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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pineapple Blossom blocks

My last day of vacation this week was spent making some more Pineapple Blossom blocks, so I now have 24 of them (I plan to have 36 total).


So all in all, a productive week! Today I will be cross stitching with my good friends Cheryl, Dana, and Wendy, which will be a nice change of pace from all the quilting I've been doing. Need to go figure out which project I'm going to be working on... :) So glad I still have a couple days of fun hobby time left before I have to head back to work!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Quilt Retreat Report!

After three and a half fun-filled days, our quilting retreat for 2012 has come to a close. There were a lot of laughs, a lot of sharing, a lot of eating, and quite a few accomplishments all around. I started off the week with 2 WIPs and 1 new project ready to go. Little did I realize how much time it would take me to actually finish the first WIP. I either overestimated how much I had actually gotten finished, or underestimated how much more I had to do. I started on Monday piecing strips for the next-to-last (dark blue) and final (dark olive green) rounds of nine-patches.


And because I like to see how things are going to come together, I started piecing the rows once I had enough 9-patches.


Wow, that sure doesn't seem like a lot for a full day's work. Tuesday, I started adding those blue and olive 9-patches and the end triangle pieces to all of the strips I previously pieced.


Then all of those strips had to be pieced together, so I spent a lot of time pinning... and pinning... and pinning.


Wednesday was more of the same - pin and pin and pin and sew and sew and sew. And finally, just before shutting down for the evening, I sewed the last seam and pressed it open (I pressed all seams open on this quilt - they all lie very flat, but that meant a lot more precision matching, since I couldn't just butt the seams together).

Ta-da!


Because the quilt is so large, even with two tall people holding it, they had to hold it sideways to keep it off the floor. It actually is a vertical quilt.

Here are some more pictures of other people and their projects that I took during the week.


This actually wasn't all of us, but those of us who went to the last meal of the retreat, lunch on Thursday


The color doesn't show up as well in my photo - these are maroon and white, very cool!


Teresa C was working on her blocks from Annie Smith's class (the designer of my Quilter's Palette quilt).


Ah, love - love the hearts


Mary's One Block Wonder


Charlie was appliquéing her sunflowers on the borders of a quilt


I LOVE Sheila's neutrals quilt - I'm going to have to make a neutrals quilt one of these days.


And here's Charlie showing off her finished quilt, can you guess which is my favorite block? ;-)


Sallie and Roxanne won their respective games of Left, Right, Center - and came away with their piles of new fat quarters


Charlie quilted another UFO, and I think I need to find the pattern for this one. :)


A really neat table runner pieced by Joanne


And Sallie started and finished piecing her beautiful birds and butterflies wallhanging!


This is another quilt that Charlie was working on - some of the little appliqué pieces are so tiny!


I think Teresa R might have been taking a break to blog her progress and photos.


Another stunning finish - my photo doesn't show how pretty the fabrics are with gold accents


1930s fabrics and Dresden plates - I was very tempted to distract Sylvia into looking the other way while I scampered away with this one.


And this Orca Bay - is amazing.


A blooming nine-patch in progress.

I didn't get photos of everything that everyone was working on, unfortunately. Hopefully they'll bring them to our guild's show-and-tell, and I'll get photos then. It was an inspiring week. For additional photos, check out Teresa's blog post on all the Eye Candy.

This morning I started working on the Pineapple Blossom, and plan to spend all day tomorrow working on that, once I get my sewing table and machine set back up in my craft room. Now I think I'll go sleep.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ready for Retreat!

Yes I am! I am packed and ready to go. I'll just be a "day student" but I'm looking forward to every moment I'll be spending with other quilters, working on UFOs. I finished my Iron Caddy today. When I learned we wouldn't be making these at our retreat, I decided I wanted one anyway, and they looked pretty easy to make. After studying several photos online, I drafted my own pattern, and here's how it turned out. Not bad, eh?


I finally settled on 3 projects to take with me - Feathered Fantasy (WIP), Pineapple Blossom (WIP, story to come), and Anniversary Stars (new start). That will really be plenty, and I doubt I'll even get to Anniversary Stars, but it's there just in case.

Here is my progress so far on Pineapple Blossom - 12 blocks.


And here is the story of this quilt: Last year I took a one-day class at a quilt guild in Alabama with Bonnie Hunter. She is coming to our guild in 2013, but the Alabama guild had a couple of openings, and I jumped at the chance to go with a couple of friends from my local guild.

I was busy with other things, and so I put the quilt away and nearly forgot about it. When I was moving some things around in my sewing room recently, I found the blocks and decided that I need to finish this quilt. I'm going to make more blocks than I originally intended so it can be a full-size quilt, and I plan to give it to a friend's wife (as I understand that the quilt I made for him gets a lot of use - by her). :) Yes, I'm ready!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

New crochet project

I haven't worked on a crochet project in a while, and my hands have been itching to do so. I actually have been wanting to make an afghan that I started years ago and abandoned. I found the pattern again (it's in an older book - Better Homes and Gardens' Afghans To Knit & Crochet), and bought some fresh yarn (I got rid of all the old blocks and yarn years ago - too many emotions attached).

Here is my new yarn, and 4 of the squares. All of the squares will be the same crochet pattern and same color pattern.



