Where’s Wendy?

I have fallen off the proverbial blogging cliff the last couple of weeks. So, where have I been and what have I been up to?

It all began two weeks ago when the cold/flu bug went through our house, taking me with it. I slept more than I ever thought humanly possible, at least for me. Needless to say, there was little quilting going on at that point.

Now that I’m in recovery mode, I have gotten back to my quilt cave, so let me share a little of what I’ve been up to.

Remember that little basket of quilt squares for the commission quilt? The little squares are slowly disappearing from the basket and ending up as blocks on my design wall. Each finished block will be 8″ square. There are 53 pieces in each block. Unlike other quilt blocks, I don’t chain piece these because there are too many bias edges to get messed up. So I am taking my time. Once the blocks are done, there will be many intersecting places when I join the blocks together, so I’m keeping everything crossed that my blocks will match up well.

In the evenings, I’m keeping busy working on the finish of these little woolies. I have twelve of these blocks and I am stitching them onto this large piece of felted wool. I’m also going slowly with this, as it is difficult to stitch around the blocks with so much extra fabric. I attach the blocks first with a few strips of Steam A Seam Lite 2. I use a press cloth so I don’t singe the wool, and I use steam. So far it is working well as far as holding the blocks in place. This is the first of two wool quilts that I’m finishing. The second will be similar, but has more appliqué in the borders.

 

I’ve started another project with wool appliqué blocks, but this time the background is cotton fabric. It is a Norma Whaley pattern, and I’m very excited to see how it turns out. It has alternate blocks that are pieced. Here’s the first two appliqué blocks.

Other than that, I’ve just been piddling around in my quilt cave while I work on the commission quilt. I made this fun little mug mat with some very wonky quilting. I like the bright colors.

I’m linking up today with Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Happy Friday, friends!

Wendy

 

The Coming of Age Quilt

I used to say to my mother that quilting was a “coming of age” kind of thing. You had to be a certain age to be able to quilt. This was an ongoing joke between us because of my first attempt at quilting.

I had found a quilt pattern in a magazine, bought and cut the fabrics according to the pattern, and began sewing, diligently following the instructions. It didn’t work. I was so disappointed. I had really wanted to call my mom and tell her I had made a little quilt all on my own.

I called her, likely in tears, telling her I couldn’t quilt. This was a huge disappointment to me because my grandmother was a seamstress, my mother quilted and so did my sister-in-law. I was pretty sure that quilting should come easily to me. She chuckled and told me to pack it all up, magazine and all, and send it to her. I did. After she had taken a look at it, she called me back and told me there was a mistake in the pattern. In spite of that, I still told her that maybe I wasn’t old enough to quilt yet. And that became our little joke.

The very first quilt I did successfully make was this  mini log cabin, which I made a few years later.

The pattern came from the book Little Quilts All Through the House by Alice Berg, Sylvia Johnson, and Mary Ellen Von Holt, which I still enjoy pulling out now and then. The patterns are very basic and simple, and timeless — easily updated with today’s fabrics.

I enjoy making log cabin blocks because they have a rhythm as the strips wrap around the center square — light, light, dark, dark is the way I used to remind myself as a beginner. I went on to make quite a few log cabins in those first years.

I made this quilt in the late 90’s, starting on an afternoon at my friend Connie’s house, while we each stitched on our projects and my two kids ran around us playing. (Those two kids are now both young adults, so this little mini would have quite a few stories to tell.)

I went on to finish all the blocks, pieced them together, hand quilted it and made the binding, all on my own. Close examination of the quilt shows some of the things I still needed to learn, but all in all, I was very pleased with the outcome.

I called my mom and told her I was finally old enough to quilt. We had a good laugh about that.

Linking up today with LeAnne at Devoted Quilter.

Wendy

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Projects

It’s a two-cuppa-coffee morning here, as I sit and try to figure out what to share with you on this post.

While I’ve been productively quilting this past week, I’ve been working on blocks that I won’t be sharing until the project is done. I am trying to figure out how best to work on those blocks but also allow time to get things done that I can post about. I haven’t found a rhythm to that yet.

So here’s what I’m hoping to work on this weekend while I’m also working on the other project. In past posts, I’ve talked about some woolie blocks I’ve been working on. I have had two different woolie projects going. The blocks for both projects are now done. I have the finishing details for one set, and that is what I hope to get going this weekend. It will be good sewing for the evening as the blocks are set onto the background wool by hand. Here are four of the 12 blocks for this project.

