Friday, November 30, 2012

2012 Christmas Quilt Show

Michele at Quilting Tutorials is hosting the 2012 Christmas Quilt Show and you won't want to miss all the beautiful eye candy in this virtual quilt showcase!

Snowy Stars is my entry, this quilt was UFO finish #5 for me in late October. In 2004 I purchased a bundle of snow themed batiks online and started looking for a simple pattern to showcase them. After seeing several versions of Lucky Stars using bright batiks I decided to give it a try in blues. Most of the batiks have a touch of silver metallic sparkle. The quilt measures 45" by 60" and will be going up on my wall next week for display all winter. Cannot wait!
Vertical View
Horizontal Full Length View
The pattern is Lucky Stars by Atkinson Designs. It was appealing to me as a relatively new quilter because of the floating stars. No worries about clipping any of these.
A Few Hints of Purple for Interest
Love the Pine Cone Fabric
See the Snowmen?
Snowy Stars was custom quilted by Nancy Clayburn from Quilting by Design in April 2005 and she did a fabulous job! I love the micro stippling on white, the star in the middle of each star block and the wiggly line down each point. The rest of the quilt is done using loops and bursts of snowflakes. 
The Benefit of White Backing!
My Mom attached the binding for me in the fall of 2009 after I fell and broke my leg, but it sat in my UFO Collection for 3 more years. Needless to say, I'll treasure this quilt for many years to come!

Chelsea Boutique Table Topper - UFO #12

Here is my Friday finish. The pattern for this table topper is "Grandma's Attic" by This & That and I used a charm pack of Chelsea Boutique by Moda.
The browns in this line are so warm and pretty... I was thrilled to find the striped binding fabric locally which saved me an online hunt for something to match. Usually I buy a half yard of binding fabric when I buy a charm pack but I couldn't find it if I did.
The cross stitched sampler fabrics are really fun too. While I was sewing the binding last night I kept flipping the quilt over to admire the top. I'm such a fan of charm packs because I can sample an entire line of fabrics in this 24" x 24" quilt for a minimal investment. I just love that! If this line was still available I'd want to make a bigger project with the benefit of knowing which fabrics are my favorites to highlight and having a head start on what kind of pattern to use too. And, who doesn't have a surface in need of a beautiful table topper?
I picked up some of these Clover Wonder Clips after reading rave reviews and I have to agree that they are a great tool. They have a tight grip for such small clips and you can stitch all around without having to remove them. I plan to use them during block construction to clip like pieces together and when I layout blocks to keep them in row order. Pretty fab I think!
I'm linking up to Can I Get a Whoop Whoop@Confessions of a Fabric Addict and TGIFF@Making Rebecca Lynne.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Quilt Room Organization

A clean, functional and creatively organized quilting space is something worth striving for, but the reality is that quilting is one messy activity!  And, whether you quilt on your dining room table, in a closet like I did for 7 years (quite happily I might add) or in a room dedicated to quilting it is really hard to keep your quilting space tidy and organized on a daily basis. Quilting takes a lot of space. You need a place to cut, a place to press and of course a place to sew. You use many tools and of course lots of fabric. Not to mention books/patterns, batting, thread, etc.

With that in mind, I want to accomplish these things in my quilt room before the end of the year.  I'll be adding a new page to my blog to keep track of my progress like I am with my 100 Day Hustle goals. Having a point of reference has really helped me keep on track.

1.  Reorganize this closet. Right now there are things in here that belong elsewhere in the house and I can free up space for more quilting storage.
2.  Clear off two shelves on this bookcase for additional storage.
3.  Sort through the quilting books and patterns in the pastel bins on the bookshelves. Label each bin for easy reference.

4.  Use the wall space in the sewing corner to hang shelves, peg board, cork board, thread rack and other units to get stuff off the table. And, make it look pretty too.
5.  Sort out miscellaneous storage like the plastic bins and baskets in the picture above.

6.  Decide on a design wall solution. The floor isn't it!

7.  Update my UFO list for 2013 with location and next step for each UFO.

I'm making binding today and will be doing some hand sewing during the football game tonight.  WIP-WIP-UFO-UFO going from left to right.
I found one more table runner in my UFO collection and thought I might as well add it to the current pile.  Mistletoe Manor is the fabric line and it's a Little Charmers II pattern.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

100 Day Hustle Minus 66 Days

Are you a glass half full or half empty person? Part of me says "GREAT Job Deb!!" to having finished 10 of my 20 goals I set in this post on September 24th (or click on the 100 Day Hustle Progress tab above to see more). The other part of me says "You have fallen BEHIND and will never catch up!".   

Before I go any further I have a peek at my purple table runner for the eye candy part of my post. I've made this pattern before and love it. Just 3 blocks, some setting triangles, 2 borders and you have a table runner! And, as the pattern suggests, a great way to use up some leftover blocks. 
I also made 6 of these blocks last night for SunShine Quilters on the HGTV Quilting Forum. Each month a quilter picks a block for a charity quilt of their choice. This block is called Louisiana and can be found on
Getting back to my goals... here is how I see them given 34 days to go (plus factoring in the holidays and real life commitments).

