Monday, January 31, 2011

More Decisions, Decisions . . . .

So here's my block layout for Belle Meade, I've decided to go with a random placement, and was able to put together a pleasing arrangement with very little drama. I started in the center and worked my way out and around. After getting all the blocks on my design wall, I moved a few around then went to bed. First thing the next morning I took another looksie, moved a couple of blocks and decided on this.

There are 22 red blocks, 13 dark and 9 light, and 19 blue blocks, 12 dark and 7 light.

I was undecided as to what color setting triangles to go with......

here's blue . . .

here's red . . .

Same block placement, the only difference is the setting triangles.

Isn't it amazing how the blue really pulls out the blue and the red really pulls out the red? So that got me to thinking maybe going with red AND blue would be the way to go.

Here's some red in the corners with blue in the centers . (1)

Here's top blue bottom red . . . (2)

Here's top red bottom blue . . (3)

How about left side/top blue, right side/bottom red (4)

Or left side/top red, right side/bottom blue.... (5)

So that's all the choices I could come up with, I'm leaning towards 4, not for any particular reason other than I just like the way it looks. I'm very happy with this project, for someone who doesn't really like blue, I really like the look and romantic feel of this quilt.

This quilt pattern has an optional containment border and outer border, but I like it just this size, so once I get my setting triangles on and rows connected, Belle Meade will be done!

Nicole is working on Belle Meade too, I think she's finished all her blocks and we hope to have our quilts done and ready for our final big reveal on Friday.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lifetime Quilt # 9 . . .

First, just let me say, I was thrilled by the number of folks who stopped by and left their opinion on my block placement for Belle Meade! The overwhelming favorite was option number two, where I alternated the blocks. Then it was pretty even for support for Red Row Blue Row versus Totally Random. I have decided to throw out option one, Red Row Blue Row, because I want more blue in the quilt (aren't you shocked, knowing me and blue, I think I may be growing as a quilter!). Option one would give me 16 blue blocks and 25 red blocks. I think the red over powers the blue, so I think more blue blocks will help with that.

In addition to enjoying all the comments as they came in, I was so impressed that you're able to not only say which option you like, but explain why! Right now I only know what I like and what I don't, I just can't put my finger on the why, it was a wonderful learning experience for me to read how you came up with your decision. That's something I think I'll work a little harder on in the future, to stop and think about the "whys" of my likes and dislikes.

So here's my plan, I need to finish my blocks, then I'm going to see if I can go totally random, hey, it's a new year and I'm feeling artistic! If totally random drives me totally insane, then I'll go with alternating the blocks. But like you all said, with this fabric and this pattern, I can't make a bad choice. My goal is to finish my blocks and placement over the weekend, then we get to think about our setting triangles...that should be Monday's post, so stop back by!

While I'm finishing up Belle Meade, I thought I would share another quilt for my Lifetime Quilt List. One of the goals when I started my blog was to have at least one post for every quilt I've ever made, and I'm getting closer to that goal. When I was visiting my daughter after Christmas I was able to snap a few pictures of Lifetime Quilt #9!

My ninth quilt, I've made 56 quilts since I made this one, where does time go!

Anyway, it's just a simple Double Irish Chain using that same Santa fabric I used in my Red and White Snowball Challenge quilt that I gave to my Dad (Lifetime Quilt #53) this year.

This quilt is around 60 X 80 and has approximately 433 pieces.

I can still remember when I started on this quilt how I just loved all those Santa faces smiling at me, but by the time I had it all pieced, I was tired of those Santas staring back at me, and didn't want to look them in the eye anymore! Which is why my daughter has this quilt. I've not seen it in years, since she only has it out for Christmas and I'm not usually in her home around the holidays. But the Santas look happy to me again and it felt great to see this quilt, like seeing an old friend.

I used Nancy J Smith and Lynda S Milligan, The Possibilities girls, Time for a Chain book for this quilt.

They now have a newer version of that book, Time for a Chain II. This is a great book, particularly for a beginner, the instructions are wonderful and they provide multiple block size and finished size options for each quilt, be it single, double or triple Irish chain.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Decisions, Decisions . . .

I'm just going to town on my blocks for Belle Meade . . . .