The blocks are laid out on a felted wool background. They will be fused to the background, then I’ll handstitch around each block. A few final touches after that and the quilt will be done.

Today is First Friday Coffee with some of the ladies from church. We do this every first Friday of each month, hence the name. Clever, huh? It’s a good break from my work and gets me out of the house. Other than being gone all day Tuesday, I have not left the house this week. It’s time for me to see some friends face to face.

Anyway, the sun is peeking out, the sky is blue, and we have another day to enjoy. Thanks, friends, for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend!

Wendy 

 

January Block Report

Well, here we are, February 1st. These months go by quickly, don’t they?

I’m keeping track of the blocks I make during each month this year. I have a specific page in my planner to note them. I thought I was keeping pretty good track until I reviewed the blocks this morning. I need to add to my total in my planner!

Here’s the review of what I accomplished during January.

182 Days of Winter Solstice Challenge – I am keeping up with this so far, having made 6 blocks this month.

Twirl Me Pillow – This pattern consisted of 16 paper-pieced blocks. I have completed this project. I will add a center button, once I decide on one.

Sundrops Quilt – I completed this quilt top this month, and it is now in the hands of Connie, who will do the quilting for me. This quilt had 39 blocks.

The 70273 Project – So far I have sewn 27 blocks for this project. These go together so quickly!

Little Wool Sampler Quilt – I finished the last of the nine blocks for this project. This was a Quilt Along, so I’m waiting for the final instructions on completing this quilt.

Commission Quilt – I began working on this quilt, which I am making at the request of a friend. I have completed 3 blocks. My goal is to complete 2 blocks per day, at least. I’ll keep you in the dark on this one until it has been given to the new owner.

The Commission Quilt pieces

If I tally up the block count, I have made 92 blocks this month.

I need to do this each month. I often finish a month, or even a week, and don’t feel like I’ve made much progress at all. Reviewing my month is really helpful for me.

Do you follow the progress of your work?

Happy stitching, friends!

Wendy

 

Pieceful Monday

Hey! Thanks for stopping by! Why don’t you grab a cup of coffee or tea and let me tell you about my weekend. It was a good one; some time spent with friends, some sewing, some relaxing.

I had been looking forward to Friday for a few weeks. Two of my favorite people were coming to stitch some X blocks for The 70273 Project with me.  Ruth and her daughter, Emma, arrived around 10 am and we went right to work. Emma wanted to learn to do some stitching as well as commemorate some history, so these blocks were just the thing. She picked up the sewing so quickly, even making the quilter’s knot was easy peasy for her.

That beaming smile is so Emma! She is one of the sweetest people I know!

Her mom, Ruth, picked up the sewing quickly and made some too.

They made the trek all the way here (about an hour drive), so I wanted to give them a little something. And I was looking for an excuse to make two more zipper pouches. I made a little one this time for Ruth. I really think I need a little one. Perfect for a mini makeup bag for a purse!

It was a fun day, with sewing, chatting, a little lunch in Northfield and a teensy bit of shopping, and more sewing! Emma made four blocks, I made three, and Ruth two. We are hoping to do it again soon!

Saturday I spent most of the day in my quilt cave, working on the first block for the commissioned quilt. No pictures to show until the quilt is finished, but the blocks are really fun. Those little pieces and all that sewing on the bias made the first block a slow one. Now that I have the process down, I think it will be a little quicker on the next blocks. I have 30 of them to make in all.

I also needed to get Block 6 of the 182 Days of Winter Solstice Challenge done. Honestly, I had no idea what fabric to use with this block named Crosswalk. It had me stumped. I had two lovely pieces of fabric that I had received from Bernie of Needle and Foot when I participated in her Book Share last year. A few of us read The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian, and when we sent the book off to the next reader, we tucked in some fat quarters that made us think of something in the book. Bernie sent me the blue and the green patterned fabrics. And suddenly, an idea for Block 6 came to mind.

This block makes me think of walking board walks in nature sanctuaries that are surrounded by water. The figured green fabric makes me think of water with lily pads, the solid greens make me think of the lush greenery in the nature preserve and the blue, of course, is the water surrounding it all. It is probably my favorite block now of the challenge.

However, my blocks 1-6 are definitely an eclectic mix. My tendency toward having all things match is a little at war with this gathering. I keep thinking I should remake some of the blocks so they all go together, but I won’t. It’s good for me to have to stretch a bit.

