Monday, February 22, 2010

Oddysea Bricks Quilt Top

Here is my latest quilt top created from fabric by Momo in a line called Oddysea.  This is the bricks pattern, which I have used in this quilt and also in this one.  I love the way this pattern comes together easily and shows off larger pieces of the fabrics.
I started off with a layer cake of the Oddysea fabric.  A layer cake is 40 10-inch squares of coordinating fabrics in a designer's line.  Where there were some duplicate blocks in this pack, I changed the orientation of the design before cutting it in half.  I cut each 10 inch square into 2 rectangles measuring 5x10 inches. Then I took some of those rectangles and cut them in half again to make some 5 inch squares. 

I sort of randomly pulled the rectangles from the pile as I was sewing, but if I thought there was too much of one color in one area, I switched the blocks around some.

To get the bricks to be offset, I made 2 kinds of rows. The first row has 6 bricks sewn together. The next row begins with half a brick (the 5 inch square) then includes 5 more bricks and finishes with another half brick.  (Just like the real bricklayers do!)
I just kept making these rows and sewing them together until I got the quilt top to be the size I think I want it to be.  I still have some rectangles and squares left over and I have not decided if I want to include them on the backing.
I love this line of fabric--the ocean theme, the bright whimsical prints, the fishies, the seashells.  This is not a winter wonderland, that is for sure!  Makes me think of hot summer days at the beach--come on summertime!

Some Projects Don't Turn Out

Since my mother's birthday was on Sunday and I was going to attend her birthday dinner hosted by my aunt and uncle, I thought I would whip up a project for her.  I chose these fabrics because she loves moose and her favorite color is green.

The plan was to make her a checkbook cover to fit her top stub checks.  I used directions that I found online and adjusted the dimensions to accommodate the fact that top stub checks are slightly taller than regular checks. 

I could not make it look right. It was all good until the time to turn the checkbook right side out and stitch up the side. Suddenly it was wonky and too stuffed with batting.

I tore out stitches and redid part of it with less batting and tried again. Still no luck.  Ended up in the garbage.

Some days you are the Louisville Slugger and some days you are the ball.

Mom loved the beautiful quilted wallhanging I gave her instead. 

 Happy Birthday, Mom!

Monday, February 15, 2010

2010 Dog Olympics

It is time for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show again. This annual event is competing with the Winter Olympics for my attention.

The first night of competition is televised tonight on the USA network and on CNBC. Judged tonight will be the Hound group, the Toy group, the Non-Sporting group and the Herding group.

Tomorrow night will be the Sporting group, the Working group and (my favorites) the Terrier group.  After all 7 group winners are determined the best in show winner will be chosen.

Hometown favorites (in order of preference)
One day I hope to travel to NYC and see the Westminster for myself. In addition to the coverage shown on tv, the dogs are on display for the entire time of the competition and you can talk with the breeders and handlers about specific breeds. Each breed has its own competition to determine which dogs get into the best of group ring.

Thousands of dogs compete for the glory of being called "Best in Show."  Lest you think that this show is only about purebred dogs, one of the main sponsers, Pedigree Dog Food, has an extensive program to benefit shelter dogs. All through the show, commercials run that urge potential dog owners to seek their new friends from among the many homeless dogs that deserve good homes. 

Personally I have owned both purebred and mixed breed dogs. Most of them came to me secondhand (in need of a good home.) My current dog, Conner is a purebred Schnauzer (pet quality only) that I got from his first owner when she realized she could not devote enough time and attention to him.

Love dogs!   Love the Westminster Kennel Club! Don't have time to watch the Olympics tonight!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Framed Nest Flimsy

See the bird peeking out of this block?

Look at these tiny eggs!

I love this quilt top. I started it using some 5 inch strips cut from a Nest jelly roll and began to frame them using strips from a Kona Cottons Solids jelly roll. Then I ran out of colors that matched the tones of these fabrics.
I ordered more and was able to complete the top during my snow days.  The white sashing is made using a Ralph Lauren twin sheet obtained from a local thrift store.

The quilt top just about covered the double bed in my sister's guest room. I am concerned about trying to quilt it myself. It is the largest top I have made so far.

Did I mention that I love it?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Conner Plays in the Snow

I took Conner out for a spell this morning. I wanted to get some pictures of the sunlight hitting the lingering ice from our last storm.
He could walk on top of the snow without breaking through on every step. There was even a squirrel for him to bark at. He had a good time!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Icy Conditions

Conner in his rightful place, snuggled between my feet.

Last night we got sleet and freezing rain. The trees are encased in ice. Very pretty, but could cause a problem later today when the snow that is falling now adds weight to the branches.

I only lost power last night briefly enough to cause the microwave display to blink and to require my computer network to be restarted. I am crossing my fingers that I will be spared further power interruptions.

More reading, sewing and bird watching today. Not driving anywhere!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Even More Snow!

This is how Conner likes to spend our days at home. See my toe there in my fuzzy slippers. He is on top of the felted wool afghan I made from old sweaters.
It seemed like hundreds of birds flew between this snowy hedge and the feeding center on my porch today. There were the usual snowy weather birds for this area and this....

Red-headed woodpecker. I had quite a time getting these photos because

#1 they were taken through the window with no flash and

#2 Sammy L. Jackson kept lunging at the glass and scaring off the birds whenever I got close with the camera.

Also, I SWEAR I saw a bird with a white head and a red crest of feathers for just a moment before it flew off. I have never seen a bird like that in the wild before, I am sure it was someone's escaped cockatiel or other tropical bird. I hope it can live through this storm.

