Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Getting There!

This morning we had a little treat in the backyard. No, not more snow....migrating swans!
 There wasn't good light for taking photos, but I did the best that I could.

There were a few ducks swimming around with the swans.

There were a few over this way too. They were honking at each other.
Mr. Moosebay, who happens to be a bit hard of hearing, thought there were dogs barking.

Aside from the swan honking, it was so quiet on the bay.
 Most of the houses are vacant until next spring.

The blocks and border are all sewn together, the binding has been prepared,
and the top is loaded onto the quilting machine!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Retreat:Works in Progress

I'm sharing a few photos of some of the works in progress at retreat. I wish I had been able to get pictures of everyone's projects--they were all so awesome. Since we have a huge space, we lay out our blocks on the floor near where we are working. These are just a few of the quilts being worked on in my "area" of the room, taken during leg stretching breaks!

Carol was working on this quilt.
I believe it will be a QOV--almost everything she does at retreat  goes to Quilts of Valor.

You can see she is using up LOTS of scraps! 

Jane was working on this fun quilt. Her quilts are SO happy!

Happy, scrappy! 

Bunny cut her leaves with a scrapbook cutting die. So charming!
I love the little fairies dancing inside the mushroom circle.

Cindy's quilt was inspired by the blue sky peeking through the colorful autumn leaves.

This is Jan's work in progress--some very complicated piecing!

 Lydia's cute quilt here is just about finished.

I believe this is Bev's top--totally gorgeous! I liked that there was one twisted block,
but I think she decided to change that.

Perfect piecing and a great mix of repro fabrics! We all wanted to get the pattern for ourselves. 

I made this photo really big so you could actually see the teeny tiny bow-ties that Miriam and Nancy were working on. They both need to make thousands of these little sweeties for their quilts. These are Miriam's.
There are more retreat photos to come! 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sewing Setbacks

I haven't been able to sew a thing for the last three days and I'm feeling a little stressed about it. I am SO anxious to start on something new, but I'm trying to stay focused to finish my A Bountiful Life completely instead of sticking the quilt top into a tub to await the actual quilting. There isn't anymore room in that tub!

Before I was on my forced sewing hiatus, I managed to figure out what I wanted to do on my top (and only) border. I traced out elements from my first block onto Pattern Eze so I would have a placement guide. I only did half of the width, then folded the Pattern Eze and traced the other half so they matched. Since I used parts of a block that I had already appliqued, I had all the freezer paper templates already made and just had to choose my fabrics and start starching--that was a huge time saver! 

See that fabric in the background? I found it in my tub of backing fabrics that I purchase in massive amounts when I find them on sale. Amazingly, it is a Jo Morton fabric--perfect for this quilt!! 
The last three days have been wasted  spent test-driving cars, traveling (in a snow storm)  to the Minneapolis area (Eden Prairie) to purchase the car, learning to use the car's Sync and Nav system (I am going to need a 9 year old child to show me how to do a lot of this), and transferring title, etc. to the gal who bought my old car. Whew! I'm glad all of that is done with. It's all so time consuming and it doesn't help when Mr. Moosebay and the sales people at the dealership start trading car stories to prolong the torture. Yawn.  We did have a wonderful sales person though, and if you are in the market for a Ford, let me know and I'll hook you up--lol!

More retreat photos coming soon!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Bountiful Block of Circles!

My final block of my abbreviated version of A Bountiful Life is ready to trim up. I think this may be my favorite block.
I know, I say that about all of them! I have loved working on this quilt, I have to say.

There is something strange about this block, though. This is how it is positioned in the original quilt. 
I think that what happened to the original quilt maker was something that happens to me ALL the time:

"Oh bother!
 I do believe that I have quite mistakenly sewn my block into my quilt not quite correctly."