Will get done:
1.  Batik Table Topper (goal #2).  Just needs binding.
2.  "Find A Match" charm quilt (goal #6). I'm waiting for thread that should arrive by the end of the week to quilt it.
3.  Thimbleberries Christmas tree skirt (goal #7). Also waiting on thread.
4.  Make 4 Stockings (goal #9).  I'm estimating 2 days of construction plus one football Sunday to hand sew the bindings.
5.  Debbie Mumm Santas (goal #12).  I'm waiting on fabric for the next border.

That puts me at 15 of 20 goals and would make me say "REALLY GREAT job Deb!!". As for the rest, I'm putting them in order of priority:

1.  Quilt Room Organization (goal #19).  This goal will never be fully complete, as my wants & needs are constantly changing!  But, I have started a list of what I'd like to accomplish by year end and have decided on Thursdays I'll be posting about my quilt room.
2.  Make 1 project from "Happy Holidays to You" by Nancy Halvorson (goal #10). Applique is not my thing but I'm hoping to work this one in. It might be a last minute before Christmas finish.
3.  Assemble "Four Patches and Friends" and send to LAQ (goal #8).
4.  Finish piecing log cabin blocks (goal #11).
5.  Learn to free motion quilt using an online class (goal #20). I'm quite content to let this one go until 2013 as I'm loving the results of my walking foot quilting. Plus Santa might be bringing me something to make learning to FMQ easier...

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday@Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

10 UFO Finishes = New Project Reward!

Earlier in the month I wrote about my UFO Attack Plan here. Since I finished my 10th UFO last week I get to start a new project <<HUGE smile>>. While I was looking through my shelf of Fabric With a Project in Mind I pulled out a beautiful collection of Faye Burgos for Marcus Brothers and brought it upstairs to make sure I still had the right project in mind. Meanwhile, as I was browsing my book collection Tucker quickly found the new fabric. Talk about a guilty "I'm not going to look at you" face!
Here it is after pressing (and de-furring!).  I'm going to make a table runner from the book "Mostly Table Runners" by Calico Printworks and it will be a gift for someone who I don't believe reads my blog.
Tucker relocated to the messy bed to continue his inspection duties. Love how he is laying in the center of a ruffled place mat on top of a garbage bag and a bit of fabric. My quilting room is at Sheer Mess Level 10 right now.
I also came across these little pretties in my UFO stash and decided I need to add them to my short list. These are nickels (5" squares) from an online swap of metallic Christmas florals. I've got about 25 more squares to piece and then I'm going to make them into a table topper. The pattern is "Autumn Stretched Star" from Nickel Quilts by Pat Speth. This is the 1st of my UFOs from this book that I've blogged about. You know how you want to make everything in some books? Well, this book is that for me.
 Aren't they crazy gorgeous?
I'm linking up to Freemotion by the River. Time to get cutting and stitching...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Quilting Sing Along

I would say that most of the time when I'm in my quilting room I savor the quiet, but today has been a day for music. I enjoy listening to Pandora when I'm doing machine quilting, I like the randomness of hearing songs I've not heard for years or hearing a song I barely know and jumping up to see the artist & the title.  Today I started with my R.E.M. station and then switched over to Christmas and heard all the classics... Bing Crosby, Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis. Great stuff to sing along to!

I started with this.
A few hours later and all three are ready for trimming and binding. These are made from This & That patterns.  I used Moda charm packs for two of them and the batik topper was a kit (and my only WIP of the bunch).  I'll post more specifics when they are finished and I find the patterns.
I decided to highlight the HSTs with my quilting on this one using a softly variegated thread that blended well.
On the batik topper I just used my beige Aurifil piecing thread and my favorite grid pattern.
I debated about using a brown thread on the borders but decided to stay with the beige.
I found a spool of Sulky Rayon thread that matched the green fabric for this one. Grid pattern (again!). It seems to work so well for these charm projects, but I suppose I'll get tired of it at some point. Then I'll have to get serious about learning to FMQ, but for now I'm happy just getting things done. Woo Hoo!
Oh, and one more thing...
505 Spray and Fix is simply the BEST!!! No horrid smell, no gucky spray nozzle, no messy over spray and it holds the sandwich together perfectly. I'd read how great it was on other blogs/boards and bought a couple of cans when JoAnn's had their notion wall on 50% off a while back. I'll force myself to finish off my cans of June Tailor and Sullivans by setting up my basting table in the garage but after that it will be 505 ONLY for me.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Table Top Quilts

My Dominique table runner is bound and adorning my Mother-in-Law's table. We ended our visit by seeing the movie "Lincoln" together yesterday before heading home. It was excellent. Daniel Day Lewis was amazing as Lincoln and the rest of the cast including Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones and David Strathairn were great too. I highly recommend it if you are a movie and/or history buff.  My 16 year old son was kind of "meh" about it beforehand but really enjoyed it too. 
Here are a few more pictures of the table runner.  I really am in love with this one so it's a good thing my MIL loved it too!  The pattern is Little Charmers II by Anka's Treasures and the fabric line is Dominique by Moda. This is UFO finish #11. I'm wishing I had bought more of the toile backing fabric.

