Monday, December 30, 2013

Perhaps an Intervention?

Seriously -- what is happening here?

1.  All the Christmas gifts are finished -- no wait!  I have one more pillowcase to do out of dino fabric but have until New Years Eve to get that done.  Oh  -- and I forgot -- I haven't finished binding the dino quilt and that has to be done by New Years Eve, too.
2.  I am knee deep in Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt and determined to stay on top of every clue -- otherwise it will end up in a tote and become a chore to finish at some point. You can see how others are progressing at by clicking here.
3.  I have joined a HST swap using Edyta Sitar's piecing papers and that's due the end of January.

4.  And -- here's the kicker and the need for possible outside help -- I have decided to make a baby quilt (or slightly bigger) out of my African fabrics.  That's not too hard, right.  You only have to cut a bazillion logs and then start assembling them.

Like many of you, I don't really have yardage of African fabrics -- I have scraps that have been given to me or a scrap bag that I picked up from a vendor at a quilt show (usually from the garment district in NYC which means it pieces of clothing or leftovers from clothing).  These pieces are highly irregular - they may be a pocket, a shirt sleeve that was miscut, something that was disassembled and the button cut off.  They really are perfect for logs but each piece has to be individually cut.
For the first time ever, I know that I haven't over cut my logs.  I usually get really focused on cutting and I end up with too many of one size or one fabric.  The design wall is a life saver.  While this is a terrible picture -- you get the idea.  They are sorted by size and right beside my machine.  I can grab and go and make sure that no blocks have duplicate logs. I am hopeful the time spent doing this will save time (and order) on the backend when I start assembling.
This quilt will be 49"x 49" (7 x 7 of 7" blocks).  I say "this quilt" because there could be more.  Not because I have more scraps of African fabrics.  Those have been depleted.  But because I just found out that the young couple that I'm making this for may be adopting more than one child.

I knew they were well on their way to adopting a baby up to 18 months old from Ethiopia.  What I found out this weekend is that if the baby has siblings, they will take up to 3-4 children.  I am ashamed to say that "Oh how wonderful" was my second thought.  My selfish first thought was "holy cow, that could be four quilts -- I don't have enough fabric".  I am guessing my Australian fabrics will have to suffice along with a number of other African reproductions (you can see some of those in the logs I have already cut -- I think I have stayed away from the Australian ones thus far).

Obviously, the quilts could be out of anything but my initial thought was to have a bright baby quilt out of fabrics from the same continent (I doubt any of these scraps are purely Ethiopian).  My second thought is to try to make the appropriate number of quilts out of ethnic fabrics and that may change, depending on how this goes! So, I will make the first one and have it ready and see what blessings they are able to adopt.  They will be in Ethiopia for a few weeks and then come back without their baby(children).  That will give me some time to figure this out.

But -- if I agree to any more swaps, mysteries, gift quilts -- I may need an intervention.  I am on sabbatical from my two hospital quilts a month until March.  I need to use that free time wisely I think.

I hope there are people in your life that are full of the generosity and love that exist in this young couple!


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Scrap Happy!!

Seriously -- I am so scrap happy!

I do love finishing things. And I really love finishing things when I have fallen out of love with them. That's the case with this little top. These blocks were a "leader/ender" project and have a lot of my quilting history in the fabrics. And I got tired of it….and needed to get it out of a tin and functional. I haven't touched it in over a year.  That's a clue that I'm ready to move on!
It's small -- 40" x 52"-- and needs an inner and outer border to be functional - so, technically, it's not finished. Nevertheless, I can put the "remains" back in my scraps and consider the piecing done. I'm thinking this needs a bright border and then I will probably donate it to Quilts Beyond Borders.  I've posted about this great organization before and love them!  I think if I get the borders on, it will be large enough and can keep some sweet child warm and even entertained with the different fabrics.  That makes me scrap happy!

I'm also happy to be using up scraps with the Quiltville Mystery Quilt.  I mentioned last week that I was able to use a green fabric that was 33 years old.  This week I used some yellow fabric that was left over from a dress my mother made for me when I was in my teens or early 20's.  Yep -- I'm guessing that lovely "hip" floral was 40+ years old!  That makes me scrap happy!
If you are interested in getting scrap happy with Bonnie Hunter's mystery, you can link here.  And if you want to see what others are doing, she will have a link-up party on Monday.  I'm hoping we get back to blues soon -- I've about depleted my orange stash and my creams/blues need to be whittled down as well.

I hope you are finding time to create amidst the holiday commitments of gifts, parties, and baking; and if you are a lover of scraps -- I really hope you are scrap happy!


