Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Take That!

Take that, hexagon!!!

This block. 
Oh, this block and I had some words. 

It really doesn't look too tough, does it? Usually when I start a bee block I just keep working on it until it is finished, even if it gets a little annoying. Not this one. 

The block is "Piece of the Garden" from Modern Blocks and is designed by Natalia Bonner. Laural chose this block and asked that we make it anywhere from 75% up to 125% of the original size. Fair enough. 

Last week I started it. Scanned the book, printed and cut templates, cut fabric and started piecing. I sewed way too many pieces together before stopping to make sure it was going to be big enough. Of course it wasn't, so after ripping and re-joining with a more "scant" seam, it was still too small. And I mean, too small to just fudge a little and hope she doesn't mind. I checked my templates, and they looked exactly the same size as the book. Frustrated, I shoved it all into the book and threw it on the mantle. I had been in a good mood and wasn't going to let this block ruin my zen.  

Yesterday, I got sick of it taunting me so I ripped it apart. Pressed and trimmed all the templates down to 75%, plus an extra 1/8" all around for my sanity. 

And today, the magic happened. Every seam went together just as it should and after trimming I have a near-perfect 9.5" block. Some days I feel like a winner. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Gathered Geese

Gathered Geese
Here she is, the Imagine Circle's October 2012 quilt...Gathered Geese. I really hate naming quilts, simply because I'm lame and use obvious names like, "That Green Quilt" or "The Flying Geese One". But I think it is time to put a bit more effort into it, at least when other people are involved. 

Inspired by this quilt  by Ashley at Film in the Fridge, I asked the ladies of our circle to send me flying geese blocks inspired by the colors of Autumn. We used this excellent tutorial from Anina at Twiddletails to make four flying geese at a time, with basically no waste. I love making flying geese this way and seem to have much more consistent blocks than when I use the other method. 

Gathered Geese, detail
I had such a hard time deciding how to quilt this, but eventually decided on simple wavy lines going horizontally across the quilt. I think it would have been neat to choose a few "geese" and echo quilt around them until your lines ran into each other. Make sense? But honestly, that was a bit more effort than I had time for with this baby, and I like thinking of the wavy quilting lines as the wind flying against the geese. So organic.

Gathered Geese, back

The quilt finished at about 56"x72" and is bound with Kona Berry. For the back I used this print from Greenfield Hill that I got from the sale section of Fresh Squeezed Fabrics back when Randi was having a crazy-good clearance sale. Rog is actually holding it upside down here, but I'm not going to be picky about that. 

Gathered Geese, in the wild

I can't get too picky because he is such a good sport about helping take pictures when he has time. We live fairly close to some state wildlife areas that always seem to have a lot of waterfowl this time of year, so I thought it would be neat to go take some pictures out there. Except the only day we could turned out to be 32 degrees and a bit windy, so not the best for pictures. And, as soon as we got out with the quilt, all the ducks that were on the pond flew away. Typical. 

The Imagine Circle sends our quilts to an organization called Threading Hope, who distributes them to underprivileged children and families around the world. Recently, the people at Threading Hope shared a link with us with some pictures of the people in Columbia to whom our quilts were given last year. 
So many times when you donate to charity, you never get to see the people who benefit from it, so how cool is it to see these smiling faces holding up a quilt we made?

***I'm linking up with Amanda Jean for Finish It Friday. Did you see her finished quilt today? Great colors, and rhubarb is one of my favorite words. Fun!***

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Valentine's Mini

Well, it has only been about a year in the making but it's done.
And it is quite satisfying to cross something of the FAL list the same week. 

Love mini
 I'm not positive, but I think it was my oldest WIP. I have never really been one of those people who leaves projects unfinished for long periods of time so having this taking up space in my cabinet for a year was just too long. The only thing it needed was some quilting and binding. 

I can remember being at a complete loss as to how to quilt it since at the time I wasn't brave enough for FMQ and I really didn't want straight lines going through everything. I had started hand quilting around the hearts but wasn't loving it so I set it aside, unsure of what to do and frankly, not really liking the thing anyway. 
Love Mini, detail

Once I retrieved it from my sad little WIP box, I decided to just FMQ in the white areas using pretty much the only pattern I can even sort-of pull off, random little loops. The quilting was fun and was done really quickly. I even had some matching binding left over from one of the baby quilts I just finished, so my total time finishing this sucker was probably less than two hours. 

