Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cleaning Up

New Year's Eve finds me cleaning up the shop in preparation for our annual New Year's Open House.  I decided to tackle a really junky looking shelf and just had a big surprise.  I was innocently sorting magazines, baggies of buttons, folders of class hand-outs and miscellaneous, when I came across a BOX.  Oh no, look what was in it:
More selvages!  Where did they come from???  I went into the other room to gather up the selvages that I "knew" I had, so you could see them all together.  Now I need to come up with a really big project.  All of those cute selvage tree ornaments didn't even make a dent.  And now this!
I'm back at work on the "Shattered" project.  One day before Christmas, I cut the freezer paper stencils.
Tonight I finished quilting around the letters and ironed on the stencils.  I'll wait and mix paint when I'm past tomorrow's festivities.  After that, more stitching and maybe some beads.  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ideas for a New Year

My brain is overflowing with things I want to do!  I am currently  hand-quilting both the "Shattered" wall hanging and the "Phone Book" quilt.  Pictured is a close-up of "Phone Book".  I am using #12 black pearl cotton, sharp embroidery needle, and the thinnest Quilters Dream Poly batting.  I showed off the yellow vintage fabric on the back in an earlier posting.  As you can see, I'm combining tying and quilting.  When I finish with the stars, green squares and ties in block corners, I'll have to decide if that's enough, or if I need to add a few lines of stitching to the strippy parts.

This afternoon I cut and prepared the binding for the shop hop quilt (to be revealed here on February 5).

Next, I need to plan new shop classes for January and beyond.  Lots of ideas, so little time!  Here's one I'd like to explore.  Changing this:
Into this:
Of course, that's not a NEW idea at all!  Just marketed in a different way by yet another designer.  This is a miniature, only 11" x 12 1/2", from a pattern by Primitive Gatherings.  Other, similar designs are found in the book Square Dance, by Martha Thompson.

Another class I'd like to do involves re-visiting an old favorite of mine - the "Railroad Crossing" quilt.  It's very versatile and is a way to use up some accumulated scraps.
Last, but not least, I'm just going to give a peek at a fabric I have chosen to try out another idea.  This is just the fabric ... you'll have to wait to see what I'm planning to do with it!

Monday, December 19, 2011


Here's how the SHATTERED project went together.  I abandoned the new, smaller letters and went back to the original piece.  I liked how it was working and I realized something - even though it may end up a "little" bigger than it is supposed to, it is going to an UNJUDGED quilt show, so what are they going to do?  If I am disqualified from the "challenge" category, I'll just flip it into the "art quilt" category!  
Here it is with the borders on:
Here it is basted and ready to quilt:
I'm hand quilting with pearl cotton again.  Orange inside the letters and brown surrounding them.  Other embellishments to follow.

Here's today's picture of Baby:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Look What I Found

I TOOK THE DAY OFF, so don't have anything further to show on the "shattered" project.  However, while digging around in my stash, I found the perfect thing to use for the backing of the Phonebook Quilt:
I found this fabric at a quilt show on a table of odds and ends offered by the guild.  Mom and Dad were with me at this show and I remember that Mom wasn't nearly as charmed with it as I was.  The tag pinned to the yardage informs me that it is 4 yards, OLD, and cost $5.  It will definitely fit the mood of this quilt:
I've been thinking about borders for a while and I have decided that it would be more effective to finish  the quilt without borders.  I have plenty of the dark green for binding.  Since I've settled on the backing, I'd better get busy.  I think I am going to finish it with a combination of big stitch and tying.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Here's what I was trying to spell last night.  The quilt challenge due in April is titled "I Am ..."  We have had a number of "things" happen to us this year.  Not appropriate to dwell on them here.  Before you get too concerned with my mental health, please remember that I am also a HUGE Rolling Stones fan and that is the title of a favorite song, too.

I have a dilemma because, when I measured the piece shown above, it is approximately 30" long.  Then I got out the challenge guidelines (it would have been too logical to look at them before!).  The entire perimeter of the piece is not to exceed 80", therefore I have already used up 60" of it and the quilt can only be 10" tall!  Ha ha ha!
The original word may turn up in something else.  This afternoon I started piecing letters again.  Here they are on the ironing board, next to the first word.  I'm trying to make them smaller, but so far they aren't MUCH smaller!  I can narrow the H and the T's and keep width in mind as I add my spacers.  Maybe it will work out.

