"Buttons and patches and the cold wind blowing,
The days pass quickly when I am sewing"
~Author Unknown

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tiny blocks and tiny bag...

Nice thing come in small packages... Who ever came up with that saying should have been a quilter, right? Doll quilts are small but very nice to make and to enjoy afterwards. So what does one do when they just made two and needs to start quilting them? Why, you start on a third one, of course? *grins* I cannot seem to get enough of these little beauties lately so here in the start to the Strawberry Fields Quiltalong. Mary over at QuiltHollow was very bad (*wink*) and emailed me to ask if I read Lori at HumbleQuils blog. She started a Quiltalong for a doll quilt. I popped over on the link Mary gave me and was hooked. So here is the start to my autumn version of her little quilt...

I decided it was time to go back to my beloved autumn shades again after my pinks and then blues. Speaking of blues, I used the random generator and comment 7 is the winner...

...and that person is Sonja. Congratulations Sonja! I will be getting your prize ready for the next time I see you. Hope it is soon!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Emily lingers here a while...

I have been quilting so much that my poor Emily just lingers waiting for some attention. She does not even have a face yet as you can see...

I won't repeat the story of Emily Bronte behind this CHS With My Needle as you can also read it here. If you already read that entry then you know about my color changes in my love for all things Bronte. I felt it was high time to give this sampler some attention again as Jeanne would think I forgot out SAL. In the meantime, Jeanne wrote she has been too busy at work to do much on hers but she had already given hers the love and attention it deserved. I am now working on the dress this week. I am anxious to see how the dress will look completed in my chosen colors.

Yesterday, I sewed a little friendship bag from the fabrics leftover from my doll quilt in the previous blog entry. These little bags are the perfect size to carry your scissors, thread and needles for a project.

This bag has been especially sewn for one of you! Just leave a message on this blog entry along with an email address where I can reach you. I will be drawing a name on Thursday.

I started cutting out another doll quilt yesterday but really must get busy with my Heidi's House block for this month. I was not inspired with how I want to stitch the various blocks this time and kept putting it off. This morning, I did start cutting fabrics and hope the inspiration will come as I put the pieces together. I normally do the stitchery before I sew the patchwork but decided to start on the patchwork instead first. I just need to connect with my patchwork fairy so this block can come together in a unique way. How is your Monday?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Singing the blues...

Now that sounds like I am sad. Well, no way...a little tired maybe from all this happy dancing. *wink* Barb...are you dancing with me here? I have gone from being in the pink of things this week to singing the blues. Quilted blues that is!

When I joined Kathleen Tracy's Yahoo list, I never thought I would love doing her challenge quilts as much as I do. I love making miniature quilts and have a stack of them in my laundry room on a shelf. Often people getting their coats start looking through them. That makes me happy that they want to nose around in the stack to see what is there. I had decided last year that I want to make more and try and double that stack. Being part of this group will help meet that goal! There are 8 challenges up to now although I joined when they were starting the 8th. I am going back and working on the previous ones.

I think the reason I am having so much fun with this is that I lead a quilt group and am the one to have to create the themes and challenges for them. Which I love doing too. But now I am really trying to make myself go outside of my comfort zone with this one. I love color and to me, color is emotion. Blue is one of the few colors you will rarely see me use. I do not seem to be able to connect with it for some reason. But the challenge was to make a miniature quilt using this start block and, for some reason, blue felt right for this. I combined it with brown (well more dark beige really) to give it an old fashioned feeling and warm up the blues for me.

I am thrilled with the results! The quilt measures 15-1/2 x 22 inches. I must get busy sandwiching both of the doll quilts I made this week. I am anxious to get started on the hand quilting.

By the way, is it really Friday already??? Where did this week go? I am working on With My Needle now through the weekend. This pretty lady has been neglected and needs a little attention. Besides I am doing this as a SAL with Jeanne and she will think I forgot her too. *grins* Promise an update photo of this project in my next blog post but, in the meantime, have a creative and fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I love quilting!

Well, today I should say...I love patchwork. I spent the morning in my quilt studio working on putting my latest doll's quilt together. In my last blog post, I told you about taking the corners of some leftover strips from my medallion quilt to create a new little quilt.

