Friday, January 30, 2015

On Track

I've been working hard all week at catching up and I think I am finally back on track!  Whew!  I've felt behind on so many projects for so long that I don't quite know what to do with myself.  Well, that's not true - I have a lot of things I am itching to get to work on, as well as projects that are coming up.  It's just that I'm not behind schedule on anything right now.  At any rate, I sandwiched this to get quilted this weekend:

It is going to get loop the loops and butterflies in light orange thread.  Shouldn't take too long to get this one done!  I also want to get the quilt I am hand-quilting bound.  I decided I want to put a scalloped border on, so I need to figure that out.  It's been a while and I'm afraid I've forgotten how to figure out the math for the scallops.

And I saw this picture on Facebook  
and realized it would be perfect to use my overflowing green stash on!  I have been thinking of making a triangle quilt in greens, so this one is perfect.  I think I could figure this out on my own, but the magazine looks like it will have lots of great patterns, so I may have to add it to my collection when I see it!  Is there anything as fun as deciding on a new quilting project? I just love the feeling of knowing I want to make something special and new!

And I am going to try to finish piecing the border for my Grand Illusion Mystery.  I need to get on the hunt for the perfect backing for it, too.  I'm thinking of quilting it with a medium loft poly batting.  I like my cotton quilts, but a nice fluffy quilt can be a fun change of pace sometimes.  I probably won't be quilting it for a while, so I have time to think about it.

What are you sewing this weekend?  Will you watch the superbowl or sew?  (I plan to do my binding while I watch the game!)

Making a difference with cupcakes!

Every quilt I make has some kind of a story.  Some of the stories are simple - I loved the fabric and wanted to make something out of it.  Some of the stories are more intricate, and reach beyond my sewing room into another person's story.  This is one of those quilts.  It's not a complicated quilt, but it is a quilt that is a masterpiece to those that it touches.  It is a happy and colorful quilt that was created by a community - my skills were simply those that brought it all together in the end.  All the beauty of this quilt is from the people who contributed their love.

I started on the path to making this quilt earlier this summer.  I got a custom request in my Etsy shop from a mom who wanted a quilt and a couple of pillowcases made for her daughter.  It would be used on a hospital bed for her little girl who was on hospice care.  
My heart hurt when I read that and I just had to take on the request - Maria (the mom) had some cute fabric picked out with cupcakes, so I ordered it and got the project finished for her as quickly as I could.  I didn't want to be nosy and ask for the whole story about her daughter, so I just made the quilt as requested, and when she asked if I could donate a baby quilt for the fundraiser she was planning I was happy to use the leftover fabric to do that for her.

Then Maria came up with the idea of sending fabric squares to be colored, then sewn together for another quilt.  It sounded like a great idea, so I jumped on board with the plan and cut out 100 squares to be used for the project.  I still didn't really know the whole story about Maria's daughter, but I know I was doing something to help and it felt really good to be a part of that.

After the fundraiser, the colored squares came back to me to be sewn together.  Her friend Julia also sent me the logo for their foundations and asked if I could add that to the quilt.  This whas when I I learned about the Calliope Joy Foundation.  I read about a family that has seen more heartbreak than I can fathom.  About a sweet little girl that is so loved by her family and community.  About a mom that is dealing with something that most of us cannot imagine and is finding the strength to not only go on each day, but is also determined to do something to help other families and children.

As I cut all the sashing and sewed the squares together I smiled as I saw each block.  How carefully the children colored and printed their names.  The bright and colorful colors are so happy, this quilt cannot help but make you smile when you look at it.  I added a few pictures of Cal and her beautiful smile as well - because this quilt really is all about her!

Taken separately, each square is lovely in itself.  But all together it is more.  It speaks of joy, of love, of community.  Read here to see what 
5000 cupcakes, 1000 people and One Cause look like.  And read here to see What Cupcakes Can Do.  You can see that every small donation matters, because it all adds up to something more.  We can help.  I hope that some of you will choose to make a donation to this cause, because it can make such a big difference in what the future holds for children with these neurological diseases.  

I am so glad I had the opportunity to work with Maria, to help bring some joy and beauty into her family's life.  Quilts can be such a comfort, and that's just one of the reasons that I love creating them!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Time Out!

My husband and I took a little time out yesterday for a drive up the coast and lunch out.  It was such a lovely day!  70 degrees out and sunny.  We enjoyed a yummy lunch at a Chinese restaurant, then explored Reedsport a bit.  We've driven through numerous times on our way up north, but haven't really checked any of the local sights.  We found the Umpqua Discovery Center which was a lovely place to walk around and enjoy the view of the river.  We went into the gift shop looking for a small gift for a friend and bought a handmade soap bar, and I found a pretty Christmas ornament to remind us of our lovely day out.

One of the highlights of our visit was seeing the Album quilt that is on display there - I wish I had a better picture, but this is the only one I could find.  It was really beautiful with 15 different applique panels.  Several of my friends worked on this quilt and it was delightful to see in person.  What a special work of art this is, indeed and a treasure for the community.

We came home and I did some machine quilting on the cupcake quilt.  I got about half way done, but had to take a break and watch a movie with my husband.  Swiss Family Robinson.  Not too bad for a movie made in 1960!  I think we will have to watch it with the grandsons someday, I think they would really enjoy seeing it!

Today I finished up the cupcake quilt.  I wanted to mail it, but I really needed to take some pictures first, so it will go to the post office tomorrow morning.  I am so pleased with how it came out!

I hope your weekend was good - my best to all of you in the snowy weather, especially our daughter!  Stay warm!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

One Block Short!

