Monday, December 28, 2015

Week 5 of Bonnie Hunter's 2015 Mystery

These little units are so great! Loving this mystery!
To see what everyone else is doing click here.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Week 4 of Bonnie Hunter's 2015 Mystery

Here are 4 sets of units of this week's clue. I'm using the old-fashioned method of sewing these because I couldn't get the EasyAngle ruler on short notice (sold out at every store I called!). So it's taking longer, but it's working out fine. It looks like Christmas to me on my design wall!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Week 3 of Bonnie Hunter's 2015 Mystery

Here's a representative sample of the gold-and-neutral 4 patch units Bonnie called for this week assembled on my design wall. I love cutting an arranging these little units, as well as culling through all my bags of scraps looking for different neutrals to add variety. Since I've done this mystery now a few years in a row, if find myself using bits of the same neutrals again and again, although of course I keep adding new ones each year too. Maybe this will be the year I finally sort my scraps by color....we'll see.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 2 of Bonnie Hunter's 2015 Mystery

I'm loving this mystery so far! I think I've got all the fabric cut for this week's clue but I've only sewn a few together. I'm already looking forward to week 3.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December Block Lotto: Wonky Strips

I've made 5 of these long narrow blocks so far....they're so easy and fun it would be a shame not to make 4 more so I'd have the maximum chance to win!
Here's what I've got so far:

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bonnie Hunter's 2015 Mystery: Week 1

We made lots and lots of tiny half-square triangles from grey and neutral fabrics. This photo shows maybe 1/3 of the total we need to make....I've sewn more since. I did most of this sewing yesterday while listening to an audiobook and the time whizzed by. So glad to be doing this new mystery! (The book, by the way, was The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs. Excellent non-fiction.)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Safari-patterned cosmetics bags

My dear sister's been invited to go on safari with a friend and wanted to give her an appropriate little thank you gift. We spotted this animal-print linen fabric in a quilting store we visited and presto!  It's two little bags.
I've photographed both sides, because all the sides have different animals on them.

I've already bought zippers to make a few more from different fabrics in my stash. They are easy, and go together so quickly. Much faster than a quilt!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Brooklyn Guild Challenge: Flight

I just put the finishing touches on the binding on a quilt for my quilt guild's fall quilt challenge: flight. I had a great time quilting it by machine, trying to make the quilting represent the wind. I don't know if the photo shows it, but the quilting really improved this rather basic simple pattern.
Anyway, the deadline is coming up for entries and it's always so much fun to be part of the group that steps up for the challenge. The quilts will go up on display at one of the local branch libraries to start, but afterwards they sometimes travel (as a group) for other exhibitions within parks or even the library's main branch.
I love my guild.  I feel lucky to be part of such a talented group!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Triangles for August

I made 9 blocks this month for the Block Lotto drawing, and I've got my fingers crossed. I love these blocks!
In fact I love them so much I started another project using some batik fabric I had in my stash. But after I laid out a few of the blocks it felt like it wasn't working the way I'd hoped, and I abandoned it. That's how it goes sometimes. I just threw the pieces into my scrap bags for future use.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Baby Quilt

I just finished the binding on this baby quilt, which I made for a close friend who needs a gift to give a dear friend hers who's expecting a baby girl this month. I'd already finished the top, and had it sitting on a shelf, when she mentioned she was looking for a gift for a new baby girl. I'd made the top from parts of 2 packs of 2.5-inch strips--one white, and the other pinks--earlier in the year, just to see what I could make from the strips. I thought the result was pretty cute.

Here's a view of the back. I added the pink pieces to make it more interesting, and because the backing fabric wasn't large enough by itself. The binding is pink, and the machine quilting was done by Wilma at Christian Lane Quiters in Connecticut. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Bonnie Huner Mystery quilt

This quilt's been finished for a couple of months, but I've been waiting to take a photo of it. I finally found the right day and the right location!

While I was at it I couldn't resist taking a photo of Tye, who's pictured at the top of the page in his younger days. He's now going on 10, and he's getting pretty grey.

Monday, July 20, 2015

A snake and a story

Here's a fabric version I made of a snake my family once owned as an entry for the July Block Lotto where the category was "pets." The snake was an 8-ft-long corn snake that we kept for  about 4 years. We thought of him as a pet, so I'm throwing him into the mix.
There's a funny story associated with the snake. It had been owned by my brother Lawrence, who's a naturalist, and when I flew out to St. Louis some years ago to visit him and his family with my 3 sons, one of them really fell in love with the snake. So my brother gave it to him, and when we left, packed him in a plastic box with air holes in it. We packed it in one of our suitcases and checked it. Quietly.
When we got to NYC we were picked up at the baggage area by a prearranged cab driver. My boys were so excited to see if the snake had lived through the trip they got the suitcase off the carousel and opened it up to see the snake. The driver got so upset that he didn't want to take us home, but we put him back and closed it up and eventually we convinced him.
We kept the snake for a few years. He was very tame at the beginning, but grew more wild over time. Maybe because my two cats would sit outside his cage and watch him. Anyway, after he bit me for the 3rd time while I was trying to feed him (thawed frozen mice) I decided to get rid of him.
My brother said he would take the snake back, so I packed it in the original box, put lots of padding around it and shipped it by UPS as "fragile artwork." He arrived save and sound. 
Since the snake was so big, and very handsome, my brother donated it as a door prize at an reptile convention and someone took it home. And that's the story!

