What I Did in December

 

2013 is coming to an end in a few days.  I must say I am going to miss it.  I had so much fun with friends and family this year, so many blessing came my way.  At the same time, I am looking forward to 2014 – doesn’t it feel like it may just be the best year yet?   Here is the final round-up for December.  Thanks for reading my blog. I hope 2014 is your best year yet too! See you next year.

Pizza Box Blocks

Here are the pizza box blocks I mad this month.  The one on the left is the practice one from my fabric and the one on the right is Gayle T’s.  flying geese units were required this time, and there are eight in each block, although you have to look a little to find them.   This was a fun block that I got out of one of the Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks issues.

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In January we all show our final blocks and the pizza boxes go back to their original owner.  I am excited to see all the blocks in my pizza box, but at the same time I don’t want this swap to end.

Artist Trading Card Swap

A new feature here is the group of ATCs that I got from a swap I joined.  ATC is short for artist’s trading card, which is a little 3.5″ x 2.5″ work of art that can be made from any combination of fabric, paper, paint, stamping, etc.   Veronica has been hosting a monthly swap for a few years now (you can find out more by clicking on her blog which is listed on the side).  The theme was black or white and I couldn’t decide so I went with shades of gray instead, just like I do in real life (just a few shades though — I don’t think I could handle 50).  Mine is the one in the middle. I just love every one and am looking forward to taking part in a lot of these swaps.

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Socks

Knitting is an interesting activity. I find it a peaceful  and love that I can relax for a while with my yarn and needles now and then.  Socks and gloves seem to be just the right size project for me — one day I may try another sweater, but for now I am enjoying socks. I still can’t believe I finally learned how to use double pointed needles. And it is so neat to have something useful once I am finished!

Here are the short socks I made with the rainbow yarn.  They are nice and warm.  This heavier yarn knits up a lot faster than skinny sock yarn — that’s for sure!

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There was a lot of yarn left after the socks so I made a couple of pairs of fingerless gloves.  I love this rainbow yarn.

Cotton Socks

I finished another pair of socks, this time with cotton yarn.  I had to use smaller needles to get them to the same size as the other socks, and I haven’t worn them yet so I can’t say if I like them or not.  The cotton is quite soft and if they can keep their shape, I think they will be very nice.  I got the yarn when Sew Bee It closed and thought it was sock yarn.  I usually make dish cloths out of cotton yarn, but this seemed too nice for dish cloths. I hope they work since I have another skein of the same yarn.

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Hexies

I finished my two-color spiral hexie project. It is only about a foot across and fits perfectly on that little table.  using just two colors sure is dramatic.

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BQ2

Here is the beginning of a new quilt. The pattern is BQ2 from Maple Island Quilts. I have had the pattern for a while and decided it will be just right for this busy print (those bright blue strips are actually dark teal).  It will be queen sized and is made up of 30 of these 18″ blocks.  Amazingly, it only took a couple of days to sew all 30 blocks together.  Now I am pondering the possibility of trying one of the quilt-as-you-go techniques to quilt it.

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Quilts of Valor

I made it to a Quilts of Valor meeting at Fran’s house in December and stitched on various projects that she has in progress. Then I brought home a stack of blocks and fabric to use to finish the quilt top. Someone else will do the quilting.  It was fun to put together. And I had enough fabric left for the presentation case too.  Here they both are.

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Weekly Update

As you might imagine, this week has been filled with more sorting and arranging than creating, although I managed to get a few things done and have a few pictures to share. I love my new studio space.  Here is a picture of the little shelves Raymond made for me to hold ribbons. I am not sure what will go on the shelves, but put up some miscellaneous boxes to get them out of the way.

2013-01-31 ribbon shelves

At Chattanooga Quilters Guild this year we are having a pizza box block of the month.  In January, everyone who wanted to (about 15 members, I think) brought a pizza box  with six one-yard pieces of coordinating fabric. We each took home someone else’s box and have to make a block out of the fabrics in the box in time for the next meeting. Then we will exchange again each month for the rest of the year. At the December meeting, everyone get’s their box back with a year’s worth of blocks made for them.

I decided to make a practice block from my own fabrics to make sure I didn’t mess up anyone else’s fabrics, and since I have more of the fabrics I sent in my pizza box, I plan to use that so that by the end of the year .  I made both blocks last week, but I can’t show them to you at least until after the meeting next week.

