Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Final A Lovely Year of Finishes project...

Yes, it's true - this is my final ALYoF project - Melissa and Shanna have decided to take a break from the project, and are going to be focusing their energies in other directions, at least for the next year.  So... this will be my last monthly "goal reached" post.  I'm sure that I'll be able to find something to replace it!
So, a bit of a reminder - I chose to finish a donation quilt, using strips that I'd cut from the large-scale florals I was using for a swap quilt with Cathy.  I made strips with the floral fabrics and some yellow spacer strips, and then sewed them together, using "Pickle" Kona cotton.
There's an ever-growing need for donation quilts of all sizes, and I'm sure that this one will find a new home soon.  I used my new favourite quilting tutorial to quilt this project - I love how quick it is, and modern too.
I think the best part is the backing - which I found when I bought the Kona - it's a perfect match!

I machine - stitched the binding down - I think it makes the binding a little more sturdy, and it's ready to go to it's new home!
So, that makes 7 of my monthly challenges completed - Feb., March, July, Sept., Oct., Nov. and December, and I'm off to post my finish on the A Lovely Year of Finishes page.
As well, Cathy and I have completed our swap of large-scale floral Disappearing 4-Patch blocks (I hope to be putting the last blocks in the mail tomorrow).  
It sounds like I've got a very quiet January coming up - yeah, right!  I'm looking at doing a New Year's day Mystery Quilt that is also a fund-raiser for a women's shelter; as well, I'm going to be participating in Angela's Rainbow Scrappy Challenge in 2016, so I'll still have lots to blog about.  I'm also going to try to include more knitting and card-making posts in 2016, so there should be a reason to stop in every month!
Thank you to everyone that has read my blog in the past 12 months, and especially the ones that have left comments to encourage and / or challenge me!  I really appreciate hearing from you!                                                                                                                       

Sunday, December 27, 2015

And now, a card-making post!

I keep forgetting that this blog is also to highlight some of my cards - so I'm going to fix that now.
I haven't done a lot of card-making lately - quilting seems to be keeping me too busy, and, if I have some spare time, I'm more apt to pick up my knitting needles.
And then Christmas happened!  I LOVE making my Christmas cards!  A friend got me started making my Christmas cards a few weeks ago already, but I still ended up scrambling for "just a few" more...  Now that the cards have all been sent out, I'm ready to tidy up the Christmas-specific stamps, and to pull together some birthday cards - or thank-you cards, or maybe even a baby card or two...
But for now, I'll share some of the Christmas cards that I made this year.  I usually get one new Christmas stamp set every year, and then make 2 or 3 different designs with that set.  This year, I forgot that I'd already bought a new set, and I bought 1 or 2 more - so I ended up making about 5 different designs.  For now, I'll share 2 or 3 of this year's cards:
First up -
This was one of my new stamp sets - and it came with a coordinating die set, to simplify making the wreath and the bow.  The die set also came with a few words - and I'll show you a card with one of them next.
Putting the word "Joy" on some of my cards was also a reminder to me to not get so caught up in the busy-ness of the season, that I miss the joy that Christmas is all about.
The last card is pulled together using an old stamp, but put together in a new way, using an embossing folder and die cuts, some "jewels" and a bit of ribbon: 

My next post will be quilting-related again - I need to post my completed December "A Lovely Year of Finishes" project - but I'll make an effort to share my card-making adventures more often in the new year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Another finish!

I can't get over all of the completed projects I've had for this month - maybe because some of them didn't need much to finish them, but they still count as finishes!
Today's is a donation lap quilt that was made as a bit of a challenge.  A quilting friend showed me a quilt she'd made using some yardage and some leftover 2.5" squares, made up into 16-patch blocks.  It looked fairly simple, and so I announced that I had all of the needed items in my stash, and that I'd probably be able to make the top the next day.  I managed to pull it off, but then put the top aside, and ignored it in favour of working on other more needed quilt-y things.
Well, I needed to clear my dining room table for the renos we're doing in our dining room, in anticipation of the guests that we're hosting for Christmas, and I realized that if I would just get a few tops quilted, and bound, they'd be out of my way for good.  So, that's what I did!  Hubby hauled my "layering" tables out of the garage; I spent two days layering a number of tops, and then spent another 3 days quilting and binding.
You've already seen my rainbow braid quilt, and I'll show you another finish in a few days, but here's my 2.5" squares "challenge" quilt:
It's been a few months since I made the top, so I'm not exactly sure of my colour choices, but I believe the green is Tarragon Kona cotton, and the cream is Bone Kona.  The yardage was cut to the same width as the 16-patches, by the width of the fabric.  The strips were then slashed at random, the patches were inserted, and the strips were sewn together, alternating the green and cream.  I used a very scrappy binding to finish it off.
I found a great quilting tutorial and tried it out - it was a lot of fun, and I'll be using it often for my donation quilts!
I'll be posting my December ALYoF project in a few days (yes, it's already done too!), so check back for that after the weekend.
Linking up to Quilting is More Fun Than Housework...'s Oh Scrap!

