Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"Do Something" blocks 2012

Every year in early December at our bee's party, our most generous hostess, Sandy Z., gives willing participants a brown paper lunch bag containing one of her antique quilt blocks (she must have quite the collection, because she has done this for several years now).  The catch is that participants must make "something" from the block and return it to next year's party. If you aren't able to do something with the block, then the block must be returned to Sandy.

And here are the results shown at this year's party, from last year's block. It's amazing how similar some of the blocks look considering the making was all in secret.

Marie M. used antique fabrics and blocks to surround her basket.

Peggy S. did lots of piecing on hers (she gave her BlocLoc ruler a workout for the flying geese.)

Debbie S. did more with reddish-browns and some appliqué.

Meghan also had a plaid basket and used more reds and browns.

Carol T. is going to make  a needle case with her block  (this is the outside; inside not quite finished). 

Sorry for the blurriness...I couldn't get Linda G. to stand still for anything! The block she started with is on the lower left, and she made three more blocks to match.

And this one is mine. I was the only one with solid colors in the basket, so I went with more solids. I'm not sure what else I will be adding to the block -- maybe four different borders in the style of Gwen Marston?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Card Production Line

Here's our Christmas cards for 2012. Of course the cards have fabric! One-inch strips of batik (shown uncut on the right) both inside and outside the card. Husband G gets a big kick out of coming up with an original card every year (there was only one year that he was so busy we had to buy our cards...I ended up enclosing a note to apologize to everyone for the non-homemade card!)

Most of the 80 or so cards are now on their way!

Here is last years's card, also embellished with fabric: See the fabric triangle on the front?

And here's a shot of the inside and back:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hand-dyed wool penny runner

One of my latest finishes. I've been working on these pennies as a take-along project for quite some time. But YAY, it's finally done, and in the right season.  It is about 42 by 15 inches. The colors are quite a bit more muted than I can capture, and the lights are not as light as they appear.

The large pennies are 4.25 inches, the medium ones are 2.25 inches, and the small penny on top is a little over 1 inch. I whip-stitched these together, then onto the backing with regular brown sewing thread in a primitive style.

I bought the kit as an end-of-season deal several years ago from Country Sampler in Spring Green, Wisconsin.  The pennies were simple to do.

My biggest challenge was figuring out which color was which. How hard could that be? Well, here are the color names I had to choose from, with none of the colors identified on the felted wool pieces:

  • Rusty nail brown
  • Faded gingerbread
  • Country pumpkin
  • Pumpkin mold
  • Jack-o-lantern stripe
  • Brown tweed
  • Pumpkin tweed

The olive, yarrow and red were the only easy colors. I was nervous that if I started cutting without thinking, I would run out of a key color if I chose the wrong one. But they were very generous with the wool, so there was wiggle room for possible boo-boos.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Antique Broken Dishes

I picked up this quilt top a few years back; it was labeled a doll quilt, but it's 22 by 28, so it's closer to a small baby quilt. No info came with the piece, but the fabrics looks nice and old (maybe prior to the turn of the century?)

I love the jumble of colors.

A close-up of some of the fabrics.

Even closer...

And the back. I'm prepping this for hand quilting over winter.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Resting Geese

Just wondering -- why hasn't anyone designed a "resting geese" quilt. After all, they aren't flying all the time!

We had at least 100 Canada geese resting on our pond today. They landed mid-morning, in 7-8 groups, and left in the late afternoon. I love to see the boss of the group bark out orders to line up, and then off they go in unison.

This goose was with the crowd, but is different in coloration from the Canada geese. Maybe a cross between a Snow goose and a Canada goose? Anyone seen one of these?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Scraps into Placemats

Here are some of the scraps I've been piecing between other projects. The first one is going to be two placemats for a housewarming gift (hopefully when they are quilted they will look less like endposts on a football field!

The next group is going to be placemats for me! It seems like I never make (or should I say finish) things for my house, but that's the plans for these.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Backyard View -- Fall 2012

I don't have to go very far to see some gorgeous color. This is view from my back yard -- a neighbor's dock on our tiny lake (the lake is so small, no motors are allowed). Lots of maples make for lots of yellow and an occasional red (my favorite). In a couple weeks the branches will be mostly bare.

It's amazing what you can find while looking for something else. I was hoping to find my Halloween wall hangings, and happened upon a UFO (UnFinished Object for you non-quilters).

These New York Beauty blocks were pieced on printed muslin (I think a Sharon Hultgren pattern). My friend Debbie and I finished the blocks a few years back.  The original idea was to set the 12 blocks 3 by 4, with the rays facing the same way. Now I'm doing a new layout just for fun.

I am not sure why it didn't get finished right away, but it could have to do with my worries that the muslin piecing wouldn't be as accurate as paper piecing and worries that the blocks wouldn't fit together very well. I'm over those worries and just want it done!

Scaredy cat Buddy says "Let me in! I hear noises".

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Favorites from Quilts on the Grand 2012 Show

There is something for everyone, from primitive to traditional to modern, bright to subtle colors. And of course lots of vendors!

Love the detail and color in this quilt.  It was made by Etsuko Matsuda from Omihachiman, Japan, a Grand Rapids Sister City. The West Michigan Quilt Guild's show has featured quilts from quilters in Omihachiman since 1998.

Don't you love those fun yellow flowers around the quilt? This was made for her 15 month old granddaughter.

Cute as a button "Snowmen in Mittens" by Elly Nyhof. The pattern is a version of "Warm Woolen Mittens" designed by Bonnie Sullivan.

Love how the black/white background makes these colors pop. Called "Wrapped in Love" by Denise Styburski. 