For those of you who've not stopped by lately, or ever, my current project is Belle Meade, by Bonnie Blue Quilts. This quilt has been on my To Do list for ages. I bought the pattern at the Road to California quilt show, last year! Bonnie Blue had this pattern kitted and available at the show using Rouenneries, by French General for Moda. I had been thinking about doing some sort of Ocean Waves pattern and after seeing Bonnie Blue's version, I knew I had found my pattern. When Rural Jardin by French General for Moda was released, I decided to use it for Belle Meade instead.

So far this project has been nothing but fun, I spent the end of the year making the required 656 two inch hst units, and in just a matter of a couple of weeks, I've already made 30 of the 41 required blocks. These blocks are very easy to piece, no fudging or fussing, it's been more sewing and going.

So now that I've got a design wall full of blocks, I need to decide their placement in the quilt.

This is my first instinct . . .

a row of red blocks then a row of blue blocks. If I go this route, I'm done making blue blocks, I just need 11 more red blocks.

Here's another idea I'm toying with,

alternating the red and blue blocks. I like it, it's orderly, which suits my personality, but still has a nice mix going on.

My last idea is going totally random,

which is impossible for me really, I'm not sure I would ever be happy with my arrangement if I chose this route..... Right now, looking at this picture, I see 20 blocks that are not in their best place, which would probably result in a different 20 blocks not being in their perfect place after I rearranged the first 20.... see where this going.......

So that's where I am right now, do you even see any difference between the 3 pictures, am I just wasting my time and effort with this block placement thing....what do you think?

Nicole at Sister's Choice Quilts is sewing right along on Belle Meade too, be sure to check out Nicole's progress!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

I'm in Love . . . .

I'm in love with mugs.....

I sort of have a collection of different mugs, sort of because I'm rough on mugs, I buy them, I use them and I sometimes break them.....

I picked up this mug at Starbuck's the other day, and I'm in love with my love mug,

because it's red, and because it holds 12 ounces of coffee and 2 tablespoons of fat free french vanilla creamer perfectly, what's not to love. I just hope it makes it to Valentines Day.

I'm also loving Belle Meade, not much to show in the way of progress, it's been a busy week, but what little time I've spent on that project has been pure joy.

I'm also lov'n a new project, a new challenge, a new little skill in my repertoire of quilting skills,

I've started working on a hand applique quilt from this wonderful book by Blackbird Designs, Country Inn. It's been ages since I've been this excited about trying something new, but so far, it's been nothing but fun, and I hope to be able to share my first completed block in the next week or two.

Several folks wondered how I got Myths of Avalon to hang so wonderfully in my living room,

I'm using just a normal run of the mill Home Depot drapery rod, nothing fancy or quilt specific.

I'm using these clips to hang off the rod,

nothing fancy, just run of the mill Home Depot drapery clips.

I use several clips, probably twice as many as is really required.

I just wanted to make sure I had enough clips so that any one clip wasn't holding on to more of the weight of the quilt than it should.

There's nothing in the quilt or behind the quilt, it's just those rings and clips....

I did take a piece of wire and wrap it around the last ring on each end, and each bracket, to keep the quilt centered in the middle of the rod.

That's it, no magic or secrets,

I suspect the quilting job has a lot to do with how well it hangs, it's evenly distributed and a nice amount, not too much or too little.

I'll probably hang another quilt up there in a month or two, but so far I've been lucky enough to have two quilts that have hung perfectly, I hope I have better luck hanging quilts than keeping mugs.

I'm loving that today is Friday and looking forward to loving the weekend, I hope you're working on something that's giving you that lov'n feeling!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Out with the New, In with the Old . . . .

It seemed like I only had my Christmas quilts out a few weeks before it was time to pack them up with the rest of the Christmas decorations. Goodbye Toulouse, goodbye Oh Christmas Tree. I'm usually happy to have my space back after the holidays, but I was not looking forward to looking at that big blank wall after enjoying Oh Christmas Tree in my living room the month of December.

Originally, I was going to take the rod down and just leave the brackets up until it was time to hang Oh Christmas Tree again. Then I got to thinking, maybe I would enjoy having a quilt in that space more than just through the I looked over my options and decided on this.....

