Monday, December 31, 2012

Easy Street, Week 6

I used up ALL of the black-on-white fabric I had in my stash for this latest step in Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt and I was only able to eek out 100 units---I'm still 28 short. Rats! I was hoping to finally be able to complete one step in one sitting. Oh well, I guess I'll need to venture out to a fabric store later. What a shame (ha ha).
What is sad is that I just got back last night from a post-Christmas trip to Ashville, NC with a few members of my extended family where I was able to squeeze in a quick visit to the Ashville Cotton Co. fabric shop. It was terrific: unpretentious and filled with fabric, all at a  20% discount! You can't ask for more than that, right? I picked up a few fat quarters (I'd sent my family to the nearby Starbucks and knew my time was limited) but I didn't think to buy any more black-on-white. Somehow, I'd assumed we were done with the black-on-white, but I was mistaken.
Anyway, no matter. I'm having a great time with this mystery, and can't wait now to see what the quilt looks like all assembled.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Easy Street Progress

Here are a few units I managed to finish on Friday for the 5th week of  Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street mystery quilt. I've got a ways to go, but I'll have to be satisfied with getting a few done each week until Christmas is behind me and the kids are back in school. ;-)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Easy Street, Step 4

I've been working away on step 4 of Bonnie's instructions when I can grab the time. Here are some of the units I've finished so far:
Of course, since I'd only finished a few units from Step 2, I was a bit behind and had to finish step 2 at the same time I was making the new units that are the new part of Step 4. But anyway, it's going well and I'm having fun!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Ornaments

I found free patterns for these paper-pieced ornaments on the Internet, and made them for my brother and his wife as a Christmas gift---I'm pretty sure they don't read my blog so there's no danger I'm giving away any surprises here! I'm really happy with how they came out, which is good, because they took much longer to make than I'd expected.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Easy Street Part 3

Here are the 9 units I've made so far for part 3 of Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt. I'm having a great time with this project! And though I'm finding lots of good purples, lime green and turquoise fabrics in my stash, I couldn't resist picking up a few more fat quarters at the quilt store yesterday. I'm already looking forward to the 4th step.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My block's become a pot-holder!

I took my paper-pieced Christmas block to a quilt gathering the other night and one of my friends said she thought it would make a good Christmas pot-holder. That seemed like a more practical idea than a small pillow, so I decided to try it.

Here is the front:

And here is the back:

Pretty cute, right? My Dad's caretaker is named Santa (really!) and she's a quilter, so I know she's going to be very pleased to start the Christmas holidays with this new festive burn-prevention equipment. ;-)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Easy Street, Part 2

Here are a few purple flying geese. Fun! I wasn't sure I'd have enough "modern" fabric in my stash to make this quilt, but I shouldn't have worried. I think my stash is big enough to make almost any quilt you can name. Many of these fabrics are from one specific fabric line that must have appealed to me when I saw it online some time ago---I ordered a set of fat quarters, but never did much with it. But I was really glad to find them on my shelf. They are perfect for this project!

Friday, November 30, 2012

I won!

I'm so happy! I just learned that I really did win the mug blocks this month in the Block Lotto drawing. I'm very excited---this is going to be amazing. I can't stop smiling.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Paper piecing for Christmas

I made this beautiful little star this morning from a free pattern I'd found on-line for a Christmas ornament. I'd intended to make the ornament for one of the women who cares for my father at the Alzheimer's care facility where he lives now. She's a quilter too and I know she'll love it.
I guess I had a different idea of what an "ornament" would be than the pattern's author (or I misunderstood the directions!) because it measures 8 inches square. So I think I'll head to the local craft store after lunch to see if I can get the stuffing or form I'd need to make it into a pillow. Pillow, Ornament, what's the difference? It's the thought that counts!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Easy Street, Step 1

I had so much fun making Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt last year, I've decided to try it again this year. I've made about a quarter of the units she's called for so far. Here's a photo of a representative sample.
For this first step, at least, I'm sticking to the colors and fabrics Bonnie specified in her directions. The other colors she's recommended are a lime green, a turquoise blue and purple. Here colors are great, but I'm not sure I've got enough of them in my stash to make a quilt. I'm going to take a look now, and I may need to pick a substitute  if I can't find enough of one of those colors. The mystery continues!

