Monday, December 26, 2011

Long Overdue Thanks

Long overdue thank yous for a few things that have made their way to my house.  First off, Louise, Thank you for the red, cream and blue. What a lovely gesture when I got my US citizenship! I love the ribbon that ties it all together. 

Louise again, I LOVE this pin cushion.  It's a) cute b) big and c) it's from your heart.  I sew appreciate it and as you can see, I use it too!

Merry, you overwhelmed me with this gift.  I was expecting the pattern and you gifted me the whole block of the month packets. WOW. I really have my work cut out on this project.

I have to get my level of applique turned up a few notches so my blocks match the one you have already made.

 So here's the story,  Merry didn't like the colors so she switched all the fabrics to purple instead of the pink. This quilt is going to be a 2012 BOM at Calico Creation in Mt Vernon, WA (no website).

Gretchen  Monti was the machine quilter and  the picture does not begin to do  justice for the incredible custom quilting she provided.  Hopefully you  will visit Calico Creations soon and have an opportunity to actually see  the quilt (and of course, shop!).

Look at this border design, it's wonderful.

There is another version of this quilt posted on Mrs Meatloafs blog.  Her quilting is very different than the picture above, but it is also spectacular.  Definitely worth  a peek!

Once I finish my 30's BOM, I'll get back to my BTCT and start working in a few of these blocks.  I love the pieced backgrounds, this is a fabulous quilt.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Wishing all my fellow readers/bloggers/quilter friends the very best this Christmas season has to offer.  It's been a great year getting to know some of you better through the blogs, to meeting others in my travels to NYC, and also meeting others in the classroom.  It's been a blast!  THANK YOU for being a part of my quilting world, it's appreciated!  I'll be back online at New Years.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Requested Recipes

I don't have that many "go to" recipes, but the few that I have are fabulous. I shared this last year, but have been requested by my Applique group to post both of these recipes.

Shortbread Cookies
3/4 C soft butter
1/2 C corn starch
1/2 C icing sugar (aka powdered sugar)
1 C flour
Cream butter, add dry and mix until it the dough comes off the sides of the bowl. You might need your hands to get the last bit mixed in. Roll into 1" balls and flatten with floured fork.
Bake 18 - 20 min @ 350. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

These are a Canadian recipe, Naniamo Bars. I used to make a pan of these in July as my husbands birthday cake and one in Dec for Christmas. Now I make 2 pans, one for serving and taking to share and one pan for my girlfriend's husband. 
Bottom Layer:
1/2 C butter
1/4 C sugar
5 T cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 3/4 C graham wafer crumbs
1/2 C chopped nuts (optional)
1 C coconut

Melt butter/sugar in top of double boiler, add egg and stir in to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts, coconut.
Press into ungreased 8x8 pan

Second Layer:
1/2 C butter
2 T + 2 t cream
2 T custard powder (secret ingredient *see below*)
2 C icing sugar
Cream all together and spread over bottom layer. Chill.


Third Layer:
4 ounces chocolate (I use Bakers semi sweet)
2 T butter
Melt together on top of double boiler and then set aside to cool before spreading on top. Chill in fridge. After it has set up, remove from the fridge and let stand for a few minutes. Score the chocolate and then cut into squares. Return to fridge. If you don't bring it back to room temp, the chocolate just breaks and makes a mess.

These are sweet and oh so delicious. The Birds Custard pudding powder mix is what makes the second layer so good!



Monday, December 19, 2011

Six More To Go

That's right. Only 6 more blocks and my BOM envelopes from 2009 will be empty. The top will take some time putting together, as it has several partial seams along the way.
Oh, and yes, it's also 6 more sleeps until Santa comes!
Hoping you've been nice this year!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Two Years Later

I finally got my redwork Santa finished into something that can be used. The is an Alpahbet pattern but I've only done a few blocks. "M"ittens, "K"ris Kringle and "L"ights are mixed in this block.
I used the bonus blocks from my Pineapple Blossom to work around the border and did triple rows of hand quilting. Plaid on the bias finished it off.

