Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hexies #29 and #30

Two more hexagon blocks finished this week. I can hardly believe I've finished thirty blocks. I just love, love, love the Jo Morton Civil War reproduction fabrics.

We had a little rain yesterday, and hubby said it was pouring when he got up this morning. Last month we picked 30 pounds of strawberries and some beets at a local pick-your-own farm. Now it is blueberry season in southern Maine, so we're going blueberry picking today, rain or shine.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Color

I took a ride to the nursery this morning to get a big bag of sunflower seeds for the birdfeeders. Even though food should be plentiful this time of year, the gold finches and chickadees are still cleaning out the tube feeder every couple days. It's worth it, I suppose, because my husband and I get so much enjoyment from watching them.

We discovered other creatures are enjoying the birdfeeders as well. Last week we came home from someplace and scared a skunk away from the feeder. Two nights ago there was a huge racoon rooting around under the feeder. I suppose I'm okay with that so long as they don't get into trouble (like trying to get into the trash or something).

I also bought a couple of coneflowers for the garden. I love these flowers, and I've wanted one in the yard since we moved to Maine. What I didn't know was that they come in other colors besides purple. I bought a peachy colored one and an orange one because my husband complained that everything in the garden is either purple or yellow. They were also available in a creamy pale yellow, which was so pretty. Maybe I'll get that one next year. I'm not very handy in the garden, but coneflowers are perennials, so I expect they'll take care of themselves.

Everything seemed to be in bloom all at once at the nursery, so I took a few more photos just because everything was so beautiful. I don't know what most of these plants are called, but I labeled the few I knew.

This was some kind of fancy violet.

Kalanchoe, I think.

Oh, if only I could grow these magnificent plants.

Pitcher plant, a carnivorous plant.

Buttercup Baby Set

I'm finally finished with this little layette. Good thing, because the baby shower is Sunday. It was fun making the layette and quilt, and I really hope the expectant parents will like them.

I guess I'll take a little break from knitting, but when I start up again, I found another pattern for a layette with some leaves knit around the neckline of the sweater and on the bonnet. It's a really sweet pattern.

Yarn: Vanna's Choice Baby, Lion Brand Yarn
Pattern: Buttercup Baby Set, Creative Knitting Magazine May 2009

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Breast Cancer Quilt

Last fall the Tacoma Lakes Quilters decided to make a breast cancer quilt for donation. In the end we got so many blocks that we had enough to make two quilts. I did make a couple blocks that wound up in the other quilt; but my job with this one was to apply the binding, which I finished this morning.

We wanted the quilt to be very warm, so we used an extra-loft poly batt and tied it. I'm not complaining, mind you, but I have to say it was something of a chore to sew that binding on with that thick fluffy batt. Well, now it's done and ready for someone who needs it.

Star Crazy BOM for July

This is the last of the 8" star blocks that go in the center section of the quilt, but there are still more Irish Chains to make. We made a few 6" blocks in January, but now we begin making the rest of the ones that go in the borders. I just love these little block-in-a-blocks. In the 6" blocks, the little centers finish to 3".

Teddy On Vacation

This is quilt #6 in my Power of Ten rotation in the sidebar, and I finished the top the other day. I purchased this as a little kit in April when we went on the Maine Shop Hop. The pattern is the same as the ones a bunch of us made a few months ago from the Downy kits from Quilts for Kids, so it was pretty quick to put together. I don't know yet when I'll get it quilted.

I think I have enough checkerboard blocks left over to make another quilt, but I haven't got enough of the print left. So when I'm at Marden's next time, I'll look for a juvenile print to go with them.

Hexies #27 and #28

I meant to get these up on the blog Sunday morning, but I just didn't get a chance. I have enough hexagons sewn to assemble a couple of rows now, but I'd be struggling to find the time to do it. I still have plenty more hexagon blocks to make though to keep me busy.

It is much cooler in Maine today, and we are expecting some showers this afternoon.

In the garden, my tiger lilies are almost ready to bloom. I've waited several years for this moment. Last year the chipmunks climbed up the stalks and ate all those black pods (what the heck are those anyway?) in between the leaves. In the process, they pushed the stalks down and broke them. The year before, red beetles ate every leaf on the lilies before I even knew what hit them. I looked out the window this morning, and one stalk is pushed way over. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that nothing will happen to the rest.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Champagne Quilt

I borrowed this quilt from my good friend Sherry to use as a model to create my own Champagne quilt. Sherry has made four of these and given away three as wedding gifts. I have a niece who is getting married at the end of September, and I thought this would make a lovely wedding present for her.

Sherry used strips that finished to 1-1/2" wide in her quilt, both in the blocks and in the border. Since I'm under a time constraint here, I'm using strips that finish to 1-3/4" wide, which will give me a 12-1/4" block. An odd measurement, but it'll work just fine. Unlike Sherry, I'm adding a tan inner border, then I'll make the same piano key border. I have quite a few scrappy strips that were cut 2" wide, so I'll use those up in that border.

