Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Christmas Sewing

As usual at this time of year my quilty friends are talking about their holiday sewing - looking for new and interesting ideas for their gift making, sharing photos of their projects, making a list and checking it twice (or checking things off!) I rarely, if ever, make Christmas gifts.  First, the stress turns something fun into a chore.  Second, I have to start early in the year to get it done on time, and once I've completed something I cannot wait that long to gift it!  So, for the first time in a very long time I made a Christmas gift for this year.   

I love this "Quilted Totebag" pattern by Elaine Waldschmitt for The Quilted Closet.   I was first introduced to it by my friend Darlene (check out her blog!), and it has become one of the patterns I have gotten a lot of mileage from.

I made it scrappy using batik strips .....

..... and used a tiny bit (compared to how much I have!) of this pretty blue batik for the lining.

Straight line quilting along the bricks and stippling in the center panels went pretty fast.   Then, since I'm a little (okay, okay, a lot!) OCD, I can't stand for the unfinished seams to show .....

..... so I stitched a little casing over the side seams .....

..... and stitched down the triangles that make the bottom corners.

I absolutely drew the line though at any more seam finishing, and I did not encase the bottom seam.  I'm not that crazy!

The first time I used this pattern was in 2006 when I made this bag for myself.  It has toted a lot of quilty stuff since then!

I liked it so much I made one for each of my sisters as gifts on our Sisters' Trip that year.

When I mentioned it in an online quilt group yesterday my friend Faye (check out her blog!) reminded me that I made her one that year, too!  She sent me a photo -

This was fun, and I'm ready for the gift exchange at my stitching group next week.  It may be a while before I make another Christmas gift, though.  After all this pressure I need a nap!

I'm linking up with Quilting is More Fun than House work for Cynthia's "Oh Scrap!" Linky Party and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Rest of the Retreat Story

I prepped all my projects ahead of time for retreat so I could just sit and sew and talk and not have to cut or think too hard or do any "dreaded math."  Each project was cut and put into a ziploc bag along with the pattern or instructions. The first thing I worked on was this "Cross Weave" pattern by Sweet & Simple Quilts from Martingale.

In case you haven't noticed by now, lately I've really been into using a complementary color in the sashing or border. I think it makes it more interesting.  (And different -- you must know I like my quilts to be different!)  I had a really cute backing fabric I had bought when I was in Paducah in April for the AQS Show.  

Except for the backing this quilt was made from stash and scraps.  In fact, this is my entire supply of oranges now. I've been doing some serious stash-busting!

The second thing I worked on was this pattern, "Easy Starburst", by Missouri Star Quilt Company's Jenny Doan.  

I had never made Half-Square Triangles using the method in her tutorial.  Starting with two squares, one print and one white-on-white, right sides together, I sewed a quarter-inch seam around the edges then cut from corner to corner to make four HST's.  It worked well and went together fast, but I ended up having to work with all bias edges which is not my favorite thing.  

(Note:  I used 7" squares instead of 10" squares in order to end up with a smaller quilt.) The HST's were then stitched into four large blocks, using the same layout .....

..... then, starting at the top right, each block was turned clockwise in order to create the star.  

I added a border and used fabrics from my stash for the back and binding. 

How about that?  Two finishes in one week!  Not only that, but two more quilts for Choose Life of North Alabama.  

See what happens when you get to go on a retreat?  

I'm linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.  Check them out and read about the projects others are working on.

Also linking up with Sew Some Love at Kat & Cat Quilts.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Retreat Fun

I had the opportunity during Halloween week to spend a few days with some very dear quilty friends, ladies I have known a long time and have really missed since our move to Alabama six years ago.  I was used to meeting with them monthly before our move, and I have been on retreat with them only once since, so it was good to see them and catch up, laugh, gab, and oh, yeah -- sew!  We met at Spragues Kinderhook Lodge in Barry, Illinois for the best retreat ever!

Rita quilted a baby quilt she had prepped at home and then made three more baby quilt tops.

Darlene (Dar's Patchwork Garden) finished her Celtic Solstice top.  (A Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt.)

Joan played with her beautiful batiks, as she usually does.

Pat found out she doesn't like making "made fabric" for her blocks.  

Ree taught a lesson on making aprons from men's dress shirts.

Lee Etta worked on three (THREE!) different scrappy quilts.

Colleen made "see through window" craft bags for a friend.
Katy worked with colors that "don't go together" and then found out when the blocks were made that they do.
Jeanne won all our batik fat quarters when we played Right-Left-Center .....
..... two nights in a row!
Since it was Halloween the Grim Ripper showed up .....

..... and led us in a few games of Halloween Bingo.
I even got into the spirit of things!
Wonderful food, comfortable accommodations, beautiful scenery, late nights talking with old friends, lots of laughing, and sewing all day.  What could be better than a quilt retreat?

Next time, I'll share some of the quilty projects I worked on at retreat!