Saturday, December 31, 2011

Our 2011 year is drawing to a close....

Here we are, on December 31 already.  Can you believe it?  Another calendar year has passed us by, and I hope you've had more joys than sorrows in it.  I'm sitting in my quilt studio as I write this, and looking around at the fruits of my labors for the year.  Obviously, I bought WAY too much fabric this year.  One of my new years resolutions is to not buy any fabric next year ("HA!  Fat Chance!"  Yes, I hear you), but rather use more of what I have.  I may need to seek a waiver of that resolution during late April, though, when I travel to Paducah, KY.  :)  

For myself, I'm pleased with what I got done this year, I will call it productive.  There are so many things I learned from watching and observing others, things that have planted seeds of ideas in my mind for things I want to try in the future, and new directions that I want to go with my quilting art.  I'm excited about those, and I hope you, too, have been observing and thinking in similar ways.  It's how we grow as quilt artisans, forever looking for new avenues to explore.  

I'm wishing you all the best for 2012, and thanks for following my adventures through this year.  I'm looking forward to discovering new things and hope you are, too. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Currently on the longarm....

What I'm working on at the moment is finishing a UFO (unfinished object) that I started many months ago.  At the time I shelved it I had completed all of 1 blocks.  :(  So, after finishing up all of the quilting that I needed to get done for others before Christmas, I decided to pull this project back out and get after it over my Christmas break.  The block pattern is called "Devil's Claw" and there are 16 of them laid out in a 4 x 4 layout.  I added the sashing and cornerstones, along with a triple border to make it a 100" x 100" king size quilt.  I'm quilting it now with an all over pantograph pattern called "Damask Feathers" that I really like.  I also really like the black fabric in the border - black is a dramatic color that really kicks it up a notch in a quilt.  When done quilting, I plan to also add a scalloped border on the edges and bind it in red.  Will be glad to have this UFO done!  We plan to use it on our bed to have another king quilt to be able to swap out.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Christmas gift for myself

A couple of weeks ago I received a $100 American Express gift card.  I've been trying to decide what to splurge on and last week I came to a decision.  Connecting Threads had collections of their thread spools on sale for 40% off.  I love CT thread, it's 100% cotton and my Brother QC-1000 sewing machine and my Gammill longarm both respond well to it as well.  A couple of years ago I bought one of every color that CT makes in thread, so I decided to get these sets to replenish my supply and fill in any colors that I'm getting low in.  Merry Christmas to me!  :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thread bag

The president of our statewide quilt guild (Arkansas Quilters Guild) presented all the board members of the guild with kits to make a thread bag.  Below is the one that I made today from my kit.  She knows how much I really like Blackbird Designs, so she included some fabric from them in my kit.  Ain't she nice?  :)  She included everything in the kit needed to make it, even the interfacing and crushed walnut shells for the pin cushion filling.  It was a lot of fun making and I was needing another one for the studio to put on my longarm table.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Paper ornament from an old hymnal

Here's a pic of a paper ornament that I made from pages from an old hymnal using instructions that I found on Pinterest. I altered the directions slightly, using hot glue to hold it all together and an ivory button in the center where the pieces all come together.  I love Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

A quilt for our guild's president

Below are a couple of pics of a quilt that I made for the president of our statewide guild, Leah Sample, as her end-of-year thank you gift from members of the guild.  The light colored thin border is actually a bunch of signature blocks that were signed by member of the guild that I then assembled into a border.  My wife, Melissa, appliqued the leaves on the blocks, and did the hand-stitching of the binding as well.  Leah is a very good friend and I was very happy to make this quilt for her.  She was quite surprised, too, and loved it!

(the above pic taken by Tiffanee Noack, our guild photographer.)

