Monday, December 31, 2007

Finishes for 2007

  1. Paige’s Shoofly quilt – This quilt was the result of my sister deciding last Christmas that she would buy the fabric and I would help her make a quilt for her daughter after Christmas. I should have known that it was an ill fated venture when my cell phone rang as I was crossing the finish line at a 5K (I set a PR!). It was my sister at the fabric store asking how much fabric she needed to buy. She didn't want to make anything complicated, just plain squares, set on the diagonal and tied. We started the day after Christmas, and she honestly thought we could finish it all the same day. With both of us and Mom all sewing away, we almost made it by midnight! At the end of it all, she said the one thing she had learned is that making a quilt was much more complicated than she thought, and she hadn't known what she was asking me to do when she came up with the idea. So with the leftover fabric, I made this companion quilt for Paige's baby dolls. I really enjoyed the colors.
  2. Mom’s T-Shirt quilt I don't have a picture of this one because it wasn't quite done when I gifted it. Has anyone else ever wrapped a quilt to put under the tree with the safety pins still in it? Mom loved my t-shirt quilts so much that she sent me home with a stack that I turned into a quilt for Christmas. I finished tying it when I came back for our next visit.
  3. Zach’s Shining Star - This was a new baby quilt for my nephew who was born over Easter. I used Bonny's pineapple star for the second time. I love how quick and easy this pattern is, and it looks so complicated! Finishing the quilting on this finally drove me to get a new sewing machine.
  4. Turkey Tracks Table Runner - I started this two Thanksgivings ago , but got bogged down trying to get it quilted. I got a lot of loose ends tied up when I got my new machine. I used a pattern from Quilt in a Day which was in the Egg Money Quilts book.
  5. Block Party Quilt - Calling this a finish for 2007 is cheating . I finished the quilt in 2001 but had trouble getting it quilted on my old machine. It's really ugly, but it makes a great picnic quilt -- it doesn't show dirt!
  6. Purple Beauty - This one was based on Bonny's Blue Ridge Beauty pattern. I made it in purples for my oldest daughter. I was working on hand quilting but gave up and finished it on -- you guessed it, the new sewing machine.
  7. Spice Meadows - This quilt is currently hanging in the family room. It is from a kit I got the day after Christmas last year on I added 9 extra blocks to make it king sized. My husband says the asymmetry makes him crazy.
  8. Road to the Marathon - I had been planning this quilt for a long time. It represents the races and training I did to prepare for my first and second marathon.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Years look back

So here is the list I started with for 2007. I just figured out how to edit HTML so I could strike out the ones that are finished (say yea for being technically literate!). The last three I consider to be long term works in progress. There are no deadlines for those. So of the list of 15, I only finished 4 this year. Of course, I did other things that were not on the list, but that doesn't solve the problem of making the list shorter. So I need to assess the 8 things in the middle of the list and see where I stand on those. In addition, I need to add the new projects I started this year but did not finish (yet).

  1. Spice Meadows
  2. Hand quilting on Anna’s purple beauty
  3. label green and yellow nine patch
  4. free motion quilting on block party quilt
  5. embroider names on blue baby quilt
  6. Sampler quilt
  7. Dresden Plates
  8. orange and teal pinwheels
  9. patriotic log cabin quilt
  10. Buttons and Bow Ties
  11. green and purple BOM stars
  12. Doll mini hexagons
  13. Hexagon Charm Quilt
  14. Dear Jane at Sea
  15. Elm Creek Sampler

I was up until 2 last night organizing and sorting. I always get the urge around the new year to start everything tidy and fresh. I got some more ties cut down for my bowtie quilt. I have a system down now. First I rough cut 5 inch squares of interfacing, which I iron onto the back of the opened ties. I've been getting three squares per tie and saving the rest for smaller bits later. Then I rough cut the squares and size them to 4.5 inches. I tried cutting out the squares first, but the silky fabric was really stretchy. I'm using a dimensional bowtie pattern, so each block takes three squares of "bowtie" fabric and two of background. I'm not sure yet how I'll set them. DH insists that the colors are all too busy and don't go together so they need to be separated by some solid squares in black or navy. They look more like bowties on the diagonal, but I also like the secondary patterns when they all form circles. So many decisions......

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Step 4 est finis!

I finished step 4 of the Carolina Crossroads mystery quilt today! We got back into town late last night and I was able to steal minutes between unpacking and laundry and more unpacking and more laundry. Bernie (my sewing machine) was in the shop while we were gone. She had been acting up for a little while, but I didn't want to give her up with so much Christmas crafting in the wings. There was a software update and she should be as good as new. I had to break out Ken (my old sewing machine) to fill in while she was gone, and it just wasn't the same. I sewed on him for a lot of years, and and tried my best to make it work, but in the end, he just couldn't handle free motion quilting. I spent hours sewing and resewing a quilt for my new nephew last Easter, and even after all that, still ended up sending it away with eyelashes on the back. I showed it to my husband, who thought for a minute and said, "I see what you mean, that really isn't acceptable." A gift certificate for a new machine showed up for my anniversary. Even though it seemed like a lot of money, my husband finally put it into perspective by saying, that a new machine cost less than our TV, and I probably spent more time on the machine than in front of the TV.
Back to Carolina Crossroads, I have to assume now that the blocks are going to be set on point. That should make these little guys the setting triangles I suppose. We still haven't broken out the Companion angle ruler, I'm still guessing that is going to be used for the center of the block. I'm having fun making these little guys, even more so because I don't know how they are going to turn out.
I think I'll work a little more on my bow ties quilt this evening. I had planned to pack some handwork for our trip, but we ended up rushing out at the last minute frantically and it was left behind. I've missed having something quilt related to work on. Something about making the shapes and colors come together is soothing.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Kissing Frogs

