Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fish Sticks, A Sweater, and A Mess!

Fish Sticks is a fun, small, donation quilt. 

The fish fabric was gifted to me as part of my friend Nancy's stash. I loved the colors so I pulled fabric from my scrap stash and made this little quilt that is about 42" square.

I used Dream Cotton Batting and orange Aurifil thread for the piecing and the quilting. The back is orange with yellow dots.

I think you can see the quilting - gentle waves crossing the quilt. I used my quilting rulers to quilt this. The binding had all the colors of the quilt - it also is from my stash.


I finally finished the sweater that I began in January. I used Ann Budd's book, Top Down Sweaters, and made a generic raglan sleeve sweater. 

I used gray Coffee Beenz yarn by Plymouth. I think I figured out some things that should help me with my next sweater.

We Have a MESS here! We are building a new garage or more accurately: we are having a new garage built. The driveway is being replaced too. We spent a few days emptying the garage and shed. Our screened porch is FULL of stuff. The workers began Saturday - 3 days ago. The old garage is down and gone. The driveway has also been torn up and hauled away. A couple of trees have been removed 😔. The shed will leave within the hour.  A few truckloads of gravel have just arrived and are in the driveway. If the rain will hold off, we might get forms up for the concrete tomorrow. 

Some of the driveway rubble:

The driveway before gravel:

We've had lots of BIG trucks and equipment it's very exciting and VERY dirty and dusty. We've also had LOTS to traffic on our quiet, little street - people are checking it out. I'm glad that we now have gravel - it should help with the dirt. 

On Sunday, we dug up and gave away all of the day lily plants that were along the driveway; we'll be able to enjoy them in neighbors'  yards now. Ray is concerned about our lawn and garden next to the drive. I guess we'll take care of that when this MESS is gone.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

New Appliances and Socks!

Our new stove and microwave finally arrived today. We bought them a month ago and had to wait until late last week to get the gas line run to the kitchen. 

This is a picture of the north wall of our kitchen this morning, aka BEFORE.

And this is a picture taken this afternoon, aka AFTER.

I'm excited to have a gas stove - I haven't had one since 1978. I feel like Santa's been here - or maybe it was the Easter Bunny!

For the time being, the other appliances in the kitchen do not match the new ones but the appliances on each wall do match! When the refrigerator and dishwasher need to be replaced, they will be.


I have a knitting finish! I made these socks with Zauberball sock yarn using the pattern 8 Stitches per Inch Socks by Ann Budd. 

The socks are knit with size 1 needles.

I do love wearing hand knit socks although I'm looking forward to warmer weather and not wearing socks.

Friday, April 14, 2017

My first Kaffe Fassett quilt is done

That's right, my first Kaffe Fassett quilt is done - I'm sure there will be more! I began this one last fall prior to my clean-out-this-stash project. The top was pieced but needed quilting when I put it aside for a while.

You may remember it from a July, 2016 retreat. It needed borders.

I put on the borders in August.

Then I finally began quilting it at the end of March. Now it is finished! The quilt is 73" square. All fabric except the white and the  'plain' blue are Kaffe Fassett fabrics - all purchased on trips with some being from the Oregon coast and the rest being from Maine. The 'plain' blue fabric - centers of small motifs, square corners of larger motifs, and the binding - is from Delve in Cedar Rapids.

I'm not sure if you can see the quilting. It is all feathers in no real pattern. There are a few pebbles filling in various spots.

For the piecing and the quilting, I used Aurifil thread. Of course I used Dream Cotton batting. The back is another Kaffe Fassett fabric - orange with purple polka dots. This piece came from Missouri Star Quilt Company.

We are keeping this quilt - I love the color and it is my first Kaffe Fassett!

As I was outside in 60+ degree weather this afternoon taking photos, I decided to include a picture of part of our garden by our drive looking towards the neighbor's yard. 

Spring really has arrived! Happy Easter!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Something New on a Beautiful Day

The sun shone today! That is unusual around here lately. It was a great day to do something new so we went to Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens. Ray wanted to take pictures of the butterflies. They have a Simply Spring Butterfly Exhibit right now.

It was a fun day. Here are a few of my pictures from the day:
Some of the many butterflies
Beautiful flowers and colorful 'totem' poles
Gorgeous orchids
Kids loved the water features
Nothing is blooming outside yet but we were walking in the  gardens when Ray just started laughing.  He saw this sculpture...

so I asked him to pose with the resident photographer.
Was Ray their model???
A couple more photos from outside:

We talked with a lady working at the Conservatory and she suggested the Prairie Street Brewhouse or Octane for lunch. We headed to the Brewhouse, another new place for us. We enjoyed a great meal, some of their fantastic root beer, and a tour of the place - it is pretty phenomenal. Next time we'll have to check out Octane.

