Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February give away winner…...

And the winner of the February 2012 De stash give away winner is…….. Miki Willa
who said"I would like to have lunch with Alex Anderson. There are many quilters I would really like to meet, but I pick Alex for this one because she has such deep and broad knowledge of so many types of quilting - from tradational to modern. I would love to just talk with her about quilts, fabrics, styles, colors, and all aspects of quilting.
Great giveaway. "
I will send you an email asking you for your mailing information and I'll get this package out to you ASAP.  I hope you like your goodies.  Please let me know when they arrive.
Don't forget to check back in early March for that month's give-away!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Perfect Storm- for me that is…..

"Tail Wind" original design and quilting by- Stephanie Zacharer Ruyle
(photo: Marta Strzeszewski, photo editing by Amy Gibson- she photoshopped out the hands!)

It doesn't happen very often-that unique combination of circumstances and ideas (old and new), but it happened just recently to me and if I can get all the stars and planets to align (ya, right) I might be on to something.

Let me begin at the beginning, I have had this quilt for as long as I can remember.

It's faded in some areas, and the binding is frayed but it still retains it's beauty and it's simplicity
It's very old, very soft and very fragile. I don't know who made it, but it's totally made by hand. Cut, pieced and quilted without any electricity what-so-ever.
These small orange squares are 1" in size. Look at that tiny, uniform hand stitching.

I have always loved this quilt and wish I knew more about the person who made it. Besides it's mysterious creator, one thing that always makes me smile is it's color. It's orange and white- sunny and bright. Someone once told me that they thought it was probably not orange but red and that it has faded with time and use. But I disagree, something tells me it's always been orange (faded red to me is pink) and that makes me smile all the more.  (2/24 addition: I have learned the block in the antique quilt is called Burgoyne Surrounded and dates back to an important Revolutionary War battle. You can read more about that part of US history here).  I'm guessing 100+ years ago, orange wasn't a popular color, let alone the color of the year, like Tangerine Tango is this year, but someone liked it enough to make a quilt with orange proudly displayed. Which got me thinking that in 2012, I NEEDED to make a quilt for myself. (I haven't yet you see). Then along came the Tangerine Tango challenge…….

Tangerine Tango Quilt Challenge
and the MQG challenge and a January FRMQG meeting and I got to thinking, perhaps these are just the push, my proverbial "Tail Wind".

So, here is MY story
Title: Tail Wind
Start: mid-January, 2012- completed: mid-February 2012

Tail Wind-the front
The back
Size: 95" x90" (Queen sized)
FMQ: (on my Bernina 180) using: a FMQ pattern of tailed-swirls and fillers to resemble "wind" currents originating from a centrally placed compass rose.

Thread: Coats and Clarks 100% quilting cotton in winter white, 40 weight.  I used well over 2000 yards of thread to quilt this project.
Batting: Hobbs Tuscany Collection, 100% wool batting which needs to be quilted every 3".
Material, 100% cotton- (front):
     1. Oranges:(mainly from stash and small yardage approximately FQ size and smaller) 5 Kona "orange family" solids (3 little pieces left over from the Robert Kaufman solids challenge charm pack in brights); Kona solids in school bus and coral; Kaffe Fassett- Rowan Line Dance; OZ by Sanae for Moda; Floralicious by Michael D'Amore for Benartex; Taza by Dena for free Spirit; Woodland Friends by Ellen Crimi-Trent for Clothworks, Half Moon by Moda; Grad Bazaar by Patty Young for Michael Miller; Metro Living Circles by Robert Kaufman; Fresh Flowers by Deb Strain for Moda; Garden Divas by Jane Sassaman for Free Spirit; A day in the Life by Mummysan for Robert Kaufman, Aviary 2 by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit; Innocent Crush Maybe by Anna Maria Horner for Free Spirit; Treasures and Tidbits by Piece O' Cake Designs for Robert Kaufman; Tonal Kaleidoscope Gypsy Bandana by Pillow & Maxfield for Michael Miller;  Aldo fo Zippy by Jenn Ski/Lilla Rogers Studio for P&B Textiles; Kensington Studio for Quilting Treasures; Simon + Kabuki for Eandl Design, Inc.; Terrain by Kate Spain for Moda; Mingle by Monaluna for Robert Kaufman; and various wonderful orange scraps from Michelle L. (Flickr- I like Orange too) from the Goodie Bag swap (round 2).