We had been promising the kids since before last Christmas that we would take them to see snow. Last year was apparently unseasonably cold in the southeast and we would have needed to drive REALLY far to see any serious amount of snow. So this year we decided that we would definitely see snow -- no matter what. Web searches of ski resorts seemed favorable for snow just about 4 hours north of Grandma's house, and so the planning began.
Real Christmas was actually second Christmas this year, the first being at Thanksgiving with husbands branch of the family. By asking Santa to come two days early for second Christmas (the real one), we could travel to Grandmas for third Christmas which is always on Christmas day. After all completion of all necessary festivities and visitation with relatives, we would simply drive north in search of snow.
We made hotel reservations near a ski resort in an area called Maggie Valley. We checked the ski report, the live webcams and the reviews. Everything seemed good. A large base of snow existed, snow was falling fairly regularly, and they had snow machines in case mother nature was uncooperative.
And so the drive north began. The pitch increased, the road began to wind, an we all peered out the windows in anticipation. We inched closer to our destination, and searched. We felt the windows, hoping to feel a dip in the temperature. We finally arrived at the base of a steep hill with three sled ramps and a snow machine. Friendly police officers told us that the mountain was closed, but we could come back later. As we hopped out of the car, we noticed that instead of a nip in the air, it was a balmy 60 degrees, and instead of snow, it was spitting a little rain which was starting to melt the fake snow.

Puzzled, we checked into our hotel room and checked the webcam, ski reports and reviews again. They showed snow, they had a live update saying they had experienced an inch of snow last night, adding to the already solid base! It was as if we were reading about some other place as we sat in a warm and toasty town without a hint of snow. We did a session at tube world, the steep hill of fake snow, and waited to drive to the top of the mountain. There was more fake snow at the top of the mountain, enough to make a little snowman and have a snowball fight.
Not exactly a winter wonderland, but at least everyone can now say they have seen snow.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Santa apparently wanted chocolate chip muffins with his cookies this year. We spent our Christmas eve baking and getting ready for the big day. Because we are going to Grandmas house for Christmas day, we asked Santa if he could come a little early. He's really accommodating that way :) We had a Christmas party to go to, but came back early to make sure everything was set for the big event. We made sure there were plenty of cookies and milk to go with the muffins, and carefully counted out 8 baby carrots for the reindeer. My dear son informed me proudly that a reindeer is really the same thing as a caribou, and that usually they don't fly. That's good to know.
Everyone snuggled into their new Christmas pajamas, and disappeared to bed without a backward glance. I'm going to miss these days when we are all past the magic.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Last Minute gifts

I should decide I want to make handmade gifts before December 22. Of course I always sit waiting for Christmas spirit to overcome me. The problems is, it's hard to be festive when it's 75 and sunny. So every year I end up whipping up something at the last minute and wishing I had thought to start earlier. So this is a checkers quilt for our neighbor, made from green and red scraps. It's kind of poofy, but I was using leftover batting and it turned out a little "lofty"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Quick Finish

I made two quick quilt as you go free form Christmas tree place mats this evening. I was thinking they would make nice gifts. As I'm sitting sewing away it occurred to me that place mats usually come in sets of at least 4. My insightful husband asked if I really wanted to make 4 of exactly the same thing. He doesn't think people would get my artistic sense if I went for mix and match. Still, it was a quick project, so maybe I can make a few more in the same pattern and then try something different. I guess I can think about it while I stitch down the binding.

It was 9 last night when DH disappeared quietly into the bedroom. Usually that means he's gone to watch football. I went in to check on him and he was fast asleep. I enjoyed the way the star pattern on the quilt was so nicely framed over his shoulder. It's the kind of touching vignette that I so often try to orchestrate but never quite manage to pull off. The nightstand full of rubble kind of kills the charm, but I guess that's life.

Something "Quilty"

I'm feeling fairly caught up on things right now. I gave my last final today and had it graded before it was time to pick up the little princess from preschool. There are still two more days of school when I can go in and catch up on the leftover bits and pieces. On the sewing front, I finished step three of the Carolina Crossroads Mystery (and am quite proud of me), and got the center portion of my log cabin almost done. So, what happens when I am feeling fairly caught up? I decide to start something new of course. I am thinking that a few "quilt as you go" place mats would make excellent Christmas gifts. I was thinking the blue will look good as a log cabin block, and then with the greens I can try a free form flying geese Christmas tree and maybe some stripes. I'll see how it goes.

