Thursday, December 29, 2011

Scrappy Spider Web

At our annual quilt retreat in September, my sister pulled out an old project to work on -- a spider web quilt that she had started umpteen years ago.  She managed to finish enough blocks to make her happy and then gifted me with the remaining white triangles that are used to make the string blocks.  I guess she thought I don't have enough projects of my own to finish.

Last week she found some more triangles somewhere in her stash, and she put them in the back seat of my car when I wasn't looking.  When I saw them, I was reminded that I hadn't put this project on my list for the 2012 UFO Challenge.  I thought I better start working on it before January rolls around and Judy  picks a project number to start working on.


I dug out my scrap bins
 and got busy.

The blocks go together pretty quickly, but I soon realized I would need to put up a design wall to play with them.  I had bought a roll of batting for a design wall many months ago but hadn't gotten around to doing anything with it.  It took me several hours to find the staple gun that I had purchased for this project -- and about another 15 minutes to staple the batting to my sewing room wall.

This is so much more fun than laying them out on the living room floor.  Here they'll be a daily reminder that this project needs more work!  Not great lighting for pictures, especially at 5pm on a cloudy winter day, but I do love that I finally have a design wall to play with my blocks.  And I love my sister for giving me her unwanted triangles!

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 UFO Challenge Progress

I was able to complete my December challenge quilt and then had company here for Christmas to help with a photo.

This quilt was a two month challenge -- I completed the top in September and this month I met my challenge of getting it quilted and bound.  It was quite a challenge for me to quilt one this large on my sewing machine, so I kept it simple and did some "in the ditch" quilting.  I found the free pattern for this at Judy's site.

The back is a combination of homespun and flannel.  The quilt is for my nephew Dan, so he can decide if he wants to keep his toes warm with the flannel end or flip it to the top when his head is feeling cold.

 It's fun for me to see how much I accomplished in 2011 -- thanks to the challenge from Judy of Patchwork Times.  In addition to the twelve monthly challenges, I managed to squeeze in a few baby quilts along with two lap quilts.

Two of the quilts still need to be quilted -- on those my challenge was only to complete the top.  The quilting and binding has gone onto my 2012 challenge list.

Now if only I can resist the urge to buy more fabric and continue stitching at this pace, I may be able to substantially reduce my fabric stash in this lifetime.  If I live at least as long as my parents.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2012 UFO Challenge

I've been waffling about joining Judy's UFO Challenge in 2012; but I'm so pleased with what I accomplished in 2011, it's hard to resist.  I'll hope for another successful year. 

I thought I'd have to dig deep to come up with 12 projects for the year, but it was no problem at all.  I haven't actually dug them out to take pictures, so I'll just post my list for now.

1.        Goose in the Pond  -- The blocks are made for this quilt.  I hope I can find the fabric to sash, border, and back it!

2.       36 patch quiltalong  - I think I have about 6 or 8 blocks made so far --  I need quite a few more but they're fun and fairly quick to make.

3.       Finish quilting ice cream quilt  -- Piecing this one was one of my 2011 challenges.  I'm looking forward to finishing this one so I can put it on my bed!

4.       Verna HST quilt  -- a baby quilt top that needs quilting and binding.

5.       Churn Dash -- This one got bumped off the 2011 list so that I could work on The Brown Quilt.

6.       Quilt from a class in Duluth about 20 years ago -- I need to get it quilted.

7.     Scrappy patch quilt I pieced in 2011 -- my newest UFO needs quilting.

8.       Snowflakes Quilt  -- One of the 2011 UFO's that I managed to finish piecing.  Needs quilting and binding in 2012.

9.       Blue and Yellow Scrap Quilt  -- Some squares that have been cut and need to be made into a quilt.

10.   Wool table runner  -- I need to find this and see what needs to be done. 

11.   Floral appliqué wall hanging  -- some piecing needs to be repaired so I can finish this one.

12.   Flannel rag quilt.  OK -- I guess I did run out of UFO's.  This one is just a stack of fabrics with a vague plan.  If I find another actual UFO before #12 is picked, I may swap this out.

I'm looking forward to another productive year.  I'm supposed to have more time now that I'm recently retired, but I haven't noticed an increase in hours yet.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Flying Geese and Christmas Past

I took some time to relax between Christmas activities yesterday and managed to quilt and bind this baby flying geese quilt.  Maybe it's the season, but today it makes me think more of a forest of Christmas trees.


