Friday, September 28, 2012

Seven Days in September!

The past seven days have been full for me! I'm the Membership Chairperson for our quilt guild and since our fiscal year is beginning shortly, our membership renewals are also in full swing. I think I'm caught up with a lot of the paperwork but everywhere I look in the office, there are turquoise forms laying about! (We color code by year and some of our forms are then that color.)
This little guy, our first grandchild, was born last Friday, September 21. Unfortunately, Connor and his parents live many miles away and we won't see them until Christmas. Pictures and Skype are great but nothing's as good as some in person time which we're looking forward to very much!  
 Then last weekend, my daughter and I drove up to Kansas City to do some shopping. She was looking for clothing and shoes and I was looking for, what else, fabric! In fact, fabric for the "In Living Color" challenge I told you about in my last post.
I've settled on a theme but that's about all I can tell you, for now, since we're supposed to keep this "confidential". Someone from the challenge committee has been known to read this blog so I better be good. By the way, I don't want you to think I bought that whole bag of fabric. It also contains fabric from my stash which I plan to use in the challenge quilt.
Because my schedule's been crazy lately, I haven't had as much time to work on  my hand sewing projects as I'd like. This is the Jubilee+5 Garden Quilt and I don't think you can see it but I've big stitch quilted a few more blocks since my last post. This isn't a portable project so I don't get to work on it as much as I'd like.
 My reproduction of Ann Ruggle's hexagon quilt is portable so I've been taking it along with me to work on while I visit my mom at her nursing home. I can usually get an hour's worth of English Paper Piecing in while I'm there. I usually spend part of my Tuesday's at Schowalter Villa in Hesston, Kansas. Many of the residents and workers are interested in my quilting and I'm enjoying hearing their quilt stories!
As you can see, I have all of the pink/brown flowers done but I've only been able to sew part of one on to the center (at the top).
Because someday, maybe even this winter, I would like to start working on a Phoebe quilt of my own, I signed up to take an Applique class at one of our local quilt shops. This really wasn't a good time for me but I'm not sure my life is going to slow down anytime soon.
Last night was our first session and this is all I got done! Its a good thing you can't see those curves aren't the smoothest but I guess its OK for my first time at needle turn applique. I think I will hide this block in the lower left hand corner of the wallhanging I'm hoping this becomes! (That's where I hide all the blocks with "personality".) Only three more hearts to add to this block. Don't know why the background looks so blotchy and am hoping the camera just took a weird picture.
I hope the past seven days in September have been good for you!
Until next time, Mayleen

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I'm stumped!

I know this shouldn't be difficult but I cannot seem to come up with an idea for my quilt guild's 2013 challenge. I'm getting nervous because I feel the clock ticking away getting closer and closer to the February completion date. The theme is "In Living Color" and we have to use a recognizeable piece of each of the fat quarters in the photo. This is a serious challenge for me because I would not normally use either of them in a quilt. I do not mind the forks and spoons but I feel I must cut that black fabric into very small pieces.

Here are a few of the "MUSTS":

The name of the quilt must include a color and you must feature that color in the quilt. Phrases come to me like Jolly Green Giant or Yellow Submarine but nothing appeals to me yet.

You must include at least one of the following: a person, an animal, a reptile or a fish. Embroidered fish swimming around a yellow submarine with the Jolly Green Giant looking out a window? 

This is not going to be easy but I guess that's why its called a challenge! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Week 2 of One Hour of Simply Needle & Thread

I accidentally uploaded these pictures in reverse order and instead of starting over, I'll just explain my progress but sdrawkcab!

While I was preshrinking backing fabric for my Jubilee+5 Garden quilt, I needed another hand work project and remembered this Ann Ruggles hexagon quilt I'm trying to reproduce. This is a project that I purposefully began to have something small to work on in waiting rooms. I'm not making speedy progress and that's actually good because it means I haven't been spending a lot of time at appointments lately! At the right in the photo, you can see what it might become someday.
Here are some of my hexagon flowers waiting to have more hexagons stitched around them. I'm using 1/2 inch hexagon papers to English Paper Piece. Remember the 1/2 inch is the measurement of each side. Just for fun, I also have 1/4 inch hexagon papers but those are just to look at! Very tiny. The fabrics I'm using are all Jo Morton or are associated with her.

Here's my calendar showing my stitching time for last week. I had a fairly busy week and thought I was doing well to get 8 hours of hand work in but after I'd written Saturday's time down, I did another 2 hours of stitching bringing my total to 10 hours for the week.

This past week I finished hand piecing the quilt top, pin basted the quilt sandwich together and started big stitch quilting it. I think the backing I chose will work well with either the gray/polka dot or pink fabric for binding. At least, those are my two binding choices now.

And here it is - my big stitch quilting progress - eight blocks. I always thought big stitch quilting was a relatively quick way to quilt. I've decided it might be for someone else but not for me. I see my stitches get wobbly and crooked which seems so much more noticeable since the stitches are larger and yes, orangy red. So, I pick them out and do them over. That, plus, my fingers are sore because its been three months since I did any hand quilting. Its not speedy progress, for sure. I'm wondering what color to quilt the gray/polka dot sqaures - cream or gray?

