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Monday, May 25, 2015

May Flowers

One of my objectives for 2015 has been to finish up some of my favorite wall quilts - Calendar quilts!


I started Kim Schaeffer's May Calendar Quilt in 2012 - yes, three years ago!!!!  I traced off the pattern pieces onto fusible and chose happy, bright fabrics - and promptly forgot about it when something more urgent called my name.  Yeh, that happens to me a lot *very big grin*!


But I am happy to say I finally finished it recently and it is proudly hanging in my living room, cheering me up each time I spy it =^..^=  Kim gives her Calendar Quilt designs such cute details.....



Kim's pattern version stuck to reds, oranges & yellows for her quilt, but you just know I had to add in a little spark of blue - right?


And then I decided that a big-stitch hand-quilted "path" for the blue butterfly was a necessity to fill in some much needed quilting in that open area .....




One thing I did that was new with this quilt was to applique the pieces down as I quilted instead of before quilting.  In other words, I fused them all down in their proper positions, but instead of stitching them down as I usually would, I next sandwiched the quilt layers, and then used the applique stitching as my quilting.  It went SO MUCH quicker that way!  I also tried out a few of my decorative machine stitches around the flowers.  I just love that orange raggedy zigzag stitch around the outer part of the center!


I wasn't happy with the blah look of the yellow flower petals, so I got out my colored pencils and added a nice orange "blush" to the edges and tips .....


And after adding a black-and-white rope trim around the center of my red flower, I needed something to cover up where the two ends met rather messily.


Now I ask you, what could be cuter than this little caterpillar???


My usual choice for a binding is darker than the quilt to add a "frame" around it, but for this one, I fell in love with a simple, spring-like yellow and blue plaid, cut on the bias ....


A binding finish to share at
Julie K Quilts' Binding Blitz!!!
I love changing out these quilts each month, adding a fresh new look to our home.  Each little quilt helps me to transition into new seasons and holidays.  I finished up the June calendar quilt two years ago and it is one of my favorites!


I don't seem to have a picture handy of it bound and quilted, but trust me it is :*)  I have July and August in progress, so I'll be sharing those with you soon.


My outdoor spring flowers are very happy that we have actually had quite a nice spring here in Nashville this year.


Usually we get about one week of spring and then the summer heat hits hard and fast, not letting go until sometime in October.  It's been much cooler, and we've gotten some nice rain showers too.  I sat on the porch this morning and enjoyed the soothing sounds of a gentle drizzle while watching my favorite Oriental Lillies begin to open up ..... ahhhhhhh - Life is Good!  My Guy does such a wonderful job of keeping our lawn and yard looking spectacular, doesn't he?


I'll leave you with a picture of the lovely spring flowers my son sent me for Mother's Day this year .....


It is the first time he has sent me flowers, and I have to admit I was charmed and delighted :*)  They lasted a good long while; I reluctantly disposed of the last of them just a few days ago.

Hugs & Blessings!
Teresa
=^..^=

Linking up with:

Patchwork Times - Design Wall Monday
Freemotion by the River - Tuesday Linky Party
Julie K Quilts - Binding Blitz


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Rockin' the Raspberry Socks!

Yes, I know I've been away for a good while again, but perhaps you will forgive me when I share some of the things I've been up to ....


First - we've welcomed our newest grandbaby to the family!!!
(Yes, I know, that is not necessarily something "I" did, but I claim bragging rights anyway!)
=^..^=

Genevieve and Jacqueline

Here is big sister Genevieve holding her tiny newborn baby sister, Jacqueline.  Awwwwwww.......  Doesn't Jacqueline look just like one of those perfect little baby dolls that artists make to look like real babies?  Mother and baby are both doing wonderfully well and Dad and Genevieve are absolutely tickled with the new addition :)

This makes eight grands for us now - 
Wow, we're getting old!!!

And this past week, I traveled to Asheville NC to be with my mom while she had some follow-up surgery from her surgery this past January.  When in Asheville, you get GREAT mountain views from your hospital bed :*)


I am happy to report that she is doing great.  I'm sure you all know how relieved I am about that!

While at the hospital with her, I noticed a few things that tickled my funny bone ..... such as, the staff doesn't pay much attention to posted notices .....


And, someone needs to teach someone proper English...


My city-bred Baltimore grandmother had a you-know-what fit the first time she heard me say "cut" off the lights after I had moved to the south.  She didn't care very much for "ya'll" "reckon" or "yonder" either LOL!!!

Knitting plain jane socks is the perfect busy project when sitting in a hospital waiting room or with the patient for several days.  I managed to get quite a lot done on my current pair of socks On the Needles ..... 


These Raspberry Smooshy socks are making up so beautifully!  These are the ones I had to tear out all the way below the heel last month - my blog post about that is HERE.