Meanwhile, look what was going on while I wasn't looking.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Word Play

Play time!  This afternoon I finally had time to fool around!  I have an idea for a quilt guild challenge, not due until April.  I haven't made any of Tonya's letters for a while.  I needed a large piece to use as background and found this green/gray/peach batik.  Then, I rummaged through my batik scraps to find a selection of oranges, golds and peaches with enough contrast.  Just COMMUNING with the batik scraps was a lot of fun!
I know where this is going, but I think I'll let you wonder.  Here is what I have so far ...
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE sewing the free-form letters.  If you want to try some too, check out Word Play Quilts by Tonya Ricucci.  You might also enjoy her blog "Lazy Gal Quilting".

Thursday, December 8, 2011

From Me To You

First of all, I'd like to share my recipe for chocolate peanut clusters.  Yummy and easy to make!
My recipe calls for only three ingredients: 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, 12 oz. can of salted peanuts, and 12 oz. (half a pkg.) of almond bark.  Melt the almond bark and chocolate chips carefully, so you do not over-cook or scorch, either in the microwave or on top of the stove.  When you can stir the mixture smoothly, add the peanuts, stir them in, then drop by teaspoonfuls onto a waxed paper lined cookie sheet.    You will fill up at least two cookie sheets, approx. 100 peanut clusters.  I had excess chocolate today, so I may use a 16 oz. can of peanuts next time. 

Progress report on the craft sale:  The second (and final) craft sale starts tomorrow.  I finished stitching up my little zippered bags last night and added the beaded pulls.  No more craft sales until NEXT December.  Back to QUILTING next week!
When you "clean up for company", do you ever hide things in the bedroom?  I had several piles of fabric, patterns, misc. in progress and I dumped them on the bed temporarily to get them out of sight.  Cassie found them.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Where Has the Time Gone???

Preparing for two craft sales and working on Christmas gifts has kept me too busy to BLOG.  Oh, dear!  Did I mention an end-of-the-year sale at the quilt shop, too?  I am nearing the end of the list of knitted gifts I have planned - here's what I have so far.  Just one more scarf to go!
One craft sale down, and one to go!  Here is a sample of the little cosmetic bags I am stitching up for next weekend.  Each one will get a little beaded pull on the zipper, then they will be finished.
 Last weekend, a customer came in wearing a cute ruffled scarf.  I couldn't stand it!  Found the pattern, went shopping for the yarn (Starbella - check it out on YOUTUBE) and started to knit.  I have enough for two scarves.
I am itching to get started on some new SEWING projects.  People have asked about classes for the first of the year, so I had better get my thoughts organized and make some samples.  Oh, and I have two challenges to complete - one due in March and the other in April.  So far they only exist in my brain.  Lots to do ...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

This is what has been taking up a lot of my time:


Oh, do you  see a big blank?  That's because I've been working on the shop hop quilt, which remains a SECRET until February.  I've been making steady progress and only have the borders left to sew on.  I'll send it away with my good friend Lilly next week to be machine quilted.  (Lilly's Machine Quilting, Vanceboro, NC, 252-244-1988)  Lilly has quilted all of my shop hop quilts except one, which was small enough that I decided to hand quilt. 

About two weeks ago, I discovered the pattern for the Hexagon Star (designed by Kaye Wood) in an old Fons and Porter Magazine.  Here is the first one in progress.
And what do I always do?  Go crazy and cut out a bunch of them!  This is the collection so far:
I'm not just doing this for my health - I have a Christmas craft sale coming up in about three weeks.  One problem, though, is that I didn't make any in Christmas colors.  So I've rounded up a few combinations and will cut out some more this afternoon.
Here's another SOMETHING in progress.  I'll keep you guessing until next time!
As you can see, while cutting I couldn't resist trimming off some selvages to use in a future project.  I have a whole shopping bag FULL.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hot off the Ironing Board!

