Friday, December 31, 2010

Blocks of the Month

As a longarm quilter, I don't have a lot of time to work on my own projects. I have several "flimsies" (unquilted tops) that need quilting. I have tons of UFOs and several zillion works in progress. None of this stops me from wanting to do more. For this year, though, I've decided to try something different. Instead of working on entire quilts (excluding the one I'm making for my step-daughter who is getting married in September, and my other step-daughter just because), I'm going to work on these three blocks of the month.

The first is the one I've been posting copies of here. Its our guild BOM.

The second will be Shannon's BOM. She's already posted the fabric requirements and the blocks begin posting in January. Join in...Shannon always has great ideas; it will be fun!

Finally, I'm seriously considering the Tonga Rhapsody BOM that Windy Moon Quilts is starting in January also. It's batiks and gorgeous and I'm a sucker for gorgeous batiks! Plus, it gives me an excuse to go to Reno monthly, if I want, or they'll send my block to me. The class will be lecture only, so my attendance isn't mandatory since we can always go over things on the phone when I have my block.

Of course, I'm still working on Bonnie Hunter's Mystery as well, but that one is going to take some time. Perhaps my New Year's Resolution should be, "No New Projects."

Nah....what fun would that be????

Happy New Year!!!

Hope everyone has a wonderful New Year...any resolutions? My resolution is to not make a resolution, then, when I break it, I won't feel bad!! Pretty smart, eh???

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Many Happy Returns

So what, exactly, does that mean? If it means being happy while you return things, its ridiculous! I won't be returning any of our Christmas purchases, that's for sure. We decided to buy a big gift for each other this year, rather than little things. What could be bigger than this???

Okay, I know it's silly looking, but it's perfect for us. We currently have, among other vehicles, a Toyota Tacoma with a camper shell and a Subaru Impreza 2-door sedan that belonged to my mother-in-law. We really don't need two run around vehicles, especially after January 23, when Dennis retires. So we combined the two. There are many advantages and no, the fact that it's turbo and goes really fast has nothing to do with it! *smirk*

Then, although not really for Christmas, Dennis traded in one of his PR600's for a PR1000.  We got a great deal on it from Windy Moon Quilts in Reno, so good that we just couldn't refuse. So this machine has come to live in our yurt. It has some really great features, the best of which for Dennis is the ability for the cap frame to turn 270 degrees. He embroiders a lot of baseball caps, so this will save him tons of time.

Since Dennis got a brand new PR, I just had to give Mike Sullivan, the owner, a hard time. I've been sewing on a ball chair, but instead of helping my back, I think it was making things worse. He had these chairs there and sold us one of them for less than half the asking price. I love it! The back support is perfect.

And check this out...reminds me of a piano bench. I have no idea what I'll put in it.

How was your holiday? Anything special planned for New Year's? We'll be lucky to stay up that late!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Butterfly Round Robin

Back in July when Kristina and Shannon were here, we started a butterfly appliqué. The idea was to teach me needle-turn appliqué; I've since decided if it can't be fused, I don't need to do it!!

This was us from our summer adventures. (Hard for me to imagine, since I'm looking out the office window at SNOW!)

Shannon decided that we needed something to remind us of our adventures, so she designed this pattern. We then went "shopping" in my scraps/stash/piles of fabric and chose fabrics for our projects. After finishing the first "fried egg flower," I realized that needle-turn appliqué is not my forte. However, by then, those two had already decided that we'd finish our appliqué, send it off (mine to Kristina, Shannon's to me) for the first border of a round robin by the end of August.  Knowing myself well, I knew that if left to my own devices, my round robin would never leave my house because it would never be finished!!  Luckily, Shannon realized that too, so she finished the appliqué for me (THANK YOU!!) A close look will easily reveal which flower I did--just look for the pointy petals!!

I sent mine off to Kristina and received Shannon's to add the first border along with her colorful fabrics. She'd even picked which fabrics she wanted for the outer border. I was to use the one on the right; Kristina, the one on the left.

 Shannon loves brights, can you tell??  Luckily I have The Border Workbook by Janet Kime. Armed with it and the bright fabrics Shannon sent, this is what I added to her RR. Then off it went to Kristina to finish up.

A few days later, Kristina's came to me from Shannon.

 Deciding on the first border was easy; deciding on a border to compliment Shanon's was more challenging.  After some thought, I decided on a more geometric border.

Then...the great reveal.  Mine came back!

Don't you love it?  Kristina's colorful border gave my center the perfect frame--I love all the color. She even added some of her own fabric; my stash isn't quite that colorful. Shannon did the outer border, the one with the rattlesnake fabric.  That girl was thrilled when the snake was right outside our door and loved helping Dennis kill the darn thing. We let a lot of the wildlife live around here, but not rattlers. Too much chance of them biting a dog for me.

