Friday, November 30, 2012

Hill Country Baskets, a Finish!

The last time I blogged about Hill Country Baskets it was in pieces after I separated all the rows to swap out the very black black cornerstones.

Now it's all back together again with new cornerstone fabric and new setting triangles.

Someone asked why I couldn't reuse the setting triangles,  I had trimmed them down to square up the quilt when I thought I was finished so they were smaller than the size called for in the pattern, plus a little wonky from being in the quilt then out of the quilt.  I kept them though, they are in my red scrap drawer and will make their way into a quilt someday I'm sure.

For grins, here's the quilt in its "I can't live with it" stage.

I know what most of you are thinking, there's not much difference in those black cornerstones, there's more of a difference in person than in the picture, REALLY!   The pattern quilt was bigger than mine, I think it finished at something like 96' x 96", 7 baskets across and 7 down, I wanted mine smaller so I went 6 baskets across and 7 down.  But once I had it apart I decided I liked the square size and dropped a few baskets, so the revised quilt is shorter, but square, did you even notice?

I really preferred the red viney fabric for the setting triangles from my first attempt, it was softer, but I could not find any, anywhere, this family of fabric is a couple of years old, so I went with a different red, still from the family but it's a bolder red.  I like it better now that the borders are on.

And here it is!  I sure made this harder than it needed to be, but it's done and I love it.  A very different palette for me, with the blues.  I enjoyed the change of pace so much I even selected blue for the outer border.  I wish you could see it in person, it is simply lovely, so much lovelier than portrayed in this picture.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 97!
The pattern is Hill Country Baskets by Paula Barnes for Bonnie Blue/Red Crinoline Quilts.
The fabric is Hemming House by Brannock & Patek for Moda, except for the basket block sashing, that is by Judy Rothermel for Marcus Brothers.
This quilt finished at 81" x 81".
It has 1,334 pieces.

On to quilt number 98, then 99, then 100!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Are you counting , I am!!

I'm counting down the days to Christmas and could not be happier about it!

My Countdown to Christmas quilt is home from the quilter, just in the "Nick" of time!

Connie Lancaster at Quilts Plus in Indianapolis worked her Christmas magic on this top with a custom design.  I really like the pattern in the white sashing and think it all looks wonderful.  I enlarged this photo with the hope that you can see what a wonderful job (as always) Connie did.  

There was one main reason that I selected the bedroom furniture in the guest room, the ability to change the fabric on the headboard.  I thought I would be changing that fabric all the time to match my quilts,  but I have to admit, it's a little harder to swap out the fabric on that headboard than I expected, and I've been living with a French General red floral print ever since I got the bed, until now.  

 Changing the fabric involves taking the bed apart, then the headboard apart, then attaching the fabric to the foam board, and then putting it all back together. But I've been eager to get this Countdown to Christmas fabric on that headboard ever since I finished the quilt. 
(click here for a close-up of this print)

Here's the bed, all made and ready for Christmas.  The quilt was my first finish for this year and making those pillows in February was one of the best uses of my time, 3 days worth of my time, but  I don't think I would be able to squeeze that into my schedule right now, I'm so glad they are done.  
(click here for more detail on the pillows)

It's very rare that I make a quilt exactly like the pattern and even  more rare when I use the same fabric as the pattern, and even though I've never seen an ugly project made with Countdown to Christmas by Sweetwater for Moda, I think this pattern with this fabric was the perfect marriage.  Which reminds me, why didn't Sweetwater do a Christmas fabric line this year!  I hope they come up with one for next year.

(click here for more information on this quilt)

Now really, don't you think this is plenty of Christmas cheer for one room, but wait, there's more!

Christmas in the City is also quilted (by Connie) and hanging on the wall.

(click here for more information on this quilt)

I've been counting the days until I could decorate this room and could not be happier with how it all came together.

I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to find Santa sound asleep in my guest room come Christmas morning!

Monday, November 26, 2012

No Sewing but plenty of Fun . . . .

While my daughter was home for Thanksgiving I didn't take a step inside my sewing room, which is very unusual for me, but honestly, looking back on it, I don't know when I could have squeezed in any time to sew, the week flew by in a blink of an eye, and it was nothing but fun.

Here's one thing that occupied an entire afternoon , we made this poinsettia wreath which is now hanging on my sewing room door.

