Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Tree Skirt... Check!

Primarily used ADORING fabric by Sandy Gervais for Moda;
 Sixty 3 inch paper hexagons

Wonderful stippling by Aimee with Varigated Sulky Thread
Christmas Red and Green # 733 4053

Ready for it's rightful place come December... under the
 Frazier Fur Christmas tree in my daughter's home!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Shakin' it up for a Christmas Gift Exchange...

Every Christmas for the past eight years, one of the two quilt groups I belong to (we call ourselves Threads), has the customary gift exchange.  In years past we have numbered the gifts as they arrive at our Christmas get together, and then each of us draw a number.  Most of the time we draw names in September at our Northwoods retreat.  But it seems that by the time December rolls around some of the members forget the name they drew, and someone has two gifts under the tree because of this.  Everything works out before the evening is over... no one goes home empty handed, but there's a lot of, "I thought I had so and so... or was that last year?"  and, "I could have sworn I had so and so!"  To avoid confusion this year (goodness... there's only eleven of us!), we changed things up.

We still drew names... BUT WE ALL KNOW WHO HAS WHO... we WROTE THEM DOWN... and we all RECEIVED A REMINDER of who we have at our November meeting!!! 

AND we changed up the gift idea itself...
Everyone purchased the same charm pack... after auditioning several candidates on the Internet while at retreat in September, we decided together on Blitzen by Basicgrey for Moda.  We set rules to follow... and they are:
You can ONLY use the fabric in the charm pack...
You may use all of the charms or just some of the charms...
If needed, you may purchased additional fabric to use for backing and binding ONLY...
You can make whatever you like for your gift, as long as you follow the above rules.
I have my project completed.  The recipient reads this blog so I can only show a little of it...

A special thank you to Creekside Quilting in Clive, IA, for allowing one of our members to purchase 11 charm packs this past September to distribute to the Thread gals... we may have cleaned them out!  (Thank you Barb!!!)

Our Christmas get together is Monday, December 10th.  I'm excited to see what everyone made using a Blitzen charm pack and I'll share pictures on a future post. 

Let's hear from you... how do you do your Holiday gift exchange?

Monday, November 19, 2012

On the design wall...

Block number nine for the Thread Head Quilt Along is the Single Irish Chain block. 

Single Irish Chain

When I decided to join this weekly block quilt along I planned to make a table topper with just the first nine blocks.  But I'm enjoying this too much to call it quits, so I'm going to make at least sixteen blocks.  That way I'll end up with a larger table topper, and with the prints and colors I am using, I think it will be the perfect table topper for the month of November. 

I have 10 blocks because I made two Churn Dash blocks

And that gives me until next November to get it done... sweet!

(For more information about Joanne's Thread Head Quilt Along, click on the icon on my side bar).


Saturday, November 17, 2012

BELIEVE in Friday Night Sew-In...

I'm making progress on another planned Christmas project...

At the October AQS show in Des Moines a couple of my quilting friends and I purchased this BELIEVE kit from the Yellow Creek Quilt Designs booth.  The pattern is from the book entitled Christmas Favorites by Art to Heart.  About a week ago we got together to trace the letters and cut the fabric blocks, giving each of us a jump start at completing it on our own.  Friday night arrived and my goal was to make this my FNSI project.  So there I am in my sewing room.  I spread out the  blocks and letters on my cutting table, stepped back for a look, and did what I have done so many times in the past with kits that I have purchased.  I decided to make some changes to the fabrics laying in front of me.  (Why do I do this!?!  It was a KIT!!!)   I pulled my fabric bins from the closet shelf, looking for a little brighter gold, a deeper red, and and a black print that didn't have holly leaves, because several of the green fabrics in the kit had holly leaves.  (How ridiculous is it, that I didn't want a black print with holly leaves!  Really?)  After auditioning several brighter golds, deeper reds, and black prints without holly leaves, this is what I came up with... and I love it!

I machine appliqued the letters to their blocks using a blanket stitch. The black fabric with cream colored dots, the top border, came with the kit, and it was a large piece that was supposed to be used as the backing fabric.  I thought it was too cute for the back.  The green fabric bottom border (if you look closely it has holly leaves!), is also from the kit, and I put it where it is supposed to be.  (See, I can follow some directions!)  The pattern doesn't call for side borders, but I wanted mine to have them.  The top border in the pattern is not as wide as the bottom border, and I like that idea, so I will be trimming the black with cream dots just a bit before finishing.  I'm searching for a gold ceramic star button for the tree top.  For the backing, my plan is to use flannel... just need to pull that bin out from under the bed in the sewing room, and find the perfect, soft print.  I'll machine quilt this one myself, keeping it simple... unless I stare at it long enough to change my mind again!   Geeeezzzzz, I may have this one done before December 1st!  

