Friday, October 25, 2013

It's Blogger's Quilt Festival Time!!!!


I love joining in on Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival!!!

Click on the button above to go to the main page and check out 
all the wonderful quilts and prizes for this year's Fall Festival :*)

Of course, this year Moonglow has to be my entry!

For those of you who are not already heartily sick of reading about this prize-winning quilt on my blog, following are a few more details of my Moonglow quilting adventure LOL!!!

This quilt is designed by Jinny Beyer - quilting megastar - and the fabrics are all hers too.  I fell in love with the quilt the first time I saw its picture in a magazine!  Then I found out it was available as a Block-of-the-Month, so I asked my husband for the set for Christmas in 2009.  It was the perfect gift because I got a new package every month in 2010.  What fun it was to open the package to see what that month's star looked like - and then ponder just how difficult it was going to be to make LOL!!

I finally finished the blocks and managed to get the top together in May of last year, then in May of this year, my friend Joanne let me use her long-arm machine to baste the layers together - what a blessing that was!!!!  No scrambling around on the floor trying to get it sandwiched!!!

I quilted this quilt with my Janome 6600 domestic machine - and as usual it came through for me like a champ!!!  This is a large queen-sized quilt, but I was able to free-motion quilt even the stitch-in-the-ditch areas pretty well - I only struggled on the center row with a lot of bulk under the machine.  For the first time, I used a wool batt in this baby, and I love the feel and heft of the quilt, as well as the loft and definition it gave to the quilting design.  It did add some bulk under the machine though.  My favorite reason for using this batt is that I love knowing it won't get those permanent wrinkles some quilts get in them after folding :*)

I finally got busy with the quilting process early this month in the hopes of getting the quilt in the Oktoberfest Quilt Show held here locally each year - and it won 1st Place in its category!!!

You can read more about that HERE if you like.

The quilting process was long and very strenuous!  You can read some of my quilting adventures with Moonglow HERE and HERE.  I think the marking took as long as the quilting did!  Since I was working primarily with a black background, I used the white Clover White Marking Pen (three of them actually!) and it also did a magnificent job.  It goes on invisible as a liquid, but turns white as it dries.  Then when you are done stitching, just steam out the marks - voila!!!!

Marking each line to make sure they were perfectly straight and at the right angle!
Then, can you see the swag line I drew in?
I used one of Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Circles as a template for the circles - worked wonderfully!!!!

The swag lines were drawn on, but the feathers and circles on them were all free-motion quilted.....

It's a little hard to see them because I used a similar color thread.  I tried black and it stood out like a sore thumb!!!  The corners got a simple swag/feather treatment to keep things cohesive....

The lines in the borders were kept organic - I didn't want to do anything flowery or feathery there.  I really like the nice clean lines of the quilt and those borders, so I just did the understated swag work and "piano keys" lines, and kept it at that...

My binding, as usual, was applied by machine......

I've learned how to do this so that it looks as nice as any hand-sewn binding on the front, and almost as nice on the back too :*)  The Judge had no negative comments to make about it, so I think I must have done a nice job.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing Moonglow in all its glory!!!

Your vote in the Bed Quilts division would be so greatly appreciated :*D

Please feel free to come back again and visit soon!!!

Hugs & Blessings,

What I'm Up to....

Since I finished the quilting marathon with Moonglow, I've been trying to tie up a few loose ends in the sewing studio.  And I have been busy in the evenings with my knitting needles.  First off, I finished up Dreambird!

I decided to finish it off with only 15 feathers, rather than the 21 called for in the pattern.  I'm a small-size person (except around the middle LOL!!!), and I felt that too many feathers would just overwhelm me.  I'm very happy with the size and how it turned out!  A huge THANKS to Judy & Denise for hostessing the Knit-along to encourage those of us who might not have started this project otherwise :*D  I can definitely see me making this shawl again someday - it was a truly fun project with just enough challenge, but still easily make-able once you got the hang of it.

On my needles right now are two pretty easy projects.  First, here is my progress on Wingspan....

Not a whole lot more done since my last picture, but this is my "to go" knitting project, so it hasn't come out a lot lately.  But I'm pretty sure I'm going to LOVE IT when I'm done :*D

Next, I've started my third pair of socks - again using the "Toe-up, Two-at-a-time, Magic Loop" method that I really enjoyed with my second pair.  The yarn is Serenity Sock Weight in the Surf colorway...

