Saturday, September 5, 2009

I'm Back!.. And Finished!

So what would the summer be without a few new projects? I have long wanted to make a Double Wedding Ring quilt. It's one of those quilty "most dos". But for a long time I couldn't decide what kind to make or what color or whether to use a fabric theme. Then I saw the quilt "Autumn Wedding" in Quilters Newsletter Magazine #386 (October, 2006). I loved it because it was bed sized (and at the time I had not yet completed a bed sized quilt) and it had a unique color scheme of browns, sage greens, reds and golds that went perfect with my bedroom decor (as you know from my pictures, I have a sage colored headboard).

Then for a long time the debate was what method to use to make it (Traditional piecing with templates? John Flynn's strip pieced method? Cheryl Phillips "Rings That Bind" method?) and most of all how the heck would I find and buy all the range of fabrics I needed in the colors I needed for it? In the end I felt I wanted to try the traditional way at least once (even though I had by then purchased the books and templates for the other techniques as well). To that end there were two traditional template sets: Marti Michel's and Shar Jorgenson's. Both cost about the same and had extra templates (a seperate purchase in Shar's case) to also create Orange Peel quilts. Both were fairly expensive template sets, a bit of a negative for me since I had already invested quite a bit of money in tools I hadn't used and did not want to invest so much money in additonal templates and then only (possibly) make one. As luck would have it, I found someone on Ebay selling Shar's set with the additional template in one auction for half the original price. Needless to say I bid on it and fortunately, I won! But now the fabric was still an issue.

The fabric question was eventually solved when Connecting Threads came out with their "Country Essentials - Fall" line. It had all the colors I needed in one set and at their reasonable fabric prices (great since I needed so much)! I quickly bought a 38 piece fat quarter sampler and brown yardage for the border, I already had a stash of background creams and tans and a few rust fabrics to supplement. I looked forward to making an "all CT" quilt.

It was always on my mind to start this but the push was finding out this year that CT had started chat group section on their website. One of the groups set up was for people making DWR quilts! Cool! Encouragement! Comraderie! Just what I needed! I signed on and made plans to get started.Well, as always it was a slow start but right now I have squares cut for my block centers (they will have applique added before being cut into the curved forms) and I have made three of the five rows of arcs needed for the blocks (each block needs eight and there are four blocks per row). I'm hoping to get the rest of the arcs done by the end of the weekend so I can start the applique next week.

I have two more "all Connecting Threads" quilts planned so I may make these my Fall projects and try to get them all done by the end of this year.

As I talked about in Part 1, I just redid my sons' bedroom and decided it was time for new quilts. Last year I made them quilts with fabrics that related to their favorite things. The pattern was Kaye Woods "Six-Hour Quilt" and was made with a serger and are reversible.

But the challenge was what to make for the new ones. Well, going back to my "must do" quilt list, I've long wanted to also tackle string quilts and denim quilts. I've been saving my sons jeans as they've out grown them for a while now and have quite a denim stash. When I joined the "Quilters Club of America" they offered a free Fons & Porter pattern that I had seen demonstrated on one of their shows (episode 408). One day it hit me that this was the perfect combo of the two: where they used batiks, I could use denim, where they used neat strips, I'd drain the string bag I'd been building up. As a bonus, the design is pieced in a "Tumbling Blocks" layout, not a "must do" for me but one I don't mind trying. Even better the plan was to have my sons piece the strips together themselves - a little project to keep them busy as the summer winds down. Perfect!
So we got started but have been interrupted by another busy week (a death in the family) but I'm looking forward to having them continue to piece the strips when they come home from school over the next month (a little extra homework assignment!).

So that's it for me, I'm up to date.
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Friday, September 4, 2009

I'm Back! - Part 3

Next summer project: After I finished the Dino Sports quilt for my cousin's son I had the following fabrics left over:

Then I happended to look in a recent issue of Easy Quilts magazine (Spring 2009). There was a pattern for a quilt using the same line of fabrics! I couldn't tbelieve I had missed it, I probably had not paid attention to it because when I received the issue I had already bought a kit for the first quilt and did not expect to make another one. Wanting to use up the fabrics I thought what the heck! So I bought more of these fabrics from the line:

And added to what I had, made this top:

I don't have a purpose for it. I might wind up donating it when it's done. Cute and now awaiting the back (I have the fabric, more of the orange, I'm just trying to decide whether to make it plain or throw in some more of the scraps for a funky back.

Ok, almost done updating..........

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I'm Back! - Part 2

What I did this summer continued.....

A fun thing and a quilty first for me is that I particpated in a block swap this summer. Margaret of the "
Quick Queen of Quincy" blog announced in May that she was hosting the "Four Season Summer Block Swap". This is something I always wanted to try. The block she chose and the fabric requirements seemed easy enough and I snagged the last spot in the swap. Our mission was to make the simple color block in five fabrics of the same color. While the fabrics could have other colors in them the finished block had to "read" as one color. Our mailing deadlines were July 1 and August 15 after which we would get in return the same number of blocks we submitted (up to twenty per mailing) made by other quilters. these were the two sets I submitted:

And these were the blocks I got in return:

I already have an idea for a top layout for the blocks. I’m going to leave the button on the sidebar to encourage me to try it.

Still more to come since I've been away awhile.....

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I'm Back! - Part 1

First I apologize in advance for the long post. Well, I've been away from the blog too long. I wish I could say I was summering on the Riviera but the truth was that the summer went too fast and was too full of things OTHER THAN the things I had planned to do - namely quilt and rest.

