Sunday, October 11, 2009

My Crayola Box (Log Cabin Quilt)

I started a new quilt this past week. It's going to be a super-bright quilt. The pattern came from Fons and Porter's "Love of Quilting" magazine from their April/May 2009 issue. Here are the basic tools that I use for this quilt.

I call these strips of fabric my 'crayons.' When you line them up side by side, they don't look like they have anything in common (pattern or color-wise).

The blocks after the 'crayons' have been pieced together:

Time to add the sashing:

Attached sashing between log cabin blocks and sashing.

Here is what three rows look like sewn together. Three down, seven more to go!

Friday, September 18, 2009

This baby's 90% finished!

I am almost done with my Americana quilt. This evening, I will be heading over to Fort Walton Beach with my sewing machine, fabrics and quilting tools and will work on the border for this quilt. It has taken me roughly five weeks to get to this point. It's a monstrous quilt. It turned out to be larger than I imagined. I decided to take a picture of it now, because once I have the border pieced together, it will not fit on the wall for me to take a photograph. LOL! Thank you, to everyone, for your encouragement along the way. I hope it wasn't too terribly boring. I tried to make my blog entries as interesting as possible by showing you a variety of stars. I know you were looking at stars each and every day, so thanks for hanging in there with me! Now.....onto cutting and piecing 224 two-inch-squares for the border. Thank you for stopping by, today!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Section Five

I finished Section Five, today. I worked on it between Friday afternoon and this afternoon. I wanted to show you a few close-up pictures of some of the blocks. It's hard to see the details of some of the fabrics on the larger, wider shots.

This is what it looks like when it's added to Sections One - Four. I haven't sewn Section Five on, just yet. I'm tired, now, and will save that part for tomorrow. You can see part of Section Five on the far right of the picture.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Section Four

It rained a lot this afternoon. The sound of the rain hitting the window in my craft room was soothing. It didn't start that way. This morning, it was sunny and beautiful, and I actually brought my sewing downstairs, and worked on the kitchen table. I finished Section Four, and, as you can see, it's already covering a good portion of my bed. Keep in mind, this quilt has a total of seven sections. This does not include the borders. LOL! I am thoroughly loving how it's turning out.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Psalm 100

"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations."

I wanted to start this post with this Psalm, to give thanks to God for the blessing of time, resources and ability to sew. Because of this hobby, I've come to befriend other quilters; and simply enjoy sharing. I find an inner peace when I create. I know many of my friends who make cards, scrapbook or sew will agree. It is therapeautic. It is also a catalyst for conversation and fellowship. It brings people together. How wonderful it is to have the opportunity to brighten someone else's day when you wrap them in love in a quilt you've made; or, send them a handmade card; or, share family memories when you look through a scrapbook. I don't know what I'll do when the day comes when my eyes will no longer be sharp; or when my hands begin to shake so much I won't be able to sew a straight line. But, until then, I give praise to the Lord for giving me this gift.

I have joined together Parts One, Two and Three of this quilt. I still have Parts Four - Seven to finish. Then, comes the checkered border. I am taking my sweet time, it seems, with this quilt. I worked in the yard and did a lot of laundry, today. I saved my 'quilting' time until the chores were done. It was my 'reward.' So, now, I am going to relax, listen to some jazz music on the radio and enjoy a quiet evening reading. Thank you for stopping by, today!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Progress (or lack thereof)

I haven't worked on my quilt since last Wednesday. My in-laws came into town, and then Sean and I both came down with virus after they left. So, I've been feeling out of sorts. I managed to finish one block this morning. So far, I'm 20% of the way from finishing...maybe less. But, I'll keep chipping away at this. Stars are not my strength. It's challenging to line up the points without clipping off the tips or not distorting the fabric because of the bias-cuts. I actually threw away the last star I worked on (it's the one on the bottom, left); and started a new star this morning. The dimensions were just way off. My husband said people will not notice the mistakes, but *I* will know they are there, and that will bother me. I think quilters can be quite neurotic, but that is part of the territory. If you're 1/16" off here and there, you'll find yourself off by one whole inch (or more) before you know it. This hobby truly teaches one a whole lot of patience!! Thanks for stopping by, today!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Day Four