Then it was time to head towards home. We will definitely be returning to Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens when the flowers start blooming. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Annual Spring Retreat

The Lucky Charmers once again met at the LOMC in Oregon, Illinois for a few days of fun and quilting. We decided that this is year 7. I missed the first year because I was having back surgery. 

It is so nice to spend quality time with dear friends, many of whom I don't see often. We were missing two of our group this year - both were traveling home from points afar.  

The staff at LOMC fix all of our meals and clean up afterwards. We can sew as much or as little as we want and we enjoy rooms with private bathrooms in a beautiful setting. Saturday was beautiful - a few of us spent a little time outside walking.

As usual there were lots of projects, food, and visiting. I took a few pictures.

Betsy's table runner really looks like spring.

Polly spent some time working on her 365 Challenge blocks. Here are two finishes.

Barb's beautiful quilt:

Krista made the same quilt but in different fabrics.

Polly was working on one of Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt patterns - it has lots of pieces.

Betsy was working on this colorful quilt - it just looked like Spring.

Krista made a very cute table runner.

Sandy made this gorgeous flannel quilt.

Saundra was working on this striking Jacob's Ladder quilt.

I worked on blocks for my teal and black quilt until I ran out of small squares.

Then I put together Fish Sticks.

I already had the blocks made so putting together Tamarack went fairly quickly. I think it needs something more so I'll be adding another border.

I also had the HSTs made for Emerald Isle. I decided to try color bands and I'm pleased with the outcome. Now I need to figure out borders...

I also made great progress with my leader/ender projects. We all enjoyed a very productive few days. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Some quilting is going on...

It's been a long couple of weeks - we helped make pies to benefit our church mission team. I roll pie dough and it really bothers my back. It takes time to recover. It's one of those things that happens every 6 months and I hate to let my team down. I have pain but it is not doing damage to my back so I'll probably continue. I think we made around 350 pies this time. At least we are done for 6 months.

Other than playing with dough,  I've been quilting my Kaffe Fassett quilt. I am free motioning feathers - LOTS of feathers. I'm close to halfway.  I can only free motion quilt for a while and  then I need a break so it takes me a while to get a quilt finished.

I draw a stem and then add the feathers. I don't have a plan other than to draw another stem and add more feathers.

I have a retreat coming up this weekend. Isn't sewing with friends the best?! I really like to kit my quilts before I go so I can do most of my cutting on my cutting table which is a great height for me. 

I have quite a few of these half square triangles done. My plan is to make Emerald Isle by Missouri Star Quilt Company. Of course, one can do lots of things with HSTs. 

I also have these blocks made. The pattern is Four Patch Charm Quilt by tamarackshack.blogspot.ca. I think I'll call the quilt Tamarack. Ray can't wait to have this one done- we both love the colors. I began with a four patch of 5" blue/green squares and a 10" white square. After putting right sides together, I sewed 1/4" around the four edges. Then I cut on the diagonals and squared each piece to 6 1/4".

I think I have 7 quilts traveling with me to the retreat. All fabrics are from my stash. Maybe I'll make some progress. More important though, I plan to enjoy some friends that I don't get to see very often.

Tomorrow I should clean. . . but it's foggy and rainy and cool. It might be a great day for quilting!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Whew - - - it's done! My clean-out-this-stash project is finished!

This is the last quilt - TPP aka Teal-Pink-Purple. 

This quilt is 62" square. I used my quilting rulers to cross hatch this with a free-motion foot rather than marking straight lines.

I used Aurifil thread for the piecing and the quilting and Dream Cotton Batting. The back is a soft lavender and has some of the leftover blocks.

The binding has all of the colors of the quilt.

23 quilts are done and 22 will be or have been donated. I used the few fabrics in my stash that were not my favorites and many not-so-big pieces leftover from other quilts. I began this project 6-months ago in September, 2016. The flannel leader-ender project, started at the same time is still ongoing - those 3 quilts will be finished by next winter. 

I hope to keep my stash a little more under control - this was ridiculous. I'm so glad that these quilts will now go to people who can use them.

Here is a quick recap of the other 22 scrap quilts:

Grandsons' Donation Quilt

Turtle Quilt

Baby Elephants

Brights with White Squares


What's next? I still have a huge stash It does fit into my studio though and in addition to piecing the three flannel leader/ender quilts, I have my Kaffe Fassett quilt from last September to quilt.  I also have six other quilts started using just fabric that I own. It's hard to believe I used to only work on one quilt at a time. I don't think I'll have any problem staying busy...


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