Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Quilting temporarily on hold…

…while I indulge in a different obsession!

I haven’t knitted in a long time but my daughter overheard me tell a friend about the lovely yarns in a new yarn store that just opened in town.  Guess what she put under the tree for me?
Is this what is called self-patterning yarn?  It looks like I’ve put a great deal of effort into changing colours every half inch or so, but it just knit up that way straight from a single skein.  This could be addictive!  I’m also just tickled that this thing is actually starting to look like a sock.  I’ve never tried socks before.  I found this free pattern (“Wise Hilda’s Basic Ribbed Sock” by Kate Atherley) on and so far the instructions have seemed straightforward.
Somehow, I remember socks knitting up faster when my grandmothers knit them.  That partial sock is the result of about 10 hours of obsessed knitting!  Also, Wise Hilda claims this pattern is “more interesting…than a plain sock but not so interesting that you have to pay attention”.  Well, ummm, I guess that would be for the more experienced knitters!  I’ve needed to pay plenty of attention, and have had to unravel when I didn’t!
I’ll be back to quilting soon.  Santa’s helper gave me a new book about machine quilting, my current challenge, so once the socks are finished I’ll be making up a tall stack of practice quilt sandwiches.  But right now, that yarn is calling again…

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ready for Christmas

The last little while has been filled with Christmas preparations.  Last week I spent a lot of time in the kitchen baking up all our Christmas favourites.

IMG_4432Starting at the top we have fruitcake. Go ahead and make the obligatory fruitcake jokes but the extended family loves this recipe and just this year my son acquired a taste for it too.  The gingerbread cookies need decorating still.  The first batch was mostly given away and now I need to sit the kids down with icing  and candies to embellish this batch.  They’re still tasty though.  In the middle are my hubby’s shortbread cookies.  I love to bake but I can’t make shortbread like he can so I’ve been waiting for the baking mood to strike him.  He finally obliged on Sunday night and these are the best ever.  Beneath the shortbread are frosted orange cookies.  Mom found this recipe in a newspaper back in the early 70’s and I cannot remember a Christmas without these.  Christmas just wouldn’t be the same!  That last little cookie, a maple log,  is a recent addition to the Holiday lineup but a popular one.  The one on this plate is the only one left.

There was also a batch of caramel corn in pretty little packages but I neglected to take a picture before they were given away.  I also didn’t get much of a chance to indulge in it.  I’ll just have to make another batch soon.  Maybe for New Year’s. 

IMG_4393_r1Tree trimming was later than usual this year.   The kids asked to wait until they were out of school for Christmas vacation, so we waited until this past Friday afternoon.  I set up the tree and brought up the bins of decorations before they came home from school, hubby came home early and we spent the rest of the day and early evening IMG_4398_r1decking the halls. 




It is becoming a challenge to fit all our ornaments on the tree.  When my husband and I were first married, we had a little 2 foot tall tree and about a dozen ornaments that were carried over from my childhood trees.  It needed work, so every year we made something new to add to the collection.  We graduated to a 6 foot tree so needed to keep adding.  Of course a when the kids came along they started contributing creations.  Soon adding new ornaments became less a necessity and more a tradition.  I’ve recently suggested that we could either stop adding or start removing a few to make way for the new but that was met with resistance, so this is what our now 7-foot tree looks like:


This is not a decorator’s dream by any stretch, but it’s exactly how we like it.  I’d say except for the lights (which are hard to see in this daylight picture) and the coloured balls, 95% of the ornaments are homemade by me or the kids, and/or have a story attached.  In fact, I think even the three oldest boxes of coloured balls have a story attached.  Part of the reason it takes hours to decorate this tree is that stories of the Christmas we made this one or that one get trotted out and that slows down the decorating process.  It’s a fun tradition though.

Here are some of my favourite ornaments.  Some are by me (one of them circa 1976), some by the kids, some by us together. 