I wanted these to be fairly simple so I wouldn't have to constantly check a pattern while knitting them, but I did decide to add a simple rib pattern to the cuffs to cut down on the monotony and add a little interest ... so far I'm very happy with the way they are turning out.


Hugs & Blessings!
Teresa
=^..^=


Friday, April 3, 2015

2015 Finish-Along Q2 List


2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Since I only completed 4 of my 10 Finish-Along projects listed last quarter, I am really motivated to do better this quarter!  I'll keep the 6 remaining Q1 unfinished projects on my list to finish up in Q2, and then add a few more that I believe I can get done....

#7     Make 2 Bionic Gear Bags -


I made my first Bionic Gear Bag in early February so I could have it ready for retreats at Sewanee and Mountain Quiltfest.  It worked perfectly!  I had everything I needed right at hand and easy to access.  When I was done, zip it up and pop it in my machine case!



As you can see, this bag holds a ton!!!  I'll do a separate post soon to show you more about this amazing tool :*)

#8     Finish knitting my Raspberry Smooshy Socks -  see more detail about these HERE if you are interested :)

#9 - Bind Blue Noel -

This one should be easy.  It is my UFO for guild that needs to be done for the April meeting next week.  I started this quilt in 2010 and finished quilting it in 2014.  It is small, so binding it should be a snap!

That's it for new items on the list.  Here is a simple re-listing of the projects left over from last quarter.  You can read more about them in my Q1 post HERE if you like.

1.     Finish quilting and bind Montego Bay
2.     Quilt and bind Whooooooo's Your Daddy?
3.     Complete 5 Bertie's Year wall quilts
4.     Quilt and bind Amish Beauties
5.     Complete Shark Pencil Case
6.     Complete Peacock See-N-Go Bag

I think that will keep me busy and out of trouble for the next couple of months, don't you think?  Well, hopefully anyway LOL!!!  Are you joining in on the challenge?  There are some AMAZING prizes!!!!  Just sayin' :*)

Hugs & Blessings!
Teresa
=^..^=    

Final Finish and Some Un-knitting....

My final finish from my Q1 Finish-Along list is a gift for one of my bestest blog buddies, Janet O., who blogs over at Rogue Quilter.  She received it yesterday, so I can blog about it now!

If you don't know Janet O., then go visit her NOW (link on her blog name) and introduce yourself!  She's a lovely person and friend, a wonderful quilter, and always has an uplifting comment and a sweet attitude.  Can you tell how much I love her???

Janet has gifted me with several really sweet treasures - she's the most thoughtful creature!  So I've been wanting to return the favor for a while now.  The problem was that I couldn't think of the perfect thing for her ... you know, the one thing she didn't have (how could I be sure?), or the newest tool that she's been dying to get her hands on (how would I know?), or ... well, you get the idea :)  I decided to make her something personal, but again - what?  Are you beginning to get the picture that I'm not quite as talented a gifter as she is?

Then she mentioned in a comment on one of my posts that she didn't have a Ruler Tote.  Eureka!!!


My next question was - what fabrics do I use???  Janet favors the primitive fabrics, darker than my style but still colorful.  The one color we both love is black!  So although I don't have much in the way of primitive fabrics, I did have some nice blacks in that style, and I was able to pull some reds and golds to go along with it.  I really hope she likes it!  I made it just like the one I always carry to retreats.

Brighter colors for me of course - and cats!!! =^..^=

It has pockets in the front for rulers ....


And heat-resistant fabric on the back for a portable ironing station ....



The inside will hold an 18"x24" rotary cutting mat and as many large rulers as she can carry!


I hope you enjoy this gift Janet!  I know I could never find a gift that would adequately say "Thank You!" for your friendship and encouragement over the past couple of years, but hopefully you will smile and remember how special I think you are each time you use your new Ruler Tote!!!

Tomorrow I will post my Q2 Finish-Along List - hopefully I will do a little better with that one :*)  Are you joining in on the fun?  I have to admit, it has really helped me to stay focused and concentrate on getting some of my projects finished up instead of flitting around from project to project, always starting and never finishing!  And there are prizes .....  (I thought that would get your attention LOL!!!)

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Make your own knitting needles! I lose needles all the time, this is good to know!
http://makezine.com/craft/diy_knitting_needles/

And since it's Friday, and I haven't linked up with Patchwork Times's On The Needles in weeks, I thought I would update you on the mess I have percolating in the yarn department :*)


I picked up my Raspberry Smooshy Socks last week after not touching them since the end of October last year.  Knitting kinda took a backseat when I became obsessed got involved with Millefiore and Arcadia Avenue :)  So I picked them back up thinking if I could finish off the heels quickly, I'd have nothing but the cuffs left for a mindless take-along project.  Indeed, I did finish them up and was congratulating myself and feeling pretty good about my growth as an experienced knitter because those tricky heels actually worked out perfectly the first time!  .....



