Sunday, November 25, 2012

Design Wall Monday: Christmas projects and Easy Street

(Note to self: be sure to save blog posts while typing....I was just about finished when I pressed a key and the entire post disappeared.)

We had a pleasant and unevent-filled Thanksgiving.  I took Wednesday off and enjoyed the extra day.  We avoided shopping on Friday but I succumbed to the appeal of Joann's "25% off total purchase" on Saturday and got some good bargains.  DH joined me on a beach/woods walk on Thursday when temperatures were still mild.  I bundled up for walks on sunny but chilly Saturday and Sunday.

Each year I make ornaments for the library staff, trustees, and volunteers.  These "Texas Tears" blocks are 3-1/2".  They used  1-3/4 yards of Christmas stash and two skeins of perle cotton that I've had for a long, long time. (Thanks to blogger Kathy for the idea!)

On Friday Bonnie Hunter revealed step #1 in her new mystery, Easy Street:  192 3-1/2" four-patches in gray and black-on-white.  The units were simple to make, but that quantity is tedious!  If previous experience holds true, the subsequent steps in this mystery will be more complex.

Several years ago I assembled this pieced rail fence from fabric left over from a Christmas project.  It languished in the orphan blocks box.  I leafed through a quilting book at Joann's on Saturday and got an idea.  (I didn't buy the book, but I remembered the concept.)  I removed three rows, added borders, and added appliques.  This 24 x 48 table runner will be my contribution to the P.E.O. ornament exchange at the December holiday potluck.  ("Ornaments don't have to go on the tree.")   (The P.E.O. emblem is the star and there were 7 founders, hence the 7 appliques.)

And, finally, here's the quilt I totally did not intend to begin this weekend.  Sew Many Swaps had a recent  exchange for 9-patch blocks in brown, tan, and blue, as seeds for Disappearing 9-Patch.  I got to cutting and sewing (leaders-and-enders while I was making all those Texas Tears blocks).   The brown-and-tan setting/border fabric was a Joann's bargain at 60% markdown plus 25% off. 
I keep rearranging the blocks to better distribute the lights and darks, but this gives you an idea of the design I have in mind.

It's Easy Street Monday on Bonnie's blog , and as always, take a look at Design Wall Monday on Judy's blog. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Design Wall Monday: piece in haste....

 The Zion-Benton Leadership Academy is an initiative to equip individuals with skills they can use as active, contributing members in community agencies and organizations.  I was the co-chair of the program which had its inaugural class this fall.  The 12 participants met for four three-hour sessions, every other Saturday. Each was matched with a mentor who is a community leader who provided coaching and encouragement.   The graduation was Saturday -- a beautiful sunny morning at the Winthrop Harbor Yacht Club.  The photo shows all of the participants and the five ZBLA committee members.  The participants are eager to put their skills and new connections into practice!   

The library's 8th annual craft fair was also on Saturday.  My shift at the library staff table was 3-4 p.m., the closing hour of the show.  I sold two quilts at $60 each.  (I spent $47 at other crafters' booths, so I came out ahead.)

Sunday afternoon DH and I went to see the new movie Lincoln.  It was excellent. 
 As for this week's quilting: 

Henrietta left a comment on my DWM post last week. I looked up her blog and found this quilt in progress.  She in turn posted a link to a pattern for that design by Cheryl Malkowski for Timeless Treasures:  here    It was just right for a raffle quilt for the AAUW holiday luncheon next month.  I pulled out reds, greens, and cream-on-cream.  Cheryl's instructions made cutting the "chisel" pieces easy.  I used two Christmas prints for a pieced back.  I free-motioned in a medium-sized meander.  The binding was easy, and I was done!    [Stash used:  6-3/8 yards.]

Then I took the photo.  And looked.  And found that two of the chisels are pieced the wrong way.  Drat.  I will still take it to the AAUW party and hope that no one will notice the mispiecing.

I made the pattern according to the directions, with 4 reds and 4 greens cut into 3.5" strips. If I made it again I would use at least 6 of each color and I'd cut the strips smaller. That would make smaller blocks, of course. 

Take a look at what other quiltmakers are working on this week at Judy's Patchwork Times.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

DWM: Winnings, and a finish

"Hope of Hartford" was the NLCQG block-of-the-month for October. The center and the background fabrics were supplied.  They're 12-1/2" (unfinished).   I won half the blocks -- here they are. I'm not sure how I'll set them, but I know to wait a month or two because it is likely that a few more blocks will be turned in later. 

This year the BOM has had a different 12" star block each month.  Participants are invited to make samplers in colorways of their own choosing. I've saved the patterns in case I'd like to give that a try.

Here is this weekend's finish.  The scrappy hearts were a Block Swapper's exchange.  I set them and added a white border (see here ). When I pulled the flimsy out of the box I thought that the  all-white border was rather boring. I tried a matchstick border (red with white tips) but that had too much red.  In the end, I made a checkerboard which turned out just right. I quilted hearts in the hearts, meandering in the background, and more "almost feathers" in the border.  The finished quilt is 48 x 54. 

See what other quiltmakers have on their design walls at Judy's Patchwork Times.
(And leave a comment! They are appreciated.)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Easy Street: the fabric

Easy Street is Bonnie Hunter's 2012 mystery quilt.  Her colors are apple green, turquoise, and purple with a gray constant and black-on-white as an accent. 

Fat quarters + yardage
I have all the green, turquoise, and purple well-represented in my stash.   The instructions call for 2 yards of one gray, and I don't think I have 2 yards of a 'suitable' gray.  Fabric shopping is not a hardship! 

See? I really like the combination!

The first clues will be posted November 23.  I'm looking forward to this project! 

DWM: triangles, HeartStrings, and a finish (already!)

Triangles in waiting

"Round up and trim down" is my preferred method for making half-square triangles (or, more accurately, triangle-squares).  The trimming was always tedious: press open, cut two or three or sometimes four times to square up the unit.  I'm grateful to Nancie V. for introducing me to Eleanor Burns' Triangle Square Up Ruler.  The trimming is done prior to pressing. Two cuts, every time. 

The open-toe quilting foot broke after about five years and miles of quilting.  The nearest Pfaff dealer is 30 miles away. Fortunately a replacement foot was in stock. While I was there I bought another quarter-inch foot. (One of the pins in the foot I've been using is getting loose; when it comes out the foot is not usable.)  Look at the difference between the old (left) and new (right). There's more to grip and hold the fabric to the feed dogs. Good idea.

old and new feet
Before I got the new quilting foot I pulled out 2" strips and made another HeartStrings quilt top.  I start with 10" foundation squares that are miscellaneous fabric (uglies or poly-cotton....not suitable for a quilt top).  Click here for more information about the HeartStrings Quilt Project.

And, finally, a fast finish!  Homespun Friendship is quilted and bound.  I meandered in the stars and sashes.  I'm getting more proficient with "almost feathers" in the border.  (See the previous blog post to see the entire top.)

I've used 14 yards of fabric this month! 

You can see what other quiltmakers are working on at Judy's Design Wall Monday.


Friday, November 2, 2012

New flimsy: Homespun Stars

Creating a flimsy is a good way to begin the month!

"Homespun Stars" uses blocks are from a Block Swappers' exchange.  The slab border is, admittedly, uninventive.  It's a pretty dark turquoise with a subtle orange stripe and I had enough of it.    This is 54 x 61 and used 3.15 yards.