Sunday, August 25, 2013

Virginia Reel

Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed. which give happiness. Thomas Jefferson 
We never enjoy perfect happiness; our most fortunate successes are mingled with sadness; some anxieties always perplex the reality of our satisfaction. 
William James

I found this old quilt top at a local antique store back in June.  I've been meaning to share it with you but I hadn't taken the time to look up the block name.  I finally got around to it so now I can share it with you.

Virginia Reel Quilt Top

The top caught my eye because it is full of strips and plaids pieced at wonky angles.  Then it is sashed with a soft yellow floral.

It is just so wild and crazy you have to love it!  The blocks are all hand pieced and then the sashing was added with the machine.

This is some of the best hand piecing I've ever seen!  The stitches are tiny and very even.

Here is a closer look!  Can you believe how even they are?  Wow!  The only damage on the top is a few small tears on the outer edge of one border.  It's on one of the two borders that are slightly larger than the other two so I think I'll be able to eliminate them by trimming it off there.  I might decide to add another border.  What do you think?  Does it need one?  Then there is the question of how to quilt it... 

Linking with: Sew Many Ways

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bits and Pieces at a Time

Do it now! can affect every phase of your life. It can help you do the things you should do but don't feel like doing. It can keep you from procrastinating when an unpleasant duty faces you. But it can also help you do those things that you want to do. It helps you seize those precious moments that, if lost, may never be retrieved. 
Napoleon Hill

I have been busy in my studio and trying to stay off the computer.  I can actually get a few more things done if I don't spend as many hours in Blog Land!  My husband had a birthday last week, one of those ending in '9', and mine is fast approaching.  They make you think of what you have accomplished in this world so far and what you want to accomplish before you check out.  When you know there are more days behind you than ahead you can really start to zone in on what needs to be done.  Not trying to be morbid here, just facing reality.

One of the realities we faced this month was that our deck had seen much better days.  Here is a picture from last year.  Even the quilt doesn't make it look better.

The Old Deck

Here are a couple of shots from last week.  

Looking out from my dining area door.

Looking up from the yard.

The joists and posts were fine so we didn't replace those.  The top boards and rails were a different story.  I'll have more pictures later.  There are still a few finishing touches to be done but WOW you will like the results.

On the Quilting Front I got this Turning 20 quilted.  It's not mine so you only get a peek.  That's ONE off my to do list marked DONE!

I also got this baby quilt bound.  This is a new picture of the quilt bound and washed.  That makes TWO items DONE!

I'm still playing with the decorative stitches when finishing the binding.  On this one I used a feather stitch and I liked it much better than the 3 step Zig Zag.  I think next time I'll try sewing the binding on the back so the stitches will be on the binding on the front side.

My long losing streak has ended!  I won a prize from none other than the awesome Amy Bradley during the Ho, Ho, Ho Blog Hop!  My prize arrived, the lovely Dragonfly pattern along with a cute little blank card and a discount coupon for her web site.  This one is so cute! It will be on my 'to do list' soon!  Boy does that woman have talent!

Many Thanks to Amy!

This is a picture of my elephant ears because I haven't forgotten about the EQ Giveaway I've been promising.  (Do you get it?  Elephants don't forget.)  This week I hit 50,000 page views on the blog!  I know to many of you this is a small number.  I also am approaching 500 followers if I add up the different numbers of the ways people can follow my blog.  I may be over it but there are some methods that I can't track.  Or, I may be way under because I know many of you have been using different ways to follow since Google Reader stopped and so I may be counting you twice.  