I chose colors this time that remind me of a beach. I wanted something light and airy for spring / summer. I'm cold-natured, so I often am under a blanket in the house, even during the summer.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

M is for Mermaid


And she's finally finished! That makes 4 of 26 designs stitched. :) I may not start a new one for a little while, so I can try to make some progress on some other WIPs.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pomegranate

I finally pulled my Blocks from the Past quilt project out yesterday and finished up my Pomegranate block (blanket stitch appliqué).


I haven't decided whether I'm going to go back and re-do the very first block this way or not (it was a combination of back-basting, invisible, and needle-turn appliqué). But I have pretty much decided that I'm going to continue to do the rest of the appliqué blocks in blanket stitch because they are so crisp, and I really like the look.

I need to do another pieced block or two to balance out the appliqué work. Looking forward to this weekend and some quilting / cross-stitching goodness!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Just a little dragon progress

I don't feel like I accomplished much this round on Magnificent Wizard, but here is the latest - seems like I spent half the time picking out stray cat hair from the black fabric (it's not as noticeable on other colors...). This time I focused on the right side - the dragon's wing and castle. Of course, stitching black on black is a challenge of its own. Click the photo for a larger one.


I pulled out Kitty Litter last night to stitch next. Not sure if I mentioned this before, but I was having a very hard time with the chart - the color of the symbols (and backstitching lines) on the key did not match the those on the chart. While it wasn't as bad for the symbols, since there was only one of each of them (not a red heart and a blue heart and a black heart, as I've had in some other Dimensions kits / charts), it was extremely confusing for the backstitching lines. I contacted Dimensions about it (through their online form), and was amazed when a new copy of the chart and key showed up in my mailbox one day several weeks after that. I honestly did not expect to hear from them, but I guess others had that issue too. +1 for Dimensions Crafts customer service!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Chocolate Cherry Cordial

The flash on this photo makes it look just a tad brighter than it is. Picked it up this morning, and just finished it a few minutes ago.


And, as promised, here are my new patterns for my Elna discs (click for larger). I think the holly (far left) will look better once it's stitched with green. I chose red just to see the patterns really well. Now I just have to find some really nice mostly-white (like white-on-white or white with a tiny calico Christmas design) Christmas fabric.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

One door closes, another one opens

So I pulled out my fabric and pattern for one of the designs I was thinking about taking to Retreat this year, and I realized, I absolutely can't do it with the amount of fabrics I have on hand. I have a collection of fat quarters in the Cinnamon Stars collection from Moda that I purchased several years ago. I was planning on using them with the Dream Maker pattern from Glad Creations. Yeah, that was before I really looked at the pattern and saw how much fabric it requires. Totally not going to happen...

So I began leafing through a couple of quilt books I still have on hand (really culled the collection about a year ago), and found a pattern I really think will work instead. It's called Anniversary Stars, from 40 Fabulous Quick Cut Quilts by Evelyn Sloppy. I'll have to add just a few extra light/cream fat quarters from my stash, but I think it will work just as well. I'll just save the Dream Maker pattern for another time. Perhaps I'll make it with some batiks. :)

There's a picture on this blog, just so you have an idea of the design. Obviously my colors will be different, though her colors are lovely too. Too bad it's bedtime, looks like I'll have to wait until at least tomorrow afternoon before I begin cutting pieces to get them ready for Retreat.

Oh, and I started cutting the first pieces for my Cotton Theory quilt. I might take this one to retreat also, so I'd like to have them as ready to go as possible.

And I'm excited to try out my new cams (pattern discs) that came in the mail today for my older Elna machine. I found one that is holly leaves that I think will be perfect on those placemats. I'll sew up some test strips and share hopefully this weekend.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

More Twist n Spin progress

These are my remaining 3 Twist n Spin placemats / cat bowl mats in progress. Tonight I trimmed down the twister pieces and added the two border pieces on each side.


I also trimmed down the Christmas twister pieces and began adding the borders to them. I only got 2 completed of the 10 that I'm doing, and will try to get the rest finished this weekend. Not sure if it's evident in the photo, but these stripes have shiny metallic threads running through them and they're kind of a homespun stripe. I really like how they frame the twister blocks. Now I have to find the perfect fabric for the rest of the placemats and the binding...

Sunday, March 04, 2012

A really nice weekend

As we come to the close of another weekend, I dream that this is what retirement would be like.

Our youngest nephew celebrated his birthday recently, and we celebrated with him on Saturday by playing Mario Kart and Wii Sports (okay, CC played with him while I watched and knitted on my socks). The day was beautiful, a nice day to take a drive. Here's my progress on one of the socks.


Today I started out by putting a 15-bean soup in the crock pot, did a few chores, but mostly had some fun in the sewing room. I started out by attaching the new borders to my MCQG 2011 mystery quilt. I like them much better than the yellowish ones I had originally attached.


After that I finished up round 8 of the Feathered Fantasy quilt blocks (the purple ones), and cut out the strips for rounds 9 and 10 plus the quarter square triangles for finishing.

Then I finished piecing the Twist n Spin strips for the placemats I'm making - both the Christmas ones and the remaining 3 ones for my kitchen / cat bowl mats. I still have to find some fabric for the Christmas ones, so that project will probably be set aside for a bit until I go shopping at a local quilt shop. And I'm hoping to get the rest of the cat bowl mats pieced before Retreat. I would really like to get them quilted before then too, but I'm not pushing that. :)

I've narrowed down my Retreat projects to 3 or 4 - now I just need to go look at the patterns and decide which one(s) I really want to devote some time to.