Here is a picture of the snow we got on Saturday out the studio window. It is still pretty cold, but the snow is gone already.

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Here is the new little design wall we put together over the weekend. I used grey flannel instead of white like the big one. This one is almost six feet wide and almost as tall as the ceiling. After we got this one set up on the three PVC pipes it was a little saggy at the bottom. I thought maybe a fourth pipe on the bottom would help hold it taut. As luck would have it, Raymond had a long enough piece and a couple elbows in the garage, so we added it and it did the trick.  It just leans against the wall like the big one so it can be easily disassembled and moved if needed.

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I have a lot of fabric with fruit and vegetables on it. I decided to use some of it to make new pot holders for the kitchen. Here are the first four.  This is a simple pattern that I found on the internet a few years ago to make coasters. I just increased the size to make them into pot holders and added little loops. I love the brightness of the citrus fabrics. I am working on some lemon and lime fabrics next.  Looks like I will be making more than I need if my plan is to use up this fabric.

2013-02-02 orange pot holders

The last thing I got done this week is to finish stitching on the last applique block for Birds of a Feather, the block of the month project at Sew Bee It quilt shop last year. I got way behind in finishing the blocks and decided to make a smaller quilt with what I had done.  Yesterday, I sewed all the blocks and filler blocks into a solid piece. Here it is:

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It is about 28″ by 64″ right now, but needs some kind of borders.  I am so happy with it and especially that it is this close to being done.  This is about half of the blocks in the original quilt. I plan on hanging it in the guest room on the wall opposite ‘Remember Me” that I posted a while back when I finished it.

That’s it for now.  Have a creative week.

 

January Leftovers

I sure have been neglecting this blog lately. Sorry.  Here are a few things from January:

This is a journal I covered.  i happen to see this fabric in one of my bags of fabric and remembered how much I liked it so decided to put it on a journal. It is woven fabric, not printed. You don’t see that very often these days.  I added a strip of delicate lace to remind me which side was front. I don’t know how many times I have opened a journal and got it upside because I could not distinguish the front from the back.

This is the view of it opened. What pretty flowers.

Here are Max and Zeena enjoying their new play tower.  The outside light was so bright it made the inside look dark, but it wasn’t really that dark. In the mornings, they like to lay in the sun here. Later in the day, they enjoy the elevated view outside where they can watch the birds play in the birdbath.

This is the first block of the block-of-the-month that I am doing at Sew Bee It quilt shop. This year we are taking a departure from the Jan Patek Girl Gang blocks-of-the-month and making Birds of a Feather by Barb Adams and Alma Allen of Blackbird Designs. So far, it is fun.

This is block #seven of “pushing Up Spring” from Apple Blossom Quilts, a block-of the-month from 2009 that I have been working on for quite a while.  There are 16 blocks all together, so I am nearly half way there. Block #8 is prepped and glued down and I have started stitching on it. I love the bright colors of these blocks. Here is a picture of the whole quilt:

Now, I think we are up to date for January. I have a picture or two for February, but will wait a day or so to put them up.

September in Review

Well, doesn’t it seem like this has turned into a once a month blog? No doubt that will change, but it works for now. Here is what I have been working on this month.

I put together a couple cuddle quilts for Choo Choo Quilters. Some of us members got together one Saturday and stitched like crazy.  Here are a couple I pieced from kits put together from blocks we all made as homework. I like the contrasting values.

More of the same blocks, different layout. What a dramatic difference. Both of these quilts are sandwiched and ready to quilt.

This one is also from blocks we made as homework. I made all these and got to put them together at the cuddle quilt workshop. I love all the browns and how the wild animal print goes perfectly as sashing and border. This one is quilted and turned in. I hope the kid who gets it likes wild animals.

This is the last of my puppy panel fabric. I had just enough to make a quilt for each of my three guilds. This one went to Choo Choo.

This is a little block I made for Raymond for his birthday this month. It is a moon over the mountain block, but I used a brick like fabric and shaded it with crayon to make it look more like a pyramid. He hasn’t decided where to hang it yet, but I think he liked it. It is about 16 or 18″ square.

This is a little bag I made to carry at the East Cobb County Quilt Show this month. It was a wonderful show. I wanted a small bag that would just hold my essentials: keys, money, phone and camera. The pattern is sometimes called origami bag or sometimes called folded pocket purse. I learned how to make it via Seaside Stitchers in Florida. I made the strap long enough to go over my shoulder across my body so I could have my hands free. I used the latest fabric I bought at Sew Bee It. It has cute little buttons and stitching comments on it.  It worked perfectly.

