Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hugs and Kisses, Love!

I've finished several UFOs so far this year so I gave myself permission to start a new quilt. I love valentine fabrics. I love vintage valentines. And that's about as romantic as I get.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Black, White and One Other Color

Last year I participated in a 12 inch block swap. We each made blocks of our choice to swap using only black, white and one other color of our choice. I received 13 blocks and added 7 of my own for a 20 block quilt. The blocks have been sitting in a UFO pile so I dug them out and added sashing this weekend. I still need to add the same sashing to the top, bottom and sides but at least now the blocks are out of the UFO pile and almost in the flimsy pile. I think the black and white sashing really tied all of the blocks together.

To see what others are working on visit Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times. There's sure a lot of talent and inspiration out there! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thimbles or Calluses? What to Use on Slow Stitching Sunday

Last week I had finished hand quilting the 9 patch part of a 9 Patch/Snowball Queen-sized quilt and was ready to start on the design in the snowballs.   But, since I still need practice on keeping stitches even and small I switched gears and started hand quilting in the ditch on another UFO - my Grandma's Sewing Room quilt. 

 I've found that I really like to use the plexiglass frame better than large wooden hoops I've tried in the past.
 I'm currently stitching in the ditch around the spools and jars with red Gutermann hand quilting thread. When I have finished that I will use DMC perle #8 red thread to stitch "thread" around and between spools. (At least that's what I have pictured in my mind is going to happen).  
It drives me nuts when I see a place where the points don't match evenly...but they are staying that way. I still need work keeping stitches even and small. Practice, practice, practice.

I'm still trying to get used to wearing a thimble so alternate between using a thimble and using a callus I've built up on my middle finger.  Reason for a thimble: it hurts when a needle pierces a callus but I don't feel a thing when I'm using a thimble. Reason for not wearing a thimble: it falls off, it's not comfortable, I don't use my fingers properly when stitching.   Again, practice, practice, practice! 

To see what other slow stitching is going on in blog land visit Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching linky party.   

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Foofoo Flimsy or Pink Fluff?

Urban Dictionary:   Foofoo - adj. a word used to characterize something that is fancy, frilly, excessive, generally above and beyond the norm; overdone; girly; gay.

And, so, I call what I have accomplished with my pink scraps this month a FOO FLIMSY I need to round up some batting and a backing and get it quilted and then it will go to Wrap-A-Smile. 

As you can probably tell, I'm not a fan of PINK. So, how does an anti-pinkie happen to have so many pink scraps?  At the age of 2 one of my granddaughters chose pink as her fav color and, at the age of 8, she still LOVES PINK.  I guess I've made a few things for her. And I sometimes participate in I Spy swaps where others must love pink too.

I have to thank the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for the courage to dig into my scrap boxes and bags so I'm linking up there. Please visit to see what others have done with their pink scraps. And, you may want to participate next month when the color changes! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

I Thought I Was Too Anal-Retentive to be Wonky!

I challenged myself this year to see how many donation quilts I could make from my boxes of scraps. So...from some light and dark strings I assembled 30- 9 inch wonky log cabin blocks into a "fields and furrows" layout.  For the 2013 Lovely Year of Finishes Challenge I made it my goal to finish up the quilt by the end of January for donation to Wrap-A-Smile. 

I am happy to say I have completed my goal. 

I had quite the variety of light and dark scraps! (My 3 year old grandson loves that eyeball fabric and I love the oreo and chocolate candy fabrics). 

I used the traditional red center in the blocks.

I quilted it on my plain Jane sewing machine with the feed dogs down and darning foot so quilting is wonky too. 

I zig-zagged together leftover batting and used a nice soft 100% cotton sheet from the thrift store. After quilting and washing it is crinkly soft.  The binding was Christmas fabric I don't think really looks like Christmas fabric. It was 70% off so the price was right. I thought it would complement the red centers and the dark and light.

This is quilt #4 finished from the scrap bag this year for Wrap-A-Smile, my 4th UFO finish (#53 of 73) so far this year and my 5th quilt finish for 2013. 

45x54. It's a wrap! 

I'm linking my finish to January: Lovely Year of Finishes Party  since I met my goal.
I'm also linking to Finish it up Friday since I've finished it up! 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What Was I Thinking??? (Or Was I)???

What was I thinking when I decided to hand quilt my queen-sized snowball and 9 patch quilt? This is my first quilt to hand quilt with regular thread. I've quilted a couple of lap quilts with perle cotton working up to this but I must have been nuts to tackle this quilt. But there it is....I'm still trying to get used to wearing a thimble over the callous I have from not wearing a thimble. I have an entire baggie of different types of thimbles and can't decide which one I like well enough to use. 

At any rate...I have all the 9 patches quilted through with an X and now it's time to work on the snowballs with some sort of design. I have a template only now I need to find a pen that will make marks I can actually see. 

