Wednesday, February 29, 2012

FO Challenge

The last day of February and time to post the new monthly projects for the 2012 FO Challenge being held at Cat Patches.  Seems like I've been busier than what I have to show but I started so many last month which means I was busy with those projects.  Previously, I posted about some quilt blocks I received that were done by a friend's 83-year-old mother and she wanted them put together in a queen/king size quilt.  

I used the Quilt Design Wizard software and came up with two designs.  The first was a straight traditional design with white sashing  

 The second was on point.

 After several emails back and forth to my friend and consultations with mother, they wanted the on point design with sashing.  Oky-doky.  Back to the Design Wizard and I came up with a pattern that they both agreed upon and fit the size parameters and the blocks I had to work with. 

 I have the top sewn together.  
This baby is big..102 x 85.  Now, to quilt it.

I started a little doll/mini quilt and I was thinking Easter with this.

I don't know.  Should I embroider poseys in the baskets or leave it alone?  The rabbits are wool felt.  It won't take long to quilt.  

Those are my new February projects.  Time for a cuppa.

Happy Leap Day

Seems like we should celebrate today.  In fact, a lot of my blog friends are celebrating.  When I clicked on Google Reader this morning I found 63 posts waiting for me.  Holy Blogland, Batman.  I thought I caught up with everyone yesterday but it seems today there is a Leap Day giveaway at Such a Sew and Sew that many have linked up to.  I'm not participating in it in terms of giving something away but I sure like to enter them.  And you may want to also.  They're fun.  Now, I went back to Google Reader and see that most of those blogs are from days ago that I've already read.  What the heck is going on with Reader?  

We had a weather event yesterday.   The weather gurus have been sending warnings across the state of a major winter storm but couldn't tell us how major or where most of it would hit.  The northern section of the state got 12 inches of snow.  We in southern Minnesota got a mixture of rain and snow and I think throughout the night we ended up with close to a half inch of rain.  
 Streets are sloppy but not frozen.
 Lots of water in the backyards.  
Being that it's Leap Day, I'm going to take a big leap.  I found out over the weekend that Riverdance is appearing in Mankato tomorrow night.  This is the last U.S. tour and I'm only 26 miles away.  However, two things have been holding me back.  1.  The impending winter storm that was suppose to hit us yesterday and today but didn't happen, and 2.  I'm a weenie when it comes to driving at night.  I avoid night driving at all costs unless it's an emergency.  I drove at night coming home from my sister's wake in January.  Roads were dry and it went okay even though I was  white knuckled all the way.  No. 38 no longer drives out of town, I do all the driving.  But, I also know my limitations.  I really want to see Riverdance.  As today is Leap Day, I'm going to take the leap and order the tickets.  They were still available yesterday so here's hoping.

Best get into the sewing room today.  I've slacked off the last couple of days because of this and that and other stuff happening.  It's also time to start thinking about fixing dinner.  See what I mean?  

Friday, February 24, 2012

I'm Back and My Back Is Back

It's amazing what a couple of days of complete rest and a heating pad will do for a nasty back event.  I'm almost where I was before I squatted down to pick up doggy doo on Monday.  Only half broken but feeling so much better.  My BBF Sandy called on Wed. and suggested going to a small quilt show at the St. Peter Library if I felt up to it and by then  I was moving around cautiously but decided that it was probably what I needed.  The St. Peter quilt guild puts on a display at the library every February and it's displayed all month.  Usually, there are so many quilts that the library can't accommodate them all at once so one batch is displayed for two weeks then another batch comes in.  We saw the last grouping but it was no less impressive.
 There is a lot of sunshine coming into this library.  I only took a couple of pictures.  This ginormous king size.  I couldn't get it all.
 And, this one fascinated me.  It's all applique.
 I couldn't leave the library without checking out a pile of books.  A couple on knitting, one on paper crafts and this one.

 I think we all forget to take care of ourselves what with obligations to jobs and family and just plain everyday life.  Time for ourselves is sometimes hard to come by.  I'm finding more of that personal time since I've been retired but there are still days when I do a lot of should-ing.  I'm glad I found this book.  It's teaching me how to breathe.  I highly recommend it.

If you've been following recently, you may recall a picture of a wedding gown I've had hanging up waiting for me to make a christening gown.  You can take a looky here.  I managed to get the bodice of the little gown finished.  Isn't it pretty?

 I'm setting that aside for a while.  I just have the skirt to finish but am struggling with the overlays.  I have to think about it some more.  