So I started sewing the 32 half square triangle blocks together to form the first part of the quilt. It needed more so I went to look through the bits of leftover fabrics from the same medallion quilt. Choose a basket block to add to the others, add some strips for borders on the sides and.....

.....this is the result! I simple and sweet little doll quilt. Yes, I did make a mistake with the placement of a few of the squares deliberately. I find this adds to a vintage look. The off set set up of the blocks reminds me of cutter quilts.

I do not, of course, only love quilting. A UFO from a year ago has come out to be worked on. A year ago this month, I became too ill to continue with this online SAL. It will be finished now though and added to my sampler wall. I just love this sampler. I see a pink theme going on, you too? But have no fear...my next quilt does not have a bit of pink in it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Making do on Mondays

Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I am trying to keep to a stash diet with my quilting and stitching for three years now. I have done well really with only a couple of lapses. It is nice to look in my stash cupboard and appreciate all the beautiful fabrics I have purchased over the years. I got so addicted to buying all the new collections. The problem was they are all wonderful and you get to where you cannot stop buying. You develop a blurred vision when it comes to your other fabrics. But now I am actually seeing space develop in my cupboard and it feels great! On the other hand, my stacks of finished quilts are growing.

Making do with what you have gives me a feeling of being connected to those needlewomen of the past. It goes back to a time when women did not have the luxury of going to a quilt shop to purchase fabrics for their next quilt. It goes back to a time when a scrap bag was a very real and true treasure among a woman's belongings. So in the spirit of those women comes this little project.

If you used to read my previous blog, you will have seen this medallion quilt which I made when I did the medallion life quilts for my quilt group theme in 2008. While sewing the delectable mountains border, I saved the cut ends of the strips. They have a tiny triangle sewn onto the end of the strip. I am cutting off the end to create a tiny 1-1/2 inch square which I will be sewing together to create a little doll's quilt. Stay posted to see how it is progressing.

I am also pulling fabrics I have long had in my stash to create various doll's quilts. My latest one will be using these fabrics. I want to create another one that looks very faded and old. I am working on getting my fabric combination to give me an old and scrappy look without there being much color variation. These little block are only 4 inches and once again part of the Little Quilts challenge from Kathleen Tracy's yahoo list. After I complete another 4 stars, I will decide what setting to use for the blocks and how many more will be needed. I am not sure if I want to use the stars in straight sets or on point as you see in the photo.

Regardless, I am enjoying every moment of the patchwork and spending the day in my studio. Making do is a great way to spend a day!

Friday, April 16, 2010

A finish is a joy forever!

Pollyanna's Pinwheels is finished! I just love this sweet little doll quilt created out of some fat eighths and a border fabric that my mother gave me.

It all started with a challenge from quilt designer Kathleen Tracy on her yahoo list. You were given the challenge to make a quilt no larger than 30 inches using a 4 inch double pinwheel block. I know as soon as I read the challenge that I wanted to use my new pink and brown fabrics. Yes, I cheated on my stash diet and bought 4 new fat eighths! But now I only have one of them in my stash as the other three were used in this quilt. *grins*

I named this quilt while I was still sewing the patchwork which you can read about here. I wanted to keep this quilt looking very old so when I ran out of one of the pinks, I pulled a fabric close to it instead of buying more. Make do is my motto this year.

I hand quilted this freehand. That means I did not mark my lines and giving the quilt an older look. The border fabric was used horizontally as the bias binding. The quilt measures 17 x 19 inches.

I love to hand quilt! It makes a piece of patchwork come to life. I quilt my quilts heavily in most cases which means I do not have a high production level but do have optimal enjoyment!

And my rule is always that my quilt is finished when I have the label sewn on. I was just showing a quilting friend my other doll quilts and it is great to go back through and look at the labels to know when I completed a quilt.

Back by request...here is Becky's Blocks. Many told me they wished I would put the photos back on the blog. This quilt as with Pollyanna's Pinwheels are doll's quilts with a vintage look. For those who create these traditional quilts, at times our quilts look similar, but in both cases, the quilts I created are my own work.

My mother sent me the little doll you see sitting on Becky's Blocks. She said after she read the story I created for my blog post, she had to send me this little doll. I tea dyed her to make her look older and work well with the quilt. I am thinking of giving her one more bath in tea. It is okay as she whispered in my ear that she enjoys a good tea bath. *wink*

Yesterday, my quilting friend Elly came over to spend the afternoon quilting and then have dinner. It was nice to sit and talk with needle and thread to hand. She spoiled me with a truly wonderful birthday gift.