Can you believe I started these socks last Sunday, and I already have them past the heel????

Photo taken last night
They've been a very relaxing project for TV watching in the evenings.  We're going to be doing a little day travel this weekend, so I expect to get these done pretty quickly - don't blink or you'll miss the finish LOL!!!  I'm just doing a "plain jane" stockinette stitch for the leg sections.

Don't you just love this "Eye of the Partridge" design on the heel?  I do!!!

This pattern incorporates what they call a "faux" heel - which means that you don't knit a heel flap and then pick up stitches to attach it to the rest of the sock like in usual sock patterns.  I don't really know how to explain it very well.  You still use short rows but you attach the flap by way of knitting back to your other heel stitches - you don't go into the sides and pick up stitches there.  Sorry if that doesn't make any sense.  If you're interested, go HERE to download the pattern and try it - its free on Ravelry, quick and fun, and really easy!

For my next big knitting project, I must confess I bought yarn!!!!  It will be a birthday present :*)  I love the 100 Diamonds Shawl that is designed by Sachiko Uemura, one of the most amazing knitters I have ever seen!  Her work is flawless!!!!  I'm not sure if it is okay to post pictures of other knitters' projects from Ravelry  even with the proper credits, so I'll just provide a couple of links here for you to go look if you like - both of these are just gorgeous!!!

Purple version
Newest Caffeine version

Of course, my knitting will not come close to Sachiko's perfection, but I can't wait to make one of these elegant shawls!  I ordered my yarn from Knit Purl because I wanted to use the same exact type of yarn = Shibui Silk Cloud - mine will be in this luscious Raspberry colorway....

Isn't that just a gorgeous color?
(There will be crystal beads too!  BLING!!!)

I also ordered the Addi Lace needles for this project.  Sachiko mentions that working with this yarn can be "fiddly," and lace-work can be fiddly enough for me all on its own, so I decided to get the best tools for the job.  I used Addi needles on my Dreambird project and loved them - nice sharp points and the yarn slides along nicely without losing control and dropping stitches.  Knit Purl describes the Addi Lace needles this way - "smooth needles with defined points for knitters who need a little more control over fine yarns than the traditional Addi TURBO needles"  I decided they're worth the extra expense for this special project.  I'll keep you posted on my progress, of course :*)


On the "quilty" side, I have been busy playing with Terri Stegmiller's Paws in the Garden pattern and having a ball!

I've already prepped pieces to make two different projects but I don't really have much to share yet.  I've chosen fabrics, traced and cut out the fusible pieces so far, that's it :(

I will give you one hint though - one of the projects will be done in wools!!!

And I want to show you my oh-so-lovely winnings from a giveaway recently by my friend Lesley at The Cuddle Quilter.  If you haven't visited Lesley - you need to go NOW!!!  I just love her blog :*D  Lesley was celebrating her two-year Blogiversary and she decided to offer a giveaway.  My name was pulled for a gift certificate to Christa Quilts - one of my favorite on-line fabric shops - YIPPEE!!!!  This is the fun bounty I scored from Christa's sale section....

3 yards of that luscious batik on the left and 1 yard of the happy lime Christmas print in the middle.
And Christa includes a mystery fat quarter if you order over $25 - how could she know how much I love text prints?
 A closer look at the batik...YUM!!!!

Thanks Lesley!  And Happy Blogiversary!!!!  I'm so glad you decided to start a blog so all of us could follow along and get to know you - such a bloggy treasure!!!!

And lest I run out of things to work on - it could happen!!!!! - I signed up for this too-cute BOM at Shabby Fabrics....  Berties Year Club at Shabby Fabrics.....

Photo courtesy of Shabby Fabrics
The applique pieces will arrive at my doorstep already laser cut - woohoo!!!!  And I know I don't have to tell you that I am a true sucker for small quilts that I can change out every month for a new one :*)  I love the simplicity of these designs - they shouldn't take very long to make at all!  And the borders really add something special to each quilt.  I'll be eagerly looking forward to this package from Shabby Fabrics every month!

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!!!!

Hugs & Blessings!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Moonglow Won!!!

It's been hard getting back to "ordinary" life and blogging.  