Wonky log cabin blocks for Sandy Quilts

Here's a photo of a few of the blocks I made over the weekend for one of the many efforts going forward to make quilts for the  victims of the storm. I've hooked up with the "Sandy Quilt Block Drive"  organized by Michelle Foster at the Quilting Gallery. If you want to get involved, you can click on the button on the side of my blog (with the cute dog on it!) and it will direct you to the block pattern and contacts you'd need. I think the group is still looking for quilters to make blocks and for people willing to assemble the blocks into quilt tops.

I made 10 blocks in all, but I couldn't figure out how to photograph them in an interesting way on this cold, rainy, dark New York City day. So I ended up just arranging a few of them on the rug, and shooting them that way to give you an idea.
The blocks went together really quickly, probably because I'd saved boxes of strings and scraps from Bonny Hunter's mystery quilt last year!
I'm sending my blocks off to Nancy in North Carolina this afternoon. I can't wait to see what she makes. She's promised to email a photo when she's got the quilt finished, so I'll post it here as well.

Friday, November 16, 2012

My 9th Mug

 I'm home with a bad cold today, and I thought there was no better way to spend my morning than to make another block for the November drawing of Block Lotto. I was able to use a scrap of something I'd started in the distant past---I think it looks pretty sweet as a mug.
I've got my fingers crossed that my lucky number comes up this month---even my husband, who usually gives my quilting a pretty wide berth, told me that he thought I should make a mug quilt because I'm such a coffee fanatic.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cups for Block Lotto

I love these cups! I made 8 of them for the November Block Lotto drawing, will try to make one more, so I can maximize my chances to be a lucky winner. I think I've won blocks 3 times in the past few years, but haven't won any for a long time. Julie, send some luck my way!
Our fearless Block Lotto leader Sophie suggested that we create these using the wonky method, but I found that really difficult and made lots of mistakes and wasted lots of fabric trying. Why is wonky so difficult for me when it's supposed to be easy? 
The blocks started to come out much better after I found two paper-pieced cup patterns on the internet and blew them up to the correct size. I ended up being much happier with the ones that were paper-pieced, and they didn't take me any longer than the wonky ones.
I've been sewing a bit more than usual for the past week in the wake of the big storm Sandy because it's been impossible to get out of Brooklyn! For a long time the subways were stopped, and even now the major tunnel leading from Manhattan to Brooklyn is closed and there is NO gas to be had near where I live.
We were extremely fortunate that our property came through fine, and we didn't even lose power or experience any flooding, but areas of Brooklyn only 1/2 mile from us were absolutely devastated. My neighborhood, Park Slope, has been active trying to help those who were hit harder by the storm, and I've been involved in some of those efforts, as we know how lucky we were to escape so lightly.
One extremely sad event connected with the storm was the death of a young man, just 24 years old, who was the son of a friend I'd made walking my dog. I didn't know the young man, but I had become close to his mom, and my heart broke for her. Some 300 people attended his funeral, and spoke about him in glowing terms. It was so moving---not a dry eye in the house. She's a wonderful woman, and I know she'll get a lot of support from the community as time goes on, although nothing will make up for this loss.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dear Jane So Far, plus BAD NEWS!

I was anxious to look at all the Dear Jane blocks I'd finished so far in advance of visiting the original Jane Stickle quilt tomorrow at the Bennington Museum in Vermont, so I threw them up on my design wall in no particular order and snapped this photo. I think they are looking pretty good! They look a bit wild, since we weren't supposed to trim them yet, but I get the sense that the fabrics will work together in the end. I may remake one or two of the blocks that seem especially wonky later on, but we'll see how it goes.
Anyway, the heartbreaking bad news is that I just called the Bennington Museum to double-check some directions and learned that the quilt is no longer on display! I am so sad/mad at the same time. I am pretty sure the museum's website indicated that the Dear Jane quilt was on display through the end of the month, but believe it or not,  nothing I said to the poor woman who answered the phone was going to get them to put it back up on exhibit tomorrow. For me.
Here's a link to the museum's description of the quilt on its website. Read the last line of the text under the photos, and tell me if you agree that the quilt should still be on display!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Split stars for October's Block Lotto drawing

Aren't these great? The pattern is so simple, but the blocks are striking because there's such contrast between the fabrics. I really like this block, and hope that I'll get lucky and win this month. Maybe I'll even get around to making 5 more blocks to boost my chances.

