Gawd, I hate having my picture taken

…aka, Family Quilting Day July 2009

Last weekend was our monthly quilting session and there is so much to show! A few months ago, I suggested a fabric challenge, like the Hoffman Challenge. I pulled several fabrics from my stash and we chose one as the challenge fabric. We could make anything we wanted as long as it included that fabric. It was a surprise, so no one could see anyone else’s project until the reveal. Here are photos of everyone’s challenge projects:

First, the reason for the post’s title – me, modeling my project:

Sandi's Challenge Sandi's Challenge Reverse

And yes, these photos are smaller because it’s my blog and if I want to post my ugly pictures smaller, I will.

Next we have Karen’s challenge project. Karen isn’t finished with hers yet, but she’s turning this into a bed quilt so we have to cut her some slack. Also, these are SO not Karen’s colors, so it was REALLY a challenge for her. Her Family Star BOM blocks are laid out on the floor further down this post, and you’ll see what I mean about the colors.

Karen's Challenge

Then there’s Pat’s project. Also not quite finished, she created a beautiful flower garden. Notice that each potted flower includes a piece of the challenge fabric.

Pat's Challenge

Becky is family by extension. She is Pat’s daughter’s husband’s mom. (I just like saying that.) They were talking about people being surprised that they got along with each other, considering the stereotype of mothers-in-law. I’m glad they get along, because I like having Becky in our group (even though she’s a bit camera shy – she’s looking down or away in most photos that include her). Here’s her challenge project:

Becky's Challenge

Finally, here’s my mom’s project, a two sided garden flag. Isn’t it adorable?

Mom's Challenge

She made it to put at the corner of the house next to the neighbors during their daughter’s graduation party. You remember… the one we made the Good & Plenty quilt for? Taking a slight break from the quilting day photos, here’s the bag I made for the quilt.

Good & Plenty gift bag

I used the reversible patchwork bag tutorial by Pink Penguin for inspiration. Next time I do one, I think I’ll make the drawstring holder thingies a little wider. They were difficult to pull on such a large bag. It’s probably the perfect size for a smaller bag like in her tutorial.

We were trying to figure out how to wrap it and finally I said I’d just make a bag for it. I assembled strips from the quilt’s leftovers, used the backing for the lining, and put this bag together the morning of the party. Best of all, it’s big enough to put a regular pillow in so she could use it as a sham if she wanted.

Here’s the graduate with Mom and I when we gave her the quilt.

Good & Plenty gifted

Laura was very pleased, in no small part because now she knew why her mom was stalling about redecorating the bedroom. They made a deal – if Laura decided to go to college locally, they would give her a bedroom makeover. Laura’s mom helped choose the fabrics for the quilt, so it all went together perfectly. Now she can finally have her room.

Okay, back to the family quilting day…

We did show and tell, and of course, everyone but me had something to show. I really need to sew more and plan less…

Karen found some partially finished embroidered pillowcases, and she picked up some fabric to go with them.

Karen's show and tell 1

Karen's show and tell 2

She also brought along a quilt top that we put on the frame – Mom quilted it and finished by the end of the day so Karen could take it home with her.

Karen's show and tell 3

Apparently, Karen’s had this top finished for quite a while. It’s a gift for a good friend of hers, Lala, who joined us for the day. Sorry, no photos of Lala – she was hiding behind all of the quilts that Pat held up.

Karen also showed us her completed blocks from our last quilt along, the Family Star BOM. You can see why I said the bright challenge fabric is not her comfort zone!

Karen's Family BOM

Finally, she showed us the fabrics she picked out for our current basket block quilt along.

Karen's basket fabrics

If you’ll notice in previous pictures, she dressed to match her new fabrics!

The next quilter is Mickey, mom’s youngest sister. Mickey just moved back to the area from Washington state, and has been living in a motor home for the past couple of years. She stopped quilting during that time, but now that she’s back in a larger house she’s going full force again. Here’s her first project:

Mickey's show and tell 1

She also picked up a cute fabric piece with the Quilter’s Alphabet on it, and a coordinating print.

Mickey's show and tell 2

Pat is Mom’s middle sister (Mom’s the oldest), and she’s our most prolific quilter. Every time we get together she has at least two projects to show! This time around was no exception. First, she found a needlework book from the late 70’s, early 80’s. She remembered Mom saying she wished she had a book with needlepoint stitches, so when Pat found this at a rummage sale (I think), she snapped it up.

Pat's show and tell 1
(See? Becky’s hiding…)

Pat’s blue and yellow quilt is made from a charm pack called Sunshine, by April Cornell for Moda. We all oohed over this one – both Mom and Karen have the same charm pack.

Pat's show and tell 3

She also showed this quilt – I’m not sure the pattern name, but it’s adorable!

