Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery Part 2

Hi all -

Well, it's time for the Grand Illusion Mystery part 2 link-up, but I'm not quilt finished with this week's clue.  Here's what I have so far:

The units you see at the bottom, although these aren't sewed together yet, are the final units for this week. I'm using the sew-and-flip method for making the rectangular units. It's more time-consuming, but that's just more accurate for me. And I love having the bonus half-square triangle units you see in the picture. These aren't part of this quilt, but will be useful in another quilt or if I decide that this quilt needs an additional border. I have about half of the rectangular units done (there are 200 of these, to make 100 squares), and then will need to sew these together into square. But I won't have access to my sewing machine until after Christmas, so I'll have to catch up then. Looking forward to it!!

I also finished the last of my Christmas presents:

These are for my two sisters. They are made from some of my mom's linens. I believe these were those cloths that they used to put on the arms of chairs. These are handmade and I'm assuming they were made by my mom, but don't know for sure. The pictures are of my mom and her sister when they were toddlers, around 1929. Here's a close-up of the one for my sister, Sue:

And the one for Linda:

Here's a better shot of my quilting:

And here's the back of Sue's:

I did write the names of my mom and her sister on the backs after I took the pictures, so all of the information is recorded. I really love how they turned out and think my sister's will be thrilled!

That finishes my Christmas shopping and sewing and wrapping, and just in time since I leave tomorrow to go home. My sister Sue is getting married on Saturday, so I'm staying through Christmas to save me a bunch of driving.

Happy Quilting!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Presents

Hi all -

Whew, have I been working hard trying to get ready for Christmas! I've felt like one of Santa's elves, but the finish line is in sight. Good thing, since my deadline is next week, when I drive to Kansas City for my sister's wedding and stay until after Christmas.

I've finished some really fun stuff. The first is a table runner for my niece, Terra. This was a kit that I picked up at the Keepsake Quilting virtual warehouse sale. Got to love sales!! And I just love this pattern! It's Merry-Go-Round by Atkinson Designs. I had already shared the pieced top, but now it's quilted and bound and ready to go.

I love the clean look of this quilt. The fabrics from the kit really appeal to me and I'll probably make another one of these sometime in the future.  In the center, I decided to use McTavishing:

I love the movement that McTavishing provides! On the edges I decided to play with straight lines. I've been wanting to try matchstick quilting, so I threw that in here:

And the backing is scrappy, which I always love:

The next table topper I made was from the Prairie Flower pattern by Marjorie Rhine of Quilt Design Northwest. This one will be for my sister, Linda. Again, it was a sale kit from Keepsake Quilting and I had shared the pieced and appliqued top earlier, but now the quilt is finished. It really is a stunning design!

You can't really see the quilting very well on the front, even in person, but I used matching thread in the bobbin so the back would be fun, too.

I love to quilt feathers, so I used those in the "flower" areas. I also love to quilt leaves, so those went in. Then I was a bit stumped, so I decided to add lines to contrast with the feathers.

I marked the lines in the diamonds to make sure that they would be perfect. When I try to do something like that without marking, everything is just so uneven that I don't like it. You can see that in the curved lines in the corners. Marking takes some extra time, but I really think it's worth it!

Once the table toppers were finished, I moved on to some zipper bags for my other sister, Sue. These are from the Stash & Dash Bags pattern by Amy Butler. These bags started with the fabric. I found this Paris fabric at a vendor booth at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Festival. I had to get it for my sister because her fiance proposed to her on the Eiffel Tower last spring. Then I just had to figure out what to make out of this fabric, and these bags seemed perfect.

Here is a close-up of the largest bag so you can see the fabric a bit better. See the Eiffel Towers all over it?

Of course, I bought a yard or two of this fabric and have a bunch left over, so she'll have some more Eiffel Tower gifts in her future.....

Another thing that seems to be the craze lately is infinity scarves, so I decided to make these for my sisters and nieces. While in Houston, I stopped by the SewBatik booth to pick up some rayon batiks. I had seen some sewing program on TV that made mobius scarves (infinity scarves sewn together with a twist) and had the opening for turning on one of the long sides, so this is what I wanted to do. I looked around online to find the instructions, but it seemed like everything I found wanted to put the opening in the short seam where you connect the ends and I didn't want to put it there. Finally, I found this video that showed me how to do exactly what I wanted to do:


And here are the 5 scarves I ended up making:

The rayon really has a nice drape! Lance was nice enough to model one of the scarves for you:

He's such a cutie!!

