Thursday, January 31, 2013

Irish Chain Wildlife Quilt Finish

Here it is, my finished Irish Chain Wildlife Quilt!!  I started this for my husband's 50th birthday, which was just a month and a few days ago.  I bought the fabric panel at a local quilt show a year or so ago, and found some coordinating fabric here and there.  I've been wanting to make an Irish Chain quilt for a while now, and using the panels in the center was a perfect opportunity.  It was also rather serendipitous, as after I made the quilt top, I realized / remembered that my husband's birth mother was Irish.  He was adopted at birth and we know almost nothing about his birth family, but do know that one fact.

As I mentioned in recent posts, my husband's only comment when I was making the quilt was that there was no elk in it.  My oldest son also shot his first elk on my husband's birthday, so I knew that I had to put an elk in there somewhere.  It's there, but you have to look hard... kind of like camouflage ;-).

The rest is quilted in an "antler" design.

The back was made from stash fabric.  With 2 boys and a husband, and even a boy hunting dog in the family, there's no shortage of "Mossy Oak Break-up" here... It's 60 by 60 inches, and yes, my husband totally loves it, and was very impressed with the quilted elk :-).

I'm linking up with Shanna at Fiber of All Sorts Finish party!!  Whew hew!!  Come join us over there!!

I'm also linking up with Crazy Mom Quilt's Finish It Up Friday!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WIP Wed, T@tT: Wildlife and Kale

I spent a good chunk of yesterday quilting my Wildlife Quilt that I'm making for a belated birthday present for my husband.  When I showed him the finished top, and asked him for input on borders and quilting, his one and only comment was "There's no elk!".  Hmmm...  So I had to figure out a way to get an elk in there somehow LOL.

I found an elk image on Google images, blew it up on the copy / printer, and traced it onto some tracing paper / physicians' office exam roll paper that I have on hand.

Then I stitched it onto the quilt.  I'm glad I only did one first to see if I wanted to do several throughout the quilt.  It hindsight, I wish I had stitched only the outline onto the paper, removed it, and then did the shading, because this

is a

to remove!! Anyone know if this will come out in the wash?  The rest of the quilt is quilted in a "sharp stipple" that I tried hard to make look like antlers.  I hope to get the binding on it today!!  Joining up with WIP Wed at Freshly Pieced!

I also just had to post a food item for Tuesday at the Table after making these kale chips last night for dinner!  Sorry for the lousy picture... I'm a card carrying member of the kale haters' club, but after getting 2 heads of it in our CSA / Co-op bin last week, I didn't want to throw it in our compost bin without trying something.  I found this recipe on the Food Network, and low and behold, they're actually pretty darn good!  Even my husband and kids agreed!

I also hope to make one of the Triple Zip's that Debbie is hosting a zip-along for.  Little does Debbie know, but I love zippers, and find them irresistible each time I spy them in thrift stores.  I have quite a collection, and hope to make up more than a few of these nifty pouches!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ombré Quilt Finish!

Over the week-end, I was able to finish up my Ombré Quilt with plenty of time to spare.  I spent much of Saturday at a swim meet, and most of Sunday cleaning and organizing, so I'm a bit late blogging about it...

It was created for Project Quilting's second 2013 challenge, making a project with white and one other color.  I originally wanted to make a full size bed quilt, with the only scrap bin that was overflowing, my blue bin.  After spending a few hours ironing and cutting out squares, I decided that there was no way I'd meet the deadline.  I was cutting out 4 inch squares, so I turned to my smaller than 4 inch squares, and downsized.  This quilt is only 22 by 17 inches, made up entirely of finished 1.25 inch half square triangles.

I've been wanting to make an ombré quilt for several months now, and this was the perfect opportunity.  I LOVE the color gradations in "ombré".  It reminds me of nature... water at a beach, sunrise and sunset, Spring and Fall leaves...

I also enjoy trying out new techniques with these challenges... the short time and small projects are a perfect opportunity!  I made an invisible binding based on this tutorial that I saw on Felicity Quilt's blog a while back. I LOVE the result, and will for sure be doing this again!!

As usual, I used 50 weight Aurifil thread to piece the quilt.  I rarely use anything else these days for piecing.  I like a heavier 40 weight thread for quilting, but in this case, decided that the 50 weight looked better, and with my new Janome that quilts with any thread I put into her, I was able to do all of the quilting with my Aurifil thread!!  I made simple "waves" across the quilt, as this reminds me of water. I can not tell you how happy I am to finally be able to use any type or brand of thread to free motion quilt!!

I am starting to build up a small collection of Aurifil thread, and since the spools are taller, I also spent a bit of time this week-end making up another thread rack to hold them :-).  I used the same method outlined in my tutorial last summer, using the 4 inch pegs.