More quilting ahead... here is a peek at my quilting room floor this morning.  Three more charm pack table toppers! We are off to have Thanksgiving Part II with my family today so you will see more about these tomorrow.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Finishes!

I finished the last 3 of 6 quilts for Project Linus this week. All are UFOs (of course) and that brings me to 10 finished UFOs on my countdown and puts my at 50% complete on my 100 Day Hustle goals. And... reward time - a NEW project start!! I haven't picked one yet but as I've been pulling fabrics from my stash the last week I've noticed a few many possibilities.

Super Bright Strings is probably my favorite of this group. It was really fun to quilt, I love string quilts and it made a string of dreary weather much brighter for me. So many crazy fabrics make this not only super bright but super fun. I used royal blue fleece for one step batting and backing for a cuddly cozy feel.

The blocks for Citrus Cats came from a Happy Block swap at Yahoo! StashBuilders group. I love this color palette and will definitely use it again. I like how the random blocks that are sashed in four different fabrics give this quilt a totally different look. The pieced backing was fun to make and I like the scrappy binding using strips of yellow, orange, lime green and turquoise.  

Under the Sea also uses Yahoo! StashBuilders blocks, has a pieced backing and I used scrappy binding in shades of blue. I didn't have any stash fabric that tied into the Sea theme so I went with the colorful print that matches the colors pretty well. My favorite things about this quilt are how the red centers pop and how the fun border fabrics echo the theme. There are several lighthouse, fish, shells, sailing and other nautical prints - great job by my swap mates.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Busy Day of Quilting

I spent most of my quilting time today creating a pieced quilt backing.  I have no idea what I was thinking when I bought the yardage but I was way short!  Thank goodness I had all of the left over fabric pieces, a few fat quarters that weren't used in the quilt and one 1/2 yard of the same fabric line I found in my stash which saved me from total despair.  For a lap quilt I really like to have a coordinated backing otherwise I'd have given up mid day. I was intending to take pictures but I got so frazzled I totally forgot before I sealed up the box containing 2 of my lap sized UFOs. I'll be sure to post pictures when they come back from my LAQ - those are the best packages ever!!

I also pulled a table runner out of my UFO collection and did my favorite grid quilting pattern. I'll be trimming it and sewing on the binding tonight. I figure I can do the hand sewing during the football games tomorrow and then leave it with my Mother-in-Law for a hostess gift.  She is not a quilter but loves decorating her table and appreciates a hand made gift.
The pattern is Little Charmers II by Anka's Treasures and I used a charm pack of Dominique by Moda.  It's really elegant looking.  I'm guessing around 2007 for this project start.
I splurged on the pretty toile backing fabric and the binding fabric is small cabbage roses on brown so it can be reversed for a more neutral look.
My Santa project is on hold as I decided my only suitable black tone on tone in my stash had such a horrible feel I just couldn't use it. I'll cut it up for string quilts when I clear out my scrap bin. If you've never shopped at Thousands of Bolts you should give it a try. Great prices, fast service and lots of beautiful fabrics. You can pop up a 2" scan of all fabrics so it's easy to check the pattern scale. I've never been disappointed with my (many) purchases over the years. I'll be expecting some black tone on tones and other goodies in my mailbox next week.

I'm wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I'm grateful for so many things and looking forward to family gatherings over the next 3 days.  Then, it will be a mad quilting/decorating/shopping rush before Christmas!  Notice how the quilting comes first ;-).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Seriously Cute Santas

I finished 4 of 5 items on my To Do list from yesterday's post and will be posting about the 3 finished quilts later this week. Here's how my Santa project is looking. Next comes a checkerboard 1" strip of black tone on tone with the background fabric followed by another 1.5" strip of the green holly print. I am so loving this!
This is likely my oldest UFO. I can tell because the blocks were sewn on my old (circa 1984) Elna. I took my 1st quilting class in January of 2002 and bought my Pfaff in March or April that year. I'm also quite certain why this became a UFO - some of my Santa blocks were way short of 6.5"!  I ended up trimming them all to 6.25" yesterday. Granted... I DID upgrade my machine to fix that problem but it's beyond silly to put off deciding what to do next for 10+ years. But, that is so me with that inner perfectionist crazy talk~!

The background fabric is a batik that has teeny gold metallic stars. Not sure why I decided to mix that in with the more traditional fabrics but I really like the result.
The pattern for this project is called Sew Many Santas from a Debbie Mumm book called "Quick Country Christmas Quilts".  Here is their picture.
I need to look for some 1/8" black buttons for the eyes and through my button collection for the hat tassels. I like how they use some jingle bells randomly too. But, the big thing that I am thinking is how much I LOVE the hand quilting! I've never done any... but this might be a good time to give it a try. Suggestions and advice please?

I am linking up to Freemotion by the River.