Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My favorite Christmas gift so far...

is a lovely pair of pot holders made for me by my friend and fellow-quilter Robyn Bellamy. She's really talented and always works with great fabrics, and I think she was going to start an Etsy site. If I can get the link I'll list it for you so you can see more of her work.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Week 4 of Bonnie's mystery

I'm afraid this photo doesn't do it justice but I wanted to get something up so I could link up!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery: Week 3

Was anyone else as relieved as I was not to have to work with tiny triangles this week???? Please note, I'm not whining, I'm just really happy to be able to sew some simple squares together for a change. I'm having lots of fun working on this mystery, and love looking at everyone's progress on Bonnie's blog.
If you want to check out some of the others' work, please click here

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 2 of the Grand Mystery

I managed to get a bunch of the pieces cut and a few of them sewn together this weekend. I used the 3rd method Bonnie suggested, with the bonus half-square units, thinking it would be fun to have the extras for some future project. Here's a representative sample so far:
Can't wait to link up and see what everyone's been doing! If you want to see their progress, click this link

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 1---Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion Mystery!

Woo Hoo! It's finally time for this year's mystery!
Here's a photo of a bit of my progress so far on the first week's clue. I've changed the colors a bit from Bonnie's suggestions, just for the fun of it. My main color is orange, instead of yellow, just because when I went to the quilt store to scout for fabrics that day it was the orange I fell in love with.
Greetings to all fellow mystery quilters! I know we're going to have a fun journey together.
Best wishes,
Ginny in Brooklyn

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Woven bar blocks and Modern Sampler

I made just 2 woven bar blocks for the October Block Lotto drawing, but I think they're pretty sweet and wouldn't mind winning them. I also whipped up 4 more in blue and white fabrics for my Mod Mod Sample quilt.

Here's my latest progress on the sample quilt. Although it's hard to see from this photo I've sewn some of these blocks together to form larger units, following the pattern for the Queen-sized quilt, and others have been put together in smaller units, waiting to be attached to blocks we'll make in November and December.

I'm really enjoying putting together the sampler and am excited to see it finished.  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


"Celebration" is the theme of the Quilter's Guild of Brooklyn's fall small quilt challenge, and here's my entry: a sun in a bright blue sky and a field of flowers. Can you tell I was in the midst of celebrating my summer vacation when I came up with this idea? I used a paper-pieced pattern from  Block Lotto earlier this summer to make the sun, and fussy-cut the flowers from fabric from my stash and appliquéd them on.
I wasn't able to make the flower stems as thin as I wanted them from fabric without them getting all wonky, so I used my sewing machine to create a few stems with green thread. And I used my walking foot and orange thread to quilt it with straight lines radiating from the sun.
I've wanted to cut printed images from fabric and applique them to another quilt since I first saw examples of this technique in some antique quilts in the Shelburne Museum in Vermont some years back. This little quilt was fun to make, and I think it's pretty cute. Now I can't wait to see how everyone else interpreted the concept of celebration, and I'll post photos if I can get some good shots.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Just a bit of progress....

I haven't been doing TOO much sewing lately because I'm still upstate with my youngest son and my dog, enjoying summer and taking it easy. I snapped this photo this morning from a bridge on a rail trail where I walk my dog. You can see why it's hard for me to stay in and sew.
I did manage to finish 14 spokes blocks for my sampler, and then was thrilled to hear from Sophie that my name had been picked as a winner of the spokes blocks for July in the Block Lotto drawing. I am so happy! I think they are going to make a totally adorable baby quilt.

I made these 5 "windows" blocks for the August drawing, and although I love them I will donate my chances of winning this month to give someone else the opportunity to get lucky.

I'm also including a very preliminary photo of a mini-quilt in progress. My guild has called for members to make quilts that are 20-inches square of their own design on the theme "Celebration." I've been wracking my brains for what to do, and finally settled on the idea of a sun with flowers around it. It's going to be very "art quiltish" and weird, which I've never tried before. I'm totally intrigued by the idea of cutting out flowers that are printed on fabric, as part of a larger design, and appliquéing them on with stems attached. I've seen example of old quilts, where the quilter fussy-cut out printed shapes and then added them to a background, and I have always wanted to try it.
I'll post another photo when I get more done.
Don't you love it when you see something out in the world that makes you think about quilting? I went to a sculpture park and museum last week in Saugerties NY called Opus 40 and saw these hand-made bluestone walls. They were so gorgeous I took a bunch of photos with the idea of one day making a quilt based on them.
Here's a photo of the whole sculpture, from one side. It was pretty amazing.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What I've been up to….