This is my "tree" in all it's glory. Having a real tree would have entailed furniture rearranging, etc. This is perfect for me!

This is what greets me at the bottom of my stairs every morning. I keep telling everyone it's Christmas in my world.

My father gave me some vintage pieces of silverware that needed to be cleaned and replated. There is only one place on the west coast of Canada that does this work. There was a platter from my parents wedding back in '58 and the engraving on it is stunning, it would be a beautiful design for a wholecloth quilt. Here is one of the chaffing dishes that was plated. I tried to photograph the tray, but it's too shiny for my little digital camera!

I'm off to my Applique Society meeting this morning, then home to do the final preparations for my party tonight. I took yesterday off work, that's how I can go stitch and visit this morning. It's all about priorities.

Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the season this weekend.

Friday, December 16, 2011

and the Winner is...........

True Random Number Generator Min: Max: Result: 9 Powered by RANDOM.O

# 9 Mimi. So please email me with your mailing address so I can get this off to you before Christmas!

Thanks to everyone who entered. I have one more I'll give away for New Years!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Red and White Giveaway

Because it's Christmas, because so many are sharing their red and white creations, and because I finally hit 100 followers, I'm giving away a set of Red & White magnets. These are from the Folk Art Museum in NYC. The sheets of magnets sold out on the first or second day!

No hoops to jump through. Mention it on your blog if you want, but just be a follower of my blog. Leave me a comment and I'll do the random number generator thingy on Friday, Dec 16th. Comments will close midnight on Thursday, Dec 15th.

Hope you're getting your Christmas organized.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hand Made Gifts

I'm not interested in buying something just because it's Christmas time and I want to give a gift. I try to have gifts that are useful, something that people will appreciate and use. I had a fresh wreath shipped to my friend in OR and I got my other gal pal a "starter" kit of solids. She's taking a Gwen Marston workshop next spring and does not have one solid in her sewing room.
All my friends are over 40 so any one of them could use a few new dish towels. This only took a few evenings to whip up, and I know it will be used. This pattern is from Crap (thank you, Carol) Crab Apple Hill and its #254 Victory Garden. There is also carrots, strawberries and radishes. My LQS has lots of tea towel selections, so I'm sure there will be more of these done over the winter.

I've got my stockings hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St Nick will soon be there.
How about you? Are you close to ready?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Quilting Withdrawals

I broke my longarm machine.  Complete operator error, so I"m waiting for a few new parts that will hopefully have me back up and quilting.  Thank goodness I only have one quilt that has a deadline and it's on my machine.
Life is busy at this time of year, so I'm only getting in bits of time for handwork. I had 3 more pieces to applique to finish the top of a pillow and tonight it was getting done.  This was my test block for this pattern that Janet so generously shared with me.  I wanted to incorporate some cheddar in the pattern. 

Hows that for adding in some cheddar?

I cut all the circles using the AccuCutter at Fabric Etc.  

I also got my JOY banner finished.  There was only a little mishap along the way.

Yes, my needle from the sewing machine completely pierced the head of the safety pin. That's why it's not a good idea to put painters tape over top of pins that are close right on the stitching path.
I like the solid green binding for this.

This is my motto for the season.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Playing with Stripes

I've seen lots of these blocks around blogland so I thought I'd give it a try.  Using the Companion Angler ruler these blocks are a snap.  Here's the start of a BASICS quilt for next year.

I've got about 5 yards of this stripe, so I should have a nice variety of blocks.  I'm making them in 4 different sizes, 8 1/2", 6 1/2", 4 1/2" and 3 1/2 " so they will all play nicely when I get a bunch of them together.
If you've make a quilt like this, please direct me to it, I'd love to gleen some ideas from others.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Counting and Sorting

This is what I do when I get over 1/2 way through a project. I start counting and sorting all the pieces. Then I start to break it down into sections. If I get 40 sashings done, then that's 10 blocks.....
If I make 40 sashings, I need how many corner blocks?.....
Then I start making piles and count.
So far I've got 51 blocks made.

