Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A quick gift!

Our son moved a few weeks ago - his first apartment totally on his own!  He's lived away from home for at least 6 or 7 years, but always in a group, sharing an apartment or a house.  This is the first time that he has to provide everything that a good "home" should have - and he's discovered that he has a lot of buying to do! Thankfully, it's close to Christmas, so we should be able to help him fill in some of the gaps, but I decided to not make him wait for everything.
He mentioned that he has a fairly dark wooden dining table - and that he'd really appreciate some placemats for it.  We're hoping to visit him this weekend, and I thought that a few placemats would make a great house-warming gift.  But, with less than no time to make placemats from scratch, I had to think fast!  That's when I remembered the quilt blocks that are stacking up in my sewing room.  I've been trying out different blocks for various reason (auditioning blocks for a quilt, trying out a new block pattern, etc.) and I had several blocks that really weren't committed to any cause at this point.  They'd just need a strip down either side to make them the right size, and I'd be good to go.
What a nice surprise to find that I had made these two "x and plus" quilt blocks, using the same 3 fabrics, and one different, but coordinating fabric:
I found my stash of Kona "Snow" - cut 4 - 3" wide strips and sewed them to the sides.  That looked good, so I got them layered; I stitched them together tonight, and even got them quilted with some SID stitching. 

I'm happy with the way they turned out - and I'll find out on Saturday if he agrees!

Friday, November 20, 2015

The top is finished...

Well, I've completed my floral striped quilt top.  I don't know if there's a name for this pattern - I saw a picture of it online somewhere and realized that it would be easy enough to make without a proper pattern. I've used leftover fabrics from the large-scale florals that I'm using for the swap with Cathy, and terracotta and yellow Kona cottons.
When I had the rows done, I thought they looked unfinished, so I sewed terracotta strips up the sides.  I like the look!  What do you think?

Now that this top is done, I discovered that I have enough leftover floral panels to make at least one more quilt like this!  I'll have to find more fabric for the alternate stripes - shucks, that means that I may have to go shopping again...!
I'm linking up to Sarah's "Can I Get a whop-whoop?" post.

Friday, November 13, 2015

I've been busy!

I promised you a look at some of the things that I've been working on recently, and here they are!
First off, I FINALLY  finished a quilt that's been about 5 years in the making.  I bought the fabric on a whim, when hubby and I were on a trip to Shipshewana with hubby's cousin and his wife.  A few of my cyber-quilting friends live fairly close to Shipshewana, and we arranged to meet up at Yoder's.  One thing after another delayed our arrival, until we pulled up at 5:10 pm.  They close at 5:30....  I dashed in, while everyone else proceeded on to our hotel.  I met my friends in person finally, and we ducked in to see what wonderful things Yoder's had available.  I chose a few white T-O-T fabrics, then saw a great green.  I took it to the counter, asked for 4 yards, paid for it and my white fabrics, and then went to the hotel.  My friends stayed with us for supper, and we had a lovely evening, but they wondered what I was planning to do with the green fabric - and at that time, I had no idea!  Four yards of fabric...  Fast forward about 9 months, and I found a quilt pattern called Swirlygig.  I fell in love! and guess what - it required 4 yards of a dark fabric for the main print and the binding!  I found a great gold-yellow fabric with green splotches, added a white fabric, and made the top.  Then it got tucked away for about 2 years - until a local long-arm quilter had a sale on her quilting services.  It finally got quilted this past winter, and I put the final stitches in the binding yesterday!

Next on the completed pile is a Warm Wishes crib-sized quilt.  This is a quick and easy quilt, originally designed for Project Linus.  I've made a few of these, and always love how it turns out.  This one is made of four different colours from one fabric line, so it's kind of matchy-matchy, but the group that I donated it to loved it!  It's been layered for a few months, and finally was quilted and bound in time for show-and-tell at my guild meeting on Monday night.  It's backed and bound with pink fabric.

And finally, my swap blocks for Cathy - we're nearing the end of our large-scale floral Disappearing 4-patch swap - there's just 2 months left.  These are the blocks that I gave her for October: 

So, now I'm heading back to the machine to sew a few more rows together for my November ALYoF project.  It's coming together nicely - but you'll have to check here in a week or so to see my progress.  I'm linking up to Sarah's Whoop-whoop party!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Nov. 2015's A Lovely Year of Finishes project

