Monday, June 1, 2015

Hands 2 Help Reveal

It's time to blog about the quilts we sent for Hands 2 Help!  There were two quilts that I quilted last winter that were sent to Happy Chemo.  The first quilt is this Northern Star quilt.  I made the top to teach a class several years ago, and finally got around to quilting and finishing it over the winter. This was a Quilt In A Day pattern and used the Eleanor Burns Flying Geese ruler.  They work really well!

 The quilting on this one was a loopy meander with stars.  This quilt ended up 60" x 77", so it's a little longer than requested, but I think it would make a great lap quilt for a tall guy.  The fabric was a Holly Taylor winter line with lots of moose, bears and pine trees.  I loved the dark red in that line - it looks like suede and is the perfect shade of red.

The second quilt I sent was Mix and Match, a quilt I made last year in a Labor Day Quilt-Along presented by Denise Russert.  This was a fun, easy pattern and one that I will probably make again with I Spy fabrics for my next kid's charity quilt.  This quilt ended up 55" x 67" so it's the perfect size for a lap quilt.  It's much prettier than this picture shows - the fabrics are mostly from Me and My Sister.  I always love their bright and cheerful prints.

 This one is quilted with freestyle flowers and dragonflies.  A lot of the fabric on the front is flowers, so that seemed to fit.

These were fun to make!  I mailed them to Emily at Happy Chemo on Friday, so they are supposed to get there by June 6.  It's kind of nerve-wracking to put quilts in the mail - I always feel a lot better once they get there.  Thanks, Sarah, for organizing this again this year!

Monday, May 25, 2015

In The Nick of Time

The Grand Old Flag Gathering at Country Sampler is fast approaching, and my rule for myself is that I need to finish last year's projects before I go again this year.  As of this weekend, all projects are done!  One of the projects from Chessie and Me last year was the needlebox shown above, with the sewing roll, sewing book, and scissor fob.  At the Gathering last year, I was able to complete the sewing roll and scissor fob, and got the outside of the box covered.  I wanted to pad the inside of the lid of the box so it could be a pincushion, so I brought it home unfinished so that I could do that.  It took me almost a year to get around to it, but it's done now!  I put several layers of batting under the velvet, and then also added some twill tape I had left over from the kits we received.  The little needle book was extremely time-consuming, with lots of stitching over one thread on the girl, cat and flag.  It's really cute, though!

Here's the box and contents sitting on the three quilting projects.  I can't even remember the names now, but they are all Civil-war related and all are complete!  I'm really looking forward to the retreat again this year. I believe there are still spaces; if you are interested, look on Coming Events on Country Sampler's website.  It's a really fun retreat, and they provide all the food, so all you really have to do is stitch, shop and stop to eat every few hours!  Hard to beat that.

I'm also enjoying the Snapshots Quilt-Along from Fat Quarter Shop.  They present a block each month.  My colors are pretty bright, but I like the way they look together so far.  This month was the Kindred Kitchen apron.
Here's the first five blocks together.  I'm hoping the bright stripe will kind of tie everything together when it's done.  I couldn't resist the paw-print fabric for the basket for the puppy. 

And last but not least, my Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt is put together as a top.  I added the black sashing to calm down the spinning of the blocks, but this quilt is still way out of my comfort zone in every way!  In hindsight, I wish I had used pink instead of yellow as cornerstones, but I'm not taking it apart now.  I like it now that it's together, and it will definitely brighten up the room.  I imagine I'll enjoy using this one in January when it's gloomy.  I don't know when I'll get it quilted - it's pretty big. I think it ended up to be 103" square or something like that, so that will be a challenge on my sewing machine.  Maybe it's time to think about a long-arm!  This was the Bonnie Hunter/Quiltville mystery quilt last year.  I've only done the mystery a couple times, but really enjoy the process, and learn quite a bit from it.  I also enjoyed shopping with a friend to get the fabrics for this one.