She put some acorns in a little basket with a roll of beautiful vintage look fabrics and dark chocolate yummies. It was so nicely put together that I hated to take anything out of the basket but I just had to see those fabrics of course. She wrapped a piece of lace with a bow around them and I am sure that lace will show up in a project one day soon.

One very fortunate thing? I am currently hand quilting a quilt in autumn tones. Good thing as the chocolate is too delicious to resist. I won't have too much of a worry about chocolate fingers. *grins*

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Love of colors!

I have been working a little this week on one of my patchwork top UFOs. It is a Merry Go Round quilt in fabrics that I just love for their cheerful summer feel. I will have a good bit of these fabrics left when the quilt top is completed. So, I was looking at a 'new to me' blog and fell in love with this talented young quilter, Rachel's blog. She has a fun, fresh style which speaks to me even through my love of autumn shades and tradition. I want to try a thing or two with her designs in my more traditional shades.

But when I saw her Friendship Bag, I just knew it would look fabulous with some of the fabrics from my Merry Go Round quilt. It takes just a tiny bit of fabric so I could go ahead and make one. I was able to put most of it together last night while waiting for our handy man to arrive to talk about some work needing done in our new house. Oh, I never mentioned it on this blog but you can see our new house here. This was so much fun to sew up in quick time that I am planning on making more of them. These are great stash busters! Since you know that I am still stash busting, I think I feel a giveaway coming on so stay tuned...

As I have mentioned before, I love making scissor fobs as gifts. They can be so personal for people by using colors and kinds of beads and charms that fit for the person you are giving them to. And lets face it...every scissor needs a little jewelry! *wink*

So when I had a blogging friend over for lunch at my house recently, I know I wanted to give her a pair of Eiffel Tower scissors I had. These scissors needed the perfect fob with glass beads in pinks and lilacs with an Eiffel tower charm. You see, Caroline loves Paris. She feels about Paris what I feel about Brugge and I recognized that as she spoke about her last visit to the city.

I am late sharing this fob which was made especially for Jackie who one the guess as to which Beth Twist chart I was stitching. I had emailed and asked her what colors she loved. She told me she loved jewel tones so I picked out a hand blown glass bead with a rose on it and based my colors around it using purples and gold shades. I added the dragonfly charm for luck. I hope it has brought you lots of luck Jackie?

Can you see the quilt peeking around this scissor fob? Do you remember Pollyanna's Pinwheels? I am putting the finishing touches on it and will share it with you on my next blog post. Hope to talk to you again very soon but, until then, enjoy each stitch you make!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Quilt group evening again...

Last night was our monthly quilt evening. We missed Saskia who is home sick (hope you are feeling a bit better today Saskia) but it was great fun to see everyone's blocks up to now. Most of us have the first row completed but the excitement is seeing the personal changes some of us are making.

So here is Heidi's House! It is coming out with a nicely faded pink and brown look. I am changing blocks from now on to give my quilt a personal touch with the exception of the middle block. That saying is just so perfect. But even though I might have made you curious, you will have to wait two months for that one. *grins*

Want to take a closer look?

First I stitched the beautiful garden gate that Jos bought for me. You can read about my garden on one of my old blogs here.

Giving hugs is one of my favorite pastimes. So it only seemed fitting that I substitute the word spring for hugs.

And how could a personal quilt not include my precious Dagi? Well, he is taking pride of place with this appliqued block.

Enjoy a slideshow of the members blocks up to now...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wishing you...

...a very Happy Easter!

These fabrics Easter eggs were the ones I made last year. They were a free holiday pattern from Letty and great fun to make. Now a joy to bring back out a year later. We have a long holiday weekend here in Holland so I am off to Cranberry Cottage with a bag packed with a couple of UFOs I would like to finish this coming week. Stay tuned for some photos...

I had hoped to get around to more of your blogs but just don't seem to have enough hours in a day. Well, actually since we changed our clocks here this past weekend, I did loose an hour after all. *grins*

Enjoy your weekend and the holiday! Will you have time to stitch or quilt?