I can't get over how quickly these past weeks have gone - in less than 2 months, we'll be saying hello to 2016!  Of course, the positive thing about these ALYoF posts is that I have an ongoing record of the projects I've worked on and / or completed this past year.  Sometimes I just finished one aspect of the project (piecing a quilt top, or doing the quilting on an already finished top, for example), and sometimes I've had enough time to actually take a project from beginning to end.  I haven't always completed my goal, but I have finished most of my challenges.
Now that we're getting close(r) to Christmas, I have my doubts that I'll actually be able to pull off my chosen project for November, but I'm going to do my best!
I've been doing a large-scale floral Disappearing 4-Patch swap with Cathy since January.  I didn't have a lot of appropriate fabrics when we started this swap, but a few trips to various quilt shops and a few quilt shows have remedied that situation, and I now have quite the "floral" stash!  We'll be putting our quilts together after we swap our blocks in December - at least, that's the plan...  In the meantime, my floral fabrics are starting to pile up.  I have 2 basic options - either decide on a storage option (do I store them by their main colour, or do I keep them all together in a "floral" drawer or bin?), or find a way to use them up (and save myself some sorting!).
A few days ago, I was looking for a specific fabric on my sewing table, and I came across a picture of a quilt that I'd found online somewhere - and it was the perfect solution to my dilemma!  It showed a strippy quilt - rows of a chosen solid coloured fabric, interspersed with rows of "bricks", joined together with a contrasting solid sashing type of strip.  It was the perfect project for my flowered fabrics!  I spent an afternoon cutting my floral bricks, and then auditioned several Kona cottons for my alternate fabrics.  I finally settled on a cheery yellow for the sashing strips, and a terracotta colour for the contrasting rows.  I sewed a few brick / sashing units, and added the terracotta fabric between the "brick" sections, and Voila!  It looks great!
So, my chosen project for November will be putting the top together.  It should make a top fairly quickly (I'm going to let the row width determine the overall size), so I should be able to accomplish my goal.  If I'm doing really well, I may even go for a complete quilt, but the goal will be just the assembled top.
And, just in case my description made no sense to you, here's a photo of the first 3 assembled rows, with a few of the solid strips and some of the brick sections:
By the look of my sashed brick sections, I may even have enough rows to make a 2nd quilt!  No promises though!
I'll also be sharing some pics of the last blocks I made for Cathy, and my current guild project, so check in again in a few days...  And, as always, I appreciate you stopping in to see what I'm up to!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

And there goes October!

I can't believe that another month has flown past - although I have enough projects worked on to prove it!  I'll be sharing some of them as the weeks go by, but today's post is reserved to show my October's "A Lovely Year of Finishes" finished project.
I got one of my "fire" quilts done - it will be going to one of the boys that lost a brother in a tragic house fire earlier this month.  The quilt for the 2nd brother is quilted and just needs to have the binding attached and sewn down.  I'm hoping to share that later today, but this one quilt was my challenge.
The finished quilt looks like this:

I used just a quick and simple wavy line stitched from side to side, and I machine-stitched the binding down.  I'm hoping that this quilt gets lots of use, and that means a lot of washing - I find that machine stitching the binding makes it strong and durable.
I'm off to post my finish on Melissa's ALYoF post, and then I'll work on finishing the second quilt.
Edited to add: my completed second quilt!  I quilted this with diagonal cross-hatching, and I machine stitched the binding.  Hubby very kindly assisted in holding up the finished quilt - here it is!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

October's Challenge Project

This year is slipping away so quickly!  There are only 3 months left, and SO many projects needing to be completed.  The worst part is choosing just one (who am I kidding?  I sometimes don't even have time to finish one fairly simple project..!).
Unfortunately, this month's project is coming as a result of a few recent tragedies - namely fires that have devastated a number of families.  A family member lost almost everything in his apartment when the townhouse complex he lived in went up in flames a week ago; one day later, a family just outside of town lost their century home, and even worse, their 10 year-old son.  The call has gone out for replacement items - everything from clothes, to bedding, to kitchen supplies and anything else you can think of.
I know that a lot of store-bought blankets are just as warm as quilts, but a quilt says "I care about you" in a way that a blanket doesn't.  I know that a quilt isn't going to bring back that young boy, but hopefully, knowing that our town and surrounding area is there to support that family will bring a bit of comfort.
So, my goal for October is to finish at least one of the two "Plus" quilts that I've recently pieced.  I know that we're supposed to choose ONE project, but when there's so much need, I'm going to aim high.  If I manage to get this quilt completely finished, I'll start on the second one - hopefully, I'll get both done (that way, both surviving brothers can get their own quilt).
Here's top #1:

and quilt #2: 

We Canadians will be celebrating Thanksgiving next Monday - and my family and I have SO much to be thankful for!  Being able to help someone that's gone through incredible challenges is just a small way to express my thanks to God for everything that He's blessed me with.
And now I'm off to link up to Melissa's A Lovely Year of Finishes post.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September's finish

Right - it's September 30th today, and I almost forgot to blog about my ALYoF project.  I chose to finish my Christmas wall-hanging.  I used my Twister tool to make the Christmas tree - the coloured sections are supposed to represent either ornaments or coloured lights, and the various green fabrics hopefully mimic the different shades found in a real tree (although I know real trees don't come in most of the green colours that I used...).
I did some Stitch-in-the-Ditch quilting in the cream background blocks.  Instead of using the same technique for the tree, I used a gold rayon embroidery thread, and stitched "garland" back and forth throughout the tree, and even used a decorative stitch on my sewing machine to make a little "baubles" every so often along the garland.  I used a great red and white diagonal stripe for the binding, hoping to evoke thoughts of candy canes.
Here's the completed project - ready to be entered in the fair this weekend!
I'm linking up to Melissa's site.