22 August, 2019

Birthday Boy, Then and Now

This little boy turns 39 today! 
Fast forward to this morning.
Our wish for him is the same today as it was 33 years ago:
"Here's hoping that you have the happiest of days 
surrounded by all of the things (and folks) that you love most!"
Happy birthday, son!
Life is Good!  

21 August, 2019

Back to the Bible

If you have read my blog for a while, you might remember that a few years back Quiltkeemosabe and I embarked upon an adventure: we challenged each other by committing to Rosemary Youngs' book: The Quilt Block Bible by making, and writing instructions for, each of the 202 six inch blocks pictured in the book!

We kept up pretty well for a time-- meeting monthly for an exchange of information and to eat lunch together. But then, as often happens, life crowded in and our progress was halted. The last time that I even posted about this project was back in September of 2017; at that point I had this much done and was working on more. We realized this summer that we have well over the majority done, and with one final push we can get over that finish line! I began piecing and writing again (above, left).
We will meet again next week. I have almost all of my assigned twenty blocks prepared and ready. 
These "Split Square" blocks emerged as a "leader-ender" bonus from all that Bible block piecing.  
And in the meantime:  Hexie Garden is off the frame today, I am really fond of this "Diamonds Are Forever" pantograph by Urban Elementz. I believe it really adds to overall quilt design. I will bind it in navy.
Life is Good!

16 August, 2019

Handy Tip and Tidying Up

In an effort to finish as many projects as I can this summer I have adopted the practice of binding for a few hours each and every evening while watching TV before bedtime. We don't watch television in the lightest and brightest of all rooms which makes needle threading a challenge. I have started pre-threading my hand needles during the day and have them ready to go now when I sit down to bind. I found this super-duper needle threader when cleaning out some of my Mom's sewing accessories and few months back. I have found it to be sturdy, as well as pretty and substantial; but, best of all, it threads even the finest of straw needles! I am now threading up five or six needles with whatever color thread I will be binding with and place them into the handy-dandy domed needle case to use later. Can you thread up needles ahead and place them into a square of flannel or felt? Sure. But this is a much more efficient and safe way to store them, read on.
This was also found in the recent clean-out. I have fallen heir to many valuable treasures from my Mom's sewing box. The way this works is this: the threaded needles are each inserted into a slot and wound into the case by spinning the center wheel. You can see a demo here. I love this; it really works and definitely earns its place in your chair-side sewing box besides being a fun little "toy" to have! Both of these notions are by Clover and I assure you that I receive no compensation from Clover, only my tried and true recommendation. Check them out. 
Placing the domed cover over your threaded needles, it locks into place, making this completely portable.
You can toss it into your to-go bag and your threaded needles will be tangle-free and ready to use!

Speaking of efficiency; I have been spinning my wheels in the sewing room lately; I have been busy as a bee but not showing much forward progress. A quick look around revealed why. I had piles of mess everywhere! Every pattern I had been thinking about, book that I had pulled off the shelf, piece of fabric that I had dragged out and half-finished project was either piled up or draped over something else. It was high time to clear the deck so that I could breathe think work again!
In less than an hour and a half I had everything cleaned up: sorted, stashed, filed and/or completed. Work surfaces were cleared, (except for what I am actually working on) and order was restored.
First thing: I got caught up with the latest BOM blocks from my LQS. Without all the piles surrounding me I worked quickly; it felt good to be unencumbered, I tidied right back up when I was done. I can now enter this space again with a lighter, free-er feeling and get right down to business. Am I alone in this or can you relate? That tidying that we put off can really drag us down to the point where we get nothing accomplished. The amazing thing (at least to me) is that it never takes long to restore order!
I placed an order for fabric the other day. Imagine my delight to learn, when I opened the package, that I had hit a jackpot! A full three quarter yards of jackpot, too; WOW, it was my lucky day! 😊

Life is Good!