Okay, let's hear it!  How did you spend your Friday night?  Did you stare at a project long enough and decide you needed to change fabrics?  Or is it just me?


Monday, November 12, 2012

Thread Head Quilt Along...

Block Seven - Twelve Triangles

This was a fun block to make! 


Block Eight - Shoo Fly
Always a favorite!
Finished in the nick of time... waiting for Block # Nine! 


Countdown to Christmas Check List...

... daughter's Christmas tree skirt...


... in the very capable hands of a talented machine quilter.  (No, I'm not touching this one!)

... hexagon ornaments for the grandchildren... work in progress... probably will be
finishing these the day before
our Christmas Eve get together...
like most years!

... Christmas gift exchange present for Bowties... (one of two quilt groups I belong to.)  Haven't started, but have a few ideas!  Due date -December 3rd.  (yikes!)

... Christmas gift exchange present for Threads, the other quilt group
I belong to...  I've started, but I can't say too much... the recipient reads this blog!  Due date - December 10th.  (double yikes!)

... BELIEVE wall hanging purchased at the October AQS show in Des Moines... getting together soon with Carole and Nor to get started.  (Carole and I purchased the kit.  Nor is using fabrics from her stash).

... tree skirt for my Charlie Brown Christmas tree... maybe 2013. 

Well, I must admit this list doesn't look to over bearing.  It's just a matter of time management, and maybe a few afternoons of getting off work early.  I need to prioritize the projects according to their due dates! 

How are your Christmas projects coming along???


Sunday, November 11, 2012

It's Veterans Day

On Sunday, November 4th, I was lucky enough to be sitting inside Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI with 70,000 other Packer fans.  Because the Packers have a bye this week, the Community owned Green Bay Packer Organization scheduled their Celebration of Veterans Day on the 4th.  


A large, rectangular red, white, or blue card was taped to each bleacher seat before the game.  (Volunteers did the taping).  During the playing of the National Anthem 70,000 people held up their cards to display the message "THANK YOU MILITARY."  There are slots in the cards at eye level so you could witness this grand site.  I fumbled with my camera hoping I would be  able to capture what I was seeing from behind my little eye slot.  And there's nothing like a flyover at the end of the singing of our national anthem!

During the halftime activities the crowd's attention was directed to the large screens on each end of the stadium, and we were introduced via Skype to a large group of soldiers in Afghanistan, standing at attention.  We were instructed to stand, put our right hands in salute formation,  and on the announcer's cue, we saluted the soldiers.  In return, the soldiers saluted us.  The roar and cheers from the crowd was deafening!  It was a special moment!
Our mass group salute to them was a small, endearing, and heartfelt gesture...  and I was happy to be part of it!

Remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers, not just today, but everyday.   

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Surprise In My Mailbox!

In October I received an e-mail from Carolyn of Lee Prairie Designs.  Seems Carolyn was surfing on Pinterest and came upon a mini quilt that someone pinned from my post dated August 10th.  Carolyn asked if I would share the pattern information with her.  Well, of course I would!!!  The primitive doll mini quilt is from an old Indigo Junction pattern.   I knew I wouldn't be making anything from the pattern again, so I responded back to Carolyn that if she was willing to share her address, I would mail the pattern to her, and it was hers to keep or pass along.  That was a few weeks ago, and today, my mailbox had a little surprise for me!


The turkey on the note card was drawn and water colored by Carolyn's own artistic hand!   He's the cutest!  The fabric book has a little surprise in it too!

There are four "pages" of soft batting for pins and needles.  Slipped into a side pocket on the other side is the cutest mini composition notebook.   And I love the bright yellow and black cover fabric, combined with the red fabric lining.   Did you notice the red embroidery stitching  all around the edge?  And the plaid ribbon just tops it off!

Thank you Carolyn... I love my little gifts!  You are too kind!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Linkin' to Little and/or Doll Quilts...

Taryn at Repro Quilt Lover is sponsoring a Little and/or Doll Quilt Show.  She has an excess of cheddar fabric and she's come up with a creative way to give away 1/2 yd. cuts.   I'm a little late in signing on board, but it's just too much fun to pass up!

