Friday, August 31, 2012

August UFO Challenge

I am still following along with Judy's UFO Challenge.  For the month of August, Judy chose #7.

Fan Quilt... 

Fan Block

Well, to be honest, there hasn't been much progress there.  They are now just fans needing to be put onto a background square and put together into a top.  Hopefully these don't stay on the UFO list for too much longer.  The good news is...I've really been concentrating on charity quilts this month and I've got another one done and one top being pieced on the machine. (Check out other posts from this month!)

Remaining on the list...
  1. Jean Picnic Quilt for Kayla (February)
  2. Heart Quilt (May)
  3. Thai 'Ostrich Quilt' (July)
  4. RWB Swap Quilt
  5. Jean Picnic Quilt for Larissa (January)
  6. Recipe Scrapbook (April)
  7. Fan Quilt (August)
  8. China Scrapbook (March)
  9. School & Family Scrapbooks 
  10. Spring Flower Wallhanging 
  11. Military Scrapbook (September)
  12. Quilt Scrapbook (June)
I don't seem to be making an awful lot of progress on my UFOs this year...but I'll keep plugging away at them (and some may go back on the list for next year).

Oh yeah, and Judy chose #11...Military Scrapbook for September's UFO!  This is not far from being finished.  I only have a few more duty stations to add to it, but I've got to get my husband to decide which "work" photos need to go in it.  Hopefully this one will get done by the end of the month!

Be sure to check over at Patchwork Times to see the progress others have made for this month!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Charity Quilting

Amish Stars

More quilts for charity.  This Amish top was donated to Kayla for her to finish for her charity project.  She layered it and tied it and then left it for me to bind...all done!

Friendly Floral
This was another quilt top donated for Kayla to finish.  Again, she layered and tied it.  I pieced the backing with lots of her leftover fabrics in her charity stash.  They are not all cottons - some are "silkier" than others and one is a "faux-suede" from my little sisters Pocahontas costume!  Now it's bound and ready to deliver :)

Baby Shower Sew-In

Baby Shower Sew-In
On Saturday I was invited to a Baby Shower Sew-In at my friend Belinda's house (center photo).  The goal was to accomplish 2 quilts per person and we may have.  We'll see at the guild meeting!

I, however, did not finish my quilts at the shower, but I did meet the goal of 2 baby quilts.  My daughter  has been working to accomplish quilt tops for charity for a while, but since she's away at college, she left them to me to finish.
Nursery Stripes

This quilt top was made by Kayla a few years ago.  It's been sitting in her UFO pile for a while, so I used it as my first attempt at stitch-in-the-ditch on the new Bernina 820.  I finished it with a solid baby blue binding and I think it turned out pretty good.

Tea Kitty 
The center of this quilt was a panel in Kayla's stash that I added 2 borders to.  Belinda picked out the argyle fabric from her stash (thank you!) and it ended up being just enough!  I used a stitch-in-the-ditch technique for this one too, although in the panel it was really stitch between the lines in the "blocks."  I love the idea that I can whip up a baby quilt in a day now that I can machine quilt!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Building Blocks

X & O blocks for XOXO, Sunflower

This is the beginning of my most recent quilt "XOXO, Sunflower."  On the left, is the X block, just a simple 9-patch made with rectangles.  On the right, is the O block, just a simply framed rectangle block.  This is going to be an easy quilt to piece, but should have some nice impact.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

John Deere Bear

John Deere Bear
My latest finish, John Deere Bear, was made for my newest nephew, Jacob!  This was a simple quilt, and quick finish made up of just alternated solid fabric and "monkey wrench" blocks.   It was a fun one to make and hand quilt.  And ooohh...I love these colors (blues and greens...yummy)!  These fabrics were suggested by my oldest daughter, Kayla, and she even picked out a couple of John Deere rubber baby tractors and socks to send in the package!  

Baby Jacob and his new quilt, "John Deere Bear" and tractors

Isn't Jacob just adorable?  We were lucky enough to meet him and spend a little time with him during our visit to PA back in July, along with many of my other family members at my brother & sister-in-law's vow renewal weekend extravaganza.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My New Setup!

Bernina 820 & Accessories
There she is...isn't she pretty?  I've been craving a new sewing machine for years now and while my husband was deployed, he sent me a voucher good for one new machine.  Well, I never bought it...never did the research...but, set myself a budget.  I didn't want to spend any more than $1,000.  

