Archive for December, 2009

Enjoying our visit with the kids

Adam and Lindsey are working today but we’re enjoying our time with Chris and Becky.

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Keith wouldn’t stop fooling around long enough for a *normal* photo of us. Note the post massage GLOW on my face!

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Dinner with the kids

Somehow the only two photos I have of Chris are blurred but he drove from Marietta to join us and Adam and Lindsey for dinner. Becky will come with Chris on Thursday but we couldn’t get everyone together on the same day.

Adam & Lindsey

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The lodge  and the trees out front were all lit up although it was hard to get a good photo.

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A lazy morning

We saw Adam yesterday when we arrived and this morning we’re waiting for both Adam and Chris to get here so we’re relaxing in the lobby at the Ritz Carlton sipping coffee and tea and catching up on email.

This is one of my favorite places to visit and I’m so happy the Adam works here so I have an excuse to come at least once a year!

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December’s totals

A couple days early but since I’m out of town, I won’t get anything else done this month.

Tops finished– 4 (1 with the Mom’s help)

Tops quilted – 7

Quilts completed (bound and labeled) – 1

On Sunday, I did manage to piece a couple backs and two  bindings made and sewn on quilts but they’re not stitched down yet so they’ll be finishes for next year.

Christmas postcards

Look at the pretty postcards I got for Christmas.

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From left to right they were made by VickiW, Deb, and Mom.

My last top of 2009 quilted

We leave early tomorrow for GA and won’t be back until New Year’s Day so this will be the last top I quilt in 2009.

It was pieced by Barbara in FL and I hadn’t been able to decide what to quilt on it until last night when I decided that Baptist Fans would look great on it. So I was up very, very early again this morning to load and quilt it.

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Unlike the random Baptist Fans from yesterday, these were quilted in rows – both versions are quilted freehand with no marking.

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I had a couple questions recently about how I quilt these and although I’ve gone into more detail at this post, I’ll comment again here.

I quilt the fans upside down starting with the smallest arc so if the top is directional, I load it upside down on the longarm and I start at the top left corner. When I’m quilting in rows – I quilt each row all the way across the top from left to right.

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In this quilt I tried to keep the same number of arcs in each fan but I don’t usually worry about that as much as filling the space I need to fill — of course, the more evenly I’m quilting the arcs the more likely there are to be the same number of them in each fan — at least in this *orderly* version.

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In the random version from yesterday, I still start in the top left corner and quilt the arcs upside down – I work to fill the space, the fans can have a different number of arcs, and I work my way back and forth across the quilt rather than quilting each row from left to right.

This is really a very easy design to quilt — I’m a very average quilter so you know if I can do it YOU can!

Still working

One of the nice things about a quiet holiday with just the two of us is that I can slip away and work for a while every now and then. I’m going to have a lot of binding to do when I get back from GA on the 1st of Jan.

I was up at 6AM this morning and got this HeartStrings top of mine loaded and quilted.

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Quilted with freehand Baptist Fans, these are randomly placed rather than the rows of them I’ve done on the last couple tops I quilted with BF.

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I pieced a back from stash and just as I was getting ready to load the quilt I realized there was a big flaw in the backing. After debating whether to piece another back, I decided to just fuse this block that’s been sitting on my shelf for a long time over the flaw and stitch it down.

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It’s really kind of random looking but these colors are in the front of the quilt so it works OK I think.

Keith and I are planning to go to walk downtown for a movie and lunch today. I hope you all are enjoying your holiday too!

Merry Christmas

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It’s Christmas Eve!

I was up early this morning – the excitement of the snow and Christmas Eve I guess.

We got about 4 inches last night and it’s still coming down! Aren’t my trees out front looking beautiful. They make it a little easier not to have a tree this year.

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This is something you won’t see often – our association does all the snow removal but in a storm like this it may take them a while to get around to shoveling the stairs although they already plowed the street.

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And here’s my baby on his perch. He got a bath and blow dry the other day so he’s all pretty for the holidays.