Hey, see that block to the right of the sunflowers? The one with the orange center, yellow petals and blue background. Looks like a dandelion puff to me getting ready to blow away in the wind. Interestingly (to me anyway), even with the drought we have a few dandelions growing in our front yard.

Until next time, Mayleen

Saturday, September 15, 2012

On the island

Guess what I'm getting ready to do in the picture?Pin basting is sure a lot easier to do on my kitchen island. Just the right height for me!

For some reason, I'm dawdling about getting started on big stitching. Its kind of gray and drizzly outside and I think I'm just being lazy! Do you see the bunny block? They're in my garden too.

Guess I've made all the excuses I can for the moment so back to work.

Later, Mayleen

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Not again!?!

Aargh! I've embroidered my initial crooked again! This time I even measured so it would be straight, LOL. It was a fairly easy fix, just made the right leg a little longer so I didn't have to pick out much. I hope to finish the initial today so I can get the top sandwiched by the weekend.

Until next time, Mayleen

Monday, September 10, 2012

Simply Needle and Thread Challenge

I'm checking in after one week of Bonnie Hunter's One Hour a Day of Simply Needle & Thread Challenge!

I thought you might like to see some of the fabric I used. Bugs seem very appropriate to include in my garden quilt as there seem to be a lot of grasshoppers in my flowerbed, on the deck, the front porch, in the garage ... well, just about everywhere except in the house (yet). Not sure when I bought that fabric or for which project but like I said, its appropriate. By the way, the top middle fabric reminds me of bindweed which is also very present in my garden. Grrrr.
In last week's post we were supposed to tell about things like where we quilt. I didn't do that so here it is this week.
This is one of my unglamorous hard working sewing areas. I use my ironing board as a table and pin cushion. Everything is close by including lots of other projects in the works! Those neat stacks of narrow strips of fabric on my cutting mat are for the Pumpkin Peel arcs I'm also working on. I usually have several projects going at one time so if I'm not happy with how something is turning out, it gets put on hold while I work on another project. It works for me!

Here's something else we were supposed to post about - our calendar to keep track of time spent. My total last week was 10 hours. I skipped Friday but since I had put in 4 hours on Thursday, I didn't feel too guilty! However, what do you think? Does time spent picking out count?

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you probably read about my crooked initial M. I very carefully picked it out but still need to embroider another M in its place.

So, here we have it. This is how far I am with my Jubilee+5 Garden wallhanging as of noon today. I've already worked on it an hour piecing in some of the side triangles and I hope to work on it another hour before my fingers get too sore from needle pokes.

I met my goal for this week except for my embroidered initial. By next week Monday, I'd like to have the wallhanging sandwiched and maybe even have begun big stitching it. Still thinking about which color perle cotton to use but reddish orange is a strong possibility.

Until next time, Mayleen

Friday, September 7, 2012

Quilting Progress

Just checking in to show you the progress I've made this week on my quilting projects!

Here are the Pumpkin Peel arcs for the first of four blocks. Only the one on the far left is sewn together. I hope to mix the others up a bit after completing the rest of the arcs. I don't like it when there are a lot of the same color strips close together.

This pattern is from the book, "Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts", by Mary Elizabeth Kinch and Biz Storms. Their quilt has a white background but I'm thinking about using red. White just seems too white but I may change my mind yet. Afterall, its a woman's perogative to change her mind! Well, at least that's what I've heard, LOL.
I've really been concentrating on my Jubilee+5 Garden wallhanging quilt this week. I still have to add some of the gray polka dot insets and the triangle edges but its all hand pieced together otherwise. After I had it pieced together and back up on my design wall, I realized my initial is crooked on the middle block so (sigh), I'm picking it out and starting over on the embroidery. Not sure I liked that green anyway so the crookedness may have been a blessing in disguise!

The fragrance on our deck is wonderful! The Sweet Autumn Clematis vine is blooming and I'm not the only one appreciating it. The bees are attracted to it too. We have an agreement - If I don't bother them, they don't bother me.

Until next week, Mayleen

Monday, September 3, 2012

One Hour a Day

Bonnie Hunter from Quiltville challenged her blog readers to join her in working on hand stitching projects for one hour a day. Since I have several hand projects in the works right now, I'm joining in! If you've come from Bonnie's blog, that means I've figured out how to do her Linkie.

Here's my hand project - I'm calling it my Jubilee+5 Garden Quilt for now. Go to this blog to find out more about our Jubilee quilts. We're a group of quilters making quilts to celebrate our 50th or other significant number birthdays. I'm late working on my quilt because my birthday was back in July.

My quilt is a wallhanging version of a quilt seen on Quiltsalott's blog. I admire her quilts very much. Mine includes fabric about things I might see in my flower garden.
There have been a few bumps along the way. Like stitching the blocks together wrong but all that's been fixed now and below is what my quilt looks like as of last night.

I plan to embroider my initial "M" on the middle block and am trying out a paper "M" to see if its the right size. I'm still thinking its too large.

This week, I hope to finish piecing the square gray polka dot insets in between the blocks. I would also like to begin embroidering my initial because I can't join it all together until that's done.

Its going to be a very hot day here - 105 degrees last I checked. We're grilling tonight and I plan to bake an apple pie for dessert. Its already 76 degrees outside so I better start in on baking now during the "cool" of the day!