(the above pic taken by me.)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Girly Quilt

I'm working on quilting a couple of baby quilts for a member of one of the guilds that I belong to.  Below is a pic of one (they're both identical).   Isn't that just pretty???  Really like the fabrics in this and with the quilting, it definitely has that "girly" look to it!  I think they'll like it!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Vintage quilt tops quilted

Below are pics of two more vintage quilt tops that I just finished making into quilts. The tops were made (all hand-pieced) by Mary Susan (Weathers) Senter, and she was born in 1843 and died in 1937 at age 93. She married Robert Winthrop Senter in 1861 when she was 18. The style of the fabrics look to be early 1900s to 1930s, but it is amazing how vibrant the colors are still in them now, about a hundred years later. 

These are the final ones of twelve tops that belonged to a couple that I'm good friends with (he's the grandson of Mary Susan
Senter). I quilted all 12 tops for them, so this will complete the project now that I started back in 2009.  I'm glad to have these all done now, but it was really an honor working on these quilts that were started so long ago.  As a quilter, I like to think that Mary Susan would be glad to finally see her work completed. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Charity quilt quilted

I'm a member of the Arkansas Quilters Guild and one of the charitable projects we've taken on is to provide quilts to the local Safe Places organization.  They provide services for children who are victims of sexual assault, family violence, child abuse, and other forms of violence.  Here's a pic of one of the quilts that was pieced by the members and I quilted it on my longarm.  Way to go Team AQG!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Happy Holidays with new potholders

Last year (yes, last year) at Christmas I told my mother that I would make her some new potholders since her's were rather sad looking.  So last night I sat down and made some.  While I was making some, I made some extras to give to my mother-in-law as well.  They're simple pinwheel blocks with a layer of Insulbright inside as insulation.  I made 8 total using Kansas Troubles fabrics and then tied them up in bundles of 4 each using some Moda canvas ties I had from some fabric layercakes.  Hope they like them!

Friday, November 11, 2011

My tote challenge entry

I was invited to participate in an online tote challenge, so I decided to give it a try.  The challenge was to make a tote out of solids only fabrics, i.e., no prints.  The other rule was that the tote had to incorporate either patchwork, applique, or reverse-applique.  So below is my result.  The pattern is one that I adapted from a quilt design by Blackbird Designs from their "When The Cold Wind Blows" book.  Theirs was a bird pattern but I wanted mine to be a red-winged blackbird so added the red accent to his wing.  I quilted in on my longarm using a leaf motif.  My first tote bag!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

And some flea market finds...

In addition to the fabrics I bought at Rabbit's Lair, we hit some flea markets today on the way back home.  And looky at what I found.  I don't know if this thing will even work or not, but the case was in pristine condition and there was a bag of accessories with it, as well as the original manual.  So I decided to get it.  It may become just a piece of decor, but I liked it a lot.

And I've started collected pastry blenders for some reason, don't know why, I just think they're cool.  So I added to my collection today.  Imagine all the pies these things have brought into someone's life. :)

And I also like marbles, so I added to my collection of those today.

Road trip finds....

Since I didn't get to go to the big quilt show shindig in Houston this year (which is this week), I did the next best thing....went on a road trip here in the state collecting fabrics and other whatnots.  I have to say, it was pretty darn consoling, LOL.  I went to Rabbit's Lair up in Rogers, Arkansas, yesterday which is about a 3.5 hour drive.  Got to see the shop owner, Mary Schopp, and see her shop for the first time.  I've met her several times as a vendor at local events here, but had never made the trek to her ship.  I found her back in her office area and surprised her, it was a really fun visit to her place.  I bought yards and yards of fabric (see below), as well as some books, etc.  And Mary, being the wonderful person she is, showed us around the shop, talking with us about things, etc.  A wonderful trip!