Now the sleet is beating against the house and I am hoping that the power stays on. It is mighty uncomfortable here with no heat! For now I am enjoying the full use of my computer, my ipod, Facebook, blogland, Flickr and the telly.
Stay safe and warm everybody!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Not Stash Busting

I got plenty of fabric today at Joanne's. The part that makes me most happy is that every single piece was already on sale, even before I used my teacher discount. That little card got me an additional $12 off. Whoo-hooo!

This fabric featuring realistic birds on branches was sold out for a long time. I saw it today and had to buy 3 yards of it and then 2 yards of the coordinating print.

The fabric I went looking for is this modern bird print in spring colors of pink and purple. They also make it in turquoise and teal, but that was sold out already. There are two coordinating prints here, the one with many birds and the other with branches.

This assortment of reds will be made into a fireball quilt. That is similar to a snowball quilt or the pumpkin quilt I made in the fall, but made with red. I already have the red jelly roll to use as sashing for each block. These are half yard cuts, so I am thinking 9 inch blocks.

This vibrant paisley just begged for me to put it in the cart, whispering that it would make a fabulous purse.

The pinks are to go along with my other Valentine fabrics and already one is spoken for to use to back my Valentine Split Rail quilt.

All in all a satisfying trip to the fabric store.

Valentine Rail Fence Top

After pressing the pieced strips I cut them into 8 inch squares. Each 44 inch strip made 5 blocks with some small scraps left over for the scrap bag.

This is how it came out after sewing the blocks together. It is about 40 inches wide and 55 inches long. I am going to back it with the pink floral fabric I picked up today at the sale at JoAnne's.

Left over jelly roll strips will make up the binding.

This pink and brown section is my favorite colorway in this collection. I am also partial to the pink and green section.

Make Life Fabric by Sweetwater

After waking up last night thinking about this fabric I have made a decision. I pondered using these large blocks to make a raggedy quilt. I thought briefly about cutting each block in half to make bricks and piecing them into a running bricks quilt like Allie made.

Finally I settled on a plan. I am going to make a quilt similar to this one by rachel griffith that she created for Moda Bake Shop.

Of course, I am going to make it my own by changing the directions somewhat. I am going to cut pieces off the strips in the jelly roll and use them to applique on top of the layer cake blocks. The strips will be rectangles. Then I will piece the large squares together.

I am not sure how big this is going to be or how I am going to quilt it. I would like to make a larger quilt than I normally do, but the issue is wrestling yards of fabric under the sewing machine to do the quilting.

There are so many wonderful quilters online who provide inspiration and information that make my quilting a joyful experience. Thanks, Ladies!

Valentine Rail Fence

This is the beginning of my Rail Fence quilt made using the Love is in the Air jelly roll by Deb Strain. I sorted out the strips into colorways and then I sewed four strips together at a time to make these panels.

Next I will press these and cut them into squares. Once the squares are cut I will begin piecing them together with the stripes alternating between horizontal and vertical.

I have already made one rail fence quilt for my nephew in yellow and blue. This one will be for me.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Stuck in the Snow

So the other day I got a postcard from the mailman that I needed to clear access to my mailbox. When VDOT plowed the street they left quite a bit of snow piled up in front of the mailbox.

I got the "bright" idea that I would use my car to flatten out some of the snow along the edge of the street so that the mail carrier could get his car close enough to reach my mailbox.

This is the result. Stuck. Embarrassing!

I found some wood ashes and sprinkled them around the front wheels after kicking some of the snow away from the tires. Still stuck and now slinging ash-covered snow around.

While I considered calling the local tow truck company and asking them how much they would charge to move my car less than 20 feet, I went back into the house to get my camera. I thought, "I will shame this car with photos of how foolish she looks stuck in the snow."

I snapped a few photos and got back in the car to continue trying to move it out of the snowbank. I rocked it back and forth by alternating between Drive and Reverse and suddenly.... She was out!

We took a short drive to the local feed store to get some bird food and now she is back safely in the carport. I guess I will just have no mail for a while.

The birdfeeders are full and I am ready for whatever winter weather falls today (they are calling for ice/sleet/snow.)

Ticker Tape Quilt in Progress

Here is my ticker tape quilt in progress. I used some french blue cotton for the background and went through my scrap bag looking for scraps in shades of blue and red. I arranged them to please me and then pinned them in place.

I am using the directions from Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts for this quilt, although I am only doing a block at a time in the "quilt as you go" fashion. That way I can make the finished quilt as big as I want without having to drag a large amount of fabric under the sewing machine at one time.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Back on Track

This is a new project for me. I used my jelly roll of Nest by Tula Pink and cut 5 inch strips. Then I picked through the Kona Solids jelly roll and found colors to coordinate. This is inspired by the Paint Box Quilt that Elizabeth at Oh, Fransson has provided a tutorial for. I am not following her directions exactly, but using them to guide my sewing on this new quilt. I have not thought of a snappy name for this quilt yet.

These blocks need to be trimmed and pressed. Then I will add another border with white fabric.

Sammy L. Jackson found my bag of scraps and crawled in through the partially open zipper. Someone forgot to tell him that it is dangerous to play in plastic bags.

I redid my quilt for the Sweethearts Rock Swap. In the original one I made I did not add the border before binding it and the binding crowded the appliqued hearts too much. This looks much better. I will send this out along with the other goodies in plenty of time for it to arrive by Valentine's Day.