Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Show and Tell Tuesday - Finish It Up Weekend!

I'm linking up again with Randi from the I Have to Say blog and Fresh Squeezed Fabrics for  Show and Tell Tuesday.  I have a few things to show and tell from this long weekend (I adore long weekends)!

I worked hard on Saturday to finish the big pink blob the baby elephant Houndstooth and then promptly forgot to give it to my daughter to take to work to give to the Mom-to-be on Sunday.  Oh well, next week!

I (finally!) finished my last Swoon block...love these green apples and strawberry prints....

I finished putting my Little Black Dress Chopsticks together and trimmed up the sides and it's now ready to quilt...

 Julie Herman's Chopsticks

And while celebrating the Presidents yesterday, I finally finished the fourth striped purse I started before the holidays.

From Jessica Levitt's Modern Mix

I was so glad to get these fabrics off my cutting table - I love this line, but they've been there since November!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sew Thinky Thursdays - and Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day to all! 

My Valentine and I are just going down the road a bit tonight to a local restaurant to try one of the Kobe Burgers they are featuring on their winter menu - before they are off the menu!  And maybe a Cosmo (or two) - hey, it's a pink drink, it goes with the theme.  o:)

Today is also the third installment of Emily's Sew Thinky Thursday and this week's question is:

Describe your quilting style. Who or what influences you? How do you see your style changing over time?
Well, I'd have to stay my style is evolving.  When I started  - at that's going on 20 years ago - I was pretty traditional...

 Country Pumpkins with some homespun geese
The Bridges of Madison County
Don't think I ever used a solid - everything had to be a print - even backgrounds. 
Then, the "modern" quilting movement came along and I found the Philly Modern Quilt Guild and I started getting exposed to all sorts of news things.  That really re-energized my quilting and brought a new excitement for quilting.  
 Julie Herman's Carnival Pattern in Kate Spain's Central Park
Now, I'm loving negative space...simpler designs (but not always)....modern fabrics, showcasing them with larger pieces....and even solids!
Besides my guild buddies (who are a huge influence), I think the Blog-o-sphere is a big influence.  I am finding things to love all of the time (and things I can't resist!).  I can be immersed in the craft I love so much and reading my quilty blogs is a highlight every day!
And, I'm loving that "modern quilting" seems to be finding its way back to more traditional designs such as English Paper Piecing (that Hexie craze!)...
 ..and Dresden Plates
I'm loving the fresh perspective our new modern fabrics brings to these designs.
 My Frames quilt featuring Denyse Schmidt's new Flea Market Fancy
Triangle Quilt (or 1000 Pyramids) featuring Echo by Lotta Jansdotter
I'm not giving my old stash of darker fabrics, civil war repros, etc. away just yet - you never know when what's old will become new again!
You can check out more answers to the question here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Show & Tell Tuesdays - Pink Elephant Houndstooth

Randi from the I Have to Say blog and Fresh Squeezed Fabrics owner is starting a Show and Tell Tuesday link up.  I'm apparently on the linky bandwagon now, because I'm joining this one too - LOL!  All in an effort to have more blog fodder.  Thanks, Randi, for hosting this!
So, for my first Show & Tell, I present my efforts at making a Houndstooth quilt.  I purchased this pattern from V & Co. months ago...

The, I spotted some fabrics with the cutest little elephants on them and decided to buy them in pink and gray, with coordinating "reads as solids" for the alternate fabrics, to make a girl Baby Elephant Houndstooth quilt and a boy version.  I had an idea in my head.  Unfortunately, it didn't translate all that well, at least in the pink version.  But, it is what it is as as the quilt was mostly put together when I realized my contrast left a lot to be desired.
The pattern uses the Creative Grids Quarter Square Triangle Ruler.  You cut your strips and sew them together to make a tube.  Then, take this handy dandy ruler and cut up and down...

And get these triangle which open up into strip squares - easy peasy and fun! 
So, here we have the four patch blocks and I'm thinking they're looking pretty good....
Until you get it all together, then it's just a big pink blob....sigh....
Looks a little better in this photo....but looks can be deceiving...
Oh well, I thought it would work.  Hopefully, the gray colorway will have more contrast.  The binding's made and it's in the midst of being quilted.  I think the baby will like it just fine!

You can check out lots of other Show & Tell posts on Randi's blog!

And, just because it's yummy......

And now, since I have my own stash of New Leaf, I can throw away the itty bitty scraps I picked out of the trash (oh, yes I did!) when my friend Becky was over for a sew day when she was working with these fabrics.  I've had them pinned to my bulletin board in my sewing room so I could drool over them ever since.  And that, my friends, is the sign of a true quilt geek. o:)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sew Thinky Thursdays - The Most Meaningful Thing I Ever Made

Well, here I am late for the second week - that's two for two, but my excuse is that work has been crazy. 

So, the theme for this week for Emily's Sew Thinky Thursdays is:

The Most Meaningful Thing I Ever Made

I had a long think on this one (another part of the reason I didn't post yesterday) and I have to say I'm going at this from a bit of a different slant...I'm showing the item that I felt was the most meaningful from the recipient's perspective. 

I have worked for my boss, on and off (mostly on) for the past 25 years at the same company.  Our families are friendly, he's incredibly generous to us (case in point...almost unlimited use of the beach house - YES!)  and we work very well together.  We always exchange gifts at the holidays and about three years ago I decided that he and his wife deserved a quilt.  I had just gotten my Rapid Fire Hunter's Star ruler from Deb Tucker and was itching to try it out.  I had a whole stack of batiks I thought would make a great Hunter's Star and set about making the quilt. 

