Monday, December 30, 2013

Big Quilt, In Process

Three Marcia Derse fabrics bought last February at QuiltCon

Testing the design with six 18" blocks Maple Island Big Quilt 1
Loving how this is turning out - still need six more blocks... layout to be tweaked!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Seriously, I'm putting the zippers away

 We have another family dinner today with our son, his wife and their three sons.  Jeannine has been doing a 35-session round of  radiation for breast cancer and is one-third of the way through.  What is my offering to her?  A RunAround bag of course.  She gets her choice of these three (middle fabric came from Scotland!).  I am excited to put away my zippers temporarily and begin work on big things.  I have a box of Marcia Derse fabrics, and I think I know the direction I want to go in with these fabrics.  The goal is a new bed quilt for us.  And youngest grandson Ben (mentioned above) has not had his quilt.  Ben's a basketball fan and wants a Bulls quilt with perhaps a bit of the Hawks in it.  Notice the Kona card so I can find just that perfect shade of red.  Sure hope it isn't the Kona named "Lipstick."  Somehow that would just be wrong for Ben's sports-themed quilt...
These will go back into their box.

And these are coming out to play!

The beginning of Ben's Bulls quilt

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Elves have left the building...

Four little Runarounds for my niece Laura's little girls
My sewing is complete - for the next few days.  Time to reorganize, put away, and focus on the bigger projects I've been wanting to start.

Interested in the WOW/Duffel Tote bag pattern mentioned below and before?  You can order it from Dusty Attic Quilt shop in Maryland. 
The opposite sides of the above bags
For the granddaughters and another niece

Little zippered pouches, at the request of my trainer.  (Phone included just for size)

WOW Duffel/Totes for Richard and Laurel

Friday, December 20, 2013

Special Fairies in My Life

John is the Christmas Fairy.  He's decorated the house, sent out cards, and blinged my Quilted Christmas Tree. All I had to do was some present shopping for him and continue sewing.  Now we can focus on our celebrations with family and friends. 

I have a whole day to myself and have one more present in mind to make - for one of tonight's dinner guests.  But before tackling this, look at what my Monday Sewing Fairy and her son Jack made!  Love this holiday hot pad and that Jack did some of the quilting.

Holly is my Chicago Modern Quilt Guild Fairy.  I love her.  Not just because she made me a totally beautiful hot cup collar for my birthday and not just because she made me a fabulous mug rug. As I'm still discovering my styles and colors,Holly  has nailed my preferences with her fabrics and design.  AND - this is almost the best part - look at the two fat quarters she enclosed with her little holiday gift.  I have some amazing people in my life.
From Jack and Eileen
From Holly

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Quilting Peer Pressure

A normal sized tote with two side pockets

Study enough for several books
 I really am quite fond of this pattern (but good luck finding it. (I found it at the Jinny Beyer website but haven't been able to locate it there since - stay tuned for an update).    The directions call for using a lightweight fusible interfacing.  So of course I use what I can get at Joann's with a coupon.

Meanwhile, I've been making some of Sara Lawson's bags, and she's fond of ShapeFlex.  So I bought some of that.  It's three times the price of the generic lightweight fusible interfacing.  But I like it.  And when you're spending 6 hours on a project, it deserves the right fabrics. 

So I began this WOW bag with ShapeFlex, and this bag is almost too stiff.  I'm going back to the cheap stuff for this application.

My point?  I must learn to follow my instincts and make decisions based on the project and not necessarily what products others are using. 
Zipper and side strap are the first hint that this isn't your ordinary tote

Side pockets and handles sort of melt into the background when the bag is a duffel

Monday, December 16, 2013

Insulated Carrier - and more Runarounds - and...

This 9 x 13 Casserole Carrier is insulated and even has a pocket on the top - for perhaps a serving utensil.  The pattern is from Sara Lawson at Sew Sweetness.  While I'm glad I made this and will use it, I think I will go back to my previous casserole carrier pattern.  A couple of my sewing buddies tried this pattern with me, and we all felt it was pretty complicated. 

The 9 x 13 pan with a lid was really hard to get into the case - hard to imagine doing with this a hot pan.
I think I will use this for slighter small pans, like this cast iron lasagna pan.  The carrier is deep so it easily accommodates a tall pan. 

A former Kennedy student is coming over today to get two Runarounds - they seem to be the gift of choice this holiday.  So I am still cranking them out. 