Something a little different this time. I'm not sure what this block is called, but there is a pinwheel block in the center. It measures 16" x 16". I saved the blue fabric for this specific block because I like the detail of the 'branch and leaf' print on the fabric. Here is a closer look of the fabric:

Family is visiting today and tomorrow, so I won't have time to work on another block before the weekend. I'll start again on Monday, and will post more next week. Ciao!! Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I attended my first machine quilting class, yesterday!

LOL! Let's just say I need more practice with free-motion quilting. It's really a good thing that I have a sense of humor, and this class was not about getting a great (much less, a good) grade. My straight-line quilting was pretty good. I was able to figure out the path the needle had to take to create a continous stitch line. I learned so much. I learned about the relationship between fabric choice, thread density, needle choices, batting choices, quilt pattern choices, stitch length and tension in relationship to fabric and batting choices...... how all of these factor into the finished product. I also learned how to clean and oil my machine (I could've failed the class simply from how dirty my machine was when I came to class that morning.) A good rule of thumb for ALL seamstresses (and quilters)... CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN your machine after every eight hours of sewing. Who knew that I had giant dust bunnies living in and around my bobbin case? I met three fellow quilters: Gordon (a beginner quilter but an accomplished tailor); Mary (who was the most studious out of the four of us); and Judy, the class clown. I sat next to Judy, not knowing she was the class clown. She had me in stitches (excuse the pun) and the class instructor was threatening to separate us. Needless to say, the class was fabulous. It was the best $45 I've spent on an art class. Now, off to practice, practice, practice!!!

My first attempt at free-motion quilting:

The front of the straight-line 'quilt.' When you look at a quilt, with all of the various patterns and fabrics, most people don't really see the 'quilt pattern' on the front (sorry about the glare from my window):

The back of the straight-line 'quilt.' When you flip a quilt and look at the back, the quilt lines are more evident:

Thanks for stopping by! Despite the tornado and lightning warnings, it was a fun, fun day; and I hope to be able to take more quilting classes down the road.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Day Three

Another day....Another block!! The first day, I worked on a 16" block; and yesterday, I worked on some 8" blocks. This one is 12". All of the blocks on the quilt vary in size; and it is a really neat sampler quilt that will fit together beautifully in the end. The handsome 'model' posing with this block is my darling Casper. He's lost some weight since the last few times I've taken pictures of him. We have Casper on a strict diet because eventually he'll need knee surgery. Without the surgery, he may tear his left ACL (he tore his right ACL early last month).
Well, I'm off to my machine quilting class, this morning. It'll be an all-day class and you bet your behind I am planning to listen to every last word the teacher speaks. This class is my birthday present to myself. I am so excited. I know what I'll sew in class will look 'crappy' but that's OK. I hope to get better as I practice.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day Two

Four eight-inch squares. I hope these don't get boring for you as the days go on, and as I post a few blocks at a time. When I first see a large quilt with a ton of blocks, it looks overwhelming. Just like the Around the Block quilt that I made this past Spring. When you see all of the houses, it looks daunting. But, when you break it down, it's a really simple quilt to create. This is how this 'star' quilt is shaping up. Breaking it down, block-by-block makes it easier to take on. After all, that's how ALL quilts are created...... just block-by-block, piece-by-piece. I can't wait to show you the finished quilt.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Day One: Americana

