Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nothing like the last minute (again)...

My plan this year is to participate each month in the Another Year of Schnibbles challenge hosted by Sinta of Pink Pincushion and Sherri of A Quilting Life.

The idea is that each month these ladies will pick a Schnibbles pattern.  You then have the entire month to make the quilt (or your version of it).  Fortunately, it doesn't have to be quilted.   To recap, last month's pattern was Full House and this was my version.  (Still halfway quilted by the way.)

La Maison - My version of Full House
This month's pattern is I.S.T.H.  Apparently that stands for "Insert Snappy Title Here".

Picture from FatQuarterShop.com
It took me a while to get started on mine.  I knew I wanted to use my Little Gatherings scraps to make it and I was going to change the pattern a bit.  I started with a couple of test blocks...

Star Blocks
Alternating Blocks
I made the star blocks exactly as the pattern details, but added these alternating blocks instead of the setting triangles and sashing.  I also knew I wanted to make my quilt larger and finally settled on 12 stars.  (Actually, I ended up making 16, but decided that was too big!)

Center of quilt before borders
You can see that all the blocks along the edges are a bit irregular.  I didn't want to deal with all the math and bias edges, so I made them bigger.  I then marked my quarter inch seam with painter's tape and added my border alongside the edge of the tape.  Only after the border was on did I cut the excess fabric off.

Adding the borders to the edges
I realize it's a convoluted way to do it, but I didn't want to have to figure out how to get the little brown triangles by the border to work out right.  Usually I love math, but I was in a hurry to get this done on time!

The Night's Sky Quilt Top
My top finishes at 44" x 36" and is the perfect size for above our bed.

Since I had made so many extra star blocks (and had a couple of extra hours), I went ahead and pieced the backing as well.  Initially this is what it looked like...

Take #1 on the backing
Looks weird, huh?  It bothered me so much, I took it apart and added some more sashing.  I think this is a slightly better version and the one I'm sticking with...

Take #2 on the backing
It was a great way to use the additional blocks and gives me some space for quilt information once it's quilted.  Of course, I now have such a stack needing to be quilted that I have no idea when I'll get around to it.

I'm eager to see what March's choice is and hope to find more time to sew next month.  I'm also looking forward to seeing everyone else's versions.  There are some very creative and skilled quilters out there and it's fun to see how different they all are.

Until later...

And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. 
1 Thessalonians 3:12 (NLT)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Stash Report Week #7...

February 19 - 25, 2012

(Warning: I'm very wordy today!)

Wow, what a week!  Not in terms of quilting though.  Very little happening on that front right now.  I am trying to finish my February Schnibbles quilt, but haven't had much time to work on it.

I traveled out of town last Sunday.  It was just a day trip and the weather was pretty bad.  Monday and Tuesday were spent preparing for another trip - getting the shopping done and the house cleaned and other such errands.  I was supposed to leave for the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival on Thursday, so of course, the dog came down with a bug on Wednesday.  And by bug, I mean a bad case of diarrhea.  A really bad case.

There was no way I could leave her alone in the house while I went on a trip, but Mr. Quilting Bug was really sweet and said he would stay home with her.  He also wasn't feeling too hot.  Then on the way home from work Wednesday night, he was in a car accident.  Praise God he's OK!  Although the car didn't fare as well. I really prayed about whether or not God was telling me to stay home, but didn't feel that was the case.

However, while I was gone, Mr. Quilting Bug informed me first that he was sick with a cold and second that we had to go car shopping this weekend.  Ughh!  We had planned to buy a new car in a couple of years, but I definitely wasn't prepared for it so soon.  We spent the entire day Saturday car shopping.  It was stressful and I was worried about making a huge mistake.  However, we finally purchased one, got a great deal and I'm pretty happy with it.  I'm also praying that it lasts me for the next 10 years!

In the end, I'm glad I went to the show.  I was really impressed with the quilts this year.  I'll show you some of my favorites in another post.  I was there both Thursday and Friday.  There were SO many vendors there as well.  Probably 3 times more space was occupied by the vendors as opposed to the quilts.  Like the dutiful shopper I am, I made my way very carefully through them.  And after 2 days, this was the sum total of my fabric purchases...

Fabric purchases from the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show
I bought the little bundles of pink and blue 6" squares to use on my Ladies of the Sea quilt.  The FQs of Little Gatherings is for a lap size quilt I have planned.  The thread is Kimono 100# silk thread.  I've heard some good things about it and want to try it out.  So that's a total of less than a yard.  I'm surprised I bought so little fabric.

I did make a few other purchases at the show.  I bought a couple of Creative Grids rulers.  I'd like to slowly replace my existing rulers with these, because I think they're so much easier to use.  Of course, the key words are slowly replace.  These rulers are definitely not cheap!  It was almost $40 for just the two.  If anyone knows of a great place to purchase these online, please let me know...