Pat's show and tell 2

Finally, our newest quilter is Jean, Mom’s sister-in-law. Jean’s always been a wonderful seamstress, but she dipped her toes in the quilting waters when we got together to make a wedding quilt several years ago. She helped make the blocks for her daughter’s wedding quilt, then took a little break (if helping plan a wedding, managing a house and working full time can be considered taking a break), but she joined us a couple of months ago to work on a baby quilt. I think Jean’s our dark horse quilter – she’s building confidence, and once she’s sure of her skills nothing will get in her way. She could challenge Pat for the title of “Most Prolific.” Here’s Jean’s basket block:

Jean's Basket Block 1

She’s the only one of us who actually did the homework from last month! Karen chose her colors, and Pat decided on Batiks, but wasn’t sure how she wanted to use them. After bouncing ideas around, she decided to use ONE batik fabric in each basket block, using a white background. Because batiks are so varied within the same piece of fabric, she’ll still get a lot of movement without too much busy-ness. Once that was decided, she knuckled down and made her basket block. Here are her’s and Jean’s side by side – amazing what a different the fabric choices can make!

Basket Blocks 1

In the last week, Mom’s been working away at her basket blocks. She wants to go scrappy again (this is real progress for her, since she tends toward 3-4 fabrics per quilt). This time she’s going a little softer, and the two baskets she has finished are gorgeous! But that photo is for another post…

I’ve been struggling with my fabric choices. I thought I was going to use a 40’s repro as my inspiration, but, well, I just wasn’t inspired. I’ve avoided cutting the fabrics, and I finally realized this morning that I needed to make this quilt with the intention of giving it away. That way I can choose fabrics without the pressure of “loving” them. I decided to use the brown and blue color scheme that we’re doing for the other neighbor’s graduation quilt. He doesn’t graduate until next year, so we have some time, but we’ve already chosen the fabrics and pattern. As I cut the basket quilt blocks, I’ll also cut the strips for his quilt. This will give us a head start on the project.

Okay, having said that… I’m off to cut fabric!

(Sorry, everyone. My blog – only photos of ME get to be posted itty bitty.)

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Cats do the darndest things, Part 102

I helped Mom flip her mattress tonight, and just as we lifted it up (end over end, not side to side), Buttercup jumped on the bed. We slid the mattress off the bed and raised it up so it was perpendicular to the floor. Buttercup climbed it as it rose, finally perching at the very top. Then we picked it up and placed the bottom of the mattress back on the bed, tilting it down the other way. Through the entire procedure, Buttercup clung and scrambled so she wouldn’t be thrown off the mattress.

Silly cat.

2009 Family (and Friends) Basket Quilt Along

As I’ve mentioned before, our family gets together, along with a few friends, once a month to sew and gab (or, as we sometimes refer to it, “stitch and bitch”). Last year we decided to do a Block of the Month featuring stars. Each month one of us chose a star block and I wrote up instructions for making it in the 12″ size that we had decided upon. We finished the BOM (at least, SOME people finished the BOM – mine is only half finished) and took a little break while our stitch & bitch sessions become more of a shop hop session for a couple of months in a row. Last month we decided it was time to start a new Block of the Month and we chose baskets for our theme. We’re doing it a little differently this year since the number of basket blocks is considerably more limited than the number of star blocks. I’ve found a bunch of basket blocks (say that three times fast!) and I’ll just choose each month’s block from that group.

We agreed that it would be nice to share the blocks with others, so I’m posting each month’s basket pattern on this blog. I’ll link to the patterns on the sidebar. Each pattern is available in a single sheet PDF that will have an illustration of the block as well as at least one blank block to color in. It will have all of the cutting and sewing instructions you need to complete the block.

As I’ve noted before, I’m a notorious procrastinator. That said, I will have the blocks posted no later than the second Saturday of each month. We generally meet on the first Saturday, although sometimes other plans get in our way.

I’d love to hear from you if you decide to join us! Here are the blocks. You can download the PDF instructions by clicking on the block.

Block 1 is the same block I used in the Basket Case pattern.
Block 1

And this is block 2. It’s actually easier than block 1, but I was in a hurry to get the first block ready for everyone so I started with one that was already mostly written.
Block 2

100th Post Giveaway!

When I started blogging, I wasn’t sure I’d keep going, but I’m happy to say that it’s been about a year (July 23, 2008) and I’ve made it to 100 posts! I’ve disappeared for weeks at a time, but I’ve always come back. Thank you for those who stick with me – in particular, Tricia, who gave me a lovely little pep talk a few days ago.

To celebrate my 100th post, I’ve arranged a little giveaway. The winner will receive six half yard cuts (for a total of three yards) of one of the following fabric groupings. You choose which set – I have a huge, eclectic stash and I tried to pull groupings that would appeal to different people. If I have more than 50 comments, I will give away a second set, and a third set if I reach 100 comments.

As much as I’d love to include international visitors in this giveaway, I’m on a tight budget and I just can’t afford the postage overseas. So for this giveaway, I’m going to restrict it to people who live in the US, or who have US APO/FPO addresses.