I'll need 49 blocks for a queen-sized quilt, and I have some made already. Since I have so many other projects ongoing right now, I thought I'd employ a Block of the Month strategy (sort of) for this quilt too. If I can make a block a day every day, I'll have all the blocks constructed by mid August. That'll give me another month to sew the blocks together, add the borders, and get it over to my good friend Koleen who is going to quilt it for me.

Doesn't that sound like a flawless plan?

Jewel Box Top Done

The summer is going by quickly, and I'm glad because it is just too darned hot! The heat and humidity makes me cranky, so I'm hoping cooler temperatures are in the forecast.

Now that the whining about the weather is out of the way, I finished my Jewel Box top the other day. Except for the fussy cutting and match points required with the border print, this was really a pretty simple pattern to make.

I'm going to wait a bit to quilt it until I finish the next top in my Rotation, which is one of those Downy quilt patterns. I want to use the Downy quilt to practice the pantograph I plan to use on the Jewel Box quilt. Shouldn't take long to get them both quilted.

Credit where credit is due: quilt design by Jinny Beyer

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The 6-Quilt Stashbuster Challenge

Hey, how about a new challenge?

My good friend Koleen has already drafted her list of quilts for 2011 and 2012 that she wants to make. Each list contains about 25 quilts. She made a list for this year too, and she's just about halfway through it. She's very ambitious and very determined; and trust me, she'll get it done. In fact she'll probably have them all finished before the end of the year.

So wouldn't you think that's enough quilts for the year? No! In April Koleen told me she was challenging herself to make six nickel quilts, from the book Nickel Quilts by Pat Speth. The plan is to choose six quilts and then make one block a month for each quilt for 12 months. If the quilt has more than 12 blocks, then you divide the total number of blocks by 12 and make that many each month. So for example, if a quilt had 36 blocks, you'd make 3 every month for a year.

Koleen is the one that came up with the September Sun challenge, and I enjoyed it; so I said, I'll do this with you! Then we challenged Barb and Sherry to do it with us, and poof! a new Challenge was born. Now a few more girls in our quilt group might do it too but on a smaller scale.

The 6Q Stashbuster Challenge was scheduled to start June 1, so I spent most of May choosing the quilts and cutting as much fabric ahead of time as I could. All my quilts are scrappy, so most of the fabrics I'll pick and choose as I go along. Here are the six quilts I chose.

The first one, above, is "Dutchman's Puzzle", from More Nickel Quilts by Pat Speth. These are 8" blocks, and I'll need 61 blocks to complete a queen-sized quilt, so I'll make 5 blocks a month.

This one is "King's Crown", also from More Nickel Quilts. These are also 8" blocks, and I want a queen-sized quilt, so I'll make 5 blocks a month for this one too.

Next is "Conestoga Star", from an old issue of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilts. Several years ago I bought this gorgeous kit for it, all batiks, and it's been sitting around ever since. Time to do it! These are 12" blocks, and I'll need 25 full sized blocks and 20 half blocks for the borders for a queen-sized quilt. So I'll make 2 full blocks and 2 half blocks each month. I like big quilts.

The foundations for these blocks were not included in the kit, and I wasn't about to trace them all out from the magazine, so I'm using a block called Dusty Miller from the EQ6 block library. The proportions are slightly different, but the block is the same. I printed out my foundations on freezer paper, so they'll be reusable too.

I like this pattern a lot, so I might make another scrappy one for next year's Challenge, only not in batiks.

I've wanted to make "Bali Sea Star" from the cover of Kim Brackett's Scrap-Basket Surprises since I got the book. More of the quilts from this book are already on my list for next year. These are 12" blocks and I need 20 blocks, so I'll make 1 block a month, and some months I'll have to make 2.

The Crazy Log Cabin blocks were part of a block exchange from about 10 years ago. Four of us from across the country exchanged one block a month. See how the logs are crooked? It's a foundation pattern we printed out from EQ's Sew Precise program.

I want to make this as a queen-sized quilt and set the blocks together like the quilt on this postcard. These are 6" blocks, so I need a total of 225 blocks for my quilt. I already had about 40 blocks done, so I'll need to make 16 blocks a month to get them all finished in a year.

The last one is a mystery quilt that McCall's did last year. It was presented in 6 parts, so the number of blocks required every month is variable. It finishes to something like 86" x 101", probably a king-sized quilt. If you have the magazines, then you already know what it looks like. For everybody else, I guess you'll have to wait and see.

Part 1 of the mystery is comprised of 20 Friendship Star blocks and 12 Diamond blocks. I had planned to make the 12 diamond blocks for June, but I got a late start and haven't got any of them done yet.

All together I should have made 43 blocks for the month of June, and here's what I actually finished. And I still have the Star Crazy BOM blocks to do every month. Am I nuts? Probably. Think I can do it? Maybe. I might have to scale back a little, maybe drop a quilt or something, but I'll make a valiant effort. Am I having fun? You bet!

Imagine how much stash I'll bust when they're all done. Heck, maybe I should make all my quilts this way. Start your own 6-Quilt Stashbuster Challenge today!