Friday, December 11, 2015

A finish or two...

I've had a busy week, and I feel good about it, because I ended up with a few finished projects.  I can't share all of them yet, because some of them are Christmas gifts, but the rest of them are here.
First, I completed the quilting and binding on one of my Rainbow Scrappy Challenge quilts from 2014.  I came across a braid-type quilt in a Fons and Porter magazine from a few years ago, and made up 5 scrappy strips using 3 fabrics for each colour in the braid - those fabrics being the colour assigned for that particular month.  The top was finished quite a while ago, but I finally finished the whole thing!  It will be a donation quilt:
I did Stitch-In-The-Ditch quilting in the braid sections, and used a different decorative stitch in each sashing strip.  The binding is scrappy too.
I also had started four Christmas placemats for a guild project a few weeks ago, but didn't get them done in time, so I set them aside.  Yesterday, I decided to finish them and "gift" them to my daughter.  I made a small "Twister" panel for the left side of the placemat, and used a small piece of yardage for the right side.  I used  
the S-I-T-D process to quilt the Twister section, and quilted some snowflakes in the fabric panel using Press and Seal.  I've had the Press and Seal for years, but had never really tried it for quilting.  I'm happy to report that it worked out really well in this application!
I don't think that my daughter reads my blog, so I'm safe in posting it here.
Now I'm linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict and She Can Quilt - check out their posts for lots of wonderful project photos!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

One last project for 2015...

So here it is - the last month of 2015...  One final project remains to be finished.  I WISH!!!!  In reality, there are probably 5 or 6....  I'm sure that almost every "crafter" can relate!  I have 3 or 4 knitting projects to finish for Christmas gifts, and then there's at least 1 (non-quilted) baby gift to make.  But complaining about all of the work I have to do yet isn't going to finish anything, so I'll write this post and get back to my knitting needles.
So, what to choose for my final "A Lovely Year of Finishes" project for this year?  I looked into my closet this afternoon, and saw about 9 quilt tops waiting to be layered and quilted.  There are 5 more in the living room - although they're pin-basted and ready to quilt - so there's no shortage of projects to pick from!
I think that I'm going to choose my latest quilt though - maybe because it's so similar to last month's project; maybe it's because I just found a great quilting tutorial online yesterday, and I want to try it out on a quilt that isn't too big.
I had SO many strips left over from last month's quilt, and I just need to use them up and get the quilts donated. Last month, I used Terracotta Kona for the sashing and border strips.  This month, I've chosen Pickle Kona - it's a great green and goes well with the floral strips.  I just popped into my LQS The Marsh Store to find fabric for the sashing strips, and I not only found the green Kona, but I also found a great backing fabric (on sale too!  Win-win!).  I was considering a lovely soft purple too, but the backing fabric made the decision easy.
So, here's my start:
I only cut strips to go between the rows.  I'll decide if I'm going to put borders on the sides when I get farther along.
I also quickly quilted a top last week - it was one of the tops that I made when I did the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge a year ago.  I'll post it in a day or two...
I'm off to link up with Melissa's goal setting post.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Floral strip quilt #1

My November ALYoF project is done - on the last day of the month (again), but it's done!  I even managed to work on another project or two and did some Christmas shopping AND went away for the w/e with my hubby.
For this quilt, I made strips out of the large scale floral fabrics that Cathy and I are using for our Disappearing 4 Patch swap blocks.  The blocks are 4" x 6.5" and the yellow dividing strips are 4" x 1.5".  The terracotta Kona fabric is 4" x the Width of Fabric, and I think there are 7 rows of "bricks" in this quilt.  The problem is, I cut most of my large scale floral fabrics into bricks, and I cut as many yellow dividing strips as I could get out of 0.5 meters - that's a LOT of yellow strips, and consequently, a lot of rows!
As a matter of fact, I think I have another 15 rows of floral strips with yellow divider strips left over!  That's enough for 2 more quilts!  Needless to say, I went out last Friday to buy enough "pickle" Kona fabric to use for one of the extra quilts, AND I found the perfect fabric (on sale!) for the back of that quilt.  If I look hard enough, I may have another bright piece of Kona cotton kicking around here to use for quilt #3...  or I could go shopping again!
So, the finished quilt is ready to show to you.  I used a decorative stitch on my sewing machine for the quilting, and another one to sew the binding down, so the quilt should be able to withstand some wear and tear.  It will be given to one of my favourite charities (Word and Deed) - and I hope that it will brighten up the life of a child and maybe even his family.  I'll be linking up with Melissa's Finishes Party post.
Now that this quilt is done, I've started quilting a top that I finished last year when I did Angela's Rainbow Scrap Challenge last year.  It will also go to Word and Deed, so I should really finish it and get it shipped out this year yet...  I'll post something about it soon!  
December will be the last month to work on ALYoF projects for this year, and I'm not planning to participate in it next year.  I have several time-consuming commitments already sucking up a lot of my time, and it doesn't look like next year is going to have more hours in a day, so I'm going to take a year off from that challenge.  I am hoping to join up with Angela's Rainbow Scrappy Challenge though.  You'll hear more about that in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A quick gift!

