I took advantage of my LQS's (Needles Quilt Shop in Wellsboro, PA) inventory reduction sale this week and bought fabric to finish up my aunt's quilt that I blogged about on Monday. The brown flannel will be the backing and the red is for the binding. I picked up the green and white stripe to add to my stash of stripes to be used for bias binding someday.
Now that 2010 is coming to a close, I have decided to put myself on a fabric-buying diet. I have way too much fabric in my stash and don't need any more, no matter how pretty it is or how great a deal it is. My goal for 2011 is to only use the fabric in my stash for my projects. The only exception will be for backings and maybe bindings.
My husband and I have not felt the need to acquire much "stuff" for many years now, so our Christmas lists are usually quite short. With each passing year, it gets harder and harder to think of something to put on my list. And frankly, the way-over-the-top commercialization of Christmas really bothers me anyway. I try to participate in that as little as possible, while still making the season a fun one for friends and family. This year, I came up with what I think is a wondeful gift to ask for -- one that both my husband and son can give me together.
I have admired barn quilts for a long time now and have been jealous of people around the country who have them on their barns, homes, and even businesses. So, while my son is home on semester break, he and my husband will make me a barn quilt. Well, not technically a barn quilt, but a quilt that will hang on the outside of our garage wall.
So, the first thing to do is to agree on a block design that we all like. Not such an easy thing to do when there are thousands to choose from. Needless to say, we (well, mostly I) have spent a lot of time going through these books to see if we can come up with something. We're getting close.
Next week, the guys will go get supplies and start working .The goal is to have it finished by the time my son goes back to Cornell in three weeks. It won't be hung until warmer weather (perhaps spring break?), but I'm willing to wait.
Although in this photo some of the birch tree's branches hide the big open space above the garage door, it gives you an idea of the space where we plan to hang the quilt block. Clicking on the picture might give you a bigger view.
Now the next decision to make is to whether to use the gray, maroon, and white colors of the house (perhaps with black) or to use some bright cheery colors like in most of my quilts! Decisions, decisions....
I took advantage of a quiet Christmas weekend to finish up a top that I've been working on for a while. I hope to finish the quilt in time to give to my aunt when we go visit in a couple of weeks. This is to replace the quilt that I blogged about here.
I think I did a better job with this one, don't you think?
Merry Christmas to my readers who celebrate and Happy Festivus to the rest!
Please make the effort this weekend to spend time with your families and friends, near and far, in person or through electronic means. And keep the spirit of Christmas with you throughout the entire year!
Some of my favorite ornaments are those that have been given to me by friends and family. This one was made by my friend Madalene several years ago. I can assure you that the fabric colors are much richer-looking in person than in the photo.
You can see more of Madalene's lovely art quilting on her blog, working wall.
Several years ago, I decided to whip up a table runner right before Christmas. I didn't want to spend too much time on it, so I just cut squares from my stash of Christmas fabric and quickly sewed them together into this. The backing was sewn on by machine and then instead of a binding, I just top-stitched all the way around the edges. I didn't quilt it because I didn't want to take the time. And now every year when I take it out, I say to myself, "I really should quilt this...maybe after Christmas when I put the decorations away." And of course, I never get around to it and it goes back in the box unquilted. And if I do quilt it, I'll need to be extra careful to avoid puckers since the edges are already finished.
Perhaps I should make it a New Year's resolution for 2011....
These are the ornaments I made this year for friends. The fabric is from a line by Diane Knott from several years ago and the tutorial for the ornaments is here. You can see the ones I made in past years by clicking here and here.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will hold out today for my guild's annual holiday party. We usually have a wonderful dinner and then a fun fat quarter gift exchange. Often times the wrapping is just as nice as the fat quarters inside, and with every year, more and more of our guild members make reusable bags for the event. This year I made a drawstring bag based on this tutorial, using the two fat quarters that I received in last year's exchange. If you want to see what I brought last year, check this post.
My guild does a lot of charity quilting throughout the year. We often give the finished projects to Project Linus, but this batch will be going directly to a local shelter for abused parents and children in time for Christmas. To see some of my blog posts on the progress of some of these quilts, click here, here, and here.
Thanks to the generosity of guild members who donated fabric and/or their time, some local residents will hopefully have a little bit to smile about this holiday season....
My husband and I and a couple of friends enjoyed a "Barrel Tasting" event at Keuka Spring Vineyard up near Penn Yan, NY this past weekend (about an hour and a half drive from home). One of the displays of gift items included "bottle vests" for those who like to make sure their wines are well-dressed. There was a basket filled with vests made from all sorts of fabrics, from patriotic to Christmas themes. Interesting way to use up scraps!
During the tasting, we got to sample some prize-winning wines along with getting a chance to try some that are still "cooking" in the barrels. It was very interesting comparing the wines that are "ready" with those that are not. We then got to try mixing our own blends, both of the whites and the reds.
After the tasting, we enjoyed a wonderful spread of delicious appetizers. I was so busy eating that I forgot to take a picture. Oh well, trust me, the food was very good, too.
I am a person who insists that no Christmas decorating begin in my house until the Thanksgiving weekend is over. Thanksgiving is an important holiday and it shouldn't be overshadowed by what comes a month later. It bothers me to no end that I start hearing Christmas music in the stores in September and see Christmas things in the stores way too early in the year. The commercialization of Christmas gets me madder and madder every year.