And here is the only bit of quilting this house has seen in the last couple of weeks.IMG_4437

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas decor creeping in

We are of that odd breed that doesn't trim the Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving.  December 1st doesn't turn the switch on either.  Usually the tree goes up the 3rd week of Advent, 2 weekends before Christmas Day, but then it stays up till after January 1st so we can enjoy the Christmas cheer through the kids' "winter holiday".

However, we do let a few Christmassy things sneak in, a few at a time, earlier than the tree.  This past weekend we took advantage of a milder day to deck out the front step railing with greenery and bows without freezing our fingers.  I added a poinsettia to the coffee table.  Our first Christmas card arrived yesterday so the garland we attach the cards to every year will make an appearance shortly.

And I've been playing with a Christmas fabric honey bun. It would have come together even more quickly if I'd trimmed units earlier in the process.  I haven't used pre-cuts very often, and I forgot that they aren't exactly sized.  My "1.5 inch wide" honeybun strips were a little wider so when I sewed two strips together with a 1/4 inch seam the resulting strip was wider than the 2.5 inches I needed.  This is when I should have trimmed the strips down to the proper width, but I didn't think of that until after I had subcut the strips into 2.5 inch units, which weren't quite square after all.  Instead of trimming 18 strip units I trimmed 108 individual squares.

I've encountered this kind of frustration with pre-cuts before.  Am I alone in this?  I suppose the advantage of these bundles is that it gives you a little bit of a lot of different fabrics to play with, but I don't think it really cuts down on the cutting chore.

Anyway, it's done now and today I'm going to take a deep breath and try my hand at freemotion quilting again.  Wish me luck!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Now Showing: "Heart Mania"

Since I'm hopelessly unoriginal at naming quilts I'm warming to the idea of having the recipient name their quilt.  It worked for my husband's quilt.  My daughter came up with "Heart Mania" for her quilt.  Here it is, finally!

 The 6" heart blocks are the "Heartfelt" paper piecing pattern by Cindi Edgerton. The setting, with 3" borders on two sides of each block, is mine. The cable quilting motif in the middle part of the quilt is "Avalon" from Quiltmaker's "Quilting Motifs Volume 1". The motif on the outside border is mine.

I finished sewing the binding to the back around 1 am on Tuesday.  I should have stopped earlier and finished on Wednesday, but I was so close to being done it was hard to quit.   It was even harder to get up on time and get the kids' lunches packed and everyone off to school on time in the morning!   However I got an "extra squeezy" hug from my daughter after she woke up and found herself tucked under her new quilt, so it was worth it.
On Monday night as I was attaching the binding I was pondering how astounding it was that a 26" square of fabric produced enough bias binding to go around the whole quilt.  I use the bias tube method to make binding.  I have a lovely laminated "cheat sheet" (Quilter's Strip Ticket from Lamb Art Press) with instructions and diagrams on one side and charts listing what size square of fabric I need start with to make various lengths of various widths.  I love that cheat sheet and was rather dismayed when it failed me this time!  Three quarters of the way around the quilt I realized the binding strip would be about 20 inches too short.

It turns out that the chart only works when you put in the right numbers at the beginning...go figure!   I got exactly as many inches of binding out of my 26" square as the chart said I would.  My quilt is 308" around, not the 288" that I looked up in the chart.  Luckily I had enough scrap left over to piece together an extra 20".

Now I'm off to ponder what I will make next.  I can play with other projects guilt-free now that "Heart Mania" is done and delivered.  I'm thinking about a Christmas zigzag table runner for my coffee table...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Almost made my deadline

I almost made my self-imposed deadline for finishing my daughter's quilt.  Of course, the deadline kept shifting, from the end of September, to the end of October, to the end of November.  I'm going to claim qualified success with that last one.  I finished quilting the last little bit of border this afternoon around 4:30 pm and today is the last day of November. :)

The quilt still has to be bound but I'm pressing the binding strip now and will have it sewn to the front by the time I head to bed.  I won't obsess and stay up till the wee hours to hand stitch it to the back, though it is tempting!  If all goes well I'll be able to spread it on her bed while she sleeps tomorrow night so she sees it the next morning.  December 1st is not too far of the mark!

