Thursday, December 31, 2009

The End of 2009

Where has this year flown?  I feel like it was January just yesterday, not tomorrow!!

Ah, well...  Such is life.  Maybe I'll find more snippets of time in 2010 to quilt.  For now, let me reflect a bit on the 2009...

Quilt Finishes:
Not My Favorite Quilt
Amanda Jean's Nine-Patch Quilt-Along (Apparently, I didn't blog about the completion of this thing.  Naughty me!)
Phoenix Unbound I
Summertime Star
Flying Geese I (Again, I didn't blog the finish.  What was I thinking??)

Works in Progress:
Grandmother's Fan (at the flimsie stage, just needing a backing and to be quilted)
String Quilt
Phoenix Unbound II
Flying Geese II (also a flimsie and needing backing/quilt)

New Toys for the Year:
Janome 1600
Little Gracie II Quilting Frame
Brother PC-210, Runway Edition

As you can see, it's been quite the year for me!  I learned so much about quilting - the actual process of stitching the three layers together - by machine, anyway.  Not only have I experimented with the big quilting frame, but I've gone and practiced on my smaller machine, which I was terrified of.  You'd think it would have been the other way around, but I was pretty comfortable learning to drive the Janome on the Little Gracie II.  I've learned to make double-fold bias binding easily, and fairly quickly.  I've even gotten better at attaching it by machine.  I've learned to accept my personal need to purchase fabric online, due to my budgetary limitations.  My finishes actually outnumber the WIPs, even though two of them are mini-quilts.  They're finished, by God.

Keeping this blog has helped immeasurably in keeping myself motivated to keep going.  I'm really enjoying being able to go back and look at my progress.  Seeing all of those steps recorded...  It reminds me that the next step isn't so bad, lol!

For the year ahead, I would like to:
  • finish the WIPs listed above.
  • create matching pillow shams for Grandmother's Fan.
  • make a table runner with matching place mats for my heirloom table - soon to be arriving.
  • complete the takeover of my son's old room, and make it a proper sewing room
  • buy a cheap table and cover it, to make a larger ironing space.
  • complete three lap-sized quilts, made from vintage scraps, for my friend Suzanne and her two siblings.
  • complete a wall-hanging for my mother-in-law.
  • complete a wall-hanging for myself.
  • become more comfortable with machine quilting.
It's quite the list!  It'll be interesting to see how I finish out 2010, but that's a post for - literally - another year.

To conclude, though, I would like to put out a big "Thank You!" to everyone in the online quilting community that has allowed me to follow their own trials and tribulations, for their inspiration and encouragement, for the give-aways and continued enthusiasm.  I can honestly say, if it weren't for this online community, I wouldn't have gotten nearly as much done, nor still have the love I do for quilting.  So, THANK YOU, and I hope that 2009 treated you well, and that 2010 is as alight with as much promise and hope as it is for me.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Give-Away at Park City Girl

Amy at Park City Girl is hosting a give-away to celebrate her 400th post.  I can only imagine 400!  I love to drop in and check out what she's working on, and I especially love that she hosts the Bloggers' Quilt Festival.  It's always fun for me to see what other quilters have made.

The prize is as follows (quoted from Amy's post):

"A set of 8 Meadowsweet Fat Quarters has been donated by Quilted Treasures! You may have the group shown or pick your favorites from what they have in stock. Many, many thanks to Kristina for making this happen!"

 Super cute fabrics!  I'm going to take a jaunt over to Quilted Treasures myself and take a peek at their wares.  I'm always super excited to try and support the shops and proprietors that support my favorite bloggers.

In further news, I've finished the arcs for the second Phoenix Unbound, and gotten to the point of ripping the paper off of them.  Now, I just need some time to be able to sit and do the rest of it.

Eventually, I'll find my camera and post pics of my progress... But at least I'm sewing!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Summertime Quilt Swap

It took a few tries, but my mini-quilt finally reached the Netherlands!!  My partner was Heleen over at dutch colours.  Heleen is a wonderful talented and creative quilter, and I love dropping by her blog to see what she's working on.

