Thursday, April 21, 2011

Last Round Robin Border

My last Round Robin border for 2010 is at last done and the top has arrived home!

The amazing group of quilters I was in on the Q&N were so good to work with and I think each unique quilt top we produced looked like they could have come from the an actual continuous medallion quilt pattern.

This quilt top was all 18th Centry Repros and it is very striking. Since my border was last, I wanted to add just the right finishing touch. I auditioned three borders and decided on this one, which is a Log Cabin Spiral. The instructions can be found in
The Border Workbook by Janet Kime.

I liked the traditional look of the log cabin with the interesting spiral twist. There were a lot of stars and points in this quilt top and I wanted something that picked up the round shape in one of the medallion fabrics. Two of the fabrics I found were in the center medallion and the background was used so effectively in a previous border that when I saw it I knew that was just the one I wanted to use. The narrow outside border is a different deep blue repro from the Gettysburg collection.

As usual, Mina was my constant quilty companion. Here she is helping me cut t
he background fabric ....

and here she is supervising my piecing ...

... and a photo of the finished top ... isn't it gorgeous?

I want one just like it ... but, of course, that is not possible. Each of these Round Robin beauties is a one-of-a-kind work of art and that is part of what makes them such a treasure!

Happy Quilting!

:) Pat

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Round Robin Celebration

Above is the photo of my own center medallion for the Q&N Round Robin Two. It was sent out early last year on a wing and a prayer to journey around the USA and Canada while my RR pals worked there magic.

I have finished the last Round Robin border on the last medallion on which I had to add the last border, packed it up and dropped it off at the automated mailing center at my local post office ... so it is on its way home! Judging by the way mail has been moving from my Quilty Corner in New England to the rest of world, it will likely get to Ohio by Thursday. Ohio is less than 1000 miles away and I mailed by priority mail with a tracking number, but that is likely as good as the USPS is going to get.

No photos yet. Susie should get to be the next one to see her (hopefully) finished quilt top. ;)

I am almost caught up with all my overdue quilty commitments. I have one last charity quilt to quilt for the Quilt and Needle and send on to the children's center where it will be there at just the right time for the child who needs it. All things for a reason somehow.

Story time: ... a few years back an accident happened to one of the people I love and I found myself in the emergency room in the middle of the night waiting for the medical people to do their part, holding hands and trying to do what needs ot be done. My loved on kept saying things like, "Why did this have to happen? And why now? I can't be laid up. What are we going to do? What did I do wrong?" My only answer to this is the one that keeps me going. Accidents happen. Life happens. It does not do any good to try to figure out why and to lay blame. The only thing to do in life is to look up, go forward and do what needs to be done ... to make better.

When I got home from the post office I opened my own Round Robin whose center medallion I sent out over a year ago. It arrived home last November, but as I was behind in my own RR commitments so I did not open it. I set that nice squishy package from Canada aside in my sewing corner to wait patiently for me to catch up while my friends were waiting patiently for me to catch up with their Round Robins.

The pictures of their borders were all in the "Non-Peekers" album on the forum since I like to send my medallion out and put it out of mind while I work on other things. I did not peek. Throughout this post are the photos of each border that were waiting for me in the album last night.

So I was surprised ...

First by the beauty of the colors and fabrics ... oh my!

Then by the beautiful borders carefully added by all my friends ... sew pretty!

And lastly by the fact that I cannot quilt it ... it is not flat ...

... it "tents" in the middle ... all of the perfectly lovely borders are too small ...

hmmmmmm ... what to do?

I could just thank everyone for all their work and beautiful borders ... and put it away in a closet and forget about it ...

hmmmm ...

not really a good choice ...

I could rant and rave about it ... try to figure out who to blame ... and put it away in a closet and forget about it ...

hmmmm ...

not a good choice, either ...

I could say nothing ... and put it away in a closet and try to forget about it ...

hmmmm ...

... definately not a good choice ...

so ... I am going to put it near my sewing machine ... enjoy the beautiful colors and think about all the wonderful gifts my quilty friends in Group 1 have given me ... much better choice ... :)

Someday soon ... after make a block for the "Just One Star" initiative ... and I quilt and mail the charity quilt ... make another baby block ... maybe put a border on my Spring Mystery Quilt ... I am going to "carry on."

One day, when I am feeling brave ... I will take out my seam ripper and start in the center and take out my medallion and see what can be done to the center of my Round Robin to make it flat so I can quilt it ... it will be a big challenge for me ... a new quilty adventure to explore ... something to look forward to!

How perfectly wonderful! :)

Thanks to all my quilty pals in Group 1 for the beautiful borders and for the time of my life ... I have grown so much as a quilter and a person with your help ...
I am so blessed! :)

Have a happy quilt day, my friends ... :) Pat

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More Blooms, Baby Blocks and Fabric Hugs

It is pansy time!

Over the weekend I visited a nearby greenhouse that grows their own from seed and bought three flats of these pretties and filled all my window boxes with new soil and happy flowers. Here are the pretty pansies smiling at me through the window near my sewing machine. I just love to see these little pansy faces winking at me in the breeze when I sew. I also have boxes on my front and back porch rails and at my bedroom window. We add one of two window boxes per year when the annuals are ready. Next up is my kitchen windows, I think ... or may the rest off the windows on the driveway side. We have such a small yard that container growing is a good way to go in the city. My favorite pansy colors are purples and yellows and pinks. Well, I just love the all!