Sorry, no pictures today.  I've got to run back to the ironing board!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bloggers Quilt Festival in red and white

I was hoping to show my daughter's new quilt in this fall's Blogger's Quilt Festival. (Thank you for organising this Amy!)  The quilt was supposed to be done by the end of October, then by the end of this week...Well, I'm still stitching away at that one, so I'll share the quilt I made for my parents a few years ago.

This was the fourth quilt I made and was my very first attempt at making a quilt without a pattern.  Looking at it now there are things I would do differently to balance the design a bit more and to even out the density of quilting, but as a first design effort I think it is quite respectable.

The quilt started with the nine patches in the center.  They are the first blocks I pieced - ever.  This is where I learned that a small variation from a 1/4 inch seam results in a block that is not the size you expected.  I wasn't sure how to fit these into any pattern I had since they weren't a convenient 6 inches square, so I tucked them away in a box for 3 or 4 years.

With a bit more experience under my belt I pulled them out, stocked up on graph paper and coloured pencils and drew up a plan.  Initially I was  going to make a wall hanging, and the design stopped at the red border outside the flying geese border.  Then I decided I wanted to practice my hand quilting skills more and would need more quilt to do that on, so I added more.

Having added more quilt to quilt on, I needed to choose what motifs to quilt. By this time I had decided this quilt would be for my parents, so I selected various motifs that told their story. At this point I learned how to make my own templates. Some of the motifs are derived from free clipart. Others are resized from stotre-bought quilting templates that of course were larger or smaller than the spot I wanted to quilt them in.

 I sent my parents a picture of the finished quilt top that Christmas.  Mom was very appreciative.  She also didn't expect a finished quilt anytime soon.  Of course knowing she didn't expect it I made a point of finishing before we visited the following June :) 

Now, if I could just finish my daughter's quilt...  If any of you are following that progress, I have 3 blocks and 3/4 of the border left to quilt.  The end is in sight!  With time she has warmed up to the hearts in the border, too, so I guess it is taking me just long enough

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thinking ahead...

Time in my sewing room skipped right past Halloween to Christmas.  I have never pieced a quilt top this quickly before. On Friday morning I cut into my Northwoods Botanicals ayer cake.  By Saturday evening I had the center of my quilt all pieced.  Today I stitched up the pieced border and had to stop for lack of just the right fabric for an inner border.  Here's the quilt so far as it looks on the design wall.  I need a creamy/gold fabric for that inner border.  I had planned a red outer border after the pieced border but looking at it at this stage I think I'll leave well enough alone and stop at the pieced border.

It didn't come out quite as I had pictured in my mind, as the lights were just a bit darker and more varied than I thought once they were all cut up and jumbled together.  However, overnight Friday I threw out the mental picture and was more than happy to keep working on my Christmas quilt on and off between chores on Saturday.

I can't believe how quickly this came together, and I can't believe how little fussing I had to do to match up my seams.  Why is it that in some projects the seams just seem to line up all on their own, while in others, where in theory they should also line up beautifully, they just won't no matter how much pinning and seam ripping and starting over I do?  I'll just savour the victory in this case. :)

Looking at the picture I see places I wish I had oriented the four-patches differently to put less emphasis on the lights, but then I look at the actual quilt and I don't notice them.  Isn't it interesting how scale really makes a difference in what you see?

Speaking of scale,  Ann Hermes can rest assured that I won't be stealing customers for mini quilt items. I made these five little ornaments for myself and while I'm pleased with them I'm not in a rush to mass-produce any!  Talk about fiddly little pieces!  The two smaller ornaments are 2 1/4 inch square.  The larger ones are 3 inches square. 