Myths of Avalon, I made this quilt this time of year, January and February, in 2006, over 5 years ago, and I still love it! This was the 11th quilt I ever made, my daughter has its twin, quilt #12, hanging in her apartment.

I'm not sure how long I'll leave it up, it doesn't get direct sunlight, so I plan to enjoy this quilt at least through February....I'm not sure if I'll replace it with another quilt or go back to a blank wall, I'll just see what appeals to me then.

I also replaced the Christmas quilt I had on my bed with this quilt,

Snowbird Migration.

I made this quilt back in January of 2008. I think the fabric is technically Christmas fabric, but I think it has a romantic feel to it that suits January and particularly February, with Valentines Day and all. Now that I've made several quilts for my bed, I'm over that, "Don't get on the quilt" stage, it took awhile, but I'm finally really enjoying my quilts in my home. For years they only lived on the back of the red couch or on a quilt rack.

I'm still working away on my hst units for Belle Meade. I'm trying not to get too worked up about the best combinations or mix of fabrics, instead I'm just enjoying working with this lovely French General fabric.

I think it has a romantic feel to it too. So far, this project has been very relaxing and is coming together nicely......although I am ready to make a few blocks, Nicole has jumped ahead of me and has a floor full of them already!

For more information on Myths of Avalon or Snowbird Migration, check out my Lifetime Quilt list in the right hand column of my blog.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Day's Work . . . .

My Friday was pretty much spent in my sewing room, who could ask for a better day?

I made my inspiration block for Belle Meade,

and have to say, it IS and inspiration block, I love it! What a great start, I have a good feeling about this quilt.

I also made my large half square triangle units . . . .

right now I'm leaning towards going heavy on the reds.....that may change when my design wall starts filling up with finished blocks....

So for today, and probably the rest of the week,

I'll be taking these

and making 82 of these

and 82 of these.....

Sounds like a fun, drama free there's snow in the forecast, could it get any better than that?

Hope your Monday is low key and drama free!!

Nicole at Sister's Choice Quilts is also working on Belle Meade using French General fabric, be sure to check out her progress today!

Eventide update, several folks ask where they could purchase the pattern Eventide designed by Carrie Nelson for Miss Rosie's Quilt Company, it's now out, look for it where you usually buy Miss Rosie patterns, I got mine at the Fat Quarter Shop!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Belle Meade . . . .

My sewing room is all cleaned up from Red, White and Wonderful, although, since it was a kit, there wasn't much to clean up in the way of scraps. Normally, when I work on a project, I have a pretty good stack of leftovers, because I'm an over cutter and over piecer, and like variety and choice. I pretty much used all that lovely Roman Holiday fabric on Red, White and Wonderful. I may be able to piece a small mug rug or pin cushion with the leftovers, that fabric is too valuable to waste and I intend to use each little bit.

Now it's time for the next project that I was supposed to start January 1st, but since I'm the boss of my schedule, this project was pushed to today, January 14th, and that's OK.

Finally, I'm starting Belle Meade, and Nicole, over at Sister's Choice Quilts, she's starting Belle Meade today too. Well technically we started this project back in October, when we decided to get a jump start on the 656 two inch finished half square triangles that this pattern requires.

Belle Mead is a Bonnie Blue Quilts pattern, and can finish at 70" X 70", if you just go with the setting triangles, or 85" X 85", if you use the optional borders provided in the pattern. (FYI...Bonnie Blue is currently having a 35% off sale on fabric on the bolt)

Of course, me being me, I have no idea on how I plan to finish this quilt, I haven't even decided on my fabric for the setting triangles, I'm sure it will all easily fall into place once I get the blocks made and up on my design wall. (I'm sure hoping that's the case, and this doesn't turn into another center with no border UFO!!)

The one thing I have decided on,the fabric, I'm using French General by Moda. I'm mainly using Rural Jardin, but there's some Rouenneries (remember how hard that was to spell when it first came out, now we all know how to spell it....but who knows how to say it, that's the question...I say roon-ner-eeze but that doesn't sound French so I'm guessing that's wrong!!) and a little Lumiere de Noel.

So here are my 656 half square triangles, ready to be sewn to 41 bigger half square triangles. I used the Easy Angle ruler to make my hst units, the ruler worked well for me, I will use the same method the next time I need a large number of hst units for another project.