.... only to find when I tried to reconnect at the ankle that I had made a mistake way back yonder in October!  An unfixable mistake no less!  For those of you who knit socks, you'll understand when I say that I increased on BOTH sides of the sock while working the gusset instead of just the heel side.  See how wide the front is in the next picture?  UGH!!!


So I had to tear out those perfect heels (sob!), and carefully keep all the stitches from dropping - because if I didn't do it right I would have to START ALL OVER.  I used another set of needles to pick up the stitches before the place where the mistake started, and only then did I start to rip back to there ....


Thankfully, this was successful and I have begun the increases for the gusset once again, this time only on one side - whew!  Still a lot of stitching to do on these but at least I am moving in the right direction again :)


I really want to make my aqua pair, so these need to get done pronto.  Don't you love this yarn???


Hugs & Blessings!
Teresa
=^..^=

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Number Three's the Charm!

Well, this tiny 2015 Finish-Along finish certainly has it's share of charm, although every time I look at it I think maybe it could use a little more quilting ..... hmmmmm.....


I stitched in the ditch inside and around the heart, but I left the white alone because I didn't want to disturb that lovely fabric design.  I'm glad to have found a nice use for the orphan heart block.  It made a delightful decoration for us during the month of February and kept me mindful that spring was just around the corner, especially when a glance out the windows showed layers of snow and ice!

Don't you just LOVE that background white?????

This block was one of a group of BOM heart blocks we did at our Guild in 2009.  The quilt was designed by my friend and vice president that year, Carole Crane (she finished hers of course - complete with a ruched inner border no less! - and I believe won several ribbons with it ♥)  I made about half of the blocks, and then put them away in a box.  That was the year I served as president, and time was not something I had a lot of.  Of course, in the twinkling of an eye, I had forgotten all about them.  So when I cleaned out my studio this past winter, I unearthed the box and decided to use them or lose them!


I wanted to keep this project SUPER SIMPLE .... so I auditioned a few deep reds for a small border, and narrowed them down to these two.  The hearts were more in line with Valentine's Day and I would have loved to use up that fabric, but I really loved the red stripe - and you know color always trumps everything else in my studio, right?  So I used the hearts on the back :*)

It took me maybe one afternoon to stitch this baby up - don't you just love that kind of project???  Thanks again to Adrianne who blogs at On the Windy Side for being the hostess with the mostest for the -
2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

You can see my Q1 list HERE if you're interested.  I finished 4 of my 10 listed projects for this quarter - one was a gift that I hope my friend will receive by tomorrow or the next day so I can post about it and add it to the finishes.

4 out of 10  is pretty darn pitiful - and I sure do hope to do better next quarter!  But I have to remind myself that this is 4 finishes that I wouldn't have done if not for the incentive of the 2015 Finish Along!  Why don't you join us?

Hugs & Blessings!
Teresa
=^..^=


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Small Finish :)

I was almost embarrassed to turn in this little baby quilt last month at our Music City Quilt Guild meeting!


Our Guild makes baby quilts for the Middle Tennessee Down Syndrome Association, who delivers them to new parents whenever a sweet new DS baby is born.  We call it Phyllis's Angel Babies, after one of our members who was gifted with a DS grandchild, Ron, and was able to help us understand the challenges facing the families of these darling children.  Phyl left us last year after her own battle with cancer, but her daughter, Alecia (mom of Ron), is also a Guild member and is the Director of MTDSA.  She says often when she delivers a quilt, it is the first time anyone has said Congratulations! to the new parents.  Isn't that sad?

Each summer, we plan one of our monthly sit-n-sew meetings to work on the Angel Babies quilts.  Last year - yes, last year! - the coordinators cut a huge amount of donated fabrics into strips for us to all sew up into Bargello baby quilts using Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville's free Scrappy Bargello pattern.


I got mine all pieced a few days after the sit-n-sew, and sat it on the corner of my quilting machine table so I could finish it up .....


And there it sat for almost a year!!!!  
Yikes!!!  *Hanging head* .....

So at my recent retreat to Sewanee in February, I took this along and made it my first project priority.   I sandwiched and quilted it with simple straight lines following the block intersections ....


And then I sewed the binding down by machine ......


...... much sturdier than hand-sewn which makes it perfect for babies and little children, and takes a fraction of the time to finish!

It makes me sad that it took so long for me to finish this quilt, and it helped me to see that sometimes I am not setting the right priorities in my life and my quilting activities.  As with most things in life, once we see a truth we are able to make positive changes, and I choose to use this experience to spur me upwards toward better choices!

This is Finish #2 from my 2105 Finish Along Q1 list ... and my most important one by far!!!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Hugs & Blessings!
Teresa
=^..^=

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