Anyway, now that Heleen finally has the quilt in hand, here's a photo of it (courtesy of Heleen, since I forgot to take a pic of it before sending it out the door!):

I had a lot of fun making this one, tried a few new things, like quilting on my new sewing machine using the walking foot, and using some of the decorative stitches on my machine to anchor the star down.  My favorite polka-dot fabric made an appearance in the center circle and the binding.  I wish I'd been able to afford a whole bolt of that stuff!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Give-Away at Green Fairy Quilts

Every now and then, I'll take a trip through the blogs followed by those author/quilters that I myself follow regularly.

Tonight, I followed my online trail of breadcrumbs through to Green Fairy Quilts, who is hosting a give-away.  I've come across Judi's blog before, and always admired the patterns she designs.  Generally being the forgetful type, I always seem to take months to return to her blog  to "ooh" and "ah" over the pretties.

This give-away is for the items pictured at left:

Judi's new pattern, "Flower Patch"

1 Layer Cake

1 Jelly Roll

Both the layer cake and jelly roll are from the Hello Betty Retro line, which I think is just adorable.

Also of note, Judi is offering her pattern at 'Buy One, Get One'.  You just have to mention it during checkout in the "additional info" box!

Well, that's it from me for the evening.  I'm working on a second iteration of Phoenix Unbound, for the friend that I originally had in mind when I designed the quilt.  She's selected a slightly different color palette, replacing the aqua blues with purples, and widened the range of reds with some oranges.  I'm really liking it so far, but no pics yet!  I'm still piecing the arcs.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Birthday Block Swap

I've been in a creative rut - the holidays always do that to me. Combine the time of year with the fact that I have a two year old who clings to me like velcro when he's awake, and I just don't sew. *whimpers*

I want to sew. Really.

I have a quilt top that will fit our queen-sized bed, perfectly. I need to come up with a plan for backing, and get it done. It's beautiful, and I want to do it. I desperately need some time to myself to do this though. I also want to make pillow shams to match this top, because I think it would be just awesome to have a coordinated set on my wrought iron frame.

Time is my enemy.

Anyhow... In order to help me crawl out of this rut, and to possibly challenge myself, I've joined the livejournal Birthday Block Swap. I'm looking forward to it, to try new blocks and new color combinations.

I picked Blockade for my block. I'm picturing it in a very similar color palette (purples and aquas) to this image here, just scrappy. So scrappy. I love scrappy.

I don't know why I like this block. I was looking through patterns, and tripped across Blockade. I think i just like the potential. There's a lot of play room in this block.

It was requested I provide a pattern... So obviously, I couldn't find one that wasn't paper-pieced. I ended up drawing one up in Adobe Illustrator. Should be fairly simple though, because the starting square for the HSTs should be sized at 3-7/8" X 3-7/8".

In other news, I've been string piecing. Out of scraps even. And I'm geniunely using as much as I possibly can from each scrap. I'm only throwing out the littlest bits, because I'm not going to ruin my eyes further by trying to make mini-blocks. I'm just not that crazy.

In further news, a friend of mine was cleaning out her parents' basement. Both of her parents are gone now, and she and her siblings are dealing with the estate. In going through everything, she found a bag of vintage clothing that was going to be recycled into rag rugs, along with stuff that had already been cut into strips. It's nearly all shirting, or cotton dress scraps.

My friend thought of me, and brought me this garbage bag full of stuffs!! I washed the largest pieces, which were nearly whole dresses and shirts. Now, I'm in the process of sorting the wheat from the chaff. I think this will all go into a series of string quilts. I'd really love to make one for my friend - it's all part of her heritage, and I think she'd really appreciate something made from these scraps.

I think, though, that I'll have to put these scraps on a muslin foundation - just for stability. I wouldn't want the thing to just fall apart, though the fabrics have lasted this long anyway. That's the wonderful thing about cottons. I just worry about quilting the thing, though. It seems like it might be super thick and super heavy. My friend will love that - she's always cold, and her significant other is always hot.

*sighs* So many projects, so little time. Actually, if I'm truly honest - there is time. I just have to take that gap between the Zeb-head going to bed and my own bedtime, and use it. On that note, I end this post. To go and use the time I have.