Monday, September 30, 2013

September NewFO's & UFO progress

I can hardly believe it's the end of September already!!! This year has been flying by way too fast. Finally I think I'm getting somewhat of a routine around taking care of Jacob and keeping up with school work to carve out some time to sew. I started two NewFO's this month and finished one just in time! And I helped my granddaughter Jordyn start her first NewFO! I'm linking up with the September NewFO Linky Party hosted by Cat Patches. Here's what I've been up to...

The finish is Jordyn's Love & Peace quilt that she picked out fabrics for last summer. I managed to get the binding done and label sewn on the day of her birthday last week, and gave it to her on Sunday when my son and I went up to my daughter's to celebrate.  It does my heart good to see her smiling like that! It went straight to her room and onto her bed after taking advantage of her uncle's and dad's height to get a full picture of it.
Being in the Marti & Me Club this year is creating lots of opportunities to start NewFOs. The newest start is barely started, but, hey, it's a beginning! The Seven Sisters with accompanying Set H rulers was handed out in late August, but I didn't actually set rotary cutter to fabric until about a week ago. I'm going to make it a Christmas quilt and it should be great fun!
I had this fun fat quarter bundle in my stash, pulled out several more cute Christmas fabrics, and am using the bright snowflakes on white for the background. The first three sets of stars are cut out of these fun fabrics. I got brave and layered up and cut three at a time. I didn't anything sewn together yet, so didn't have any "show & tell" to share at this month's class when I got yet another pattern and set of templates.
The next NewFO I'm working on has to be done in time to mail to Washington, DC, by Thanksgiving to be there in time for my great-great-niece, baby Opal's arrival. Opal is my great-niece's first baby. Chelsea and Dillon are so excited!
Chelsea had expected her MomMom (gramma Cindy) to make her baby quilt, and in a way she did. Cindy had completed tops for a girl quilt, a boy quilt, and a special quilt with things Chelsea likes before she passed away in May. Chelsea's mom, Shelly, stepped up and, although she's not a quilter, she got the three quilts completed including adding some personalization with machine embroidery. Chelsea & Dillon flew back to California for her MomMom's Celebration of Life and a baby shower with family and friends, and she was overwhelmed when she opened the packages with the quilts! I told Chelsea I'd also make her a quilt based on the colors she's using in the nursery and this is what I've come up with.

I'm using Acorn Quilt & Gift Company's Remember Whooo Loves You! Chelsea is crazy about owls and Cindy was crazy about making Irish chains, so this pattern is a perfect solution to include both. I selected fabrics from Maywood Studio's Memories of Love collection, Robyn Pandolph's Beach House collection, and Robyn Pandolph's Incense & Peppermint collection. The colors play so well together and provide enough of the colors Chelsea wants, plus it's beautifully vintage and feminine for baby Opal. The whole quilt will be pieced & quilted with a creamy Aurifil 50.

I worked in EQ7 to create the basic layout of the top so I could play with color placement. After a little online hunting, I came up with swatch jpg's of most of the fabrics and scanned the ones I couldn't find so the digital quilt would look close to the real thing. This afternoon I clipped swatches from the scraps to tape onto my printout so I can see what I need as far as rows sewn together strip-fashion to cut my 2-1/2" x 6-1/2" segments from to make the blocks.  

My goal is to have this quilt top done in October so I have plenty of time in November to quilt and bind it, and have it ready to ship before Thanksgiving. Nothing like a deadline to get me motivated! 

A truly fun NewFO project started in September by my granddaughter is Jordyn's "Road to California" quilt. We took our road trip from Kansas to California together in June and she got to purchase a fat quarter at each shop we found picturing something we saw along the way. Earlier this month she spent the weekend and in two good days she completed the main part of the top! Next visit we'll add borders and get it ready to ditch. While staying at her Nana & Papa's this summer, she made a small quilt in a class and did her own ditch work, so I'm thinking she may do the whole thing! So far the only part I've played is handling the rotary cutter. She's a little impatient, plus she's double-jointed, so her cuts tend to start straight and then veer away from the ruler dramatically. She's practicing on scraps, but for pieces going into the quilt, for now Mormor does the rotary cutting.