To enter, please post a comment and include the following:
– Your name and general location
– A way to contact you (either provide your email address in the comment form or include a link to your blog that includes your contact info in the About Me area)
– Which fabric grouping you would like to win

Earn an extra entry if you post about this giveaway on your blog, then come back here and comment again, including a link to your post. The giveaway ends at Midnight Central Time on Tuesday, July 14. I will announce the winner on Thursday.

Here are your choices:
Giveaway 6
Neapolitan

Giveaway 5
Black and White and Red All Over

Giveaway 4
Baby Girl

Giveaway 3
Red and Aqua

Giveaway 2
Asian Inspired

Giveaway 1
Alexander Henry Novelties

Thanks for visiting!

…COMMENTS ARE CLOSED…

My First Quilt

Camille of Moda’s Thimbleblossoms fame and Carrie of Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company have posted a… well, “challenge” doesn’t seem right, but “suggestion” isn’t strong enough. They’re creating a Parade of Quilts, in which bloggers participate by posting and blogging about their first quilt and their most recently completed project, along with something they learned along the way. If you’d like to participate, check out their blogs, Simplify and La Vie En Rose. You’ll need to post a link in each of their comments. Do it quickly though – the deadline is Monday!

My first quilt – first COMPLETED quilt – was the Wild Goose Chase quilt I made for my grandparents. It was inspired by an illustration in The Quiltmaker’s Gift. (If you haven’t seen this book, check it out. It’s beautifully illustrated, and the story is wonderful.)

11 I made It - Wild Goose Chase

If I knew then what I know now, this quilt would have been made VERY differently. I cut out every triangle separately, cutting squares and then half squares and quarter squares. I matched and sewed each little piece, trying desperately to get my 1/4″ seams to actually be 1/4″. I sewed the geese into long columns and taped the columns to the wall behind me. At the time I was working at the dining room table – long before I had my own sewing space. The columns of geese were not straight. They looked like the geese were trying to pull a U-ey, curving gently to the right. The plain strips between the geese helped un-curve them, but I know a number of points got chopped. I used a variety of fabrics – I think there were 27 different fabrics, some quilt shop, some JoAnne’s. The quilting itself is less than stellar. It’s just a few long straight lines, because I was scared of messing it up. This was before the Little Gracie II came along, so I did it on my regular sewing machine. The binding is made up of smaller bits of the different sky fabrics. Despite the errors, I really love this quilt. It took a long time to finish, but that was mostly because my usual procrastination kicked it when it came time to quilt it. It was supposed to be for their 67th anniversary, which was in June, but was given to them in October on what would have been my father’s 60th birthday.

Wild Goose Chase label

My most recently finished quilt is a mini quilt I made for a swap and I forgot to take a picture of it! It’s called Shoooooofly, and it was made for the Swap Til You Drop (STUD!!) May Twisted Traditional swap. However, another quilt is almost finished, and I’m hoping it will be done by the Monday deadline. It’s a collaborative quilt with my Mom, and she’s finishing the back and putting it on the frame (probably) today. It’s the Good & Plenty quilt for the neighbor girl who just graduated from high school.

Update: The Good & Plenty quilt is finished! Check it out:
Good & Plenty finished
Front of the Good & Plenty Quilt

Good & Plenty back
Back of the Good & Plenty Quilt

Good & Plenty pillowcases
Pillowcases

Good & Plenty quilting
Quilting – I’m really proud of how this turned out!
What have I learned in the last five years? Let’s see, I’ve learned that mistakes can be corrected, or at least camouflaged. I’ve learned three new ways to make flying geese. I’ve learned that quilts should be used, not just displayed. I’ve learned that I’m a terrible procrastinator. (Okay, that isn’t new information!) I’ve learned that I get bored easily and want to move on to new projects before the old one are finished. And I’ve learned that the creative process is good for my mental health.

So, are you going to join the Parade of Quilts? I hear trombones…

Independence Day (After)

I came across a giveaway on TurningTurning that really hit home. She’s giving away Independence Day themed fabric, but she asked that entries include a personal declaration of independence. Here’s mine:

I am declaring independence from guilt. I don’t expect that will make it go away, but every reminder I give myself that I don’t HAVE to feel that way helps.

So… today, I am happy to be who I am, and feel what I feel, and do what I do.

I haven’t blogged a lot lately, haven’t sewed, haven’t done a lot of things that I’d like to do. I’ve been feeling that old anxiety, and haven’t been doing a very good job of fighting it. It’s funny – I go to work and can accomplish things with drive and purpose and everything is good, but I get home and, well, WALLOW. That’s what it feels like. Gotta work on that.

I see that I’m on post # 98 and I think post #100 would be an excellent opportunity for a giveaway. My goal is to accomplish that post BEFORE the end of the week, so keep your eye on this spot. I’m thinking the giveaway (darn, why do I have so much trouble typing that word?!) will be fabric rather than a project, and hmm… maybe it will involve a choice… I do have a lot to choose from.