 

Blocks 1-6

A couple of years ago, my two kids gave me a petite orchid for Mother’s Day. It is finally blooming once again. This poor little plant has had some rough going in my care, so I didn’t know if it would survive. I gave it some TLC and it has rewarded me with 5 little buds, one has opened to a pretty little bloom.

Yesterday I nicked my thumb with a knife while making lunch. I was rushing because I was hangry. My daughter suggested I not be allowed around knives any longer (my third cut, not nearly as terrible as the first). At any rate, I decided not to quilt yesterday and wait until there was enough healing so that no blood would stain the fabric. Aren’t you glad I shared that with you?

So yesterday, Max and I did alot of this.

So today I am ready to get going on those quilt blocks!

Happy Monday, everyone! Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave a comment, I’d love to talk with you!

Linking up today with Cooking Up Quilts and Em’s Scrapbag.

Wendy

 

A Few of My Favorite Things

I am really excited about today. I have friends coming to visit, and we are going to stitch, chat, and laugh. These two ladies, mother and daughter, are like bright rays of sunshine when I’m around them. They are two of the sweetest people I know. Friends. One of my favorite things (I know, I know — friends are not things, but you know what I mean)!

All the pieces are cut for the commission quilt. My plan is to spend the day working on it tomorrow. With all those little pieces, I expect some chain piecing will occur. So the timeliness of my next favorite thing couldn’t have been better.

Earlier this year, I decided to sign up for the Sew Sampler Box from the Fat Quarter Shop. As a kid, I thought grab bags were fun because I never knew what I would get. The Sew Sampler Box isn’t a grab bag, but it does come each month and I can’t wait to see what going to get. It’s possible that gift giving and receiving is a love language of mine – haha!

Anyway, back to chain piecing. One of the most tedious parts of chain piecing is cutting the string of blocks apart. The ladies at Sunflower Quilts have come up with this handy little tool. Imagine my surprise when I opened my Sew Sampler Box and found one waiting for me. Yippee!

Tucked in that little notch is a sharp blade. You take your string of chain piecing and just drop the threads between the pieces over the blade in this little wedge. It has a non-slip base so it stays put. I am really looking forward to using this tomorrow!

I am a somewhat organized creative, which means I have organized piles here and there. While I usually have a mental to do list, I have never used journals and/or planners with much success.  However, this year I want to use a planner to help me stay on task with my quilting projects, plan out my blogs, etc. So I purchased The Quilter’s Planner. While it’s still too early to say that this has revolutionized my life, I am enjoying using it. So this is another of my favorite things.

I ordered both the large planner and the mini. The mini tucks easily into a purse, so will be handy to take along to a store, etc. Both are so much more than just your usual planner, with pages for sketching out a quilt design, resources such as quilt sizes, etc., as well as quilt patterns. There is quite a bit packed into this planner.

(By the way, I’m just letting you know about these two items. I’m not an affiliate. Just an ordinary quilter who finds fun stuff to use.)

So there you have some of my favorite things. I’ll leave you with just one more. I hope you have time today and through the weekend to relax and enjoy your favorite things as you sip your coffee or tea.

When I want to treat myself, this is how I have my coffee. It is best enjoyed with a friend.

Hope your weekend is stitched together with love, joy and laughter!

Wendy

What I’ve Been Up To

I woke up this morning at 5:30. Those who know me well know that I generally don’t describe myself as a morning person. I am a night owl, definitely. I was thinking about that this morning, that right now I’m a night owl and an early bird. That combination often causes a mid-afternoon nap. Anyway, I’ve had two cups of really good coffee this morning, while looking at this lovely view.

We finally have some nice snow to cover all the drab brown and ice. I’m looking forward to a day of conversation with my sewing machine! Here’s what I’ve been up to this week.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I’m working on a quilt for a friend. I’ve been cutting all the pieces for this quilt over the last week or so. It amazes me that in this little basket (6″ x 6″) are almost all the pieces for the top of a quilt! This is probably the last you will see of this project until the quilt is done and in her hands.

There are over 1000 pieces in that little basket!

When working on a project like this, I can tend to get tunnel vision and work on nothing else. I get frustrated when I do that, because the work becomes mundane and I lose the joy of the process. So I’m learning to schedule time inbetween working on this project to play with something new. So here’s a peek at what I’ve been doing to take a break from cutting, especially when my lower back is tired.

I’m still working on X blocks for The 70273 Project. I currently have 17 blocks done. I’m all out of white fabric, so I’ll be replenishing that this week. I have friends coming on Friday to stitch some blocks with me. It should be a fun day!