I am starting a new quilt. I have a smaller, batik quilt that I'm working on, but I've decided to switch gears on that one. This is a quilt that I'm trying to piece together before the end of October. If my progress continues at the current pace, I can actually see myself finishing this quilt before mid-September. But, factor in the start of school (and whether or not I'll be employed soon), I thought I should probably get started on this now, rather than later. Why the end of October, you ask? I have an appointment with Katydids Quilting to drop of the 'top.' The gal, there, is going to quilt this for me on her longarm. For this quilt, I am using a pattern that I found in McAll's Quilting "America Loves Scrappy Quilts" Spring, 2009 issue. I probably would've started (and finished) this quilt before 4th of July, but there was this 'little thing' called a military move that kinda got in the way. Anyway, each day that I work on this and finish a block or two, I'll post my progress on my blog. Hopefully, this will keep me on my toes about updating this blog more often. Thank you for stopping by! As always, have a terrific day!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pictures of my new studio!

I'm almost there! The boxes have been unpacked. Most of the 'stuff' has been put away. The furniture is set up. I just have a few things to organize, but I'm almost ready to start creating, again!!!! Whew! It's been nearly two months since I've sewn or done 'anything' creative!! I'm just itching to start sewing again! So, here are the pictures. The first one is what it looks like as you come to my studio (which is the first room on the left when you reach the top of the stairs):

The next picture shows you this beautiful window and my closet. I really should make curtains for this window, but I hestitate since it may block out some very valuable natural light.

I bought this 'side table' from WalMart, today. This is where I'll place my June Taylor cutting / pressing mat. I read in a book that your 'utility' table should be at a 90-degree angle to your sewing table, if you are going to have one next to your table.

Girl's gotta have a TV!! LOL! I also have a radio in the room. I need some 'noise' when I create.

I can still do some cardmaking and scrapbooking, in here. This is my stash of cardstock, papers, tools, etc. The baskets hold some fabric.
The owners of the house placed these neat shelves just below the ceiling. She also used this as her sewing room, and this is where she placed her antique spools, nick-nacks, etc. I've started to place some of my Longaberger baskets up there, most of which I plan to eventually sell at a garage sale in October.
This is my 'design wall.' It is intentionally 'empty.' This is where I will place blocks as I complete them. I don't know how to create a design-board, just yet, but I'm doing research on it.
Thanks for looking! Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Quilt Expo

I attended the 2009 Omaha Quilt Guild Expo, today. It's the first time I had ever been to a quilt expo. This one just knocked my socks off! I didn't bring my camera with me. I had forgotten it in my hotel room. It was a good thing that I had my camera phone to save the day. LOL! I was able to take a few pictures, even though the quality is not as good as my camera. I walked around, leisurely, and picked up some batik fat quarters. It was a really nice show. I'm only sad that I'm leaving the Omaha area. The guild has more than 400 members. Isn't that awesome? I could've learned so much from these talented ladies had we stayed. Someday, I will be back in this area, and I will join the guild. When we arrive in Florida, I plan to join the guild there so I can learn and get better at piecing and quilting. This first quilt is by Linda Gale. It won a blue ribbon, and deservedly so!

This gorgeous hand appliqued beauty was created by Patty Kennedy.

My husband agreed with me that this Dear Jane quilt by Pat Stava is just AMAZING!!

I would love to be able to create a beautiful quilt like this foundation-pieced beauty by Dorothy Muse.

This is the blue-ribbon winner of the "Wallhanging" category. It is 20 x 20 (approximately), hand appliqued and hand quilted by Merrilee Hensen. It is so much more beautiful, in person.

This is a quilt I call "Cosmic Wizard." It was created by Leslie Halbleib. I thought it was so amazing! She added beads and sequins to further highlight the stars in the background fabric. It was one of the ribbon-winners of the "Oh Wow!" award.