Here it was at the beginning ...
Inspired by ....
The blocks are all together now and I am pleased with the effect.  The next decision will concern borders, pieced or plain?  I have more of the green fabric left over.  Julie said that she thought I should bring in more of the dull rusty orange.  Hmmm ..... will have to think about it for a while.
It's Wednesday and I put together the Dear Jane block shown at the bottom of the picture.  The other two were made last week.  SLOWLY BUT SURELY ... now I have approx. 45 finished blocks.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sampler Quilts

Today is the last day for two beginners quilting classes, afternoon and evening.  We have had a good time together and all of the quilts are looking great!  Here is Dottie - we are in the process of basting her quilt in this picture.
Geneva's quilt is already basted and she is sitting by the window quilting.  Ann is adding her final borders.  They all did a great job!
Here's a picture of one of the hexagon stars after it was quilted and bound.  It will be a quickie afternoon class here at the store next Tuesday:
Of course, I've cut out three more and also want to make some in Christmas colors .....

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hexagon Star

Today's sewing included finishing the 12 big blocks for the telephone book quilt.  It won't take too long to sew the blocks together, then I will need to come up with a plan for the border.

Next, I worked on another step of the SUPER SECRET SHOP HOP QUILT.

Then, needing to REST after all that industrious sewing, I sat down with a pile of quilting magazines that my friend, Lilly, dropped off the other day.  You just never know where the next inspiration will come from!  The pattern for these table toppers (centerpieces, candle mats) was designed by Kaye Wood and found in a Fons and Porter Magazine from 2006.  I couldn't stand it!  I had to drag scraps out and make a couple right away!  These will receive minimal quilting and then I will bring the back over the front for binding.  I think that I need to try a couple in Christmas colors, too.
Sally recently gave "the girls" a kitty tent.  They were mighty suspicious of that contraption for a while, but then one day I found:
A day or two later, I found:
If they weren't such big girls, they might fit in there together.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Phone Book Quilt

After a brief (?) intermission, I'm back at work at the phone book quilt, so named because it was pieced using phone book pages as foundation.  Now that all the blocks are finished, I am trimming and sewing them together into bigger blocks.  Here are the first two.
Another beginning quilting class will be wrapping up next week.  This time around, I had everyone making 12" nine-patch blocks, enough for a lap quilt.  As always, I end up with another unfinished project myself, after I have demonstrated.  Students have made 12 or more blocks ... here are the 6 that I have made.  I'm thinking of finishing it off at 6 blocks, adding an applique border, since I enjoyed the little star quilt so much.
I don't know why everything today seems to be earth tones/ fall colors.  I only made one Dear Jane  block today and here it is.
I'm very close to beginning to put them together (remember, I'm NOT making the whole thing).

Friday, October 21, 2011

Done and Done

Two recent projects are complete!  This morning I finished binding the Tessellating Leaves Table Topper and added a hanging sleeve to the star quilt.  It has been officially named "Summertime Stars".
The next thing I did was begin to cut out the shop hop quilt.  You'll have to take my word for that, though, because each shop's quilt is a secret, not revealed until the shop hop begins on Feb. 1.  If anyone is interested in learning more, find complete information on our store website or check out the Facebook Page for "Romancing Eastern North Carolina Shop Hop". 

Tonight I finally finished sewing the 48 string blocks that I have been working on for a while.  Tomorrow I will trim, remove the foundation paper and hopefully begin to sew them together.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hand or Machine?

As you can see, the machine won.  Straight lines down the center of the leaves and curves on each side which ended up making a very nice unexpected continuous line pattern.  The CD is what I used to mark the curves - don't worry, it's not music, just one of those advertising things we get in the mail from time to time.  I also wrestled with myself about whether to try to do free motion quilting or mark my lines and ended up marking.  I've still got the borders left to quilt.
Isn't this just the cutest thing?  My friend, Pat, loaned me two Elizabeth Zimmerman knitting books because I was interested in a baby sweater pattern.  I found this STAR instead and couldn't stand it until I gave it a try!  Stars will look nice embellishing some of the knit hats I've been making. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Basted and Ready to Go

On Friday night I took the time to get my new tessellating leaves project basted.  As you can see, it has become Cotton Fields' newest pattern, too.  I'm not quite sure how I will quilt it.  Hand or machine?
I've been knitting quite a lot lately.  Some items will be gifts and others will be going to two craft sales in December.  Last night I started this new hat, the yarn is a very nice feeling wool/soy blend.  I have been fortunate recently to have received a variety of great yarn from friends Katherine, Fonda and Carolyn.  Thanks!!!
Last, but not least, I haven't posted a pet picture in a while.  This is our wise old cat, Cassie, who isn't often available for pictures.  As you can see, she has a major shoe fetish!