Traditional Honeycomb (surface) smocking
A non-quilting (or maybe to be included in some sort of fun artsy quilt someday) piece I worked on in late August, actually, is a North American or Surface Smocking sample. I'm part of the Smocking Arts Guild of America (SAGA) Southwind Chapter in Kansas that meets monthly. This group, which I was a member of years ago before my stint in California with my parents, used to have 15-20 members, but now has shrunk to 4 regulars. And we're getting more spread out after my move. Just to get to the meeting is nearly 3 hours drive for me. I'm not sure how long I'll be able to keep it up with school, Jacob care, and two quilt guilds, but for now I'm still supporting the group. So, anyway, I hosted last month (we're trying out rotating meetings to give me a break) and I taught the gals how to do what my mom called Honeycomb smocking. I've found several books that have instructions and when using gingham as a grid, it's really quite easy. These are my samples done with bright red thread so the gals could see what I was doing and where the stitches needed to be pulled up tight or carried from row to row without cinching. I've seen some gorgeous quilts done with this type of smocking, so maybe I'll try including it sometime for texture.

Honeycomb Variation (front)
Honeycomb Variation (back)
On the variation, the back is where the cool action is. Rami Kim uses this as one of the techniques in her gorgeous quilted garments and accessories. I think it would be gorgeous done on a silk and incorporated into a quilt somewhere. Someday...

For now I'm content with continuing to work on the projects I have at hand. I'm staying too busy sometimes, but plugging away at everything. School assignments are caught up for the moment, but two more due by the end of the week. There's definitely never a dull moment around here!

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Finish... Jordyn's Love & Peace

It's ten days since my last post and I'm happy to say I'm back to post a finish! Hurray!!! It's been a hectic time juggling two classes (at the master's level) with all the reading, papers due, online quizzes and message board responses required. Not to mention my daytime hours of watching little Jake which keep me more and more occupied as he gets busier and into more! So, there hasn't been much time to sew again. Darn! With my granddaughter Jordyn's birthday this week (she turned 10 on Wednesday), I knew I had to get a move on and finish her quilt!

So, I'm linking up with Richard & Tanya and their Link-a-Finish Friday! Thanks for hosting a fun collection of links that encourage us to whittle down those piles of UFOs. :-) 

I started this beauty last summer when Jordyn picked out these fun retro fabrics and brought them to me asking for a "peace sign quilt." It took some time, a trip around EQ7 to figure out the design and layout, and finally it was a top--Jordyn's Love & Peace quilt! I got it sandwiched & pinned not long after and then it sat on a shelf in my closet for months (in fact, two closets because it was finished before I moved last spring!) and as her birthday started to creep up on me, I realized I really needed to get this beauty out and get it quilted and finished so she could have it for her birthday this year.
What better way to kill time while taking care of Jacob than to be hand-stitching the binding down. School work doesn't happen with a 16-month-old in the house, so at least I could be productive for a few hours! It was so cute (and I wish I had pix, but he moves so fast it's hard to catch him when my hands are full of quilt and needle that I'm trying to keep out of his reach). He would come over and get under one corner of the quilt and play "peek-a-boo" and giggle like crazy! Made the time go quickly seeing him so happy playing under the quilt while I stitched.

Unfortunately this quilt is bigger/taller than my little patio fence can handle, but it's the best I an do for now. Hopefully I will get a couple of pix of her with her quilt on Sunday when we have dinner and presents with the family. Looking forward to seeing her face when she opens it! Edited 9/28/13: I put it on my spare bed (double/full) and took a shot and it came out great! She has a twin with a trundle so I'm sure it will be perfect. Not that it will spend much time there--more often than not she's in her dad's recliner or on the couch. Works for me! 
This entire quilt--piecing and quilting, was done with Aurifil 50 threads, primarily in light pink or white, with black on the wild borders.