 Well, that's how she may have said it--I would have used a bit stronger language, myself ! 
I am going to put my grapevine block into my quilt like this:

There, doesn't that look better? 
There were a LOT of circles in this block (and in some of the others, too!). I really don't mind doing circles since I got my hands on the Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Circles. I purchased mine from my local quilt shop and I'm sure if yours doesn't carry them, they would be happy to order them for you. By the way, this is my personal endorsement--I'm not being paid to say this: I just love them! 

This is how the Perfect Circles are packaged. There are several of each size made from heat resistant plastic. I would say the smallest is about 3/8" and the largest is 2".They come with the ring clip to keep them from escaping--trust me, they are slippery little devils and try to run away!
 Cut a square of fabric about a quarter inch larger all around and then snip off the corners
Using a  heavy thread, stitch all around within the seam allowance with tiny stitches.

Gather up the stitches around the plastic Perfect Circle and knot  it tightly.

Spray some heavy starch into the can cap and, using a Q-tip, saturate the entire fabric circle.Allow it to  sit for a minute or so to let the starch really soak in, then press the circle until it's completely dry.

When the fabric is completely dry, just snip one of the basting stitches and remove the plastic Perfect Circle. There is no need to remove the stitching thread.
 TIP: I iron freezer paper to my pressing surface to protect it--you can see my paper is well used! When you are ready to remove the freezer paper, warm it a little with your iron to make it easier to peel off of the ironing board.
I know, mine is disgusting! Just think if that was my unprotected ironing surface.

Tada!! Here is a perfect circle. How easy was that???

On to the border of A Bountiful Life!!

Linking to Podunk Pickin's HERE

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Making Progress at Retreat

I'm getting near the end of my mini version of A Bountiful Life. 
Before I left for retreat, I managed to finish up one more block AND get the all nine of the finished blocks trimmed to size.
I'm not sure what those wings on the urn are supposed to be--a Stag-horn fern maybe?
I sewed the nine finished blocks together while I was at retreat. 

Hmmm....maybe I should just make a square quilt? 

Too late, since I already had the final three blocks prepared to applique. 

One thing I really wanted to get done was the table runner background I need to have ready for my Kim Diehl machine applique class I am taking in November. Once that was out of the way, I felt a lot better.The squares in the center will be covered with appliqued flowers, so I didn't worry about matching the rest of my fabrics.

I spent the rest of retreat appliqueing my A Bountiful Life blocks and managed to finish up two more blocks! I'm getting SO close--I can see the end in sight!

Bountiful Fruit!
These are "red-winged blackbirds in blue".

I wasn't the only one working on applique at the retreat. These are some of Sandi's blocks, and they are spectacular! She is using true needle turn applique to do Blackbird Design's Bird of a Feather quilt. 

Sandi's background is from the Mary's Muslin line by Windham #26599--gorgeous!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hot Hexies

I think everyone knows that hexagons are the hottest things going right now. There was some hexie love going on at retreat. Check out these fun quilts:

Hexagons of all sizes!
 Cindy's cute table topper (upper left)  is from the latest issue of Quilts and More.
Terry was working on a version that can be machine pieced in rows (lower left).
My cousin Barb made the English Paper Pieced wall hanging on the right

This is Terry's quilt a little further along.  The size really shows off the fun fabrics.
Terry has information on the ruler she is using to cut her hexagons at her blog Notes from Terry Ann

Barb's amazing quilt is made with 3/8 inch hexagons. Check out the fussy cut half diamond in the upper left corner!

A close-up of some of the diamonds.
More retreat photos to come soon!!

Linking up to Help for Hexie-aholics at Sara Did It 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Green Lake Retreat

I got back from retreat today and have a lot of fabulous Show and Tell stuff that I will share as soon as I do a little photo editing.

In the meantime, this is a shot of Green Lake in Spicer, MN where the retreat takes place. 

We had some wonderful weather! Our sewing tables overlook the lake.

Somehow, I almost always end up in Room 101, AKA: The Scary Jesus Room. 

The room gets it's name reputation because of this picture that hangs in the room.
I'm not sure if he is that scary. I think he looks a little disappointed, myself.

