Friday, October 31, 2014

FIF: first Sharon quilt

 The three municipalities that comprise our community do some things alike but other things differently. Case in point: Hallowe'en.  Beach Park and Zion had trick-or-treating on Sunday afternoon, October 26. It was sunny and warm.  Winthrop Harbor is having trick-or-treating today, Hallowe'en. It is blustery and cold. All those Elsas and Olafs are going to be frozen for sure!

We woke up to find that a critter had gotten into one of the pumpkins on our front steps.  A couple of hours later a squirrel was feasting on the pumpkin seeds.  (I don't carve our Hallowe'en pumpkins. I cut them up, boil them, and freeze the pulp for Thanksgiving pies and other winter meals. I know that pie pumpkins are sweeter, but I feel very virtuous about reusing the decor.  And whatever I make tastes just fine.)

The Heartstrings group is having a challenge this season. Rather than an all-scrappy HS quilt, make a "Sharon quilt" using the same fabrics in the same positions in each block.  (The eponymous Sharon is a regular participant in the semi-annual HS sew-ins in Maine.)

If you are familiar with my quiltmaking you know that I like scrappy. The instructions call for one yard of each of eight fabrics.*  Finding eight-yard pieces that go together was a challenge in itself. But I searched here and there and found a combination I liked.  I made 48 blocks according to the by-now-familiar HS pattern: 2" strips sewn diagonally on a 10" fabric foundation; completed block trimmed to 9.5".

I caught one mis-pieced block before I assembled the flimsy, but I found two others afterward. It was easier to remove the erroneous blocks and replace them with new blocks than to rip out the misplaced strips.

The colors are brighter than the photo shows. It's a nice autumny scheme, I think.

I needed to cut more 10" squares for HS foundations. In a far corner of the Deep Stash I unearthed a tub that I hadn't looked at in several years. It was full of solids -- cotton, poly-cotton, bottom-weight, sheeting. The bottom-weight will be great for Care Bags . The slippery-shiny lining fabric is going to the textile recycler. But the rest will be great for future HS quilts. And, HOORAY! that's one fewer tub in the Deep Stash.
I washed the reds, just in case

See what other quiltmakers have finished at the end of another week and month at Crazy Mom Quilts

*It turns out that you don't need one-yard pieces of all eight fabrics.  Label the center 1, the strips flanking it 2 and 3, then 4 and 5, then 6 and 7, and the corners 8.  #1, #2, #3 -- 16 strips (32"). #4 and #5 -- 12 strips (24"). #6 & #7 -- 11 strips (22"), #8 -- 4 strips (8").  That is handy to know if I try another Sharon quilt. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

DWM: two finishes and batik bonanza

 I finished quilting the red rail fence quilt (see it on last week's DWM post).  This photo shows the no-mark flowers I quilted in the border and two of the three red fabrics I used on the back.  (And the red/black binding.)

"Christmas Boxes" is finished!
6-1/2 yards in all.  This will be raffled at the AAUW-Waukegan Area Branch holiday party on December 13.

I'm pleased with the way the quilting turned out, especially in the blocks.

This is the batik bonanza. There are a Hobby Lobby and a Joann's en route to the civic center where the quilt show was held. I stopped and shopped. The yardage on the left was HL clearance ($4/yd). The yardage on the right was on the Red Tag shelf at Joann's, half the reduced price ($3.50/yd) (plus a 20% off coupon). The FQs were quilt show purchases. The scraps in the front were gleaned from the scrap tubs in the quilt show boutique, sold for $5/gallon bag on Saturday and $3/gallon bag on Sunday.  No, they didn't come that flat. I pressed 'em.

See what other quiltmakers have on their design walls at Judy's Patchwork Times.

Quilt show!

The progression of a quilt show could be graphed.  From the idea (a tiny point in the lower left corner of the graph) to the decisions of date, venue, name, committees – each another data point. There are ups when details are confirmed (“all the vendor spaces are sold”….”raffle permit approved”….”25 boxes of magazines for sale”….”we have enough fabric to make 80 pillow cases”).  There are downs when plans change (“her daughter’s wedding is the day of the show”….”no credit cards?”….”32 bed-sized quilts are entered!”).   Optimism prevails, the ups exceed the downs, and by the show’s end everyone is happy (albeit exhausted).

This past weekend was the Northern Lake County Quilters Guild show, Lake County Impressions XII.  For years we held the show on the odd year. That competed with another local guild show so we skipped 2013 and are now on even years.   This was the third time we have held the show at the Round Lake Beach Cultural and Civic Center which is relatively centrally-located in northern Lake County.  We had a raffle quilt, a boutique, a silent auction, and a vendor mall in addition to 173 quilts on view. 

I won two ribbons.  I sold two quilts for more than I spent on secondhand books and magazines and fabric from the vendors.

 Many hands (and husbands) make light work for setup.

Joan's Easy Street in 30's fabrics 


Marilyn's Loyal Union Sampler (J. Chiaverini) --   Members' Choice

Another beauty by Marilyn 

Irene's arrows

Rose's appliqued yo-yos

Nancy's mini Amish

Jonnie's 10yo granddaughter made the blocks

Not quilted -- all embroidered! 
 Susan and Hilda created these all-embroidered works. No piecing, just rayon-thread embroidery.