Someday, I hope to be as creative and as good at sewing as these talented quilters! There's hope for me, yet!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cotton Candy

Doesn't this fabric remind you of cotton candy? I found a quilt in the Summer 2009 issue of Fonts and Porter quilting magazine; and it inspired me to go out and grab fabric for it. I will make two quilts out of this fabric. The six coordinating fabrics are all found at Joann's (yes, believe it or not!) The stripe / ticking fabric, however, was found at a local quilt shop. The blue in the fabric from J's is more on the 'teal' side, so it was a little bit of a challenge finding the striped fabric. I plan to give one quilt away for Christmas, and keep the second for myself. Since the fabric was on sale for less than $5 per yard, I couldn't resist buying extra fabric to make two identical quilts. This is one of my summer projects, this year. While I wait to be called for job interviews, I'll need to keep myself busy until I find work again.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Underground Railroad Sampler

This is a special day for my family and my fellow Americans. Memorial Day is meant for pause to remember our servicemen and women; including those who have gone before us. We pause to remember our POW's and MIA's; and we reflect on the sacrifices they have made to ensure that the United States and its citizens continue to enjoy their freedom and liberties.
Since there is no school and no work, today, my son and I went to Barnes and Noble to relax and grab a smoothie. As some of my friends know, I am not earning an income at the moment, since I've had to resign my job due to the Air Force moving us to Florida in two weeks. I am itching to start on a new quilt project, nontheless. While at B & N, I picked up a book on Underground Railroad quilts written by Eleanor Burns and Susan Bouchard called Undeground Railroad Sampler . A few days ago, my friend Mary Rogers had shared an underground railroad quilt she had made, so when I found this book, I was so delighted and inspired to make one, also.
Did you know that there is much controversy over whether or not the quilts' purpose was to guide slaves through the Underground Railroad? Some scholars will tell you that the blocks are meaningless, while others will say that they played a fundemental role in assisting slaves in their plight to escape and move northward.
I bought the book, and in true "Civil War-era" fashion, I am going to use up my scraps for the Underground Railroad quilt I am going to make. I have tons of browns, reds, greens and tans from the "Around the Block" quilt that I just finished this week. I thought it was fitting to use up scraps just as fabric was scarce during the Civil War.
From another book about Underground Railroad quilts, I found a picture of General George Armstrong Custer, his wife, and a female slave. Yes, a slave. General Custer, a Union soldier, had slaves. The photograph was taken around the time the Confederacy surrendered and just two days before President Abraham Lincoln was assasinated. I found the photograph quite ironic. While General Custer was fighting a war to liberate slaves, he, himself, was a contradiction of the Union's ideals. You have to wonder how many Union soldiers owned slaves? Confederate General Robert E. Lee, himself, freed the slaves placed in his charge BEFORE the Emancipation Proclamation was made. It is quite ironic, isn't it?
On this Memorial Day, let's never forget where we came from, our history, and how we have arrived where we are today. Let us remember the courage of the soliders of the American Revolution, our Union Soldiers, those who served in World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, and those who continue to protect our freedom in all four corners of our world, today. Let's never take our liberties for granted. May you and yours have a blessed and safe Memorial Day!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Presenting the finished quilt top!

It's done!! Finally!! Just in the nick of time, too. This pattern is by The Rabbit Factory (a Canadian quilt pattern company). It measures a little more than 2 yards wide and 2 1/4 yards long. I have to sew the backing and the strips together for the binding, but the top is done! I'll probably bring it to the quilt shop on Sunday. I'm on their schedule to have it quilted, so I will be able to pick this baby up before we leave for Florida. Woo-hoo! I am tired, but happy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More Progress

More sewing. More accomplished. Over the last two days, I worked on 96 rail fence blocks for my quilt-in-progress. My eyes were so blood-shot by the end of each evening, but it's all worth it. I'm making progress. All of the blocks are ready. Soon, I will piece the center together. I will add sashing, borders, the houses and churches, and then it'll be ready for quilting. I'm down to the last four days of work on this quilt top. I am so excited.

After a few hours of working on my blocks, I needed to take a much needed chocolate break.

This is how some of the rail fence and nine-patch blocks will go together. I have some plain squares that will go above this row. It's a little too confusing to explain. You'll just have to wait to see the finished quilt in a few weeks.