New Creative Grids rulers
I also picked up a few more purse stabilizers.  These are great for the bottoms of bags, much sturdier than using cardboard.  I do plan to make some more bags/purses in the future, although I don't know when I'll get around to it.

Bag bottoms
My big purchase during the show was some thread.  They had a great deal on So Fine thread.  I like to use this when I'm quilting on my frame.  I also picked up the color charts to order more if I need it.

New threads for the quilting frame
I did have a great time at the show, but I was surprised by a few things.  Most of what I was looking for, they didn't have this time.  There were tons of Fqs and lots of Civil War and novelty fabrics.  There were very few Charm Packs, Jelly Rolls or Layer Cakes and most of those were older lines of fabric.  Fabric prices were also much higher, which I did expect.  The cheapest I saw FQs for was $2.85.  I had hoped to pick up some of the Blueberry Crumb Cake or Rouenneries Deux  fabric, but didn't see a scrap of it there to purchase.  But like I said earlier, there were some gorgeous quilts!

So back to the Stash Report...
Purchased-this-week: .75 yards
Used-this-week: 0 yards
Purchased-to-date: 5.5 yards
Used-to-date: 17.5  yards
Net used: 12 yards

I'm still hopeful that I can finish my Schnibbles quilt by the end of this month, but I'll have to work on it a lot over the next couple of days.  We'll see if it works out or not.

By the way, Mr. Quilting Bug is quickly recovering from his cold and poor Gabriel is also on the mend.  Although she still looks pitiful, she no longer has the screaming meemies...

Gabriel, recovering from her tummy bug
Until later...

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. 
Psalm 105:1 (NLT) 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Finished the cobblestones!

After innumerable hours, I've finally finished quilting the cobblestones on La Maison.

Backside of La Maison, showing the cobblestone pathways
Truth be told, the number is probably somewhere between 10 and 15 hours.  I'd work on them in 43 minute increments.  That happens to be the length of an episode of Stargate SG1.  (Mr. Quilting Bug and I are sci-fi fans.)  I'm currently working my way through all 10 seasons.  I'm on Season 9 and not sure what I'll watch when I'm done with these.  Any recommendations?

Closeup of the cobblestones (from the back)
I like the texture this quilting adds to the sashing of this quilt.  It shows really well in the solid color fabric.  For the most part, the rest of the quilting I'm planning will be done on prints and won't be as obvious.

I still need to add chimneys, and door knobs, and flowers to the garden.  I'd also like to add some character to many of the houses.  As you can see, they're rather plain right now...

However, if I'm to have any chance of finishing the February Schnibbles quilt, I'm going to have to put this one aside and get busy on it.  The pattern this time is called I.S.T.H. by Carrie Nelson and I'm making a few changes to it.  I'll share some progress photos soon I hope, but I can tell you that I'm doing mine out of Little Gatherings fabric.

On a different note, we sleep with a heated mattress pad on our bed.  (I love that thing!)  Can you tell that Mr. Quilting Bug forgot to turn his side off one day...

Until later...

Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” 
Proverbs 2:2-5 (ESV)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Stash Report Week #5 & 6...

February 5 - 18, 2012

I've been doing these stash reports for a couple of years now.  For some reason, I was thinking the other day that my numbers for this year are so very different from those of the last couple of years.  A huge difference is the amount of fabric I've purchased.  By this time in 2010, I had added 31.25 yards to my stash and in 2011, that number was 36 yards.  This year, it's been a much smaller 4.75 yards.

My usage totals have also been much smaller.  I simply haven't had as much time to sew.  Also, most of what I'm working on is quilting existing tops and they just seem to take a while.  No worries though.  I'm still enjoying quilting and it's not a race to the finish.  I want to enjoy the process even if it takes me longer.

That being said, I did complete two more hand applique blocks this week and that used 1.25 yards.

Purchased-this-week: 0 yards
Used-this-week: 1.25 yards
Purchased-to-date: 4.75 yards
Used-to-date:17.5 yards
Net used: 12.75 yards

And because no post is complete without a picture, here's Jack in one of her favorite spots...

Until later...

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 
1 Corinthians 15:58 (ESV)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Setting sail...

After a long time in dry dock, I've finally managed to finish another couple of blocks for the Ladies of the Sea (LOTS) quilt I'm working on.  The pattern is by the very talented Sue Garman.  I'm making this quilt for Mr. Quilting Bug and it's all hand appliqued.  So far, I've been working on it (off and on) for about 3 years.  I'm guessing it'll take another 2 or 3 years to complete the top.

These latest blocks are #11 and 12.  The first one is called the Oseberg and was a fun one to stitch.

