Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving - a few days late

Wow...this holiday has just flown by.  Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas right around the corner.  I just don't know where the days go.  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family blessings and lots of peace and relaxing.  I have enjoyed this time off work and managed to get some sewing done, decorations mostly are up for Christmas and have watched countless movies on the Hallmark Channel.  Life is good.

I began quilting on my Circus Stars quilt, and will share one of the blocks on front and the way the back is shaping up.  I am using the "big stitch" or utility stitch and had some trouble starting out - actually had to take out my quilting many times on the first block.  I am getting my stitches much straighter now, just need to work on getting them consistent in length.  I really do enjoy this method.   I think the back of the quilt is going to look neat - maybe not neat stitches, but I like the look and feel of it.

I also began putting together my supplies to make a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt. Took me several days to cut out all the flower fabrics as I wanted them all different.   Gathered up my supplies, cut out all my hexagon paper foundations and finished the first row.  I am enjoying this process and have not stitched one stitch my machine in quite awhile.  I think my sewing machine is feeling neglected.

So that is it for now.  Back to work tomorrow and into the routine.  At some point I have got to get some shopping done.  No way was I going to face the Black Friday mess.  I did go out some on Saturday, but just to go by a quilt shop and Hobby Lobby to get some decorations.  All in all, its been a great Thanksgiving, and I thank God for the many blessings in my life of family, friends and home.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

And the winner is.....

Joyce, of One Loose Thread blog.    As soon as I receive the snail mail address it will be making its way to your home.  Joyce is a fellow South Carolinian, who I have not had the pleasure of meeting maybe I will get to see this quilt finished and meet the quilter too!  What a prize that would be for me.

This has been a fun weekend, starting with a pajama party sponsored by the York County Quilters.  Thank you Linda for all the work you put into the party and it sure was fun. (I forgot my camera - no pictures.)  Mary put together a mystery quilt project for us, and while I didn't quite get it finished, I did end up with two stacks of really cute blocks.  These were to make a rail fence type quilt, but I have a different idea rumbling around in my head, so decided to set them aside until I make up my mind.

While at the party, I finished block 9 (the last one) of the Gifts of Grace exchange.   I have so enjoyed making these sweet blocks, thank you Val Laird for freely sharing your designs. I have visions of applique butterflies, flowers and birds winging around these pretty  blocks, inspired by Beth Ferrier.  If you check out her block, its the banner at the top of the blog. I purchased that pattern off her website and have been looking for the perfect quilt to use it on.  Of course, she designed a gorgeous quilt pattern using the applique, but for those of you that know me, I seldom follow other people's patterns, just have to modify them or use pieces of them.

But in this case, I did follow the pattern given to me by Cathi.  Cathi is in Stitchin Friends, a quilt club that I am a member in too. Cathi recently won a Go-cutter and demo'ed it for us at Saturday's meeting. She was so generous to cut us all a dresden plate block to take home with us, and then to also give us a pattern for making this cute wall hanging, or in my case it will be a table topper.  We all brought our own fabric and got to use her go-cutter (Cathi did all the cutting - we're a lazy bunch). I finished mine up early this morning and have it ready to use - and I do love it!  Check out Cathi's blog and see how nice hers turned out as well.

Hope you have all had a great weekend and relaxing Sunday.
Teresa   22788

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"Let Freedom Ring" Give-a-way

I am home from Washington and still feeling that patriotic pride that I always get when we have elections in this country.  I don't approve of all the mudslinging campaigns, but you have to admit, the freedom to vote your conscience is something we should take pride in and never for granted.

I won this pattern at the Quilters of SC Retreat a few weeks ago.  As much as I like the pattern, I know I will never make it, so I thought, what better time of year to place it in the hands of someone that will make it.  So I am giving it away.  Just leave me a post that you would like to have it, and I will draw a name on Sunday, Nov.14.  (Please make sure I have a way to contact you - either via blog or email.)

I thought I would share with you the process I go through to thread baste a quilt for handquilting.  I am so happy to have this one finally at that stage.  Today I had to piece the backing and batting, and once done, I laid the quilt sandwich (backing-batting-top) on the floor - just to make sure I had the top somewhat centered in the sandwich. But no way am I going to try to baste this on the floor - I dont' think my knees or back to take it. 

So I carefully fold the top and bottom ends into the center and carry it to my cutting table.  Here is is on the table and I start with the center of the quilt first.     I use those big binder clips to first fasten one side to the table.  Once clipped in place, I fold back the top and batting layers and smooth out the backing, then I lay the batting down and make sure it is smooth, and then the top.  Next step is to clip the top to the table on all four sides.

In basting the three layers together, I use some cheap thread that I have had way too long to remember, double thread the needle.  I use a spoon to help with the basting, sticking the needle into the spoon which causes the needle to curve upwards and makes basting much easier.  (Looks like I should have gotten a manicure before this picture was taken.)

 Just to keep myself amused and hopefully from concentrating on the pain in my back from bending over the table for hours, I put a book on tape in the cd player.   I find this really does help and today I basted for three hours without even realizing how long it had been.  The book I am listening to is "The Heir" by Johanna Lindsey.  I have not read (or listened) to her books before and got this one because it was on sale at Books a Million for $5.97.  Its actually a pretty good book, so far.

So that is my process for thread basting a quilt.  Next step - hand quilting!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Jenny Beyer Studio

I have been wanting to visit this studio for years, and Saturday we left home early enough to get to Great Falls, Virginia so that I could visit before closing time.  Oh, how I wish I lived close enough to take classes here.

I have admired Jenny Beyer quilts for some time now.  Her use of color and design just continue to amaze me.  The shop was filled with her quilts, fabrics and patterns and I was just in awe. 

The staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful - it was a wonderful experience to visit this shop and I highly recommend it to anyone in the area - just outside of Washington, DC.  They gave me permission to take pictures inside and I have a few to show, but my photographic skills, or maybe its my camera, are very lacking.  But here are a few shots anyway.

I tried to get a shot of the view from our hotel window here in Washington, so I held the lens right up to the glass and turned off the flash.  Its especially pretty at night when all the buildings are lit up and you can see the Washington Monument in the distance.  The trees are gorgeous here now and there is a brilliant orange and yellow one below my window.

Speaking of trees - the colors in Virginia on the trip up are simply amazing.  When we left Great Falls we came through McLean Va to get to DC - unbelievable mansions and all the colors of Fall - a very nice ride in.

And finally - someone asked if I had brought along some handwork, and well of course, what good quilter leaves home without some handwork?  I had it all neat and tidy in my little plastic box and was going to take a picture to show you - but, when I reached for it - I dumped it all out on the floor.  So here it is, crammed back into the box, somewhat in disarray. 

The conference has been wonderful, I have learned tons of compliance policies that I wish I did not know at this point as I have my work cut out for me when I get back to work.  Hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow and don't forget to VOTE.