Red and black are my best sellers

Finally,  the power of sentiment in the work that quilters do cannot be underestimated, as evidenced by the following.  I was asked to restore a 23-year old Barney Comforter, which I did without question. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Taking shape, sort of...

I think I have finished machine quilting this wall hanging. It was a great experiment in using some of the fabrics I've been accumulating for this grand project for my bedroom.I wondered how a modern log cabin using this basic design might work. There's a guild meeting today, and it's a sew-in. So I created two more similar but simpler blocks, and I want to try some hand-quilting.

And I've been working on more RunAround bags.  Today at the guild meeting we are supposed to bring a bag of scraps.  But I am not playing along for two reasons.  One is that I use my scraps and have so many.  Two is that I can't bear to bring any thing more into the studio.  Instead I have used my scraps to make bags for Sarah S who works so hard as VP of the guild, for the Debbies who introduced me to Marcia Derse, for Jen Lo who is my reading twin, for Sarah E the hardest working guild treasurer; and for Beth, who has just returned to the work force.  
I'm learning which fabrics I like in this application
Some little runarounds for some of my guild buddies - the pocket side
The Zipper Side

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday Afternoon: Inspiration + Fabrics

A Birthday Sketch from Cristina

Piles of Greys, White, Blacks, Reds

Pin-Basted and Ready to Quilt  24" x 28"

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bags all ready to pack

Except I'm not going anywhere. And the only connection between these two bags is that they are no longer UFO's. The bag on the left, the Aeroplane Bag, is for John's sister Chris to celebrate her last Christmas as a teacher. The retro bag on the right is from Stitch magazine.

Chris chose her body fabric from my stash, a piece that I'm pretty sure one of my guildsters gave me. We paired it with a brown Kona Espresso for the base, and the Monday Good Quilting Fairy Eileen cut me a piece of her Kona Pomegranate for that wonderful accent.   
We then found the batik lining on my shelves.  Each one of the interior pockets uses a fat quarter, and there were two with women in kimonos.  Perfect for this project!  But then the wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles: I had the right length HOT PINK zipper on hand as well.

I thought I would get to this on one of my sewing retreats, especially since all parts were ready for assembly.   Thanksgiving morning turned out to be the perfect time to finish this.  And Chris was our guest at dinner.  Excellent timing.

 This bag was interesting to work on, mostly because there was an error in the pattern.  This one too I thought I would work on at a sewing weekend, but it became too frustrating.  In my studio I was able to figure out the issue and then make it work.  This bag is handsome, and I'll hang onto this pattern, but I don't think I'll make another one of these.  Just yet.  Now, I just have to plan someplace to go...
No pockets in this lining
Each side has a pocket under the zipper ends

One side has three pockets - the other side has two. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Generous Friends

Downstate Illinois was hit particularly hard by tornadoes two weeks ago, and several small towns were devastated.  The Crystal Lake Modern Quilt Guild has a member who personally knows of families in great need and is soliciting quilts, books, and stuffed animals.  I learned of this effort through their Facebook page and shared the information.  My buddies Midge and Cecilia responded with these gifts.  Saturday I'll be dropping these off at The Material Girl, a fabulous fabric shop in Crystal Lake.  And seriously, I'll have to go in.  And look around a wee bit. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Two Days of Play

One Side...

and the other

This is just 8 inches by 11 inches

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Little Things

The charity quilts from my Chicago Modern Quilt Guild were delivered this morning and most happily received.  While I was honored to be a part of this and have these quilts in my house, I am THRILLED to have empty space and a list with such a huge completed task.  Now I can resume some little things, like this Louis Armstrong Mors bag from a t-shirt - John is doing a presentation at the Brookfield Jazz Society in January on Armstrong, and this is the door prize.   Also, I want to make some little drawstring bags and some more little Runarounds.  The scrap baskets remain out, and I've been lovingly studying what's in them.  There are a couple of small commissions, and I'm saving my Marcia Derse kits for January.  My shelf of blacks, red, and neutrals is calling to me, but I can't quite hear what it's saying.  I'm saying that a couple of maquettes might be in order - maybe then I'll be able to hear better.  All these little things?  They make me happy.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Short Happy Zipper Story

Guildster Eileen bought a ton of zippers and shared them with me.  I bought her a chicken shawarma and baba ganoush.  We are both happy.  The End. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Chicago Modern Quilt Guild Charity Quilts

Here are 23 quilts, all labelled and ready to be delivered to the Teen Living offices in time for holiday distribution.  My Chicago Modern Quilt Guild really rose to this charitable occasion  I'm proud to know such generous quilters!