Here are some more pansy faces. On the plants I selected, the buds are just starting to open. It is still very early in the season. More pansy photos coming as spring progresses. These will last until the end of May or early June when it gets too hot for these cool-loving plants and I will replant them in shady areas under bushes for the rest of the season and will plant my boxes with summer annuals. I am hoping to put in a small vegetable garden plot this year ... just for tomatoes and lettuce and other salad veggies.

When I have not been planting or doing other things that must be done, I have been sewing.

Here are the blocks for other baby quilts I made over the weekend ...

This pattern is called "Hugs and Kisses" and is available free from Quiltpox here ...

Hugs and Kisses Baby Quilt Pattern

These are for a baby girl just born in the UK so we are adding pink "hugs" to the green "kisses." It makes such a nice clean crisp quilt with bright white tone of tones for the background. The Quilty Aunties made this quilt once before for a baby boy is Texas with medium TOT fabrics. Here is a photo of Xander's finished quilt ...

I did the quilting and binding on this quilt. This is just about my favorite baby quilt pattern ever.

These cute little butterfly blocks are for a baby girl who is due in June in Canada. This free pattern is from Moda's Bakeshop and it uses charm packs ...

We are just pulling stuff from our scraps and stash. These 4.5" butterfly blocks were fussy to make. If you make this pattern be sure to follow the instructions carefully about the orientation of the background squares on the corners of the butterfly wings. I thought I was paying attention, but I still had to remake a couple of wing units. There are some helpful suggestions on how to press these to make the wings "nest" nicely, too. The fuss is well worth it, though. This quilt is going to be sew cute. Can't wait to see it finished and cuddling the baby girl.

My sewing adventures have moved on to the border for the last Round Robin quilt I have from the Q&N swap. This one is for Susie and she is not in the non-peekers album so I can post pictures. This traditional top is all 19th Century reproduction fabrics. Since I do not have much of this type of fabric in my stash, a shopping expedition was in order. Late last summer I went to Keepsake Quilting to find fabrics as they have a very large selection of these repros. I was able to find three of the fabrics already in the top. Here are my fabrics next to Susie's RR ... I made quite a bit of progress yesterday before we went out in the evening to enjoy a benefit concert at the university where my daughter and her young man and many of my favorite student musicians performed. It was a very enjoyable evening. Then the four of us went out to dinner.

This RR border is going along very smoothly!

Butterfly kitty is telling me to come and enjoy the spring air, the pansies in my window box and my sewing machine ... time to sew ... ... have a happy quilty day! :) Pat

Friday, April 8, 2011

Blooms and Baby Blocks

The first flowers of spring bloomed in my yard today! These pretty crocuses braved the cool breeze and enjoyed the sun and their lovely color made me smile.

I happened to be making pink and purple baby blocks today for a Quilty Auntie quilt on the Quilt & Needle.

This is one of my favorite baby quilt patterns. We have made this one a time or two before and it makes such a pretty quilt.

You may find the block instructions on the Quilter's Cache site here ...

We like to add a scrappy piano key border of 2.5" by 5.5" keys alternating the colors and the bright white tone or tone background. Here is the layout that we use ...

More baby quilt blocks to make. I love making these group baby quilts to give a warm and comfy welcome these precious babies.

:) Pat

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What a Difference a New Needle Makes

As I said before, when I bought my new baby, I spent over two hours in the store getting to know her. I thought all systems were good to go. As new moms can attest, it does not always go smoothly after you bring that precious baby home. In my case, I took my Lil Sista out of the box, followed all the set-up instructions, wound a bobbin with my favorite thread for piecing ... Aurafil 50/2 ply 100% cotton ... carefully followed the instructions for threading the machine that first time, pulled up the bobbin thread, plugged her in, put her in gear, put the fabric to the feed dogs, pushed the start button and I was off ... to brighter and better quilty days! ... ah ... no ... not quite. When I took those first chain pieced units off and snipped to press ... rut-roh! The bobbin thread was showing on the top and the stitches were a loose mess. Very disappointing.

After a frustrating time of trying to adjust the tension that ended in tears, I switched to a thicker weight thread and was able to get the tension right. I have been using that 35 wt thread for the last month with good results. But ... I really prefered the thinner thread for piecing, though. My seams were nice and flat ... it did not break easily ... and a spool would last almost three months of daily sewing ... in the long run, is less expensive, too.

So I got some help from the lovely quilters on the Janome Yahoo list and they suggested that I needed to get rid of the "universal" needle that the salesman had recommended. After a visit to buy a few different size and types of needles, I felt ready to put it all to the test. I inserted a new Microtex 80/12 sharp needle today, threaded it with my favorite Aurafil thread for piecing. My first run was just random strips from my scrappy strip box. No problems with the tension. Yay!

Then to further test the new set-up, I played around with the stuff in my scrap basket and here is the mug rug size creation of the day. Pretty nice for just checking the tension of the stitches ... ;)

So I am off and running again with my favorite thread. :)

These are the Fruit and Veggie Happy Blocks I stitched up for the next swap on the Scrappy and Happy Group. The theme is summer fruit and veggies with a summer tablecloth border. I am sure hoping to get lucky and win these next month.

I have a few Quilty Auntie Baby Blocks to make and then onto the last Round Robin border I need to complete from last year. This one will have piccies in my blog, since it is not in the non-peekers album. More pictures soon.

I am such a happy quilter again these days. I hear my machine calling ... see you later ... happy stitching! ... :) Pat