Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Lucky Day

It was -5 degrees this morning when I woke up at 7 o'clock. We experienced a week or so of the so-called January thaw; and now we are in an arctic freeze, probably for another week or so. Last night the wind chill was 25 below. It simply takes your breath away.

I had a great day yesterday, went to a workshop for quilt group; but first, a little catching up. We had a good Christmas because both my sons were home; but they were both in and out, which made for a hectic couple of weeks in December. After Christmas, my older son had to go back down to New York to work two days, then he was back up to Maine until New Year's Eve. My younger son was here for Christmas, then left for Boston in the middle of a snowstorm so he could catch a flight to Dublin, Ireland. He finally came home Jan 8 and stayed with us another day.

I spent most of November and the first half of December planning the Christmas party for our quilt group. My co-planner Koleen spent much of her time shopping for items for gift bags, game prize bags, and accessory items for the party. I spent most of my time machine embroidering 37 candy cane holders, one for each member's gift bag, and we stuck pencils in them instead of candy canes. The pattern for these came from Embroidery Library. Both of us also made quite a few baked items to fill the giftie bags.

Koleen planned a couple of Q & A games, and I worked out a Bingo game, where each player had a blank bingo card and a list of holiday related words, which they used to create their own unique bingo card. Each player also received a small baggie filled with red and green M&M's that they used for the markers.

We had a potluck meal, so there were lots of good things to eat at the party. All in all, I thought the party was a great success, but I was exhausted by the time it was all over, and I dragged through the rest of December trying to finish getting ready for our own holiday. In November I finished a tree skirt for my older boy, and my husband took that down to New York with him for delivery, but I never got the second one done for my younger son until January. Had it quilted, but never got the binding on. It didn't matter though, because my son was too busy with college finals before Christmas and never got a tree, then he was off to Ireland.

Here's the second tree skirt before it was quilted and bound...

 ... and here's the quilting on the back after it was finished. I used a holly berry and leaves design from Lorien Quilting.

The hexagon blocks got put on hold again because I had so many other things to do, and I haven't been able to get going with them again. I think I'm about 6 or 7 behind now. This is the last one I got finished, Hexie #54. I suppose it's a little boring, but it looked good to me when I started it.  Maybe you need a few toned down ones to focus some attention on the more interesting ones.

The only other sewing I really did over the holidays was Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street mystery quilt.  I finished building all of the block components, assembled the four corner units for the quilt, and got 4 of 12 setting triangles done. Hope to get back to it this week.

Yesterday was a workshop at my quilt group, Tacoma Lakes Quilters. Before we got started, we had the Mini-Raffle, which is a small fundraiser we've been doing for the last year and a half. Members donate items throughout the year, then we sell raffle tickets for a dollar a ticket. It's been quite successful and a whole lot of fun.

I really liked this little pincushion with the matching lamp that was for the raffle yesterday, and I was absolutely delighted when I won it. My good friend Barb made the pincushion, which has little pockets round the outside to hold spools of thread. The gray cording is fed through the holes of each of the spools to keep them in place.

Then, with the same fabric, she had a shade made for a small Mason jar lamp, which is now filled with buttons and residing in my sewing room. I love, love, love this set!

For our workshop yesterday, we did a Jelly Roll race. If you google it, you can find videos on YouTube for the way this works, but the general idea is to take the strips in a jelly roll and sew them end to end as if you were making a very long binding strip. Then you find the midway point of that long strip, cut it in half and sew the long edges together. You repeat that process until the quilt is the size you want.

A jelly roll typically contains about 40 strips. We used only 10 strips for each little quilt and wound up with about 30 quilts in just a few hours. The remaining kits that weren't sewn up were dispatched to folks who will take them home and finish them. Once they're all quilted and bound, they'll be donated to nursing homes and assisted living facilities locally. Their small size makes them just right for folks in wheelchairs.

Because it was a timed race, prizes were awarded to the first three contestants who completed a top, and one prize for the person in last place. I finished in second place and won this gift bag, comprised of paper and pen, candy, a pack of Kleenex, tiny candles that look like chocolates, a candle holder, and a heart shaped plaque with a cute saying on it. My favorite stuff. How come quilters like office supplies and candy so much?