It's funny, these blocks finish at 9 inches, so they are 9 1/2 inches unfinished and feel ENORMOUS to me. I think I've been infected by the Dear Jane quilt project, where the blocks finish at just 4 1/2 inches. Teeny, tiny blocks with lots and lots of pieces.

I'm really excited to be able to report that I think I'm going to be able to see the real, original Jane Stickle quilt on Friday. I'm heading up to Middlebury, VT to see my oldest son perform in a play, and I just realized that Bennington, where the quilt is on display through the end of the month, is almost right on the way!!! Almost. My husband's already agreed to the detour, so it's a plan. I'll take a photo and post it after the pilgrimage. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Baby house quilt top finished

I've just put together the house blocks made for a friend's baby quilt. I think it's adorable! Now on to create the back and quilt it---the baby is due next week!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lucky find: the Wiltwyck Quilters Guild Show

I was in New Paltz, NY today and was lucky enough to be handed a flyer for a quilt show only 20 minutes away. So of course I jumped in the car and headed over. The show was called Quilts in the Valley and it was the Wiltwyck Quilters biennial show, held this year in Accord, NY
I saw quite a few quilts I really liked. Here are some that  was able to get decent photos of:

The Way We Were by Marie Reed, Tilson NY. In the note about this quilt in the program, Marie said she'd made part of this quilt in a class, and the rest on her own. She appeared to have fussy-cut images from fabric and appliqued them to the backing, like some 200-year-old quilts I remember seeing in a Vermont museum a couple of years ago. Really charming!

Here's a detail:

Along the same lines, I like this quilt, called  My Village Quilt by Joan Perpetua, Kingston, NY. There was something old-fashioned but modern about this quilt at the same time, and it was nicely done.
Wooly Flowers, by Lois B. Stewart of Poughkeepsie, NY, was interesting too. It looked like she'd used a thicker wool material to create the flowers, and had appliqued them to the surface. 


I was blown away by the quilting on this quilt, called Cool Vibration, by Roberta Brodie of Hyde Park, NY. She said in the program notes that she'd made it in a 6-month class. It was very impressive.

Here are a couple of details that show the quilting. The quilt was 3-dimensional because of the quilting, and it was really striking.

Another really impressive and very large quilt was this one, called Rainbow Sorbet, made by Joan Carragher of New Paltz, NY. It's made entirely out of little puckered fabric disks (called yo-yos?) that are just stitched together with space in between, creating a lacy effect. She said she'd gotten the idea for it from a photo she'd seen in a magazine of an antique version of the quilt. Here's a photo of as much of the quilt as I could get into one photo, with a detail.


I loved this quilt, called John O by Peggy Smith of Glenford, NY. It's quite  simple, but the fabric she chose is striking---it really has a presence. She said she'd made it for her son to take to college.

I also admired this quilt, which is called Colorful Nine Patches and was made by Evelyn Urbom of Rhinebeck, NY. She said she'd been inspired by the fabric she found for the border to create the rest of the  quilt, and it seems she'd gotten the 9-patches in a swap. It was really attractive, with great colors.

The last photo I'm posting from this show is of a Dear Jane variation by Liese Burice of Red Hook, NY. The colors she'd chosen were lovely---they were somewhat muted, and covered the rainbow, but it worked together very nicely. I was interested to see that she'd made a border like Jane's, but with a variety of colors for the solid triangels. It looked great---she must have a really good sense of color.

That's all for now. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dear Jane fever--I've got it.

Once again, leaving many UFOs behind, I'm off on something new: Dear Jane!
Here are the 4 blocks I've completed since I started a Dear Jane class at the City Quilter on Monday (I posed them on my back porch with my Dear Jane book!)

And for any Janiacs working on this quilt, the blocks I've made so far are (starting with the blue star on the top left and going clockwise) A13, L2, B3 and A1.

We started A13 during the first class, and sewed it by hand, using freezer paper templates. My friend Robyn and I were the only two newbies in class---everyone else had been working on their Dear Jane quilts for awhile, and were just coming to class to stay inspired and have some fun.

I made the second block, L2, through a combination of paper piecing and regular piecing, on the machine. This block was the "challenge" block given by the teachers. Anyone who makes one gets their name entered in a drawing for a prize at the next class. I think they are also offering a weekly prize for the students who makes the most blocks that week to inspire us.