Now that I've gotten these two Christmas projects taken care of, I guess I should backtrack to Halloween.  Sometime before trick-or-treat I need to make Pippi Longstocking's braids stick out straight...

I almost forgot - the quilt design is Scrappy Prairie Queen by Sandra L. Hatch.  I made the blocks smaller but the idea is hers.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Still slowly stitching...

When I talked to Mom on the phone this week she commented that she hadn't seen a new post on my blog so she assumed I'd been busy with other things.  That's partly true, but mostly I just haven't had much new to show.  I'm still stitching away on the hearts quilt. Did I mention I'm a slow quilter?  I've made progress though.  I now have 32 of the 48 blocks quilted.  That's two thirds.  Yay!

Because I was getting bored quilting the same thing over and over I went ahead and started working on the outer border adjacent to quilted blocks.  I leafed through a lot of books and thumbed through my idea files for inspiration then took out a compass and paper and came up with a template for this.

 When I took it out of my lap frame the first night I worked on it I had a few misgivings about my choice.  I thought it was perhaps a little too girly sweet for my daughter's taste.  All I could see were heart flowers with big tulip-like leaves, which hadn't jumped out at me when the design was just on paper.

Sure enough, the hearts in the border were just too much for her.  Not that she said so.  She just looked and looked, smiled a wobbly smile and disappeared.  I found her crying in her room.  She finally admitted that she thought it would "take a long time to get used to" but she hadn't wanted to hurt my feelings.

 We both still like the curves but I'll leave out the hearts.  I'll try some lines running behind the curves and see how that looks.  It will take a few more than what I have now to really see if it works.  If not I can always - sigh - stitch in the ditch along that inner border to make sure I don't have too big an unquilted space between the last quilting in the center and the dip between curves.  Have I mentioned I really don't enjoy hand quilting in the ditch?

Maybe by the time I finish quilting all the curves the hearts will have grown on my daughter and I can use the hearts to fill that gap after all.

After working on just this for the last few weeks, I'm feeling the need to piece something and use different colours, so I sat down with pencil and paper yesterday to figure out if I had enough of this

 to make a smaller version of this:

The fabric is a Northwoods Botanicals by Holly Taylor layer cake that I won in Thelma's giveway a while back.  The pattern is Scrappy Prairie Queen from "Creative Scraps: Quilting with Bits and Pieces" by House of White Birches.

Reworked to use 12 12-inch blocks instead of 20 15-inch ones it will be a throw size quilt mostly made with my layer cake.  I'll just need a little bit of light fabric for the inner border and something for an outer border.  This can be my Christmas quilt if I get it made in time.  I know I'll have it pieced but I'm not sure I'll have the quilting done.  Ah well, if not this Christmas, there's still the next one!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Playing with blues

Here's what I was playing with the last couple of days.

It's 16"x20".  The resident dolls Susie, Curly and Elizabeth will be sharing it once it is quilted, though there is a rumour that the vast collection of stuffed animals may challenge them for it.

I'm happy to report that this didn't make a huge dent in my new blue stash.  All it took was a 1.5"x10" piece of each blue and one fat quarter of the white, so I have plenty left to make a throw size version, with more and bigger stars now that I'm satisfied that the pattern looks like I thought it would.

I started thinking about this one shortly after I made this little Kansas Dugout. The more I looked at it the more I could see stars where the rings meet, and I thought that careful colour placement would make an interesting star quilt.

I never did finish the Dugout quilt.  I was going to make it into a doll quilt and practice free motion on it.  Unfortunately, because it was a practice piece I sandwiched it with some really cheap fusible batting I had left over from a craft project, and it really messed up the quilting.  Apparently it was the cause for my skipped stitches and broken threads and birds' nests on the back. It took 3 visits to the quilt store and leaving the machine for service before anyone came up with that idea, and then that person was me...We'll see how this little blue one quilts up with good batting and see if that was indeed the issue!  Plain practice sandwiches with good batting and no seams are quilting up OK now.

