Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Some quilting reflections and updates- wishes for 2015

I love flowers and my spouse knows that I love flowers - so does he, if the truth be told. When we were at my parents during the Christmas break, my mom had some lovely alstroemeria on her table that my father had brought home. This bouquet was inspired by that pretty bundle of colour. We still had some sprigs of lavender from an earlier bouquet, so I added their purple beauty to this grouping.
A friend of my husband's named Mike loves astronomy and taking photographs of the stars. I thought he might enjoy a star quilt of his own so I created this quilt using up a number of 2 inch star fabrics (there were a large number of them LOL). It is my variation of a jelly roll quilt but is somewhat larger than a typical jelly roll quilt that uses 2.5 inch strips. Sometimes, I am not very good with dimensions so this one turned out slightly larger and runs lengthwise rather than crosswise . My friend Linda had sent me a calculator for the correct number of strips ( I tried to follow the recommended number they suggested)  but I had some partial strips so it became more challenging to figure out. ( that's my story and I am sticking to it LOL) 
The other challenge was that I had strips with almost every color of the rainbow so I spent quite a while searching for a stop border for the quilt. I am very pleased with the red border.
Below is a view of the quilt without the border. Athena the cat,  loves to check out all my quilts. She is a long haired cat so I often have to use a sticky roller to get rid of all her fur deposits. She certainly is a nice decoration on all my quilts and  enjoys laying on all of them. I am convinced it is a cat thing as Mars cat  also loved to curl up on the quilts and fabric too.
One of my other little projects this fall was to get some baby wraps made again, as I was completely out of them. I made 6 of them and they are all ready and waiting for the next new babies to arrive. I have made this pattern since 1984 so there is easily over 100 babies that have used one of these creations. They do work so nicely in a car seat I am told, and wrap a baby up like a little burrito. I used to tie them with yarn, but now, I quilt them by machine,and use minkee on the inside of them.  The original pattern came from an old book by McCalls - I am not even sure of the title anymore but it was all handmade things for babies. It had patterns for hand knit clothing as well as baby toys.
Every Christmas I put up the village- it has a number of houses that get lit up each night over the holiday. It is the first ornamentation that I add to our home ,and the last thing I will remove to close off the Christmas season. Putting up the decorations help to make our home more festive.
 Some years it can be a bit of a struggle to find that Christmas feeling.
 I also took out some of the Christmas quilts. I am particularly fond of this paper pieced poinsettia quilt that I made close to 15 years ago. One day I will do another paper pieced project- the pattern maker has some lovely designs that are a variety of flowers - cactus flowers among them.  So many techniques to explore and so little time...

  One of the other things I did since I last posted,  was play with the beads. I repaired a couple of my favorite pieces as well as made a few new pieces. I thought I might like to give away some as gifts for friends. It is fun to play with different materials and making beaded things is indeed faster than making quilty things. I like the change of pace, and creating adornments that can be worn by others.  I do like working with stones and most of the bracelets used stones like labradorite, agate, and other such rocks. I especially like the ones that are shaped like donuts. It can be a challenge to find a bead to fit inside the spaces.

 I took out my little featherweight machine today to make this jelly roll quilt. I have a friend who is retiring at the end of January, so I wanted to make a little quilt to keep her warm when she goes back up north to live. You can see the pile of strips from the jelly roll on the feather weight. If you have not made one and you have a jelly roll floating around - it really is a fast way to create a lovely quilt. You can find tutorials to make them on the net- I like the Missouri Star Quilt Co ones - they have a couple of variations that you can do too.
 I bought my jelly rolls from Craftsy- they are really reasonably priced there when they have a sale ( around 20 dollars ) which is way cheaper than what I can find them here in Canada. I love Robert Kaufman fabrics and this one was a line by Robert Kaufman. You can see below, that it really does work up quickly - and so pretty. Usually, I don't move any of the strips around, but I didn't like the way some of the strips were together ( too many chunks of the same color or same fabric together) so I shifted a couple of them once I had the body of the quilt together. I need to find a stop border and an outside border for it. I am sure that I will find that in the fabric stash. I think it probably will be a blue fabric but perhaps a deep golden yellow or a russet brown. You never know until you try different fabrics - sometimes the color that you think it will be just doesn't work out.
 I will have to audition a few choices like all of my quilts.
I didn't make any quilts for Christmas presents this year- but I did make some pillow cases ( 22 of them - 11 pairs) The biggest challenge was to find fabrics that complemented quilts that I had given to my siblings in years past. Sometimes I got lucky and found bits of the original fabrics in the scrap box.  I also made some friends some pillow cases and a couple of sets for my spouse. Once I found the fabrics the rest of it is a fun project that goes pretty quickly.  We don't generally exchange presents with my siblings anymore but this was a little something that I wanted to do for each of them.

 This year has been reasonably productive quilt wise- I finished off some quilts that were carry overs from the previous year, as well as, making a retirement quilt in May and a queen sized BQ quilt in July. I also finished the signature quilt in the summer and completed 4 jelly roll quilts that were all large couch sized quilts.

 From a quilting perspective, I am making progress on my list. The remaining big quilt project is our son and his bride's wedding quilt as well as a signature wall hanging.  I have completed 80+ blocks for their king sized quilt which is about 1/2 the number of blocks I need to complete it. I have all the cutting done for the second set of blocks - Hopefully, I can finally put my head down and get on with the making of their quilt. It will begin it tomorrow on New Year's Day.
 It is coming, my children, it is coming :O)
This Christmas break has been very low key. We went to visit my parents and siblings at Christmas time. For the first time in a couple of years, I saw all of our nieces and nephews, as well as their little ones. I have had time to read and work on some quilting projects. We went to see the movie " The Imitation Game" which I highly recommend. I have done some school work as well.

 We are spending a quiet New Year's Eve - Bruce is working and recording data for his hockey blog- unfortunately, another overtime loss for the Oilers. We will drink a toast at Midnight and ring in the New Year with Auld Lang Syne on the tube and a toast.
My wish for one and all is that 2015 is a year that is filled with good things- good health, prosperity and the love and laughter of the ones that you hold most dear.
 I will return again, by the by, for another post- In the meantime, I will be creating and learning with my littles in the classroom. Most importantly, I am striving for balance - balance between work and play- One needs both to be healthy.
 May you enjoy a wonderful 2015,
Warmest regards,
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