I am very excited about the Blogger's Block of the Month program that is hosted by Open Gate designer Monique Dillard. The BOM will start in earnest at the beginning of January (as soon as the holiday hub bub has subsided), and last for six months. Seven bloggers you may know and enjoy are participating and we would be thrilled to have you join in with us and sew along.
These are the participants, each of whom is making the quilt in different fabrics.
Sherri from A Quilting Life - aquiltinglife.blogspot.com
Thelma from Cupcakes ‘n Daisies ~ cupcakesndaisies.blogspot.com
Lissa from Moda Lissa ~ ModaLissa.blogspot.com
Monique from Open Gate Quilts - opengatequilts.blogspot.com
Denise from Quilter’s Window ~ Quilterswindow.com/blog
Nicole from Sister’s Choice ~ sisterschoice.typepad.com
Lisa from Stashmaster ~ The-Stashmaster.blogspot.com
At the beginning of each month, Monique will release a block pattern on her blog, which you can download and print out. There will be options to make the blocks in two color versions, so you can have the choice to make one block (for a six block finished quilt) or two blocks (for the full sized twelve block quilt). I have a seriously yummy fabric collection to work with (Brannock and Patek's "Audra's Iris Garden") so I will be making two blocks each month using a variety of the gorgeous colors in the line. If you study the photo of Monique's quilt above, try to pick out the duplicate blocks. It isn't easy, as the blocks look so different when made up in different fabrics/colors.
Monique has just posted the supply list for the quilt on her blog, so I encourage you to go have a look. I hope you will consider making this gorgeous quilt along with us. There will be plenty of support, encouragement, and tips from seven very experienced quilters as we progress through the six months of construction.
Oh, and if all of this wasn't enough incentive to participate--the block patterns and finishing instructions are free!
Several people emailed me to ask about the pattern I used for my Christmas Cactus quilt. I bought the pattern in Wisconsin about ten years ago! The good news is, even though that quilt shop has gone out of business, you can still get the pattern from the designer, Elisa Wilson of Elisa's Backporch. I hope you will check out the website, as it is full of patterns, instructional videos and other tips. Elisa designs a lot with curves, and several of the videos are on the subject of piecing curved blocks. Very interesting! Here is the link: http://www.backporchdesign.com/patterns.htm
The pattern is actually named Color Bridge, not Christmas Cactus. I named it that because the block reminded me of a cheerful Christmas cactus plant, like we used to get for Grandma during the holidays.
This is the yardage information shown on the back of the pattern. I don't think it is a copyright violation to show it, as it is what you would see if you looked at the pattern without taking it out of it's envelope. I hope you will consider picking up the pattern, as it is cleverly designed, using two simple blocks, a bear's paw and a log cabin variation, and makes up into a very pretty quilt. Something else? The price of the pattern has not gone up in ten years time!
So order your pattern and start planning your colors and buying your fabric!
Well, my goodness, things are festive at my house about now! I am planning on spending the day making cookies. Yesterday I took Grandpa for a hair cut in town, and when I got him settled back home, he smiled at me and said "So, what are we gonna to do tomorrow?", like we were BFFs. I said, "Why, we are making Christmas cookies! Want to come help?" He agreed, with an expression of delight.
There are some terrific cookie magazines out on the newsstands right now, and I enjoyed making my cookie making plans while I had my tea this morning. As soon as Eva arrives, we will go to the grocery store and then pick up Grandpa and start baking.
Hmmmm, notice anything interesting in that photo above? Besides the pictures of cookies? No, not my cute Christmas salt and pepper shakers. Up in the left hand corner?
That, my friends, is the new Brannock and Patek collection, "Audra's Iris Garden". Enough for make an entire full size quilt! Oh my, do I ever have plans for this fabric. And I think you are going to love it.
Monique Dillard of Open Gate Quilts (and creator of the fabulous Fit to be Geese, Fit to be Quarter and other rulers) is organizing a Blogger's Block of the Month, that will run January through June. There will be six block patterns, which can be made in two versions for a completed quilt of either six blocks or twelve blocks. Seven of your favorite quilt bloggers will be working with seven different fabric collections to make seven different versions of this project. There is a peek of it on the right.