It was pin basted and I needed the pins to baste my December UFO Challenge project so I thought I better get it done.   The candy cane stripe binding has a bit of a Christmasy look to it too, so I enjoyed working on it with Christmas music playing.

I didn't have a piece large enough for backing, so I pieced together what I had -- more Christmas charm with the red and green.

And here's a little memory from a Christmas past.  That was a year I got my first pair of figure skates and no longer had to use the black hand me down skates from my brothers.  I'm pretty sure I had peeked and knew just what was in the box -- and I probably had a pretty good idea of who was behind that white beard.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nov UFO Challenge Quilt

Yes I did finish it -- actually a couple weeks ago.  It just took me a while to get a picture of it.

This quilt was made from scraps that were left from an earlier quilt.  Obviously I must overbuy fabric when I can do that.  Although, the white was added to the mix to make it stretch.  Even then it didn't stretch too far.  The quilt is about 55 x 65 -- big enough to snuggle in for a nap but for a bed it would only fit a toddler size at most.

Nothing fancy happening on the back - but I do love the cherry fabric I found on sale.

So far I'm 11 for 11 -- thanks to Judy at Patchwork Times for the motivation! 

The project I originally chose for December will wait for another year.  It's funny -- I had hoped this would be the one that would wait and be chosen in December, thinking I would have time to do a little bit on it every month.  That never happened, and I do have "the brown quilt" that really needs to be quilted.  I'll swap that in for December and hope I can end the year 12 for 12!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Breakfast Company

While Barb and I were out browsing Christmas craft shows on Saturday, we made a quick stop at Erickson Feed and Seed.  I've been wanting a bird feeder for my kitchen window.

This morning I enjoyed my morning coffee with the birds.

I was a little concerned when the first bird that I noticed trying to land on the feeder was a blue jay -- I thought he would scare away the chickadees.  I guess they don't scare that easy.

This sure beats rushing out the door to work before the sun comes up!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Enjoying the View

from my window.

My first thought was how charming those little leaves on my lilac bush looked as they bravely weathered the first snowfall.

And naturally, my second thought was -- wouldn't that pretty yellowish green and white with a touch of grey/brown and the dash of turquoise look great in a quilt?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Retirement Day Two

Slept in til 8 a.m.  By then my back was so sore it was hard to get out of bed.  But I did it with a smile.

Maybe today I'll baste my November UFO challenge quilt and get it ready to quilt.

In order to lay it out for basting, I'd have to wash the kitchen floor .  So we'll see.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's Official!

My first day of retirement today!  Julie and Judy put together a fun party last night and lots of good friends came to help me celebrate.  You can see some of the crowd over on the Homeless Page.  Having friends to share the joys in life is a wonderful blessing.

Everyone wanted to know what I'll be doing now that I'm retired.   I'm sure a lot of my days will be spent in my sewing corner, but for today -- I did next to nothing. 

I donned my new lounging pants,

and spent the day enjoying the fact that I don't have to do anything tomorrow either!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

October UFO Challenge Finish

Just a couple of days late with this finish -- that's close enough for me!    My challenge for this month was to complete a baby quilt from my small bin of 30's fabrics.  I thought for sure this would be a log cabin quilt but that didn't work out too well.  I rethought my plan and came up with this.

I'm not sure why it took so long -- just a lazy month I guess.  With retirement coming in a few more days, I've been pushing off everything "until I retire!"  I finally decided this project couldn't wait for retirement and finished it.

I quilted it 1/4" from the seam in the sashing and in the ditch in the blocks.  The quilt measures 37" square so it didn't take long to quilt it. 

I backed it with the same fabric used to frame the blocks, and I bound it with a pretty pink I found in my stash. 

To me it ends up looking pretty girlish and pretty spring like -- and needing a good home. 

The first one to let me know you've delivered a baby girl next spring (after  March 21 and before June 22) can snuggle your precious bundle in this quilt. 

 I realize Winter hasn't even arrived yet and Spring seems pretty far away right now -- but if you think you might qualify for my giveaway, tie a string around your finger so you don't forget!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Quilts for Al and Anna

 Being all caught up on baby quilts this year, I decided to start on sixteenth birthdays.  Allan was the first to turn sixteen - back in August - and he received this quilt.

His mom had made him a quilt very similar to this about ten years ago and it was looking pretty shaggy.  It was fun to see the smile on his face when I gave him this one.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a picture.