I've been spending whatever time I can this summer at my family's weekend place in upstate New York with my 15-year-old son and my dog. Doing lots of yoga, and swimming, and hiking, and of course sewing!

I've been working on my Block Lotto sampler, and just finished 5 sunshine blocks for the full/queen sized blue-and-white quilt I'm working on from this year's blocks. They're not perfect, but I hope the little mistakes won't be noticeable once the blocks have been incorporated into the finished quilt.

I've already assembled a few sections of the quilt, and have started quilting them with light-blue thread. Here are two that I've completed. I hope you can see the quilting in these photos----I'm afraid the light thread doesn't stand out much:

I'm going to put them together using the quilt-as-you-go method when they are sewn into sections and quilted. I figure it's a good way to keep myself from ending up with another UFO, and it will give me some much-needed practice machine quilting.


At the start of the month, I also made these 2 blocks for the July Block Lotto drawing. Aren't they sweet?  I think I need to make 9 of them for the sampler quilt…..maybe I'll start them this afternoon.
This morning I dragged my son out for a short road trip to visit the Storm King Art Center sculpture garden. I didn't take many photos, but couldn't resist snapping one of this gorgeous field of white and yellow daisies.
Wouldn't you love to have a front yard that looks like this?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

One modern sun

I'm embarrassed to admit how much I've struggled over this block! The reason I ran into so many problems was mainly that I was working with patterns that had come out of my printer "fit to page" rather than the true size. What a dumb mistake. I had some patterns I'd printed wrong, and some I'd printed correct, and I mixed them up.  How stupid did I feel? You don't want to know.
So the block I made first and donated to the Block Lotto drawing is WRONG. It was one of the bad patterns. So I am going to remake that block so I can still contribute it to the pot.
My sewing machine is in the shop, but it is supposed to be ready today or tomorrow. Then I'll get to work on making it over in the right size.
Well I've gotten a bit of practice anyway. Just one of those weeks, I guess.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hexagons and several modern sections

I'm making these hexagon diamonds like nobody's business these days, and tacking them up on my new design wall. I'm having fun with it.
I sewed a few of the diamonds together, with white hexagons in between, so I could free up some of the paper pieces before I realized it wasn't a smart idea. I think it will still be ok in the end. It would be much smarter to just concentrate on making new diamonds, and then lay them out before I sew them together. I'm going to try to contain my enthusiasm, and buy some more paper hexagons, so I don't end up having to do a lot of ripping out later.

Slowly but surely I've been making blocks out of modern fabric for a queen-sized quilt that's being designed by Sophie, the master of  Block Lotto from this years' blocks. The segments you see here are made up of the blocks from only 3 months---I haven't gotten to the other 2 yet. But doesn't it look cool?
If you're interested in trying it out, click the Mod Mod QAL button on the right and it will take you to Sophie's instructions.
That's all for now. My birthday is next week---I can hardly believe I am going to be 54 years old. Time is flying! And I have so much sewing to do!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Scouting for jelly roll ideas

I'm not sure what I was thinking, but I last week I ordered 6 jelly rolls of solid fabric……3 of them are in the blue/green family and 3 are in the red/pink family---and they arrived today. I'd forgotten I'd even ordered them, and I didn't buy them to make any specific quilt. So I just searched the Internet for some idea how best to use them. Here are some of the quilts I liked best:

Aren't they all great? I'm not sure which one I like best. I think I'm leaning towards trying the one at the bottom, called Pick Up Sticks, or the one in the black-and-white diagram, because it doesn't look like a jelly-roll quilt to me. 

Launching my mod-mod quilt

While I was on retreat with my quilt guild, the Quilters Guild of Brooklyn, this past weekend I got started on the modern sampler quilt I've been meaning to make from this year's Block Lotto patterns. I ended up having only 1 1/2 days to sew, so I was only able to finish 2 months worth of blocks: double chevrons and beads on a string. I took a photo of them up on the design wall to show my progress, and as you can see I'm going with blue-and-white fabric and trying to stick with bright modern colors.
The project attracted some interest from my fellow quilters, who don't tend to make many "modern" quilts. The Brooklyn Quilters are a great group, and I'm proud to be a member.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Civil War quilts

The New York Historical Society's museum on Central Park West has a fabulous show organized by the American Textile Museum on exhibit now called Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts & Context in the Civil War. The show will continue into August, and includes some great quilts.
I grabbed the photo above off the museum's website, and the photos below I shot with my cell phone when the guards weren't looking. (I went through the exhibit 3 times, so I could get a really good look at the quilts and so I could snap the photos. Sorry they aren't a little better quality!)