There I was, sewing like mad on my Grand Illusion quilt.  Since this is a scrappy quilt that really didn't need to be laid out in order, I was working in my usual not really organized kind of way, sewing sashing strips to blocks, blocks into pairs, cornerstones onto sashing a few at a time.   This keeps it from getting too boring, and keeps me moving so that I don't sit too long and get stiff!  Anyway, after getting two rows sewn together I decided to actually count out the remaining units and discovered that I was a block short!  WHAT!

 When I sewed the blocks together last weekend I had a few leftover units at the end.  Those units did not include a center square so I assumed I had the correct number of blocks, but I must have been short one of the centers (as well as three of the pesky double diamond units - phooey!)  I ended up making one more block so I could get the center of the top finished today!   I still have to add the borders.  Actually I have to finish the border units first, so it will probably be another weekend before I get the entire top together, but I am very pleased with my efforts today.

Did you have a productive day as well?  What are you working on?  I hope you are enjoying your quilting time as much as I am!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Ready for the Weekend

Do you know what the best thing about working?  The weekend!  I haven't been this excited for a weekend in a long time!  I plan on getting my Grand Illusions mystery top finished - I just have about half of the borders to finish piecing, but first I am going to piece the center of the top with the sashing.  Can't wait to see what it looks like!

Then I am going to finish quilting the cupcake quilt - will tell you all about that when it is finished.  It is a very special project and I am excited to get it on it's way!  So hopefully lots of quilting going on here over the next 48 hours.

Here is a quick picture of the quilt top I pieced for the quilt shop this week:  Sweet Escapes.
Isnt' it pretty?  I hate to admit it, but I had quite the time of trying to keep all those squares in the right order and right side up!  I may have had to use the dreaded seam ripper several times during the construction of this top.  I think it is lovely all finished.  I think I will quilt it with an allover pattern, probably just a large swirl.  I have a gallon ziplog baggie full of the cut off corner triangles to make another little project out of, but that will have to wait a bit because I've got other priorities for now!

Hope you enjoy your weekend as much as I am going to enjoy mine!  What are your plans?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hard at Work

I have been working hard the last couple days.  There is too much to do and way too little time, but I keep plugging on.  I have two full days of work at the quilt shop because my boss is off to the Stitches in Bloom show at the Oregon Gardens. I have a long list of "to-do's" for there, too! 

Here is that table runner I finished on Monday:  
You get to see my messy cutting table as well!  No, my little sewing room is not neat and tidy.  It is a mess about 99% of the time!  The piles drive me crazy, but if I put stuff away I forget about it and move on to different projects.  Anyway, it was good to get this finished and off in the mail!  It came out very pretty.

Yesterday I pieced a shop sample.  Did not have time to quilt it, but it will display just fine as a top.  Today I worked a half day at the shop, helping get ready to load for the show.  Then I came home, hemmed a pair of pants for a friend and worked on my Grand Illusion.  Am about half done with the border blocks!  Can't wait to put this top together over the weekend!  I also put the borders on the cupcake quilt (that will get quilted this weekend) and made a mug rug for the Quiltsy Team swap!  Can't wait to mail it out, it came out so cute!  

Guess I'd better hit the hay - have to get up early tomorrow so DH and I can have a walk before I go to work.  It'll be a busy day and no time for sewing, so I'm glad I got some in today!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Off to a Busy Start

2015 has started out to be quite a busy year!  Seems like I have hardly had time to keep up with all my normal routines, much less do any blogging.  I hope to remedy that shortly!  I have a lot of things in my head that I want to accomplish this year, but haven't really had (or made) the time to sit down and put it all in writing so I can sort it out.

One thing I have been working on is Bonnie Hunter's 2014 Mystery - Grand Illusion.  I have just finished Step 2, and have all my blocks pieced.  I only need to finish the border units, then I'll be able to put the top together.  I probably won't have time to get to that until next week...sad!
I am loving this quilt and plan to finish it for my bed this spring.  I just adore the happy busy-ness of it!  Plus it is all from my stash - bonus!  I want to find a pretty backing for it that I can use for matching pillowcases. I generally like to make my bed with the pillows on top of the quilt, so pretty cases are a must for me.

I just finished a red and white custom table runner - here is the top:

 And the finished table runner:
I am really happy with the results of this project as well!  I made the original in blues and wintery colors, but I love it in reds!  It was a great custom request.

Tomorrow I have a sample to make for the quilt shop...this weekend is Oregon Garden and we are vending there.  So it's a must to bring some new kits and samples.  We are struggling to get done on time, but that's the way it is every year!  At least I will have the top least if the day goes as planned.  We'll see how it goes.

Today I had a wedding dress to take in at the back zipper and a red bridesmaid dress that needed laces added to the back so it could close.  Those projects are finished as well.  I don't mind doing the alterations, but they do take away from my quilting time.  I've also been working on a lot of large curtain projects.  At least I get to sew, but again, it leaves less time for quilt related projects for me and leaves me antsy to get into my projects!

This year I have been setting my weekends aside for my own projects, however.  That is how I have made so much progress on the Grand Illusion Mystery!  I hope to get the top done this coming weekend, and maybe actually dig into my drawers and see what I want to get done this coming year.  I still haven't finished my last two UFO projects from 2014 and I would really like to cross those off the list as well.  So I suppose I need to make that list :)

I hope everyone else is getting some quilting done.  It's a good time of year to work on those projects, definitely indoor weather for a lot of us!   Of course, anytime is a good time for quilting, I think!