My daughter picked it up in a store called Paper Source.  You can check out this wreath and all the other fun paper products they sell by clicking here.  If you've never visited this store in person or online you are in for a treat, and a loss of a chunk of your time, and maybe money.

The kit really did come with everything we needed to make that wreath.

And I think ours turned out just as nicely as the one pictured on the kit cover, don't you love it when that happens!

I don't make the time to work puzzles very often but love them, plus it's such an easy and fun way to pass time while chatting with my daughter.  We finished this 1,000 piece puzzle in no time.

If you think working a puzzle with over 35 cupcakes on it would make you crave cupcakes, you would be correct!

Besides cooking, watching movies, working puzzles, and making wreaths, we played games.  This is a game we've played for a couple of years and I highly recommend it.  It's easy, fun, goes fast and my daughter and I can usually even talk the guys into playing with us.  It goes even faster when you don't stop and laugh, but sometimes you just can't help yourself.

So today I'll put up the Thanksgiving decorations and start thinking about getting a few Christmas ones out and then head up to my sewing room.  It's nice to have a happy place to hang out when the rest of the house is feeling so quiet and empty.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Eat More Pie Day!

Or as we say here in the States, Happy Thanksgiving!

(this is Lifetime Quilt Number 50)

I would like to let you know, as I reflect on my many blessings, you, my blogging friends, add so much to my life. Thank you for making my small life so much fuller.

I'm taking the rest of the week off, my baby girl is home and I plan to enjoy every minute of our time together. There will be nothing but shopping, game playing, watching movies, connecting with family, and most importantly laughing, going on here.

No sewing to speak of, but that can wait.

I'll be back on Monday!

Best wishes for a safe and happy week, to you and your family, wherever you may be!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Another Hallowe'en 1904

While Nicole and I were working on our Hallowe'en 1904 projects by Blackbird Designs, we received several comments and notes from other quilters who had been wanting to make this quilt but hadn't gotten to it, for all the various reasons we quilters don't get to "that" project.  I recently got a note from Elaine who sewed along with Nicole and I but didn't tell us until she was done, sort of a secret sew-along.

One of the things that had kept Elaine from starting her project was the thought of appliquéing all those stars, so she used the Buggy Barn method of piecing them, just like I did.

And here's Elaine's version of Hallowe'en 1904.

Elaine's quilt is the perfect combination of Nicole's changes, my additions, and a twist of her own.  Elaine added the owl block from my quilt, the cat pumpkin from Nicole's and fixed that moon block that drove me and most of you crazy!  I absolutely love it, Great Job Elaine!

Elaine doesn't have a blog, would you mind leaving a comment letting her know what a great job she did, I know she'll just be thrilled to hear from you. 

Thanks so much,

Monday, November 19, 2012

How I spent my football Sunday . . .

This is what I decided to do with Hill Country Baskets.

Yes, I spent Sunday watching football and ripping seams.  And it didn't even take all that long, one entire game and three quarters of another game.  The red fabric that I used for the setting triangles cannot be used again, so along with some black Hemming House yardage for the new cornerstones and inner border, I also ordered some more red fabric for new setting triangles.  For a beginner, I'm getting very good at ordering fabric from e-bay.

Wow, you folks had some great ideas on what do with those very black cornerstones, what a creative bunch you are!

When I framed the quilt with the black black fabric for inner border, it did not tone down the cornerstones and pull everything together like I had hoped and many of you suggested,  I thought it made the baskets disappear even more.

I was very tempted to go with the quilting alternative, to use light thread and heavy quilting to lighten up the dark.  But I don't do my own quilting, so I wasn't sure I would be happy with what my long arm quilter would do, let alone think about my request to not only quilt my top, but to also do something to tone down the black that I used but shouldn't have.

I also really liked the idea about appliquéing a smaller square of lighter fabric over the darker fabric, so only a small amount of the dark would peak around the edge, but I thought maybe that would take away from the sashing fabric, and that still left me what to do about the inner border.

When it comes to quilting the one thing I have more of than any other thing is time, so I went with the solution that would give me the most control over a result that I think I will like.  Since this was a class project, I'm wanting to more than just finish a quilt I could live with, I'm wanting to love it and have it remind me of all the fun I had in Washington.  What's one day spent in front of a tv ripping seams and probably three days getting it all back together,  to me, not much really.

Thanks so much for all your suggestions, tips and encouragement.  I learned a lot of new things over this little bump in my road, I hope you did too!