Our son moved a few weeks ago - his first apartment totally on his own!  He's lived away from home for at least 6 or 7 years, but always in a group, sharing an apartment or a house.  This is the first time that he has to provide everything that a good "home" should have - and he's discovered that he has a lot of buying to do! Thankfully, it's close to Christmas, so we should be able to help him fill in some of the gaps, but I decided to not make him wait for everything.
He mentioned that he has a fairly dark wooden dining table - and that he'd really appreciate some placemats for it.  We're hoping to visit him this weekend, and I thought that a few placemats would make a great house-warming gift.  But, with less than no time to make placemats from scratch, I had to think fast!  That's when I remembered the quilt blocks that are stacking up in my sewing room.  I've been trying out different blocks for various reason (auditioning blocks for a quilt, trying out a new block pattern, etc.) and I had several blocks that really weren't committed to any cause at this point.  They'd just need a strip down either side to make them the right size, and I'd be good to go.
What a nice surprise to find that I had made these two "x and plus" quilt blocks, using the same 3 fabrics, and one different, but coordinating fabric:
I found my stash of Kona "Snow" - cut 4 - 3" wide strips and sewed them to the sides.  That looked good, so I got them layered; I stitched them together tonight, and even got them quilted with some SID stitching. 

I'm happy with the way they turned out - and I'll find out on Saturday if he agrees!

Friday, November 20, 2015

The top is finished...

Well, I've completed my floral striped quilt top.  I don't know if there's a name for this pattern - I saw a picture of it online somewhere and realized that it would be easy enough to make without a proper pattern. I've used leftover fabrics from the large-scale florals that I'm using for the swap with Cathy, and terracotta and yellow Kona cottons.
When I had the rows done, I thought they looked unfinished, so I sewed terracotta strips up the sides.  I like the look!  What do you think?

Now that this top is done, I discovered that I have enough leftover floral panels to make at least one more quilt like this!  I'll have to find more fabric for the alternate stripes - shucks, that means that I may have to go shopping again...!
I'm linking up to Sarah's "Can I Get a whop-whoop?" post.

Friday, November 13, 2015

I've been busy!

I promised you a look at some of the things that I've been working on recently, and here they are!
First off, I FINALLY  finished a quilt that's been about 5 years in the making.  I bought the fabric on a whim, when hubby and I were on a trip to Shipshewana with hubby's cousin and his wife.  A few of my cyber-quilting friends live fairly close to Shipshewana, and we arranged to meet up at Yoder's.  One thing after another delayed our arrival, until we pulled up at 5:10 pm.  They close at 5:30....  I dashed in, while everyone else proceeded on to our hotel.  I met my friends in person finally, and we ducked in to see what wonderful things Yoder's had available.  I chose a few white T-O-T fabrics, then saw a great green.  I took it to the counter, asked for 4 yards, paid for it and my white fabrics, and then went to the hotel.  My friends stayed with us for supper, and we had a lovely evening, but they wondered what I was planning to do with the green fabric - and at that time, I had no idea!  Four yards of fabric...  Fast forward about 9 months, and I found a quilt pattern called Swirlygig.  I fell in love! and guess what - it required 4 yards of a dark fabric for the main print and the binding!  I found a great gold-yellow fabric with green splotches, added a white fabric, and made the top.  Then it got tucked away for about 2 years - until a local long-arm quilter had a sale on her quilting services.  It finally got quilted this past winter, and I put the final stitches in the binding yesterday!

Next on the completed pile is a Warm Wishes crib-sized quilt.  This is a quick and easy quilt, originally designed for Project Linus.  I've made a few of these, and always love how it turns out.  This one is made of four different colours from one fabric line, so it's kind of matchy-matchy, but the group that I donated it to loved it!  It's been layered for a few months, and finally was quilted and bound in time for show-and-tell at my guild meeting on Monday night.  It's backed and bound with pink fabric.

And finally, my swap blocks for Cathy - we're nearing the end of our large-scale floral Disappearing 4-patch swap - there's just 2 months left.  These are the blocks that I gave her for October: 

So, now I'm heading back to the machine to sew a few more rows together for my November ALYoF project.  It's coming together nicely - but you'll have to check here in a week or so to see my progress.  I'm linking up to Sarah's Whoop-whoop party!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Nov. 2015's A Lovely Year of Finishes project