I'm glad my house is cold. If it was summer I don't think I could bear to have this giant quilt on my lap. 

I tried to show some pictures with contrast. Stitching is done in purple thread. I might finally be getting the hang of this. My stitches are smaller now than when I first began. 

Can't decide on a name for it yet. All the snowballs contain fabric with birds on them.  I might just call it "The Birds" or "A Bird in the Hand and a Few in the Bush" or "Bird Brains" (oh, wait, that's me).   I guess I will have to wait until I put the label on to know for sure. 

While hopping around on blogs which I don't do very often I cam across Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts so thought I would link up with other Slow Sunday Stitchers there and see what else everyone is working on sloooowly. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

In the Pink Part II

 I'm participating in a Rainbow Scrap Challenge at SoScrappy. This month's scrap color is pink.  Last week I used up most of my pink crumbs and this week I used up some 2.5 inch scraps, 3.5 inch scraps, some wonky HSTs from the scrapbag and a few other scraps to make 7 - 12 inch blocks and 4 - 6 inch blocks Between last weeks crumbs and this week's blocks I now have pink scraps sewn together to make a 42x54 quilt for Wrap-a-Smile.   I have challenged myself to see how many quilts I can make this year from my scraps and so far this will be #4 and the scrap bins are far from empty.
 I can't believe I actually made the block on the left which was left after I cut the corner's off snowball blocks I used in an I Spy quilt many years ago. They are pretty small and pretty wonky (because I don't evenly trim the corner or sew before cutting) There are some little pictures in there of bees, ants, rainbows, crayons, candy canes and there's even a rainbow. It's fun to see what comes out on a little scrap. I may make a whole xoxo quilt like the blocks on the right. Maybe that will be my leader/ender project.
I sometimes swap I Spy 6.5 inch blocks with members of the I Spy Yahoo Group.  I used a couple of stray blocks, some 2 inch pink scraps and some HSTs left over from a swap I participated in long ago to make a couple of "Hole in the Barn Door" blocks.

To see some other PINK projects visit the linky party Rainbow Scrap Challenge at SoScrappy. You may be tempted to join in!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

In Your Words - Words from the Heart

This is my first time to participate in a blog hop. When I saw it was about WORDS I took the plunge and joined in.  Thank you goes to Linda at Buzzing and Bumbling and to Madame Samm at Sew We Quilt for hosting this event.

I have been collecting fabric with words/text for quite some time in order to make a quilt for my best girl friend (my husband of 40 years  is my best friend) who decided a couple of years ago to go back to school at the age of 58 to finish her bachelor's degree in Creative Writing. I want to surprise her with a quilt full of words when she graduates in the fall of 2013. (I do keep some secrets from my best friend. She doesn't know I have a blog.)

I started her quilt last year when I thought she was going to graduate in the fall of 2012 but it became a UFO when I found out I had until 2013 to finish it. Thankfully the blog hop came along and pushed me to finish a UFO.  My friend's favorite color is purple so that is the color I used for the background. I used text fabrics within the hearts, purple and white striped fabric for the backing and purple polka dotted fabric for the binding. The quilt finished at 48x60- each block finished at 12 inches. I've called it "Words from the Heart".

(No matter how many pics I took of the entire quilt they just looked blurry but there are better close ups below that are easier on the eyes.) I used a heart block pattern from Cindy Carter and I free motion quilted it with hearts (that look more like leaves) and with 30 different words important to me and to my friend - create, sing, write, give, inspire, love, cherish, dream, mentor, pray, give, simplify, think, celebrate, try, dream, grow, savor, listen, learn, thank, dance, live, joke, protect, play, donate, be, do, plan. I used variegated purple thread and did the best I could on my plain Jane sewing machine. My friend doesn't sew so she won't notice any flaws. (She overlooks mine).

 "Words from the Heart" has hearts full of 2.5 inch squares of the fun text fabrics I've collected over the years, some pictured below laid out on the back of the quilt (which looks like a mattress but the price was right !)


I have some 2.5 inch squares left over. I think the pile has 2 squares each of 50 different fabrics that I will mail anywhere.  Leave me a comment with the title of the last good book you read and would recommend to others. Follow my blog if you wish - it would be nice - but I don't want you to force you so no extra entry. I'll use random generator to pick a winner on Sunday morning, Jan. 30 after I have my morning coffee. 

Thanks for your visit. 
Please visit today's other wordsmiths below. 

Monday, January 14
Clothes and Crafts (Maria K.)
Simple Sew (Shirley T.)
Woolie Mammoth (Anna B.)
RocknQuilts (Mary Ann)
Quiltsmiles (Jane E.)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

In the Pink!

This year I challenged myself to see how many donation quilts I can make from scraps. Most finished quilts will then go to Wrap-a-Smile or Wrap Them in Love.    I also ran across Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2013 that I will follow along with this year. PINK is the color of the month so I used my tiny pink scraps today. I used most of the larger strings on a string quilt for donation. 

