Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sew Blessed!

We were blessed with another fine day today and enjoyed the Holiday Luncheon at The Alton, New Hampshire, Senior Center.

It was a great meal with turkey and stuffing, peas, red bliss mashed potatoes, winter squash and a chocolate cupcake! There was music and singing of Christmas carols. As we dined, music was provided by the Meals-On-Wheels band, too.

We had a lovely time!

Felix helped me to change the sheets on our bed yesterday and we decided to put on the "Yankee Christmas" quilt that I had made from Bonnie Hunter's Carolina Christmas mystery a few years ago.

I'm not positive, but I think that the instructions for this quilt are in her first book, Adventures With Leaders and Enders. If you are interested, here is the link.

While I had the camera out, I wanted to share with you the beautiful ornament that Grace gave me done from counted cross-stitch. It is so perfect! Thank you, Grace! Grace's blog can be found here.

And here is the back, a red paisley, hold me up if I swoon, LOL! I love paisley fabrics!

I also received a dear Christmas packet from Janet O, in Utah. Visit her blog here.

I was thrilled to get the package of peppermint soap and a miniature ornament in a red churn dash with cheddar. Just look at those weensy nine-patch blocks!!!! Janet is a wizard at miniatures. Thank you so very much, Janet!
Hope you are enjoying some Christmas cheer wherever you are. Sew blessed.

Happy Stitching!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tis The Season To Be Jolly!

One of my favorite expressions is one I made up myself.

"If it weren't for the last minute, some thing just wouldn't get done at all!"

So it was this morning, when I slammed together a few of Step 3 of the Bonnie Hunter mystery, Grand Illusion. I have so enjoyed putting my progress onto the Monday morning Linky Party!
You may click on any picture to enlarge it.

I'm loving the chance to use some of my beloved Civil War greens and neutrals!

Bonnie wants us to keep checking on our seam allowances, too, as we make the parts.

"Sew far, Sew good", as my friend Stacey would say! Here's the link to her online quilt shop.

I was pleased that my seams didn't wobble too much, LOL!

Yeay! the first ten are done!

I also did another Civil War reproductions Sunny Lanes block for the February 15th swap.

The other last minute venue was my calling up my girlfriend, Frances, and inviting her to go with me to The Rochester (New Hampshire) Opera House for the Strafford Wind Symphony Holiday Pops Concert. Frances said, yes!

Here you can see that the whole troupe had brought in their silliest Santa hats that they donned after the intermission. It was a wonderful concert, replete with even a few sing-a-long selections for us to join in the spirit of the evening.

Frances is a very special friend who recently came home to New Hampshire from Florida. On March 8th of this coming spring, she will be celebrating her 99th birthday. She is great company and I love her to pieces. We had a ball!

Yesterday morning was the last chance for a Studio Day at Ellen Peters' "Cat's Whiskers Studio" in Laconia, New Hampshire. Ellen helped me by loading the purple tumblers quilt on the big longarm for me to quilt it for Sue, from The Sunshine Club. Thanks, Ellen!

I quilted it with outlining each tumbler by using a modified zigzag pattern going across from side to side. By going down, across, up, then over, on each tumbler you can get three sides of one tumbler completed. The fourth, or bottom side, of the tumbler gets completed as you work on the next row down. The pattern alternates as you go.

After about two hours and 6 and a half passes, Sue's quilt was done!!!

For those of you, like Karen, of Nana Girl Quilts, who are contemplating using this method, here is a close up of my quilting on Sue's quilt.

This diagram that I made might be easier to comprehend; the first row is drawn in blue, the next in green.

 The arrows shown the direction of your stitching, and you just skip down to the next row on the edges of the quilt top to work back the other way on the next row.

Thank you for ignoring my water smudges, LOL! With very little practice, you'll find your rhythm. Try tracing the pattern in the air with your index finger! That will help to "train your brain" to the shapes to follow.

These chick-a-dees take turns with the bluejays at my feeder.

