Monday, December 4, 2017

It's Advent!

The waiting time for the arrival of the Savior was celebrated in Christian churches around the globe yesterday. It was traditionally a time of self examination in preparation for Baptism in the early Church. The color purple or blue is meant to signify Royalty and also repentance in some churches.
The tradition of the Advent wreath began in Germany in the Lutheran church and has been adopted internationally. Our family first encountered it when we lived in Germany in the 70's and have continued it ever since.  The wreath is designed to encourage family devotions during the season to help us to keep in mind the "reason for the season" with all the distractions of commercial marketing,  gifting and other celebrations. Our family always lit the wreath at the evening meal as we read a portion of Scripture appropriate to the time, and the boys took turns lighting the candles of course!
 Our church celebrated the first Sunday in Advent with a special wreath making event in the afternoon. Four of the candles mark each of the four Sundays in Advent, the fifth in the center for the Christ Child is lit on Christmas Eve/Day. The first two Sundays the blue/purple candles are lit, on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, the pink is lit. Gaudete in Latin means "rejoice"as in Phillippians chapter four we are encouraged to rejoice in the coming of the Savior.
 We began our event with a short service in the Sanctuary
then moved to the patio and Fellowship Hall for the actual wreath making. I was too busy with this project to take more pics, but everyone had a good time visiting and putting our wreaths together, even the less crafty members who received help from others!
I gathered up supplies for an additional wreath to make with Matthew this week since he was not able to attend yesterday. He was very insistent that we not begin to decorate until he could be here to help!
Wishing you all a Holy and joyous Advent as we await His coming.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

On Ringo Lake Clue #2

Yesterday I managed to fill the day, pork pot roast in the slow cooker, a few loaves of banana bread 
and the rest of the day devoted to the BH Mystery Clue #2!
My plan is for a smaller version of the quilt so so I am reducing the number of pieces, I have no idea how large this will be but maybe lap-twin size? Bonnie suggests beginning with half the number for a smaller quilt. A couple of reasons for the decision, there is no current plan for gifting another bedsize quilt - I usually go with the chosen colors of the recipient. Therefore in this case a lap-size or child's quilt may be more giftable. Also, taking into consideration that this is one of the busiest times of the year I am choosing to spend less time on this quilt and reduce my stress!
Usually I am not a quilter who buys kits, I like to use stash and save $$ cutting my own pieces with rare exceptions, however this past year has seen a change. Perhaps it's a sign of advancing age and taking the easier way out?
At last year's retreat two of the other quilters were sewing on the stunning Crystal Blue quilt, and if you have seen the  design you may understand that it is a major, time consuming, challenging project. A local quiltshop near the retreat house had the kit on sale so........I bought it!
In the past year plus I have completed the center plus another section.
However, I have seriously bogged down on it and find my enthusiasm waning, well in truth waned! What do you do when you choose to abandon a project? This kit cost me nearly $250 so it's not a decision I have made lightly but sometimes we just need to cut our losses and move on!
I think I will put it on FB for $100 and see if some other quilter has the energy and enthusiasm for it.
Then I saw this eye catching quilt on Ricky Timms website and he had it on sale and free shipping-and yes, I bought it!
 Isn't it smashing?
Do you like Kaffe Fassett?
It took me a few years for his designs to grow on me possibly because of the first time I encountered them in a kit quilt I did on the longarm.  The blocks were all different and I was custom quilting them but no matter what thread I used I could not see where I had quilted. When it came to the final of several borders I gave up and used a pantograph! To my amusement it is still one of Leslie's favorite of all her quilts and I quite like it now! So when I was wandering around 35th Ave Sew 'N Vac I happened upon the kit above and fell in love with the fabrics at half price! All seventeen yards! While I have no intentions of making this entire quilt I may make a small wall hanging and put the rest in stash.
 Then, a few weeks ago wandering around the same store waiting to pick up my BOM I came across this kit, another seventeen yards on sale so cheap I had to buy it! When ever do we encounter quilt shop quality fabrics less than half price? Sigh, and no I obviously have not yet learned my lesson LOL, do not wander aimlessly around a quilt shop!
These fabrics will go into stash, the quilt pattern does not call my name!
Warning: Quilt shops are dangerous places for quilters!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Final QOV for 2017!