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Any since I was up, I loaded and quilted this gorgeous HeartStrings top pieced by Deborah. She makes the most beautiful string quilts with leftovers from her other quilts and sends them to me to quilt and donate.

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A simple pantograph – Blowing Leaves by Dave Hudson and a variegated Lava thread. I’m usually very lazy about my thread and mostly use Permacore because it runs well in my machine, it blends in well with the scrap quilts I’m working with, and it’s not too expensive but I bought this cone probably 2 years ago and never tried it until now. It ran very well in my machine and has a subtle sheen that’s lovely.

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And finally, at least for now here’s one more photo of the snow from my longarm room. I don’t always open the blinds down there but today I did so I could watch the snow.

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I have a little cooking to do for our picnic tonight by the fire, just potato salad, deviled eggs, and some Christmas cookies. I bought a Honey Baked Ham (yum) so I don’t even have to cook that. And later today we’re going to walk downtown – cross your fingers I don’t get stuck in a snow drift!

Hope your Christmas Eve is as lovely as mine is turning out to be!

This is more like it

Some swirly dwirling this morning on another top from San.

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And a little closer on quilting

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And just in case anyone has missed it, Dwirling is from my favorite quilting DVD by Dawn Ramirez.  I’d also recommend this DVD from Patsy Thompson if you’re looking to build your basic freehand quilting skills. Patsy has other DVD’s for sale as well as some great free downloads on her site so take a look around while you’re there.

Dawn quilts on a longarm and Patsy on a regular sewing machine but in my opinion the concepts and designs are appropriate for either machine in both video’s.

Bright ideas

Or in this case NOT so bright. I loaded a HeartStrings top pieced from group blocks by Sue (or her Mom) and just before I started to do some swirly dwirling on it (quick and easy AND looks good), I thought I’d try a heart variation.

Lets just say it’s a good thing the top is very busy and that at least the quilting gives it good texture!

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And the back (one of many backings sent to me by Tish for these donation quilts).

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It may be time to go back to my pantographs for a while but the good news is one more top is quilted!

Definitely Wonky

It’s been a while since I’ve quilted Wonky Feathers (from the Pajama Quilter DVD) but as usual even though I’m cringing while I’m quilting, when I finish and take the quilt off the machine I’m usually fairly pleased. I need to quilt these feathers soon before I forget them again.

The top was pieced by San and it’s one of several sent to me to quilt and finish for Alycia’s Quilt of Valor project. I sent 3 finished ones to Alycia in November and another one is being bound by Sheree.  You might not think feathers are the best quilting design but this quilt has floral setting triangles so I figured it would probably end up with a *girl* soldier.

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Here’s a better look at the quilting

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And my living room is almost back to normal — the ceiling has to dry some before they can put the lights back up but we enjoyed sitting by the fire this evening and Chesty was very happy to be allowed to roam around again.

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Finally, we’re getting a little snow tonight but the exciting thing is this forecast for the rest of the week including Christmas! There’s a Winter Storm Watch in effect from Wed – Fri and they’re calling for significant accumulations of snow. I think we’ll do our grocery shopping tomorrow night rather than Wednesday as planned.

Snow!

Wishing you all a white Christmas too!

Eat your Leftovers is done

How’s that for a quilt name? Doesn’t all the green remind you of vegetables? Spinach maybe?

I worked on and off all night to finish this top and I think I might even like it better than the Boxed Squares.

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Keith even liked it and he doesn’t like most of my quilts — they’re usually too scrappy for him.

Do you make leftover quilts?

One thing about making scrap quilts is that I usually cut extra just to get a good variety of fabrics so I frequently end up with a 2nd quilt from the leftovers.

My blue strings

Final Blue Strings

And it’s leftover quilt

Hourglass Strings quilted

The 30’s log cabin

Baby cabin

And the leftover Baby Stripes

Baby Stripes

Becky’s half log cabin

Becky's half log cabin

And it’s leftover Two Rail Fence

Red and Purple Rails finished

I am halfway done with the Green leftover Rail fence and hope to finish it before we leave for GA on the 28th but I’m working at a pretty slow pace so we’ll see.