I worked practically non-stop for over 2 weeks on the quilting for Moonglow so I could enter it in the local Oktoberfest Quilt Show, and I am happy to report that I made it!  I skidded in just 1-1/2 hours before deadline to register both Moonglow and Rainbow Pineapples.....  and they both took 1st Place ribbons in their categories!!!

 This event is sponsored by Wilson Bank, and they provide the ribbons 
which are all the colors of the bank - burgundy and gold.

I'm so Happy!!!!

I'll share more about Moonglow and the quilting process with some pictures later this week.  

The first day after I finished, I worked as a scribe for the Judge, so I was able to be there and hear her comments about both quilts.  She used a 1-4 scale, with 1 being "Best", 2 being "Very Good", 3 being "Good", and 4 being "Fair".  Moonglow scored a "1" on all points - Color & Design, Piecing/Applique, Quilting, and Binding.  Woohoo!!!!  Looks like all that hard work and focus really paid off :*D  There are things that I might have done differently if I had had more time, but overall I am very happy with the quilt and will very much enjoy seeing it on my bed every day.

Rainbow Pineapples scored a 1 for both Color & Design and Piecing.  She gave me a 2 on Quilting because she said it was just "sufficient" for the quilt.  She was right.  I really didn't do a lot of quilting on it because it is small and it's a wall quilt, so it didn't need a whole lot.

The second day after I finished quilting Moonglow .... I did NOTHING!!!  Seriously, ya'll... I didn't do anything at all.  I was whooped!  I piled up in my recliner with my cuddly rag quilt covering me and started a new pair of socks.  And I watched 4 episodes of Revolution in a row LOL!!!  It's been a low-key weekend for me, but yesterday I began to get my energy back and spent a good part of the day in my sewing studio straightening things back up after the quilting marathon and getting it back in order.

Then today I started a new project!  
(Getting that October NewFO taken care of instead of waiting until the last day - LOL!!!)  

One of the blogs I love to follow for her amazing eye candy is Terri Stegmiller - an amazing artist and fiber art quilter!  You can visit her wonderful Blog by clicking HERE.  You can also find her on Facebook HERE, and she has some absolutely gorgeous things for sale in her Etsy shop HERE!

Not long ago, Terri put out the call for a few pattern designers.  I know!  I have SO MUCH going on!!!  But I'm telling you, Terri's designs are so marvelous that I just couldn't resist throwing my name in the hat!  And just in case that doesn't convince you, would you believe the designs had cats in them?  Yep, resistance had no chance at all!!!  :*D

"Paws in the Garden" by Terri Stegmiller
Once I saw Terri's "Paws in the Garden", I just had to play with it!  Don't you love the expressions on these cuties' faces?  The lids on their eyes is a genius touch - it gives them so much purrsonality :*)  I spent a few very happy hours today working with the pattern to get it to the size I need for my planned project - what fun!!!   Of course, Terri is a mixed-media artist, so her rendition of the pattern was done with hand-died and stenciled fabrics (that she did herself of course), and lots of embellishments.  Mine will be a little tamer, but I think it will end up being just as beautiful in its own way - I hope it will, anyway :*D  Terri wanted us to do "our own thing" so she could get different looks for the designs, so I'm just doing my thing and having a ball!!!

As for the rest of my Design Wall, it is currently empty.  But of course that doesn't mean I don't have lots of things in progress.  For our upcoming visit to family in November, I'll finish up Genevieve's Banners baby quilt, as well as a new bib for her.  I found this pattern while at Runaway and couldn't resist making one for our little girl, who is now a big girl at six months old!

I'm having a hard time deciding which one to make, so don't be surprised if she gets more than one LOL!!!

I also want to take some hand-sewn gifts for my daughter-in-law's baby shower for our newest baby boy on the way around Christmas time.  Among the items I hope to have for the shower will be some over-sized flannel receiving blankets from some fun fabrics I've been saving in my stash for just such an occasion ....

Aren't they cute????  I think Anna will like them, and I'm pretty sure Cooper will enjoy their cheerful color in his new world :*D

I also have several gifts I'm making for other loved ones that I just can't share right now.... you know how that goes, right?  I'm going to give my October Get It Done list a good look-over to see if I need to adjust anything so I can focus on these things right now.

What are you focusing on in your sewing room?  Is your Design Wall full of fun things, or is it empty like mine?  Please join me in sharing your current projects at Judy's Patchwork Times linky party!  I'll see you there!!!