Yep that's right the last for this year, I can mail them off to be bound and labeled, my job is done!
This one went a lot faster, possibly because some of the blocks were the same so I already had an idea  of how I would quilt them.
Simplifying quilting in the blank blocks speeded up the process, the loopy longarm feather wreaths are super fast, though every so often I would forget and slip in a couple of backtrack feathers-but you have to search to pick them out!
I do enjoy ruler work so more of that which also goes faster when you are not re-inventing the wheel.
Love the plain muslin backing that shows up the cool quilting design and makes an attractive reversible look. The border is a little different treatment, more masculine than feathers and again very fast. I repeated the design in a miniature version in some of the blocks.
DH noticed a booboo, a small area I missed, can you spot it? I will fill it in before mailing.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Orphan Block Baby Quilt

Adding another quilt to add to my stock of baby quilts. This one began as seven orphan blocks from a drawing at quilt group, I had to make five more to have enough for a little quilt.
Scrappy border and binding brought the final measurement to about 38"x52" and all that open space was an opportunity to try something different and quilt it kind of "modern" with neutral thread.
The backing is a left over piece from a long ago project.
 Now onto the last QOV for the year and more ruler work I suspect.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

More New Toys!

My cutting mat had been showing signs of overuse so I went searching, recalling that a friend had told me about Martelli mats and how they put them on sale half price every year in the Fall. My cutting table is large 30"x 70" and previously I had a custom made mat but on the Martelli website I found one 30"x 60" that I thought would work. These are double sided and self healing, although the Martelli ergonomic cutter is recommended.
I took the leap and ordered the largest mat. I have been using it for a couple of weeks and so far I am very pleased.
At 6lbs. it is substantial but way less hefty than the old mat that I could barely move and these days with severe arthritis, that is always a consideration.
 I decided to try the recommended Martelli cutter and found it at half the price on Amazon. This is a  different concept in cutting and it took me a while to get used to how I need to hold the tool but I believe it is easier on my fragile hands and wrists. There are several helpful youtube videos on use and care of this tool. And good news for lefties, it also comes in a specific blue model for them.
The cutter has a sturdy shield that is easily engaged and disengaged.
An artist is only as good as her tools, and so I have told myself that I not only need fine tools but also deserve them; and find no argument with myself, LOL.
As usual, I love to pass on information of a positive nature that may be helpful for other quilters. Unfortunately the Martelli mat half price sale is now over but they have an e-letter that gives notice of specials in case they do it again before next Fall. However, Amazon has a good price [25% off] on their mats and with Prime you save shipping.
I was so impressed with their products that I ordered the foot pedal mat because my DSM machine pedal always walked away from me, and others I had tried were fairly useless! This is quite effective, enough so that I purchased a second for the other machine.
Merry Christmas to me I guess!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; His love endures forever.
Psalm 107:1

On Ringo Lake

The 2017 Bonnie Hunter mystery begins for us with the Fifth Annual Kickoff.
A large group gathered today to begin the first clue.
Sponsored by Angela and Kathy, the celebratory cake, and above that the labels Angela made!
The fabrics below were my first choice, I had not planned to do the scrappy version, but........
I changed my mind and decided to use up these smaller amounts and make it somewhat scrappy!
Bonnie gave us a break this busy week, the first clue made 3.5" nine patches.
The directions say to make 50 of them but I plan a smaller version of the quilt so I have 28. Any extras can go into the back or wait for another quilt!
Those of us who who brought mystery quilts from the last year show them off at the kick-off of the new one and this is the traditional pose! I failed to make it last year, we were out of town and I never got started, life got in the way!
  Three quilters had their custom made labels attached.
I will be posting progress each week, as the new clues come on Fridays I will do my best to keep up.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Another QOV

The third QOV this year, one to go!
Sometimes you just have to custom quilt as in this example, the blocks are highlighted much better with custom work. It took a bit longer, all the ruler work, which I actually enjoy!
This machine came with the biggest ruler base/extended plate I have ever seen, 22" long! I found it a little awkward at first but gradually adjusted. I still wish there was more base in front of the needle so I may end up ordering the smaller extended plate later.
 I really like muslin backs they make the quilt reversible as a "whole quilt". Matching thread helps the visual coherence of design and means no worries about "pokies" although the Prodigy stitch is so beautiful that I find I can easily sew with different color threads top and bottom and no pokies.
I used alternate designs in the plain blocks, one based on a square the other on a feather wreath.
 Quilter's Dream batting of course their Dream Poly which looks and feels like cotton.
 When I have no idea of the recipient I feel comfortable with QD poly batting knowing it will hold up under all conditions!
 Otherwise each of the blocks has a different quilting pattern depending on inspiration!
 It is fun to use variety and keeps boredom at bay!
Next up will be an easy quilt before I tackle the final QOV, another very similar to this one.
An interesting experience, as I was checking over the quilt front and back to be sure all was well, I came across one of my large pins with the pearl head inside the quilt, trapped between top and batting! 
OMigosh, what now?! I had this happen once many years ago, and this time fortunately the pin was only a few inches from the edge. I undid an inch or so of quilting, pushed the metal part outside the top and snipped it off with wire snips. Then the pearl head just rolled out of the quilt sandwich and I re-quilted the couple of inches! 
Whew, just in case you ever have this happen there's one solution. If the pin is too far from the edge just poke the metal through the fabric and clip it off next to the head and leave the head in the quilt!
Happy quilting and don't stress it's meant to be fun!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