I can't get over how quickly these past weeks have gone - in less than 2 months, we'll be saying hello to 2016!  Of course, the positive thing about these ALYoF posts is that I have an ongoing record of the projects I've worked on and / or completed this past year.  Sometimes I just finished one aspect of the project (piecing a quilt top, or doing the quilting on an already finished top, for example), and sometimes I've had enough time to actually take a project from beginning to end.  I haven't always completed my goal, but I have finished most of my challenges.
Now that we're getting close(r) to Christmas, I have my doubts that I'll actually be able to pull off my chosen project for November, but I'm going to do my best!
I've been doing a large-scale floral Disappearing 4-Patch swap with Cathy since January.  I didn't have a lot of appropriate fabrics when we started this swap, but a few trips to various quilt shops and a few quilt shows have remedied that situation, and I now have quite the "floral" stash!  We'll be putting our quilts together after we swap our blocks in December - at least, that's the plan...  In the meantime, my floral fabrics are starting to pile up.  I have 2 basic options - either decide on a storage option (do I store them by their main colour, or do I keep them all together in a "floral" drawer or bin?), or find a way to use them up (and save myself some sorting!).
A few days ago, I was looking for a specific fabric on my sewing table, and I came across a picture of a quilt that I'd found online somewhere - and it was the perfect solution to my dilemma!  It showed a strippy quilt - rows of a chosen solid coloured fabric, interspersed with rows of "bricks", joined together with a contrasting solid sashing type of strip.  It was the perfect project for my flowered fabrics!  I spent an afternoon cutting my floral bricks, and then auditioned several Kona cottons for my alternate fabrics.  I finally settled on a cheery yellow for the sashing strips, and a terracotta colour for the contrasting rows.  I sewed a few brick / sashing units, and added the terracotta fabric between the "brick" sections, and Voila!  It looks great!
So, my chosen project for November will be putting the top together.  It should make a top fairly quickly (I'm going to let the row width determine the overall size), so I should be able to accomplish my goal.  If I'm doing really well, I may even go for a complete quilt, but the goal will be just the assembled top.
And, just in case my description made no sense to you, here's a photo of the first 3 assembled rows, with a few of the solid strips and some of the brick sections:
By the look of my sashed brick sections, I may even have enough rows to make a 2nd quilt!  No promises though!
I'll also be sharing some pics of the last blocks I made for Cathy, and my current guild project, so check in again in a few days...  And, as always, I appreciate you stopping in to see what I'm up to!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

And there goes October!

I can't believe that another month has flown past - although I have enough projects worked on to prove it!  I'll be sharing some of them as the weeks go by, but today's post is reserved to show my October's "A Lovely Year of Finishes" finished project.
I got one of my "fire" quilts done - it will be going to one of the boys that lost a brother in a tragic house fire earlier this month.  The quilt for the 2nd brother is quilted and just needs to have the binding attached and sewn down.  I'm hoping to share that later today, but this one quilt was my challenge.
The finished quilt looks like this:

I used just a quick and simple wavy line stitched from side to side, and I machine-stitched the binding down.  I'm hoping that this quilt gets lots of use, and that means a lot of washing - I find that machine stitching the binding makes it strong and durable.
I'm off to post my finish on Melissa's ALYoF post, and then I'll work on finishing the second quilt.
Edited to add: my completed second quilt!  I quilted this with diagonal cross-hatching, and I machine stitched the binding.  Hubby very kindly assisted in holding up the finished quilt - here it is!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

October's Challenge Project

This year is slipping away so quickly!  There are only 3 months left, and SO many projects needing to be completed.  The worst part is choosing just one (who am I kidding?  I sometimes don't even have time to finish one fairly simple project..!).
Unfortunately, this month's project is coming as a result of a few recent tragedies - namely fires that have devastated a number of families.  A family member lost almost everything in his apartment when the townhouse complex he lived in went up in flames a week ago; one day later, a family just outside of town lost their century home, and even worse, their 10 year-old son.  The call has gone out for replacement items - everything from clothes, to bedding, to kitchen supplies and anything else you can think of.
I know that a lot of store-bought blankets are just as warm as quilts, but a quilt says "I care about you" in a way that a blanket doesn't.  I know that a quilt isn't going to bring back that young boy, but hopefully, knowing that our town and surrounding area is there to support that family will bring a bit of comfort.
So, my goal for October is to finish at least one of the two "Plus" quilts that I've recently pieced.  I know that we're supposed to choose ONE project, but when there's so much need, I'm going to aim high.  If I manage to get this quilt completely finished, I'll start on the second one - hopefully, I'll get both done (that way, both surviving brothers can get their own quilt).
Here's top #1:

and quilt #2: 

We Canadians will be celebrating Thanksgiving next Monday - and my family and I have SO much to be thankful for!  Being able to help someone that's gone through incredible challenges is just a small way to express my thanks to God for everything that He's blessed me with.
And now I'm off to link up to Melissa's A Lovely Year of Finishes post.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September's finish

Right - it's September 30th today, and I almost forgot to blog about my ALYoF project.  I chose to finish my Christmas wall-hanging.  I used my Twister tool to make the Christmas tree - the coloured sections are supposed to represent either ornaments or coloured lights, and the various green fabrics hopefully mimic the different shades found in a real tree (although I know real trees don't come in most of the green colours that I used...).
I did some Stitch-in-the-Ditch quilting in the cream background blocks.  Instead of using the same technique for the tree, I used a gold rayon embroidery thread, and stitched "garland" back and forth throughout the tree, and even used a decorative stitch on my sewing machine to make a little "baubles" every so often along the garland.  I used a great red and white diagonal stripe for the binding, hoping to evoke thoughts of candy canes.
Here's the completed project - ready to be entered in the fair this weekend!
I'm linking up to Melissa's site.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

On My Needles report for Sept. 18th

I know, I know, it's not Sept. 18th anymore - I just haven't had time to sit down to write this post...
I've been progressing with my baby sweater set.  The body of the sweater is almost complete - I just need to knit the button bands and the neckband.  The sleeves are more than halfway done - and then I have to knit the bonnet to go with it.