It's a relief to finally have something in the DONE pile! Next month will be working on my great-great niece's baby quilt for an early December due date. Wish me luck!

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Photo a day Challenge--Week 2

I'm back for another week's worth of photos for the Photo-a-Day Challenge hosted by FatMumSlim. I discovered the companion group on Facebook where I've been posting daily, but thought it would be fun to share my photo posts here as well. This week I got caught up in school work and a sick grandbaby, so didn't get as many posted. So, here's my catch-up for September week 2. 

So, the premise is, there is a list posted just before the first of each month with a prompt for each day of the upcoming month. Here's the list for September, the point at which I joined the fun. Pictures can be posted on Facebook, Twitter (which I have resisted signing up for so far), Pinterest, or blogs, or wherever else we decide to post them. So far, I'm trying to keep up with the daily posts to FB and am adding a weekly blog post just for fun, especially since a number of my pictures will be quilt/crafty related.
Here's my contributions for week two, Sept 9 through 15...
9/9  On the wall... Six generations

9/10  Sweet... Movie night with sweet treats and Sweet Home Alabama!

9/11 What you did today... Hung my brand new flag in remembrance of 9/11/2001.

9/12  Shadow... of the remaining blossoms on my rose bush.

9/13  Unexpected... pleasure of getting to see my grandson on the field for several plays at his first middle school game of the season!

9/14  Liquid... gloves to help with traction while free-motion quilting.

9/15  Season... of the Kansas State Fair! What a fun day, despite the 1"+ of rain we got in the last hour of the day. It was an adventure!

And now I'm caught up through last week and ready to start posting daily again. See you here for a re-cap next week!

More snippets (or photos) from the sewing room soon,

A trip to the Kansas State Fair

Sunday, Sept 15 was the last day of the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson. At the beginning of the fair I had made the nearly four-hour trek (one way) to take quilts to the fair for myself and seven other women from the guilds I'm in. I picked up a friend half way who rode with me the rest of the way, helped with the check-in, after which we enjoyed supper together before returning home. It was pretty much the same routine this weekend, only I picked up a different quilting friend to ride along and help with the check-out.

When we arrived, as soon as we got out of the car, we looked at each other and knew we should have brought some sunscreen! It was hot and muggy with little shade to be found other than along the noisy midway.

However, as you can see in the above picture, a front moved in about an hour later and dumped more than an inch of rain and hail on us in about an hour's time. I had hoped to wander and take some cool midway pix, but instead had to hustle to get the quilts from the exhibition hall to the car, keeping them as dry as possible (in a wagon wrapped in plastic!), and then hightailed it home!

Anyway, when we arrived, Linda and I made our way to the Domestic Arts building and decided to escape the heat and humidity and enjoy the air conditioning while we enjoyed looking at all of the quilts and needlework items that had been turned in for judging by people from across the state. Several of the women whose items I had delivered to the fair two weeks earlier had won ribbons! It was fun finding them and snapping pictures. Between the skylights and fluorescent lighting in the building, and the plastic wrapped around/over all of the quilts to protect them, the pictures aren't the greatest, but I did my best to capture what I could.

This first quilt is queen size with row after row of perfect flying geese and all long-arm quilted with fabulous feathers down each strip of geese. Kathleen, who did the whole thing, was delighted with her 2rd place ribbon when I delivered it back to her last night.
Kathleen's Christmas wall quilt, which was pieced, embroidered, painted, and custom quilted, took first and Best of Show in its class!
Linda had never entered anything in any event and missed the county fair deadline by just a couple of hours. However, with a great deal of encouragement, she entered several items and took ribbons on nearly everything, including two first place ribbons! Way to go Linda!!!
Linda, grinning from ear to ear, next to her queen size Labyrinth she had made for her son.
Linda's pieced and appliqued quilt got 2rd and had great comments.