I was especially impressed by the quilting in the one pictured above, and by the colors, which had remained really vivid over so many years. If I'm not mistaken, the sign next to this quilt said it had been made by a quilter in Georgia who'd had to bury her quilts  to keep them safe before the Union soldiers came through. Apparently the soldiers took whatever they wanted, and at least one quilter watched soldiers cut up one of her prized quilts to make saddle blankets for his horses.

The quilt above,  Reconciliation Quilt, was made by Lucinda Ward Honstein in Brooklyn in 1867. This quilt is stunning! Each block contains an appliquéd scene or floral arrangement that I assume was designed and then created by the quilter. It's a real work of art. 

I'm sorry that I don't have any information about this last quilt, which was very charming and had some lovely details. But if you like it, the museum's gift shop sold a kit for $125 containing the pattern and templates for the horses and flowers that would allow you to recreate the quilt. I was a bit tempted, but I've got so many UFOs going already that I decided to hold off, for now at least.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Amazing hexagon quilt!

I just received an email containing a link to a video about an outrageous bed quilt made from 10,509 1/2 inch-hexagons by a Linda Neal, which won 1st place in a Paducah contest sponsored by Statler Stitcher. And she uses diamonds! To see the quilt click here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My foray into hexi-land

I've been fooling around with hexagons for the past several weeks---my mother's been in and out of the hospital, and I love having a hand-dewing project to work on while I'm visiting. I decided early I didn't want to make a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt, because I thought it would be more fun to make something that looked more contemporary. So I'm making hexi-diamonds, with white hexi-sashing in between, and I'm trying to use "modern" fabric in bright blues and greens.
I'm really having fun with this, and have become sort of obsessed with hexagon quilts, so if you've made one or have a photo of one you like I'd be so happy if you'd send me a link.
Thanks, Ginny

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

5 blocks for Kevin the Quilter

Have you heard about the quilt project that's gone viral? A quilter named Kevin launched an effort earlier this year to get quilters to make 12-in blocks he could use to make quilts for returning veterans, part of the Quilts of Valor project.
 I made these 5, and it only took me 30 minutes:
They are so simple, but won't they make a great quilt? Kevin's first post suggested that he hoped to get enough blocks to make 3 quilts, but he's already gotten 2,348 at last count, enough for 75 quilts.  I think the fact that Bonnie Hunter  reposted it may have had something to do with it.
He's taking blocks through the end of June. For a link to the directions, and Kevin's address, click HERE.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Grand-baby quilt

I just finished a baby quilt for my friend Karen, who's become a grandmother at the age of 50. I'm a couple of years older than she is, and my own sons (ages 23, 19 and 14) are SO far from settling down and becoming fathers that it's hard for me to believe she's already onto this wonderful stage. She's beyond thrilled, of course.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Getting excited for our big show

It's only a little over two weeks until my quilt guild's big quilt show, which we hold every other year. It's in a fantastic location this year, in the Marriott hotel just on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge. This is the first time in years we've had the show in a location that can be easily accessed by public transportation. We'll have over 100 quilts on display (and 3 of them will have been made by me!)
I hope you'll come if you are in town---you won't regret it!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Quilt Cam!

I'm watching Bonnie Hunter sew and chat into her camera in her basement sewing studio while I hand-sew the binding on my sunflower quilt. I'm hooked on quilt cam. It's pretty random---she doesn't have a schedule of dates for upcoming quilt cam sessions----you just need to watch Bonnie's website, Quiltville, for her announcements of upcoming sessions.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Lovely Video on the value of making things by hand

My friend and fellow-quilter Judy Speezak brought this video to my was posted by public radio talk show host Krista Tippit on her "On Being" blog and features Renate Hiller, the fiber artist, talking about how creating useful and beautiful things with our hands connects us to each other and increases our awareness and mindfulness. Since I'm a yoga teacher and practitioner as well as a quilter, it was right up my alley.  Click here to watch the 4-minute video.
     I'm so pleased to report that I was one of the winners of the bead-on-a-string blocks in the Block Lotto drawing for March. Woo hoo! These are interesting blocks. It's a little hard to imagine how I'll use them---but maybe they'd make an interesting border? I'm looking forward to playing with them when they arrive.
    I neglected to post a photo of the last 4 blocks I made, so here it is:
Thanks for visiting, and stay warm. Here in NYC we're getting very tired of the cold, and more than a little grumpy. Another 8 to 12 inches of snow is supposed to start falling later this afternoon. Enough!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Feeling modern today!

