Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving



Hope everyone had a lovely day!  This adorable holiday greeting was delivered to the door in mid afternoon by our sweet neighbor, age 10. 

Once again we failed to take any pictures at all, but the house was full of good smells, tons of family, and lots of laughs, along with plenty of eating.  After enjoying appetizers of a relish tray and some delicious homemade guacamole SIL Mariana made, we had two turkeys, gravy, some duck my sister roasted, along with her truffle oil Yukon gold mashed potatoes and House Special mashed potatoes, plus yet another family favorite potato dish made with hash browns DD Erica made, as well as broccoli slaw salad, fruit salad, green beans, corn muffins, stuffing, ham and jello.  Then there was apple pie, pumpkin pie, cheesecake, and some incredible sea salt chocolate fudge brownies with caramel sauce made by my sister, Kathy, for dessert.  There was tons of food left over after all 18 of us had eaten--even with two teenaged boys in the house (Nephew Joey had five pieces of apple pie).  My eldest brother and one of his sons stopped by to visit before their own dinner, and DD Elaine and Chris visited after theirs with Chris's family.  My dear sister in law Melanie and her eldest daughter did nearly all the clean up of dishes while I played a board game with some of her other children. Kathy's dog is all tuckered out today from all the action with the little ones in the family.  It was a wonderful day and worth every minute of cleaning, cooking, rearranging, and planning.  I'm so glad I took Wednesday off work--the mad rush was cut down a bit :)

As part of the decorating, I hung my newly frosted (by Mary of Quilt Hollow) but unfinished Picnic quilt over the upstairs railing.  You can't really see the texture of my chosen ginkgo leaf design in this photo but trust me, it's perfect!


It remains untrimmed, but one of today's tasks was getting the binding made.  

 This is really a red fabric with a soft tan dot, despite the color distortion making it look orange.

I also pulled this pieced Christmas top out of the closet to be quilted next.  It has been waiting a year for a backing.  Thus began the remeasuring and planning, since once I got out the intended backing, I remembered that it was too short (the hazard of whacking off fabric for another project!), which is definitely why it didn't get done before. 


Here you can see a number of designs were proposed and rejected.  I like this print a lot but being directional, has it's difficulties.  The final choice will use the WOF in three sections and I'll pull from my very full Christmas fabric box for the three chunks for an offset design. The fabric has already been washed but needs ironing, and after spending 3.5 hours in the last week ironing linen tablecloths and napkins, I'm not really in the mood just yet, today.  But it is only Friday and I have two more days off work.  Bliss!  Hope you are all playing with needle and fabric too this weekend.  I see a lot of folks have joined Bonnie of Quiltville's Celtic Solstice mystery; despite my Irish heritage I won't be joining but will download the patterns anyway!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Crafts with Cats

Or, Letter Fun with Felines, starring Amelie and Lucy. 
Full coverage. 

Hat. 


Tattoo. 

Interpretive dance. 

B-hold. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Design Wall Monday

On my design wall today is a sample for the quilt I'm making for my grandson-to-be, who'll be here in just a few short months.  My daughter Elaine and I shopped for the fabrics some weeks ago but until now I hadn't had a chance to work-up the size of the Flying Geese the design calls for.  After looking up various ways to size and make flying geese, I decided to use the fast method that makes four geese at a time.  Here's one source for that method http://www.patchpieces.com/files/flyinggeese.pdf

After spending some time Saturday night  doing quilt MATH, I was ready Sunday morning to cut, sew and press my geese.  These will finish at 3x6". 

Cutting one large square for four geese saves time right there.  The four smaller squares form the "sky" triangles without having to cut triangles and without having to trim excess triangles off the finished geese. 

The directions also suggested drawing stitching lines but I thought marking the center line only was fine, since my 1/4" foot is accurate.  

The final two squares are applied the same way as the first two, by stitching on either side of the drawn line on the sky pieces.  I made sure I pressed well and had 1/4" at the top of the geese for a nice point when joining.  

Four geese lickety split without leaving a pile of cut off triangles or having to trim down the unit to size.  I wouldn't call this perfect but for a sample mainly to test the desired finished size of the geese blocks, worked just fine. 