I've decided on 9 x 9 blocks for this top, that will finish it out at 90 x 90 and that's perfect for my bed. So I need to make 40 more blocks. I've got the centers finished thanks to an online swap.
Now to make all the sashings with the star points.

I've sorted and counted and I'm good on all sections.

Now to find the time. I like making these sections using them as leaders and enders, makes this part of the project a little less tedious.
Oh, so maybe I have to start a new project!
Are you starting anything new this weekend?

Friday, November 25, 2011

New Door Banner

I just couldn't resist. I have given my Santa door banner away to a friend this fall. She always liked it, and I've used it a few years so I was ok with passing it along. But I needed something for Christmas, and today is the day we start to decorate, right?
I've had this border fabric for years, it's an Alexander Henry from 2000. Those AH fabrics are SO hard for me to cut into. But I did it!
This is from Tonya's Word Play Quilts book. I love this method of making letters and words, start to finish, less than 90 minutes. Seriously. That included picking fabric and pressing it to start. Now to quilt it. simple ditch stitching will work, but something tells me it will be hand quilted.
Are you doing anything Christmasy this weekend?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

BTCT Update

I'm still working away on this 25 BOM.  The patterns are out for 24 blocks, along with 2 borders.  I've just finished Block 18 which is block 15 for me and I've just prepped another at this time.  This job project has moved to the top of my list, now that I've finished the hand quilting on my Christmas runner and have the binding on my LOVE quilt. 

There is some travel time for me in December, as well as a list of 6 or 7 medical appointments between now and the new year.  Nothing serious, just all my follow ups and annuals with all my cancer dr's and my gp and dentist.  The usual.  The good news for me is that in 2012, I drop down to once a year visits with all but my medical oncologist.  I'm going to prod him into giving me a years prescription at my next visit. All these appointments demand that I have some take along hand projects!
I best get to prepping more blocks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Making it Count

I was teaching a hand quilting class on Saturday and I said something to the group that has stuck with me.  Make it count.  What I meant by that was to keep your hand quilting on projects that are special or in places where the stitching is going to show.  I love how the big stitch hand quilters use colored perl cotton which adds another whole element to the quilt.

The statement can be transferred over to machine quilting.  Making beautiful feathers and designs on busy calicos or dark civil war prints isn't the best use of ones time.  I just finished this, and I tried to make the quilting count.

This is going to be used as a wall hanging and it's a Christmas gift that my friend has made. Nice gift, don't you think?


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Red & White LOVE

Finally, this is finished. Well, it needs a label but my friend is making one for me, I just have to get her the information.

This quilt is for my bed and here are the particulars.
Bonnie Hunter pattern,  Pineapple Blossoms  Bonnie is the ultimate scrap quilter, but I tend to be more controlled with my fabric choices. 
Blocks constructed using her method of making the corners results in "bonus blocks"  You get 5 from each block so this quilt generates 550 1/2 sq triangles.

This quilt finished at 90 x 100  For batting I used a layer of Warm & Natural AND a layer of Hobbs Wool. 

**UPDATE** I used two batts, W & N on the bottom for the density and weight, it's a flat batt, and wool on top for the warmth and loft.  I like heavy blankets on me in the wintertime. **

Thread used was King Tut hombre reds on top and Signature Cotton in Holiday Red for the back. 
A scrappy binding finished it off.

I'm calling this my LOVE quilt.  I love red and whites, I used a triple heart motif on the quilting,

it's the first quilt I've made specifically for my own bed, and I absolutely fell in love with all the Red & White two color quilts while in NYC this spring.
What's your favorite color combination?


Quilting by Check

When I first heard this expression I really chuckled.  Then I realized it's the only way many of us get projects finished.  It is a bear to struggle with a full or queen quilt on your DSM.  I know, because I've done it myself.