     2. Grays:(mainly from stash and small yardage as above) Kona medium grey; "Quilters Linen" by Robert Kaufman,  Metro Living Circles by Robert Kaufman; Alexander Henry Fashion for Home; Little Apples by Aneela Hoey for Moda; Ta Dot by Michael Miller, and small scraps from Michelle L. (Flickr- I like Orange too).

     1. Oranges: (mainly from stash and small yardage as above) Aldo fo Zippy by Jenn Ski/Lilla Rogers Studio for P&B Textiles; Heirloom by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit
     2. Turquoise: (small yardage from stash)Treetop Fancy by Tina Givens for Free Spirit; Night Sky by Tina Givens for Free Spirit

"Neutral", (front and back): Kona Snow approximately 12-13 yards

For this quilt, I used:
Front: small pieced squares (5 1/2") 85 total- (80 orange, 5 gray)
          medium pieced squares (10 1/2") 26 total- (19 orange, 7 gray)
          medium kona snow solid 10 1/2" squares- 7
          small kona snow solid 5 1/2" squares- 16
          rectangle kona snow solid 10 1/2 x 5 1/2"- 10
Back: large pieced squares 15" 3 total (2 turquoise, 1 orange)
          small pieced squares 5 1/2" total 3 (2 orange and 1 turquoise)
          pieced kona solid in Snow

The quilt top pieces were laid out in a random pattern based mainly on what appealed to me.
One note of caution, and I should have foreseen this had I (been organized and) drawn this out in advance; was……... the piecing of the top became puzzle-like containing only one width of quilt straight seam line (yikes).
I lay my quilts out on the floor as I don't have a design "wall".  If you look closely at about 9 o'clock you can see a large grouping of quilt blocks with no obvious (to me) way to assemble them without some creative and non-linear piecing.

In the end I was left with about 7 medium sized sections and had quite the time fitting them all together in an orderly manner.

It required (quite) a bit of interesting seaming but it all eventually went together.
The completed top laying over the backing and the 100% wool batting, all taped to the living room floor and waiting to be pin-basted.
 I did lean my lesson when it came to the back! (minimal and straight piecing).

quilting in progress- Bernina 180 and a small Sew EZ portable sewing table
What I love about this quilt is that I used many, many oranges and some (but not as many) grays. If you look closely you can see birds, bees, flowers, dots, zig-zags, spiders, sinks, a bath tub, a whisk, a dress, eye glasses, a baby carriage, a toaster, a door, a piece of cake, utensils, lots of scissors, a toy car, stripes, checks, plaid, argyll, fish scales, words, leaves, rosebuds, ducks and hats. I'd say that's quite a collection of things to see and to look for, and all of that just makes me smile.
The quilting is really prominent on the back and I'm thrilled that I used so much neutral here.

Back, detail

Back- close-up of  FM quilting
In the end I have a beautiful and surprisingly light-weight queen sized quilt. Although the wool batting requires denser quilting, it's incredibly light, compressible and easy to maneuver under the space available on a regular table top sewing machine.
Many Thanks to my FRMQG members for helping me take full-length photos
The front (photo: Marta Strzeszewski)

The back
(photo Marta Strzeszewski)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February= BUSY!!

Felt heart hand made by Emily Levey
                                                 Happy Valentine's Day!! To each one of you from me.