OK, enough of my blabbering, here's the fabrics that I bought:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fall Rag Pillows

I saw some Fall rag pillows on a quilting forum and decided to make a couple of my own this afternoon. These are very fast and easy to make, it only took a couple of hours to make these. I had a couple of 14" pillow forms on hand, so made them to fit those. Happy Fall, everyone! :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Finishing up a customer's "manly" quilt this morning

I'm working on finishing up the quilting of a customer's "manly" quilt top this morning.  I really like the fabrics that she used in this quilt and the pattern as well.  I'm doing a variety of quilting on this one, a panto in the outer border area, outline stitching in the piano key border, small meandering in the black borders, and a different, curvy panto in the inner top area across all the blocks.  This one is big, 95" x 113", and I had to turn it 90 degrees after doing the initial quilting and re-pin it to do the other border areas.  I like how it's turning out, a "manly" quilt that this man likes!  :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Quilt finished for Bella

I recently finished quilting this quilt for a fellow member of the Arkansas Quilters Guild.  She made it for her little niece, Bella, and the colors are bright, bright, bright!  She wanted Bella's name somehow in the quilt, so I suggested that I could write her name with fabric strips as shown after it was quilted.  I really like the personalized look of a quilt when doing this, it adds a nice touch.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A fun, fun day!

Today was a very fun day.  I'm a member of the Arkansas Quilters Guild and each December we have a member auction where a few members of the guild will offer themselves for auction so that the highest bidder gets to spend the day with them in their studio, have lunch, etc.  One of those members who was auctioned was Jim Gatling and he had a twist to his offer - whoever won him could bring 11 of their friends as well!  Geannine won that bid and she asked if I'd like to come along as one of the lucky dozen.  Wow, didn't take me long to reply back with an enormous YES!!!  So today was spent at Jim's house, touring his fascinating home, enjoying a delicious lunch, and then spending the afternoon sitting and sewing with him and good friends.  It was a perfect day.  Thanks Geannine for asking me to join y'all, and thank you Jim for opening your home to us today.  It was wonderful!!!!  :)
(Jim Gatling, one of the most creative and interesting persons that I have ever met!)

And after spending the day at Jim's, our carload of folks decided to make a stop through a local quilting store, The Stitchin' Post, on the way home.  We arrived a little after 4:00, which was after their 4:00 closing time (we thought it was 5:00!), but they let us come in anyway.  Nice folks!  I bought 8+ yards of Blackbird Designs' "Garden Party" line (the grays) that were on sale for 50% off.  Love a good sale!!  Melissa bought an applique book, Leah bought a pattern, and Donna bought some Sulky threads for the hibiscus flower quilting on a top she's working on. Great way to end a day!  :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Another "Winter Garden" block done - "Coxcomb"

Here's a pic of the second Winter Garden block that I've done (color is kind of washed out, not a good pic).  This one is called "Coxcomb".  It is only fused down at this point, I need to machine stitch the edges next.  This is the last one that will have the deep purples for the flower heads and buds.  The rest will have a deep red in them (see fabrics in second pic).  I'm pretty much following the color choices from the pattern, but making a few alterations here and there.

I've been refining the color palette for this quilt a little.  I've added in the purples and reds you see at the bottom of the pic, and removed the blues.  I had intended to use those blues for the birds that I have planned for the borders, but I'm going to do them in blacks now instead, i.e., Blackbird Designs.  :)  Quilting is an art form and art is all about change and adapting as we develop the piece, so we make adjustments as we go along.  Sometimes minor, sometimes major.  But if something isn't working for you, shake it up and make a change.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stitching away on Winter Garden...

I'm having a lot of fun stitching away on these Winter Garden blocks.  Below is a detail pic from the first block showing the blanket stitch that I'm doing on the edges of the appliqued pieces.  When doing these, I set my machine down to the smallest width and length for the stitch so that it is very small.  I really love the colors in this, nice and subtle.  My mind runs in a lot of different directions while working on this, thinking ahead to how I'm going to do different things with it - the borders, the quilting, the backing, etc.  It's all tumbling around in my head.  :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

first "Winter Garden" block done - "Winter Rose"

I finished fusing all of the parts to my first block of my "Winter Garden" quilt.  This block is called "Winter Rose".  The dark flower bloom parts are actually a deep purple color, but look brown in the photo.  I really like how this is turning out!  8 more blocks to go!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Starting a new project is always so much fun....