The Oseberg
I debated about using Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Circles on the ship, but instead just did my regular back-basting applique.  I still think they turned out pretty round.

The Lilies of the Valley were also a pretty quick stitch...

Lilies of the Valley on the Oseberg
The second block I finished is called the Constitution.  Because of all the sails and rigging, this one was a much bigger labor of love.

The Constitution
I didn't realize until I'd finished all the applique that the eagle's beak was supposed to be done with embroidery.  I had gone ahead and appliqued it.  It's a tiny piece, but really wasn't that hard to do.

I thought it was ironic that I started this block just after finishing my last Baltimore Halloween block that had all the acorns.  I was so tired of appliqueing acorns, but these were really much simpler.

Acorns and leaves on the Constitution
These ships will go back into dry dock for a while now.  Next up for hand work is to start on the Snowmen A to ZZZZ quilt that my mom and I are each making.  Then I need to finish the borders for Baltimore Halloween so I can get the top done and quilted.  I really do love doing both hand applique and hand embroidery.  If only there were enough hours in the day to get all the projects I want to make done!

I thought this was a sweet picture of Jack.  Her eyes are so wide in it.  I was waving my hand over her head and I think she was hoping for a treat.

Until later...

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 
Colossians 3:23 (NLT)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Note:  I'm still working on quilting the cobblestones, but will share progress pics when I'm done with them.

Did you ever build a fort in your house when you were a child?  Arranging all the available chairs around the room and draping sheets and blankets across them.  I'd crawl under and pretend that it was my very own house and I was in charge.  (I was always a little bit bossy.)

This weekend Mr. Quilting Bug and I went down to Lowe's to buy a new chest freezer.  While we were trying to unpack and set it up, we threw the big box it came in off to the side.  It was only a matter of seconds before the cats laid claim to it.

After seeing how much fun they were having with it, we decided to leave it for them to play with.  Mr. Quilting Bug even cut a hole in the front for the cats to enter.  He had to enlarge it after the first time David went sliding from across the room into it and got stuck in the hole.  (He's such a large boy!)

The cat's new fort
Since then, they've been taking turns hiding in it and attacking passers by.  They've also found it's a great place for a nap, especially when it was placed directly over a heating vent.  And they're having a great time hanging out on top of it...

Jack on the box (pun intended)
I don't think it'll be too long before David falls through it though...

David on the fort
Sam has also found that it makes a great bridge, allowing her to get to the high calorie cat food that has been out of reach.

Sam hanging out on the fort
That brings me to a question.  Why is it that the 3 cats who are not on a diet insist on eating the expensive prescription low calorie food, while the only one it's prescribed for spends all her time trying to get to the fattening stuff?  It's like they're trying to mess with me.

In any case, I think we'll leave the fort up for a few more days.  I'm sure the novelty will wear off quickly enough!  Or David will break it...

No pictures of Moses in or on the fort.  She's a bit too refined for that.

Until later...

If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 
Ecc. 4:10 (NLT)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Stash Report Week #3 & 4...

January 22 - February 4, 2012

Not much change this week.  Most recently I finished the top for La Maison.  I used 2.5 yards for this little quilt.

La Maison Quilt Top
I had really hoped to have it quilted by now, but several things have gotten in the way.  Most notably, I came up with what I now realize is an insane quilting plan that will literally take me forever.  OK, that's a slight exaggeration.  I thought that quilting a stone walkway in the cream sashing would set off the 'garden' part of the quilt.  My intention is to do this in the center of the quilt as well as each corner.  I started with one of the corners...

Quilting a cobblestone path
The quilting isn't particularly challenging, just very, very time consuming.  It took me 45 minutes to do the first block - which is only about 6" big.

One corner down, 3 more to go
It's exactly the look I was going for, so I know once I'm done, I'll be so pleased I spent the extra time on it.  Until then, I'll probably dream about quilting stones in my dreams.  So far, I've finished all of the corners and am now working on the center.

Backside of the quilt
I also have big plans for the rest of the quilting.  I just need to make sure I have enough energy after finishing this portion to continue working on it.  Realistically I don't expect to finish this one for several weeks now.

I sure hope Mr. Quilting Bug lets me hang it in the sun room when I'm done!  That's the only place in the house where it could possibly go and I don't want to fold this one away in a closet after this much effort.  It will easily take me more than twice as long to quilt it as it did to piece it, but I keep reminding myself that it will be worth it!

Purchased-this-week: 0 yards
Used-this-week: 2.5 yards
Purchased-to-date: 4.75 yards
Used-to-date: 16.25 yards
Net used: 11.5 yards

As usual, Sam has been keeping me company while I'm quilting.  She's such a good egg.

Sam napping in the sewing room
Until later...

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” 
Proverbs 21:5 (ESV)