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Saturday, October 30, 2010

A UFO no longer

In July, 2009, I took a fun class from Rose Hughes on making landscape quilts. I say the class was fun, but the technique was definitely not something I enjoyed, unfortunately. I'm glad I tried it, but I won't be doing it again, as far as I can tell. ;)

Anyway, I designed my quilt and even had all of the major construction finished at that time. However, I was supposed to use beads and embroidery to suggest plant life, and I was also supposed to use wool roving to make blossoms on the saguaro cactus I made as a memento of the very long time I lived in Arizona. I'm not much on embellishing, though, so my partially-completed quilt sat on the ironing board in my sewing room until yesterday.

With the encouragement of my quilting buddy, I decided to finish the quilting on the piece and forget the embellishing. I added a facing instead of binding, and now it's all finished. Finished, as they say, is good. :) This is titled "Lonely Saguaro" both because it's all alone in its setting and because it's so unlikely to be the start of a series of landscapes.

Friday, October 29, 2010

You have to see this!

I haven't been doing much quilting for the past few days, but I know someone who has. ;) Some of you know that I have a twin sister who began quilting just about five years ago or so. She's only very recently begun machine quilting, but what a job she's doing! I guess my love of feathers is something that runs in the family, too, because she's doing some absolutely gorgeous ones. You should see her most recent ones: go here to do just that.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Swirling Branches is done

Not quite two weeks ago, I posted this finished top. Today the little quilt is finished, and I'm pretty pleased with it, though there are definite mistakes in it. However, the pattern was fun to make, and the piece isn't a UFO, so I'm happy. :)

When I posted the top, I was debating how to quilt it. Obviously, I made up my mind. ;) I used some variegated green thread to do free-motion feathers (have I mentioned lately how much I love feathers?) in the light- and medium-green branches. The darker green branches have a swirl in them. The red and yellow "lights" have candle flames quilted in them, and the background is all straight lines to suggest the light coming from those candles. Beneath the tree I did a little curlicue. Here are some detail shots of the quilting, where you can see what I did right and also some of the mistakes I made:

This one shows the quilting from the back:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mug organizer

My local quilt circle met today. We're a large group and usually have about 20 or more of our members attending any one meeting, though there are about 40 on the rolls. We take turns sharing ideas for projects with each other, and today's project was a mug organizer. It's a really cute idea for using a mug to keep quilting notions handy. Since I'd recently made that flower pot to do the same job, I decided that this would make a really good gift. There are little pockets both inside and out for pencils, seam rippers, and that sort of thing. Isn't it cute?

Still, it's amazing that I managed to make it at all. It was one of those days. I was really pleased that I'd finally remembered to take an extension cord with me for my little Featherweight, but I forgot to take pins, scissors, fabric markers and thread to match my fabric! Yikes! Fortunately, another member had spare pins, someone else had markers to share, and I scrounged scissors and thread from still others. Tomorrow is, as they say, another day. ;)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tomato Pie

No, this isn't a dessert! ;) Tomato pie is a wonderful lunch or light dinner, though, and it works very well as an appetizer, too. My sister introduced this dish to me, and I love it and try to make it at least a few times each year when tomatoes are at their best. The smell of it baking, as all of the fresh basil perfumes the house, is amazing! I made this one today to serve to friends for lunch tomorrow, and I can hardly wait. :)

Carol Doak class

I've been a fan of Carol Doak for a very long time now. She's the queen of paper piecing, for those who aren't familiar with her name. I've run into her several times at the "really big show" in Houston and even had a class with her. When she agreed to come to our guild and teach, therefore, I was really excited. :) Unfortunately, I couldn't take the class I was most interested in, due to time conflicts. However, yesterday I was free and was able to go and be her "gofer" for that class.

What fun! She has such a sense of humor and is a very generous teacher -- she gives freely of her time and tips, practically daring anyone not to have a marvelous time and come out having learned how to make those beautifully pointy points that paper piecing can give.

This is a photo of me with Carol -- and that smile never seems to leave her face! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chili and shortbread

What a combination, huh? ;) We're trying to use up some of the ground elk meat that's in our freezer, since DH will be going elk hunting soon. So yesterday I made some chili, using three pounds of ground elk and whatever else struck my fancy. I have enough to feed an army at this point, but it does freeze well. That's a Staub pot I used to make the chili, and I love that pot! It really does a good job. Anyway, that was yesterday's project.

Today I was craving shortbread; I love shortbread! So I baked some as soon as I had a few minutes, and now I have enough to enjoy with tea for a while. If you like shortbread, too, you might want to try Joe Pastry's recipe.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Top done ...

... and now I'll need to sandwich and quilt this piece! :) The pattern went much more quickly than I'd expected, and I rather like the swirly effect of the skewed log cabin blocks. The pattern says to quilt it by stitching in the ditch, but I'm trying to think of something a little more fun to do instead. Any ideas?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I have a new project

Have you seen the current issue of American Quilter? If you have, you may have seen the article by Renae Merrill, called "Swirling Branches". In it, she explains her method of paper piecing and provides a free pattern for a holiday wall hanging. I've been interested in her technique of skewing blocks for interesting effects, so I've started that pattern -- though I'm still using Carol Doak's method for the actual paper piecing. It works for me, so why change, right? ;)

I've run out of Carol's paper, so I'll need to go buy more to finish printing out the foundations, but I got a good start today on one block and its mirror image. Here's what a single block looks like:

It really has a lot of movement, doesn't it? By the way, the block isn't supposed to be square, so no worries there. ;) Now here's what a pair of these looks like together:


 Can you see how the red and yellow pieces will resemble lights at the tips of tree branches? No? LOL! It might be a bit soon for that, I'll admit. Now I have fourteen more blocks like these, but in gradually smaller sizes, to make, as well as adding some other pieces to square things up.