I've so enjoyed knitting this set!  The yarn is a light double-knitting weight (Mary Maxim Baby's Best), and it's working up fairly quickly.  I still think that the decreases in the bodice are oddly done, so I'll probably do something different the next time I knit the set, but there will be a "next time"!
I'm going to link up to Judy's On the Needles post.

Monday, September 7, 2015

September 2015 ALYoF goal

How can it already be September 7th?  In just over 2 weeks, it will be Sept. 25th - and then just 3 months later it will be Christmas, and I haven't even had enough summer yet!  I know that I lost some time in April, but I just don't know how the rest of the year has rushed by so quickly.... (the weeds in my garden may have had something to do with it though...).
But, time apparently marches on, and I have projects to finish - and soon!  September's project is one that I NEED to have done by Sept. 23rd.  Fair season starts on Sept. 24th, and I need to enter a wall-hanging.  I almost had this one done for last year, but ran out of steam just a week shy of entering it.  I put it away, fully intending to finish it in time for Christmas, but that didn't happen either.  Now, fair season has come around again, and if I don't get it in this time, I won't have another opportunity to do so.  It just needs the quilting and binding done, so not a huge time commitment.
I've been looking for some seasonal wall-hanging patterns for a while, and I saw this pattern shortly after I got my Twister tool.  I have a short hallway, and it needs a focal point at the end of it - and this is the one that I've chosen for Christmas.  I'll probably just do some kind of SID quilting - I'm not confident enough in my free motion quilting yet, and I don't want to distract from the "tree".
So, 2+ weeks to quilt and bind a simple wall-hanging - I should be able to get it done, right?  Right!

Friday, September 4, 2015

On the Needles Sept. 4, 2015

I think that this has to be some kind of a record - two "On the Needles" reports in 2 weeks!
I REALLY love this little sweater!  Now that I've got the pattern figured out, I'm on a roll.  I don't have a lot of time to knit these days, between canning, and quilting and visiting my dad a few times a week, but I've managed to sneak in a few minutes here and there.  This is where I've left off - sorry about the shadow.
I'm finally working on the (right) bodice section.  The little puckery spot looks a bit odd, but it's knit according to the instructions...
I just realized that I could be knitting the left side at the same time - that way, I'm sure to get the shaping for the neck and shoulders to match.  When I get to the decrease point on the left side, I'll see if it's as apparent as the right side - and if so, I may leave it as is, or try to find a less obvious decrease.
So, now that I've got this much done, I'm eager to see the set completed - and I'm hoping to be at that point by next Friday's report deadline!  (I'd cross my fingers, but it will be a little tricky to knit that way...!)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

What happened to that August project?

Yeah, I was wondering the same thing...!  I bit off far too much - I was sure that I would be able to manage my lofty goal, but that was before I promised to help out a friend, delivering his newspaper route for him while he took some holidays.  I then also accepted another route, which took up another week.  It's done wonders for my bank account, but didn't leave me much time for quilting projects!
I did manage to get the top of my (large) quilt done - just didn't get the quilting and binding done.  Maybe next month?  I have a lot of smaller projects to do this month, between quilting, and knitting and even some sewing.  It's also "fair" month - and I'm entering projects in 2 local fairs, and I'll be judging at a third one.
I'll post my next project in another post - and leave this one primarily for showing my completed quilt top.  Here's the picture:
I really like the "zig-zag" look of this quilt!  I've made a "Scrappy Mountain Majesties" quilt before (in my pre-blogging days), but used a different setting for it.  I think I prefer this one!  (If I can find a picture of the other one, I'll share it here).
Finally, I've got quite a few blocks left over, so I may just end up making another SMM quilt - I'm not sure if I have enough to make one this size again, but all sizes are needed by the organization that this one is going to, so it will be gratefully accepted.


Friday, August 28, 2015

On the Needles - Aug. 28, 2015

I can't remember the  last time that I did a knitting update, but I've got a project on the go right now, and I thought that blogging about it might motivate me to keep working on it.  It's a baby sweater set that I saw in the Mary Maxim catalogue.  It looked interesting, and I was looking for a new pattern for a baby set, so I ordered it.  It sat in my sewing room for at least a month before I even opened the bag that it came in.
I picked it up about a few weeks ago, thinking that I'd like to start something quick and easy - and it was definitely NOT this pattern!  I had a really hard time getting the pattern established - until I realized that I had it right all along - it just didn't look right until I had about 4 or 5 rows of the pattern established.  Now I've got it down, and it's going well!  (I'm even thinking of going to their tent sale to get more yarn so I can knit it again!)
I know of at least 3 babies "on the way" and I like to have a baby gift on hand - sometimes the need for a gift comes up unexpectedly, and having a set like this will come in handy!  This one is done in white, but I might pick up some pink yarn for the next set.  I'm still trying to decide if it's too "girly" for a baby boy...
I'll be linking this up to Judy's On the Needles post:
I'll be posting my August ALYoF project in a day or two...

