Friday, January 31, 2014

Looking Good on All Sides

In my 15+ years of quiltmaking and quilt-gifting, I've discovered that there are people (mainly non-quilters) who sometimes like the backs of their quilts as much as, or better, than the front. Children seem to be that way a lot. So, since the two quilts I showed in my previous post are going to a couple of young girls, I wanted to make sure that the back was pleasing to the eye as well.

Since the quilts were a bit wider than the normal WOF, I had to piece the backs. If you look closely at the following two photos (click to enlarge), you can see the seams where I matched it up. 

Down the center of the blue dress...

...and down through the eye and arm of the princess in the pink dress (almost perfect, but not quite)...

This is not something I do often, but I think it was worth it for these two quilts!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Two Finishes for January!

(click on photos to enlarge)

I finished up two quilts this week, both made using some of my hand-dyed fabrics (from June 2009!) and white. Same pattern, just opposite layouts. Each one is about 48 inches on all sides.

Loops and a few hearts for the quilting...

These are going to two sisters, ages 6 and 8, who live close to Orlando, so I think I picked the perfect backing fabric...

Two quilts going to two sisters...similar in design, but different enough so they can tell which one is which.

The only new fabric is the backing, so I used up about four yards of my pre-2014 stash!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Don't Judge a Machine by Its Cover

After reading my previous post, a couple of readers wanted to see what the ugly plastic case looks like, so here it is....(click on the photos to see larger versions).

When I first saw the case in the Goodwill store, I was worried about what the machine inside would look like, but was very pleasantly surprised when I saw that it was shiny and brand new (see the photo in my previous post)! When I got it home, I quickly washed my hands; I'm sure you can understand why. Except for the rusty closing thingys, I don't think I'll have much trouble getting the case clean, although I don't plan on hiding this gorgeous machine in the case. She will be out on display somewhere in my quilting studio, that's for sure!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bargain Find

I had some time to kill while running errands yesterday, so I dropped by my local Goodwill store for a quick browse. I found a really ugly plastic sewing machine case, but when I opened it up, this is what was inside. A shiny vintage sewing machine. No, it's not a Featherweight or other coveted machine, but it has a gorgeous shine and smoothness to it, so I couldn't pass up the $3 price tag. The color is hard to describe -- it depends on how the light hits it, but it has a light army green tint to it. Nice shiny chrome wheel. It looks like it was barely used. I plugged it in, stepped on the foot pedal, and the needle went up and down. So at least I know the parts move (I didn't have it threaded -- that may take me a while to figure out -- no manual).

It's a (Montgomery) Ward Signature machine, model UHT J285E and from what I can figure out from a little online research, it was probably made in Japan sometime after WWII (I understand that a lot of sewing machines were manufactured in Japan after the war and sold under brand names, usually with a J in the model number. There's no "Made in ____" label anywhere.

This machine weighs an incredible 40 pounds! The only plastic parts are the base and case. I'll give the case a good cleaning, but the machine itself looks brand new -- no scratches, no worn areas, nothing. I may try to see if I can get it to sew, but believe me, I won't be using it as a travel machine, that's for sure. I'll probably just find a place to display it in my house (without the ugly case, of course).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Cat's Meow

My friend Susan recently put out a call for help in making a comfort quilt for a friend of a friend of hers who is dealing with a serious health issue. This friend of a friend is a lover of cats, so Susan decided that a fun cat block made with cheery batiks would be perfect. The call went out one day to a number of quilting friends and just a couple of days later, Susan had more than enough cat blocks for a decent-sized quilt. These are the three that I contributed, all made from my batik scraps. Another friend involved in this process decided that she wanted to make a cat quilt for a friend of hers as well, so the extras went to her. I made an additional two blocks for that project, so I figure I used up about half a yard of fabric from my stash!

To see the entire quilt, click here for Susan's blog post about it.

This is exactly the kind of thing we quilters love to do!

Monday, January 20, 2014

On the Road Again

My Jane Stickle quilt has been hibernating at home this winter, but come early March, she'll be out and about again -- I received word last week that she's been accepted in the AQS show in Lancaster! It's only about 3 hours from here, so I plan to go down and see the show in person.

For more info on the show, click here.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What a Quilty Year!

click on photo to enlarge

These are the quilts that I managed to finish in 2013, using lots of pre-2013 fabric -- about 96+ yards of it. I didn't keep track of how much new 2013 fabric was used, but it's definitely a lot less, so I came out ahead.

Let's see if I can keep it up for 2014!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Final 2013 Finish

I managed to finish this table topper before New Year's Day, so I'll count it as using up my pre-2013 stash, even though it's less than half a yard. But every bit counts, right?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Ready and Waiting

Before I work on a new quilt top, I have four completed ones that need to be quilted. Bindings are ready for all four, but I don't have all of the backing fabrics yet. Hopefully, the backing fabric for the two quilts that I need to quilt first will arrive tomorrow, so I can quickly get them loaded on the frame and quilted. Then I will allow myself to start another top (or two).

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Merry Orthodox Christmas!

If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you've heard this before, but I thought I'd repeat it for those who may be new readers...

Today is Christmas for the Eastern Orthodox Christians who follow the Julian calendar rather than the more-commonly used Gregorian calendar. (Read this for more info than you ever want to know about the calendars.)

This day is often confused with Epiphany, which was celebrated yesterday, January 6th, by Christian churches that follow the Gregorian calendar. Orthodox Christmas has nothing to do with that date -- Epiphany on the Julian calendar will be on January 19th.

When I was growing up, I considered myself to be quite a lucky child because I had two Christmases. My family celebrated December 25th as the "fun" Christmas with Santa, presents, etc. (they didn't want me to feel left out from the rest of my friends who were celebrating then). The religious and "serious" Christmas came on January 7th, which meant going to church and food and family (and some presents again...yippee!). My parents even insisted that I stay home from school on that day (it was always interesting trying to explain to the teachers why my Christmas was different than everyone else's...)

My son was baptized in the Russian Orthodox Church and my husband (who grew up as a Lutheran) and I have continued the tradition of celebrating two Christmases. Our tree and decorations don't come down until after the 7th and our son still gets a present or two today.

So to all my fellow Orthodox Christians who celebrate today...Merry Christmas!

(the photo is of a stitching project my son made in second grade...14 years ago!)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Next Project(s)

I've decided to start a couple of bright and cheery quilts during this cold winter. I'm sorta, kinda making two of the Giant Starburst quilts as seen on Canoe Ridge Creations blog. I'm changing the size a bit and using a different construction method than the instructions, but the result will be basically the same. The color placement is different as well.

The fabrics I've chosen are some of my own hand-dyed pieces that have been sitting around in my stash since the summer of 2009, at least! It's definitely time to use them.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Adding to Stash

Although I recently used up quite a bit of fabric from my stash, I'm afraid that more has come into my house. But at least I didn't spend any of my money on it -- I picked out these fabrics to use up the gift certificate from Sew Fresh Fabrics that I won in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival organized by Amy's Creative Side back in October.

Thank you to Amy, to Sew Fresh Fabrics, and especially to all those who voted for me!