Now I'm heading back to the hearts quilt: 27 blocks quilted, only 21 more to go.  I'm past the halfway mark!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New playroom

This was the scene downstairs in my house about 5 years ago.  Playroom all the way.  In the intervening years the playroom slowly morphed into a family room with futon, bean bag chairs and TV.  This month it underwent a huge face lift...back to a playroom again.

MINE!  The family room stuff has been relocated to the north end of the L-shaped room, and I've expanded my playroom into the bright sunny half.  After all, who needs all that bright sunlight to watch TV?  And there are plenty of couch and chair options upstairs if anyone wants to read by daylight.

To celebrate, I've been playing with this in my playroom.

You may notice my blue stash has been replenished :)

I just couldn't hold to my resolve to not start anything new until my daughter's quilt is quilted.  I hadn't pieced anything in two months and I was going into serious withdrawal.  However I did make sure that the new project was something for the patient daughter.  She's thrilled with it, so I don't feel too guilty.  It's a small project and the top should be done soon.  I'll post pictures then.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hearts quilt quilting

I'm much less grumpy today, I promise.  I went in to the shop about my machine, and their machine guru will sit down with me next week to see just what the problem is that is causing skipped stitches and broken thread or poor tension when I freemotion.  They kept it for service when I brought it in in August and gave it back having found no issues, so now we'll have to see if it misbehaves when the techs are watching...  If it's something I am doing wrong, that's fine too, as long as someone can tell me so so I can start doing it right!

In the meantime I'm concentrating on my daughter's quilt.  She has been very patient waiting for it while I got sidetracked with various other projects, so I have promised myself not to start anything new until hers is finished.

The top photo shows the colours better, but the rest show the quilting better.  I guess I need to get up earlier to catch that early morning light before the morning running around starts,  getting breakfasts and lunches ready and getting everyone out the door on time!  Hmm.  I think for now I'll just settle for late night poor lighting.  Sorry!

I've quilted in the ditch around the heart shape and around the polka dot background.  I really tried not to stitch in the ditch, because it is my least favourite thing to quilt. I really have trouble getting into a rythm and keeping my stitches even when I'm in the ditch.  Maybe it's because the extra layers on one side of the ditch make the fabric stiffer there.  At any rate, I tried outline quilting 1/4 inch from the seams instead, but it just didn't look quite right, so after about 6 blocks I unpicked all the outline quilting, gave in to the ditch and am much happier with the result. 

By the way, can anyone tell me how quilters count hand quilting stitches?  Do you count just the stitches on top, or do the stitches on the bottom count as separate as well? I read a blog recently where the blogger was told by "experienced" hand quilters that "good" quilting has at least 9 stitches to the inch. I think even stitches are more important than tiny and your batting and fabric will affect the size of your stitches anyway so one size does not fit all.  I seriously doubt that any family or friends I quilt for are going to whip out a ruler and check my stitch size, but I'm curious anyway.  How do you count?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Getting the grumpies out

I just spent a frustrating afternoon and evening almost swearing at my sewing machine.  If the kids hadn't been right there I might not have been able to say "almost".  As it is both of them gave me a wide berth and headed for bedtime routines without being asked...  So, I'm going to post about things happy and completely different to get myself back into a better mood.  Maybe if that works I can ask you all for advice without launching into a long rant!

First Happy Thought:  thank you to Thelma at Cupcakes'n Daisies.  I won this lovely layer cake and honeybun in one of her blog anniversary giveaways.  The layer cake is Northwood Botanicals by Holly Taylor and the honeybun is Crazy 8 by Sandy Gervais.  I usually don't buy a lot of fabrics in any one collection, so making something up with these will be a fun change of pace.  I'm not sure what, though I'm thinking "Christmas".