On Friday my oldest granddaughter, Anna, turned sixteen.    When I was sharing pictures earlier in the year of the baby quilts I've made for grandkids, I couldn't find a picture of Anna's.  I ran across some recently and thought I'd share it with you now.

Such a sweet baby --

who has grown up to be a beautiful young woman.

I sent this quilt to Anna for her sixteenth birthday.  Happy Birthday Anna!

It'll be about 5 years before I have another 16 year old grandchild -- lots of time to plan!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

All Caught Up!

On the monthly UFO Challenges that is. 

The challenge for September was a bin of pink and brown fabrics that were intended to be made into a quilt top.  After digging through the bin and realizing that I had snitched too many of the pink fabrics for other projects, I decided to go with the brown.  I was motivated by the fact that I had committed to make a quilt for my nephew Dan -- pink and brown wouldn't do; it turned out to be a good reason to make a dent in my brown stash.

I used Judy's free pattern "Brown Quilt".  It went together perfectly and I completed the top just minutes before the deadline!

It still needs to be quilted and bound -- all in due time.

This morning, I also managed to finish the last stitches on binding the July UFO Challenge.

This one belongs to Sharyn ---

 but, I do love it and think that, instead of putting it in the mail, I'll hang onto it and enjoy it until she comes to pick it up.

I'm so glad that I joined Judy's challenge this year.  I've completed six quilts, and three quilt tops are ready to be quilted.  Amazing!

Judy picked #5 for October -- just what I was hoping for. It's this bin of 30's fabrics -- a nice change from the darker colors (and larger sizes) of my July and August challenges. 

I'll have fun putting together a baby quilt with these -- I think there's a few log cabin blocks in the bin to get me started!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Traverse Quilt Retreat 2011

I spent another great relaxing weekend in Big Traverse and was even able to get a little stitching done. 

I brought along my September UFO Challenge project and managed to make some good progress.  This month's challenge was to assemble a quilt top from some pink and brown fabrics I had collected some years back when pink and brown peaked in popularity and it seemed like every fabric manufacturer had a line of pink and brown.   Popularity faded fast for that combo and my enthusiasm died completely.  I pulled out the bin and just couldn't get motivated to do anything with it. 

Fortunately, the rules of this challenge allow lots of leeway, so I decided to pitch the pink and do someting with the browns.  I figured I could kill two birds with one stone since I also need to make a quilt for Dan -- my window washer and blueberry picker.   He would have preferred Honolulu blue and silver, but I didn't have anything like that it my stash, so I decided brown would make a nice manly quilt.

Judy had the perfect free pattern - "Brown Quilt".  I dug through my stash to add to what I had in my bin and came up with a good variety of browns for a scrappy quilt.  The pattern was simple and well written and the quilt went together quickly.

It's still needing borders added to make it large enough for Dan, but I'm off to a good start.

Wanting a little change from all the brown, I pulled out my Kaffee Fassett fabrics and made a few more blocks for the 36 patch challenge quiltalong.   It was hard to capture the beautiful colors of these fabrics.

Barb  stole the weekend show with some beautiful projects which I'm sure she'll be sharing soon. 

As it's been for close to twenty years, it was another wonderfully refreshing weekend.  Our hostess is, as well as a quilter, an awesome knitter and gifted us with THE MOST COMFORTABLE hand knit wool socks.  I feel like I have the happiest feet it the world!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's Not to Late to Visit the Moda Country Fair Blog Hop

Moda designers have been celebrating the Country Fair with a blog hop and some great giveaways.  It all started on September 6 -- and I was the lucky winner of a fat quarter stack of fabrics from Sandy Gervais'  new line - Sassy.

I'm still feeling a bit stunned at my good fortune!   This fabric hasn't reached quilt shops yet -- I'm feeling pretty lucky to be among the first to possess it!  The blog hop will continue through September, so check out the links on Sandy's blog.  Some of the early prizes have already been awarded, but every designer also offers a free pattern on her blog, all inspired by county fairs, so check all the links -- and there are still more than two full weeks worth of great prizes to be given away.

Earlier this summer I had another win - I won this pattern from Thelma at Cupcakes 'n Daisies

It looks pretty intimidating, but I'm looking forward to facing the challenge after I retire in 53 more days.  It won't be my first project -- I think I need a pretty organized sewing room to give this one a try, but I love the pattern and look forward to working on it.  Check out Thelma's finished Eventide quilt here.  Then browse the rest of her blog -- she makes some beautiful quilts!