I made these "Beads on a String" blocks for this month's Block Lotto drawing. They're not my usual style, but they're very cute! I love the colors, and have more in my stash so I'll make more if I get a chance.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Snow Day = Celtic Solstice progress

New York City got another dumping of snow yesterday. The storm started only 12 hours after the Super Bowl finished---it snowed pretty much all day yesterday, and left everything looking clean and beautiful again. I love the city right after it snows! It's so quiet for those couple of hours it takes the plows to get out and get the city running again.
I took advantage of the weather and a gap in my schedule to finish sewing together my Celtic Solstice blocks so I could post a progress photo on Bonnie Hunter's final link-up.  I still need to finish putting together the pieced border.....but there's more snow in the forecast so you never know.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Just back from Las Vegas

My husband was in Las Vegas last week for business and I flew out on Friday to meet him and spend the weekend. While it wasn't exactly balmy in Nevada, it wasn't bad....maybe around the mid 50s or low 60s.....sweater weather and sun. It sure beat New York, which has been below freezing for at least a week, with more cold and even more snow predicted for the coming days.
We shot this photo of the old Vegas sign while were were walking around the old part of town, not the "strip" but the run-down seedy part of town. Most of it looked pretty sad, but one bright spot was a "container park" that was a lovely family-friendly sustainably built complex of restaurants, shops and playground.  I'm sorry I didn't take a photo, because it was a great area.
I always try to visit a local quilt shop on any visit to a new city, and this time it was the Fabric Boutique Quilt Shop on W. Charleston Blvd in Las Vegas. It turned out they were having a 20% off sale on all green fabric, including any fabric that had only a tiny bit of green in it. I got a few fat quarters, and a really great pin cushion made my a local crafter, and then we headed a few more miles out of town to the Red Rock Canyon park.
It was gorgeous! I think it's a national park, with a loop road and lots of hiking and climbing trails. We were in a cab---I don't think the driver had any idea how long were were going to spend in his car when we got in!---so we didn't stop but we got to see a lot and got a good feeling for the area. 

We stayed at The Cosmopolitan hotel, on the strip, which had a bunch of high-end shops on the first two floors. One of them, a clothing store, had a glass wall that separated it from the lobby that was lined with old sewing machines. The photo above only shows a few, but there were hundreds of them, stacked floor to ceiling, that had been made by lots of different manufacturers. It was one of the first things my husband took me to see after I arrived, because he knew I'd get a kick out of it.
I was glad to see my boys when I got back, but I'm already missing the warm weather and the great food of Las Vegas. We didn't gamble, but we had a great time.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sunflower top finished

I'm so excited to have finally finished this quilt top! I've been working on it for several months, with the intention of putting it in our guild show in April, but the deadline was last week and I missed it. Lucky for me, quilters are nice, and I got an extra week and managed to crank it out.
I'm sending it off to be machine quilted early next week. The top is approximately 78 x 78 inches, so it will be a good size for my queen-sized bed.
I have had my eye on doing a medallion quilt for ages, but this is my first attempt. It was fun, but tricky to get the borders on correctly because I'm not a super accurate quilter. I think I'll try another one soon, and see if I can get a bit more comfortable working in this style and work towards being more precise.
So I machine pieced most of this quilt, but appliquéd the giant sunflower to the background by hand, and also appliquéd the leaves to the background. The inside border the the overlapping brown lines was copied from the floor in my dining room, and the stars in the border were paper-pieced.
I'll post another photo after it's quilted and bound. Happy day!

Monday, January 6, 2014

It's a mystery no more!

After Bonnie revealed the quilt pattern on New Years Day, I assembled a few blocks so I could finally see what kind of quilt I've been making. I love it! I doesn't look as "Christmas-y" as I'd expected (that's the trouble with mysteries, isn't it?) but I think it's going to be a quilt I'm happy with, nonetheless.
And it's been SO much fun to play along! I'm looking forward to next year's mystery already.