Second Happy Thought:  thanks to Ann at A Good Yarn for a win on her blog earlier this year. I'm sorry I not only neglected to blog about them, I also neglected to take a picture before undoing the lovely packaging around this fabric, and before consuming all the lovely chocolate, and before my son absconded with the pincushion (he's quite handy with a needle).  Those blues are the start of rebuilding my blue stash.  The others will find a good home too when the time and inspiration is right.

Third Happy Thought:  Mom sent me some lovely goodies as a thank you for looking after her sweet pooch last winter.  She really didn't need to do that.  Apart from the fish food incident he was really great to have around.  That said, I'm not turning up my nose at these half-yard cuts.  They're all from the "Greetings from Canada" Thimbleberries collection. The fabric on the right is all postcards of famous Canadian landmarks.  Ideas for a quilt are simmering.  So far I'm thinking of pine trees, maple leaves, flying geese, delectable mountains...I can add a few more fabrics to work in lighthouses and beavers.  Does anyone know of a good beaver block?

Happy Thought Four:  21 of the 48 blocks on my daughter's quilt are quilted. That's almost half, and I'm holding on to that encouraging thought! My goal is to have it done by the end of October.  Of course that goal requires spending an hour or two hand quilting every evening instead of sitting at the computer...maybe I can learn to squeeze both in :)

I'll post more pictures of the quilting next time.  It's about the only thing quilt related I've accomplished in the last several weeks - except for the little project that had me so frustrated earlier.  Now that I'm all calmed down and getting drowsy I'll just forget about it for tonight.  I'll be picking your brains another time though!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Aunt Ruth's quilts

My husband's  Great-Aunt Ruth was a prolific quilter until her eyesight gave out.  I haven't had the opportunity to get to know her personally, since we have never lived close by, but I do have some of her quilts to admire.  I thought you might appreciate a peek at her work.

The butterfly quilt was her wedding gift to us.  It is hanquilted, and I check the stiches on it occasionally to see if I'm getting my stitches on my quilts as even as hers.   I'm sure you noticed the prairie points too.  I measured those to give me a place to start when I was auditioning point sizes for my leaf quit.

The quilt below was a gift for my son when he was born.  It arrived complete with the first place ribbon it won at the Stanley Fair.  I love the brown border.  It wouldn't have occurred to me to use such a colour for a baby quilt but it frames "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" perfectly.

I also have my husbands baby quilt that Aunt Ruth and Aunt Beth worked on together, but I haven't figured out how to photograph it properly.  It is a handquilted whole cloth reversible quilt, pink on one side, blue on the other, with alternating pink and blue prairie points.  I haven't gotten the lighting right to get the quilting to show, but it's a wonderful quilt.

Thank you Aunt Ruth!  I'm off to quilt on my daughter's quilt now, striving for even stitches just like yours!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Prairie points

I started making prairie points for this quilt top that has been waiting its turn for about  a year now. 

I cut out paper squares of various sizes and folded them to audition sizes, then cut 86 4-inch squares out of 14 fabrics leftover from making the leaves. The squares are folded twice on the diagonal to make tidy little triangles.

Next I started to lay them out along the edge of the quilt.

Next, thunderstorms came rolling through again. It was the 3rd night in a row, and they go on for hours, and after 7 years in the Midwest they still wake me up. I'm getting a bit cranky from reduced sleep... Anyway,  I didn't want to leave my machine plugged in during the storms so the points didn't actually get sewn to the quilt.  They got picked up and put away so the kids could curl up down here if the storms turned severe. 

For those of you not in the Midwest, severe refers to damaging winds and/or hail.  Last night's storms weren't "severe" but coupled with the previous two nights of heavy rainfall they caused two rivers to overflow their banks and cause record flooding in parts of town.  Happily we're OK where we are, though currently we have no running water (the kids looked at me very srangely when I told them not to flush the toilets...)