The only things I have left to finish are a couple of really small quilts for my sisters made out of some old linens of my mom's. The linens are those little things that they used to put on the arms of chairs. It's kind of cool that I can give matching quilts to my sisters! They are turning out really cool, but I still have some quilting to finish on them so I'll share them when they're done.  I think you'll really like them!

It's been a lot of fun working on all of these things, but I'm pretty excited to be almost finished. And the next clue for Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt will come out on Friday, so I'll be pretty busy this weekend! But that'll mean more to share on Monday (hopefully)....

Happy Quilting!


Monday, December 1, 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery, Part 1

Hi all -

First, I thought I'd share the beautiful sunrise we had here on Saturday morning:

Isn't that glorious?

This weekend I took a break from making Christmas presents to start work on Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt.  The first clue came out on Friday, so I spent the weekend making the blocks.

Our first task was to make 280 2.5" half-square triangles. Whew, that's a lot of triangles! I used my Accuquilt GO cutter, so the cutting went pretty quickly. Here are my finished squares:

For fun, I spread them all out to see how I liked the colors:

I'm liking them!

The next step was to cut 100 black and 100 yellow 2.5" squares and sew them together with the half-square triangles (80 of the triangles are left over for another step) to make the first set of blocks. Here are the blocks that I made, all spread out:

We also have a bunch of greens and neutrals to add into this quilt as we go along, so it should be a beautiful combination! This is my first Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt and I'm really excited to be participating!

If you want to see the progress other people are making on this quilt, here is the link-up page. New clues come out each Friday and I will try to keep up the best I can.

Happy Quilting!!


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Houston IQF, Part 3

Hi all -

Now I'm just going to share some of the other beautiful quilts from the show. First are a couple of miniatures that really blew me away:

Tempest by Kumiko Frydl
Sunday's Best by Rachelle Denneny
Detail of Sunday's Best by Rachelle Denneny

6522 by George Siciliano
Remember, these are all miniatures, so something like 12" to 18" square. Incredible!!

Here are some other quilts that caught my eye:

Tink's Choice by Laura Trenbeath
Detail of Tink's Choice by Laura Trenbeath

Baltimore Album Tribute by Jackie Perry
Detail of Baltimore Album Tribute by Jackie Perry

Winter Squash by Lauretta Crites

Georgetown Wedding by Ann Petersen
Detail of Georgetown Wedding by Ann Petersen

Magnolia by Sylvia Gegaregian

Cherry Blossoms at Night by Makiko Aoki

Hummingbirds in my Garden by Lynn McCartney
Detail of Hummingbirds in my Garden by Lynn McCartney

Yellow Sky by Shirley Gisi

Fireball by Candice Phelan
Detail of Fireball by Candice Phelan
This next quilt is really incredible. All three pictures are of the same quilt!

Frame of Mind by Flora Joy
Frame of Mind by Flora Joy
Frame of Mind by Flora Joy
So, depending on where you're standing, you'll see either Oprah Winfrey, Mother Theresa or Jackie Kennedy Onasis. Isn't that cool???

Well, I think that's a good overview of the quilts. I hope you enjoyed it!


Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hi all -

Just a quick post to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  Here are Lance and Buttercup after a little turkey feast:

And Wesley has found a comfy spot to hide away:

I'm thankful for my wonderful friends and family!  Have a wonderful day!!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Houston IQF, Part 2

Hi all -

Well, I had written a long post with a bunch of pictures, and then it wouldn't publish and I had to start over again. Grrrr!!  But we always do better the second time, don't we? And I think I know what happened so I can hopefully avoid the problem in the future. So, here we go again...

It's time to share some of the Houston quilts with you. Everything was so incredible, where do I start? One of the most fun parts of Houston for me is meeting up with friends, so in this post I'll share the quilts of some of my friends.

Who better to start with than my new, good friend Peggy. I think I mentioned before that we met in one of my classes and really hit it off. We ended up being in three classes together and hung out together after class on Sunday until Peggy had to head to the airport. She is a longarm quilter and had two incredible quilts in the show. The first is a wholecloth called Odyssey:

Odyssey by Peggy Kragnes
Detail of Odyssey by Peggy Kragnes
Isn't it incredible? I hope you can see all of the wonderful details in the photos. Her other quilt was pieced:

Green Miles by Peggy Kragnes
Detail of Green Miles by Peggy Kragnes
Detail of Green Miles by Peggy Kragnes
Again, the quilting just blows me away! And, although you really can't see it in the pictures, the greens are all different fabrics giving it that wonderful sparkle that you get in a scrap quilt. I LOVE scrap quilts!