I did find that hitting this valley on either side of the drawn line was important, since it is the top intersection of the two sky pieces once the unit is sliced along the drawn line. 

 Looking pretty good on this block.  

A second sewn set of geese helped me plan my ironing and practice matching points.   The design we're using has three sets of four geese, and we have 9 different fabrics.  This is going to be a million point project--with that many opportunities to cut them off :).  The final layout will be Elaine's choice.  The sample will be set aside until Elaine decides on a background fabric, on which she is leaning to a white on white dot.  I see a lot of cutting in my future!

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times. http://www.patchworktimes.com/2013/11/18/design-wall-november-18-2013/

Thursday, November 14, 2013

V's Antique Blocks

Some years ago my sister's roommate V, knowing I quilt, showed me a bunch of unfinished quilt tops that her Grandmother had made.   After she passed away the family found them in a cardboard tube hamper labeled "Dirty Close".  V's sister had rejected the tops as "too ugly".  I was smitten by the complete wonkiness and make-do and selected 5 tops.  Sadly, they are all still tops except for one.  I loved the Goose in the Pond blocks but hated the sashing/setting fabric, so I took them apart.

I believe these are all made from cut up clothing or leftover scraps.  The double pinks, navy, and black combo makes me think these are pretty old, maybe from the late 1800's. Some of the triangles are pieced to make up the width.

 They are all hand pieced and definitely not precise. This is the best one.  It is *almost* square :)

 Some have the bars turned the wrong way.

 The stitching is fairly neat but it looks like kitchen twine was used, it is so thick.

There is no way this block will ever lie flat, but I like it anyway!

 Definitely the craziest of the bunch. Look at all the "make do" in that one. There are eight Goose in the Pond blocks--and they are big, variably about 16-18" square (I use the word square lightly!)

In the original top--which unfortunately I don't have a photo of--this ninth block made a 3x3 layout.  It was obvious at first glance that it didn't belong with the others.

Flipping it over proved the suspicion correct--this was machine pieced and of much better construction, though the fabrics are still pretty old.  It might make a great looking pillow, though.
This was the original sashing fabric, along with some really stained and dirty blue chambray that I ended up throwing away.  I'm wondering if the Goose in the Pond blocks belonged to the the generation before V's grandma and she made this one to expand the layout. My idea is to applique the blocks to a plain background.  I saw an antique quilt at a show once that had blocks in the double pinks, blue and black that had an alternate plain block that was olive green.  It was very eye-catching.  I would probably have to tie the quilt rather than quilt it, as nothing will be flat. First these blocks will need to have a bath!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Arty and Crafty

No sewing has been done since I completed the binding for the tardy baby--whose mother was induced on her 11th day post due date and son Jackson finally greeted his happy parents on November 8th!  I hope to get a chance to meet him soon and deliver the quilt. Love that new baby scent :)

Meanwhile, for my future grandson, whose parents are working on his nursery, I've started a little embroidery. 

The lighting is turning the brown linen and rusty orange from true colors, but you can see the lovely sheen the linen has. My stitching lines are hard to see but will become this:

A darling little fox. I got the pattern PDF for free from the Arty and Crafty Little Things blog.  Hope you're all stitching away on something too!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Halloween Report

Weird year for our street--started late, ended early, long gaps between groups. We were left with two unopened bags of candy. Very dangerous thing. 
Lucy dressed up. 

Amelie didn't really want to.  

My sister said there were a couple of haunted houses a few streets over so that must have held the trick-or-treaters up. Erica was handing out handfuls of treats at the end. It was all over before 8:30.  Next year will be different, I'm sure!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Late Stage

I'm up to the finishing stage of the baby quilt, though the baby isn't here yet--he's over a week late. He'll be my grandchild's cousin and we're all anxious to meet him. 
I did some simple quilting with the walking foot and then added some freehand loops. 
I like the effect on the back too. Originally I was going to do an X in the squares but felt the single line was a bit more modern. I had predicted the baby would be born on Tuesday at 2:00 am--I could still be right!