Barbara over at Cat Patches is hosting a Doll Quilt Swap, which I joined because doll quilts are basically mini quilts and a good way to use up scraps.  Also, because Barbara has a lot of fun on her blog and we all need some fun everyday.  But, I digress.  This was my fun yesterday and this morning. 
Do you see a doll quilt in the making?  

I've blabbed long enough.  Time to get back into my bliss zone.
Thanks for visiting today.  Hope your weekend is stress-free.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Oh, My Aching Back

I've been away from the blog for a few fact, I haven't been in the sewing room since Sunday because I did something to my back..again.  This has happened before and it's very debilitating.  It's painful to sit or stand and I look like Quasimodo  when I try to walk.  Yesterday I stayed in bed on the heating pad thinking what would my life be if I couldn't play in the sewing room again or go for walks, garden, play with my dog.  I did a lot of soul searching.  This morning I can sit in a chair without wincing at least.  I will be very careful today so that tomorrow should feel better.

Perusing through the blogs I wish to mention  a give-away over at Colleen's Quilting Journey.  She's giving away Jennifer Chiavernini's new book Sonoma Rose, and who doesn't like Jennifer's books?  

Have a good day everyone.  "I'll be back" (imagine an Arnold Schwarzenegger inflection here).

Saturday, February 18, 2012

FMQ for February

Today is the day.  I'm posting the February lesson on free motion quilting for the Free Motion Quilt Challenge hosted by Sew Cal Gal.
My sewing machine was getting serviced so I had lots of time to do practice drawings.  I forgot to mention that Diane Gaudynski is the February instructor and her feather designs are awesome.  So here are my drawings.
 When the sewing machine came back, I finally got to practice on my practice sandwiches.
I invested in a new open-toe free-motion quilting foot.  The foot that I originally got with the Bernina is an oblong, clear plastic foot and it worked really fine.  Diane Gaudynski suggested that an open-toe model would give a person more visibility and I have to tell you, it improved my free-motion by 99%.  Well, maybe not that much, but it certainly made the echo quilting easier and more comfortable.  

I got out the FMQ sampler and went to work.  Warm-ups out of the way and deep we go

This is so much fun.  I did some echoing and some stippling.  Also, some little circles.  I wrote my name in the left-hand corner.  Can you see it?

Ta-Da.  Thank you, Diane, for a great tutorial.  If you haven't joined the FMQ Challenge, do it now.  Just click on the button on the right side of my blog or the link in this post.    

Thanks for visiting today.  The sun is shining in my corner of the world.  Hope it's shining where you are.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Back In Action

Bernie is back home and I've been busy sewing.  I had no idea I was so addicted to my craft.  Alas, I am so just go with it, right?

I did some more practice with free motion quilting for the FMQ Challenge.  
 I'm getting closer to applying it to the FMQ Challenge sampler and posting.  Diane Gaudynski is an awesome free motion quilter and her books really gave me confidence.  I got both of them, Guide to Machine Quilting and Quilt Savy from the library.  I ended up buying Quilt Savy for my personal library.  Whenever I need a boost in confidence, Diane will be in my sewing room to help me out.

I finished the New Beginnings Mini Quilt Swap and it's ready to send off.  I gave you a little tease of the fabrics a while back when I was cutting for this project.
 Here is the finished project.
 You can't see it on this picture but I machine quilted circles inside the dark squares and smaller circles inside the four-patch lighter squares.  Instead of marking the circles with a marker, I used freezer paper.  I have a love/hate relationship with markers of all kinds except the air erasable kind.  But with dark fabrics, that type of marker won't do the job.  The freezer paper approach works really well.
 I used a turquoise metallic thread in the top and the bobbin.  The trick with using metallics is to sew slowly so you don't saw through the thread.  I put a greenish-blue batik on the back and the thread gave it a nice bling.
 The photo doesn't do it justice.  Sorry for that.  But, I'm very pleased with the end result.  
The pattern is called "Batik Fun" and is in Fat-Quarter Quilting by Lori Smith.  Lots of neat projects in this book.  I've done two of them and they turn out beautiful.

