Friday, May 15, 2015

Spools, Geese & Pineapple Patches

First of all, "Thank you!" to everyone who commented about my recent Paducah win! For some reason, I'm not able to "Publish" some of the comments but please know that I appreciate all of them and will reply as soon as I can. My week has been busy and tiring and the plans I had to get a lot done, didn't happen.

For not having much time, I made time to work on a few projects yesterday.

Our quilt guild's Birthday Block this year is a spool block. Yesterday, I decided to make a few to add to the drawing using some "selvage" fabric I purchased in Paducah. This is my favorite of the three I've made so far.

Every year, one of our guild members designs or selects a block pattern for our Birthday Block. Guild members make blocks which are then collected and sorted for a drawing in June. For each block you make, you get one chance to win enough blocks to make a wall hanging or quilt. I've never won any blocks in previous years which is fine because I have plenty of projects to work on!

Speaking of projects, this is the current UFO I'm working on. I've just finished picking out the terrible hand quilting job I did years ago and now plan to stitch in a ditch using my machine. My dilemma: what color thread to use? There are too many seams for me to do a good job hand quilting.

Can anyone tell me which Log Cabin variation this is? I remember naming it "Geese in my Pineapple Patch" because my small group could not agree on the pattern name.

Until next time,

Monday, May 11, 2015

Catch Up

Its been over a month since I posted, time to catch up.
My first visit to Quilt Week in Paducah!

My Phebe quilt, "The Cotheals at Home", won Honorable Mention in the First Time Paducah entry, Bed Quilts Longarm Quilted. This is what I look like after only 4 hours of sleep.

I had lunch with another quilter, Mona, who I met at Houston last fall and this is her quilt in the show, "Sunset over Lac Clara"! Nice to see you again, Mona!

Did you know I'm a calendar girl? Well, actually my "Selvage Star of Bethlehem" quilt is pictured in the 2016 Quilt Art Engagement Calendar! Here I am (in pink) at the calendar signing party on the first evening we were in Paducah. I must have had some coffee by then because I'm looking more awake.

Here it is, the very last quilt in the book! Lots more happened in Paducah - quilts, shopping, eating plus a few interesting experiences with our bus tour. I don't know that anyone from Paducah, KY reads my blog but "Thank You!" for being friendly and offering help when we needed it!

 Back home again, I needed a UFO finish for May so here it is, quilted by another guild member, Susan McMillan. I'm fairly sure that while I was working on it, I had a brown cloud hanging over me. I initially named it "Serengetti Oaks" because the border fabric reminded me of zebras and an African safari. I'm thinking of renaming it ...

"Second Spring" from a quote by Albert Camus.

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." 
Albert Camus

Until next time,

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday already?

I feel like spring is rushing by, so much to do. I have accomplished some stitching this week which surprises me because my schedule is full!

My April UFO finish is ...
Pumpkin Peel from the book Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts 
written by Mary Elizabeth Kinch and Biz Storms. I used blue bias binding which I don't think you can see very well in the photo.

 Here are some photos of the machine quilting done by Jan Hutchison.

This is a large wall quilt, nearly 80" square. For now, I plan to store it on a spare bed because I'm already seeing fold lines just from having it folded since getting it back from the machine quilter.

After seeing another blogger's progress, (Quilts...etc.), on her Love Entwined quilt, I was inspired to get mine out and start appliqueing the stems for Part 6.

I had previously taken off the heart wreath on the left in the photo to try to make the points sharper. Not sure I'm making a major improvement but it looks better to me.

 Serengeti Oaks is at the machine quilter and I should be able to share it with you next month.

I also continue to big stitch quilt on my Jubilee+5 quilt. I can only manage to stitch a few blocks before my fingers are too sore to continue so its going slower than I'd like. You'll notice the bird is still there. Embroidery starting soon!

Until next time, Mayleen

Friday, April 3, 2015

This past week

 "Mustard & Ketchup"
Because of guild stuff and Easter preparations this past week, it was difficult to motivate myself to work on my UFO's so I tried once again to master the first border of "Mustard & Ketchup". This is the closest I've come to getting the pieced diamonds fussy cut and the diamonds to actually look right. However, the camera doesn't lie and I see some rework needs to happen. 

One thing I've been challenging myself to work on lately is to become more spontaneous in quilting. In other words, don't drive myself and others crazy by over thinking fabric and design choices!

  I'm trying to do that on this quilt guild BOM and am not sure I like this approach at all. I'm reserving judgement until the project is finished but that's at least 5 months in the future. I would love to go back and make every thing match, fix mistakes, choose better fabrics, etc. Guess I want to be in control and not be surprised!

For some reason, I also can't motivate myself to finish binding Pumpkin Peel. I'm about half done and think I'm going to have to make myself do a little every day. And then there's the sleeve...

The bird is still in the quilt. No decision on my part yet and I think I'm avoiding it. If I don't do something soon, this project will go back into the UFO box.