More all-embroidery 


This is a screen-print by a printer, quilted by Irene

 Star of Bethlehem -- Marge began this 10 years ago and finished it the week before the show. It is *hand-pieced* and hand-quilted. It won Viewer's Choice.
There were first-second-third places in each of the 13 quilt categories.  Aren't the "ribbons" cute? (And much cheaper than commercial award ribbons.) I won 3rd place with Batik Boxes and 2nd place for Tumalo Trail.

Monday, October 20, 2014

DWM: another Christmas project underway

Update -- the Zion Woman's Club bunco party Saturday evening was great fun. I donated the Quiltmaker BTS quilt and two tote bags (with 5 advance reader copies in each) to the silent auction.  None brought a lot of money but I was happy to contribute them (and get them out of the house).  

As far as I can reckon this will be the tenth year that I have contributed a quilt to raffle at the AAUW- Waukegan Area Branch holiday party.  Some years the designs come to me early or easily or both.  (Joyful Noise, the 2013 quilt, was assembled in March and quilted shortly thereafter.*) Other years I have a hard time choosing blocks to make or deciding on a setting.   This is one of the "other" years.  If you read my blog regularly you know that I just made a Christmas quilt for a raffle at my church. Of course I could have used the blocks in that quilt for AAUW. But then I'd have had to come up with something for the church. [Church quilt due date is November 15. AAUW party is December 13.]

I saw a pattern called Scottie Toss in the Keepsake catalog.  Hmmm. How would the blocks look in Christmas colors?  I studied the picture to figure out the sizes to cut the pieces. (They are:  6" square; 2 side strips 2.5 x 6"; 2 side strips 2.5 x 10"; center strip 1.5 x 10"  and 1.5 x 11".)   Here's what I had by the end of our Sunday evening PBS-watching.**

Other progress: I have quilted the center of the red rail fence quilt.  I don't know how much farther I will get this week because I have several non-quilt assignments that I have put off for too long.

*The 2013 winner lived in another town, so I mailed the quilt to her, insured for $200. Someone stole it from her doorstep. It turns out that the insurance has to be OVER $200 to require a signature for pickup. I claimed the loss, USPS had proof of delivery (to the doorstep). Not their fault if it got stolen.  Alas. Fortunately it was a raffle so the winner was only out the $10 she paid for tickets.

** Last evening The Paradise (BBC adaptation of Zola's novel: how much is English and how much is French?) and Masterpiece Mystery were followed by Chicago Time Machine -- a lively compendium of local history stories.

See what other quiltmakers are working on at Judy's  Patchwork Times .

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday update: blue and red rails

Blue Rail Fence is quilted and bound!  There was just enough of the dark blue floral to use on the back.  I used turquoise thread for the quilting.

At the same time that I found the seven blue rail fence blocks that were the nucleus of this quilt I found a bag with 43 6.5" red rail fence blocks.  I thought about making a companion quilt but then I remembered a half-begun project (so half-begun that I didn't even count it as a flimsy).  The HBP was made of 42 red rail fence blocks that used 5 2" strips. I recalled assembling them and thinking, "Too much red," and putting them away.  Well, I combined the two.  I finagled the 6.5" blocks to fit as a border, and I sewed them on.  Way, way too much red.  So I removed the outer borders, borders, added a 1.5" black border, and reattached the outer borders.

You can never use up ALL the scraps

See what other quiltmakers have completed this Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts .

Sunday, October 12, 2014

DWM: full moon, casters, totes, and a new flimsy

The pop
Living on Lake Michigan has made it easy for me to take pictures of sunrises. I love the pink-and-gold streaks in the sky just before the sun pops over the horizon.  I had never taken a picture of the moonrise over the lake -- until this week.  Conditions were ideal: clear skies, the fact that Illinois Beach Resort has enough parking lot lighting so I could go down to the beach without stumbling in pitch dark, and a convenient time. The lake was calm and I was just a few feet from the water's edge. At 7:14 p.m., right on schedule, the a pinpoint of light appeared on the horizon.

Just a couple of minutes later

This "lunacy" was in part to compensate for the fact that I completely forgot about the lunar eclipse early Monday morning and slept through it.  

The other four wheels looked like this one
 I vacuumed my studio this week. One of these days I will do a deep-clean, moving the furniture away from the walls and dusting all around rather than just at the edges, but that day has not yet arrived.

 Have you looked at the wheels on your sewing chair lately?  I did. Look at the threads I pulled out.

I sewed 38 totebags for Carebags For Kids , a charity I have supported for a number of years. My goal is to send 100 totebags in 2014.  These use home dec yardage I got at thrift shops.

I made one new block and used one from the orphan blocks box to transform two tote bags.  The blocks cover organization logos (one, the YWCA; the other, a microbiology conference in 2005). The totes had never been used. I paid $1.50 each at a thrift shop.  They will be filled with advance reader copies of forthcoming books and used as prizes at the Zion Woman's Club bunco party next weekend.

I came across seven blue rail fence blocks a week or so ago and thought I ought to do something with them.  The "something" turned out to be making 83 more.  I have them half assembled.  (They are 6.5" unfinished. I cut the strings 1.5" x 7".)
I'm linking up with other quiltmakers at  Judy's Patchwork Times.