Friday, November 16, 2012

When black is not black . . .

So this is usually the happy part of of a project, the blocks are done, the sashing is added, the blocks are connected, all that's left is a border or two. Not this time, I'm not happy and here's why.

What do you see when you look at this quilt?

All I see are those dark black cornerstones. It's not the photography or the lighting, the black fabric that I used for those squares is the blackest black I've ever seen, and up until the last couple of days, I had never really thought about black being anything other than black.   But this black is too black.  The black I used is from the Little Gatherings collection and not part of the Hemming House collection.   I think it over powers the muted colors of the basket blocks.  The next border is supposed to be the same fabric you used for the cornerstones.  I don't think that's going to help matters at all, adding a border of that black black.

So here's what I see as my options:
1.  Keep the cornerstones, add the black black inner border, then the outer border, and call it done.
2.  Keep the cornerstones, use a different fabric for the inner border, add the outer border and call it done.
3.  Keep the cornerstones add no borders, and call it done now.
4.  Tear it all apart and replace the cornerstones using a black fabric from the Hemming House line, use that same fabric for the inner border, add the outer border, and call it done.
5.  Roll it into a teeny tiny ball and smash it into the corner of a drawer and try to forget about it.

Stay tuned for an update . . . .

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hill Country Baskets . . . .

So here's Paula Barnes' version of Hill Country Baskets, 

and here's mine.

All the baskets are pieced.  I'm working on adding the sashing and connecting the blocks.  I'm using Hemming House by Brannock & Patek for Moda.

The sashing fabric is Civil War Backgrounds 1860 - 1865 from the collection of Judy Rothermel for Marcus Brothers.

  I fussy cut the sashing strips and had just enough for my quilt, not even 1 extra strip.

For the cornerstones I'm going with a black print from the Little Gatherings collection by Primitive Gatherings for Moda.  I ordered some yardage for the outer borders from ebay and it arrived just fine, thanks for all the tips.

On an entirely subject, surprise!  The quilt Judi Madsen, the Green Fairy, quilted won the Faculty Award at the Machine Quilters Expo in Portland.

I'm not sure if each teacher at the show got to pick their favorite or if there was only one Faculty Award.  Regardless, it's a win . . . . and I'm happy to have Lifetime Quilt Number 62, Two Score and Seven Stars,  back home.  I'm so sorry I didn't get to see our quilt hanging at the show with its ribbon.   This quilt flew all the way to Portland, hung out at the show, then flew home, all on its own.  It's hard to have quilts grow up on you like that, but I guess I raised her right ; ))

Monday, November 12, 2012

BOM Rehab - MoP . . .

Since I've finished all the focus blocks for Memories of Provence, the only thing left for this week's BOM Rehab was to start on the setting blocks.  
Here's my first block.  I need 19 more.

The pattern calls for all the corner squares to be black, I substituted some red.  I'm also going with a different fabric for the center square, and intend to fussy cut each one of them to look exactly like that.
This block only has 29 pieces, they should go fast.

Here's a little feel for how things will look when all the blocks are done.

Sinta, thanks for hosting your BOM Rehab!  I may get this quilt done this year thanks to you!

Thank you also to all the veterans and their families for the sacrifices they have freely given and continue to give, I think of you often but particularly today.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Seven Snowmen . . . .

Seven Snowmen is one of the classes I took at the Buggy Barn.  The class was taught by the pattern's designer, Bonnie Sullivan.  I signed up for the class because I had a free day and a curiosity about wool.  I'm now so glad I gave it a try.

The pattern has two options, the seven snowmen table runner or the penny rug.  Our class worked on the penny rug.

This is how my project looked after class.  I was still in the snow people voodoo doll stage.

And this is how it looks now, all done!

This is lifetime wool project number 1, and no, I'm not going to keep track of my wool projects like my quilts, but I am very pleased with how it looks, especially for a first project.  Guess I had a good teacher.

I never could figure out how to stitch the design on the snow lady's hat, so I added a holly leaf.  Good thing I had kept all my wool scraps!  The cardinal is supposed to be tilted up a tad and looking at the snowman, and not posed like he's about to attack the snowman's shin, but it makes me smile instead of annoy me, which isn't like me at all!  The whole time I was working on this project I was worried about those carrot noses and the french knot eyes, and saved them for last, they all worked out fine, no problems at all.  I am particularly proud of my red outline stitch next to the green inner border, my first attempt of an outline stitch and it looks really good, and is a nice little touch.