I hope to be back next week with my Hands 2 Help quilts!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Old Dogs, New Tricks

Civil War Crossroads is done!  This is a wall hanging by Red Crinoline Quilts that I started last year at the Grand Old Flag Gathering at Country Sampler in Spring Green.  It has languished in a plastic box since last June.  My self-imposed rule (more of a guideline, actually) is that I have to finish all projects from last year's gathering before I allow myself to go again, so this one is done, done, done.  I really like it, but it was a lot of piecing - each 7" block has 53 pieces.  Those half-square triangles finish at one inch.  They were pretty easy to do using the Star Singles, though.

The old dog, new tricks part of this is that I watched the Patrick Lose video on Youtube regarding bindings, and I learned a great new trick from him.  I used his technique and I have four square, unlumpy corners on this wall hanging.  I'm really pleased with them, which isn't usually the case with my corners!  That's one of the things the judges commented about the last time I was in a show, so it's time I improved my technique.  If you aren't happy with your corners, here's the link to the video.  Very helpful - thanks, Patrick Lose!  If he's ever anywhere I can take a class with him, I'm going to.

And I'm caught up with the Snapshots Quilt-along blocks.  The cake is from January, sewing machine from February, and teapot from March.  You can tell I started this in the winter - I tend to grab the really bright fabrics when it's cold and gloomy outside.  I have a half-yard of the stripe that has black and bright colors, so I'm going to try to put a little of that in most of the blocks to tie it all together.  My color palette is much different than The Fat Quarter Shop used!  I like theirs, also, but I wanted to use some stash fabrics, and I always enjoy using the brights.  If you want to get in on the quilt-along, here's the link.  The free patterns are released the 15th of each month.  They requested donations to St. Jude's Childrens Hospital, which I was happy to do.  They've already exceeded $20,000 in donations, so everybody wins.  I think this is going to be a really cute quilt.

The quilt top from the retreat I attended in early March is together.  I wanted to get it all put together before I lose all the parts!  I already managed to lose the pattern, so I don't know if this has a name - I guess it's Pieceful Gatherings Retreat Quilt.  I don't plan to quilt it right away, but am glad to have the top together.  It's very pretty in Kim Diehl fabrics and wool applique.  I did the wool by hand, which I'm not sure was the wisest thing, as they got very monotonous by the sixth block!

I've gotten into the Modern Quilt movement a little bit, too.  This is Fancy Foxes, a pattern which has been all over Pinterest and Instagram lately.  The designer has some other cute ideas, too, so I think more of her patterns are in my future.  The hedgehogs are calling my name!  These foxes were so much fun to make, I'm sure I'll use this pattern again.  Very easy piecing, and fun to pick out the fabrics for each one. I had five foxes left over, so I put them with some solid gray and made a second one.
This one looks even more modern to me, but I really like it.  I was trying to teach myself to free-motion the woodgrain quilting.  The solid quilt was the first one I did, and I decided the lines needed to be closer together, so I did that with the second one and was happier with it.  Anyway, I have two new baby quilts to give away.  I think the next one I make will have a couple more rows to be more of a lap size.

Now you're caught up on all the happenings at Troublesome Creek Quilts!  We're on vacation this week, so some quilting and blogging is actually happening, along with some painting and decorating.  We're having a lovely spring day today (finally), so I'm headed out to the yard to get some of the fall cleanup (that didn't occur) done!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

It's Hands 2 Help Time

If you're interested in making a charity quilt for some great causes, it's time to sign up at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  Sarah does a great job of putting this together and getting some charities set up for us.  It's a fun way to help other people.  There are prizes and lots of tutorials on the way, too, so be sure to sign up!  I've done this the last few years and it's always a lot of fun, and hopefully the recipients have enjoyed their quilts. I need to look in the charity closet and see if any of the quilts I've made in the last few months meet the needs of the charities this year.  If not, I'd better get going!  The quilts don't have to be sent until the end of May, so I've got time.