This week, I'm hoping to finish up my quilt for Shanna's "A Lovely Year of Finishes" link up, and the will be looking forward to PQ challenge #3!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ombré Quilt

First of all, I really want to shout out a very big thank you for all of the wonderfully smart, generous ladies who have helped me out on the computer part of this blog!  Thanks to Amy, and Beth recently for explaining how to take anonymous commentators off my blog, and thanks to Debbie for helping me get signed up for Instagram and telling me how to browse from my computer via  Thanks also to Kit, Shanna, and Marlene.  You all have taught me so much about blogging and computers!!  I'm very grateful!!!

Speaking of Instagram, I'm now on there as "Solar Threads".  I don't have a smart phone, but did get an ipad mini for Christmas, which has a camera, and the ability to finally get on board!  I can also now get on-line when DH is using our shared computer, or we're using it's monitor to watch TV.

Finally, here's my finished 2013 Project Quilting top for this weeks' challenge.  The challenge is to use white and one other color.  I knew immediately that I could use this to scratch another project in my "project file" off of the list.  I've been wanting to make an ombré quilt for a while now.  I originally wanted to make a bed sized quilt, but this mini may be all it takes to get this itch scratched and move on.  I also have my most full scrap bin, blue, totally under control again!  Between my log cabin cat quilt (yellow and green), my Purple Haze Quilt (purple), the Low Volume (cream and white) and this one (blue), I have literally done a scrap quilt journey through the colors.  Sadly, my orange and red scraps are all in one bin that has never become full.

While scrap quilts aren't my favorite to make, I do really enjoy revisiting fabric that I've used in the past.  This has blue fabric that I used to make a quilt for my Father-in-law, a gift box for a dear friend, clothes and projects for my boys, and even some fabric that a sister-in-law just gave me a few weeks ago.  Fun!!

The squares in this quilt are about 1 1/4 inches, and let me tell you, this was a bear to iron straight!!  It took a good long while to piece together as well!!  I plan to quilt it simply and try out an "invisible" binding for the first time!!  I'm hoping to get it done by the Sunday deadline!!  Stay tuned to see if that happens!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WIP Wed (West Coast Edition): Project Quilting

Yep, I have to admit that there are times where I must share others' questioning of my mental stability...  For some reason, this week's Project Quilting has driven me just a wee bit crazy!  The challenge is to create a quilt that uses white and one other color.  Simple, right?  Wrong...

I have a plan, but wanted to make it all from my scraps, and wanted to make a big bed sized quilt.  Blue is what I have the most of, so blue and white it is.... I forgot just how time-consuming scrap quilts can be though.  After 3-4 hours cutting only a fraction of the squares I need, I decided that this won't work by Sunday.  I still want to try to make something though, so I took the smaller <4 inch scraps and cut them into smaller squares, and spent most of today sewing and ironing them. 

Can you see why I'm questioning my sanity now? If nothing else, this project has taught me that I'm not cut out (pun totally intended) for miniature quilting!!! Stay tuned.  I'm also linking up with Lee's WIP Wed, even though most of my East Coast buddies are probably done with supper already...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday at the Table: Co-ops and Quilting

Over the week-end, I joined up with a newly-formed branch of "Bountiful Baskets" food co-op here in town!  I thought Tuesday at the Table would be a fun place to share this!  I'm also linking up with Fabric Tuesday!  All of the co-op details are on their website.  It takes a little planning and some volunteer work, but for only $15 we got this basket full of fresh fruits and vegetables! 

I also was able to buy a "bread basket" with 5 loaves of bread for only $10.  It's similar to a CSA in the aspect that you get what you get when it comes to the produce, but it's all grocery store quality and very fresh! I feel just a wee bit guilty admitting that I love the "tropical" addition, as I have belonged to actual local CSA's, and really missed that.  Avocados and citrus are 2 of my favorite foods!

I was also able to get another "Sea Star" completed that I'm doing through "Don't Call Me Betsy's" Lucky Star block of the month club.

I also was able to pin baste my Wildlife quilt!

I'm afraid I've also been suddenly getting a blizzard of spam comments lately.  I've reluctantly turned on my word verification.  Blogger used to have a way to turn off anonymous commentators, but I can't find it.  Does anyone else know how to access this?  I really do value all of my readers and want to make it easy to comment.

Friday, January 18, 2013

(Quilt) Back Problems

When it comes to quilt backs, I have a love hate relationship with them.  I love the extra dimension they can add to a quilt when done well, I actually love the challenge of piecing together a back out of my stash fabric, but I hate how much fabric they take, and I hate it when I don't have the fabric I need and have to buy it.

I pieced together all of my left over fabric from my "Irish Chain Wildlife"  quilt, and still didn't have enough.  That's a 32x31 inch center piece, and the quilt is 60 by 60. Even with the few other fabrics I pulled out of my stash I couldn't figure out a way to make it work.  One thing I've learned the hard way, is that it's really important for the quilt back to coordinate with the front.

