Monday, August 24, 2009

Take-5......and Take My Sisters..........Please!

I'm talking about the "Take-5" pattern from "The Teachers Pet." Last fall this pattern became my new favorite way of making a quick, cute and really fun quilt. It calls for 5/8 yard of five different coordinating fabrics and then fabric for the borders and backing. I just completed this pink and yellow version to donate to CASA for a teenager going through the foster system. I hope it gives some young girl just a little bit of comfort.

Let me tell you how this "Take-5" thing started. See.....I have these sisters........

Last year my sister, Barb, said those words that every quilter dreads, "I found some old material and thought you could use it." Well, this time it actually worked out for good! She had purchased this giant cats fabric a long, long time ago to make a dress and never got that far. When I saw it I thought it was actually pretty cool, so I decided to make her a quilt from it. This is the first quilt I made using the "Take-5" pattern. Barb was surprised with her "Comfy Cats" quilt, and she really liked it.
When you have four sisters you can't make a quilt for one of them and not the rest. I mean, you can't play favorites, right? Carol's quilt was easy because she is a real nut for Betty Boop and an internet search revealed that there are waaaaay too many Betty Boop fabrics out there! Carol was surprised with her quilt, too! I called hers "Peek-a-Boop" because Betty looked like she was looking out a window.
It was a little more difficult to select fabric for Debbie. There are lots of things she likes but she isn't actually crazy for any of them. (Don't take that the wrong way, Carol!) One thing Debbie does like is hot food, so I settled on a hot peppers focus fabric and called her quilt "Too Hot Too Handle." I don't know if, by this time, she was catching on, but she acted surprised, and I got the feeling she liked her quilt, too.
Now, Dee Dee.............What can I say? Dee Dee has a great appreciation for really physically fit good-lookin' guys. I had seen a lot of different "hunks" fabrics at quilt shows and in magazines, so considering that her dear hubby is in construction I did an on-line fabric search for "construction hunks" and wouldn't you know it - I was not disappointed. Either was Dee Dee! I couldn't use the same pattern for her quilt without cutting up the guys too much, so I used the "BQ" pattern from Maple Island Quilts and called it "Hubba Hubba." Need I say, She liked it?! (I don't think she was too surprised, though!)
You can see better photos of the quilts (and a close-up of Dee Dee's quilt) in my Flickr albums -

Monday, August 17, 2009

About Round Robins

Admittedly, when you agree to participate in a Round Robin you are taking your chances. You never know what you may end up with. Some of the quilters involved with your quilt may be real "newbies," but there are some very skilled people taking part in Round Robins, too. I had heard the horror stories so I was prepared. And, I am happy to say, the first time I took part in a Round Robin I was very pleasantly surprised.

There are so many different ways to organize this kind of "swap." This time, we were to each purchase three different fabrics and put them in a box which was to be passed around for almost a year and come back to us with our quilt blocks in it. Each quilter was allowed to add one additional fabric if she wanted to, and I have to say that everyone who worked on mine did a beautiful job. It's really a great quilt.

Several years later I decided to try it again. This time I made just this center block........

.........and rows were added according to specific guidelines . I was delighted with the results. I would never have thought to do what some of these quilters did. It hangs in our guest room above a quilt made from the center block fabrics. I really do love this quilt.

So........... I decided to go ahead and try the whole Round Robin thing one more time. But this time, I kept putting off making that center block and I couldn't decide what to do, and I moaned and groaned and complained about it until the day before I had to mail it. Too late -- I threw something together so I could make the mailing deadline and I just hated that block. (I have to say, my heart still hasn't changed all that much towards that center block!) I knew that one of the rounds of this Round Robin called for appliqueing "anywhere" on the quilt, so I was confident that all of that horrible white space around my goofy looking trees would at least come back with some great applique on it. (Right??)
I would never, for anything in the world, hurt any of these gals' feelings. But, when this quilt came back, well, I just wasn't crazy about it. I really can't blame any one but myself. I mean - I didn't exactly offer up any great inspiration with that center block, did I?
This quilt has been sitting in my UFO pile for a long time. I finally decided to do something with it and boy, have I worked! I removed the hodge-podge of appliqued snowflakes. (That was fun. They were fused on and then zig-zagged around.) And then I reworked the ribbon border into a flying geese border. (Which meant taking the entire thing apart and re-sewing it.) I added the baby rick rack around the trees and houses so they would stand out better. And I added a LOT of applique and embroidery to that sad center block. Whew! It's a lot more work than I should have spent on it, but ya's not too bad! I actually like it.
I have nothing against Round Robins. Honest! They can be a lot of fun. I just have so many other quilts floating around in my head waiting to be made, that I think I will stick with one-woman quilts for a while.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Quilting for the Grands - Part 2

Posting a little while back about all the quilts I have made for Gavin gave me a kinda queasy feeling knowing that I would have to come clean about the fact that I have only made two quilts for Aidan so far. Uh oh --- need to even things up. Turns out, though, that it isn't as bad as I first thought. Gavin got his 3rd quilt from me when he was 3 1/2 years old, so I have about a month until Aidan hits that point. Whew!! Guess I'd better get busy, huh?

This is the quilt I made for Aidan in 2006 as we were awaiting his birth. I used the "Baby Nines" pattern from the April 2000 issue of McCall's Quilting magazine. They made it out of pastels for the sample quilt which graced the cover of that issue, but I like to think outside the box when it comes to my quilts. (In case you haven't noticed.)

Aidan's next quilt was from another Debbie Caffrey book, Another Can of Worms. I couldn't find any photos of him with the quilt when I first made it in 2007, so I took this photo when I saw him last week. This one is in my studio right now for repairs because it has a bleach spot on it, but that's what applique is for -- right?
Just as before, I would rather show off the grands than the quilts, but you can see full images of the quilts on my Flickr page right here:
See ya later. Gotta go do some emergency applique!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Missing............And REALLY in Action!

I really did mean to come back to my blog before now, but I've barely had a minute to take a breath in the past two weeks. It started on the 23rd of last month when Adam and his family hit town for a few days to attend a wedding. (I think it's the 7th wedding Adam has been in. He's a popular guy!) They made a mini vacation of it, and when they went home they left Gavin and Aidan to spend some quality time with Gramma and Grampa. Today is the first time in 14 days I have been home alone. YAY!!!!! (Why am I already missing those guys?!?!?)

One of the things we did while they were here in town was spend a very cool day at The Magic House in Kirkwood. I just had to take a photo of the glass balloons that filled the ceiling of the entry area. Inspiration, anyone??

All three of the boys had a blast and were kept busy with the hands-on displays. Aidan liked climbing Jack's beanstalk ladder in the Story Book area.............
Gavin pretended to give a speech as the President of the U.S. in the Branches of Government display...........
and Noah climbed the giant beanstalk that spanned several stories.
Grampa treated all of us to a tasty dinner (and dessert!) at Fitz's - a real St. Louis Classic. I had to eat fast to get my share of the banana split Gavin and I shared!
After a few good nights' sleep and a nap or two, I'll get back to blogging about quilts. BBFN......