The Elephant Ears have loved all the rain this summer!
One of the reasons I haven't posted was because I couldn't find the EQ7 package.  It had been put in a 'safe place' I was sure but I couldn't remember where.  I've been looking for it for several weeks.  Now I'm not one that loses things on a regular basis.  Even in the chaos of my studio I can usually put my hands on what I'm looking for without to much effort.  There are exceptions to this of course.  Anyway I didn't want to start publicizing the giveaway until I had my hands on it.  Finally this week I found it!  It was of course in plain sight, sort of.  I had been looking for the software box.  Finally I was sitting at my sewing machine and it occurred to me that it had been in the cardboard shipping box last time I saw it.   I turned my head and there it was, right were I had walked by it at least twice every time I went down the stairs to my studio.  LOL 

This little search has made me realize that my studio has reached CRITICAL MASS!  So I have started to put away some of the fabric and projects that have been laying about.  Part of the reason for the mess is that for the months when I was having knee pain I or my husband would just take things downstairs and dump them.  Then in June I cleaned out the extra bedroom removing all the things there that I had been using to sew upstairs.  I made a small dent in things yesterday and will continue to work on it Bits and Pieces at a Time.  I need to be running my Innova and getting a number of quilts done so the cleaning and sorting will be done on my breaks.  NO, I'M NOT TAKING PICTURES of the BEFORE!!!

Oh, but you want to hear more about the Giveaway don't you!  I promised summer, which doesn't end until the 3rd week of September.  I'm thinking it will run the first 2 weeks of September.  This one will be for FOLLOWERS ONLY!  Look for the post Labor Day Weekend.

Well, that's a few bits of what's been happening in my life.  What have you lost or found lately?  

Linking with:  Live a Colorful Life and Richard and Tanya Quilts and 
Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Apples and Cores

You never know how many apples there are in a seed. 


Our apple tree has produced a bumper crop of apples this year.  In the spring I thought it would be a year without many apples because it was so cold when it was is bloom.  There are only a few left on the tree now.  Since we didn't do any preventative treatments there were more than a few spots on the apples from insects and some rot too.  

The last few apples
 My sister gave me the sprout off her tree just a few years ago and we have been amazed at how fast it has grown and how big.  My husband did do some pruning of it back in the winter but probably not enough as once again the branches were bent to the ground from the weight of the fruit.

5 gallon bucket of apples 
I must confess that I did not use as many apples as I let spoil.  Since I try not to eat gluten much and sugar isn't a good option for me either it kind of takes the fun out of desserts.  Sigh.
Look at the apples in my kitchen awaiting my attention I was reminded of the quilt top I purchased last year when we went to the Branson area.  I found it at a large antiques place not too far from the Lambert's cafe.  I don't remember the name of the place because we went to 4 or 5 of them that day and it's been over a year.

Apple Core Quilt Top
 I bought it for several reasons.  I fell in love with the fabrics, it was a good price, and I seriously doubt if I will ever hand piece an Apple Core Quilt top.  It is in fairly good condition considering some well meaning person washed it, sigh.  There are only a couple of blocks that will need repair.

Great Stripes and Plaids in the Mix 

I'll share some of the close up shots of the fabrics.  Some of them remind me so much of my Mother's house dresses and aprons from my childhood.  There are a good many Feed Sack prints, 30's  prints and some probably from the 40's and early 50's.  I'm no expert on dating fabrics so I'm sort of guessing.


Some of them just say little boys' pajamas or kitchen curtains or Sunday dress to me.

Notice the two colorways of the same print in red and blue?  Isn't that fun?

You can see that it is large.  It is covering the double closet doors easily.  I really enjoy looking at all the fabrics in it every time I pull it out.  I don't know how or when I will get it quilted.  I'm thinking maybe a Baptist Fan might look good on it.  How do you think it should be quilted?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Winner Is...

Thanks to all who commented on my Ho Ho Ho Blog Hop Post!  

It was interesting to read your comments about embroidery! I am going to have to pick up one of my projects and get stitching!  Notice I don't have to start one.  LOL

The winner of the Giveaway is Number 79.  This number was picked by the Random Number Generator.  

79. Judy MacLeodAugust 1, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Judy's prize will be sent out as soon as I get her contact info.  Congratulations Judy!

Now for some More Good News!

If you have been following my blog for a while you know that I have been promising for a while to have a 

Giveaway for EQ7 software.  