That being said, I do like to put a few things around my house for the season. Most of them are things that I've had for years or things that my dear friends and family have given or made for me in years gone by. Or things that I've made myself, such as this cube tissue box cover.
Like I said in my previous post, I haven't been doing too much stitching lately, but I did manage to put this little hexie ornament together over the weekend. The back has the fabrics in reverse (green on the outside, cream in the center) and it's puffed up a bit with some polyfill stuffing.
I hope my U.S. readers had a very nice Thanksgiving holiday...
Very little quilting and sewing went on in my house this past weekend. That's because college boy was home for the holiday and of course I had more important things to do...things like baking cookies and doing his laundry! Hopefully, it's back to some stitiching this week.
In the meantime, here is a photo of a quilt that I made in early 2008 for my cousin's first baby. The Carpenter's Star is one of my favorite patterns. So easy, yet so impressive-looking. I just wish that I had taken some close-up shots of the quilting that I did in the triangles.
Thanks to Karen Griska of Selvage Blog fame, this will be showing up in my mailbox soon. Karen recently sponsored a giveaway on her blog, and I was lucky enough to be a winner. Check out the block that Karen contributed to this issue on her blog here. And while you're visiting her blog, take a look at all the other cool stuff that she shares. Be sure to put her blog on your blog list...you won't want to miss a single post.
Today I'm off to give a quilting presentation to our local second-graders for their annual Colonial Days. I've lost track of how many years I've done this, but this is at least the fifth. They keep asking me back every year and I never get tired of doing it, but I do get exhausted by the time I'm finished with presenting the program three times in one morning!
I usually bring a bunch of my completed quilts (the teachers don't mind if they're machine quilted, not hand quilted), a quilt top so that they can see what the seams look like, a few blocks, and some scraps to give them an idea of the kinds of pieces that quilts start with. I also bring along a quilt that I started at least ten years ago, but haven't touched in years except for the annual presentation. It's the maroon and gold one that's in the hoop. The fabrics are not my colors and I don't really want to finish the hand quilting, but it comes in handy to demonstrate what a quilt sandwich looks like and how to hand quilt. I just take a few big stitches every year during the demo...it's a good excuse not to finish the quilt...I'll need it for next year!
Earlier this week, the guest speaker at my guild meeting was Louise Young, a local fiber artist who spoke about the Kuna people of Panama and their art of creating molas. Louise was very gracious and passed the pieces around so that we could all take a close look at the exquisite workmanship. I'm afraid my pictures don't do the molas justice, but you can get an idea of what they looked like. If you ever have a chance, you must see a mola in person.
I love the use of color and the delicate work of the teeny stitches.
My friend Moddy has been feverishly working on making six quilts for family members as gifts at Thanksgiving. She finished the last of the six last week and I quilted it for her over the weekend so she could finish up the binding in time.
She used a Disappearing Nine-Patch pattern; I just free-motioned flowers and loops.
To see more of Moddy's quilts, just click on the "Moddy's quilts" label on the right sidebar of my blog. She's quite prolific -- her family members are very lucky!
I'm catching up with posting photos of quilts that I made B.B. (Before Blogging). This is a baby quilt that I made for one of my husband's great-nieces in early 2008 made from leftover fabric from these two quilts from 2006. There was not much of the fabric left once I got done with this one.
My husband and I took advantage of the gorgeous weather yesterday for a drive to Lyman Run State Park in Potter County, PA (less than an hour from our home). It's quite a bit out of the way for most people, so we practically had the park to ourselves. We enjoyed a wonderful walk along the lake and were rewarded with a visit from a couple of bald eagles. They were on the other side of the lake, so it wasn't worth my while to take pictures with my cheapy camera, but I had a great view through binoculars.
On our way home, we stopped at the Brick House Deli and Cafe in Galeton, PA for a great lunch of homemade soup and sandwiches. If you're ever in the area, I recommend a stop there for a bite to eat. They don't have a website, but if you're on facebook, you can find them there.
As I went up to pay for our lunch, I happened to notice that one of the display cabinets in the cafe had a quilt hanging on the back of it. We had been sitting on the other side of the room while we were eating, so I didn't notice it until we were on our way out.
I asked the guy at the cash register if it was a family quilt, but he said that he thought it was in the house when they bought it several years ago. According to the blurb on the back of the menu, the building was originally built in 1895 by a well-known local doctor who used it as his family home and office until his death in 1942. Over a period of time the building was converted into apartments and it aged a bit, but in 2004, a new owner saw the potential and started renovating it. It was bought again in 2007 by the current owners, who continue to restore it and run a great cafe at the same time! I would have taken a bit more time to examine the quilt if the table in front of it didn't have some very ravenous gas workers sitting there who were waiting for their lunch. They probably would have wondered why this crazy woman was so interested in a dirty old blanket!
Do you have a love/hate relationship with your serger? I do. When it works, I absolutely love it, but when it doesn't, I really, really hate it! It usually serves me faithfully, but once in a while, something goes wrong with the threading and then I start hurling a lot of 4-letter words all over my sewing studio. Rethreading means getting out the manual and attempting to thread the threads through all of the various little holes and loopers and such, awkwardly using a teeny screwdriver and tweezers and needle threader. It usually takes forever. I spent at least an hour on this the other day, and I finally got it to work (I think).
You'd think somebody would come up with a better design...Yes, I know there are some new sergers out there with automatic threaders, but I wonder how well they work...anybody have any experience with those? And even if they work well, I'm not ready to spend mucho dinero on a new serger (at least not until college expenses are done with).