So easy cooking tonight - sandwiches and whatever doesn't create dishes to wash :)  And as long as the power stays on to keep the A/C running to keep the heat at bay (105 F/41 C with the humidity factored in) I can keep quilting. There aren't supposed to be any storms tonight...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The package is in the mail...

Mom,  your runner and placemats are almost in the mail!  They're in a box and addressed and everything short of being actually in the post office's custody.  Monday, I promise!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My oldest UFO

At Christmas 1995, before I ever quilted anything or even sewed anything more than a loose button, I used a gift certificate to buy the kit for this:

It was a kit for a Hawaiian quilt pillow (and yes, I liked blue back then too!).  It included the background fabric, the pre-cut applique shape, batting, backing, and fabrics for a pillow back and for binding.  Oh, and one short instruction sheet that I now know leaves a lot to be desired.

Traditional Hawaiian quilts have a single large, symmetric and often complex appliqued piece on a plain background, and they are densely echo quilted.  If you've never seen any look at this site for examples.  It has step by step photos showing how a gorgeous Hawaiian quilt was created.

This quilt is small (the top is about18 inches square) as well as simple, with mostly broad curves and few Vs, yet I worked for months, a tiny bit at a time and still didn't finish.  We moved in August 1996, I discovered cross-stitch and crocheted snowflakes for the Christmas tree and the Hawaiian pillow-that-wasn't found a home in the bottom of the craft chest because let's face it, I'd never get it done

Fast forward to last week.   I needed some handwork to do while sitting waiting while the kids had their swimming lessons. In desperation I dug to the bottom of the chest and pulled out my old nemesis.  I was surprised to see that it was almost 2/3 finished. I was even more surprised to find that after avoiding applique like the plague, because it was so frustrating and time consuming, I finished that last third in three mornings by the pool.  Hmm, I seem to have acquired more skill with a needle in the last 14 or so years.  The last third wasn't only much faster than the previous two, it is also much smoother.  Maybe applique won't ever be my favourite quilt to make, but perhaps I won't run the other way anymore :).

I still have to sandwich and quilt this little piece, but it will wait until I've finished quilting my daughter's quilt.  The quilting is the fun part anyway, so I'm considering this almost off the UFO list.  Maybe I need two lists...".UFO" and "Almost not"...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Don't Panic!

Presenting Don't Panic, the quilt formerly known as Astro Quilt.  You may recall this one is for my astronomer husband.  Since I have no imagination at all when it comes to naming my quilts, he was charged with naming it himself before he could take possession of it.  He came up with a few obscure astronomical terms but decided it was a fun quilt and deserved a whimsical name.  Split Infinitive was a contender (a rather geeky reference to Star Trek, ask me if you want to know more), but last night after I finished binding the quilt "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" came up in conversation and the catch phrase "Don't panic" won out.  It seems appropriate, since I had a few early setbacks working on this one, and hubby can always go hide under it when grant proposals or whatever other work stresses pile up.

I had planned to finish this one quickly by tying it, but decided to hand quilt it instead.  The whole  background is quilted with patterns like you see above.  I'm quite pleased with the way it tuned out, even though it took a few months longer than anticipated to finish.

I even like the back.  Piecing the back wasn't planned.  When I decided to add borders the quilt grew bigger than the backing fabric I had bought, so I added scraps from the front. The quilting pattern really pops on the back.  The green is brighter in person than I managed in the photos, so it's really quite a striking, cheerful backing.

So now my UFO list looks like this:

1. Astro quilt - all quilted, just needs binding!
2. Mom's table runner and placemats - add borders and quilt
3. Hearts quilt - still quilting, still quilting...
4. Swap blocks quilt - add borders and prairie points then set aside till my freemotion skills improve
5. Leaf quilt - add prairie points and quilt (machine or hand? haven't decided yet)
6. Whimsy - lots of piecing still
7. Hawaiian quilt pillow - started this in 1995 and found it again just today!