My bluejays are quite greedy but they startle at the flash of the camera. I often forget to turn it off.

Can you see the reddish color in the background? That is the rambling rose all covered with tiny rose hips that the cardinals do feed upon, but I never seem to catch them on film, LOL!

We sure are enjoying the bright sun after a rather dreary week last week!

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Quilter's Christmas Poem

Do you think this could be our Stashbusters as they make their way around the world:

Twas the night before Christmas,
And the quilts were not made,
The threads were all tangled, the cookies delayed.
The stockings weren't hung, the pantry was bare,
The poor weary Quilter, was tearing her hair.
Stacks of fat quarters, tipped over in streams,
Visions of Log Cabins had turned into dreams.
When what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a bus full of quilters with all of their gear.
They went straight to work with just a few mutters,
Sorting and stitching and brandishing cutters.
The patterns emerged from all of the clutter,
Like magic the fabrics arranged in a flutter.
Log Cabins, Lone Stars, Flying Geese and Bear Tracks,
Each quilt was a beauty---even the backs!
Her house how it twinkled, her quilts how they glowed,
The cookies were baking, the stockings were sewed.
Their work was all done, so they folded their frames,
And packed up their needles, without giving their names.
They boarded the bus and checked the next address,
More quilts to be made, another quilter in distrss.
She heard one voice echo, as they drove out of sight...
"Happy quilting to all, and to all a good night."

Janice in MA
I believe this was from Pat Sloan, but I'm not sure.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Marshmallow World In The Winter

I love all snow, but my heart stops for snow that outlines every tree!

Miss Emma Lynne's dogyard becomes magical to me.

It had all melted away off the roads in time for me to go to Friday Quilters to get a few more pillow case gifts ready to sew.
Maureen was there, and she was making a cute doubled layer of turquoise terry cloth hand towel.

Someone is getting a "Frozen" Christmas quilt this year!

I did a few more units of Step 2 of the Bonnie Hunter mystery, so now I'm up to 50 of the 100 that I'll need. The Step 3 units got a few of their greens and neutrals cut out, too.

But I spent most of my afternoon enjoying the company of my older sister, Suzanne. For her "big" present to me this year, she took me out to the Rochester, New Hampshire, Opera House for The Nutcracker Ballet matinee performance. No photos were allowed of the ballet, but this is the interior of the historic Victorian era theater. We both loved it! Many of the dancers were very young children and we both agreed that the "Gingerbread Cookies" stole the show.

On the ride home, we reminisced a few scenes from our childhood, sang some Christmas carols, and took a private vote on "Best Christmas Lights in the Neighborhood" in a competition that we made up just for the occasion. It was a great Christmas present and I'll treasure the memories!

As for the picture of the bright red male cardinal at the birdfeeder? Well, that was the one that got away, LOL!!!!

Keep laughing and stitch a little if you can!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Step Two And A Tennis-Ball Bath

So often, I forget to tune in when Bonnie K. Hunter is having her "Quilt-Cam" live broadcasts, that I was determined to catch it last night. The joke was on me when technical difficulties interfered with her live show and it was cancelled. But I was so psyched up for it that I tuned into the archived 12/1/14 issue and drew lines on these little squares. It was a ball!

The blacks and pinks are for the Double Diamond units in Step 2 of the Grand Illusion Mystery quilt on Bonnie's blog.

Today, I was able to get the last 20 units of my 100 units needed for Step 1 completed and pressed! Yippee!

The Step 2 units go more slowly but as of today, I'm up to 40 units done of the 100 that I need.

Clue 3 is due out tomorrow sometime, so I guess I hafta pick up the pace, LOL!

Felix and I have recently discovered that the TV has a  music station, 947, that is running traditional Christmas carols. We love to let it run for an hour or so as background music and sing along.

Miss Emma Lynne likes it when we sing and wags her tail and surreptitiously licks our faces.