February has been very busy.
My to do list was long but it is now complete.
Close-up of quilting on Valentine Swap- mini quilt
Always Bee Learning Word Blocks- for Kari

Kissy Fish blocks for a baby quilt
9-patch block for another baby quilt (FRMQG group project)

Scrap buster swap- crazy bento boxes, 32 block to swap
Pot Holder Pass 10- log cabin blocks for BeachGirl Sews
wonky stars- 12 Month Bee- for Leanne (18.5")

and 6.5"
Super Nova block for Hettie- I was missing one square in my package,
hence the "lovely" cutting mat peek-a-boo in the center. 

For the Love of Solids Swap, small item- can't show the front- that would give the owner away

For the Love of Solids Swap, main item- a sewing machine cover: front

For the Love of Solids Swap, main item- a sewing machine cover: back
what has been eating up most of my February
More details about this soon, really soon. Stayed tuned!

Oh, Oh, Oh, Don't forget to enter the give away for a Large Post Box full of yummy February crafting and sewing and knitting goodies. More details here.

Friday, February 10, 2012

I am very lucky

I woke up yesterday to a latte from our local pastry and coffee shop and a present from my 13 year old (the coffee cup sleeve). I also had a apricot scone but that disappeared before the photo shoot. I love the bright pink against the snow. I am very lucky!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Valentine Swap with a Friend

A Valentine's Mini Quilt Swap with a friend. What could be better?? I love hearts and wanted to try my hand again at some paper-piecing so I went out and found two paper pieced heart patterns here and here and shrank one 50% on my scanner. Then I added a freeform pieced block into the mix. For colors I stuck with traditional reds and deep pinks, pulling liberally from my scraps and stash and framed them all in a bright Kona green solid. (I think they would have looked just as nice framed in white or even grey, but I really like the green against the pinks and reds). I framed the mini quilt with several sashed borders of differing widths, some even with sparkles, and backed it up with an off beat Jane Sassaman print from my stash, offset cut to include the quirky pink and green scalloped border (and the bugs!). I then waited and waited for a free-motion quilting book I ordered to arrive. (I've been stuck in FMQ 101- the Meandering Stitch) and needed to brach out in 2012. I'm going with Concentric (sort-of) circles. It's a small enough piece to give a new stitch a try and do it justice at the same time.

pieced top

clips awaiting hand stitching on the binding, front

Close-up of quilting. This photo shows the actual color of the apple green best

Out door shot of quilting and paper pieced heart
Finished front

Finished back

Stats: Valentine's Mini Quilt Swap among Friends- 22" x 18",  Feb. 2012
Materials: Scraps and stash including:
                 Pieced Hearts: Various quilting cottons from my scraps
                 Robert Kaufman Kona Solid Background in Grass Green
                 Sparkle sashing: Michael Miller Damask sparkle
                 Outer sashing: Free Spirit Fabrics Kumari Gardens- Holiday
                 Backing: Jane Sassaman Prairie Gothic
FMQ: Concentric circles from 365 days of FMQ project
Thread: variegated dark pink/red by Auriful

Hope you have some lovely things coming your way this February- don't forget the February DeStash- Give away right here on my blog! You could be the winner!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The February De-stash Giveaway is now open…..

I can't believe it's February already. Another month- another De-stash Giveaway up for grabs. This month- winning will be open to US residents only. However- anyone can comment!
Here is a peek at some of the things in the February package that could be yours.

The February challenge question up for your comments: If you could invite anyone, living or not, to lunch, who would it be and why???

Details for the 2012 Monthly Giveaway:

I will post a photo of the give-away each month during the first week of the month- so check back often, so you don't miss out.

You will have until the 21st of each month to leave a comment.

Leave only one comment per person.

I will pick a winner and get your package in the mail by the 25th of each month (postal holidays and weekends excepted). (Make sure you don't fall in to the no-reply blogger category- if I can't get you I'll pick someone else).

I know some of my followers are outside the USA. Because international postal rates abroad are much more expensive I will be doing international mailings only a few times during the year (these are big packages and costly to send). Please know- I haven't forgotten you and appreciate your following me- I really do. So, I will specifically post whether the monthly destash-give-away is open to international entries on any given month.

Thanks for all your support and good luck in 2012! Remember 11 chances remaining to win this year- Go for it!!!