 Why I thought I needed to get another UFO out, I don't know but here's another one. All I need to do is finish hand quilting the border and tack down the binding. Is that all, lol? I admire hand quilting but because I don't choose to do it very often, I'm not proficient or very fast at it.
When I began this project I don't know how long ago, I hadn't discovered reproduction fabrics yet so this wall hanging has a little bit of most everything in my stash at that time. I'm surprised I used so much yellow which is a color I don't use very often. It has quite a few creases from being folded and put away so for now, I've pinned it up on my design wall hoping that the creases relax.

As you can see, my quilting this week has been a little of this and that. I feel like I'm jumping from one project to the next making little progress. I'm looking forward to more productive quilting time this coming week!

Have a happy and meaningful Easter, Mayleen

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Like Swimming Through Molasses

That's how slow progress has been on UFO #5.
Turning Leaves from Quiltmaker, September/October 2002 
The top is finished and it looks a lot better than I thought it would. I really wish I'd taken a photo of the layout before piecing it though. I'm seeing too many dark blocks in the upper half. Definitely not taking it apart to move them around at this point!

The reason this became a UFO was because I felt the colors of the leaves were all too different. However, the outer border fabric seems to pull all the colors in the blocks together. When I look at that fabric though, it reminds me of Zebras which reminds me of grasslands and a safari. I'm thinking of naming this quilt "Serengeti Oaks".

Can you believe I spent two days piecing this backing? I've never gone this crazy with backing but I didn't want to buy more yardage so I started piecing whatever Batiks I had together. Unfortunately, I mismeasured a few times and I had to add filler strips an inch wide. Piecing this took a lot longer than I thought it would but I did use up more of my fabric.

Now I'm looking for a machine quilter and its taking longer than I expected too. Eventually, it will all come together and the quilt will be finished. I'm just so ready to be done with it.

I've also been working on this UFO which I hope to have finished in July. At this point, I'm just doing some big stitch quilting in the octagons using orange Perle Cotton. I plan to embellish all the blocks with hand embroidery and am seriously thinking of adding a border. I just can't get used to it without a border.

Do you see the bird to the left of the initial "M"? I've decided that block has got to go because the bird just looks too different from the other blocks. He also looks like he's going to peck on my initial! I'm still thinking about what would be the easiest way to remove the bird block and add a new block. All the blocks are hand pieced and I may applique the new block in place.

Yesterday, I thought I'd take a break from Serengeti Oaks and thinking about the bird block so I started piecing our quilt guild's latest BOM block. I think I made a mistake at every step. For me, making a mistake is the best way to learn better technique. Time to go into my sewing room, turn on some music, maybe have some M&M therapy and try again!

Until next time when I hope to show you my bound Pumpkin Peel quilt,

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Not Modern

I thought I was going to pick a more "modern" UFO to work on next but that didn't happen. None of my UFO's are really "modern", I'd call some of them contemporary but I didn't pick what I'd call a contemporary UFO either. I chose my current UFO project simply because most of the blocks were already finished!

Before I tell you about my current UFO project, here's a teaser picture of my Pumpkin Peel UFO. Its back from the machine quilter and ready to be bound. I'm going to use the blue fabric at the top for the binding.

Are you ready for fall? For those of us in the northern hemisphere, we're ready for spring! This quilt called "Turning Leaves" was in the September/October 2002 Quiltmaker magazine. I don't remember when I started it but as I said, the leaf blocks were all finished and waiting for me. There were enough leaf blocks to make a twin size quilt so that's what I'm making.

I've stitched the blocks together and sewn the sashings on. With help from friends, I chose border fabrics, then preshrunk fabric, cut and pieced the narrow border. Today I seem to have come to a full stop, no stitching happening here. 

Instead, I spent time looking through my older quilt magazines and books. Every year, our quilt guild, PQG, holds a library sale with donated books/magazines to raise funds for new quilt books and equipment for the library. It was fun to look through my quilt magazines and books and find the projects I had planned to make but now have no attraction for me.

I donated two computer printout boxes of magazines and books. There's a little room in the cabinet but for how long? I wonder how many magazines and books I'll buy at the sale in April?!?

Until next week, Mayleen

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Granny Smith Goes to PQG!

I shared my version of Bonnie Hunter's "Crisscross Applesauce" quilt at Prairie Quilt Guild's Show and Share yesterday. Sometimes I rename my quilts from the original pattern name and for this quilt I wanted to still have something apple related but also Civil War related. (I started working on this quilt in 2011, the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.)

So I named it "Was Granny Smith a Northern Spy?" 

A Granny Smith apple being green and the Northern Spy apple, a rosy or red color. To shorten it, I'll probably just call this quilt "Granny Smith"!

Trisha Lehman from our quilt guild did the allover machine quilting on "Granny Smith".

To catch up on UFO's - 
"Trip Around the Prairie" is finished. I invisibly stitched the outer two rows of Prairie Points down so they wouldn't flop out and down as easily. The bottom border is still sagging and I may revisit it someday and then again, maybe not. Gravity happens.

I also finished stitching the "Pumpkin Peel" top together and it went to the machine quilter yesterday. I'm looking forward to seeing what she does in the red background. "Pumpkin Peel" is from the book, "Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts".

Even though I'd much rather start a new project, I'll decide on the next UFO to tackle later today. I'm fairly sure its going to be something a bit more modern!

Until next time, Mayleen