Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Where's the Snow?

That's not a complaint, mind you.  Thankfully here in western New Jersey we escaped the 'epic' snow storm that was predicted.  While we did get some snow.. 5 or 6 inches.. it was no where near the 18" they predicted.  (However, my brother got 22" in Connecticut!!) But what the no-snow storm did was give me two days at home.  And while I still needed to work, it afforded me the luxury of doing some extra stitching time that I normally wouldn't get with my commute, etc.
Now... what's this pile of wool about?
A few months ago I picked up this book, My Enchanted Garden by Gretchen Gibbons for a bargain price in JoAnns.  I loved the combination of applique with cottons and wools (I have more than I can use.. believe me that pile on the table is just a small portion!) and beading.  These elements hit all the bells for me!  The block designs seem to be both simplistic and elegant.  And I loved her color choices. 
I am using a variegated Valdani 8 thread for the stems.  Oh yeah....  love doing embroidery on quilts too.  It keeps getting better and better! LOL  You can see in the top photo that it makes a beautiful stem stitch.
I've completed the embroidery and the applique on the first block.  Next I will need to add the beading.  I thought I would try the first block and see how it goes.  You know how sometimes you love a quilt design until you actually start working on it?  I found I really like the combination of buttonhole applique on the wool pieces and the needle turn applique on the cotton.  The finished block though will be heavier than just all cotton blocks, so that is a consideration when it is quilted.
I am ignoring the fact that I have started yet another project and just enjoying the journey for now.
Meanwhile, as we are preparing to paint our foyer.... Lucy has met a new friend there.  She seems to have fallen in love with her new friend.. and won't let Abby or Gracie near her.  They just walk by and wonder what's up with her. :-)

Happy Stitching,

Linking up this week at WIP Work in Progress Wednesday and Let's Be Social

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Me?

I wasn't planning on participating in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year.  After all, I had just completed the rainbow quilt from last year.  And how many rainbow quilts can one have? :-)  But you know how these things go...  you understand.  My girlfriend Karin showed me a table runner she found online that she wanted to make.  And as fate would have it, it was made out of hexies and it was rainbow.  What was I to do?  I have been wanting to jump into the hexie craze... and it would be perfect for the RSC 2015.  So I am in!  And Karin is going to stitch along with me.  What could be better?
My plan is to make 10 - 12 hexies a month to complete the table runner.  That's certainly doable!  You can see the finished table runner by going over to My Poppet blog from Australia. 
 I am using the English Paper Piecing method to make my hexies with precut paper templates from Paper Pieces.  I used these little gems about 25 years ago (can it really be that long??) to make grandmother's flower garden blocks and it is the only way I have ever made hexies.  I am using the 1 1/4" size.  They are easy to handle and will make a nice sized runner.  If you want to check out their site, click here.  They have an amazing assortment of shapes. Again, no commission.. just like sharing information on good products. :-)
Of course moments after I took those photos, my trusty assistant showed up to see what I was doing....
We got quite a bit of snow overnight, and as you can see it is still snowing.  Probably about 10" on the ground.  This will eventually be followed by ice.  Ugh.  This is the first major snow we have gotten this winter, not counting the storm we had over Thanksgiving.
It's been a crazy week at work, so it's a good weekend to just stay inside and sew. My two snowman pillows were finished just in time to enjoy the storm!

You may also want to get a cup of hot chocolate and go over to So Scrappy to see what is going on with some very talented quilters and the RSC 2015 - this month's color is blue.  I will be linking up there. 

Happy Stitching!


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Baby It's Cold Inside!

I decided after putting away all the Christmas decorations that the family room (where we spend the majority of our time) looked kind of bare.  I thought some nice quilted snowman (snowpeople?) pillows would spark things up in there.  So Friday I started working on some ideas....
I found some cute ideas on Pinterest on which I could build my designs.  My little pillow with wool snowman and embroidered evergreen tree is hand stitched on an old quilt base.  I added MOP buttons and even embroidered a little bird at the top of the tree.  I really like the pieced red border I decided on.  It brought some much needed color and contrast to my design.  
I also decided to make two snowman pillows for the chairs in the family room.  These are cotton and wool and will measure 16" square. 
I am having fun with these and they are easy to make!  Today I will machine quilt both of these and make them into pillows.
The rest of the snowmen and snow-women will spend the winter on the fireplace mantel.
Along with some snow-angels.
Kathy at Kathy's Quilts and sponsor of the weekly linky party - Slow Sunday Stitching has asked that we post a photo of our hand while stitching.  Well, I just happen to have one.. and she is right - sunlight is the best light to quilt in.  Stop over there and see all the Sunday stitching going on.  

