Friday, December 28, 2012

Better late than ...

At Quilt Camp this last fall, I pieced this table topper. I thought it would be really nice to have for Christmas. 

a blurry picture of the back
I finally sandwiched it and machine quilted it last week. It is quilted with Paisley, which just happens to be one of my favorite motifs.
Last night I finished the binding. 

It will be really nice for Christmas - next year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A snowflake or more!

We have snow - lots and lots of snow! Yes, we are in the blizzard area today and we've had over 10" already! Our neighbor has plowed our drive twice with difficulty - he tries to keep up especially when the snow is heavy like this. Ray (pneumonia man) and I just went out and cleared in front of the garage doors, the front walk and the front steps to our house. I said I'd do it but he insisted so we both did it. That snow is HEAVY! But it is beautiful!
It is still snowing hard and the wind is blowing. The house seems to be getting socked in - the wind is coating all of the windows/screens. 

*   *   *
I had this Snowflake TIP (Totally Inclusive Project) in my pile of projects. Not sure where I bought it - probably somewhere in Iowa since it is from B'Caprice, LLC, in Polk City, Iowa.

The 12" quilt square project went together in no time - the pieces were already cut!  After the top was pieced, I sandwiched the front, batting, and back. Then I added the organza square to the top and quilted through all layers.
The organza has sparklies in it.
I machine quilted this with the motif Matrix from Leah Day at the Free Motion Quilting Project.
Now it is hung on a small hanger and looks shimmering just like our new snow outside!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Some knitting finishes!

I finished this sweater while we were traveling but I just blocked it yesterday. This is the first sweater I have made in many years. I used to make sweaters for the boys when they were little. The only other time I made a sweater for me was in 1975! 
The hems and the neckline roll. This fits but I'd like it to be longer. I'd also like the sleeves to be shorter. So I will take care of that on the sweater I am knitting now.

I made this headband/ear warmer while we were traveling. The yarn is variegated - you can see the light to dark shading in the pictures.
It is now finished with a button.
It doesn't really go with my winter coat - what was I thinking?!

So yesterday I bought some 'white' yarn and made the same pattern last night. I love the lacy design.
I used the same button that the brown one has - I really wanted to get this done - the snow is coming!
I don't think you can see the buttonhole but there is one at the opposite end as the button.

Monday, December 17, 2012

2013 NewFO Challenge

If you are looking for the January update, go here. I had some problems with the linky party!

I just found the perfect quilting challenge for 2013 - the 2013 NewFO Challenge over at Cat Patches. This is what I need to do:

  • Each month I have to start at least one new project!
  • No project needs to be completed during the year!
Oh yeah, this is my kind of challenge! Count me in!

My preliminary plans for 2013:
  • At least one baby quilt since we are expecting a great nephew. 
  • One of the quilts designed by Edyta Sitar. 
  • A modern quilt  - maybe something from Sunday Morning Quilts.
  • A batik quilt.
  • A few donation quilts. 
  • I'm sure I'll find lots of inspiration throughout the year - I always do!
Expect photos of new projects in process beginning in January!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge Wrap Up

I took the pledge at the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge to complete 12 FMQ tutorials this year.

I've posted 11 month and 1 bonus. Now I need a wrap-up post for the year. If you click on the name of the month, you will get to the original post. And way at the bottom of this post, you'll see what I learned!

1. January  Frances Moore gave us a tutorial on quilting leaves. I was brand new at free-motion quilting and it really showed!

2. February  Diane Gaudynski had us quilt feathers. It is still hard to believe how much these actually looked like feathers!
3. March  Ann Fahl encouraged us to develop our own style. I thought stippling with loops would be good.
4. April  Don Linn, Mr. Quilt, showed us how to transfer quilt markings with a method I'd never seen!
5. May  Leah Day had us practice two foundation designs. The first is called Double Stippling. 
The second design is  Railroad Tracks, a variation of Double Stippling.
6. June  Cindy Needham had us quilt a curly line and then filled the spaces with quilting. 
7. July  Angela Walters had us quilt Tiles with our choice of the filler design.
8. August  Wendy Sheppard gave us a "simple but fun quilting motif" called Jester's Hat. I found it hard!
9. September Paula Reid had us quilt a beautiful feather design. 
10. Bonus Tutorial Susan Brubaker Knapp had us finding quilt motif designs in our environment.

11. October  Teri Lucas had us trying different motifs and different threads.

12. November Sarah Vedeler had us practice drawing spirals and also suggested practicing FMQ 15 minutes every day.

What I learned:
2012 was my year to learn free-motion quilting. I began my journey in January, not knowing how things would progress. I followed the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge, the Quilt As You Go Free Motion Quilting Quilt A Long with Quokka Quilts, and Leah Day's Free Motion Quilt Project.

When the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge began, I thought I was in way over my head! But I had signed up so I decided to just try. I learned to relax and to practice, practice, practice. I began with samples and finally decided in March to use my limited skills on real quilts. I still do sample pieces, but in July, I decided to make blocks to use in a quilt-as-you-go quilt. 