Friday, July 3, 2015

My pet cat

Actually, I have two cats, and this one doesn't look like either one, but I guess it's close enough. For Block lotto this month we're making blocks with animals on them that could be pets. I used a technique I remember learning during an earlier block lotto project to make the tail.
Maybe I'll make a snake next? For years my kids had a giant corn snake. We'll see.....

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Mod Mod Sampler finished

I'm so happy I was finally able to finish a queen-sized sampler quilt created from the modern blocks posted each month in 2014 on the Block Lotto website. I followed the pattern designed by Sophie, who runs the Block Lotto site and who set the project up as a mystery, revealing the block placement bit-by-bit, month-by-month. I love mystery quilts, so this was a fun project for me.

This photo shows the back of the quilt. I decided early on to make it using the quilt-as-you-go method, so I could do the quilting myself. I didn't pay much attention to the backing fabric, and pulled pieces from my stash in a fairly random way, but I like how it looks well enough, and the back is the back, right?
I used the method described in this tutorial to join the blocks together and found it very helpful.

I used white fabric to connect the blocks, back and front, and also it to bind the quilt. I sewed the entire binding on by machine, which was a first for me. Usually I attach the binding to the front of the quilt by machine and then wrap it around to the back and hand-sew it in place. And since I'm a really slow hand sewer, it can take me months to finish the binding. Using the machine, I finished it in a single day. I think I'm on to something!

I showed this quilt to my mom (who's always supported my crafting efforts) before I put the binding on, and she thought it would brighten up her bedroom, so that's where it's going. I'm glad it's found a good home.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Tiny quilt: It's a Hen

Here's a tiny quilt, which I think is also called a mug rug, that I speed-sewed this afternoon as a hostess gift for a friend who's hosting a "hen party" tomorrow afternoon. I had just gotten a copy of A Quilter's Ark by Margaret Rolfe with 50 foundation-pieced designs and was excited to try it out. Unfortunately, I was well into the project before I noticed that the only embroidery floss I had on hand to make the hen's legs wouldn't stand out against the background. Oh well. Live and learn. Next one I make I'll read all the directions first!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easter eggs dyed using silk fabric

I made these by wrapping the eggs in squares of silk---from an old necktie and a scarf I found in a thrift shop---and then in a piece of white fabric and boiling them for 20 minutes. Pretty cool, right? I first saw the idea on Facebook and then Googled it later to try it myself.
Happy Easter to all you quilters who celebrate this holiday!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Unexpected quilt at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Plains Indians exhhibit

I was surprised to see this wonderful quilt in the Met's major new exhibit of the art of the Plains Indians. I'd never before associated quilting with NativeAmericans, but it seems that the Plains Indians were introduced to it by the white Europeans and missionaries who settled in the American mid-west and some of their descendants still quilt today.  
This quilt was made in 1915 by Rebecca Blackwater, thought to be part of either the Dakota, Lakota, Santee or Rosebud tribe. When not on display, this quilt is is a private collection in Boston.

I fell in love with this quilter's depiction of animals and tried to capture photos of a few of them. I especially like the pair of horses who look to be just standing around, taking it easy, and the kangaroo whom she depicts as being encountered by Indians while outhunting in the American mid-west. Clearly, this quilter had a sense of humor.

I highly recommend seeing this exhibit in person if you get a chance. This quilt is only one of a huge number of beautiful objects made by some little-known but wildly talented and patient artists.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Arrows and small mystery

I finished four arrow blocks for the February drawing for Block Lotto. I love these blocks! The first one was a little tricky to make, because the sizes seemed to be a little off, but once I figured out how to trim the pieces I had no trouble.

I've been working since November on Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion mystery quilt, and found it was taking more time than I've got to spare these days, so I decided to use what I'd already sewn to make a smaller version of the quilt as she designed it. I think it's pretty cute as a small quilt! My husband said he likes it very much, and that it reminds him of sailing flags. I'm not sure I see it, but I'm not much of a sailor either.

Funny, now that I see these photos together I realize that I they're the same colors! If I win the arrows maybe I should add them to the edge of the mystery quilt?

That's all for now. I hope my next post will show some progress on the quilt-as-you-go project I've had on the back burner.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

One January block

I'm falling behind on my quilting these days, but I did manage to make a single block for the next Block Lotto drawing---cute, right? Sophie always comes up with great block ideas.
More soon, I hope!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

One finished mystery quilt block, with sashing

I was fortunate enough to be away from NYC in Costa Rica for a week (my 85-year-old mom, pictured below, sponsored the trip and invited me and my siblings and our families) so I am late in posting but here's a block with the sashing around it with the corner post blocks. I'm a little sorry I don't have better contrast between my yellows and the neutrals (I changed around the colors Bonnie suggested) but aside from that I like it pretty well. And I thoroughly enjoyed participating, and linking up with quilters from around the world!
I am already looking forward to next year's mystery.....