Sunday, May 20, 2018

Catch Up Post - Thanksgiving Tablerunner

This will be my last catch up quilt post, my Thanksgiving tablerunner. Having created the Halloween runner from a precut kit on a dare from Himself, I breathed a sigh of relief that now I had some time until Christmas. Himself looked at me and asked "What about Thanksgiving?" Um... eep! 

So I wanted something easy and quick and found this panel that I cut up, repositioned, and then sewed back together. Very, very fast, very little creativity, not very happy with it. The only thing I liked was the crosshatch quilting. (Yup, quilted this one myself!)

I liked that it had sunflowers and pumpkins together. But once I got it home, I was a bit stumped. I've not worked with panels before and, frankly, don't get them.

I couldn't decide what color to border it with, so asked HImself for input and auditioned the two for him. As a beginner quilter, I had no idea the 7 levels of hell I was heading for when he replied "use both."

As far as I can tell, it was perfectly lined up. Yet I could not get those borders even, nor would they mitre correctly at the corners. 

It was not helped by Quality Control sitting in and inspecting the work in progress rather than the finished product!

The back was two border prints of fabric that I pieced together to make rows. This one is not going to stay around very long, it will be replaced as soon as I can find both a pattern that I like and the time to sew it up!

That's it for quilting posts. I've also been doing some sewing. Check back soon for my collection of skirts!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

50th Birthday Quilt Tools Quilt - or How I Spent My Birthday Money! :)

"What would you like for your birthday?" I was asked.
"Nothing," I replied. "I live in a tiny house and have everything I need."
"But it's your FIFTIETH!" they argued. "We have to give you something!"
"Send money!" I responded pragmatically.
"Scandalous!" they exclaimed. "It's so tacky to send money as a gift."
"Ok," I compromised. "I'll send you an email with a list of quilting tools I'd like. That's what I'd use the money on anyway. I've been 'making do' for so long now, it would be grand to have some proper quilting tools to work with."

They reviewed the email and sent me money. 😃

I splurged on some top of the line tools that are essential items, no odd fads. Tools like real quilting rulers (rotary blades chew up plain plastic rulers) and cutting mats and ergonomic rotary cutters and, oh joy, quilt clips! I'm in heaven, I tell you!

For those who are wondering, quilting tools are horrendously expensive. The 36" ruler I bought, for example, was $46. Just the ruler! So I've been destroying plain old plastic rulers, my pattern drafting rulers, or my rotary blades on metal rulers, for the past five years. It's so much fun to have a measuring tool that I can cut with and blades that aren't dull after the first two rounds!

Now, allow me to show off with great pride and delight, my first* quilted item using my birthday money tools. I cannot express how much easier it was to create it with the proper tools - and was astounded myself with how much I was struggling before and didn't realize!

It's a table topper for my sister-in-law's birthday.

It was, as most days, a breezy day today. This was the best photo I could get out of TWO DOZEN! The wind was in a playful mood, and I was not. It was not a good recipe!  So you get only that ^ one, and one close up of the back, from the outdoors set.

It was quilted on a longarm with a pansies pattern, which is very pretty on the back. The front pattern is called a Disappearing Hourglass block.

You start with two 10" squares and sew them together. Then you cut them into four, rearrange, and sew those together into an hourglass block. See the hourglass?

Then you cut that into nine pieces, rearrange them, and sew them together.

Originally I was going to sew them in a straight line and make a table runner. Like this:

Then I discovered that my sister-in-law has an exceptionally long table and was concerned a too-short table runner would look... odd. Hmmm..... rearrange the squares....

I quite liked the way the floral fabric made a sort of flower shape in this format, but it's not for me, so I asked for input from my mother-in-law. She said this arrangement would hide "all the pretty colors" if a vase or bowl was placed in the center.


Just under 30" square (ish), with two borders, bound, and ready for its new home. We're going to drive down tomorrow to present it. I'm really very proud of my first attempt!

*To be honest, it isn't my first. What I started on first is a stag wall hanging for my mother, but it has turned out way more complicated and much more time consuming. When my sister-in-law's birthday loomed, I quietly put it aside and whipped up this table topper. Now that's it's done, I shall return to learning Klingon, so that I can swear quietly without anyone knowing that I'm cussing, as I continue with Project Enthusiasm-is-Higher-than-Skills.

Friday, March 9, 2018

What Happens When You Go To The Dinosaur Park Alone....

.... and there's nobody there but you and your self-timer camera!

Just hanging with my peeps!

Got me a hot date!

Yeah, we've been in line all day.

Duck and cover!

Oooh... a little more to the left... yes... just there...

It's an honor to meet you, sir!

Please sir, may I pass?

Seriously, dude, I gotta go now!

Winchester, VA

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Halloween Table Runner

Himself was away and called home. I had sent him a photo of a table runner that I'd been working on all summer and the top was finally completed. He asked me if I could create a Halloween* table runner before he got home. Seeing as he was scheduled to get home five days later, and a weekend was in the middle of that five days, I scoffed that it was no problem! 

* Yes, this post is a little late. So?

Off to the quilt shop to get some Halloween fabrics and ideas. I ended up piecing these cute pumpkins, backed with a Harry Potter style newsprint.

With thanks to Little Cottage Quilt Shop in Medina for the kit!

And surrounded by some spiderweb

Those eight pumpkins all looked a bit blah on their own, so I made an extra-large pumpkin for the middle. I didn't have enough fabric for the surround, so scavenged some purple Halloween figurines and some skulls fabric and put it all together. 

Much better!

This one was a quilt-by-checkbook and went off to be done. I took the advice of the lady on what colors to use, but I think I should have gone with orange. Orange would have popped against the black and allowed me to use the table runner on both sides. The purple is totally lost, even on the front! I had to edit the heck out of this photo to get the webs to show up for you!

Then I was totally stumped for the border. My beloved quilt instructor to the rescue! She had this marvelous lime green spider fabric and kindly donated some. 

All done!

Did I get it done before Himself came home?

Turned out to be a trick question. Sneaky rat had a surprise return planned and arrived the next day! So, no. 

But I did get it finished before my Halloween party!

Photobomb! :)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Spread a Little Sunshine on Your Eggs

And your toast. 

And your sausage, and your bacon, and your steak, and your baked potato, and your cheese, and your broccoli, and your banana .... hmmmm.... I think the only thing I HAVEN'T put this on would be my morning oatmeal!

"This" would be Himself's Hot Pepper Jam, made with a selection of hot peppers grown in his garden, and using an old African recipe because I totally don't understand this modern pectin stuff and that batch was a complete fail. All of these others are organic, preservative free, homegrown goodness!

By careful selection of the hot peppers and bell peppers, Himself managed to come up with a veritable rainbow of jams. 

Ranging from rich reds, cheeky corals, and vibrant oranges, 

through to dusky browns and military green. We haven't managed an emerald green yet, but I'm sure we'll work on that with the harvest this year.

He even managed some chunky multi-colored varieties. 

I made the first batch and it came out like jam; sweet, but with a hint of spice. Then Himself took over and has been producing increasingly nuanced flavors, all the way up to the ones that make my eyes water while he's cooking them! 

We've started looking at the different varietals at the nursery, with an eye to jam production in the coming fall. In the interim, though, I've got a date with something yummy! Nom nom nom