Last weekend I got to attend a retreat in the north end of the Chicago area.  It was held at the Techny Towers Retreat Center, which is a religious retreat center.  The retreat center was a very neat, well-preserved old building.  It was really cold there last weekend, so I didn't get to explore the grounds as much as I would have liked, but maybe I can go back sometime and do that. 

This was the door to the rooms we stayed in.  As you can see, the door is at least ten feet tall.  I've never stayed in a place with such a huge, heavy oak door before!  It was a really neat place to stay.  The retreat project was a log cabin/courthouse steps quilt with some wool applique.  I don't have it done yet, so no picture of it, but hopefully that will be coming soon.  It was a fun retreat and a nice getaway.  My plan was that, after this retreat, it would be spring, and that seemed to work pretty well, as we have had 50-degree weather all week and the snow all melted. 

I did finish a couple quilts in February that I haven't shown yet.  I made a modern quilt for my older son for his birthday.

This is BQ4 by Maple Island Quilts.  This isn't the greatest picture, but you get the idea.  The quilt was king size by the time I was done with it, so it was pretty hard to get it in one picture, and pretty hard to hold it up, too!  The large rectangles are a print fabric - that isn't all pieced.  It was a fun artistic print with squares of color with the name of the color under each square.  I quilted it on my Juki, so that was quite a project. 

The other quilt I finished in February was Urban Cabin by Atkinson Designs.
This was made in brights and batiks and was sent to a friend who is undergoing some health challenges.   I think she liked it!  This pattern is one I would do again.  The rectangles are made from a striped print fabric here, but there are also instructions to make it from strips if you want to.  I like making the fabric do the work for that, though.

So that is the report from here.  I'm hoping to have my retreat quilt together and ready to show next week.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Finally Back!

Well, that was a long break, wasn't it?!  Since I started using my phone to take pictures, I've been having trouble getting them to load the correct way into Blogger.  I finally found a way to turn them around, so now I need to get caught up with my blog pictures.  And now they even have a watermark.  This was a painful learning curve.

I haven't been idle during this break, and have finished several quilts during this long cold spell we've had for two months now!  We haven't been getting the snow that lots of places have this winter, but we've had more than enough cold to make up for it.

The first finish of January was Pork A Dot Pigs.
This was a fun quilt to make.  (I always say that, don't I?)  The ears and tails on the pigs are loose,
and all the pigs are machine quilted in a different pattern.  I tried to match the quilting pattern to the design on the background - you can see it in this pink pig.  It has circles to match the black and white background.

The pattern called for pinwheels for the borders, but I thought that would be too much trouble, so I did string pieced blocks instead.  That probably took ten times as long, but it was more fun!  I like the look of the string pieced blocks, and string piecing is really relaxing when you don't want to think too hard.

I had a lot of help with this quilt, as usual.  Why is it that the minute you lay a quilt on the floor, the cat appears and has to roll all over it?  She usually keeps me company in the sewing room, but she generally stays up in her basket of wool, until I lay something on the floor.

The second finish of January was this Kim Diehl pattern called High Cotton.  I'd wanted to make this quilt since the book came out a few years ago, so it's finally done.  This is a double-bed size quilt.

This quilt is really two-for-one.  I didn't have anything I wanted to use for the back, so I used a lot of leftovers from previous projects and pieced them all together to make a back for the quilt.  I had several strips, lots of fat quarters and 10" squares, and some leftover blocks from a couple projects.  I was a pattern tester for Quiltmaker for a couple issues of their 100 blocks magazines, so there is a whole strip of 12" blocks that I made for that.  They were great blocks, but only one of each to test the pattern, so I sewed a bunch of them together and at least they got used in something.  I kind of like this back, even though it has an everything-but-the-kitchen sink look to it!

 And last but not least, I can finally show you this project that I got back from the framer a couple months ago.  This was a kit purchased at Primitive Gatherings.  This will go onto my sewing room wall.

Hopefully, it won't take two months before I'm back to show you the February finishes!