I’m also keeping up with the Winter Solstice Challenge by Pat Sloan. She sends out a new block each Wednesday. Here is the block from 2 weeks ago, called Cobble Stone. I seem to be taking these names literally, since I looked for some scrap fabric that might look like cobblestones. This was a piece left over from a quilt backing. It’s not an easy fabric to blend, but it seems to work okay for me in this block.

And this is last week’s block, called Gramma Anna’s Basket. I used cotton fabric from Margo Krager’s line along with purple wool for the basket. I may add some embellishing at some point; the basket seems lonely . . .

I have now finished the blocks for two separate wool block quilt alongs. This is the last of the 9 blocks from the Little Woolen Sampler by Jenifer Gaston of Woolen Willow. I’m sorry to be done with this one; it was such fun to stitch these little blocks!

Last of all, this block is a work in progress. The original pattern, by Jan Patek, is a pillow. I’m not sure if I’ll go with a pillow or just make it a mini quilt. The top and right side of the block will have half-square triangles added to it. I’m also thinking I’ll add some of Sue Spargo’s fun stitches to the flower and heart, to add a little pizzazz and uniqueness.

Keep in mind that I haven’t done all these this week, I’m just not quite that productive! Sometimes I get so distracted I don’t feel like I make any progress at all. Little projects like these help me stay focused and provide a nice break from the slow work of cutting pieces.

I hope you enjoy a cozy day of stitches!

Wendy

 

 

A Week Well Finished

Well here we are, it’s Friday once again. Remember as a kid how the days seemed to linger on forever? Now it seems like I wake up Monday and when I go to bed it’s Friday. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Most of my week has been cutting the pieces for a quilt I’m making for a friend. The colors are really lovely, and the quilt will be fun to make. I’m hoping to finish, or at least get a good chunk of the remaining cutting done over the weekend so I can begin sewing next week.

In between the cutting — I need to take a break from that now and then, my back tells me — I have been sneaking some little projects in. I now have 5 Winter Solstice blocks done. They are truly an eclectic mix. I’m just making the blocks out of whatever turns my crank! Pictures coming in another post.

I’m still working on my blocks for The 70273 Project. These are such simple blocks and they are great to work on while watching a show. I think I have 14 made now. Next Friday I’m having a couple of friends down and we are going to stitch blocks for the day. It should be great fun!

One quick project I worked on this week was to make a knife holder for our steak knives. I don’t have a knife block, I don’t like all the clutter on the counter. (If you could see my counter, you would find that statement laugh-out-loud funny.) Anyway, I’ve kept the knives in a drawer, but wrapped them in a dishcloth because they are very sharp and I didn’t want anyone reaching in and cutting themselves.

Awhile ago, I ordered a pack of fabric for a quilt, and when the fabric came I realized it wasn’t what I had thought it would be. It is a mix of denims, some light, some heavy. Rather than return it, I just decided I’d keep it and see what I could create with it. I have some ideas, of course. One of them was to make a knife holder, so I finally go to it.

I decided to use a dark charcoal denim for the outer fabric and pulled a red/brownish homespun that I had in my stash for the lining.

I cut three pieces of fabric, 12.5″ x 14.5″, one from the backing fabric and two from the lining. I also cut one piece of very thin fusible fleece to the same measurement. Taking one lining piece, I folded it in half the long way, so it would now measure 6.25″ x 14.5″.  I also cut one strip 1″ x WOF for the tie.

I figured about 2.5″ for each knife pocket. That was actually a little wider than I needed in the end, but I decided to leave it as it gives a little room for the knives to shift. So that makes 10″ I’d need for the knife pockets. That left me with about 2.25″ on each end, so I marked that off, then marked each pocket off on the folded piece of lining. Once the marking was done, I sewed the pockets.

 

I used a light grey pencil to mark the lines. As long as I had good light, I could see them easily, but they don’t show up on the photo!

Once the pockets were sewn, I put the pocket piece atop the lining piece and tacked it on the left and right sides to keep it from slipping around as I finished the piece.

Then I ironed the fusible fleece to the wrong side of the lining piece. I probably could have skipped this step because of the stiffness of the denim, but I wanted a bit of cushioning for the knives.

Then I layered the lining piece on top of the backing piece, wrong sides together. I marked the pocket lines all the way to the top of the lining piece, then sewed through all layers on those marked lines, sewing over the pocket lines once again (for added strength).

Then I made the tie piece, folding and pressing the strip in half, then unfolding and folding to the fold mark on each side. I stitched that together.