Love Mini, backing
I really like this DS print that I used for the backing, binding, and hanging thingies. It is one of those prints that has been sitting around for a while in my stash but when I finally started using it, I've put it in everything. Do you ever find yourself doing that? 

I was telling Kelli the other night that I didn't really like this little quilt. And while it isn't really my style, I think it is growing on me just a little. I might even make an effort to decorate for Valentine's Day this year!

**The patterns that I used to piece the hearts were from here, but it looks like there is a problem with the site or it has been taken down. A quick Google search will yield several other free paper-pieced heart patterns if you are looking for some. I used Kelly's free paper-pieced letters that can be found here.**

***linking up with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday and AmyLouWho for Sew and Tell***

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Well, I may very well be the last one to join the party as I'm cutting this a little close to the deadline! But I've wanted to link up to the Finish-Along for quite a while now, and haven't gotten to it yet.

This weekend I reorganized some of my fabric and scraps and found a few projects that I had forgotten about, so I thought it would be wise to list them here so I don't forget them again! So, here goes:

1. October dGS Quilt...This is kind of a freebie, since I'm already working on the binding. 

Flock of geese
Somehow I can't seem to find any other pictures right now. We'll have to fix that! 
2. Twin Baby Girl Quilts...Again, so so close.

Well it isn't scrappy, but I like it.

Twin B

3. Valentines Mini...
I had completely forgotten about this one until I ran across it in my organizing frenzy. I'm usually not very timely in holiday sewing, but I remember being so proud that I had this nearly finished before last Valentine's Day. But then I fell out of love (ha!) with it, and put it away. Really? I think all it needs is a bit of quilting and binding. Pretty sure I already have the binding made, too! And how appropriate that the only photo I have is from a WIP post from very nearly a year ago?

4. Red, Aqua, Yellow, Green Baby Patchwork... 
This one has been sewn into a few rows, but then I got busy with other projects and after putting it aside I seem to have forgotten it. I think it will make a fun gender-neutral baby quilt when it is finished. 

5. Stacked Squares Baby Quilt
I really don't even remember if I've shown this one before. I'm obviously not too excited about it. This block is from the Modern Blocks book and I thought it would make an interesting quilt. I think it would, but not with so much yellow! Seriously, that is just too much sunshine. Not sure how I will tackle this to tone it down, but there are so many prints in here that I love and I can't just let it go. 

6. Max's quilt
 Another simple patchwork. I believe that I have 7 out of 12 blocks pieced, so it should be a quick finish once I get back at it.

And there you have it, my hopeful list for the first quarter. I think there may actually be one or two others, but Jill really needs to go to bed and I'm not so sure I'll be awake much longer!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Winter Canning

A few weeks ago, seemingly out of nowhere, I got the urge to can.
 This isn't really all that shocking, because I love to can but it isn't something I usually do this time of year. But given that I've been either massively pregnant or in the throes of morning sickness nearly every summer for the last several years, I haven't exercised my canning skills too much lately. 

So perhaps it was a good thing that I ordered an excessive amount of fruit from the high school FFA? I bought an acceptable amount of grapefruit and oranges, but somehow ended up with nearly a bushel of pears.  Now, we eat a lot of fruit here, but that's a lot of pears! 

So what do you do when life hands you an abundance of fruit? You make jam, that's what. 

Grapefruits are one of those things that I really look forward to every winter. I realize I can buy them any time of the year, but I like waiting until they are in season. Inspired by this post at Food in Jars, I set about making Grapefruit Jam. I thought marmalade would be fun, but more time consuming than I wanted right now.  This jam was simple, and was actually my first time making jam without added pectin. It turned out a little runny since I didn't really check the temperature, but I don't mind. It is delicious, and nearly perfect on a buttery English muffin. Wyatt and I have already gone through 2 jars.

My next adventure was Caramel Pear Butter, which I discovered via the Harvest Forum on Gardenweb. This recipe was fun to make, though I ended up stretching it out over two days. I find that happens a lot around here! But the results were worth it, and the kids like having a few more options for their PB&Js. 