The most important day of the retreat is Monday. After dinner, we have Show and Tell.  It  is awe inspiring and I can't wait to show some of the wonderful quilts that were shown soon. 

This is what's in store if you don't have any Show and Tell:
Yes, you will be doomed to do the hokey pokey. You can bet that I will be sure to
always have some Show and Tell to share! 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Anita's Arrowhead block

I am just about out the door to go on retreat, but thought I would share a fun block. Last year, a friend, Mickey Smith, showed me how to make Anita's Arrowhead block (PDF instuctions for 8" block here) from charm squares. The construction of the block was figured out by Anita Grossman Solomon, who, in my opinion, is a genius when it comes to slick piecing. When you use two five inch charms squares, you end up with a block approximately 4 3/4". The blocks are so cute finished, and they look like you did some really difficult piecing when in reality, it is super easy!

This is my version of Anita's Arrowhead made from my ugliest charms. Most of the charms I used for this little quilt were rejects from my Trick or Treat basket quilt. 
To make the blocks from five inch charm squares, just change the space you leave open when sewing around the square to one inch. When you cut the sides after sewing, move your ruler into the block three quarters of an inch from your stitch-line (that will be the most accurate, because the charms have pinked edges and sometimes it is hard to determine where to place your ruler to cut one inch in from the edge).

Close-up of one block. Some of my charms were cut from border prints, making the contrast kind of  "mushy".
That's it! I squared mine up to 4 3/4 inch blocks--couldn't quite squeeze five inches out of them, but you do end up with 2 blocks.

I quilted mine with clam shells and a feather border (this is the back view).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Where Did the Week Go?

Wow! This week has gone by so fast!

 Last Thursday was an eventful day. I went to a quilt show in Walker that was held at the casino. It was a nice little show--too bad I forgot my camera! We stopped at Piecemaker's quilt shop in Hackensack, where I added a little more to my Jo Morton stash.

After I got home, and because I am so graceful, I rammed my foot into a stool at our snack bar and broke my little toe on my left foot. I have been avoiding shoes as much as possible. I'll spare you a photo showing my purple foot.

Sunday was my birthday. Mr. Moosebay made me this lovely cake.

Marble cake, orange vanilla frosting, Halloween sprinkles. I'm not sure why he chose to use this small glass pan,
as the cake was unbaked in the center and collapsed.
 It's the thought that counts, Mr. Moosebay! 
He's very good at making brownies, though. Cake, not so much!

Monday, Sandi and I were hostesses for our Pinetree Patchworker's guild meeting. There was such a great turn-out--more attendees than there have been the last few months. There was lots of wonderful show and tell--again, I forgot my camera! Oops! I made this popcorn snack mix just because I thought it looked so cute.
photo from Sing For Your Supper blog
I did manage to get another block finished. Every time I start a new block, I think it's my favorite. It was fun doing the little wonky "eyes" on the peacocks tail-kind of quirky. I like quirky!

The comb and toes were not so fun--my fabric ravels so easily  that it literally
falls apart as you try to turn it. 
Of course, I've also been working on getting ready for the Green Lake retreat that starts this Saturday. I haven't touched the projects (packed up in a tub) that I took along to last spring's retreat, so I needed to sort through them to figure out what I had on my hands. Good thing, too, since I had taken out books with instructions and rulers needed for cutting triangles, etc.

Yesterday, I got my supply list for a class I am taking at Gruber's in November. Kim Diehl is teaching applique by machine on a table runner from the Simple Graces book. We need to have the background blocks put together before class, so we can get right to the applique process. I'll be spending today cutting fabric and repacking my retreat tub so I can work on mine at Green Lake.
This is the table runner we will be appliqueing: Cottage Garden
Although I love doing my applique by hand, I will never be able to get all of the projects done that I would like to if I don't speed up the process. I'm hoping I will like the method that Kim teaches (edges are turned, then sewn in place by machine) so I can get through some of those "some day" patterns started.