Fast forward 4 years and still no machine.  My old JCPenny held up well over her 18 years of heavy use.  But, she's been missing her bobbin winder for a good 5 years now and I have been using my daughter's machine to wind about 15 bobbins at a time.  Then my wonderful family decided I needed one of those independent bobbin winders (The Sidewinder) and so they got me one, in pink, of course. That was 3 years ago.

Now...I've got my lovely, new Bernina 820 (no, it wasn't within that $1,000 limit I set for myself)!  I just love her!  She's been sitting in the box for a few weeks now, but my friend Belinda kept messaging me on Facebook encouraging me to get her set up (not to mention my husband and kids asking me if  was going to use the new machine for the projects I was working on!?!?).  What is it about the comfort of an old machine...even with all it's eccentricities?  It still works!  And will be my workshop/travel machine (with lots of pre-wound bobbins...I'm not hauling the sidewinder, too).

So, yesterday, Belinda and her son came over to help me set the machine.  I was busy folding fat quarters I had just washed when she got here and by the time I was done with my pile, Belinda had gotten the entire machine out of the box, manuals and extra parts organized, and had her son sorting all the accessories!  Belinda must LOVE setting up a new machine!
First attempt at machine quilting (well, second, if you count in the store)
Belinda is also a great teacher.  She came with a basket full of teaching tools!  By the time she left, I learned how to thread the machine, wind a bobbin, use many of the computerized function settings and what most of the feet and accessories are for (all without having to read a manual, my pet peeve).  I also learned to spray baste for machine quilting, to pre-draw designs on a dry erase board, and how to translate those drawing to machine quilting.  I probably learned a bunch more that I forgot to mention.  Not bad for a days work, huh?  Thanks, Belinda!

Thanks, honey, for my new what should I do first?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Calendar Quilt - Months 5-8

Guild BOM blocks 5-8
So, why am I posting calendar quilt blocks two days in a row?!?!?  Well because I am finally catching up!  I haven't brought my BOM blocks to the guild meeting since March because I haven't made a new one since March!

And here's what our block clues have been to date:

  • January - Snowman
  • February - Heart
  • March - Green
  • April - Showers and/or Flowers
  • May - Animals and/or Bugs
  • June - Nautical
  • July - Patriotic
  • August - Fruits and/or Vegetables
I was definitely on the right track when I began the calendar quilt idea, adding each month abbreviated in a freestyle sort of piecing.  I'm also really stretching my paper piecing skills by working from the book "365 Foundation Quilt Blocks" by Linda Causee.  And when I say stretching, I mean it.  In the April block, there were 71 pieces just in the flower design (no to mention the piecing in the letters and the piecing to put the whole block together).  In the May block, there are 97 pieces of fabric in the butterfly alone!  This is one block thick with seaming.  And add to it, the lettering and the background piecing, that makes well over 100 pieces in this block (and I'm not counting to be sure)!  

So do you paper piece?  Do you like it?  Where do you get your patterns? and are you crazy enough to take on piecing 100+ pieces in one 8x8 block?!?!?


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Calendar Quilt - The First 4 Months

BOM 2012 blocks 1- 4
Our guild is holding a mystery block of the month this year.  Since I didn't join the guild until March, I kinda got clued in quickly as to what the common thread for the year was.

When I joined, the first 2 block assignments were already given.  In the month of January, members were to create a "snowman" block and in February, the theme was "hearts."  Hmmm....would you get the idea that this was along the lines of a calendar quilt as well?  And the next couple of months...
  • January - Snowman
  • February - Heart
  • March - Green
  • April - Flowers and/or Showers

Still feeling the calendar vibe???  Yep, it is a good thing that I was really sure that I was on the right track because I was determined to make this a calendar quilt and had begun to add the names of the months into the designs!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Flower Garden Quilt

Flower Garden Quilt - 2008
Have I ever shared my flower quilt?  I'm not sure if I ever posted about it or not.  The flower quilt was a  BOM from a virtual quilt group I used to belong to called Quilts Your Way.  I loved that group!  We had such a great group of ladies there who posted about anything from daily life to anything and everything quilt related.  We also had a great photo album full of what everyone was working on.

Anyway...back to the quilt...all of the block patterns were found on Marcia Hohn's website, Quilter's Cache.  It's a great site full of 100s of free quilt block patterns!  Each month we had the choice of 2 blocks (I never chose the applique block, hehe).  Once we had all 12 blocks, our hostess gave us a chance to "fill in the blanks" with 3 additional bonus blocks.  Then she gave us the layout and we were off on our own to complete our Flower Garden.  

I never saw pictures of any of the other group member's finished quilts, but I'm sure hoping that others got the chance to complete this beautiful project.  I just love mine!