I finally finished these socks. Seems like I have been working on them all summer. They will be nice and warm. I like the tweedy yarn, although it did seem kind of boring without any stripes. Maybe that is why it took so long to finish them.

In this picture one looks larger, but I think it is just because I had been trying it on more than the other so it is a little stretched out. It will go back to shape once it is washed.

I used a different technique on these socks. I saw a tutorial on Melody Johnson’s blog called  an “afterthought heel’ and decided to give it a try.  What you do is knit all the sock top to toe as a tube. Where the heel is supposed to go, you stitch in a couple of rows of waste yarn, and after the sock is done, you take out the waste yarn and put those stitches back on needles and knit a heel kind of like knitting the toe section. I will put Melody’s blog on my list of links and you can go search up afterthought heel and see what I mean. It was pretty easy, but I think I will stick with the regular way for now.

So, I finished those socks because I wanted to get working on my next pair. I got this beautiful yarn last time I was at Sew Bee It and wanted to see how the different colors would stitch out. I did this much in a day. Wow that was a lot of knitting. Then I noticed that I had too many stitches on and decided to take it out and start over.

I also decided to try knitting a simple pattern into the leg portion of the sock – a basket-weave pattern where you knit 4, purl 4 for four rows then purl 4, knit 4 for four rows.  I had thought that would look good in the previous pair of socks. Since they look kind of like a solid, I thought the pattern would make them more interesting, but I didn’t want to unstitch as much as I had done at the time of the idea.

When the new sock had gotten to the point that I noticed my error in the number of stitches on the needles (how I managed not to notice that for so long is a mystery), and I knew I had to unstitch it and start over anyway, I had seen enough of the stockinette pattern to know it would look good with the basket-weave. So, I decided to give it a try. And I am very happy with the result.

See the difference? I really like it. And I got so carried away with the pattern, that I finished one whole sock in about 4 days!  The rows of color are very interesting.  I have about 1/2″ of the cuff done for sock #2, too!

The bands of color are so wide though, that I don’t know if I can get them the same on both socks. I pulled out enough yarn to start with the bright pink at the top of the second one, but I don’t know if it will shade into that dark blue or go to the purple next.  Or, it may do something else entirely too.  I guess they will be fine however they come out.  They will be fun to wear, that’s for sure.

Here is a 10 minute block quilt I am working on for Chattanooga Quilters charity, Ronald McDonald House. It needs a back and quilted.

And Finally, although not quilt related, we saw Alton Brown at the Chattanooga Market last weekend. He was hosting a cook-off between local chefs. This is before the contest when he was signing autographs. We didn’t get one – the line was a hundred people long, and we didn’t stay for the cook-off, but it was fun to get a glimpse of him. He seems to have as much energy as he does on his TV show.

September is a wrap. I wonder what will show up here in October. I guess we will both have to check back to find out.

Girl Gang

I have almost all of my Girl Gang quilt top together. The only bit left is a three inch border around the outside. I know what fabric I want for the border, but will have to get it at Sew Bee It quilt shop. I think I will wait till the next Girl Gang meeting to get the fabric. Here is a picture of it so far…

What a great adventure this has been.

Let’s Twist Again

I dug around and found a left over 7.5″ square of Plexiglas and did some calculations and tried to make a twist project with larger blocks. I made a four patch of 9″ blocks of these two daisy fabrics and bordered them with 6 inch wide blue fabric. Then I marked the off center lines on the Plexiglas, cut out the blocks, and re-assembled them. First off, I see that I need more contrast between the inside fabrics, but otherwise, it turned out OK. I could see making a throw sized quilt out of these bigger blocks.  The stitch up fast, and have such nice sharp corners.

After I got that far, I was ready for something else. I happened to find the perfect fabric for the border on the class project. A nice medium green. so I cut 2″ strips and added them. Here is the result:

A little quilting and a binding and this will be a cute little table cover.

I have been knitting on my fourth pair of socks for the last couple of weeks. I will have to get a picture for you. I found this nice yarn at Sew Bee It quilt shop. It has red, peach, eggplant, and green. I know that sounds a little weird, but it stripes up nicely. It even has some kind of sparkly bits here and there, so it is quite festive. I just turned the heel on the first sock and am working on the gusset shaping now.  Maybe I can get a picture tomorrow.