Friday, March 29, 2013

No Wonder He Cut Off His Ear!

The Ithaca Modern Quilt Guild that I'm a member of is having a group project in which guild members create a block to be a part of a group quilt inspired by Van Gogh's The Starry Night painting. At a meeting a couple of months ago, a poster of the painting was cut up into 24 squares and we were asked to take a square and then make a larger (9-inch finished) quilt fabric square depicting that part of the painting that we took.

After Plan A and Plan B and Plan C didn't work for me (maybe even Plan D), I finally created what you see on the left in the top photo. It's hard to really tell what I did, so I'll just explain the process.

First, I scanned the small square into my computer and then printed it on some photo fabric sheets (I had to use two sheets and sew the pieces together since the finished block is larger than a regular-sized sheet). Then I arranged rayon thread (in various shades of blue and yellow) and gold metallic thread on top of the printed fabric. Then I fused some white tulle on top of the thread, and then did a little bit of thread painting using blue and gold thread on top of the tulle.

I tried to take some closeup shots, but my camera had difficulty focusing (probably because of the tulle) ...

Looks like a real mess, doesn't it? It's really nicer in person, and although it's not a masterpiece, I'm OK with it.

I hope to show photos of the rest of the blocks after the April meeting of the Ithaca Modern Quilt Guild. I'm sure the whole quilt will look wonderful!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Stashbusting Break

I took advantage of a recent sale at Joann's to buy five one-yard cuts of flannel at 60% off and an extra 25% off with a coupon so that I could quickly make a chemotherapy charity quilt. I also bought some royal blue fleece (at 50% off and the extra 25%) for the backing. The quilt will be just a simple rail fence pattern, but it will be done in no time at all. And I'll even have a bit left over for a small baby quilt top. After this one is done, then I'll go back to stashbusting.

Although the fabric is not the best (and look at that honking-big selvage on the green strip!), it will make for a perfectly fine quilt to keep someone warm while in treatment...and the colors are bright enough to hopefully make someone smile.

Not bad for $17 (including tax!).

Monday, March 25, 2013

I Don't Just Quilt

I seem to enjoy almost anything having to do with fiber, so I often spend time making crochet-edged fleece blankets, mainly for charities. My friend Susan of Hanging on by a Needle and Thread blog got me hooked on these (basic instructions can be found here). You can find a video on Susan's blog here and she also has some crochet patterns here and here.

Susan doesn't realize that she's created a monster...since she's the coordinator of my guild's local outreach program, these will go to her to be distributed to foster children in our local area.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Keeping At It

This is another finish for March, all made with batik fabrics from my stash. I used Bonnie Hunter's tutorial for a Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt, which was all over blogland earlier this year.

Here's a closeup of the quilting...just simple meandering...

And here's the back...a wide batik that didn't require any piecing...

That's another seven yards used in 2013, but purchased ages ago!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Enough Is Enough!

Today is the first day of spring and I was hoping to get this flannel quilt off of my bed soon!

But Mother Nature has not been kind to us here in north-central PA this March -- well, actually, she's been fairly normal, but normal can be over-rated...especially in March and especially since we had 80-degree temperatures last year at this time! I love snow and winter, but only through about mid-February. After that, I'm ready for warmer days and sunshine. But it looks like this quilt will not be put away for a few weeks yet.

I made this quilt back in 2001 and I blogged about it here; it has held up surprisingly well, considering that it has been on our bed every winter since then, for at least six months at a time, and has gone through the washer and dryer quite a bit.

Only one of the fabrics has started to wear through, as you can see in the photo below...and it's only in a couple of spots.

Anyway...Happy First Day of Spring, Everyone!

Monday, March 18, 2013

International Quilting Day

How did you spend International Quilting Day this past Saturday? I spent it with other members of my guild, the Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild, at a mini-retreat, complete with a delicious potluck lunch!  We had just as much fun as these quilters did....without the costumes...

Friday, March 15, 2013

More Stashbusting

Some of my readers may remember when I first blogged about this quilt (read about it here) about six weeks ago. It's now quilted, bound, and labeled and will be donated to my guild's latest outreach project -- our local foster child program.

The back is all from my stash...

And my favorite part is the bias striped binding...

My only complaint about striped binding is that it can be very difficult to find a thread that will match all the colors, so some of the stitches disappear better than others. This closeup also gives you a view of how I've been attaching labels to these charity quilts. It's just a five-inch square of fabric, folded in half, and then sewn into the binding on the raw edges. I usually just fuse the folded edge to the backing, but I suppose I could easily hand-sew that part, too.