If I don't add the optional borders, this project will have 758 pieces when finished.

Here's everything ready to go, just setting on my work shelves. Nicole is blogging about Belle Meade today too, so be sure to stop over there to get her take on this project. I think we're are hoping to provide weekly updates on our progress, so stay tuned.

Hey Nicole, ready, set, SEW . . . . . . .

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Red, White and Done !

Here it is, my first official finish for 2011, and it's a keeper!!

Red, White and Wonderful by Gerri Robinson.

So the last time you stopped by, I had the center blocks all pieced.

Next step, the inner border.....

which is mitered.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this project was a kit I bought from Lisa/Stashmaster.

The fabric, Roman Holiday, came out several years ago, so in the back of my mind I was aware that if I made a mistake cutting out this kit, I probably stood little chance of being able replace the fabric. That was particularly true with the border fabric, so what did I do...

of course, my very first cut of the very first strip, I was off by 1/2 inch!! Oh no, what to do!!! There was really nothing I could do, but cut all the remaining strips wrong and hope for the best.....and I got lucky, and got the best.......

The border fabric is cut lengthwise, when I lined up my ruler, I lined it up down the middle, but cut it a half inch too narrow, which forced me to cut the opposite side a half an inch wider, giving me that cute little scallop design running down the left side of the inner border fabric. Don't you just love it when stuff like that happens!!

So here it is, and I can't improve on the name, it is Red, White and Wonderful.

My first finish for 2011.

This is Lifetime Quilt #64,

it finished at 57" X 57",

and has approximately 201 pieces ( a new low for me I think!).

I'm not familiar with Gerri Robinson, but someone left a comment that they had several of her patterns, so I did a little research and she has a wonderful website with some beautiful kits and patterns. Her website is called Planted Seed Designs. I really love her Bellissima pattern made from Luna Notte by 3 Sisters for Moda. The pattern is in McCalls Quick Quilts February/March 2011 Magazine, out now.

That makes two amazing patterns I've seen that used Luna Notte, Eventide, by Miss Rosie's Quilt Company and Bellissima.....and I've still not bought that fabric!

I heard on the evening news that every state in the US has snow, except for one, Florida.....

we're enjoying ours!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Finally, Almost Back To Normal . . . .

Things are starting to get back to normal at our house after celebrating the holidays and heading out to California to see the Rose Parade. I've still not gotten all the decorations down and packed, but after not being home between Christmas and New Years, we've enjoyed having them out, as opposed to so ready to pack everything up on January 1st, like other years.

Thanks so much for your encouragement and well wishes with regards to my 2011 Goals, and also for your take on what I considered a pretty sad 2010 when looking back at my UFO's. (by the way, I even forgot one, I had 7 UFO's, I forgot Darcy, a Schnibbles class I took this fall!)

Several folks gave me a perspective that had never occurred to me, and probably never would have; as I gain experience, I'm also expanding my likes and dislikes. When I first started quilting, I would make 2 or 3 quilts using the same pattern because I really didn't have any good direction or preference as to what to make, I just enjoyed sewing! My list of patterns, techniques and methods that I want to try grows weekly, why would I want to spend any amount of time on a project that doesn't suit, for any reason, just because I've started it!! Thanks so much turning around what I considered a newly developed quilting character flaw, into a positive statement on my developing skills, which really cheered me up!

It's been almost 3 weeks since I've spent any amount of time in my sewing room, but that changed today! Let me reintroduce you to Red, White & Wonderful, the quilt that I thought would be my last finish for 2010, but instead will be my first finish for 2011.

The pattern is by Gerri Robinson and was in the December 2007 issue of McCall's Quilting,

and uses the wonderful fabric, Roman Holiday by 3 Sisters for Moda.

First up, 5 of these

and four halves of these

to get this.....

I like it already.....


just 4 of these.....

to get this.....

How can 2 simple blocks and 4 different fabrics make something so lovely, in this case, "less is definitely more"! That from the queen of "more is more"!

All that's left is a couple of borders.

Even though this is a Christmas quilt, and even though I didn't finish this project in 2010 like I wanted, I STILL love it! This is one project I'm going to enjoy finishing, this week!