Much more information is to come. I just want to get you thinking about kicking off 2013 with a beautiful quilt! It will be done in easy steps, with lots of encouragement, seven different perspectives, labor saving tips, and best of all---IT'S FREE!
I love a scrappy quilt, and can usually pull from my stash a nice compatible mixture of prints. The project I am currently working on, Hill Country Baskets, is giving me a real headache. I swear I have cut enough fabric to make about four Hill Country Baskets quilts at this point in time.
The whole thing started with a kit. And you know me and kits. Usually I like about a quarter of the fabrics provided and end up swapping out the rest. A huge waste of my money, buying kits. If I tell you I want to buy a kit, remind me of that please. It's just me. I always want to personalize my projects, and resist working with something someone else picked out.
This kit was part of a class I took over the last summer. The fabrics were provided/selected by the designer and the quilt shop offering the class. They were fine. I just had to start messing around with them, thinking, if I took this out, and swapped that in, I would like it better. After about 100 fabrics going back and forth, I no more could tell you what was in the original kit, than I could fly to the moon.
Nothing seemed to be working to please me with these basket blocks. So I started eliminated color families. Took out the greens, put them back in. Out went the blues, and back in they went. The reds and browns were my only definites. Finally I put some of the fabric squares that were going to be turned into the basket blocks up on the design wall to get a feel as to how they "played together". I firmly decided the blues had to go, and then after about ten minutes, they were back again.
So, I took a photo, and looked at that on my computer. I decided the greys weren't adding a thing to the mix, and my goodness, will you look at that chartreuse? What was I thinking? The cockamamey stripes are bugging me too. They can be in my quilt only if they are all going in the same direction. Sometimes you just get a much better perspective if you take a picture and review it more dispassionately than when it is face to face with you on the design wall in your sewing room.
So truly, after hours of fooling around, these are the colors I have decided to go with. For now.
This project box is such a mess, seriously. How on earth am I going to keep all these pieces straight? And what shall I make with all the rejects? Do any of you dither around like this? Thelma, you don't need to answer that question.
Doesn't it seem as though December just flies by? So many things to do, and the days are over before they begin.
I have made some time to decorate, but not on the scale to which I normally aspire. That darn baby is just into everything, and all my decorating seems to be about four feet off the ground, which is slightly odd looking, especially when it comes to a tree.
One thing she can't mess up too badly are my Christmas quilts, which I have been putting out little by little. The one above has such wonderful memories for me. The pattern is called Toulouse, by Miss Rosie's Quilt Company. The block is Goose in the Pond, an old classic. The fabrics I used are assorted Christmassy prints I had on hand, including a heavy dose of a Robin Pandolph collection from some years back. It is super scrappy--even the green lattice is made of different one inch squares. I love love love this quilt.
I made this quilt by sewing along with two lovely blogging friends, who you hear me talk about all the time. Lisa of Stashmaster and Thelma of Cupcakes 'n' Daisies. We conferred, we blogged, we encouraged each other every step of the way, and we did a big reveal on the same day. It was such a wonderful experience of fellowship with two like minded friends. And we each got a superb quilt out of it in the end.
Mine was quilted this past summer by the extremely talented LeAnne Olsen. The lighting is dark and not good at all right now when I am trying to take a picture, so her quilting isn't showing up as it does in person. If the sun comes out anytime soon, I will try again. You have got to see her quilting.
Here are some links you might enjoy:
Hope you are all taking time to enjoy your Christmas quilts and the magic of the season!
I have started to get concerned emails from readers inquiring "are you all right?". Yes I am fine. Just super amazingly busy. It is hard to be a caregiver and accomplish all the other things your family normally expects as de rigueur holiday happenings.
What exactly have I been doing? Caring for Grandpa, caring for Eva, mentoring my student, working part time at the shop in town, decorating my house... Could I please maybe have six more hours in my day?