I ended up with 29 - six inch blocks.  And I didn't think I had that much PINK! I left a bunch of 2.5 inch pieces to work with next weekend. 

There's a Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC 2013) linky party in case you want to see what everyone else does with PINK.


I finally finished a presentation case (pillow case) to go with the Quilt of Valor flimsy I finished on New Year's Day. The patriotic pinwheels forms the cuff.
I'll be mailing both off to a longarmer asap.

Friday, January 11, 2013

More UFO Work

I participate in a 3 inch 9 patch swap several times a year with the Block_Swappers Yahoo Group. I've been slowly turning them into 5 inch Sister's Choice blocks. I now have 92 out of the 288 necessary for my quilt. I better get moving if I want to finish a quilt made of these any time soon.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Just a Few Minutes Each Day

Holiday vacations are over, ten hour work days are back. But I'm still finding a little time to sew each day. I'm working on 6 inch churn dashes in civil war fabrics for an upcoming swap. I'm hoping to swap 24 blocks - 2 sets of 6 negative and 2 sets of 6 positive and keep duplicates of same for myself.

It's Linky Party Tuesday at Freemotion by the River.

And, if you want to check out some projects using words check out the In Your Words Blog Hop. hosted by Linda at Buzzing and Bumbling.  My project is on the list to appear on Monday, Jan 14! I've had it finished since first week of Jan.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Wonky Log Cabin UFO. Will It Be Finished in January?

I started this log cabin before Christmas from dark and light scraps.  It is #53 on my list of 73 UFOs. I needed more blocks so finished them up today and sewed them into a flimsy that I hope to have quilted by the end of the month.  It consists of 30- 9 inch blocks - 45x54. When finished it will go to Wrap-a-Smile or Wrap Them in Love. 

One of my challenges this year is to see how many donation quilts I can make from my boxes of scraps. Another challenge is to see how many of my 73 UFOs I can get finished. And after I do finish a UFO I give myself permission to start something new - but not before. 

Because it is a UFO I'm linking up to UFO Sunday at The Free Motion Quilting Project. I'm also declaring this as January's goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

"Crazy Basket Case" Update

I don't have the borders on yet but all the Crazy Basket Case blocks are sewn together. 

 This was the last block I finished- a basket of toys.
Now I'm going over all the joining seams with feather stitches...

...lots and lots of feather stitches. 

At this point it is 49 x 56. I have to figure out how to put it all together - backing, batting and top. I was going to discretely tie it but see a lot of quilt shows won't allow tied quilts. Mind you, I probably won't enter it in any quilt shows but, what if...? 

I'll figure something out. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Crazy Cravings

I've finished a block for the CQJP 2013 Journal Project. It is one of what will be 20- 12 inch blocks for a lap quilt I'm calling Crazy Cravings. It will be mostly worked in aqua, pink, cream and browns and be full of all the fattening things I constantly crave. Cookies, cupcakes, specialty coffee is represented on this block.

Since the blocks need to be washable I won't be using any beads but I will be using buttons. I found these cute gingerbread boy buttons that feel kind of rubbery. Each block will have some sort of embroidery motif like my cqjp 2012 Crazy Basket Case lap quilt. I used purchased pink lace in upper left corner but I hope to crochet some lace edgings from some old patterns I have in my possession.

 Close up photo to show some of the seam treatments.
-The arched seam is just straight stitches. I used 2 strands of brown for middle arch and used antique gold for the outer arches because small cupcake fabric has gold in it. Bullions connect the arches.
-rick rack is stitched down with variegated silk thread chains, pistil stitches and lazy daisies.
-aqua/teal variegated double lazy daisy flowers with french knot centers
- herringbone seam stitched once in 3 strands of brown DMC and then again with 3 strands of tan DMC

And then there's the cookie. I cut a cookie motif from some fabric and appliqued it on to the block. I left a small space for stuffing with some left over batting and then stitched closed and further embellished.

I haven't forgotten about my CQJP 2012 lap quilt - Crazy Basket Case. It is still a WIP. I will post an update on that tomorrow (if I remember).

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year Sew Alongs

Another Heartstring quilt for Wrap-a-Smile. This one has green centers and is boy themed with footballs, baseballs and eyeballs, bats, spiders and lizards. Hope it is not too scary for a little one. My 3 year old grandson loves all these things. 

 I free motion quilted it with more spirals. This completes UFO #50 out of 73.
Next up is a girly themed Heartstring with gray centers and it used up most of my pink and red fabrics. 

 It has kitties, bunnies, hearts and butterflies...
 ...ball and jacks and Strawberry Shortcake. I free motion quilted some four petaled posies.  This completes UFO #49 out of my list of 73.
Quilts of Valor was also hosting a sew a long for today. I completed a Happy Block top and ordered some Cardinal Red Kona for the back and presentation (pillow) case. Then I will request a longarmer.