Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Into the Universe

I have thought about blogging, obviously, on and off, for some time. I have tried it a time or two and it just never "took."  I am motivated to try one more time, since in order to participate in a lot of the quilting world online, you need to have a blog to link back to.  For example, Let's Bee Social is a weekly event from Sew Fresh Quilts

I used to write a great deal on a number of sites, now defunct.  One was Open Diary.  I made a number of friends there that I still am in touch with now via the ubiquitous Facebook.  Ditto a forum that was my lifeline in a dark time, the Young Widows Bulletin Board, YWBB.  Both closed down as more dynamic forms of social media cropped up, and I miss them both a great deal.

I do spend a fair amount of time on Facebook now, not so much anything else. 

Since the last time I cast my words out into the great dark void of the blogging universe (blogiverse?) some things have changed, some things have not. Still a librarian, still a wife and a grandmother, but now to two more kids.  Still a quilter and a gardener.  I have lost several important people in my life, gained some new ones. Life goes on and all that. A constant in my life for many years has been my creative outlet, mostly quilts.  So far this year I have made and gifted five baby baby quilts, and started a few other projects.

Pattern: Curiosity, PS I Quilt; Fabric: Scoot by Deena Rutter for Riley Blake.

 I created the first quilt of the year for a little boy named Magnus. He was born the very same day, almost to the hour, of when my very dear mother-in-law finally lost her battle with pancreatic cancer. We were sitting vigil at her bedside when my husband got the call about the baby's birth. Since he was planning to be very near to Magnus' home the following week for work, I whipped this together for my husband to deliver.  I had the fq bundle in my stash for a couple of years and only had to buy the backing. 

Pattern: Hazel Hedgehog 2; Fabric: Various Cotton + Steel prints, Canyon by Kate Spain, and Kona Solids. 

My coworker had a little boy in February, and I could not resist this darling pattern.  My coworker saw the pattern and loved it, as he is a gamer and it reminds him of the pixelated look of the older games. I made this and quilted it with straight lines. This one, too was all from stash but the backing fabric. 

Pattern: Hazel Hedgehog 2 by Elizabeth Hartman; Fabric: various prints and Kona solids. 

I call this one Pop Art Hedgies. I was going for an Andy Warhol look, and I think I succeeded. I had intended to add glasses to one of the hedgehogs and forgot before the deadline rolled around.  This is one of the many baby quilts (13 total so far) that I have made for my husband's coworkers. This was mailed to Las Vegas for a virtual baby shower. I collected all the prints, but had the background fabric in my stash. 

Pattern: Charmed Baby, Elizabeth Hartman; Fabric: various prints and Kona solids
This was delivered to Georgia for the same virtual baby shower, a joint one for two of my husband's coworkers. I made this one from start to finish in a single day. The mom wanted Curious George, but I had no luck with George at all until late in the planning stages.  I knew she was a Yankees fan, so once I found a cute sock monkey print with baseball playing monkeys, my theme came together. I have several baseball themed prints and several solids. At the last minute, I found a Curious George sports print with George playing T-Ball. It was long out of print, and cost the earth, but Hubby splurged. I love this one--simple but effective. I used straight line quilting to enhance the modern feel. 

Pattern: Olde America Antiques: Fabric: Olde America Antiques, Art Gallery, Barbara Brackman.
I made this little wall hanging as a birthday gift for my daughter. She and her husband took a "bucket list" trip to the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. I ordered the post card fabric and whipped this up to send her in time for the big day.  I used two prints--a civil war reproduction by Barbara Brackman from the Civil War Jubilee line, and a map print from an Art Gallery collection.   The dark is really purple, not brown.

Pattern: Sanctuary Boxes from Hyacinth Designs; Fabric: Various
This is a blurry picture of the quilt I mailed out just yesterday, the 13th baby quilt for my husband's coworkers in the 3 1/2 years he's been with the company. The mom-to-be wanted blue, grey, and elephants. I used a baby blue and white polka dot for the background, grey for the frames and the binding, and various elephant prints for the blocks.  The bottom fabric is Elephant Walk.  The next row up is from the Imaginarium collection from Camelot, as is the grey elephant print above that.  The top print is called Le Elephant.  The white fabric with the blue print is by Lotta Jansdotter and is called Ele.

Pattern: Elephant Parade, Sew Fresh Quilts; Fabric: Kona solids and various prints. 
This quilt is modified from a quilt along by Sew Fresh Quilts called Elephant Parade. The original pattern had a turtle and a frog, which I omitted, and I added an extra bird.  The original is bigger than this, and had one more mama elephant and nine more baby elephants. This is for the first grandbaby of one of my widowed friends from YWBB.  If you look closely you will see a mistake I made with the big elephants. It will be bound in the grey with a snippet of red, and maybe green and yellow, too. The elephants' ears have textual prints on them, a nod to my career as a librarian.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

BOM progress

Life has been crazy busy. My daughter and her husband are in the process of a divorce, and it has been, to say the least, ugly. I have been helping with my little grandson, who turned a whole year old in January. I have been watching him on weekends when his mom works, and spending time transporting him back and forth between his parents' houses. Not fun at all, and really cuts into the quilting time.

I had a little time on Tuesday to work on some of my block of the month projects.

This is the first block of an Accuquilt block of the month I joined sort of spontaneously. It is being sold by a woman who is on one of my Facebook quilting groups and it is only $5 a month, shipping included. I am less than impressed with accuquilt's instructions. I had to redo this block. It is supposed to be 12" finished, but the first time it was only 11.5 inches unfinished. This time, it is 12 inches unfinished. Bah humbug.And it is not even squared up yet. I think I need to recalibrate my 1/4 inch seam on my new machine. Perhaps it is a tad off?
This is the second Accuquilt block. The pattern had multiple colors, while this interpretation only has three. The brown seems a bit dull compared to the sample....but I will reserve judgment!

