Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oops, Knitting Again

For no apparent reason, last night I pulled out a pattern for a mobius scarf that I had printed off ages ago.  If you are interested, it was from Episode DKNG-406 of "Knitty Gritty" on the DIY Network (back when it had a variety of programing, not just interior decorating, but that is another story).

The project requires 48 inch long circular needles, but luckily, I had ordered them way back when I printed the pattern.  I went digging through my drawer of "good yarn" to see if I had anything suitable.  I found an interesting yarn named "Acapulco", a blend of wool, acrylic, and viscose (?)

THEN I read through the pattern and didn't quite understand the cast-on method.  Youtube fixed me right up.  I looked up Cat Bordhi, the knitter featured in the TV episode and watched her.  Easy as pie, once you saw it done.  So I got started and it was instantly addictive.  I already have yarn chosen for a second project.  This one is less than half done, but I have enough to show you.
It doesn't look like much yet, but can you see the twist?  Think way back to math class when you made mobius strips out of paper.  One twist makes it a magical, continuous loop.

I tried to stretch the side a bit so the pattern can be seen.
One last thing - a stitch marker was absolutely required and I didn't have one big enough for size 10 needles, so I got out the bead suitcase (yes, it's grown from cigar boxes and little bags to a suitcase) and made a stitch marker.  I had this crazy skull and crossbones bead, so I made the stitch marker in honor of my idol, who wears a skull ring.  Sorry it's a little blurry, close up.

We're off to the quilt show tomorrow, so I'll take the knitting along for the motel room.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Selvage Flower

We leave Thursday to go to another quilt show as vendors (Eliz. City, NC, and I should be getting things ready, but I really, really wanted to play with my selvage flower a bit more.  Here's where I last left you in the story.
Since then, I've fused and machine blanket-stitched around the basic shapes.  Then I got out my little basket of junk and auditioned possible embellishments.
This morning I started the machine quilting.  I've gotten to be pretty good at stippling, but want to try other designs.  I've just finished quilting in the orange section.  I don't know why, but the quilting on my practice/warm-up piece looked better!  I think it's still acceptable as long as you don't look too close.  I wasn't about to start picking out those little tiny stitches!
You see?  I think I can get away with it!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mystery Quilt - SOLVED

What a fun day at the store!  We were busy, busy, busy and this afternoon was the final meeting of the mystery quilt class.  Stephanie was the first one to finish a block.
Here are Judy T., Judy S., Mary and Betty Lou with their first blocks.

They each had a PILE of blocks finished by the time they went home and several had started sewing the rows together.

The mystery pattern won't be a mystery any more!  I've decided to name it "Crossroads" and the pattern will be available soon.  The girls in the class were very good guinea pigs.  Everything fit together the way it was supposed to and we only found one little boo-boo in the cutting instructions.  Here is a close-up of the design.  I was working along with the students, and have a little work left to do on my top and borders, so I'll be showing it off at least once more at a later date. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Playing With Selvages (again)

This afternoon I was thinking about some ideas using selvages.  You're probably like me:  I often imagine things and work them out in my head, but never get around to actually getting started.  So, I decided to pull our my raggedy bag of selvages and get something started.
I had been toying with the idea of cutting shapes out of strip-pieced selvage units.  Flowers are easy.  How about a flower pot, too?  Then I went a step further, drew a circle on my base fabric and pieced the selvages around in a circle for my flower.
Next, I went in search of a background fabric.  I decided to use a light piece so there is room for some embellishment (maybe some stencilling?)  The orange at the bottom was just trimmed from the backing of that quilt that I "should" be binding.  It's past bed-time, so I'll have to stop for tonight, but this is what I have so far. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Catching Up

Yesterday, Lilly brought back my "Windmills" quilt.  I'll be working on the binding tonight and will give everybody another peek once it is finished.
What else have I been doing?  Lots and lots of cutting and folding, getting fat quarters ready for the Elizabeth City quilt show on April 1 & 2.  Details are on the Colonial Quilt Lover's website:

There is a mystery quilt class in progress,and I obviously can't show that pattern until the class is over.  I CAN say that I'm very happy with how the design turned out.  Wait and see!

Sometimes, there are just tedious things to do, like sewing on hanging sleeves.
The last thing I can show today is what I'm getting ready for the table runner class on Saturday.  Here is my store sample:
We'll be making a table runner, using three quilt blocks.  The students have been asked to bring three quilt blocks of any design.  I'll be showing them how to "do the math" for the triangles.  They can make a runner like the one shown or with square ends.  I've got some crazy fabric picked out for my demo!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Bunny - Finished

I really enjoyed working on my bunny quilt.  The size ended up 20" x 21".
With my little "Gem Gold", I stitched in the ditch with invisible thread around the bunny, the letters and on both sides of the narrow green strips.  (My "big" machine refuses to cooperate with invisible thread, no matter what I do to the tension.)  Next, I added big stitch quilting with green pearl cotton.  The last step was free-handing a little curved line in the border, inserting a button now and then.  Here's a close-up view:
I have classes to teach this week and a quilt show (where we are vending) to get ready for the first weekend in April AND bushels of unfinished projects to work on, but there IS another idea rattling around......  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dear Jane??

Today was the second meeting of our "Dear Jane" group.  Linda had been working on her own for a while before we organized, so she has more than 20 blocks completed.  Pat is ready to get started.  I made one more block today, this one with curves, so now I have THREE!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beginning Quilting

We all had to start somewhere, right?  I have thoroughly enjoyed the four ladies who have been coming to the shop for beginner lessons.  Today was our last meeting.  They have been making my "Six-Inch Sampler" pattern.  Stella finished binding today:
Here Betsy is trimming her quilt, ready to hand-finish the binding:

Lynda still has a little bit of quilting to do.  Here she is, checking out Betsy's progress:
It's always fun to share and meet new people.  We had a great time together.  Our fourth, Ann, was not able to attend on the last day.

