Monday, February 28, 2011

1 down, 14 left to go!

I finished my first UFO from my List! Yippie!

Listen, can you hear it?  It's saying "take me shopping, fill me with fabric"   :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mini Tote

I'm working on a mini tote right now, it's on my list of UFO's to finish this year.  I haven't completed it yet, but here are some 'in progress' photos:
(I went a little photo crazy, if you get bored feel free to scroll to the end, the last photo is my favorite)

Here it is basted for quilting.  I'm rather proud of this, since it is my first attempt at basting with thread and needle. 

Can you see the stitches better in this one?
I didn't have enough of any one print for the lining, so I joined two together.

Here is the quilting:

Inside out, stitching the sides together:

And this is how it looks now, waiting for binding and handles:

And lastly, my favorite photo, the bag being modeled by my 10 year old son:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Not So Happy Quilt Top

This is the last block for my BOM quilt.  And here are the blocks together with sashing and cornerstones:

I put this together a couple weeks ago, but everything lined up so poorly, I just set it aside.  I need to decide what to do with it.  The bottom row is 1/2" short on both sides, and there are a couple seam allowances that are too small. 

The blocks were supposed to be 12 1/2" unfinished.  The two with curved seams I had to trim down, so they were 12 1/4", but I didn't think it would be a problem.  Somehow, when I checked before sewing I missed that there were one or two larger than 12 1/2".  I tried to compensate for minor differances when joining to the sashing, but it didn't work.

I'm thinking it needs to be ripped out, but I really, really don't want to do that much ripping.  But if it needs to be done...

Alternatively, maybe I could try to stitch the scant seams deeper, drown any in question with Fray-Check, trim the outer sashing strips even with the bottom row, add the remaining borders, and hope the sweet lady I'm giving this to forgets to wear her glasses every time she looks at it?

Recipe Share

Cherry Squares

2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon almond extract
1 can cherry pie filling (enough for one pie)

Cream together the oil and sugar, then add eggs and mix well.  Add in the flour, salt, and almond extract.  Grease a 9"x13" pan and spread slightly more than half the batter on the bottom.  Pour pie filling over batter.  Drop remaining batter by spoonfuls over top.  Pie filling will show through in places.  Bake at 350 F for one hour.  Cut into squares and serve topped with whipped cream.  Other pie fillings or extracts can be substituted to suit your tastes.  (I recommend lemon filling with vanilla extract)

Cherry Squares are a favorite from my childhood, I hope you enjoy them.  I'd share a picture of them, but they get eaten up too fast  ;)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Penguins on my mind

I'm still undecided about the pattern for my son's penguin quilt, but I found backing fabric.   Penguins on flannel for $2.99/yard - it was a happy find  :)

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Penguins - What to do with them?

I bought a kit to turn this panel into two wallhangings for my five year old.  They just needed backing and binding, nice and easy.  When I ordered it, I made sure he knew wallhangings hang on walls.  He said he understood, and even started to pick out where they would go. 

But when I was getting ready to cut the sections apart, he was talking about 'cuddleing' his penguin quilts.  I explained the whole wallhanging thing again, but now he was determind, this was going on his bed to cuddle with, not on the wall (sometime while I was unawares, putting a hanging sleeve on the back of penguins was apparently made criminal).  Oh, and now the panel has to stay as one piece, because apparently the penguins on the right are related to the penguins on the left, and they would miss each other if I cut them apart.  (I think he has named each penguin) 

I don't know why I was surprised by this.    :)

So, now I've got no plan, and a five year old who is impatient for his penguin quilt.  I do want this to be twin size, because he already has enough smaller quilts and blankets.

Ok, I know there are more high-tech ways of designing quilts (I even own EQ5) but I still prefer pencil and paper.  Plus I still love to color with crayons  :)

My first Idea was to try log cabin blocks, like the drawing on the left, in blues.  I would put the panel in the upper third of the quilt, with blocks above and below, and on the sides to make it wide enough.  But, I was afraid a monochromatic blue quilt in this pattern might be too boring (although, I'm liking it better now that I've drawn it), especially since I don't want to add borders of a focal print.
Then I thought maybe wonky log cabins?  Or stacked coins like the drawing on the right? 

What do you think?  Is there something else you would suggest?  I also like the looks of the cover quilt of this book, but I've never done anything like it.  Also, would it work in monochromatic blue? 

Should I add some yellow and orange?

These are the fabrics I have to work with so far.  I'm hoping to add more bright blues, and geometrics for interest. 

These are the guide lines I've decided on so far:
-The pattern needs to be quick and easy
-No borders of a focal fabric
-not a lot of white (around here, quilts are used to build bunkers for Revolutionary War reinactments or the occaisional Mongoul invaison)
-predominantly blue
-the panel needs to be kept as one piece (it is roughly 24"xWOF)

Any ideas, comments, links to inspirational photos, would be appreciated.
Thank you so much!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ramblings and Fabric Love

How do you start a quilt? 
Do you begin with a fabric that intrigues you, and then decide what to make with it? 
Or do you start with an idea, knowing the design you want to make, the colors you will use, the feel you want to create, and then hunt down the perfect fabrics to bring life to your art?

Me, I work best by beginning with an idea.  Starting with fabric before I know what I want to create feels awkward and backwards to me. 

That's largely why, even though I loved it on sight, I didn't buy any Meadowsweet when I first saw it.  I didn't know what I'd do with it.

But I do now.

I think I should hang lengths ceiling to floor, all around my living room, alternating various prints from the collection.  Look, I've got a start

Beautiful, isn't it?  (I'm terribly sorry for the sideways picture, but I'm not sure how to turn them around.) This is my favorite print from the collection.  I love the orange and chocolate.

Oh, and here's another (fabric is right side up this time, unfortunately the photo isn't)

Doesn't it make the perfect backdrop for the rocking chairs?  I love the orange and chocolate colors together.  (oh, did I mention that already?)

Orange and Chocolate go so well together, and not just on fabric.  This is my favorite chocolate bar, I absolutely love them.  Try one if you have the chance.  You'll thank me.  :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

keeping warm...

I love a good bowl of steaming soup on a cold winter evening, do you?  One of my favorites is Witch's Stew.  You make it like this:

1/2 bone-in picnic ham (or any ham, I've even used cut up ham steaks)
a large butternut squash, cubed [as much as you can cube a squash :) ]
4-6 parsnips, sliced
1 onion, sliced
6 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1/2lb bacon (1lb for a large pot of soup or bacon lover)

Put your ham in a large pot, along with the butternut squash*.  Cover with water and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, cook your bacon in a frypan, and set it aside once it is done.  Cook your sliced onion in the bacon fat.  Back to the pot - add in the parsnips and celery.  Keep that pot simmering - you want the squash to become mush and make a thick orange broth of sorts, instead of having chunks of squash in your bowl.  add your onion and crumbled bacon to the pot to heat through.  I plan on this soup being on my stovetop, simmering away, for 2 hours or more.

*peeling and seeding a squash is easier if you stab it with a knife (carefully, don't go all psycho here) and put it directly on your oven rack at 350 F until it starts to soften.  Take it out and let it cool before you proceed.

Orange is such a great color, especially for a steaming bowl of soup.  It makes me happy just looking at it.