The Giveaway will be coming soon!  I'll share details in a few days.  So sign up to be a follower so you can have a chance to WIN!  I think there may be another prize or two up for grabs in the near future too.  Stay tuned for all the info.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Flannel Blanket Tutorial

I will continue to distribute blankets, sleeping bags, warm clothing and food on a regular basis, in the hope that my modest efforts will give some comfort to those people we are able help. 
Mohamed Al-Fayed

Do you sometimes find yourself in need of a quick baby gift but you don't have the time to make a quilt?  This is a simple project that can be made in any size you want.  It can be a doll quilt, a baby quilt or like this one a blanket to cover the top of a NICU bed to shield the preemie baby from the harsh lights.

It looks a little strange when you cut it out and are sewing it because the back is so much larger than the front.  This is because the back wraps around to the front side to become a faux binding or edge.  Once you make one the method will make more sense to you and you will want to make several to keep on hand or donate.

For this small NICU blanket a 25" square of backing was cut and a 15" square for the front. Use the formula in the picture above to figure out your sizes to cut.  You may want to make one as big as possible with the yardage you have.  For example if you have a piece of flannel that you can cut a 42" square from this would be your back.  Decide how much of an edge you want to have.  A 10" difference will leave an edge of about 2.25".  If that is what you want then with 1/4" seam allowance the center would be a 32" square.

Match the centers of each side of the backing and front right sides together and pin.  Do two opposites, sew them then pin and sew the two remaining opposite sides.

Place a pin 1/4" away from the edge of the front.  
You must begin and end your sewing at this point 
to leave the last 1/4" free to miter the corners.

Leave an opening of 4" - 5" along one side for turning later.

It will look a little strange with big dog ears at each corner after the first four seams are done.  DO NOT TURN it right side out yet!  Flatten the blanket and center the front making sure each seam is an equal distance from the edge.

Align the outer corners as pictured below.

Press a crease along the 45 degree angle on both sides of each corner as pictured below.

Pin carefully aligning these creases at each corner.

Stitch along the crease at all four corners.  Begin and end your stitching about one stitch length away from the intersection and the edge of the corner.  Be sure to backstitch a couple of stitches at the beginning and end of each seam so it can't come out.

Trim seam.  Press these seams open.

NOW turn it right side out through the opening 
you left in one of the long seams.

Flatten blanket and smooth it out to get the same amount of backing showing at each side. Pin the opening closed.  Press.

Stitch along the seam allowance all the way around.  This will close the opening and you can use a decorative stitch here if you wish.  Contrasting thread would be a nice accent it too.

Finished Flannel Blanket

Isn't it cute?

That's all there is to it!  Let me know if you use this tutorial to make some blankets.  If you wish to make some to donate to a NICU check with them first about what size they would prefer.  This one finished at about 19 1/2" square.  They can be rectangles too you just have to start with 2 proportioned rectangles.

Linking today with: Crazy Mom Quilts

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

More New Projects

It is extraordinary that whole populations have no projects for the future, none at all. It certainly is extraordinary, but it is certainly true. 
Gertrude Stein

I am trying to get down to my studio to get some quilting done but I wanted to share the NEW things I started in July.

I cut out 2 Stripy baseball themed quilts for my charity quilting group.  It seems they can't keep enough masculine quilts on hand.  Most of the ones created have a feminine feel to it.  Too many flowers, pinks and purples I guess.  I rooted out these fabrics from my stash with little effort and had enough for 2 large size lap quilts.  

Two Baseball Themed Stripy Quilt Kits

If you have never made a Stripy Quilt they are FUN and FAST.  I will be sewing it together on my serger since it is all straight seams.  Most of the fabrics are 60 inches wide so it will be a nice size.

My other new UFO is almost a finish.  I quilted a pantograph on this Daisy Kingdom panel.  I think the plaid matched just right for the back.  Now to get it bound.

I have four African Violets hanging in my eating area.  They have been taking turns blooming for several months.  I thought I would share this one with you today.  It is my smallest one.

I was just wondering... when do NEW projects become OLD projects?  Do you have a time frame for it?  Since I am ALWAYS starting NEW projects and don't get many OLD projects finished I have plenty of BOTH.  How about you?