And today, I start a new one (o.k., I know I already have too many in progress, but I really want to get started on THIS one!)    It's is called "Winter Garden" and is from the "When The Cold Wind Blows" book by Blackbird Designs (Barb Adams and Alma Allen).  It is a beautiful pattern, and is done in golds, browns, and rusts to give the feel of how our gardens look in the Winter.  Mine will be using a similar color palette as shown below.  I'll also be adding a border using something from another quilt of theirs in the same book.

Here's the background fabrics that I'll be using.  I loved that top one so much that I went online and bought 10 more yards of it!  It's called "Mayfair" by Benartex.  I can see that neutral background fabric showing up in a lot of my future Blackbird Designs projects.

Here are the fabrics that I will be using in my version.  Lots of browns, golds, and rusts for the main body of the quilt.  The blues will be used for some birds I have planned for the borders.

I spent the day today making 3/8" and 1/2" bias strips for the stems of the flowers and branches that will be in the quilt top.  They're all made now, so I'm ready to get started cutting shapes for the blocks.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I won two ribbons in the Saline County Quilt Guild Show.

The Saline County Quilt Guild is holding their bi-annual quilt show this week and two of my quilts won ribbons.   My "Evening Bloom" king size quilt won a 2nd place ribbon in its category.  It's based on the pattern of the same name by Blackbird Designs from their book called "Country Inn".  The other one is a wall hanging I did called "Civil War Stars" that won 1st place in that category.  It's based on a pattern called "Ringo Star" by Deb Karasik.  Overall, there are 120+ entries in the show.  I was pleased.  :)  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Christmas Dresden table runner

Here are some pics of a table runner that I just finished in Christmas fabrics using a Dresden pattern. The pattern is called "Abendessen Table Runner" by Anelie Belden from her book called "Thoroughly Modern Dresden". It measures 60" x 21", so is pretty big. Most of the fabrics are from a line called "Cranberry Wishes" by Kansas Troubles. I fussy cut the cardinals in the setting triangles from a cardinal fabric that I had. Anelie came to our guild a couple of weeks ago during our bi-annual Quilt Arkansas retreat to teach and she was a delight to be around, I highly recommend her as a teacher!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt

A while back a coworker asked me if I could quilt a top that her mother (now deceased) had made many years ago. This is a pic of the finished quilt. It is the Grandmother's Flower Garden block pattern that was very popular in the 1930s. The fabrics are indicative of that period as well, so it's safe to assume that's when it was done. It measures 78" x 92". This was quite a challenge to do on my longarm quilter as these are normally hand quilted due to all the seams. But we got it done!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

On the road in India....

As I write this I am in India on another business trip here.  The hotel we're staying at in Bangalore is beautiful and below are a few pics I took of some of the flowers around the hotel.  Certainly different from what we have back in Arkansas!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My little "Bountiful Baskets" mini quilt

When I went to the quilt show at Paducah back in April, I came across a booth of Lori Smith's miniature quilt patterns. This is made from her pattern called "Bountiful Baskets" and measures 16" x 20". I bought several of her patterns, she really does great work. She framed many of the quilts in her booth as "art", and I really liked the look of that so decided to do it as well.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Finally finished with my "Evening Bloom" quilt

Below are pics of my "Evening Bloom" quilt that I finished today. It's based on a pattern of that name from the book called "Country Inn" by Barb Adams and Alma Allen of Blackbird Designs. Their version was a queen size, but I wanted a king size so I added the 3 borders to make it 100" x 100". All of the applique is machine done with a blanket stitch and I quilted it on my longarm. The bulk of the fabrics are from the "Rouenneries" line by French General, and I supplemented them with others that fit with them.

I started this quilt back in September 2010 on a business trip to India. In the evenings and weekends I sat in my hotel room, busily cutting and fusing shapes for the blocks. Glad to finally have this one completed!