Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Projects In the Queue

Cleaning and organizing my sewing room has brought to light just how many projects I have in various phases of construction. It's time to make some decisions. Do I finish them now, store them away for later, or toss.

You may remember this project: Christmas Pickle. I enjoyed the paper piecing and made all the blocks. Then I lost interest. Maybe interest will re-visit closer to Christmas.

At the quilt show a couple of weeks ago, I bought the Second Hand Clothes pattern to make up in my Legacy Collection fabrics. I have a lot of heart for this and just need the solid fabric coordinate. And the time...

I have an entire Rubbermaid bin full of fabric odds and ends that coordinate with the various upholstery fabrics and colors in our family room. My intention to to make Summer Rental from Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. as well as a quilt that was shown in Australian Homespun magazine.

At a quilt show last winter, I bought Stratavarious Quilts. I have lots of fat quarters and scraps in the blue/aqua/green range that I intend to use in a pattern shown in the book. Think I can get it finished before the next Quilt Fest of New Jersey?

I've been working on these dresden plate blocks for a couple of years. The "plates" are made but need to be sewn on the backgrounds, a process I started by hand, pre-Bernina. I work on this project whenever I need something portable, which hasn't been very often lately.

And Paper Roses. In this photo you can get a glimpse of the fabrics that will go with the rose blocks. This is the project I am actively working on. I should finish it up in the next few weeks. Then I'll select one of the others and get cracking!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Missing In Action

Lots going on around here but nothing to show for it.

We're having a yard sale at our house on Saturday so I've been gathering all the stray items I have stored around the house. Most of it is up in our attic, an unfinished third floor that tends to get very hot in the summer. Still too hot to stay up there for long at a time.

I've been working on Paper Roses and have all the roses pieced as of yesterday. But my sewing room is such a mess. I keep being distracted by all the piles of unsorted fabric, unfinished projects, and non-sewing "stuff" I put there to get it out of the way. So I've been cleaning up and reorganizing a bit at a time. Now I'm aware of just how many projects I have in the queue! If only I could afford to take a month off work and just sew and quilt!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fall Is In The Air

The mornings are chilly and the leaves are starting to turn. Time to get out the fall quilts.

This is Autumn Medley. It hangs in my kitchen, one of my set of seasonally rotating quilted wall hangings. I made it in 1999, using directions in the book Watercolor Quilts by Pat Maixner Magaret and Donna Ingram Slusser. (The book may be out of print now.) I was in a watercolor phase at the time and still have lots of 2" squares and 2" strips - I'll have to figure out something to do with them.

This was also back in the days when I hand quilted every quilt I made. Then I discovered the glorious thing that is the professional long-arm quilter! Now I only hand quilt some smaller projects.

I was just looking through the Watercolor Quilts book again and began thinking, "I'd like to use this technique again. I could make this one, or that one." So many quilts, so little time!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza XVI, Part 2

There are usually fantastic vendors at quilt shows and it is all too easy to send your credit card into meltdown. Kits are my weakness; I see a fabulous quilt on display and, lo and behold, the vendor has kit so you can reproduce it at home! But I've reached the point where my creative muse is not really satisfied with making exactly what someone else has made. I prefer to put my own touch on it. So I try very hard to resist. This time, because I have a number of projects in the sewing room line-up, I shopped from a list and tried to control myself. Even so, I made a few impulse purchases.

Like this grocery shopping bag from Glorious Color. They carry all of Kaffe Fassett's fabric and this bag uses a collage of Kaffe Fassett designs.

The fat quarters are all for specific projects in my "line-up." While I was in line to pay for the clear applique thread, another woman in line was raving about the Majestic thread so I decided to try a spool. Pricey, but if it is anything like she said it will be worth it.

I have a "thing" for snowmen (my maiden name is Frost) and think this little guy is just the cutest! It is the first block of a BOM but I think I'll make just the one block for a small picture (it is 14" square). Doing more could tax my applique skills.

I was very taken with these tiny paper-pieced wall hangings. And the vendor warned me I would need the Add An Eighth ruler.

Paula Barnes of Bonnie Blue Quilts was vending at the show, with some wonderful quilts on display. One used this pattern (called Second Hand Clothes) along with a lot of fabric I already have in my stash so I could justify it as a good buy. The Star Singles are papers for making half square triangles.

I better get to work and produce something!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza XVI

Yesterday, I went with two friends to the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza XVI show in suburban Philadelphia. It really was quite the extravaganza! The largest show I've been to, I think, with lots of great quilts exhibited and, of course, lots of lovely vendors.

I took pictures of a few of my favorites:

I like the way this first quilt incorporates an intricate center medallion with simpler piecing around it. It was more impressive in person than in this tiny photo.