I lined the kids up yesterday and tried to get a picture for the Christmas cards. I think this one says it all.
Two people have been nice enough to leave me comments on my blog. Of course being new to the whole blogging thing, I have no idea how to respond to those comments. I've been "lurking" around the Quilt Maverick and Stashbuster rings for a while now, but have not evolved yet to the leaving comments part. Maybe I'll do some exploring over the break and figure out how things work :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Step 3 is Done!

Yea for me! I just finished step 3 of the Carolina Crossroads mystery. I got a little carried away on my strip sets and still have yards to spare, but I'll save them "just in case". I'm making headway on my log cabin as well, but I seem to have too many blue and white and not enough red and white. I guess I should think of how many of something I will need before I sit down and start to sew. I keep thinking I should be working on something Christmasy, but that would mean starting something new -- which is exactly what I need NOT to do
I had a race last night, just a 2 miler, but it was at night, through these beachside neighborhoods with tons of Christmas lights, and everybody wears jingle bells on their shoes! It's very festive with cookies and cocoa after. I've done it for the last few years and really enjoyed it. Somehow the company that runs the local races has started to do something with different with advertising and there were over 950 people running -- all jammed on a two mile course! The first mile was spent trying not to trip over anyone.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Winter Wonderland

It's not begining to look at all like Christmas at my house. Not having grown up in Florida, I still find it hard to spread Christmas cheer when its 75 and sunny! I know I am narrow minded, but I think Christmas lights look silly on palm trees. The ice cream truck came around this afternoon, and we all sat in the driveway trying to eat before it melted away. The children have persuaded us that they are deprived by lack of snow. The older two have at least seen snow, but the little one reminds us often that she was in my tummy when we were in the snow, so she missed it! We are working on a post Christmas trip to find winter fun.

I am making slow but steady progress on the Carolina Quilt. I have assembled the sub-cuts and have them ready to sew together. I must admit that I am not as motivated to finish the second set of nine patches as I was the first. I will persevere however, as I love Bonnie's quilt designs and can't wait to see how this one turns out. I've made several Quiltville quilts already and they have all turned out wonderfully. I'm sure this one will to.

Friday, December 14, 2007

OCD Quilter

It started innocently enough. I had been sitting at the sewing machine making strip sets from scraps. It was taking a long time to find comparably sized strips to match up. So I thought, wouldn't it be better to just grab the tub-o-scraps and sit in front of the TV matching them up for a while? Two hours later the strips had all been sorted by size and filed compulsively away. I think about all the truly productive things I could have done with that time. Tests to be graded, lab reports corrected, laundry folded. But no, instead I have obsessively organized 1.5 inch strips in blue and white. One small corner of my life is somewhat lower in entropy, at least
for now.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Step 3 begins

I checked out step three of the Carolina Crossroads Mystery. More 9 patches! I had a quilt pictured in my mind -- the 9 patches were in the corners, with the rail fences pointed down to an hourglass in the middle. I'm trying to decide what the new 9 patches are for -- and why there are only 80. I had decided on 4 9 patches per block with a 5 by 5 setting, thats 25 blocks X 4 per block for 100 each. Now only 80 of the new patch has me wondering. Is it some sort of setting square with a lattice running to a 9 patch cornerstone? 80 blocks seems like too many for that, maybe if it continued to the border? Hmmm -- I'll have to ponder that.
I guess I shouldn't be in a huge rush to get these done, there won't be another clue until after Christmas :( Probably for the best though, as things are fairly hectic around here. There is a debate going on at my school as to whether we should move the start of the school year back even if it means that semester exams would be after winter break. I love knowing when we go away for Christmas that all the loose ends are tied up and I can relax with nothing hanging over my head. Still, at this time of year when I'm trying to finish grades, edit a final and make sure everything in wrapped up before the break, I'm thinking a little breather might be a good thing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Stash enhancement

Here are the "extra" red white and blues I just had to have. I am using quite a bit of them between the two quilts I'm working on right now, and I hate to have two of the same color pieces in the same block. Why use three fabrics when you can use 30?

Log Cabin Blocks

Here are the log cabin blocks so far. I know I want a star in the middle, but after that I'm not sure what I want to do with the layout. I need to decide so that I know what how many of what kind of block to make. I have 4 all white blocks in the pipeline and then a stack of blue and red blocks as well as a few blue or red and white. Maybe concentric rings in a sawtooth pattern with a solid border outside?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Brand New Blog

I've been doing Bonnie's Carolina Crossing mystery. I had so much fun reading other peoples blogs that I just had to start one of my own. I am a scrap quilter and a scrap booker. I chose patriotic colors of red white and blue for my mystery quilt because I've got a stash of 1.5 inch strips that I've been using for a 4th of July log cabin quilt. So far I've finished the first two steps of the mystery and purchased the companion angle ruler. I'm waiting anxiously for the next step, but using the opportunity to catch up on my log cabin blocks. Of course I was so afraid that I would run out of 1.5 inch strips that I had to run out tonight to buy more fabric!