Here are my two entries...

Churn Creek from Creekside Quilting, Clive, IA 
Finished size 13" x 13"
Completed October 2007


Bear Paw's Quilt by Kathleen Tracy
Prairie Children and Their Quilts
Finished size 19" x 19"
Completed January 2008

Visit Taryn's blog and enjoy viewing the entries of the Little and/or Doll Quilt Show!  Thanks Taryn! 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Another favorite Wisconsin shop!

Before leaving Wisconsin this past Tuesday, I visited a unique quilt shop in Greenfield, a suburb of Milwaukee, conveniently located near the interstate highway that would be the beginning of my trek home to Iowa.  The shop is unique in the sense that it is not just a quilt shop.  The name of the shop is Coins and Quilts.  You guessed it... they buy, sell, and trade coins, jewelry, silver, gold, and currency.  They also sell fabric, patterns, templates, rulers, threads, and other merchandise that quilters want and need.  They provide Long Arm Quilting Services.  By my estimation eighty percent of the shop is quilting; I call it the her side.  Twenty percent is coins, the his side.  A strange combination?  You might think, but it works.

Once again, I asked for permission to take pictures, and permission was granted.  My only regret?  I wish I would have taken more!

The shop utilizes its space smartly, making it easy to
move around and not miss a thing!

Okay, I will admit that I enjoy browsing in quilt shops that are a little more quaint, a little more charming, a little more primitive.  But while Coins and Quilts appears to be more practical than quaint, (and really, it's all in the eye of the beholder), I was impressed  with the fabric selection and customer service, two major reasons I walk into a quilt shop in the first place!  Coins and Quilts gets 5 stars in delivering both!

Edit 11/14/2012 - I forgot to mention one other 5 star feature... the lighting!  It sure makes a difference when selecting fabric!  For example, I purchased two fat quarters at the shop in Sun Prairie a few days before visiting Coins and Quilts.  I thought the two fat quarters were grey... when I got home and was admiring my purchases, I discovered the true color of the two fat quarters... brown!   Just sayin'!

My favorite spot in the store is the corner in this picture! 
That's where I found the bolts of 1862 Battle Hymn
by Barbara Brackman for Moda.

I'm for supporting all quilt shops... after all, if they weren't around, I doubt I would be as enthusiastic as I am about this wonderful hobby known as quilting!  I like being a fabric fanatic!  I like adding to my stash!  I like spending time in my sewing room!  I like gifting something I made, and I treasure the somethings that I keep!   This is a healthy hobby, because it makes me feel good!  So there...  I owe it all to quilt shops!

The store has a nice selection of batiks, and a cute area
of youth fabrics, patterns and kits.

I selected some 1862 fat quarters, but still needed a number of them to be cut from the bolts.  Mr. Coin was more than happy to cut them!  (I've been in some shops where I feel like I'm asking a lot for a fat quarter to be cut from a bolt...  I get a sigh, a straight face, and I feel like saying, "give me the rotary... I'll cut my own if you'll let me!"). 

Sentiments by 3 Sisters for Moda, and fat quarters of
1862 Battle Hymn

I've seen the Sentiments line of fabric on websites, and I didn't go crazy over it until I found it in the shop.  I love it!

I picked my three favorite prints and a panel of holiday
postcards... not sure what to make.  Any ideas?

Thanks for letting me take you on a tour of my two, new, favorite  Wisconsin quilt shops!  If you are ever lucky enough to travel there, do your best to visit Coins and Quilts, and J J Stitches.  But don't forget to spend some time on the Internet searching for other quilt shops in the great state of Wisconsin, be they quaint or practical.  They all deserve our support! 


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A New Favorite Quilt Shop!

It was a whirlwind four day trip to Wisconsin to spend time with my siblings, celebrate my Mom's 89th birthday, (she loved her candle mat and leaf covered candle holder from the great grandchildren!), and cheer on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field!  And yes, I squeezed in visits to a couple of quilt shops!  Time well spent, all four days through!

Leaving Iowa early Saturday morning I navigated my way to Sun Prairie, east of Madison, to visit the highly recommended J J Stitches.  I was not disappointed.  Let's just say I knew I was in trouble the minute I walked in the door!

(I should mention that I asked if I could take pictures and I was graciously granted permission to do so!)

A grand selection of wool in an array of colors, grace the walls to the right of the door.  Fat eighths, quarters, and bundled packs sit atop numerous bolts of solid, striped, and plaid wools just waiting for the desired yardage to be cut.