Public Service Announcment:
***If you want to make a Hunter's Star - the Rapid Fire ruler is AWESOME!***
(I've made a couple the old fashioned way - never again! Like this one - made sometime in the late 90's  Don't ya just LOVE that border???  What was I thinking!? o:)
Anyway, back to the quilt we're actually discussing....
I hunted around for a nice hand dyed large piece for the backing and quilted it with swirly motif....

I wrapped it up and we exchanged our gifts the day before Christmas.  We usually don't open them right away but take the gifts home to put under the tree.

I got a phone call Christmas morning...he could barely talk and very emotionally said "no one's ever given me anything this nice before".  I'm sure an exaggeration, but the gratitude for this gift still gives makes me choke up a little.  I generally get positive and appreciative reactions when I give someone a quilt, but I was never so glad to have made one for someone before.  He refuses to "use" it and hung it on the wall in their bedroom proclaiming it a "piece of art".  That wasn't my intent, but hey, it's his quilt, he can do what he wants!  He cringes when I bring in my quilts to hang on my office wall with push pins.  I keep saying, it's JUST fabric - how do you think I quilt it? I makes holes with a needle - LOL!

He just might get another quilt somday! o:)

Check out Emily's linky post to read more stories!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Sew Thinky Thursdays

Emily at Mommy's Naptime blog is starting a Sew Thinky Thursdays linky and I thought it sounded fun, so I'm joining in!  Every Thursday, she'll post a quilting related question to answer.  (I know it's Friday, but I just found out about this today!) So, here we go with the first question...

When did you start sewing? Tell us a bit about your sewing history. When did you realize you were really hooked?

When I was little my grandmother and I were very crafty - we did everything from ceramics to candle making to decoupage.  But NO sewing!  She crocheted and she tried to teach me, but I have never gotten beyond double crochet (I chalk that up to her being right-handed and me being left-handed, but that's probably just a cop out.)

Anyway, fast forward to junior high school and my three months of sewing in Home Ec.  My project was a dress.  I still remember the fabric (and I may still have this thing stashed in the attic somewhere).  It was a dark dusty pink linen-look something or other fabric.  As I recall it never really got finished.  That was it for the sewing for a while.  I wasn't doing anyting crafty at that point either. 

So, let's skip a few more years until I was in my early twenties.  I think I was married but it was definitely B-K (before kids), so I'm thinking around 23 or 24 years old, my Mom (the most uncrafty person I know, but she has lots of other good qualities - loving everything I do being a major one o:) )  bought, opened and promptly packed up and sent me a cross stitch kit.  I was intrigued but had no clue how this cross stitch thing worked.  My job at the time had lots of downtime, so the other assistant in the office and I would sit during our long lunches and cross stitch (I convinced her she should do it too - LOL!)  I liked cross stitch and, as is my nature, I needed to have all 356 (at the time) skeins of DMC floss (I remember with delight when that mail-ordered (way before on-line buying) bag of floss showed up on my doorstep!), lots of charts and magazines and weekly trips to the cross stitch store.  We had a great cross stitch store in the area at that time - Peace of Thread.  Sadly, I think it's closed down now.  So, I cross stitched for a number of years, didn't finish much but I spent a lot of time doing it.

Obviously, this one needs a little cleaning!

Then came baby Ariel and I decided I wanted to sew clothes.  So, I found a local seamstress who taught individual classes in her home and I recall hubby and baby driving me to my lessons every week.  I also remember the lady always had coffee breath.  I did about as well as I did in Jr. HS.  I think I made a sundress for Ariel, which, being a toddler, she wore, even though it was really pretty bad (and I'm sure that's still up in the attic too).  Well, the fabric was cute as I recall.  So, that endeavor really didn't go anywhere.

Then in 1994 (I remember because i still have the first quilt magazine I ever bought), a friend at work brought in a quilt she had made.  I was blown away (which was surprising because I remember looking at a quilt in a store window a few years before that and thinking "boy, I don't like quilts, they are boring" -which I find absolutely hysterical now!).  I came home and announced I wanted to quilt and luckily, it was near Christmas time, so hubby bought me a $100 Singer from the local Woolworth's.  I loved that machine.  So, I set out to make a project from that first quilt magazine - a Christmas stocking.  It's still in pieces in the box.  But, I kept at it and worked at my dining room table and loved every minute of it.  I think I was hooked from the very beginning of my quilting journey - I don't know why that "took" when I'd just dabbled in other crafts and then they all fizzled out.

Not long after I started, I wandered into my LQS at the time - Granny's Sewing Den - and met a lovely woman name Jo, who insisted I should join the small bee that met there on Thursday nights and that I really should come with them to the guild meetings once a month.  Those ladies took me under their wing - and I was a good 10 years younger than they were and so far behind them in skill, but they never once made me feel like I wasn't good enough - and they taught me a lot of what I know.  They are all fabulous quilters and every one of them is an amazing hand quilter.  So, Jo, Bee, Julie, Nancy and Barb - you ladies rock!

I took my first quilting class at Granny's - the standard Sampler Quilt.  It's still not finished - well, not quilted anyway - it's another hand quilting project (notice a theme here???)  
Taken at a PMQG guild meeting a few months ago when I did a retrospective on my quilts - thanks for the photo, Becky!

Since then, I've taken many more classes, moved up from that Singer to a Bernina and a Juki TL98E and an HQ16 mid-arm machine.  I've been doing this for almost 20 years now and I'm even more excited for the next 20! 

Well, I don't think I was supposed to write a book, but there you have it - my sewing story!  Check out Emily's linky post to read more stories!