Last summer at the end of the school year I got the opportunity to put my two sons in summer programs for the month of July.  This resulted in an unexpected amount of free time for me which in turn resulted in a very productive quilting summer in which I got four projects completed.  So this year I had planned to enroll them again (although not in the same programs) in the hopes of Mom having another in-home summer quilt retreat.  However, all the plans I had in place before June fell apart (due to outside forces) and it was a scramble right up to the last day of school to get them enrolled in another program.

I also I had a lot on my plate at the end of the school year since both my sons graduated from their respective schools (elmentary and middle school).  I had been Treasurer of my younger son's elementary school Parents Association for the last two years and with his graduation and the end of my tenure in that school as a volunteer (my second tour of duty since my older son had also attended the school),  I not only had to close the books at year-end even more thoroughly than usual but also do transition training with the new (actually continuing) board members.  The Parents Association also sponsors or provides decorations for some of the graduation and moving-up events so I had to be at the school literally every day of the last week of school including the day both sons graduated (fortunately their graduations were scheduled on the same day and in the same building) and the Friday before when we hosted the Senior Dance.

So by the time June ended I was frazzled and jumpy!  The first week of their program (and July) I could not relax and scrambled to tackle household tasks that I had put on hold while busy in June.  The second week my husband was on vacation and with free access to the car (he usually drives to work), we ran errands almost every day.  I finally began to rest the third week but went too far, for the first three days all I wanted to do was sleep and catch up on TV shows.  So when I finally got in gear later that week, I realized that my sons' program (and my chances for quilt solitude) would be ending the following week!  I got started on a few things but before you knew it they were back under my full-time charge.  

Of course the next week was getting them back in gear to tackle their summer reading packets and I began to plan the next week, my husband's next vacation - a "honey-do" week redecorating my sons room -- painting, new furniture and blinds the whole nine yards.  That week was filled with purchasing, installing or assembling all of the above between trips to Blinds To Go, Ikea and Home Depot.  By the end of the week they had a "new" room but we were all exhausted.  This left only two more weeks of August left to finish up the packets and try to rest in between.  But for me the summer of my dreams was as good as over!

However, there was some quilty fun accomplished this summer. One of the errands I ran during my husband's first vacation week was a stop at a favorite quilt shop
Hartsdale Fabrics for some fat quarters for a project to be talked about in the next post. I got into a conversation with the employee that rang up my purchases.

As with most quilters our conversation ranged far and wide from favorite quilt designers, getting new quilters involved in quilting ( and the perils thereof for husbands of new quilters) and my reluctance to join a guild.  She gave me a brochure and told me about the guild and quilt groups she belonged to.  Then she told me she had a blog and asked me if I had one. It turns out that she had visited (and commented) on my blog!  Her name is Teri of the Terificreations blog.  An accomplished quilter (as you will see when you check out her work) she also teaches and is soon to do (actually may have already filmed) an upcoming segment of the "Quilting Arts" TV show!!  It was a great meet and I hope that I did not get her in trouble for monopolizing her time while she was working but it was a great conversation and who knows, maybe I will get up the gumption to check out the guild too.

As an aside,  I also want to note that given the long time it took me to post this combined with difficulties I've had in the past attempting to respond to comments, I've added the "Blogging Without Obligation" tag to my sidebar. While I do read my comments I am often not able to respond unless you have blog that allows comments to be left or have your email address posted on your blog, not just an email link (I know, even I don't do this).  One of the problems I've found is that if I click an email "link" in Blogger, my computer will try to open Microsoft Outlook (an email interface) which is not installed on the laptop I use. In the old days, Outlook came as part of the basic Window operating system bundle but no longer. And I looked into the price of it thinking that maybe I should purchase it to make it easier to respond to posts.  However, the stand alone program costs $129!!!!  Considering what I already pay for internet cable service with a built in email interface this is not an expense I want to incur. 

I also know that in the past it was possible to tell Internet Explorer who your email provider was and it would use this information to process email requests.  But this feature is no longer in the newer versions of IE (I looked) and while I found instructions on the web on how to tweak Windows to tell IE what provider/server to to use for email, when I tried it Windows told me that I "don't have enough memory to perform this task".  Sigh, this laptop was cutting edge when I purchased it maybe three years ago and now I need to upgrade just to perform simple maintenance!  Well, in the fall when the computer trade shows come to town I'll go get some more memory.  If I haven't or don't respond to you, I am not being rude, I'm just a little behind the computer times.

Now on to the quilts!!!! Before the end of June I had to complete the Dino Sports quilt (that I blogged about here) for my cousin's son.

I pushed to get it ready before he and his sister left to visit their grandmother for the summer but in the end my cousin decided it would be best to wait until they got back to give it to them.  Here it sits along with his sister's (that I blogged about here) still awaiting gifting in the fall since we have all been too busy to get together.  There is actually an additional gift wrapped up in the quilts so I know they will be excited when they open the packages!

I also finished, layered, basted and marked the "Vintage Treasures" BOM top (that I last blogged about here).  Since I had not planned for the end of June to be as busy as it was,  I had expected to get this quilted by then.  So it sits in my quilt space having joined the other "To Be Quilted" projects in its midst. And the label I had preprinted for it with a June, 2009 finish date will also need to be updated.

More to come in the next post.....

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