It's not to late to go the quilt show! Quilts on the Grand 2012 is open today Oct 6 until 5 pm, and Sunday Oct 7 12 to 5 pm. It's at the Delta Plex Arena in Grand Rapids, with plenty of free parking.  For more info check the West Michigan Quilters Guild web site.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wedding Ring repairs continue

I have two more pieces to appliqué over holes or shredded fabric, then this is getting a soak/bath!

My Aunt Pat had a chance to look at my progress on her quilt a couple of weeks ago, and mentioned that she should have washed this quilt before bringing it to me. I told her it was good that she did NOT wash the quilt, because judging from the already shredded fabric on both the back and front (the muslin is very fragile, too), it may not have held up to traditional washing.

The last two steps are tying on the false back with perle cotton, then adding a new binding. Then it's going to find it's way back to Oklahoma!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Making fabric from scraps and strips

Here's what I have been doing on and off when I need some mindless sewing.
I see potential for table runners, placemats, and cross-cutting some of the longer strips into diagonally-stripped squares.  Not sure what I'm going to do for sure, but that's OK.

My lowest contrast selection. I can tell you, I won't be joining the "low volume" or low contrast quilt fad any time soon. I would have to fix it to make it perkier. Or else fall asleep sewing. One or the other.
Lots more scraps where these came from!  

p.s. I'm still adding appliqué patches to Aunt Pat's Wedding Ring quilt. I have to call the patching done after about 8 more patches (because I keep seeing more and more that have tiny holes and it could go on forever if I let it).

Friday, September 21, 2012

ArtPrize 2012 Grand Rapids

I took the day off yesterday, and part of my fun was to wander around downtown Grand Rapids for about four hours checking out some of the ArtPrize art. It usually takes us at least three trips of four to five hours each to see a majority of the art. We ran into a couple of my husband's photography club friends, and they have been downtown 5 times so far (they were checking off art from the Grand Rapids Press ArtPrize list as they went). Way more organized than us!
I was attracted to many pieces, but the ones resembling stitchery jumped out at me.
Click this photo to check out the "stitching" made with wire. Up close the coat looks like pieced leather! Located outside the B.O.B. at Fulton and Market.
The coat artist and her materials.

Called "Scrappie Dick" by Paul Cassidy, this is the ultimate scrap patchwork piece. Over 19 feet tall and made from reclaimed computer metal.  Located outside the B.O.B.

This piece was a mosaic made of aluminum can tiles stitched onto canvas. I could not tell how it was stitched down even with very close inspection. Located inside the B.O.B.
The Owl artist and materials used.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Garden critters no. 3

While I continue to plug away on patching my aunt's quilt, I have a few more garden critters to share.
I hope you like frogs. Tree frogs, that is.
This guy is about 1.5 inches long. See the suction toes?
I have had two tree frogs living in a cache pot all summer. I removed the inner plant to snap a photo of the most photogenic one. They seem to love living in my pot because it had poor drainage (so they could keep moist), and they were in the shade. But the excess moisture killed a rex begonia early on. Oh, well...I can live with a begonia sacrificed for a tree frog habitat.

And this may be one of the last of the summer butterflies, sunning himself on the lamium groundcover.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Covering holes in Aunt Pat's Wedding Ring Quilt

Well, I just learned Monday that Aunt Pat is due here for a visit in less than 2 weeks. Yikes! I was hoping to have her quilt (made for her by her Grandmother in the 1950's) repaired before she and Uncle Bud came to Michigan (from Oklahoma) for their annual fall visit.
Progress (albeit slow) on Aunt Pat's quilt.
I still have many "squares" to appliqué over the well-worn pieces (some with outright holes). I'm trying to match the "feel" of the fabric, because I don't have a source for real 1950's fabrics.

After that's done,  I plan to tie a false back to the quilt (to protect the real back, which is worn through in spots). And last but not least,  finish with a new bias binding (the old one is totally worn through). Even if I didn't have to work, I'm pretty sure I couldn't get it done on time.
Repairs still needed every place there's a square with a pin.
I had better keep plugging away and maybe I'll have a chance to show her my progress...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

More Garden Critters

This Monarch butterfly hung around for a good while, sampling all the blossoms.

I finally got a shot of the Hummingbird Moth; they are in constant motion.

Mr. Mouse was not pleased that Rosie had him on the run. He even tried to attack my camera.

Rosie the Hunter is ready for a back rub after keeping the local mice and chipmunks on their toes.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Pieced back for 16-patch done!

It was perfect lighting this morning, (cloud cover) so out I went to get a photo of the pieced backing on my picnic table. My husband wondered why I would do a pieced back? Why not just buy fabric all the same for the back? Here's why:

  • It would take 6 yards of fabric for the back of this queen size quilt.
  • I have lots of fabric to use that aren't in big hunks, thus "saving" me some money.
  • The reverse will look like a fun quilt top once it's quilted.

Here's a close-up of the fabrics (Phillip Jacobs' Coleus, Marcia Derse prints, and a couple of batiks. Click to see details.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Critters in the garden

Swallowtail butterfly on my butterfly bush
My garden is looking a little bedraggled lately. But the butterfly bushes are doing great and attracting lots of butterflies, hummingbirds and even a couple of hummingbird moths.  I even had a Freudian slip a couple days ago and called this plant my hummingbird bush.  Unfortunately I haven't been able to capture the hummingbirds on camera.
Same swallowtail, different butterfly bush

Walking stick (click to see bigger)
My husband spotted this guy on the shed just before sunset. He was gone by the next morning. Don't you wonder what they eat?