Barb and I will be joining Ann out at Big Traverse tomorrow for our umpteenth annual quilt retreat.  It looks like the sun may shine and the temps may raise to a comfortable level. 

I hope to be productive and have some projects to share next week!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

August UFO Challenge Accomplished!

The pattern I have for this quilt is from the February 1999 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting, designed by Lynette Jensen, named Snowflakes.

I loved the pattern when I first saw it and immediately made this block.

I tucked it into the magazine and forgot about it for several years.

It took awhile to get back to the project -- most of the work has been done over the last two years.
The quilt measures 84" x 101".  It wasn't easy trying to figure out how to get a picture of it in my teeny tiny hosue.

The challenge for me for August was to complete the quilt top.  I'm not sure when I'll get this one quilted,but I hope it doesn't take me another 12 years.

At some point while I was making the squares, I decided to save the little triangles that were trimmed from the flying geese units.  I had fun playing with them -

I think I'll get something small assembled from these squares a little sooner than the large quilt will be done.  Each little triangle square is about 1-1/4".

Now I have to work backwards.  Tomorrow I'll put my feet up and try to finish quilting and binding my July challenge quilt.

Check out other August finishes at Patchwork Times

Thursday, September 1, 2011

No Progress to Share

Judy at Patchwork Times posted #11 as the challenge project for September.  For me, that would be this bin of fabrics -

I don't even know where to begin!  I remember feeling a need at one time to collect pink and brown fabrics to make a quilt -- heaven only knows why.  I don't remember if I had a pattern in mind when I started collecting.  It looks like I started making some half square triangles with them at one time -- if I remember correctly that happened two years ago at a Traverse Quilt Retreat. 

I still don't remember what my plan was at that point  -- maybe next week I'll see if I can find the bin and decide what I should do with it when I head to our yearly Quilt Retreat in a couple of weeks.

As for July and August challenge projects -- they're both close to completion.  I'll share some photos when I can say I've met the challenge.  Soon I hope.

Until then -- if you want to see what some quilters have accomplished for their August challenge, click on the link above and check out the list on Judy's blog.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

What a Guy Will Do For a Quilt

It recently came to my attention that a nephew was wanting a quilt and wondering about the cost.  His sister kindly suggested that he might barter for it.  That idea fit me perfectly.

Blueberry season is almost over and I still needed more to last me until next season.  So for starters I received two beautiful buckets full of wild blueberries!

It's a grand feeling to know that I have enough to last until next season!

He also agreed to come and wash the outside of my windows!

In addition to  not owning a ladder to reach the second story, I'm extremely afraid of heights.  I even have a hard time watching someone up there on a ladder.

It was a perfect day to get the windows washed!  Normally I don't like how they look with the sun shining through, but today they look awesome!

Thank you Dan -- and thank you for trusting me to fulfill my end of the deal knowing that there are a couple projects I have to finish before I get to yours!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Weekend Quilting

Back in May I was inspired by this quilt seen on Quilt Dad's blog.  I purchased a few fat quarters to get me started and then pulled fabrics from my stash that I thought would give me the same flavor.  I cut all of my patches at 6 1/2" and set them aside.  When Barb called to say that Bill was going to the island for the weekend -- and when I realized it was going to be another hot muggy weekend and she has air conditioning -- I offered to head over and keep her company and try to motivate her to get back to her quilting.

I decided to bring along the stack of squares I had cut out, knowing it would be a quick and easy quilt top to assemble.

I'm loving how the quilt turned out -- it definitely captured the flavor I was hoping for.

And Barb was ready and willing to get back to a quilting project.  She pulled out this kaleidoscope quilt that she had started eons ago -- there were cardboard templates in the box which really dates it -- and patiently set out trying to figure out what her plan was and where to go with it.  Can't wait to see this one all quilted and ready to snuggle.

I also took along my August UFO challenge project and managed to complete 19 blocks -- with one more to go.  I discovered that the twentieth block I had cut out had a piece cut with a large edge of selvedge on it.  This project has been around for several years, so I don't think I'll find a piece in my stash to replace it -- I'll have to cut out a whole 'nuther block and then get busy assembling the top.

Maybe I'll be a little more productive in August -- July just sort of slipped by while I was enjoying company.