About to label and put away this week's canning ventures- Grapefruit Jam and Caramel Pear Butter

 For now, my urge to can has been satisfied, though I am very much looking forward to doing a lot more this summer!

**And since this post is somewhat table-related, I'll be linking up with Debbie for Tuesdays at the Table**

Monday, January 7, 2013

What's That They Say...

...about "keeping it real"?


This is how I got so much done this weekend. Complete chaos. My dining room table is turned sideways and moved to one end of the room so I could baste quilts. Random fabrics from about 6 projects scattered along the table. Crazy carpets from kids tunneling under them with their flashlights. 


3 quilts on a chair, finally basted. Kids' games scattered on the floor. Lame design wall decorated with selvage necklaces made by the kids. 


More crazy rugs. Random stuff left on the mantle so Max won't get it. Obviously a pointless exercise, what  with the chair there and all. And let's not forget the banner from a birthday celebrated a week ago. 

But that's my crazy life and I love it.

P.S. Don't be jealous of the wallpaper. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

January Bee Blocks

Roger has been at work all weekend, so I have had quite a bit of time to neglect my domestic duties and just sew, sew, sew! Besides getting three quilts basted, I cranked out some bee blocks...

First two bee blocks of 2013
Up first are this month's dGS blocks which were seriously so quick to sew up. Andy wrote a great tutorial for these "Whirled" blocks and asked for them in white, greys, and black. I really want to make a quilt of these blocks in all different shades of green and call it "Whirled Peas". Get it?

And another.

This block was for Nicole in our Stash Bee. I actually made two of the blocks, but they look basically the same, so you only get one picture. She chose the "Birds in the Air" block and requested colors that  reflect the Caribbean Sea. You can find the block tutorial on her blog Mama Love Quilts. 

Last one.
January is my month in Always Bee Learning. I chose a Herringbone block using Holly's tutorial, and sent everyone some strips of Chicopee. Since this block creates quite a bit of waste, I also asked that my mates use the scraps and make a small improv block that I will use on the back. I am really excited about putting this quilt together! 

January~Sugar Block Club
And finally, January's block, Snow Blossoms, from the Sugar Block Club. Didn't Amy have such a great idea when she put this club together? Each month you get a block pattern and a sweet recipe to go with it. My two favorite things together at last! You can sign up for the club any time and still receive all the patterns and recipes that were previously shared. Amy does a very thorough job explaining each step of the process, just as she did in last year's Craftsy Block of the Month

I'm also planning on doing Elizabeth's Lucky Stars BOM, but as my printer is currently on strike, that one will have to wait a bit. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing since I have no idea what I want to use to make those beautiful stars. 

Honestly, I am not usually a big fan of sampler quilts, but for some reason this year block-of-the-month projects are really appealing to me. I like the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing my month's block and I have a feeling that I will still be able to make them into a quilt that I love. And if not, I'm sure I'll be able to find a good home for it! 

Are you participating in any Block of the Months this year? 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!!

I love early January, don't you? 
Fresh starts and all that jazz. So much enthusiasm for the year to come. 

I hadn't really meant to take a month off from this space, but I did and quite enjoyed it. Since my last post was a WIP Wednesday post, I thought it would be fun to look back and see what I actually accomplished these past few weeks.

Hurricane Sandy Quilt...finished, but alas, I didn't take any pictures before sending it to New Jersey. So here's one I stole from Jennifer:


Teacher gifts...checkity check.
Teacher gifts almost done. Two open wide zip pouches using excellent tutorial by @noodlehead531
I've also made progress on two baby quilts. I thought I would have a little more time for these, but the sweet girls came early. They are for twins, so I wanted them to be a bit coordinated, but not matchy. Did I pull it off?
Well it isn't scrappy, but I like it.
and two...

Other than that, I have spent a good bit of time practicing the art of cross-stitch. Who knew it was so addictive?

This is my project for car trips and the early morning hours when Max and I are the only ones up. My little man likes to be up by 5:00, so I get some quality stitching time most mornings. I started this on December 3rd and was really hoping to have it finished by the end of the month, but that didn't quite work out. 

And was anyone else inspired by this post to learn to knit? I have tried a few times but it never clicked. I'm hoping that this Continental style that Angela talked about is the one that works for me. It sounds like it will. I've even got the needles and yarn, just need some quiet time to watch the video. Hopefully.