I also sewed the other 2 blocks----B3 and A1---on the machine. I'd never pieced circles before, so it took me a couple of tries to make something acceptable for B3. The A1 block was easy---just a bunch of half-square triangles---and I've done so many of those I could do them in my sleep.

I'm going to make the entire quilt out of batiks that are based around this theme fabric pictured below---an idea I got from the people at the quilt shop.

I don't think my photo does it justice, but this fabric has got all the colors I love: purples, blues, greens, and even a few browns and oranges thrown in.  And I love batiks! I have a lot of them in my stash, so I hope this quilt will help me cut down on fabric I already own---always my dream.

Will I ever finish this? I wouldn't place any bets, but you never know. Meanwhile, I'm having a lot of fun working on it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Baby quilt in progress

A couple of months ago I learned that a friend who'd been trying to get pregnant for some time was expecting, and that her baby is due in October. She's a quilter herself, and a big fan of 1930s reproduction fabrics, so I organized a group of her quilting buddies to make a baby quilt. My friend is one of those old-fashioned women who doesn't want to know the baby's sex in advance (unlike me, who found out at the first possible moment that my 3 boys would be boys) so we tried to keep the pattern and fabric neutral.

I'd just had fun making house blocks for the monthly Block Lotto drawing when the prospect of planning a baby quilt came up, so I decided to adapt that pattern for the project. I only changed the pattern in one way: I suggested that anyone who wanted to personalize their block by putting a figure in the window or door of the house was welcome to do so.

So here's a photo of the blocks I have so far on my design wall:
Pretty cute, aren't they? The only block that jumped out at me after I took this photo was one I'd made---on the bottom left---where one of the fabrics is way too dark and the butterfly in the window looks like a menacing bat!

So last night I altered that block, and substituted a yellow solid and a baby chick for the offending material I'd used before. I'm still not convinced it works---because the yellow solid still jumps out at me--- so I think I may remake the block again later with fabric I just found that's more in keeping with the reproduction spirit of the quilt. If you feel like it, leave me a comment and let me know if I should dump the yellow solid.

I'm still waiting for 3 more blocks from friends, and I'll probably make another myself, so by the time it's finished the quilt will be rectangular rather than square. 
Last weekend, I got some fabulous sashing fabrics lat a wonderful quilt shop called The Patchwork Company in Windham, NY, and since then I've been really excited about how this will all come together.  I'll post again when I've got the top finished....hopefully  before the baby's born!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Even more monkey blocks!

It feels great to be back posting on this blog---I'm sorry I've been away from it for so long! I had a very busy end to my summer, including very adventurous 3-week-long trip to China, and then a visit from my dear brother and his family from Seattle, so I have not done any posting.

I have managed to sneak in a little quilting, here and there. Here's a photo of the all of the monkey blocks I've finished to date:

I love making them because they're so simple and they require so little fabric, but at the same time they help use up my endless scraps. I don't see any end to this project in sight: I think I'll just keep making them until I get tired of them or until I have enough to make a queen-size quilt for my bed. I have a feeling that I'd smile every time I see this quilt. The colors are so happy, and the scraps are from so many quilts I've made in the past that I imagine it will will always have the power to bring back happy memories.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A few more Monkey blocks

I'm really having fun using my small scraps to make these Monkey blocks.....To make the ones pictured above I mostly used a wad of 5-in. squares that I'd had hanging around FOREVER, and was able to slice and dice them and turn them into cute little blocks.

Since the blocks are only 5-inches finished, I'm going to need a lot of them to make anything out of them, so I'm glad I'm enjoying the process. I'll keep you posted!

I'm not going to be able to do much quilting for the next few weeks... I'm going on a 3-week trip with two friends across China! I wonder if I'll find any quilting fabric over there?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

New table, new project

I just inherited this quilting work table from a friend and fellow-quilter who was rearranging her house and no longer had a spot for it. It's fantastic! It's made from a door, I think, and has detachable adjustable metal legs. I was able to set it at just the perfect height for cutting fabric.

Now that I've got this great table I decided to make something new from my bags of scraps. I'm using Bonnie Hunter's pattern, Little Money, to make scrappy 5-in. monkey wrench blocks from some of my favorite brightly colored scraps. Since I've got shopping bags full of scraps at this point, this could be a pretty large quilt. We'll see!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Orca Bay finished

I'm finally posting some photos of the Orca Bay mystery quilt I completed this spring using Bonnie Hunter's pattern. I'm really pleased with how it came together.