The next quilt was made by a group of quilters who are members of TQS (TheQuiltShow.com). Their names are Dana Lynch, Mary Holman, Mary Kay Runyan, Cindy Neville, Wanda Myers, Bridget Lilja and Karen Fitzpatrick and they are known as "The Amazing Eight". They met at Houston 5 years ago and decided to make a quilt together. (Sorry if I got any of the numbers wrong!) Well, they had so much fun that this is now their third group quilt and it won a blue ribbon in the group quilt category in Houston. I met Wanda in a class in Houston a couple of years ago and was lucky enough to meet up with her in another class last year. Here she is showing me their quilt:

Amazing Aztec-nicolor Dream Quilt by The Amazing Eight
This quilt is really incredible! The detail is amazing and everything is so coherent that it's impossible to tell that it was made by a group. Congratulations to all of you!!

Another TQS friend who had quilts at Houston is Betty Jo Tatum. She retired a year or two ago and has been concentrating on her art quilting. I was lucky enough to meet her in person at the show this year. Here is the quilt that she had in the contest:

Sky Horse by Betty Jo Tatum
 She also had a quilt in the architecture exhibit:
Perspective in Threads by Betty Jo Tatum

A TQS friend who I don't know as well, but who always has quilts in the big shows is Pat Durbin. Here are her two quilts from Houston:

Wild Rhodies by Pat Durbin
Detail of Wild Rhodies by Pat Durbin
Begonia Cluster by Pat Durbin

I'm pushing the definition of "friend" with this next artist, Lea McComas. I have taken her fusible applique protraits course in the TQS classroom hope to use her technique to make a quilt someday when I have time. And I've talked to her through their forum. But she really wouldn't know who I am. She hails from Superior, CO, which is very close to where I live. In fact, I used to live on the outskirts of Superior. So, we really could be friends, don't you think? She makes really incredible portrait quilts with thread work that is just out of this world. Here is her quilt that won a blue ribbon in Houston:

Panning for Gold by Lea McComis
And her quilt that won the thread mastery award:

Bike Boys by Lea McComis
All I can say is "WOW!".

That's it for the quilts by TQS friends. I also have some friends from the other Web site that I follow, Machine Quilter's Resource (mqresource.com) who had quilts in the show. First up is Donna James. She makes some gorgeous, intricate wholecloth quilts. Here's the one she had in the show, along with its ribbon:

Spring Meditation by Donna James
Detail of Spring Meditation by Donna James
Doesn't that just blow you away? I was lucky enough to be able to meet Donna at the show and she is as nice in person as she is online.

Next up in Bethanne Nemesh, also from MQR. Bethanne is an artist and quilter. She makes pieced quilts and incorporates her drawings into the quilting. Isn't it incredible???
Gilding the Arbor by Bethanne Nemesh
Detail of Gilding the Arbor by Bethanne Nemesh
She has another quilt that incorporates drawings of her children at the beach in the quilting that I would love to see in person!

Another quilter from MQR is Margaret Solomon Gunn. She's not on there often so I don't know her well, but I did get to meet her at the show. She had two quilts in the contest:

Autumn's Surrender by Margaret Solomon Gunn
Springtime in the Geisha's Garden by Margaret Solomon Gunn
They are just gorgeous!

Well, that's all of the quilts by people that I know. The other fun part of Houston for me is meeting up with friends. This year my friend Cindy was able to go to the show. We've been friends for over 20 years and get together once a month for sew day. Her daughter moved to Houston last year, so hopefully Cindy will be able to join me regularly at the show. We had fun getting together and discussing the different classes we were taking. I also got to see a lot of my TQS friends Shirley and Dawn. They were staying in the same hotel as me, so we ran into each other often in the executive lounge. And Dawn and I kept running into each other in the show so we got to enjoy a lot of the quilts together. Finally, I ran into my other TQS friend, Robin, but we were both heading to classes in different directions so we didn't get to talk much. But we'll definitely get together for lunch or something next year if we both get to the show!

That's about it for my friends at Houston. I hope you enjoyed their quilts! I'll share some of the other quilts from the show in another post. But that's a good taste of the show for now.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!