She has a silly thing that she does that amuses us to no end. We call it "taking a tennis-ball bath."

She wriggles on top of several collected tennis balls on the futon and kicks and squirms, playing to her heart's content as we cheer her on. It is such fun to watch!


Enjoy the little things!

Happy sewing!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Some Of Step Two

After a wonderful hour-long session at my Chair Yoga class at the Senior Center, I did a few of the Step 2 units for Bonnie K. Hunter's Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt. 

My progress shows that I AM bothering to make the cute little "bonus triangles," or, "quilt seeds," as Bonnie likes to call them.

See those perfectly drawn pencil lines in the above photograph? It's worth it to draw them! And a big "Thank you, again, Grace!" goes out to my friend in Maine who brought me a purple mechanical marking pencil from her retreat in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The pencil says, "Delaware Quilter's Retreat," and the retreats are very well run by Marge Gordon. link
I've been enjoying that marking tip from Bonnie for my Sunny Lanes blocks, too. If you're interested in making Sunny Lanes with me, the blocks look like this:

I'm using Civil War stuff for all the 4-patches, and the ivory white is Kona Snow, while the golden tan is a Kansas Troubles from Moda. Marcia Hohn has great free instructions here!

Ahh, but I digress! I must stay on track to work on Step 2 of Grand Illusion.

So far, I've only done a handful of the 100 units that are needed, but that's okay, because ice storms are predicted for the whole week. Please, can we just keep our power?

There will be more variety as I add more different blacks and pinks as I go. What pleases me most is to get an accurate  4 1/2" measure. Yeay!

If you're just cruising and you haven't yet been to Bonnie K. Hunter's Monday Linky Party, you simply must check it out!

Stay warm and quilt on!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

My Version of Celtic Solstice

The brilliant sunshine glints against the snow's crusty icy layers. My driveway is a mess, but I was able to hump through the snow around the front of the house to get to my clothesline. So here are the photos of my version of Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice. Yes, it's finished!!!

Thank you, Bonnie, for yet another great design!

My dear friends, Grace, and Nann, both concurred that the deepest indigo (it was a Judie Rothermel Party of Twelve from Marcus Brothers) would be the best choice for the binding. I'm so glad that I did listen to them because it looks marvelous now that it's on there! Thank you for your input, my fellow Stashbusters.

Angela Walter's Paisley Feathers (link) was what I quilted into the borders. Thank you, Angela, for the free video that gave me the confidence to try feathers on a big important-to-me quilt. I did plain old free hand spirals quilted into the body of the center.
Many thanks also go out to Ellen Peter's for her wonderful quilting studio where I was able to rent some time on her longarm to do this quilt.

I think that the quilting works nicely to compliment the piecing without overpowering it.

I had intended to take more pictures of this quilt, but my batteries ran out, so this is it for now, LOL!

I'm a wee bit behind in the current Bonnie Hunter mystery, Grand Illusion, due to all that hand-hemming on the Celtic Solstice.

When the new yellow Renee Nanneman for Andover fabric arrived yesterday, I jumped in and tried a little shortcut on the piecing of step 1 of Grand Illusion.

Instead of cutting out individual squares of the yellow and sewing them onto the HST's, I carefully oriented the HST's onto a strip of yellow and then sewed down the strip. Then I cut them apart. I first learned this technique doing Log Cabins and it may have been Subee who taught me, not sure now.

It worked so well that I did it for the black squares too.

If you try this, be sure to feed the turquoise or aqua part of the HST through first or your pieces will not be oriented correctly.

I pressed them open and clipped them apart very carefully. Soon there were stacks ready to join into Unit 1 pieces.

Don't you just love chain-piecing? In they go, under the machine, and then the next one, whee! Chain pressing is fun, too!

And here are the Unit 1's so far, about 32 made and more in progress.

Now I'll try to do a few of the Step 2 Double Diamonds to stay current for the Monday linky party over at Bonnie's blog, Don't miss it on Monday!

Happy sewing!

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