Hugs & Blessings,

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy!!!

It's been "Nose to the Grindstone" time here at my house!

I have been focusing exclusively on Moonglow, trying to get it quilted and ready for entry in our Oktoberfest Quilt Show next week!

There are 25 blocks total - 12 Log Cabin blocks and 13 Stars.....

Each star block is SID (Stitched in the Ditch) by FMQ (free-motion quilting) - which is NOT easy!!!  I love doing FMQ with swirly, curly designs, but straight stitching in a ditch is a real challenge.  I've ripped out more than I care to tell you about!  I couldn't do straight-stitching with the walking foot, because this is a Queen-size quilt, and no way was I going to keep turning it back and forth, around and around.  I honestly don't know how people do SID on a long-arm.  

Then I'm doing a FMQ pebble design in the background areas to make the stars pop out.  After all, they are the "Stars" of this quilt (pun totally intended LOL!!!)  :*D

But, wowzers!!!! - this sure does take a lot of time to do!!!

The Log Cabin blocks are pure SID with a simple circle stitched in the black squares....again, not nearly as easy as it looks like it would be!

Thankfully, this block is not crooked - it's just the way it is laying on my tabletop :*D
I still have EIGHT more blocks to do - ugh!!!

And THEN I have all these dad-blasted borders to do something with!!!

Yes, folks, that's a LOT of border area to quilt!!!

I have a design in mind, and I'm hoping I'll have time to do what I want to do with it.  But it means that I can't work on anything else until it's done.  Wish me luck!!!!

Missing you all and looking forward to the end of this crazy Moonglow marathon!!!
Be back visiting with you all soon!!!

Hugs & Blessings!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Dreambird - On the Needles 10-4-13

All of my knitting projects seem to be taking "Wing" LOL!!!

Dreambird is slowly but surely taking shape - I now have 13 of the 21 feathers done!!!

Joanne has been much more industrious at the needles than I have - as usual LOL!!!  She actually has 17 feathers done now, although this picture was taken at only 16....

I've also begun a new project, Wingspan, so I can have a quick, pick-up-and-go project that requires very little thought for guild meetings, doctor offices, etc.  Dreambird is NOT that type of project LOL!!!

If you look at the upper left area, you can see where I'm just starting the second section.  This is a super easy pattern and I love the striations from the combination of this pattern and yarn together!  It actually has more color variations than I realized just looking at the ball of yarn.

The yarn is soft, light, and fluffy, a pleasant change from the prickly Noro sock yarn used in Dreambird.  The bright warm colors are also a nice change from all the cool aquas and purples I've been working with lately :*D

So what's on your needles?
See all the fun projects being shared at Judy's Patchwork Times today!

Hugs & Blessings!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

End of Month Reports: September 2013

This month was not quite as successful as last month for getting things done, but all in all, I'm satisfied with what was accomplished - especially considering that I spent a week at retreat and a week getting ready for it.  All that cutting and washing fabrics - ugh!  It takes so much work to get ready to start new projects now that I have to wash everything first!!!

September 2013 NewFO Challenge project:  linking up with Cat Patches

Summertime Wool Applique - remember this new project?

Vintage Valentine Table Topper gift for Mom....

I got a great start on this project by having all the fusible pieces drawn out and cut in advance!  I had prepared them for this block in the Vintage Valentine quilt quite some time ago - another of my UFO's.   So when Mom requested one of these blocks for her next tabletopper frame quilt, it was easy to just choose a block that had all the fusible papers traced and cut, but not yet fused to fabrics for the quit.  I chose all the fabrics and fused the pieces down on the background before retreat.  All I had to do at Runaway was stitch them all down with a buttonhole stitch - Done!!!  Now I just need to take an afternoon to quilt and bind it, adding a little hanging sleeve for the table topper frame.  This will go to Carolina with me at Thanksgiving :*)

Christmas QAL - Bargello Tree Skirt.... linking up with Needle-Thread-Happiness

Another new start for the NewFO Challenge is this Christmas QAL project that I have been wanting to dig into for the longest time now!!!  My goals list for September listed quilting my Blue & White "The First Tree of Life" quilt..... BUT, I am already quilting a much larger quilt right now which ties up my machine, and I didn't want to quilt at retreat - I much prefer to do my quilting at home where I have plenty of room and lots of tables around me to catch the quilts.  So I decided to start work on the Bargello Tree Skirt at Runaway.  This was a much more complicated project than I thought it would be - which is really saying something since I expected it to be a challenge! - so I didn't finish it, but I'm happy with the progress.  And since it is on my list of Christmas proejcts I want to complete for the holidays this year, I really just substituted one project for another on my Christmas QAL goals :*)

This will go on my October Get It Done list for finishing up!