Trivia:  The first quilt class or workshop I ever took was in 1985, taught by Augusta Cole.  We made a Lone Star wall hanging.  I was so clueless that I had no idea it was way, way too difficult for a first quilt.  It took a year, but I finally got it done.  And haven't stopped quilting since.  Love it.

The Scarf

Lately it seems like my unfinished knitting projects are piling up as badly as unfinished quilt projects.  It is so nice to finish something else.  This is the scarf that I started on the bus trip to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival.  Here it is after the bus ride.
Here it is after the knitting and bind-off were done and I was un-knitting the stitches in the columns.

And here is a picture of the end after it was done.

It's called the "Waterfall Scarf" and the pattern is in a book called 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders edited by Judith Durant that I found at Books-A-Million.  Can't give you the pattern here, because it is copyrighted.  Please respect copyright laws!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Single Irish Chain Revealed

It was a wonderful feeling to finally take the last stitch and try out the quilt on the bed!  I taught "Beginning Quilting" at Wilson Tech (now Wilson County Community College) in Wilson, NC from approx. 1994 to 2002.  This quilt was started during one of those classes.  One of my students quilted her quilt with colored thread and it looked so nice that I tried that, too.
After I had finished quilting the center of the quilt, I had a LOT of difficulty marking and seeing what I was doing in the busy fabric of the border.  The quilt was put aside and not exactly "forgotten", but it was folded with a stack of quilts and dropped in priority.  The discovery of the Clover white marking pen made all the difference.  I could see the marks and they did not rub off (the marks iron off).  So many of my quilts are small, either art quilts or store samples, that it was really great to have another bed-size quilt finished.  It's a simple quilt, but I'm happy with it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Almost Finished

Next time, I'll show the front side.  I have finally finished the hand quilting on that quilt that I started over ten years ago.  It took about 2 hours Wednesday night to press the binding and do the machine sewing.  Now I am working my way around with the final hand work (can you tell that binding a quilt is not my favorite part of quilting?)

Baby came along and found the quilt folded on the work table.  Little opportunist that is is, she quickly made herself comfortable.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dear Jane?

Some customers were interested in making "Dear Jane" blocks, from the 1996 book by the same name, written by Brenda Papadakis.  For those who are not familiar with the book, it details the Civil War era quilt made by Jane A. Stickle ..... 225 different blocks with a finished size of 4 1/2 inches, plus a border of pieced triangles.  I'm not saying how far I'm going, but I have two little blocks so far.  Mine were made on the sewing machine.  One of the other ladies in our group is hand piecing everything.  We're meeting on Wednesday afternoons if you want to join in.   

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What if? What Next??

Remember the scraps of batiks that I had left after making "Crooked on Purpose"?
I strip-pieced them together, cut the strip sets into rectangles, and thought about possible block ideas (adding a dark brown and orange dot for contrast).
Last night I got around to sewing my little pieces together.  I knew I only had enough to make four blocks.  The contrast isn't quite as strong as I had hoped.  The blocks looked very busy, so I separated them with very narrow orange strips.  Where do I go from here?  This is one I'll have to keep thinking about.
They are only 8" blocks, so the whole thing so far is only 17" square.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Six-Inch Sampler

I've been teaching a beginning quilting class here at the store and everyone is making one of my patterns, the "Six-Inch Sampler".  Here's what it looked like the first time I made it:
A little plain, but it gives people a chance to try a variety of shapes and methods.  This time around, I gave the option of making more blocks.  I also made a new sample that is a little brighter:
I used two different 30's reproduction prints, unbleached muslin and a pale solid lavender.  There are two weeks left in the class and I'll try to get pictures of what everyone has made - the colors make them each look so different.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Challenge Revealed

Today was the day to reveal the "Gossip Quilt Challenge".  There was one photograph, taken by an Artrageous Husband, that was seen by the first person in each of three groups.  That person made a quilt based on or inspired by that photograph.  The next person in line did NOT see the photograph, only the quilt made from it.  On and on it went, like the game of telephone, each person making a quilt after only seeing the one coming immediately before them.  We had three groups simply because of time limits.  Here are the results:
We were not disappointed!  The quilts did not end up looking much like the photograph at all.  The original photo is in the top left corner.  It was a simple sunset photo taken at Lake Mattamuskeet, with two trees in the foreground and a sliver of moon in the sky.  All of the quilts measure a uniform 11" x 14" and will be on display together at the Crystal Coast Quilters Guild quilt show in Morehead City, NC on May 13 and 14.

Here is my quilt and a close-up to see detail:

Thursday, March 3, 2011


There's a new litter of kittens at Cotton Fields.
I hadn't made any kittens for a while, so I got out some black and white scraps to mix and match.  The pattern is called "Hang in There Kitty", designed by Nancy Ota and I sell the patterns in the store.  It has been a crowd favorite. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pineapple Roses

Yesterday I finished the binding on the little pineapple quilt.  These ARE traditional pineapple blocks, but instead of the traditional division of light and dark fabrics, I mixed scraps of pink, orange, and yellow randomly.
Green corner triangles enhanced the flower effect.  The blocks are 5 1/2" finished and were pieced on paper foundations (I don't think I would like to make pineapple blocks any other way!)  This quilt is hand quilted with pink quilting thread.  I quilted a stenciled pattern in each block and quilted the border with fans.
Last, but not least, Baby has selected this area of the store for her "nap place of the week".  We have to reach over and step around.