This RR was fun and I'd love to do it again...only not with an appliquéd center!

Shannon posted about her adventures here; when Kristina posts, you'll find it here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Two More Quilts

This quilt was finished some time ago, but because my customer lives in Sac and wasn't able to pick it up until last week (she doesn't trust the you blame her??), I couldn't post pictures.  This is our guild's BOM from last year. Marei always chooses bright colors...always. She's also the customer that did all those bunny quilts--please note: nary a bunny to be found on this one!!

The most fun part of this quilt for me was the back. She used a piece of very plain terracotta fabric, so she has a whole-cloth on the back! I did "e"s and "l"s in the sashing and a loopy thing in the outside border. I'm really having fun with samplers...does it show???

This one was a bit more challenging.  The fabric used was beautiful and very stretchy; I had to be very careful while quilting to not distort anything. On top of that, it is such a unique pattern, that it really took some thought and advice from my friends to complete. The quilt is the Day & Night pattern by Eleanor Burns. This is the second quilt of this type that Carolyn has made, but this one is more stunning due to her fabric choices. The hunter green and creamy white make it striking.

Carolyn wanted the star points emphasized. I attempted to do that with the feathers using a style I learned from watching Jamie Wallen's Mystical Cottontracks DVD. I've never been able to take a class from him personally, but this DVD is almost as good as being there.

The "wheel" part had to be quilted and needed something to keep it in the background. After talking it over with my friend Shannon, I came up with a sort of "line-dancing" technique.

Crosshatching in the inner border with a "line-dancing" cornerstone and feathers in the border finished it off.

Here's a pic of the back...the quilting showed up nicely, even though it's a busy fabric.

 I feel so lucky to finally have a "happy job." This is so much better than my previous occupations!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Winter Special

This year, I did a winter special for my guild and current customers. If any of you out there would like to take advantage, I'll honor the special until January 31. What is it? you ask.  I'll quilt your quilt for $.01 psi, no matter the design. However, I do have the final right of design approval; i.e, no heirloom feathers for that price *wink* Call or e-mail if you're interested.

This was one of the sale quilts completed. The owner of this top has a HandiQuilter, but for some reason, she wanted me to quilt it. She asked for wonky/whimsical feathers and since I'd never done them before, I said sure. This is how it turned out. I love the chicken fabric she used.

This is a close up of the wonky feathers. I did a six-inch border of them surrounding the quilt and then filled the entire quilt with them. Open spaces had some stippling for fill.

And a partial pic of the back showing the "border" area.

This is another customer sale quilt. Its a pattern by Linda Ballard called "Fractured Crystals."  Carolyn made this in these earthy tones as a gift for her son's girlfriend. Then she couldn't decide whether to give her this quilt or the one that will be posted tomorrow. 

I was able to try out a "new for me" sashing treatment on this one...the "c" loops. I really like how they turned out, but they do take some serious concentration (for me, anyway). It's very easy to get turned around and end up with two going in the same direction. In the leaf print and the main design elements, I did a continuous curve with stippling to travel in the background. I didn't quilt the chocolate brown areas at all, which really accentuated the quilt's pattern. As a longarm quilter, one of the challenges is to quilt with as few starts/stops as possible. With this quilt, I was able to find a path that allowed me to do each row with only one start/stop...success!

This is the center medallion of the quilt. Our guild took this class from Linda and we all had such differing variations of fabric in our quilts. Carolyn's was very subtle...

Mine is just a bit brighter...just a bit, and a tad smaller, and unquilted :0(

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I'm doing it...

I know I have a million other things I should be doing...but I pulled out all the fabric and then I couldn't stand to just put it back. So, I'm doing it!!  What am I talking about?? Bonnie Hunter's "Roll, Roll Cotton Boll" Mystery, of course.  And I'm doing it the way its meant to be done--no new fabric. I'm pulling from my stash and from my scraps. Bonnie's colors are green, pink and brown with a cream background; I found blue/purple, green and pink as I dug through looking for three colors that would work well together and hopefully provide enough variety to be interesting.

First step was strip piecing and cutting into segments...172 segments!!! (I was counting my toes, puppy toes and horse hooves to get that high!)

Second step...half-square triangles.

Third step...I've just barely begun, so I'll save that for another post.

Monday, December 6, 2010

QCQ Block of the Month #2

Here it 2d block in the series is finished!

If all goes well, I'll end up with 12 b/w blocks, each one having a bright color within. The first had red, this one orange...I'm thinking bright yellow for the next one.