What do you do with your leftovers?

How strange….

Gari sent me the link for this quilt of hers and I remember seeing the quilt but not the use of the piping (or flange) but it’s exactly what I’m doing with this Rail Fence quilt. I even commented on the quilt. Good thing I didn’t claim to have *invented* the technique right?? I would have been really embarrassed.

Really though, I never claim to come up with anything new because I spend a lot of time looking at quilts and it tends to all jumble together in my mind and come out in my quilting. I am always inspired by the quilts I see (even when I don’t remember it)!

Make sure you follow the above link — Gari’s Log Cabin quilt is gorgeous!

A walk in the snow

We walked downtown early this morning for breakfast – walking in the snow definitely makes me feel more festive. (All of the photos will enlarge if you click on them)

So much for quick and easy

I got all the rail fence blocks made and probably would have had the top finished but just like it’s *parent* quilt, I thought this one might need a pop of red.

I’ve used piping before in between borders or bindings but never in the blocks however I think it was the only way I could get the little sliver of color I wanted in here.

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As you can see, it’s going to be a very subtle effect and I’m probably going to regret inserting these when it comes time to quilt.

I started with a strip of red cut 0.75 inches and folded it in half to sew in between the seams.

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Cut it into 8.5 inch sections (my unfinished block size)

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And I am adding it to the appropriate blocks as I assemble the rows. I’ll only have 3 kind of randomly placed zig-zagging lines running through the top.

Here’s a block ready to be sewn into it’s row. I’m using a narrow 1/8 inch seam to sew the piping on first. Some people might just pin it in between the two blocks and sew but I have better luck sewing it first.

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And so, rather than being done with this top, I’m slowly getting it assembled. I hope the red is going to be worth the trouble. You might be able to see it a little better in this final photo by clicking on it to enlarge.

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By the way, how many of you use digital photographs to help you *check* your work? See that block in the second to the last row that is not rotated correctly? I might not have caught it until it was too late without the photo.

What a big mess for a little leak

I hate textured ceilings … it makes even small repairs complicated.

The contractor was late this morning and didn’t finish (although I had a feeling he wouldn’t get done in one day anyway). So this is what my living room looks like and will look like all weekend and until he finishes Monday.

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And of course, the other side of the *curtain* is a mess but at least I can sit in my chair!

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But what I need to do is go back upstairs and work on the rail fence blocks.

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UFO’s & new projects

As 2009 comes to a close, I’ve started looking at my database to evaluate my results. I track 5 major areas of my quilting.

  1. Tops quilted
  2. New quilts started
  3. UFO’s finished
  4. Stash used
  5. Quilts donated

For me, not all UFO’s are bad. Finished tops don’t bother me – I know they’ll get done eventually and I see them as a quick source of gift or donation quilts as I can quilt and bind them in a short period of time when they’re *needed*. The danger for me is having half pieced projects, those are the ones that when set aside never seem to get finished so for the last several years I don’t allow myself more than 1 or 2 projects in the piecing stage. Once I finish a top, I allow myself to start something new.

Of the 18 new quilts I’ve started this year:

  • 6 are finished quilts
  • 10 are finished tops
  • # 17 is a hand piecing project (the Applecore started this month) that will be worked on over time
  • #18 was started tonight from leftover strips from #16

And I quilted and finished 6 tops from last year so I consider this another successful year on the UFO front.

What do you track and how did you do with your UFO’s this year?

A leftovers quilt for donation

As usual I cut too many strips so I started thinking about a leftovers quilt to empty to bin out after briefly considering just tossing the strips in the string bin. First I looked at doing another spiderweb.

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But then I thought I’m tired of these fabrics and just want some quicker so I think I’ll do a two rail fence.

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Of course my version will be scrappier but I’m lazy when I’m working in EQ6 and just use a single fabric where I’m going to use many in the real quilt.

Walking
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