Linking with:  Cat Patches Newfo

Sunday, August 4, 2013

August Goals

Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb. 
Sir Winston Churchill

Well another month has flown by!  I spent most of it with a Christmas mindset and now must come back to the present.  I had a busy month with many goals and made half of them.  I'm calling it a good month because it was a LONG LIST!

Adding to my angst was continuing internet connection difficulties.  I have self diagnosed a router problem and will getting a new one this week.  Hopefully that will be the solution.  I would have done more blogging if it had not been such an exercise in frustration for me.  I have learned when to just walk away and get on with something else.

Charity Baby Quilt
 You can see more details of the Tweety Bird quilt on THIS POST. 

Christmas Tree Skirt
The directions for making the Tree Skirt can be FOUND HERE.

Christmas Table Runner
More pictures of the Table Runner and the quilting on it ARE HERE.  There is a GIVEAWAY OPEN on that post through August 9th.

Flannel Baby Blanket
I have been trying to get the tutorial for the Flannel Baby Blanket done all year.  It was one of those things that needed less than 30 minutes of sewing to finish and then the pictures edited.  It's all done so be looking for the tutorial to post.  It is a great fast gift for a shower.

I'll share a couple of other pictures of NEW PROJECTS on my New UFO Post soon.

July Goals:
  1. Get Christmas Project #1 made and blogged about - DONE
  2. Get Christmas Project(s) for Blog Hop #2 done and ready to blog about - DONE
  3. Get the Baby Blanket Finished (and the tutorial written) - DONE
  4. Get the Top done for the Grandson's Quilt - No Progress
  5. Spend MORE QUALITY TIME with my new INNOVA!!! - DONE
  6. Get at least one Charity Quilt Quilted - DONE
  7. Get at least one Charity Quilt Bound - DONE
  8. Make progress on piecing a Charity Quilt - No Progress BUT 2 Cut Out
  9. Quilt and Bind Log Cabin Quilt - No Progress
  10. Quilt Turning 20 Quilt  - No Progress
This month I need to be chained to my Innova Longarm!  I have at least 12 BED SIZED quilt tops that need to be done SOON!  I'm finally feeling comfortable enough with the machine to get busy on them.  I didn't put them all on the list for the month but I'm hoping to at least make a large dent in the stack!

August Goals:
  1. Get the Top done for the Grandson's Quilt 
  2. Get at least one Charity Quilt Bound 
  3. Make progress on piecing a Charity Quilt
  4. Quilt and Bind Log Cabin Quilt
  5. Quilt Turning 20 Quilt 
  6. Quilt Bow Tie Quilt #1
  7. Quilt Bow Tie Quilt # 2
  8. Quilt Angel Quilt
  9. Quilt Christmas Quilt
  10. Quilt E. C.'s Bed Sized Quilt 
  11. Get Pincushion(s) Made for September Blog Hop

Thursday, August 1, 2013

My Day on the Ho Ho Ho Blog Hop

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. 
Roy L. Smith

Today is my day on the Ho Ho Ho Blog Hop.  First I want to say a big thank you to Madame Sam from Sew We Quilt and Carol from Just Let Me Quilt for making this event possible. Just looking at the posts done yesterday, the first day of the hop, was enough to inspire some more projects for Christmas.  

I was in another Christmas Blog Hop in July and that project was rather large.  This time I went a little smaller.  So without delay let me share the table runner I made for this event.  I really love how it looks on my dining table!

Size 19" x 43" 

This was made from a book by Terry Atkinson call Minnesota Hot Dish.  I don't think it is available anymore but you may be able to find another quilter who has it.

Free Motion Quilting done on my Innova Longarm Machine

A Closer Look at the Muslin Backing

I added an accent flange at the binding.

The threads match too closely for the quilting to stand out.  The top is all batik fabrics.

How about a giveaway?
This little pattern is a good one for beginners.  It could be made to look like a Christmas quilt but doesn't have to.  It also contains the stitchery pattern below.

I'll even add some floss so all you will need to get started is a hoop, fabric and a needle.

These are the ones who you can visit today:

This Giveaway is Closed.  Thanks for commenting.

Linking with: Link a Finish Friday and Sew Many Ways
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