This is another 4 1/2 yards of fabric used up in 2013 from my stash!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


March is the month in which I traveled to a number of national-level quilt shows in past years, several times to see one of my quilts on display. The photo above was taken at the Quilters' Heritage Celebration show in Lancaster, PA back in 2008 (alas, that show folded a number of years ago...AQS has had a show in Lancaster for the last three years of so, but it's not the same as the "old" Lancaster show...but I digress).

It was a thrill for me to see this in person and to see people admiring my quilt...and even taking photos of it...

The previous year, 2007, it was on display at the Quiltfest of NJ...

But I think this displays it best, don't you...?

You can do all sorts of things on a computer with photos nowadays, but the only one that's fake is the last one. The others were really taken at the shows and I still pinch myself sometimes when I see them.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Not Exactly Moosewood Monday

My regular readers know that I'm a big fan of Moosewood Restaurant recipes, but I've been branching out and trying other yummy soup recipes I find online. This one is a copy of Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana by The Pioneer Woman. You can find the recipe here.

My husband and I both really liked this soup. I made it with russet potatoes instead of the red potatoes that the recipe calls for, but it was just fine. I also added our own dried chili pepper. My only problem with recipes like this is when the ingredients call for "two bunches" of kale...What exactly is two bunches? The Pioneer Woman's grocery store (or garden)  may have its bunches in a different size than mine, so how do I know how much to use? The answer is just to wing it. And it works just fine.

Another keeper of a recipe.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

This Is More Like It

Several weeks ago, I blogged about making this quilt top in this post. It is now a finished quilt and will be donated to my guild's current outreach project, quilts for our local foster child program.

In a recent blog post, I complained about my not-so-great straight-line quilting done on my regular sewing machine. This one shows a much better result -- that's because I used channel locks on my HQ16 mid-arm and quilted straight lines without any trouble at all. I just spaced them randomly and it was done in no time at all. Why didn't I buy those channel locks years ago?

Here's a closeup of the quilting....

Here's a shot of the back...I didn't have quite enough of the dark green for the back, so I just added two strips to stretch it a bit, and it worked...

I love the bias striped binding.

This is another three yards used up from my stash!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Little Reward

Last week, I attended the Quiltfest of New Jersey where I saw lots of gorgeous quilts on display and visited a lot of fun vendor booths. One of the vendors had this scrumptious fabric (from the Hot Chocolate Line by Jacqueline Savage McFee for Moda) for only $4 a yard, so I quickly grabbed these to add to my stash.

And another vendor had this for $5/yard...from designer Sandy Gervais...

And a charm pack that I'll use to make a bag...I've been wanting to make one in blue for quite a while and this charm pack will be perfect...lots of pretty blues in there...Spa by Deb Strain for Moda...

I figured that since I have used up more than 26 yards of fabric out of my stash so far in 2013, I deserved to add six yards and a charm pack. We all need to reward ourselves once in a while.

Friday, March 1, 2013

How Not To Do Straight-Line Quilting

I usually quilt my quilts on my HQ16 mid-arm, but I wanted to try to do some straight-line quilting on my regular sewing machine, so I thought I'd do it on this quick quilt I made using some nine-patch blocks that I had gotten in an online swap back in June 2009 (!). You can see some of them in a blog post I wrote here.

Because of the size issues with some of the blocks, I just put them away for a later date. Well, the later date was August 2011 when I decided to use those nine-patch blocks in a double disappearing nine-patch pattern.

Here is what they looked like during the process...the top couple of rows are the double ones and the bottom three rows are just the nine-patches cut into fours before they are made into nine-patches with four solid cream squares and one pink or fuchsia square...

I played with various layouts and didn't like any, so I decided to add a bright solid green that you see in the top photo (which means I still have a lot of the little blocks left...they'll go into another top someday).

Here's the scrappy back....

...and a closeup of the not-so-good quilting (but it will do)...

This will go to my guild's current outreach project for the local foster child program, so I'm sure the imperfections won't matter. I think the cheery colors will bring a smile to some little girl's face, so that is all that really matters.

I don't think I'll be trying too much straight-line quilting on my regular machine for a while. I finally bought myself some channel locks for the HQ16 and they do a great job with straight lines!

This quilt was finished earlier this week, so it counts toward my February total of yards used. February's total of 11 yards is now added to the 15 for January -- 26 yards worth of quilts in two months! Not bad!