Monday, August 17, 2015

August's progress so far...

If I recall correctly, I mentioned that I'd try to update my progress a few times if possible this month. Obviously, I'm not posting weekly, like I'd hoped to do, but this post will bring you up-to-date.
I had a lot of triangle blocks made for my Scrappy Mountain Majesties quilt, but they needed to be cut up and reassembled before being sewn into the blocks for the quilt.  I've been keeping busy with that, as well as cutting up fabrics for what felt like 5 or 6 additional scrap quilts (it's really only 2!), so I'm not as far along with the assembly of this quilt as I hoped to be at this point.  But, I do have the first 5 rows put together, so I'll show you that picture:
This is my second SMM quilt - the first one I made was all red and tan / beige, so I'm really enjoying this more colourful version!  And now I'd better get back to work!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A change of pace...

I mentioned that I'd try to post update pics of my quilt-in-progress, and I'm still hoping to do that (soon!), but I wanted to share this before I forgot.  A young couple in our church is expecting their first baby, and we held a baby shower for her earlier this evening.  I made a few gifts for them, mostly based on the gifts that my daughter got a lot of use from when she had her baby.  They "know" that the baby is a girl, so I used some pink, but also made some unisex gifts in case they have a boy down the road.
First off is a receiving blanket, made from the Missouri Star Quilt Company directions.  I then found a tutorial online for some very practical baby bibs (I made two), and finally made a "taggie" toy - it's made of 2 layers of fabric, with a "noisy" layer in between, and has numerous loops of ribbon extending from the edges.  Babies love to play with the ribbons, and the crinkly inner lining creates a noise that seems to fascinate them!
Of course, I took a picture of the goodies - and here it is for you to see:
Jen seemed pretty happy with the gift - and I hope her baby will someday be as well!

Friday, August 7, 2015

August's ALYoF project

I had to make a tough decision this month - which of three important projects did I want to focus on?  I have a scrappy Churn Dash quilt cut and ready to assemble, as well as Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Mountain Majesties.  I also have a wedding quilt to get working on, but that's a little bit down the road yet, and I don't actually have all of the fabrics for it yet (which will hopefully be remedied this afternoon!).  In the end, I chose the SMM.  I've done this quilt before, in all reds and tans, from my stash, but I wanted it scrappier this time.  It will eventually be going to a 3rd world country as a donation quilt, and I've heard over and over that the men are usually the first ones in line when new afghans and quilts are available for distribution.  Their goal?  The most colourful "blankets" in the pile!  Their existence is often more dire than day-to-day, and any little bit of brightness that they can bring into their lives gives them just a little boost - and this quilt is going to be colourful!  (I may even have gone a little overboard with the blocks I cut, and I may have enough for more than one quilt...).  My goal is to complete this quilt - from piecing to stitching on the binding.
The picture I took doesn't really show the range of colours, but it gives you an idea of how the blocks start, with the pink one, then how the block is cut up, and then reassembled at the top (which is actually two blocks together).  I hope to share a few pics along the way of the progress - so you'll get a better idea of the range of colours.  It also helps that hubby sees that I actually use up all those fabrics that I insist on buying!
So, here's the start of the quilt - and I'll try to post weekly progress (note that I said try!):

Thursday, July 30, 2015

July's completed project

I'm sure that you're all waiting with bated breath - did she finish her project on time?  Yes, I did!
It's hard to believe, but when I started quilting, I wanted / needed every aspect of my quilts to match - there's NO way that I would make a scrappy quilt!  I enjoyed other people's scrappy quilts, but it just wasn't my thing.  I can't remember when that changed, but now it seems to be the only kind of quilt that I make!  (I still have the odd unfinished "matchy-matchy" project in a box somewhere, but I'm not sure I can finish them....)
I'm also unable to pass up interesting Fat Quarters - take me to a quilt shop, or a show, and I'll inevitably end up with half a dozen FQs in my hand.  I usually don't have a plan for them, but I'll find a quilt for them someday!  That's partly how this quilt came to be - I had odds and ends of other quilt projects, or random FQs, and even a few cotton fabrics that came from "yard sales" at guild meetings.
I've made 3 or 4 disappearing 9-patch quilts, and have at least one more in the works.  It's a fun project - basically, you chose a colour for the middle block, then pick 8 more fabrics to go around it.  They can coordinate, or be any colour of the rainbow.  Sew them together, then cut the block into 4 equal sections - mix and match with other blocks and sew them together again.  The center block becomes the focus.  In my quilt, I chose red for the centers - different fabrics and shades of red, but always red in the center.  How you sew them together brings the reds together again, across the corners.
You can use as few as 2 colours, or as many as you want, but the scrappier, the better!  And here's my quilt:

Sunday, July 19, 2015

An "In-progress" report

I thought that I had posted this update a few days ago, but apparently I was dreaming!
The first thing I found out was that the 9-patch blocks varied somewhat in size - enough to make it a problem that "fudging" wouldn't fix.  So, after I cut all the squares, I measured a few blocks to find their average size, and trimmed all of the blocks down to that measurement.
You wouldn't think that just trimming off 1/4" or even just 1/8" would take up so much time, but it did!  That job is finally finished - thankfully!
This picture shows just some of the blocks, and some of the little strips that I cut off - and there were so many more!  But, that job is finally done, and I hope to start assembling the top in the next day or two...