"Compass Radiation," Corienne Kramer and Mary Vaughan

This wall hanging is called "Quiet Village." I'd like to do something similar based on photos I took in Bermuda.

"Quiet Village," Rebecca LoGiudice

The next two photos show some of the detail. The flowers and vine are embroidered.

The background was pieced, with the sunflowers appliqued on top.

"Harmony," Kathryn Hayes

Something like this has been on my mental project list for along time. It is a variation on the 9-patch block. I've seen a commercial pattern called Gingersnap for something similar. I like the use of color and all floral prints in this one.

"Seasonal Impressions." Loretta Crum and Lisa Sauer

I like the "alternative use" of the paper pieced hexagons in this one. The centers of the flowers are embellished with embroidery and beads.

"There Are No Grannys In My Garden," Sue Bracken

Visit again tomorrow for a look at what I bought.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Wish Book Has Arrived

This came in the mail yesterday. I call it The Wish Book. They call it Hancock's of Paducah 40th Anniversary Volume 50.

When I was a kid, my sister and I would spend time going over the Sears catalog, Christmas edition, in great detail, compiling lists of everything we wanted Santa to bring. The Hancock's catalog is this grown-up quilter's version of that Wish Book. Over 167 pages, all the major fabric lines are shown, most in the form of approximately 2" swatches. Some pages feature quilts made from the various lines. My after-dinner entertainment last night was going through the catalog, making imaginary quilts out of each collection that caught my fancy: Aster Manor, Rouenneries, Kaffe Fasset Cool Blues, Girl Scouts - I need a Thin Mint apron! And the Christmas collections! It is so hard to narrow down to what will actually be do-able over the next few months.

I really do use the catalog to plan projects and as a guide for ordering fabric from the Hancock's of Paducah website. You can request your own catalog on their website, here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Some Work on Paper Roses

I started on the rose blocks for Paper Roses. They are pieced using paper as a foundation (not printed, just a blank sheet - helps with accuracy). Similar to log cabin blocks, except the center is a pentagon instead of a square. I think a hexagon would give a similar effect. I have seven blocks completely pieced; they will be cut to size later.

Miss Main Street needed a trip to Modell's for field hockey gear and, wow, Michael's was right next door. Armed with a 40% off coupon, I went in and bought this mini iron to help with applique. A regular iron is working just fine for the Paper Roses but I think this will come in handy on the more intricate pieces I intend to try later this year.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New Project - Paper Roses

I've started a new project, Paper Roses, from Allison Quilt Designs. The picture here is from the pattern. I am making it in very different fabrics so it will look quite different (I think!). The roses (pink squares in the picture) are foundation pieced and have a lot of pieces. The rectangles are big - good for those large prints. I've had the pattern and the fabric to make it in a project box for quite some time and feel good that I am finally getting to it. I'm going to try the hour-a-day technique again in an effort to make steady progress. I don't have to get it done fast, just get it finished before quilt attention deficit disorder sets in. I'll be back soon with photos of my progress.

In other news, I am making an effort to clean out and re-organize my studio. I use the term studio lightly; it is really the guest bedroom with a sewing table set up in the middle. But it gets used more for sewing and quilting than for guests. Problem is that it also gets used as the junk storage room and general catch-all facility. I'm trying to get rid of the detritus. Our local thrift shop just announced that they are accepting donations again so I plan to get there Saturday morning with my donation bags. Then on to Miss Main Street's first field hockey game as a high schooler!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Center Campus Quilt - Quilted, Bound, Labeled, and Gifted

I finished my Center Campus quilt just in time for the start of school. (I blogged about piecing this quilt here.) My longarm quilter finished it last week - with the label pieced into the backing fabric - and I finished the binding early today. Miss Main Street was delighted with it!

Peddie is the name of the school (named after the founder). I bought a t-shirt at the school store and used it to piece the center medallion, and used a mix of lots of different blues and yellows for the rest. There is a gold star quilted in each blue block and quilted gridwork in the yellow sashings. The stars in each corner are quilted just inside the seam lines.

Now it's time to start a new project!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Find - Ritter Chocolate

Stop reading right now if you are on a diet!

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, I am a chocoholic. When we were in Germany on vacation last summer, I found Ritter candy bars - they are the best! And now Target is stocking a limited selection.

Here are my favorites:

Milk Chocolate with Whole Almonds - just the right amount of nuts and a creamier chocolate than Hershey bars;
Dark Chocolate with Marzipan (marzipan is ground almonds mixed with sugar) - normally marzipan is too sweet for me but the dark chocolate balances it very well.

And my absolute favorite is this Dark Chocolate with Peppermint filling but Target doesn't carry this one. Yet!

At just $1.94 each, Ritter bars are an affordable indulgence!