This customer sent me a quilt shortly after I started quilting for others in 2005.  She's from the other side of the country and we have never met.  I did one quilt and then assumed she found a quilter that lived a little closer than 3000 miles away. Last month, out of the blue, I got an email asking if I could quilt a top for her.  She said she finally got another quilt finished.
Here is her latest work.  I absolutely love the color combination on this piece.  I had a multi colored King Tut, light pink and a greeny brown combo.  Perfect for this piece.  I did an edge to edge freehand swirl and spiral design.

Now to attach and hand sew the binding for her.  What a way to finish your Christmas gift giving!  Works great for both of us.
What are you working on for Christmas?  Will have have it finished?  I'm talking about this Christmas, you know, the one that is going to be here in less than 40 days.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sharing the Beauty

I got this unexpected email today from Jackie who was in the Gwen Marston workshop with me back in May.
Jackie wrote the following:

I thought you would enjoy seeing my final product. It is a combination
of blocks I made from Gwen's class, plus from a class I took recently
from Karla Alexander. I decided to do the 'Karla' quilt in the same
fabrics, and as I was creating it I realized it was a natural to meld
the two class blocks into one quilt. Although the colors from the photo
taken on my iPhone are a little muddy (and the pale yellow walls of my
quilt room look more like a bright yellow border), I think you get the

 Karla Alexander is the the author of the Stack the Deck series of books

I definitely get it. This is fabulous.

Jackie, thanks for allowing me to share this on my blog.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hand Stitched

A photo of my non blogger friends latest project.

  Hand appliqued and hand quilted.

Oh, and just an FYI, it's best to remove your newly finished and bound quilt project off your cutting table BEFORE you start cutting your next project. 

Just some words of wisdom from the maker of the above quilt. 

Doesn't the binding look just a little bit newer than the rest of the quilt? 

Thank goodness it was only the binding that got cut and not a whole corner!

I love showing off  on behalf of DebS.  She's shy and doesn't blog, but her work is amazing!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

'Tis the Season

Well, it's not officially the season, but it's coming fast.  Finally, I have a current Christmas project finished in time to use in the same year!
This was fused and machine appliqued.  I did the blanket stitching after I had layered it so it got quilted at the same time. 
This started out as a 4 block quilt.  I'm glad I didn't get right on it at the time because I think this layout is more useful for me.
It's going in my entrance way, but for now it's hanging over the door to my studio.
It took longer to finish because I decided to hand quilt the background with perl cotton. 

And this baby is on my longarm, the binding is waiting by my sewing machine and I will have this on my bed by Thanksgiving!

What's on your Christmas list?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shout out for BASICS

BASICS is still in need of quilts for this winter.

When you pulled out your fall quilts, did you see one that maybe isn't your favorite anymore? Or do you have one that just needs the binding?  What about a mystery quilt that didn't quite turn out as expected?  Do you have a class sample that you no longer use?
How about one from the Charity Quilts pile at your local guild?

This one was pieced by Donna K, and the binding was hand done by Lousie M.
If you go HERE you can see quilts that have been donated. Some have been made with left over blocks, some are very controlled, and others are just a freeform of wonderful piecing.

This one was pieced by Irene A and binding hand sewn by Deb S
Over HERE, at Pink Chalk, you can read more about this great quilt drive

This top was also pieced by Irene A, binding hand sewn by Louise M.

Victoria at Bumble Beans has been the driving force, along with Pat Sloan.

This top was pieced by Deb S, I did the binding.

They are in need of any size, quilts for boy and girls, Moms and Dads.
This little one was pieced by Deb S and binding hand sewn by Muriel F.

It took six of us to donate 5 quilts, I feel that having a longarm machine is a real privilege, I know I couldn't have achieved what I have without the help of others, so for me, it's important to use this to help others.

These families are transitioning from being homeless and in shelters to having their own place.  They are needing a "hand UP", not a hand out. 

Quilters are such a generous bunch, and I know there are many places always looking for quilts. But if you could spare just one for BASICS???