When I quilted feathers in February that looked like feathers, I was overjoyed! And I loved finding a way to transfer patterns to dark fabric. The Jester's Hats were very hard for me - I think I should have drawn more of them like I later did with the spirals. I find quilt ideas in my environment constantly but it had never occurred to me to look around for quilting motif ideas.

I tried different threads, different battings, and different ways of moving my quilts while quilting. I learned that I can achieve different effects by making some changes.

I learned to free-motion quilt and I learned that this is an on-going journey - there will always be more to learn and ways to improve. It has become part of my life!

Thanks SewCalGal!

Nov/Dec Journey 2012 - Home

We are home!

By Monday night, we both knew we were getting colds - ugh! We began forcing fluids, getting more sleep, and taking cold medicine. Tuesday night, we ordered in  at the motel. There were no fun stops, no shopping and very little knitting. Ray relinquished some of the driving both Tuesday and Wednesday - so you know he really didn't feel well! 

I feel better this morning. Ray isn't up yet but I know he's slept well. 

We had a great journey but it really is nice to be home!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Nov/Dec Journey 2012 Part 4

"Grandma!" "Grandpa!"

What wonderful words! I love hearing them! And we have for the last few days while visiting our older son and wife, Brad and Sheila, and their family. To be very honest, we heard "GrandPAW" more than "Grandpa"! 

We had a great time and enjoyed great weather! We went to eat last night in short sleeves - Brad wore shorts!

We stayed busy! We played. We took walks. We went to the park. We made treats:
Milky Way Sleds

and cutout cookies. We decorated those cookies and ourselves with lots of flour!
We went to the city tree-lighting ceremony. Granddaughter Grace sang with her school and they did a wonderful job! The temperature was around 50 so we all enjoyed the free hot chocolate and cookies!

The Holiday Express at Pullen Park in Raleigh was lots of fun - especially the train ride and the carousel. So glad that Brad was able to get tickets - they sell out in a hurry and now we know why - it is really fun and nice!

Grace spent most of one day with us - we shopped for fabric to make pillowcases. If you want a super slow Joann Fabrics store - I know where there is one! Just saying... After lunch, I cut fabric while Grace sewed the sausage part of the pillowcase. 

Grandpa ironed. The next day Jackson used the sewing machine and finished the pillowcases. 

They were a hit!
Everyone loved the fabric that Grace picked out!
We are still eating too much! Last night we ate at the Aviator Smokehouse. 
Brad had the Boil Over - a burger with bacon, smoked pulled pork, brisket, fries, sour cream, BBQ sauce, cheese and beer braised onions piled high on a fresh baked local beer bun!
Ivy, the youngest wasn't too sure about us but we finally won her over. She even put her arms up asking us to lift her! 
Grandpa loving every minute!
And one more picture taken shortly before we said good-bye. Can you guess what clothing we gave them for Christmas? Go Cubs!

Can't believe I didn't get a picture of the kids with their parents. We usually do but not this time. Guess we'll have to go back soon!

Now our journey continues as we head towards home. We are in Beckley, WV tonight. Football is on the TV. My knitting is calling me. The weather is cooler. We have been in rain most of today - at least it is not ice! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Nov/Dec Journey 2012 Part 3 - Wilmington

Our time in Wilmington, NC, was wonderful! We had this neat little condo with a balcony overlooking the Riverwalk on Cape Fear River. 

That is our balcony on the left upstairs. I took this on the last morning and it was cloudy.

Our street was a one-way cobblestone street with almost no traffic. We could walk to all of the shops and restaurants in the Historic District. 

Our building is on the right. 

It is off season but most things are open, there are no crowds, and we had temperatures in the 70s! And I loved having a washer and dryer in the condo - we needed to do laundry!

We toured the USS North Carolina one afternoon - I felt like we were alone on that huge battleship - not many people around. The older ships always amaze me - how did people sleep on the 5th bunk??! Is it still that crowded on our current ships?

We also toured Historic Fort Fisher - I learned more about  the Civil War. It was fascinating to see and the day was absolutely gorgeous! We had lunch outside near the beach visitor center/ranger station. Then we spent some time walking on the beach - the sand felt so good! 

It looked and felt like summer but it was December 5! The sand wasn't hot but the water was cold.

A ranger told me the water was probably in the mid 60s - it was cold! This area and Kure Beach seem very laid back and relaxing.

Of course we ate! There was a neat bakery/coffee shop across the street at Chandler's Wharf and another one, Bella's, a few blocks away. Also a few blocks away was the Front Street Brewing Company where we had a great meal one night. We were shopping at City Market, which is lots of little shops, and a gentleman offered us pecan samples. Oh my, the praline pecans were wonderful! So we bought a bag and, of course, ate them all!

The last morning we visited Yarns of Wilmington. I found yarn for another sweater with help from the friendly owner. Then we went to Sew Happins, a quilt shop that is just 18 months old. 

The ladies were very friendly and I just happened to find a couple of things on my 'needed' list!

We headed to Wrightsville Beach. It seems very populated similar to the Outer Banks areas of Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills.  The one lady at the quilt shop told us to check out Topsail Beach - a little further north and a lot less crowded! We'll keep that for next time.

And there will be a next time - we're looking forward to returning to this area!


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