My Lovely New Bobbin Winder

It doesn't take a whole lot to make my heart beat faster, LOL, this time a new quilting tool! My old bobbin winder went to Denise along with my A-1 longarm and I am just now replacing it because I had to send back two others- I needed hearing protection to use them, seriously, they made the most dreadful grinding, grating, obnoxious noise! Argh!
 I went online-again for the ?umpteenth time- to search for something different. Finally after much diligent web surfing I found a youtube video of something called the K Kraft Bobbin Winder. If you click on the link you can see a picture and a youtube demo, and yes, it really is that quiet and worth every penny! And on sale right now, even better.
It has several nice features you will not find in other winders, though I did see one for about $300 at "Quilts On The Corner" Renae Haddadin's website that had the ability to use more than one size bobbin.
The K Kraft can take multiple different bobbins, and has an electronic memory that records and saves the number of winds for different bobbins and then can repeat that and stop when the bobbins are full.
But don't take my word for it, go take a look at it in use on the website, the business is truly a "mom and pop" shop run out of their home/workshop. The mom, Diane, is also a quilter and her husband originally invented the winder for her.
Call me a happy winder!

A little Aussie Quilt

A few years ago I kitted up a selection of Aussie wildflower fabrics along with a few others that fell within the same colorway. Its one of the projects I took to quilt retreat and sewed up this 47"x57" girlie looking quilt from an idea in an Australian quilting magazine.
Yesterday I got it quilted super fast with an Edge to Edge freehand folk-art flower, and bound it this morning because I woke at 6.40 am and didn't want to go to the gym that early!
 I used a sagey green 50wt.thread on top and pink in the bobbin. Again the Prodigy stitching is so great that neither thread showed through in "pokies", I am loving Miss Prodigy!
Bound with the same fabric as on the back, most of that well aged piece is now gone from stash- for those of us who are "curators of extensive private textile collections", every time you use up a fabric you must replace it with a new one doncha know?!
Just in time, I have a couple of new fabrics arriving tomorrow to do the Bonnie Hunter mystery.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Pastor's Second Quilt

The second of two quilts promised for our Pastor to replace those his Grandma made that are literally falling apart! He admired the quilt I showed him in CW reproductions and these fabrics are mostly that with a few others tossed in for color variety.
Having such a variety in stash of Civil War replica fabrics there are too many different ones in this quilt to count, but there is also a reminder of my husband in it! You may notice a blue plaid here and there that used to be DH's shirt. It was a favorite of mine, it always looked so crisp and clean but eventually the collar and cuffs showed wear and it had to leave his wardrobe! The remainder of the shirt was in excellent shape, it is a linen/cotton combination that wore exceptionally well, so I deconstructed it "a la Bonnie Hunter" and have used pieces of it since in several quilts.
 I ran it through a rinse and spin cycle last night so it is appropriately wrinkled in a quilty way!
Lightweight quilts are the most useful here in Arizona and so I used the very thinnest batting I know, Quilters Dream Angel Request, which has sadly now been discontinued! I have a little left but only enough for a couple more baby quilts I think. Obviously there was insufficient demand, the rest of the nation does not have our six month heat soaked summers!
The backing is a grey wideback with a feather design that I had in stash, thread on the front is a sagey green and Gide light grey in bobbin. The Prodigy longarm has such amazing stitch quality that even with the very thinnest batting I was able to sew different colors top and bobbin.
Next up, at least half a dozen smaller quilts which should quilt up pretty fast then it's back to piecing for a bit, I am joining the Bonnie Hunter Annual Mystery this year. Last year I kind of sort of almost committed to make the 2016 Mystery but never actually sewed a stitch! This time I will attempt to make a much smaller version, probably less than half the size, but I will see how it goes! My patience for thousands of tiny pieces is growing thin and I am leaning heavily towards the simpler more modern style of piecing- in fact the only quilt magazine I now subscribe to is "Modern Quilts Unlimited".

Friday, November 10, 2017

Veteran's Day


We are grateful, we owe so much to so many

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Eighth Baby Quilt!

 Yep, that's right eight baby quilts so far and there may be a couple more before the year is done! Seven of them I constructed and quilted, this one was quilted for my friend Linda in Colorado.
 I used the lightest Dream Angel batting, a light yellow Superior Sew Fine thread on top and neutral in the bobbin and quilted peacock feathers with separate border.
The back is a cute alphabet panel.