Saturday, December 14, 2013


The top is done, quilted, and the binding is underway.  These great fabrics are from Wilmington Prints and just fit the bill for the type of whimsical dinosaurs I was looking for. Somehow, a 3 year old sleeping under lifelike dinos just didn't "float my boat".
But -- all is not as easy as it might seem.  I was backordered twice on these. There were panels that were awkward if put in a quilt without cutting them apart. I have no pattern. I needed to make the fabric that I had work.  The backgrounds are light and needed spacers to break them up. I went with 10.5" blocks cut which means you only get one from a fat quarter and then have to "make" the rest of the fabric work.
So -- thank goodness for a design wall and the ability work in sections and then try to get them to all work in the end. The quilt is not quite full size but will work for a "big boy bed" and should be done in time to take to Toronto after Christmas. I was lucky to have some help from Mr Iquiltforfun in the quilting. How fun to be able to tell our grandson that his grammie and granddaddy made this for him!  I would have cherished that.
AND -- here is my yearly reminder. I am using my last "faux minkee blanket" for the back. There are going to be after Christmas sales and we need to be looking for blankets on sale.  Not the fleece ones -- altho I'm sure they would work. But there are often minkee-type blankets deeply discounted (often doubled with minkee on both sides and then bound). SNATCH THEM UP. They are seamless and wider than normal width of fabric.
If you score a double sided one, you will want to be deliberate in where you cut them apart. They make a mess! There is no selvage and little pieces of fluff go everywhere. Since weather was not cooperating this week, I put the blankets in one of our bathtubs, perched myself on a  stool, and cut the binding off. Most of the little fluffies were contained and I could wipe them up with a damp paper towel.  The tag said this was 90 x 102 before I cut off the binding. NO seams. And it quilted up beautifully.
To provide a bit of order in my quilting world, I finished Step 2 of Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville Mystery. The details for the mystery are here. While I am not a fan of chevrons because of the waste of fabric, I much prefer her method to making them than trying to piece them with triangles. I have to say, this step  seemed pretty easy compared to some so I wonder what lies in store for a future step! These little jewels went together perfectly (so long as I did my sewing perfectly!). I am so happy to see some of these fabrics go! One of the greens was used in a quilt that a friend made for my son when he was born. He is 33!
Step 3 is live and another chance to use up some of those pesky fabrics that won't go away. And, it's a great step to use 2" strips from the strip bin. I love that for many reasons.  You can see everyone's progress and color choices here.

I hope you have some improvisation in your life - along with some order if that's helpful to you!


Friday, December 6, 2013

A Little of This -- A Little of That

This has been a few weeks of nothing "BIG" -- but enough "littles" to make me feel like I've gotten something done.
I managed to force myself to finally put the mitered borders on my circle quilt.  I have posted about this quilt and these fabrics here and I really like it.  Borders, of course, make it more "real" and I have to start thinking about how to quilt it.  But I don't have to think about that today.
I quilted a very very small lap quilt from a Mary Engelbreit jelly roll that my sister gave me for my birthday 3.5 years ago.  I have had the top done for three years but the fabrics are Christmas and there was always something more pressing that needed attention.
I got the strip quilt put together and quilted.  There is something about an all over pattern that helps a "blah" quilt become something really cute.  I haven't had a chance to take pictures so here's a reminder of what the blocks looked like prior to assembling.
I managed to get the binding on this Kaffe Fassett jelly roll quilt that I put together last year.  I really like it -- and I'm happy it's quilted and ready for binding to be sewn down.  Get in line.  I have not been motivated to bind lately!
Thanksgiving napkins got done -- well in advance.  Isn't this fabric beautiful?  For the second year in a row, I've made napkins for our dinner, washed them, and then every family gets some for their use.
And -- in a matter of a week, this Spiderman quilt got made in time for our grandson to have when he got here and then take home for his big-boy bed.  The back is a lime green flannel.  It's a great fabric and I figured I could get by with it when he was 3 -- but not so sure that will be the case in a few years.

I also got the binding on three hospital quilts -- makes me so happy that both the December and January allotments are done and ready for delivery.  I had some yummy Marcus flannel that allowed me to line them all up on the same piece of fabric and quilt them one after the other.  Hurray -- quilted and bound!

I have started Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville Mystery after sitting out last year.  Thus far -- Step 1 is done and Step 2 (released today) is cut. I have not made a dent in the scraps I have pulled for this.  For the first time, I have a friend who is also participating - although she's a high achiever and is doing the king sized version.  I am doing the 75" x 75" version.  Monkeymama rocks!  She also finished the first clue and is working on #2.  It's not too late if you would like to use some scraps and join in the race to get Christmas done while having each step complete by every Friday morning!  Here's a link if you want to take a peek.  Pictures next week!

Finally, I lined up all the completed tops and cut the batting for them.  I don't like doing that and so I'm pretty happy to have them folded with their appropriate batting in the right direction.  Backs for most are another story -- but at least the batting is done and another roll of Warm and Natural has bitten the dust (almost).

With Thanksgiving and I'm happy-happy-happy to say that our Toronto family was here -- fabric was the least of my concern.  It was all about family!

Happy Belated Thanksgiving -- I am thankful for many things -- and the generosity of quilters would certainly be on my list!