Since I'm not much of a stitcher, I found the back of the pattern cover very helpful, a nice little primer on a few basic stitches.  This might be a standard thing for wool patterns, since this is my first and only wool pattern I have no idea.  But if my next project doesn't provided this information I'll be sure to get this back out.

I found working with wool enjoyable.  If you select the correct color of thread, the wool is very forgiving.  I don't think this will be my last wool project.  I've seen some interesting quilt patterns that incorporate wool, I pretty much ignored them since I didn't know how to work with wool, I'll be paying closer attention to those patterns now.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Back to Hill Country . . .

So now that Hallowe'en 1904 is done it's back to one of my class projects from the Buggy Barn Quilt Show.

I love this Paula Barnes pattern, Hill Country Baskets, but then, I've never met a basket quilt I didn't like.

  The fabric provided in the kit for the class just didn't appeal to me, except for the sashing fabric, so I thought about substituting Hemming House by Brannock and Patek for Moda.

These are the two blocks I made in class.

In the end I decided this fabric wasn't really me either, but sometimes trying something a little different is a good thing, the family has red and goes well with the gray and black sashing fabric so I'm hoping it will all work out in the end.

I'm working with a fat quarter bundle and have no yardage to speak of so I either need to come up with a pieced outer border or track down some Hemming House.  This line is a couple of years old and so far the pieces that I've found online haven't been my more favorite prints from the family.   Someone gave me a tip to look on ebay, and I may have found something, I've never bought fabric on ebay!

So far so good considering I don't have an end plan, I'm just piecing baskets.

Monday, November 5, 2012

BOM Rehab, MoP

Here's Block 12, my final focus block for Memories of Provence.

I didn't change a thing.  

And here are all the blocks!

I'm still deciding my setting blocks and hope to make more than one of those a week, otherwise this project won't be done until summer.  I would like to have this project on my 2012 Finished List.

Thanks Sinta for hosting your BOM Rehab, these blocks would just be chunks of fabric in a project box if it weren't for you.

500th Post Winners.
I drew the winners last week but waited until they made their fabric selections to blog about it.  I thought you would enjoy knowing what layer cakes they picked.  It sort of reminds me of that Top Sellers page at the Fat Quarter Shop that tells you what folks are buying.  Do you ever check it out, it's fascinates me. Anyway, without further ado . . .

Margaret, whose guilty pleasure is "reading fun books" selected a layer cake of Trails End by Holly Taylor for Moda.
Chris, Cats on my Quilts, whose guilty pleasure is Real Housewives and Say Yet to the Dress, selected Summersville by Lucie Summers for Moda.
And Brenda, Quilting Along Life's Way, whose guilty pleasure is chocolate and Lifetime movies, selected Lario by 3 Sisters for Moda.

Thanks again to everyone who stopped by my 500th post and left such warm and lovely comments.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened . . . .

A funny thing happened on the way home from  Sinta and Sherri's Schnibbles parade, I found out I was RIGHT  ish!

When I blogged about my Hubbel/Hubble finish this summer, someone left a comment asking if I had noticed that my center hsts were turned the wrong way.  WHAT!!  I was on vacation and couldn't really do much research on the matter, but let me tell ya', I was bummed the rest of the day.  "How did I make that mistake", I kept asking and asking myself over and over.  I remembered being very careful when laying out my blocks and following the pattern diagram to the letter, or so I thought.  By the time I got home from vacation I had moved on, kind of.

Not moved on enough to enter my Hubble/Hubbel in The Parade, or to post a picture of it once it was home from the quilter.  But I decided I liked my Hubble/Hubbel, even if it was WRONG!  Now I'm guessing at this point some of you are wondering why those turned hsts were bothering me, me the queen of "Lets Change a Pattern".  Changes that are my idea are grand, changes that are an accident are not.

What I didn't know at the time but have since found out,  this pattern is a twofer, buy one get another free!  You can make the Hubble on the cover OR the Hubble in the pattern diagram.  I think it's interesting that in the parade about half of us are pattern followers, and used the pattern diagram, and the other half looked at the pattern cover, probably didn't read single word of the pattern, and made that version.

Here's my Hubble using the pattern diagram.

Here's the cover.

It's the center hsts that are different.

Boy does it feel good to have that cleared up!  Hey Sinta and Sherri, is it too late to make the parade?