My valentine took me away from the stove yesterday but it's "hello, stove" today.  Time to start dinner.   Let's see..meat loaf or burgers?  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Musings

It's a beautiful sunny Sunday in Minnesota...cold this morning but inching above freezing.  After returning from church and fixing a late breakfast, I've been lining up this week's projects.  Yes, Bernie will be back home tomorrow morning.  I called the shop again yesterday and they hadn't gotten to it, yet.  But, I started to whimper and the lady said she would "put it up" next and call me when it's finished.  She called me at 3:45 to tell me it was ready.  However, the shop closes at 4:00 on Sat. and it's a half hour drive (at legal limit).  Okay, I can suck up one more day.

So here are my upcoming projects.

#1.  Start practicing the FMQ Challenge for February. I've been drawing feathers on paper so I should be good to go.  We'll see.
#2.  Start sewing on the Sunbonnet Sue blocks I finished embroidering.
All those little pieces you see on the right are 1 1/2" and there are a gazillion of them.  You can understand why I would like to get started.
#3.  Get sewing on a christening gown I promised for #38's niece.  I made a couple of gowns for my neighbor a couple of years ago from her wedding dress so when Bonnie saw those, she brought me her wedding dress to see what I could do with that.  It's been hanging in the Bear Den for over a year.  
Lots of lace but not much fabric.  I got it all taken apart and laying all over my work table.
I hope she has a baby granddaughter.  There is a underskirt that should have enough fabric for a baby boy christening romper.  I like these kind of challenges.

Speaking of challenges, a friend of mine stopped by yesterday with a box of quilt blocks that her 83-year-old mother made a few years ago.  We talked about these blocks about a year ago when I was finishing and tying some quilts her mother had made and I said I could put them together for her.  Here's what I have:
There are 14 of the upper left, 22 of the upper right and 4 of the lower block.  These 11 1/4" blocks are neatly made by an 83-year-old lady confined to a wheelchair.  I don't think she uses a rotary cutter or any of the wonderful tools we can't live without.  If you look closely, you can see that her points are perfect.  She probably uses a cereal box to make templates.  My challenge is to come up with a pleasing design in a king-size.  I've been busy today with the Quilt Design Wizard software that I haven't used very much.  It really works nice for this project.

You just never know what's going to come through my front door.  Sounds like I watch too many episodes of Pawn Stars.

Taking No. 38 out for his valentine supper tonight.  That will put him on the spot for Tuesday, don't you think?  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I'm Having Withdrawals

I sent the Bernina into the shop for a tune-up and I think I could use a 12-step program.  I have the Featherweight and the older black Singer in the Bear Den but, it's not the same.  One of the problems is that I left all but one bobbin for the Featherweight in the sewing machine bag so all I have is one bobbin with black thread in it.  The other Singer is set up for bear making and doesn't sew like Bernie can.  Sigh! 

I have been making headway with the organization project.  Cleaned off one of the bookshelves and recycled a mound of paper and old catalogs.  Decided I didn't need a boat load of lace any longer so that's going to find a new home, preferably not mine.  And, I've been drawing feathers for the FMQ Challenge.  This month's tutorial is by Diane Gaudynski.  You can find that here.
These are the feathers I usually make.  I drew the stippling around them to see the effect it makes.  
The feather in the middle is based on Diane Gaudynski's technique.  She starts making the feathers from the bottom up.  I'm use to making mine from the top down.  The feather on the left is my top-down technique.  

 I will keep drawing.  Once I get to the sewing machine, I will try both techniques on the practice sandwiches.  I can't wait.  Hope Bernie comes home soon.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cheryl's Birthday Give-Away

I promised Cheryl over at Cheryl's Teapots 2 Quilting blog that I would mention her Triple Whammy Giveaway celebrating her 49th birthday.  She is giving away 49 items to a bunch of lucky winners.  She makes the cutest thread catchers and if you visit her blog you'll be able to find a tutorial on how to make them.

She claims these are fast and easy to make but I think right now I'd rather win one.  I have a lot on my plate at the moment and Bernie is still in the shop getting a D & C  (Dusting & Cleaning).

I took on the role of secretary to our quilt guild and spent the afternoon trying to open the files on the flash drive I received with all the membership info, etc.  No luck.  Don't have a clue why it won't open.  I really need to figure this one out and hate to spend precious time at the computer mumbling monosyllables and talking to it.  Finally gave up and went to the Bear Den to make valentine cards.
I still think they look a little like second grade art class.  I'm learning how to do embossing and sometimes end up with a mess.

The hearts on this one are fabric and I zig-zagged them on.  
Just fooling around to see what works and what doesn't.  

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with me today.  Enjoy Superbowl Sunday.