It’s getting late at night; I’m determined to get this done!

Then I tacked the tie to the backing before I add the binding.

I rounded the upper corners of the piece before adding binding. In the end I wish I would have done so on the bottom corners too. The bulky fabric made the mitered corners a challenge.

I sewed the binding down by machine. And Voila — it was done!

It was a fun, quick project and it looks much nicer in my drawer.

So it’s been a good week with some fun projects in my quilt cave!

Happy Friday, all!

Wendy

Wednesday Work

With the ice storm we had earlier this week, I was happy to just tuck in and get some stitching done. My next project is a quilt for a friend, so I’ve been busy cutting, cutting, cutting. I’m about halfway done. Currently I’m working on 1-1/2″ squares. 960 of them! I’m over halfway done with those. Here’s a picture I snapped yesterday. Hard to believe that little basket of pieces will become a quilt!

Shelly over at Prairie Moon Quilts is starting another year of The 350 Blocks Project and I’ve decided to give it a try. Click on the link to learn more about this project. Why not join us? I think it will be a great way to stay motivated and encouraged as we quilt throughout the year.

Every Sunday morning as we enter our church, we are greeted by Dean. He is one of the kindest and happiest men I know. Last Sunday he gave me a gift that he made, just for me. I love it because it’s from him. I’ll leave you with the thought it expresses.

Quilting mends the soul.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Wendy

 

Twirling Finale!

Happy Monday, everyone! Thanks for stopping by and seeing what I am up to. I enjoy reading and responding to your comments, so feel free to leave a comment or two.

A few posts ago, I wrote about putting the Twirl Me pattern together from Beth at Cooking Up Quilts. You can read my first post here. It is really a fun pattern to do and it’s paper pieced, so getting those precise points is a breeze.

That lovely 18″ block has been on my design wall for a few weeks now. I liked it there, smiling at me every time I looked up. Besides, if I used that excuse then I could delay trying to decide how to quilt it for a bit longer. However, I knew that since I posted a Part 1, there really should be a Part 2. I had to decide what to do.

I flip flopped between making a pillow or a mini quilt. I flip flopped between no quilting (if a pillow), hand quilting, or free motion quilting. I finally decided on hand quilting, because I figured I could do the least amount of damage that way.

It didn’t work. I didn’t like the look of the hand quilting and I didn’t have the right thread for the hand quilting.

That left me with free motion quilting. No big deal, right? I mean, this was just a sample block for fun. But I like the block and I didn’t want to wreck it. I’m working on getting over free motion fear, and I think I made some progress toward that this weekend.

I settled on making a pillow. I realized that since I was going to fuse some very thin batting to the top for a little stability before adding the pillow form, I could actually do some quilting without having to put my walking foot or free motion foot on.

So I opted for just doing some freehand lines, letting let the block tell me what to do. Have you ever done that? Or do you always plan your quilting? It actually was pretty relaxing. I’m not sure I would say this actually counts as free motion quilting, truly, but it was close enough for me to gather a little bit more confidence in moving toward more free motion practice.

As a little side note that filled me with all sorts of happiness, a little while ago I won a pack of 20 threads of my choice from Aurifil. I found thread to match all the colors in this pillow from that pack. I love it when stuff like that happens!

I started with the center, first following the shape of the green pinwheels. Then I decided to quilt some lines like rays on the blue. I just drew them in lightly with a pencil and went to town.

Here’s a close up.

Next came the brown patterned section. I decided to use the red hexi as my pattern for quilting.

It was kinda fun, like having a brain teaser while I was stitching. How can I stitch all around this red pattern without stopping? Some were easier than others, and I did have to do some backtracking.

Here’s what the back was looking like at that point. It was nice knowing I didn’t have to hide my knots!

The black and white borders were done just with straight line quilting running the length of the strips.

The red points were just a quick echo stitch around the inside. The white, brown and blue blocks around the points were echo stitched, for the most part.  I think I was getting tired after all the brain teasers in the red patterned phase, being blonde ‘n all . . .

Once the top was done, I quickly made the pillow back with another piece of black and white fabric from my stash.

Then it was time to tuck the pillow form in. Drum roll, please . . . here is the finished pillow!

I’m very happy with the way it turned out. I might just add a funky button in the center of the green pinwheel. We’ll see.

There are so many fun options with this pattern. Beth shows some different ideas on her post. If you like, why not give it a twirl!

Keep those stitches running!

Linking up today with Em’s Scrapbag and Cooking Up Quilts.

Wendy