This is the fourth block (third month) of the Celtic Crystals BOM. I promise to get outside sometime soon, assuming it is ever both daylight and sunny one day when I am home!  I am a bit irritated that I will lose some of my points in the seams. Again, I think I need to calibrate my 1.4 inch seam. Bother.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Celtic Crystals progress

My husband has been out of town for a week, and I thought I would get sooo much done. Sadly, between working full time and taking care of my grandson, and helping my daughter do some business, I got very little accomplished. I did work on my Celtic Crystals block of the month. We have been really overcast in our little corner of the world, so even outdoor pics are flat.

January, Block 1

February, Block 2a
Blue Agate

Block 2b
I managed to sew the points on backwards. I like the block as is, but the blue triangles are supposed to be star points. I actually really like this diamond, but I need to figure out if I want to frog it and redo it. The orange rectangles are supposed to be on the outside edge. The placement in the overall quilt does not depend on the orange rectangles, so I have to decide what to do. The colors are a bit washed out. The blue star points are more of a rich royal blue than the turquoise that shows here.
I also made some progress on the Home Grown table runners for the MLA conference.  I chose five fruit/veggie prints for the jars, and decided on a black background. The lids are a metallic swirl fabric I like to use for jar lids. I only have about a fat eighth left. I pinned the runners on the fabric I plan to use for a border. It is from Kaufman's Kiss the Cook line. I only have a yard and a half, and I plan to do four runners altogether, so not sure I have enough. I auditionedthe brown batik as the "shelf" but decided against it. I need either a light brown/tan, or a grey. I would also like some red and white gingham for the binding, and maybe for a 3-D doily under a few of the jars. I chose green beans, strawberries, cucumber slices, tomatoes, peas, and cherries, all things that grow in our area.

Close up of two jars

Gratuitous pug picture. My Bella snuggling with my husband.



Sunday, February 24, 2013

Love makes the world go 'round

The second block for my Facebook BOM is called "Love Makes the World Go 'round."

Here is a picture of the designer's finished block:

I plan to use the Kaffe Fassett "Maps" fabric for the outside border, the same fabric I used for the globe in the January block. I have not yet decided what fabrics to use for the hands, heart, or background. I would like to find a small scale print or solid that matches one of the colors in the "Maps" fabric for the background, maybe pull out two others for the hands. I would like the heart to be a bold floral.

Another project I am working on is this:

I used a charm pack of Kaffe Fassett 2011 fabrics to make this little baby quilt. I just need to sandwich and bind it. I am debating over the backing fabric. I bought two yards of "Chard" in leafy, but now I am second guessing myself. I am considering instead ordering some of the tile flower fabric in green.

I am calling this one "Cafe Windows."  The baby's father owns a little cafe, and I thought the world play of Kaffe and Cafe was fun.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pieceful beginnings

I've mostly joined blogger in order to post to other bloggers' blogs. I'll throw up an occasional post to keep track of what I have been up to, and share some of my ongoing work.

About me--I am a wife,  married to my best friend in the world, after losing my first husband to cancer. I am a mom to an adult daughter. I am a new grandma, with a baby grandson I adore. Gabe turned one on January 16, 2013. I was there when he was born, an event I will never forget. I am a librarian, working with teenagers the last 13 years in a public library, and in various capacities before that since I graduated from college.

My two favorite activities are quilting and gardening, hence the title of this blog. I also enjoy reading and cooking, and canning, and playing with my animals.....I have a lot of favorite activities.

I am working on two block of the month projects right now, one through my local quilt shop and one in a Facebook quilting group. I also have a number of other quilty projects I am working on.

Above is block one of the Facebook BOM, called "Piece on Earth." I am not a fan of applique, so this is a stretch for me. I have modified the original design quite a bit, which called for applique continents on the globe and a much simpler dove. I found the Kaffe Fassett fabric I used for the globe, called, appropriately, "maps," and decided to use it instead of appliqueing the continents. I fused it, using a ring of fusible web, then used a machine blanket stitch around the outside edge.

The dove is a stained glass pattern. I shrank the original design, and used fusible web to applique the individual pieces to a piece of black Kona fabric. I placed them slightly apart so that the black fabric looked like the stained glass leading. The dove is composed of 20 pieces of white Kona cotton. I used a scrap of black Kona for the eye, and a scrap of a gold print for the beak. The olive branch has four batik leaves, and a scrap of brown batik for the stem. I started to machine stitch the dove, but did not like the way it looked so left it be. The design calls for lettering to say "Piece on Earth" but I have not yet decided how (or if) I am going to do the lettering. I have contemplated printing on fabric and appliqueing, slk ribbon embroidery, or embroidering using floss.

The second BOM I am working on is Celtic Crystals, from Quilter's Quarters. So far I have completed the first block. I have two more cut out, and hope to piece them in the next week. I love the bright jewel tone batiks used in this quilt!

This is a horrible picture of the block, as I could not get the camera to cooperate in the poor lighting. I will endeavor to get a better photo of the block.

As of yesterday, I got myself roped into another project. We are hosting the Montana Library Association annual conference this year in my city. We needed two speaker gifts, and my boss asked me to make two small quilted projects, with the conference theme of  "Home Grown." I think I will make table runners, a shelf of canned fruits and veggies, using a collection of fruits and vegetable prints I have accumulated. Should be fun, and not too taxing a task.

Ta for now!  Thanks for joining me in the garden.