The photo above shows the quilting, which I had done by Wilma at  
Christian Lane Quilters. She suggested that I have the quilting done in blue thread, and that I use a blue back for the quilt, rather than the yellowish one I had provided. I'm so glad I went with her advice, as I love the quilting and feel that the back is a much better match for the quilt.

The photo above shows the blue quilt back that Wilma suggested, as well as gives you a better look at the quilting.

I'm hooked on string piecing now, and am trying to figure out another project to make where I can use that technique.  I put together the block above, using a pattern called weathervane, but I'm not sure I'll make any more of these. I'm not sure there is enough contrast between the pieces. And maybe there's too much contrast in the blues I chose for the string pieces. Anyway, it's fun to fool around with it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

House block

This is the single red-and-white house block I have managed to get finished for the June drawing of block lotto. I love this block! I love this block so much that I plan to make 8 more of these, and then perhaps use this pattern for a group baby quilt I need to organize. I am thinking about suggesting that the quilting friends of the mom-to-be make the block using white for the background and then 3 shades of a single baby-friendly pastel. So far she doesn't know the sex of the baby, but I bet she'll find out and so I'm holding off on starting the quilt. Also, the baby is not due until the early fall, so I've got time.
One fun aspect of using this block for a baby quilt is that I could throw in an "eye spy" option, and suggest that quilters could add a fussy-cut baby-friendly image in the window or doorway, just to add some fun. Let me know what you think,

Monday, May 21, 2012

African Violets lap quilt

I just finished binding this lap quilt I made with African Violet blocks I won earlier this year in a
Block Lotto drawing.
 I was really happy to win the blocks, but hadn't figured out what I wanted to do with them until recently, when I realized they'd make a perfect quilt for someone who's very dear to me who's currently undergoing treatments for cancer. (I don't want to giver her name here in case she reads my blog!)
Here's the back of the quilt. I included some of the blocks I'd won that were left over---many of them were about 1/2 too small and were difficult to use on the front. I trimmed some of the other extra blocks to match the small ones, and put them together to brighten up the back. In the end, I was happy with the way the back came out!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Two finished quilts in their new homes

I've posted photos of these two quilts before, while they were in process, but I thought you might enjoy seeing where they've ended up.
I've turned the small square pants quilt into a table runner for my dining room table:
And the quilted and bound scrappy trip around the world has found a home on a guest bed/eldest son's room in our weekend house upstate:
I've come to realize that I enjoy making the quilts more than I enjoy having them, so over the years I've given away most of the quilts I've made. That said, I really do enjoy having them too, and I'm celebrating that with these photos.
I'm hard at work on finishing two other projects: a double-sided lap quilt made from African Violet blocks I won in the Block Lotto block drawing earlier in the year, and the Orca Bay quilt from Bonnie Hunter's blog. I just got back from the machine quilter,  who did an amazing job. I'll post photos of those soon, I hope

Monday, April 30, 2012

Square-Pants wallhanging finished

I've just finished this small quilt from 4 blocks I first made about a year ago from a great pattern I found on line in a blog called Lily's Quilts. If you click the link, it will take you to the pattern, which the blog author invented and called the "Lynne Bob Square Pants" block.

Isn't it a great block? I totally fell in love with it when I saw it, and was determined to make an entire quilt of these blocks, but as usual I got sidetracked and went on to another project, leaving these blocks as a UFO in a drawer.
          I sewed them together a couple of weeks ago thinking that I'd make them into a small quilt that I could contribute to the silent auction that my Guild was sponsoring in coordination with our bi-annual quilt show. But I wasn't able to finish it, so the silent auction came and went without my little quilt.
          With time pressure off, I decided to have so fun with this little quilt and really machine quilt it myself. (My idea of quilting is usually to sew a top and then send it to someone else to quilt for me.)

I used my recently repaired Bernina to do echo quilting in the white areas of the quilt. It was a lot of fun, and didn't take long at all, since it's only 2 ft. by 2 ft.
For the back, I used a charming giraffe print that I'd bought years ago for a baby quilt that never materialized, and I bound it with a royal blue fabric with white polka dots I also had in my stash.