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

My goal for July

I've had a tough time deciding what to choose for July's "A Lovely Year of Finishes" project.  I had a bunch of charm squares that needed to be assembled into a top - great!  It would be a relatively easy finish - and it was!  I have it done already, so that really isn't going to be much of a challenge (it still needs a border, but that won't take more than 10 minutes once I have the fabric I need).  I'll show it to you anyway - and then I'll repost it with it's borders.
I finally choose this disappearing 9-patch.  The 9-patches have been assembled for at least 4 years, so it's a perfect candidate for the challenge.  Every block has a red center, and will be cut into quarters.  The blocks are then mixed up, and re-assembled.  These are a few of the 9-patches, and a few of the quarters.  You'll have to pop in a few days from now to see how it's progressing!

I'm off to link up to Melissa's site!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A day late...

I'm really annoyed with myself - I had my June "A Lovely Year of Finishes" project completed a day before month's end, but I didn't blog about it Monday night because it was getting really late...  I knew that I still had a day to post it - and I would have, except that our phone line went out, and we had no internet either.  So, I didn't get my project linked up - once again, my procrastination has kicked me in the backside...
I know that you still want to see it though - so here's my top:
The quilt doesn't have borders - every quilt that I've seen like this just has the strips running out to the quilt edges, and I really like the look!
Note to self: When you finish your monthly goal, post it right away!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A few things I've done this month...

It's almost deadline time for the ALYoF projects, and I'll make it, but I wanted to share a few of the other things I've been working on.
Cathy and I have completed 6 months of our disappearing 4-patch quilt block swap - we're using large scale florals and Kona Snow for our blocks.  We got together last week Friday to exchange our blocks - these are the blocks I made for her:
We also had a bridal shower at church on Wed. evening.  We were each asked to bring a small gift for the couple.  I wasn't sure what to bring, but I wanted it to be hand-made.  I poked around a few crafty sites, and found more than a few great ideas - and then I remembered the place mats that someone from our quilt guild had made, using a mini-charm pack.  I had a few of those kicking around, so I made 2 sets of 2 place mats.  The floral set was made using Honeysweet, from Fig Tree Quilts, and the blues and taupes are from the Snowman Gatherings line by Primitive Gatherings.  I did simple straight line quilting, both on the body of the place mats, and also SID around the charms.

My June ALYoF project is almost ready to stitch together - the rows are all complete, and the layout has been finalized, so a few hours of sewing will get the top assembled!  Check in here on Tues. for pics of the finished top.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

June's project is calling me!

I missed May's ALYoF "completed project" link-up - the project got finished, but not in time....  So, we'll try again!  You've probably seen this project before - it was the one I was hoping to finish in April.  I've been using the fabric strips and small patches as my leaders and enders while I've been working on other quilt projects.  Now that I have my H2H quilts finished, I can take a deep breath again and maybe finish this quilt once and for all - I hope!
I've been putting sections together, but now I'm debating how to put it together.  I've taken pics of 3 different options - so I'll take any and all the advice I can get!

Here's option #1:
The rows will be staggered, but sewn together with a narrow sashing strip between each row.  I'm not sure that it will work with wide "joint" sections separating each brick, and then narrow sashing.  I could make the joints narrow too - I'd have to undo all the blocks (again!), and make the solid fabric narrower, but if it makes the block work, it will be worth it! 

Option #2:    
This version just has the rows sewn together - they'll still be staggered, but without any sashing.

Option #3:  I can take version #2, and set a sashing strip between every 4 or 5 rows.  They'd probably have to be wider that the strips in option #1...

Now that I see all of these options here, I think that I know what I'm going to do, but would still appreciate hearing your ideas!  And, as always, I appreciate my readers and the comments that you leave!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

...and it's done too! (second post for June 6th)

So, I finally managed to get my second quilt done for the H2H challenge.   I had a number of interruptions, but I kept at it, and have it ready to be sent off with the first quilt.  They'll go out together Monday morning.
I used the same fabrics for both quilts (Apple of My Eye for Riley Blake), and I quilted both with a variegated thread that had many of the same colours in it.  I'm pleased with the results, and hope that both quilts bring a little bit of joy to the life of a child in foster care.  And, because you asked so nicely, I'll show you the picture of quilt #2:
I can't wait to see all of the quilts that have been made for the challenge!  I've enjoyed being part of it!

