Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Forward Progress

Back to business!  I've gone back to working on a little art quilt that I started a month or so ago.  Here is the background that I put together first.
I had to think about it for a while.  One thought was to have a little creature climbing up the hill.  Nope.  Then I thought of a bird in flight.  I also decided to emphasize the flowers in the silver fabric and make a field of flowers under the flying bird.  The bird is here and all the background quilting is done.  I've started the embellishment, but it is going to need a lot more.
I'm also back to working on the star quilt.  I hope to finish the applique on the border today.
There are two other potential projects that are on my mind.  Visit Tonya's blog Lazy Gal Quilting and check out her Lego quilt!  I've also seen a string quilt idea in a new book that I'm anxious to try out.  Oh dear.  Must sew faster, must sew faster! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Natural Disasters

Hmmm ..... Last Tuesday we had an earthquake.  Then on Saturday, Hurricane Irene arrived.  Lots and lots of yard work followed.  We also have to find someone to repair the roof at our store.  I am happy to report that, even though we have sprung several leaks, NO FABRIC WAS HARMED.

We have lived in North Carolina for 26 years, but have only been affected by hurricanes two other times:  1996 Hurricane Fran and 1999 Hurricane Floyd.  I discovered after Fran's destruction, the only thing that cheered me up was....
Sorry, folks, today's post doesn't have anything to do with quilting or crafts.  Just in case you don't believe in my serious Rolling Stones addiction (specifically Keith Richards), let me show you what is hanging on my living room wall.....
As long as I am being silly, I might as well show you a picture of a cute little guy I spotted truckin' across the driveway today.  I love turtles!

I'm sewing tonight, so hopefully I will have something fiber-related to show tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Punkin Heads

Instead of hopping from one project to another, I stuck with it until "Punkin Heads" was finished.  I took the last stitch in the binding this morning.  All of it is machine stitched and machine quilted.
The source of the pattern is the American Quilt Retailer and the designer is Susan Fuquay.  I plan on offering a class at the store.  

Linda and I met this afternoon for our weekly "Dear Jane" session.  Here are the latest additions to my collection:

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I needed a change of pace, so decided to start this cute Halloween wall hanging.  It will become a class and kit, so I need a finished sample.  The first step was to cut nine orange squares and fuse different Jack-O-Lantern faces on each.  Then, I went around each black shape by machine with black thread and buttonhole stitch.  That took a while!
The next step was to sew green triangles onto all the corners of all the blocks.  It is a LOT faster to position one piece of masking tape than it is to mark a line down the center of 36 squares, so I used a method that I've shown here before.
I trimmed the excess fabric and pressed the triangles out.  Next came the rows.
I thought I'd get a little farther today, but I'm running out of steam.  Tomorrow is another day!  I think I'll go work on a little applique now... 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Applique Birds

The stars quilt is progressing nicely.  I have added the four birds;  now for their wings!  Here is a close-up, where you can see my basting stitches on the wing that will be the next thing added. 
Suspense!  I'll show a full quilt shot again when I have the birds done and the flowers in the corners.

Something has happened to my "DEAR JANE" group that meets on Wednesday afternoons.  Linda and I have been meeting faithfully, but the others seem to have disappeared.  That's OK - we're having a great time.  Linda is WAY ahead of me, but I'm now up to 35 blocks finished.  Here are my latest blocks, along with an article about Dear Jane in the current issue of American Patchwork & Quilting.  I have been waiting for it because one of my friends (Pamela Leonard Wexler) has a quilt pictured in the article and SEVEN MORE online.  To see them, go to  Pam lives in NYC and has been making different versions of Dear Jane, large and small, for a long time.

As always, I have been piddling around a little bit with knitting.  I've also made another quilt block for the exchange I'm participating in.  I can't show it because it is a secret, but I can tell you that it is black, white, red, with triangles and it turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself.  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Applique Vine

Today was the day to add the vine to the star quilt border!  I ended up choosing a green with a small print instead of using the darker solid green I started out with.  Not a lot of contrast, but on the other hand, I didn't want the vine to be the first thing someone saw.
To make my vine, I cut bias strips 1 inch wide from a half-yard piece of fabric.  That gave me segments about 25 inches long.  Two pieces are needed for each side, but the break in the center will be hidden behind the birds' tails and the corners will be covered by flowers, as will be seen in the next step. 

I lightly sprayed each strip with starch before running them through a half-inch bias tape maker (loaned to me by Helen, THANKS HELEN!)  The starch really helped make a nice sharp edge that stayed while I worked.  I made a few registration marks on each side to help me with placement of curves that are close to symmetrical.

Baby is at my side, helping whenever she can.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

That Short Attention Span Again!

When I sat down today  I wondered why I didn't have more to show for myself.  I HAVE been sewing every day, on one project or another!  Here is the peep quilt, finally finished.  I quilted it by machine (mostly in the ditch) with my trusty Gem Gold.  I wanted to embellish it a bit, but didn't feel very inspired.  The result was four shiny pink buttons in the corners, eye on the chick and two beaded flowers in the empty squares.
Then I realized that I've been making steady progress on my star quilt.  I've been preparing the freezer paper applique elements slowly buy surely.  Yes, tedious, but the results are worth it.  The outside border is on and ready to go.  I've been stalling a bit, not sure of the "vine" fabric.  I have some green solid already cut, but I'm not sure......
Once I'm settled on the vine, the rest will go fairly quickly.

And it's my own darn fault that projects take so long, because I keep getting distracted.  OOPS, knitting!
The last thing for today's show and tell is a picture of the latest "Dear Jane" blocks.  Now I have 32.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Winners

The wait is over!  Today was the last day of our anniversary celebration and the end of voting for the FOR THE BIRDS challenge quilts.  The first place winner is Sharon McClaskey, of Bethel, NC, with her entry titled "Home Tweet Home" (21" x 24").

There's a tie for second place!
One second prize winner is Pat Carlson, from Chocowinity, NC.  Her quilt is titled "Flamingo Quilt Retreat at the Beach" (18 1/2" x 13").
Our  other second prize winner is Julie Willis, of Mesic, NC, with her entry titled "Buttermilk Chicken" (25 1/2" x 25 1/2").
 I am so grateful to everyone who entered the challenge.  Challenges are always good learning experiences - time to try something new and stretch your imagination.  Thanks to everyone.

While the quilts have been on display, the classroom (which is my sewing room), had to be cleaned up and rearranged.  The sewing machine and a lot of my usual mess was picked up and stashed out of sight.  Finally, this afternoon, I was able to set the machine back up.  I sewed the plain borders on my little star quilt in preparation for the applique and will start working on the vines tomorrow. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cotton Fields Quilt Challenge

We're celebrating our Seventh Anniversary in the store!  Each year we invite people to enter our quilt challenge.  This year our theme was "For the Birds" and participants each started out with a fat quarter of the same two fabrics:

There weren't too many rules.  Both fabrics had to be clearly visible on the quilt top.  Measurement on each side not to exceed 30".  Have a bird somewhere in the finished piece.  That's it!

Sixteen wall quilts were turned in.  It was astounding to see the variety of ideas!  Here they are, in no particular order:

All week long, during our anniversary sale, we will be asking shoppers to vote for their favorite quilt.  The first and second place vote-getters will win Cotton Fields gift certificates.  I'll announce the results here.