Happy Stitching!


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Story of the Green Basket Quilt... a Quilt That Found Me.

I am so envious of all the quilters out there that plan out their quilts before they start a new project.  You know who you are.. you make sure you have a proper pattern, check to make sure you have enough fabric for your background and all your blocks, etc. Well... I am sorry to say I am not one of those quilters.  I don't think I have ever started a quilt knowing I had all the fabrics I needed. <sigh>  I am more of a 'fly sew by the seat of your pants' kind of quilter. However, sometimes this results in some creative 'solutions' when I run into challenges. :-)
In this particular case, it all started when I saw a beautiful green basket quilt at a local antique show. My husband and I enjoy going to the annual Christmas Antiques Show in Tewksbury, NJ every year in early December.  It is small show, but packed with lots of beautiful antiques, all decked out for Christmas.  This year I saw a beautiful dark green basket quilt in one of the booths.  I went over and admired it and showed it to my husband.  He agreed that it was a beauty.  After we left the show I regretted that 1) I didn't buy the quilt (although too pricey) and 2) I didn't ask the vendor if I could take a picture of it. Drat!!

The following day I tracked down the phone number of the dealer and called to see if they still had the quilt.  No, they sold it.  Of course they did - it was a great quilt!  I asked if by chance they had a photo of the quilt - explaining that as a quilter, if I couldn't buy it, I would like to recreate it.  Again, the answer was no.  <sigh>
I had recognized the dark green fabric in the quilt and knew I had a reproduction fabric in my stash just like it. I was off and running to try to recreate this quilt.  Of course without enough green fabric (I was sure I could buy more) or cream background fabric, or a clear plan for the design since I couldn't totally remember what the original looked like! LOL.
I couldn't find the fabric online so last week, my husband took me out to one of my favorite quilt shops - Wooden Bridge Dry Goods, a Mennonite run shop in PA farmland.  No kidding.. the shop is located right on their farm.  The gals in the shop are really helpful.. but alas, they did not have my fabric.  I was sure I bought it there.. but my memory is not what it used to be! There wasn't anything in the shop that was really the right color or style.
By now it was getting to be late afternoon, but I knew there was another quilt shop about 11 miles away. My dear husband agreed to take me there (he is such a sweetheart!)  We got about half way to Ladyfingers Sewing Studio in Oley, PA when I grabbed my phone to check the website for their store hours.  I couldn't believe it... but they were closed on Mondays!!!!!!! (yes, it was Monday!) I got the sideways look from my husband... and we turned around... the GPS sending us back where we had come from.  When we go back to the main road, I happened to look back at my phone, which was now on their home page.  Right across the top, "INVENTORY CLEARANCE SALE - SATURDAY, SUNDAY, MONDAY, AND TUESDAY.  I blurted out "They're open!!!!"   At this point my husband just let out a deep sigh and turned the car around.  Now I did tell him that we should forget it.. head back home... but he is such a sweetheart he said, "No, we're here anyway".  Isn't he the sweetest guy??!!
We made it to Ladyfingers (owned and operated by Gail Kessler, fabric designer for Andover Fabrics) in about 20 minutes and I did find a beautiful Jo Morton fabric that I thought would work with my other green fabric.  I was so happy!
Now over the past week I have been able to just scrimp and piece enough of that original green fabric to complete nine basket blocks.
I think I have finally decided on a final layout... but who knows, that can change.. It's changed several times already!!!  But isn't that the fun sometimes????? 
Meanwhile.. Lucy has definitely decided the Sweet Hearts quilt is hers.  I have been trying to get the binding sewn down, when she lets me work on it. :-)
Happy Stitching!


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