Linda hand quilted this one, getting yet another red ribbon.
This mini-quilt, which she hand quilted, went to Afghanistan and back with her son, and now has won a blue ribbon.
We both participated in the QOV block contest, which was open to everyone across the state. Everyone was to use the same block pattern, but could pick their own red, white & blue fabrics and color scheme. There was only one ribbon given for appearance and technique and Linda took it!
This is the display board of all of the QOV blocks that were turned in for this year. These will all be turned into QOV quilts by volunteers to be presented to Kansas veterans. Such an amazing and worthy cause to support!
Only one of my four quilts entered took a ribbon, but I'm pleased as punch that Enlightened Souls was the one to win something! Entering any quilts at the state level puts you in a much larger pool of quilters, so taking any ribbon is exciting. This is a very special, original design quilt that I made for a friend, who graciously loaned it back to me to put in the fairs and quilt shows this year. This quilt won blue ribbons in two county fairs and Reserve Grand Champion at one of them, and now second place at state. Woohoo!!! It will be finding its way back to California to Adele before the end of the year to its permanent home with a new label listing what shows it was in and awards won this year.

 Two other gals from our guild also won ribbons. Joan took second on her miniature churn dash that she made at the last minute to enter (I think it's about 15" square).
And Sharon won first on her twilling embroidered table runner and third on her English smocked dress.

After looking at all of the great quilts and other items, it was time to head to the car to get the wagon, claim tickets, and various bags to put all of these quilts into when we returned for check-out. The building was to be cleared and locked at 5pm and reopened at 6pm to let people pick up their items. About 4pm we noticed the rain had started and was dumping like crazy (Weatherbug reported rain was falling at a rate of 3" per hour!). With thunder crashing and lightening flashing, we waited for a lull and about 4:30 we headed out to the parking lot. By the time we got to the cars, it had started again and we sat there for probably 20 minutes waiting for the lightening, at least, to subside so we could make a dash back onto the fairgrounds.
Looking out the window of the metal building we waited in, watching people make mad dashes towards the parking lot!
We got within a block of the Domestic Arts building when it started hailing! We hightailed it into the first open door we saw, which the fair security guy quickly closed behind us. The sound was outrageous being in a metal building with rain, hail, wind, and the nearby thunder! Once again we waited, probably another 20 minutes at least, before the cloud burst passed and we could continue on our way.
Just for fun we took shots of each other inside the metal building while we waited. Linda got her husband's coat and an umbrella when we got to the cars to help on the way back from the parking lot. I borrowed her hat and the umbrella for part of the walk, but mostly just got soaked to the skin.

The plastic ponchos came out of backpacks or were purchased on the midway for last minute protection.
Just across the alley from the Domestic Arts building, water pooled in the street nearly a foot deep!
We enjoyed watching this little guy walk right through the middle of the puddle, still ankle deep on him.
The fair staff came out about 5:30 and announced they had been told by the fair administration office to open the building and let everyone in so those waiting to pick up items wouldn't be left outside in the rain & lightening. So, we moved our line inside and waited for the check-out to begin promptly at 6pm. According to one friend who had been through this process before, we made it through check-out in record time, being fully loaded and on the road by 7:30pm. Everything made it safely to the car without getting wet and was then delivered back to their respective owners.
The sunset behind me as I left Hutchinson was spectacular as I headed back towards northeast Kansas. Viewing all of the quilts entered by quilters from across the state of Kansas was great fun and provided much inspiration. Running like a kid through the rain and attempting to dodge puddles ankle deep (my shoes are still wet two days later) was an adventure. I'm so glad I was able to attend this year and take part in the fun!

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Busy week of school work!

I had great intentions of starting last month's project for my Marti & Me class, which is fast approaching this coming Saturday morning; however, so far all I've done is pull out the fabrics and open and close the box a few times. Instead, those plans were spoiled by multiple assignments due in my master's classes for this semester. Luckily I have gotten my assignments turned in on time and my message board posts done in a timely manner as well. That's certainly a relief! For those who may be wondering, I'm nearly half way through getting a Master's of Science in Gerontology through the Great Plains IDEA online program and I'm enrolled at Kansas State University as my home institution. It's exciting to be pursuing this at my age (yes, I'll be hitting yet another round number in December--the big six-O). I'm still not sure what I'll do with it once I'm done, but at least I'll have accomplished what I set out to do. This semester I'm taking one of the core requirement courses--Nutrition and Physical Activity in Aging, and an elective, Spirituality and Aging. Both are fascinating, but are keeping me pretty much occupied between reading, online quizzes and message boards, and various assignments to be uploaded by specific dates.

