Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, to all my quilting and sewing friends! I had a very lovely day though I didn't have any time for quilting or sewing. However, I received some very appropriate gifts.

Sister #1 surprised me with two quilt-related gifts.

The first was a Christmas stocking made out of a Double Wedding Ring cutter quilt. The woman she bought it from told her that it needn't be used only on Christmas Eve. For example, she herself had hung one, filled with long kitchen implements, in her kitchen as an object d'art. (Personally, I would never display textile art in a kitchen unless it was highly washable since it would be exposed to both moisture and grease.) I plan to hang mine in my sewing room. The second gift, which you can also see in the picture, was a framed, vintage quilt block. I believe this pattern is called Oak Leaf & Reel. I might hang this one in my living room -- just so visitors will know that a quilter lives here. (Though I suppose that the cutting table in the living room would also be a clue.)

As you know, I've become very interested in vintage patterns, so I was also delighted with the apron which Sister #2 made for me from McCall's 1713. She sent me this picture a couple of weeks ago asking if I thought our mom would like it as a Christmas gift. I replied so enthusiastically that she also made one for me and another for Sister #1. (Different colors, of course.)

Maybe I'll wear mine tomorrow when I sit down to sew. (I've yet to start my half-square triangles for RRCB.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bagging Bears

I'm taking a break from the mystery quilt right now while I pack the Christmas presents for Fillius Major and his family who live on the other side of the country.

None of the grandchildren are getting handmade gifts this year, but I'm making fabric gift bags for two of them because Teddy Bears are very hard to wrap.

Miss Strawberry Bear has just tried on her bag for size. She finds it very comfy. Master Blue Bear clutches his light saber somewhat anxiously. He's worried about whether the chili pepper fabric is masculine enough for a Jedi-bear's traveling bag. (Isn't that light saber cute?)

I'm not the sort to waste good quilting fabric on a project like this. These are Walmart fabrics which I bought at least a year ago intending to make aprons. But after I'd prewashed them, I discovered that they were too thin and too prone to wrinkle for almost anything I'd like to make.

But they're certainly good enough to make "green" Christmas wrapping. I'm just happy they're leaving my stash, and who knows -- perhaps my gift bags will be reused and passed around among family members and friends. Hmm... I've got a 20% off your entire purchase coupon for Jo-Ann's, and the Christmas fabric is probably marked way down. If I wanted to go green with gift bags next year, now would be the time to stock up.

(Oops! Didn't mean for that to sound like an advertisement. Just thinking aloud.)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ugly Fabric Update

Okay, I concede the title of "Queen of the Uglies" to Lisa at Inspired Quilter for her house fly fabric. The house flies on it win for their more detailed legs and abdomens. Plus, her fabric has stripes! Congratulations, Lisa. Do go over to her blog and take a look.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Repulsive Fabric

Bonnie Hunter has been urging us not to confine ourselves to bland and safe fabric choices as we string piece our Step 3 blocks. As long as a fabric has a white, cream, or even beige background, it counts as a neutral.

And to encourage us to loosen up, she suggested that we post our weirdest neutrals. I figured mine were too mundane to post -- until tonight. What was I thinking when I bought this? Eeeeeuw!

I hate house flies.

So I lost no time in attacking them with a rotary cutter, and now those little vermin are in 1.5 inch strips. I hope they won't make my quilt look too unsavory, but at least they're out of my stash.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Was Right!

My hunch was correct! We're string piecing the neutrals into 8.5" blocks. This should be fun and easy, especially in the evenings when my middle-aged eyes don't see very well.

Bonnie recommends using old phone book pages for our paper foundations. But I worry about the ink transferring when they're ironed. So I'm going to cut my squares from pattern-tracing tissue paper. I've got a whole roll of the stuff. (I also do garment sewing.) It's thin and is easy to tear away after stitching.

In my first paper piecing project (which was about eight years ago), I made the mistake of using 20 lb. printer paper. Well, they say there's no teacher like experience, and it's true. I'll never do that again. That stuff was not only hard to rip out, little bits of it were left inside the stitches and I had to pull them out with tweezers. It turned me off from paper piecing for a long time and made what was supposed to have been a fun, quick project into tedious drudgery.

When I cut out my paper foundations, I plan to use my quilting rulers and an old rotary cutter with a dull blade. It's good enough for paper and much quicker than scissors!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jury Duty -- Reprieved!

I was supposed to be on jury duty today. But when I called in last night, their automated system informed me that I am not needed. So I've got a free day which I plan to devote to Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt, "Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll."

Here is a photo of some of my Step One units. (Note the cotton boll fabric!)

What's interesting is that even when I'm not sure how well certain fabrics will look together, once they've been sliced into Step One Units I just love them -- they look so cute!

I'm going with Bonnie's color scheme: pink, green, and chocolate brown. My browns are mostly Civil War repros. The pinks are all over the map. I've got some Civil War double pinks, some mauves which I bought back in the '80s or '90s, some perky pinks from my '30s repros and some very modern pinks. Ditto with my greens, most of which are from the yellowish side of the color wheel. But I've also included a few medium or forest greens as a relish.

[Well, there was supposed to be a photo of my fabrics here, but the digital camera is not co-operating. Instead, it's giving me a picture of a spaghetti squash which my son split open. He discovered that one of the seeds inside had sprouted. Why is it green? Don't plants need sunlight to do their little chlorophyll thingy? It's pretty dark inside a squash.]

By the way, I was rereading Bonnie's yardage requirements for this quilt. She calls for "assorted neutral scraps from strings, to strips, to scraps, to FQs to yardage" and the more variety the better. The mention of strings and strips really piqued my curiosity. I wonder if there is going to be some string piecing in this pattern?