Grandpa wants to order Christmas gifts he has picked out in catalogs for the family for Christmas. I am planning a to have a session with him and go through all that and make it happen. It is so sweet, really. Here he is, 91 years old, and he still cares that his loved ones have gifts under the tree that are from him. How lucky I am to be blessed caring for such a sweet old fellow. I am getting him a new US Navy Veteran's cap for Christmas, as he has just about worn his old one out. He is so proud of his service to our country--even more than his professional accomplishments after the War.
My student is so excited about learning to sew. This is really a wonderful thing I have gotten myself into. I am truly enjoying every session we spend together. We have taken a bit of a break from making charity baby quilts, as she is making Christmas gifts for her mom, her Nana and her sister. She is so proud to be giving something so personal. I am honored to be a part of the process.
She is making an eyeglass case for her grandmother. She's got the panels all prepped and ready to be zippered. Is this not adorable or what? Who wouldn't be thrilled to get anything made out of this super cute fabric? Next week when we get together she is going to learn about zippers. You want to know something hilarious? You know what aspect of sewing freaks this girl out the most? Ironing! She obviously has never had any sort of experience with an iron in her life. Is this what the world is coming to? Tell me no! She burns her fingers every time and is scared to death to use the darn iron! Honestly, we have been close to running for ice cubes, Neosporin and Bandaids. She is trying to be tough and so far has declined medical treatment.
I have managed to do a few things myself in the past couple of days. I am finishing up the borders for my Halloween 1904 quilt, hurray!
I have also worked on the Row Along project, which I have blogged about a few times.
I am seriously considering stopping the Row Along right now and making a fun Fallish table runner with the rows I have done so far. If I decide to keep going, I may make another runner utilizing the mitten row, and the hot cocoa mug rows to do a Winter themed runner. Maybe using blue and white fabrics? Wouldn't that be cute? Not sure if I really want an entire quilt out of this project. I think the rows are super cute, but an entire quilt may not fit into my design esthetic.
And the method for constructing the Flying Geese row? omg. Let me just say five words. Fit To Be Geese Ruler. By Monique Dillard of Open Gate Quilts. That is the only way to go when you are making flying geese. Trust me. Every one of these made according to the Row Along instructions was a different size, and probably only three out of four was useable. You can clearly see in the photo above how different in size mine were. It may be my poor sewing and construction, but really, if you are making Flying Geese, make them larger, use the Fit To Be Geese ruler and trim them down to size. Every one will be perfect. No offense to anyone, but there is only way I seem to be able to make decent Flying Geese, and I need my ruler!
Hope you are all having a super week. Enjoy your decorations, enjoy your family.
All I want to do these days is sew. I don't even need a deadline or a project with a near finish. Just let me sew. Production sewing is just fine. 435 half square triangles? No problem, I'm your girl. I have finished four rows of Lori Holt's Row Along and I like it just fine. All stash: a free quilt. My colors are a little bit "country", but I am ok with that too. Are those apples cute or what?
My weekend was grand. It rained so much I began to wonder where Noah was, but it ultimately did stop, so I guess we aren't going to have a flood. I finished a Schnibble, and am mighty pleased with it too.
I did the machine quilting myself, and have to say the size of this was about as big as I am comfortable with quilting on my own. I had a dream last night where somehow this little project was before a panel of judges. The verdict? "This is possibly the worst machine quilting job we have ever seen". I woke up all in a sweat. Have any of you submitted a quilt to a judging? You are so brave. My friend Thelma has been doing that a few times, and I am amazed at the judging comments she gets. You just never know what people will like, or what they might pick apart.
No, my job isn't that bad, but jeesh, wouldn't you think all this machine quilting practicing would be beneficial to my skill level? I know we are our own worst critics, but seriously? I should be having more even stitches. Sigh. The fabrics are totally cute though. Merry and Bright by Sandy Gervais.
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Mine was full of decorating, a beef stroganoff dinner cooked with my son in law on Sunday, and plenty of sewing. Pretty darn perfect.