September 2013 Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks:  BABY BLUE - linking up with SoScrappy

Lone Starburst

Yes, they are pastels!!!  But they were fun to play with, and I'm crossing my fingers for something brighter in October LOL!!!

September Quilting Project:  Moonglow!!!

I'm adding a section to my End of Month goals.  I really NEED to get some of my projects quilted, so I'm scheduling those into my To Do list.  This month I've chosen one of the hardest projects on the shelf - start with the biggest challenge and it's all downhill from there, right???  LOL!!!

This is a Queen-size quit, so I will have to wrestle with it to get it done!  But I've done several queens before, so I know I can do it.  As you can see, this was basted on my friend Joanne's long-arm machine, so I didn't have to get down on the floor to sandwich and pin it - SO MUCH EASIER!!!  I will say though that my fingers keep getting caught in those huge basting stitches :*)

My first task was to stabilize the quilt, so I QID - quilted in the ditch - around the edges
between the center blocks and the borders - my Janome QID Walking foot makes this a breeze!!!
Or, at least it would be if it weren't black on black - so hard to see.....

Another problem with black - it picks up every piece of lint or cat hair in my universe!!!
I surely don't want to quilt those suckers down on my quilt, so....

I keep my lint roller handy and use it on each section before I quilt it.
Pebbling around the star points - VERY time consuming, but I'm liking the results so far....

One Star block DONE!!!
Only 12 more to go LOL!!!
Now if I can just decide how I want to quilt the log cabin alternating blocks.....

Get it Done - September/October 2013:  linking up with Patchwork Times

September 2013 Goals:
  • Finish prep-work on all materials for Runaway class - DONE!
  • Continue washing Stash - Continuing.... lots washed for retreat projects, but not much since then.
  • RSC Challenge blocks- DONE!
  • Complete Genevieve's baby quilt - Top is DONE but it still needs to be sandwiched and quilted.  I had to talk to the Mom before I made a final decision on the backing.  All ready to go now!
  • New Tabletop quilt for Mom (NewFO Challenge project)- Top is DONE!  Still needs to be quilted, but it doesn't have to be done until the week of Thanksgiving, so I'm happy! :*)
  • Quilt The First Tree of Life - Didn't touch this!  However, I substituted starting my Bargello Tree Skirt for my Christmas project this month, and I got quite a lot of that done at Runaway :*)
  • Start quilting Moonglow- DONE!  The quilting on this is going to take a LONG time!!!
  • Make flying geese for Talkin' Turkey - Not done!  Joanne and Mary would not let me work on them at Runaway - they insisted that we only work on this project during our sit-n-sew times together!  So I will get started on these this coming Friday :*)
  • Finish Dreambird Shawl - I suppose I was way too ambitious on this one considering I had a week-long retreat to go to and days of preparation.  I do have 13 of the 21 feathers done though :)  Look for a picture on Friday when I'll link up with Judy's On the Needles.
  • Plan and prepare Runaway projects that I think I can accomplish in 4 days- DONE!
All in all, I don't think I did too very bad this month!  Retreats usually throw me for a loop as far as momentum - do they do that to you too?  I always think I'm going to get SO MUCH done, and then I don't.... but much fun was had, so that's what counts, right?

October 2013 Goals:

  • RSC Challenge Blocks
  • NewFO project - ?????? - I want to do a pumpkin project - will I have time???
  • Quilting - Moonglow, Genevieve's Banners, Mom's Valentine table-topper
  • Finish prepping and begin stitching on the next Summertime block
  • Yarn Projects - start Wingspan knitted shawl so I'll have an easy take-along, no-brainer yarn project
  • Christmas QAL - Finish Bargello Tree Skirt; start on Jovial if I have time
  • Make at least half of the Talkin' Turkey flying geese
  • Continue washing stash
Well, that's it for me!  I hope you have some really fun projects planned for October!!!

Hugs & Blessings!
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