SO close!

It's time to reveal my completed quilts for the H2H challenge - and alas, I have only one finished - but it's a finish!  The second one is ready to bind, but this is the cut-off time, so I'm posting what I got done.  I've had a few other challenges along the way, and they've cut into my quilting time to some extent (and there's also been a bit of "partying" going on as hubby and I both celebrated birthdays recently!)
But, here's what you've been waiting for - the picture of my quilt!
I'm hoping to have the 2nd quilt pic in the next hour, so you can check back for it then!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hands2Help progress so far...

I had a few minutes, so I thought I'd bring you up-to-date with my Hands2Help challenge quilts.  I've got the top of the "Dancing Plus Blocks" done:
The fabric line is "Apple of My Eye" from Riley Blake.  The blocks didn't use much of the fabric (I bought a FQ bundle), so I cut some 10" blocks, cut them in half, and used a pattern from Me and My Sister Designs.  I've only got the first step done, but it's progress!

And finally, I can show the disappearing 4-patch quilt blocks that I made for Cathy - we're doing a swap, using large scale florals:
Now that I've got all that accomplished, I think I'm going to find an easy knitting project to work on for the rest of the afternoon!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

It's that time again...

Hello, and welcome to May!  I've lost a week or two, and I'm still having a hard time getting my head around the fact that April is done and gone, and May is here in it's place.
If you regularly follow my blog, you'll notice that I posted my challenge to complete for the month of April, and then nothing else since.  Yeah, the best laid plans....  My project didn't go any farther than what was pictured in the April 7th post - I ended up being admitted to hospital for emergency surgery; had complications and spent 5 days in ICU.  But, for the most part, that's behind me now - I have a follow-up surgery to look forward to, but I'll worry about that when we actually have a date scheduled; until that happens, I plan to get this month's project completed on time.  (I might even try to complete another quilt for the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge 2015.)  The quilts that I'm working on will be donated to kids in the foster care system - a cause that's close to my heart.  When we were young, my parents were foster parents for 20+ years.  It was a growing experience for me - there were quite a few kids that we cared for over the years - and we saw a lot of things that made us REALLY appreciate our parents, even though we didn't always agree with them!
So, here's a pic of the blocks I'm working on for the first challenge quilt:
I found the pattern on a blog (The Colorful Fabriholic), and I knew that it would be perfect for one of the quilts I'm planning for the H2H challenge.  The fabric is Apple of My Eye for Riley Blake.  It's going well so far, and I'm pretty sure that I'll be able to have the quilt top done, and then quilt and bind it in time to deliver it by June 12th.  I'm hoping to regularly update you on the progress.
I also got my swap blocks done for Cathy - we're doing a monthly swap of four Disappearing 4-Patch quilt blocks, using Kona "Snow" and large scale floral fabrics.  We each make 8 blocks every month; 4 to swap and 4 to keep.  Her blocks went out in the mail last week, but I don't think she's received them yet, so I can't show them - I'll probably share them in my next post.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April's ALYoF challenge post!

Seeing as the deadline to post my challenge for April's A Lovely Year of Finishes is in about half an hour, I decided that I'd sit down and post my project.  Nothing like leaving it to the last moment, is there? LOL
I have about 4 or 5 projects to choose from, so I'm not dealing with a difficult choice - but all of those projects need to be finished sooner or later (preferably sooner!).  April is still looking like it's going to be super-busy with other things, so I decided to pick something fairly simple to do - not quick, mind you, just simple.  Part of the challenge is that I had decided to make a quilt that I saw in a quilt magazine last year, and it used a Bobbins and Bits jelly roll - and I just happened to have that exact jelly roll!  So, I cut the strips into 8.5" lengths, and proceeded to sew them into blocks of 4 strips.  The idea was to turn each block a quarter turn before sewing them together.
Well, I did that, but for some reason, the blocks just didn't match up - so, I just gathered the completed blocks and threw them into a box with the unsewn strips and shoved it all into my closet.  Fast forward to a few weeks ago; I'm browsing through some projects I've bookmarked on the computer, and I found a quilt that will use my strips!  I had to trim them to 8", but that didn't take too long; I also had to cut some 2" x 2.5" pieces of Kona Snow (love that colour!), and I started sewing a Snow piece to each strip.  Once the strips are done, I'll offset every other row, and sew them together - like this:
I've just laid the strips out in the pattern - none of them are sewn together yet, but it gives the idea of the completed quilt.  My aim for this month is to finish the top, AND complete the entire quilt - quilting as well as binding the quilt.  That sounds do-able, right?

And finally, these are the blocks that I exchanged with Cathy - we started swapping 4 large-scale floral disappearing 4-patch blocks in January.  These are the blocks I gave her a week ago when we met for coffee.  We each make 8 blocks every month - 4 to give, 4 to keep; we'll probably skip July and August, and end up with 80 blocks at year's end to make a great quilt!  Cathy has drawn up a few options for the assembly, and I get just a wee bit more excited with each month's new blocks!  I'm off to link up to Melissa's ALYoF page.