09 August, 2019

Under The Needle

It's been a whiz-bang, speedy summer so far.  My decision to make this season the one of "finishing up projects started" may just have to become the year of that; and that's okay! I have Hexie Garden on the rails currently, Snowbird  and I are having fun quilting it up, I am using a new (to me) pantograph called "Diamonds Are Forever" by Urban Elementz and I really am quite pleased with the effect. I took this photo before the sun came up this morning with only the light from the machine to show up the quilting; in the daylight it's quite subtle. 
This Charming Nine is small, it's just a flimsy measuring 25" X 28". It is, as the name implies, simply a nine patch sewn from two charm packs. Joined block to block like this gives it an antique look. I stitched it up (or, rather, finished stitching it up-- who knows how long ago it was begun!!) leader-ender style along with the in-progress scrappy tumbler below.  It will become a table-topper.
Three more rows to go on this tumbler and it will replace the one that I have either misplaced or lost somewhere along the line this summer! Stitching this together while working on other things makes it grow almost magically!
And last, but not least; another tea wallet for gift-giving. 
And sew it goes-- what's under YOUR needle these days?

Life is Good! 

07 August, 2019

Nap Blankets 2019

Nap Blankets 2019  ~ Ready for the first day of the new school year.
I have posted about making Nap Blankets before, I am blessed to be a part of a small quilt group that is dedicated to supplying an elementary school in our local system with a nap blanket for each child enrolled in the Pre-K program there; that is 45 blankets-- three classrooms with fifteen children each. I have posted about this program before, here. I believe that our group has been doing this for the last nine years, that's 405 nap blankets so far! You can read more about the program, part of our greater Quilt Guild here.   
Here you see some of the nap blankets going through the rigors of "quality control". She's tough! 😉

 From a previous post: "These blankets are simply constructed with two one yard lengths of child-friendly fabric, a front and a back. They're sewn right sides together, turned and top-stitched around the edges and with a corner to corner "X" through both layers, there is no batting."  

I  am grateful to be a member of such a generous group of quilting friends; we are all blessed with so much, this annual project elicits nothing but pure joy.

Life is Good!

05 August, 2019

Birthday Quilt

Hannes celebrated his fifteenth (in human years) birthday last week; our youngest two grandchildren happened to be visiting that day and they reveled in the celebration by singing to him and dispensing treats with wild abandon. Lynnleigh suggested that we make him a special birthday quilt to mark the auspicious occasion. She rummaged through my bin of orphan blocks and found enough string blocks to arrange into a setting for a small quilt top. She was super excited with her design until I showed her that she was going to have to remove the paper foundations from the back of the string sections, she wasn't a fan of that process. 🤣

But, soon enough, it was time to stitch them together. She sat in my lap and I pressed the pedal while she guided the blocks under the presser foot. She was very careful and attentive. 
Voila! The quilt top was complete; is that one proud little girl? We looked for a suitable backing fabric (she was interested in either a dog or birthday themed fabric: "either paw prints, doggie bones or birthday cakes"); the stash closet failed to deliver that day and she was accepting no substitutions,  we decided that we may just need to go shopping. The next time she visits we will load it, quilt it and add binding. In the meantime, Hannes was very comfortable with his birthday quilt being a "summer weight" flimsy!
Happy birthday, buddy! 

Life is Good!

30 July, 2019

Scarlet Stars

"Scarlet Stars" 60" X 72"

This recently completed quilt is a compilation of two different blocks-of-the-month from my LQS. I added bits and pieces of other blocks and coping strips to fit it all together. It has been a top for years, just hanging out in the stash closet for its time to be quilted. Thank goodness I happened upon Country Threads' "Chicken Scratch" blog and jumped on board their UFO "Dirty Dozen" challenge. Twelve UFOs are assigned a unique number and each month a number is drawn for completion during that month. This top was my number eight; I met this month's goal, it's quilted and bound. A new number will be drawn on Thursday for August. I hope that I can keep up, it's a good feeling to finish projects once and for all (I even made a label for this one!!).
I used a new (to me) pantograph on this one-- "Starry" by Beany Girl quilts, it fit the bill and the theme!

Life is Good!