In the end, I decided to use some fabric that I had in my stash that I'd bought for another quilt.  I think it suits my husband very well.  It's not "quilt store" quality, but I think it'll be fine.  I'm still using quilts made with "cheap" fabric that are well over 10 years old, and have been washed regularly, and they're holding up fine.  I sure WISH I could find "Mossy Oak Breakup" in a quilt store LOL!  It's frustrating to have spent so much time first on the border then on the back, to have neither work out.  Maybe I can use this in a Project Linus quilt, or something else...

I also have spent much of my time lately here,


and here.
I definitely see a pool-related quilt in my future!

Indoor pools are few and far between here in Eastern Oregon, so I've also spent a great deal traveling to my son's high school swim meets.  Luckily Oregon is such a beautiful place, so it's really something I enjoy.

I've also been busy fulfilling 2 resolutions to get fit, and to get organized.  We joined a gym for the first time in over a decade, and I'm trying hard to build a routine of visiting 3 times a week.  I've been able to de-clutter a few rooms too.  But my sewing has taken a back seat.  With the gym fees and gas money for traveling to swim meets, my fabric budget has been slashed as well, but I'm feeling so much better from the regular exercise and such that I don't really mind at all!!

I hope you all have a fabulous week-end!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Pallet Cleanser" Clothesline Fabric Bowl

I've gotten into a habit lately to do a small project between bigger quilts to help keep me motivated.  As most of you know, quilts take such a long time to make, so it's nice to make something little in between.

I love the fabric selvage projects and quilts that have become popular the last few years.  They appeal to my frugal side, and are so much fun to look at.  Each time I try to make something with my growing collection, though, I'm less than satisfied.  I really don't think these little bits of fabric are for me. 

I learned how to wrap small fabric strips around cotton clothesline quite a few years ago to make fabric bowls, but after buying my Pfaff, it gave me nothing but grief when I tried to zig zag stitch the coils together. 

I decided to try them out on my new Janome, which is a much beefier, more industrial machine, and it sewed through them without hesitation, skipped stitches or any tension problems!  Yea!!  I see a whole lot more of these bowls in my future!  I love the way the fabric makes a striped pattern... reminds me of a pixie stick candy!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Square2 Finished!

My first 2013 Project Quilting challenge is all done!!  The challenge this week is "square within a square.  It's 15" by 15", made with a rainbow of batiks I had on hand.
It is the second or third project that I've free motion quilted on my new Janome 6600, and I am just head over heels for this machine!  Unlike my Pfaff, it can handle any thread I put in it, which has opened up a world of even more possibilities!!  As you can see, it quilts beautifully!  I used a variety of designs, and even added a few little squares in the pebbling design, just for fun.

I got inspiration from my "idea folder"... a collection of notebooks, pictures and such that I file things into that may be future quilt designs.  I saw this sign a few years ago, and made note of it.

I found similar blocks in my EQ7 block library, which I was able to then enlarge, print, and foundation paper piece.  Here's a mock quilt with the design!

I'm so excited to again be a part of this fun challenge!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Square2 almost done!

I decided to name this mini "Square2", as in square squared...  I got the quilting all done yesterday, and had much more fun quilting it than piecing it!  As I've said before, I'm enjoying more and more the quilting part of a quilt than just about anything else!  FUN!

All that's left is the binding, which I hope to get done before Saturday, as I have a full week-end planned with no time to sew!

I also have been trying hard to come up with a border design for my husband's quilt (still needs a name).  I have extra fabric and want to make it bigger, but am coming up just shy with everything I got.  I wanted to extend the design into the border, but don't have enough of the tan.
That's all I got... 17 inches...  So I gathered up my leftover "strip set strips", and tried this out.
I love the way this looks, but again, I'm just shy of having enough to go all the way around. I really don't want to buy anymore fabric.  I'm now thinking of just "skipping the borders", and using the leftover fabric on the back.  Any other ideas?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

WIP Wed: Project Quilting

Here's where I am so far in the first round of 2013 Project Quilting!  The challenge this week is: Square within a Square. 

I found this quilt block pattern on my much-neglected EQ7 program.  I enlarged it to 15" by 15", before I printed it, then taped the pieces together.  Gosh was it a bear to work with such a large paper piecing "template", but I love the way it turned out.

I'm hoping to get it quilted today, with a different pattern in each color.  Any quilting suggestions?

I spent Saturday in Baker City, OR, watching my son's high school swim meet.  It's about an hour and a half East of us, and is situated along the old Oregon Trail, between the Elkhorn Mountains Range and the Eagle Cap Mountain Range.  Forgive the smudge on my camera that I didn't notice until I got home, but here's a few pics I thought I'd share:

I also have to share a conversation between my husband and I.  When I told him that I wanted to head over there an hour or so early, he said "There's a quilt store over there, isn't there?!"  Totally busted LOL!
 Elkhorn Mountains above, Baker City street below.


Waiting for the meet to start

 Always looking for patterns... pool deck detail. Eagle Caps Mountains below.