Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Quilt #1

At some point over the summer, likely at a family gathering, my sister-in-law mentioned that she'd love to have a quilt. Well, of course she would, who wouldn't want something great that we make, right?? ;)

Anyway, she said she likes red, and she always wears black, and not too long after this conversation, Joann put a bunch of red/white/black/blue fabrics on their red-tag shelf.

I love the jelly roll race quilt style, so this was the first one I made for Christmas this year:

It's backed with black flannel, quilted with red thread in the ditch and with red for the zig-zag machine binding that I did.

This quilt is also an amazing testimony to the power of Shout Color Catchers. See that red, with the white? I threw in two of the Color Catchers and the red didn't run at all. Whoa! Love those things!

So there you have it. Quilt number one for Christmas this year :)


Now that Christmas is over I can officially begin the string of "This is what I made for people!" posts, right? Everyone else is doing it, so here's number one for me!

This is really my first year of having any sort of skill whatsoever as a sewist, since I only bought my first machine last November on Black Friday (yes, I've already upgraded!). I'm terrible at gift-giving, and I'll be the first to admit it (see? I just did!) so one day I announced to my coworkers, "Y'all are getting placemats. What colors do you want?"

One lady picked red and black, but then decided she wanted something that would contrast better with her dark wood table. This is what I came up with for her:

Flying geese blocks, with bright happy stripes. They accidentally ended up going in two different directions, so this is who they ended up. They're a set of four - one with the blue stripes and dots, one with the blue stripes and asterisks, and one with purple stripes/dots and one with purple stripes/asterisks. Backed in black, quilted in the ditch and zig-zag machine bound with contrasting white thread. Gray binding left over from finishing our quilt.

Lady 2 asked for "forest colors," and I know from her previous ownership of a yellow SUV that she likes brights, so this is how hers ended up:

I think to have followed the design "properly" the center block should have been yellow, but I picked green instead. Oops? Anyway, the brown prints were all different on each of the four. I was pretty proud that the directional print on the top one ended up all going in the same direction! They were quilted with white, just around some of the squares. The backing fabric was something I had picked up at Joann's and realized I was never going to use - the placemats' recipient liked it, though, because she decided it was kind of Hawaiian, and her family owned a condo there for quite a while. Hooray!

Third coworker said she liked pastels, so here are hers:

These were called some kind of signature block that I found online someplace. The purples are all different on the four of them. The way I put the blocks together formed a pinwheel in the middle of them, which was unplanned but turned out pretty cool! They were backed with something else that was equally floral/pastelly. I quilted them around the inside and outside of the "O" in the middle, so the "O" is reflected on the back, too!

The day I was finally able to finish them, it took me NINE HOURS to get them done. I think I put probably 20 hours in, total for the 12 placemats.


Next year, I'm thinking small zippered pouches!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hoarding...I mean Stashing

Okay so I've gotten a little carried away lately, hoarding stashing fabric. I'm a grown-up, so Christmas presents to myself are completely justified, right?

 All either red-tags or remnants from Joann

 With a gift card I got from work, I went a little crazy on Amazon. The Little Apples I already had, but I got some Hometown, Circa 1934, Sherbet Pips, Pezzy Prints, and some So Sophie.

Not really stashing, but these squares were from a swap - I look forward to using them for a billboard quilt for our guest bedroom that says "ENJOY YOUR STAY!"

More Joann fabric.

Some Joann fabric, as well as some Michael Miller prints - a yard each of It's a Girl Thing, Bloom Zoology and The Brady Bunch, Jan Turquoise - and a couple charm packs of Reunion.

Okay, yup, maybe a little overboard. But I've got a lot of projects in my head!

How was YOUR fabric Christmas??? :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fat Quarter Shop Blogger's Choice Bundle Giveaway

So Quokka Quilts is hosting a super awesome giveaway that I just HAD to get in on. The Fat Quarter Shop has these great "blogger's choice" bundles, were some superstars of the blogging quilter world have chosen 12 of their favorite prints and 3 coordinating solids, and you can buy fat quarter bundles of those custom bundles from FQS.

The giveaway? You choose 12 prints, 3 solids, and get a chance to win your own blogger's choice bundles - but instead of the fat quarter size, you have a chance to win half yard cuts!

So, here's my entry - prints chosen just because they made me feel happy and girly, and because there's no way my husband would want to steal a quilt made from these! ;)

Top Right: Echo Purple Lina

And for my solids:

Okie dokie! There's THIS blogger's choice for a bundle - wish me luck!

Friday, December 23, 2011

books 50 and 51 and 52

I've finished a few books since I posted about them last:

#50, Amy and Isabelle: A Novel, by Elizabeth Strout

#51, Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger

and #52, Monday Mourning, by Kathy Reichs

It is the third one (and my "you've hit your 52 book goal!" book!) that reminded me why I love reading so much. I literally read that book yesterday. As in, the entire thing (okay, all but 10 pages, which I'd read a few days prior), cover to cover. There were parts I was able to skim - thanks to my husband's pursuit of forensic anthropology/entomology as a career, I'm familiar with things like stable isotope analysis - but my word. What a great book.

The thing I loved about it was the surprises - and not always ones that are super relevant to the main plot lines. Like mentions of places I've been to, and seen. For some reason it made me giggle out loud, even though it was in a not-so-hot context. I also enjoyed reading something and saying to Jeff, "Where's the mandibular condyle?" and having him point to it on his own face without bothering to ask why. Reading is generally a solo activity, but reading the Reichs books makes me feel closer to what Jeff does, or hopes to do, anyway.

So there you have it. 52 books in slightly less than 52 weeks! Somehow I packed them all in with my sewing and our home improving. I think my goal for next year will be about the same - I don't manage to sprint through every book like I did that one, so a book a week is right for me. :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Somehow over the last month or so I've managed to turn my hobby, quilting, into quite the chore. It's felt like I've been running a marathon at 100-meter-dash speeds. I've churned out ... a whole heap of things, let's just say, including three sets of four place mats each, a cape for a little boy, and a variety of other gifts that I still can't write about because, um, Christmas hasn't happened yet.

And I'm still not "done." At least not as done as I intended to be.

But tonight, when I came home from work with a huge headache, I looked at Jeff (poor guy) with (literally) tears in my eyes and just said "I don't have to have them all done on time, right? No one's going to be mad, are they???"

He gave me a big hug and told me of course not. The placemats alone took me NINE HOURS to finish on Sunday in order to have them ready for this week. NINE HOURS. On gifts for three co-workers. I was exhausted after that. The prospect of attempting to scramble together a ton more gifts in time for Christmas is just much too much.

So some will have to wait.

But luckily for me, quilts don't go bad.

I resolve, in the new year, to make sure my quilting stays a hobby, and doesn't turn back into a chore.