I did complete the quilting on Jordyn's Peace quilt last week and got it trimmed. I really need to get the binding sewn on and stitched down since her birthday is a week from Thursday. It will be here all to quickly, so I'd better get on it to be sure it's ready!

For the Marti & Me class last month, we got Marti Michell's template set H to make the Seven Sisters quilt. Some of the gals are only doing table runners with two star clusters, but I'm hoping to make at least a throw size out of a fun Christmas fat quarter bundle I bought several years ago and these cute colorful snowflakes on white as the background. It will probably be for next Christmas, but at least it will have been started. Just what we all need, right? Another NewFO!

And as always, Jacob is keeping me on my toes as well. This week it's been all about the remotes. If I won't let him have the TV remote, he goes for the Wii remotes that are in a cupboard down at his level and is SURE they will do something! I'm afraid not, little buddy, but keep trying. LOL!

Hopefully next week I'll have gotten something accomplished to report, even if it's just that more assignments got turned in on time! That's progress even if it's not on quilting. :-) I am trying to keep up with the FatMumSlim Photo of the Day postings as well, although I missed almost a week already and will be playing catch up once again. And so life goes on. Priorities shift and change. We get up every day and do the next indicated thing. I'm just anxious for quilting to be the focus and the next indicated thing for more than a few minutes at a time. But alas, the semester won't be over until the 2nd week of December, so I have a long couple of months to go before I can really play. I'm thinking seriously about going back to just one class per semester. At least the last semester I had a life some of the time!

More snippets from the sewing room soon...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Photo-a-Day challenge at FatMumSlim's--September 1-8

I've been following Barbara at Cat Patches for awhile now. Not long ago she started posting the most interesting pictures! I started clicking on links in her blog and found the original post of how to play the Photo-a-Day Challenge hosted by FatMumSlim. I discovered there is a group on Facebook where I've been posting daily, but thought it would be fun to share my photo posts here as well. Thank you Barbara for posting something new that caught my interest!

So, the premise is, there is a list posted just before the first of each month with a prompt for each day of the upcoming month. Here's the list for September, the point at which I joined the fun. Pictures can be posted on Facebook, Twitter (which I have resisted signing up for so far), Pinterest, or blogs, or wherever else we decide to post them. So far, I'm trying to keep up with the daily posts to FB and am adding a weekly blog post just for fun, especially since a number of my pictures will be quilt/crafty related.
Here's my contributions for week one...

9/1: Together... Although my sister-in-law Cindy lost her battle with cancer in May, we will be working together on this beautiful quilt top that she started and I will finish as I add my touches to make it ours.

9/2: My name begins with... L! Ms. Moondance Gal loves wearing her vintage, sparkly monogram pin.

9/3: Lines... of quilting from the back of my granddaughter's quilt I'm finishing for her birthday later this month.

9/4: Alone... on the road through Death Valley this summer with a single cloud to keep me company.

9/5: Here forever... After 69 years of marriage and six years apart, on 4/2/12 my parents were reunited for eternity. My brother made this beautiful memory box for me to hold pictures of our folks, the guest book from their memorial services, and other precious items to be cherished here forever.

9/6: Getting ready... to start a new quilt for my great-great-niece due in December!

9/7: White... the Amish doll my mom made for me out of my gramma's vintage linens.

9/8: Made by me... a quilted mandala I designed and made for a class final creative project.

So, new adventures continue as I try my hand at becoming more aware of the world around me (instead of staying holed up inside my home quilting or studying). It's been an interesting challenge to come up with something to fit the prompts, but as I read ahead new ideas are already popping.

More snippets from the sewing room soon,