Once upon a time... there was enough time

Lovin' that cheddar for sashing and border!

Bolts of cotton fabric beckon you to take-your-time browsing, and your eyes try hard to NOT miss a thing!

Metal trays hold fat quarters cut from the bolts they sit on top of, making it easy to see the entire line of fabric, and even easier to add to your already over-flowing stash at home!

I love how the fabric is draped over the top of the bolt!  It reminds me of the fabric stores I visited as a child with my Mom and Grandma.  It really allows you to see the design of the fabric.  Not to mention how great it feels to extend your hand, palm up, and gently brush bolt after bolt after bolt as you walk down the aisle!  (Clean hands only, please!)

What can be said about the shop models and display pieces?  Will  quilter eye candy do?

Old suitcases stacked underneath the fabric shelves house the patterns, instructions, fabric, and other supplies needed for the stores workshops.  Each suitcase is tagged with a number that correlates to the project, making it easy for the employees to find it as customers sign up.  Smart, and oh so charming!

I snapped just one picture of the Christmas room, but it's so much better if you are there!

There is another entire back room devoted to 30's fabric, pastels, and children fabrics!  I didn't get a picture, which means you'll have to take a trip there to witness it for yourself!

Did I purchase some goodies?  Well, wouldn't you?

Some pretty reds, more black, gold, and rusty reds for my
THQA blocks, and some neutrals.  The red fabric runner
underneath is about 18" wide... perfect for the top of a
 old whitewashed cabinet in my living room.

I will post about the other shop I visited in the next day or so.  I need to spend some time in my sewing room... we missed each other!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Going Home...

Taking some time off to visit a few of my favorite places! 

Hoping to find a few quilt shops along the way as well!  Have a great weekend everyone!  Make it sew-ful!!!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Come November...

Come November and be my guest! 

I don't think November is a very popular month with most people.  In the Midwest it means colder temps, the end of daylight savings, the possibility of significant snow falling, the more-dreaded-than-snow ice storm, and discovering that the most popular toys for the holiday season are already sold out at every store in the city. 

But it also means that the best family day of the year is just around the corner.  It means the sweet aroma of burning fireplaces will fill the crisp, neighborhood air.  It means joining your kids or grand kids at the elementary school for cafeteria cooked turkey and stuffing on a designated day.  It means putting the lightweight jackets in the spare closet, and dusting off the shoulders of winter coats that have been stationary in the same closet since February.  It means making sure you still have mittens and gloves that are a match.  It means mulling over favorite and traditional recipes for the big day.  For me and my family, it is about family... being grateful for each other, and for our good fortune.  It's about being together.   Perhaps this year, our time together will be more cherished, as we pray for the hundreds of families who have endured Sandy, and lost so much.  It's unimaginable that they are dealing with what the rest of us take for granted... shelter, warm meals, electricity, and so much more.  God Bless them all.

I've reflected enough.  This is, after all, a blog about quilting!  

My pumpkins and Halloween specific decorations will find themselves packed away for another year beginning today.  Taking their place will be flannel table runners, acorns, pine cones, and fabrics that reflect the colors of November. 

I took this flannel table runner outside for a picture, to capture the true colors of the blocks.  This is a Country Threads pattern... for the life of me I can't find it to give you the name... it's somewhere in my sewing room!  Edit 11/9/2012 - Finally found the pattern for the table runner! Square Within a Square #616  www.countrythreads.com.
Every year at our Northwoods September retreat we make a turkey as one of our group projects.  This little wool turkey was fun to make with scraps of wool and embroidery floss.  We made him a few years ago... I don't have the pattern any longer... sorry!


This Turkey applique quilt is one of the first quilts I made.  If I had to do it over, I would change a few things.  I did the big (too big... I cringed when I look at it!) blanket stitching, and other embroidery.  The stippling was done by a very talented friend!  I believe I found the pattern in a magazine.


This acorn is one of my favorite wool projects of all time!  I like the woven wool strips that form the cap.  This is a Wooden Spool Designs pattern, Autumn Harvest - #155.

The shades of brown stripe mini quilt was a-quilt-as-you-go "how to" at retreat a few years ago.  Each quarter square was made separately and then joined to make a larger square mini.  Quick and easy!

Okay... your turn!  Let's see your November projects and decorating goods!  And while you're at it, let's hear about what November means to you!