The Most Fun I Can Have with my Clothes On

Today was reward day. Today, I have finished all my must-do’s for the week, picked up all our food donations for the big food drive ending at our church this coming Sunday, took care of house needs, took care of tiresome household chores. Today, I finally got to work on a quilt I have been thinking about for a long time.

My favorite nephew and his wife are going to have a baby, due date on January 1st, how cool is that? Always before I have gone with brights, but I am thinking New Year Baby, and I am also remembering how The Happy Baby LOVES black and white prints, it is like he has never seen anything so wonderful. He could actually focus for minutes at a time, trying to figure out my daughter-in-law’s zebra stripe couch cushions.

And I have been cutting out Snail’s Trail quilt patterns for a long time, but all that piecing has intimidated me. My nephew and his wife also have three cats.

Looking through all my quilt clippings, I found a Quiltmaker quilt that was almost what I wanted. With my handy draft paper, I worked around until I got what I wanted. . . a set of four sets of four cats, and my stash of black and white prints.

The first interlocked tails block comes out perfect:

Then, the first cat block, and it is a perfect 8 1/2 inches:

Cat plus snail’s trail:

I was having so much fun. This quilt took more thinking than it took putting together. Once I had it figured out, it just created itself, and I was having so much fun!

The first quarter; I forgot I needed to have the center block a different fabric so I later had to pick it out and replace it with the correct block:

No, it is not a black and white photo; it is a black and white quilt. I am planning to applique little red hearts on the white kitties and little white bow ties on the black kitties. I have to think of something to do in the center of the quilt, but I am thinking that is a good place to applique the baby’s name and birth date when he gets here.

Not all my imaginings turn out the way I imagine them. This one, I loved working on, and I love the way it came together. I love the way Snail’s Trail creates the circular motion and I love the way the cats create their own sort of modern border. I’m not even a big fan of black and white, but it’s fun to step out of the old comfort zone from time to time.

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Lining Up Projects

I have a lot to do, Christmas coming, a baby coming and a wedding coming, and at least one house guest coming, so I need to be organized and methodical in my approach.

I know what I want to do for the wedding bags, so I have cut out the tops and linings, so that they are ready to go:

I am washing the fabrics for the baby quilt, and I have figured out how to cut the pieces so that all the cat tails will interlock 🙂

Meanwhile, I have a quilt part-quilted, and I need to clear that one out of the way before I head into these next two projects:

I keep it out where I have to look at it every day so I will get busy and DO it. So far, not so good, but I am building up to finishing it.

I miss my huge old quilting room. 😦

Seaside Cottage 2

You probably think I have gone stale, but what the Colors of the Sea quilt was something I had promised my sister long ago, and this quilt is the quilt I had started when she first asked, and I cut enough for two, finished hers, and then mine languished – for years – before I got around to finishing it.

This was my sister’s quilt:

Size, fabrics – everything is identical, only the appliques and a little of the quilting differ:

Bottom left:

Bottom Right:

I stuffed the sand dollars and the scallop shells so the quilting would have more definition:

I wave quilted part of it, and shallow-water-swirl quilted the other part:

This is not an original quilt, but I used shells for the borders instead of flowers, and used my own quilting ideas. I believe the most of the fabrics and the pattern were from a collection called Seaside Cottage by Moda.

I cut and pieced the quilt in Kuwait, appliqued and quilted in Doha, and did the binding and finishing hand quilting in Pensacola. Whew! It’s finished!

Under The Sea / Colors of the Sea 2

I made my Mom a quilt around ten years ago, and my middle sister has told me several times since then that she wants one like it. I started cutting this one out while I was still in Doha, finished cutting, piecing, sandwiching and quilting here in Pensacola.

My Mom’s quilt:

It isn’t the same. No two quilts are ever the same. When I was back in Seattle, I took a look at the first quilt and saw that I had made all four corner pieces match where they came together, something I have never done since. I think/thought that the contrast in light and dark in the corner pieces helped the movement of the quilt, but I may have to rethink that. I have a large collection of ‘colors of the sea’ fabrics; when I see them, I can’t resist them. I wonder if I can use them up in my lifetime?

Several of the fabrics are from a hand-dye class I took in Kuwait, lovely Diana Hill, and I am still using up my hand dyes – and those of others – as I piece these quilts. Such wonderful, laughter-filled memories!

This is a larger quilt, large enough to cover a double bed but probably not large enough for two people to sleep under unless they are young and in love, LOL.

Can you see the fish I hand appliqued in the photo above? I wanted them to blend with their background, just as real fish do when you spot them in their habitat.

This school of fish (and the others) are from a wonderful fabric I bought in Doha, and from which my Doha Fish Quilt was made. I am a strange woman; I actually love to applique.

I gave the quilt to my niece to put on my sister’s bed, at their Seattle home. I am betting she doesn’t check this blog, so she will have a big surprise when she sees it. I bet she forgot she even asked for it. 🙂

Chained Islamic Stars

I actually started this quilt many many years ago, I believe while we still lived in Germany, and I got 37 squares finished and ran out of steam. It is a very fiddly design. I designed it myself. The finished square was 9 inches and the post and sashing was one inch, but it was all one inch, (cut 1.5″) and man, it was tiresome.

I also didn’t quite know how to make the chain work, but last week as I sorted in preparation for packing up the quilt room, I knew what to do. When I had a surprise and one morning of my week fell open, I was able to stitch 36 into a nice quilt top that I can use as a table cover – or something. I got to show it at the Qater Quilt Guild meeting yesterday, before it gets packed up. It will be months before I can get to it once more.

The truth is, even after 10 years, I love the intricately patterned fabrics I found for the stars. Ten years later, I rarely use white as a background – now, I am itching to try this same pattern (I can figure out now how to do it with less fuss) with a dark background. I love the way it has all gone together.

For my Kuwait friend – I don’t think you ever even saw this unfinished one, but slowly slowly I AM working on that pile of UFO’s you assigned me!

Tension

2010 will be another interesting year for us, a year full of changes on the Richter scale of 10, like a 10. We have a retirement, a move, a survey of all the household we have had in storage for 12 years, and a move from there. We have to buy a new house, and get it ready for our habitation. We have a grandson, and we will be living near family – that hasn’t happened for a long time.

We will no longer be living overseas. I cannot imagine.

So I am trying to finish up projects, eyeing shelves that need to be packed. NO. I am not leaving behind a lot of fabric. I will part with some, but I just did this, this packing out and moving in spring of last year and so no, I am not going to part with so much this time. Well, actually, I am.

I am looking at a quilt I started two years ago, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. I know who it is for. The quilting went bad and as I fixed it, I just wasn’t happy, so I let it go for a while. Now it doesn’t look so bad, but when I look at the back of the quilt, I can see my tension on my machine was erratic. There is another major flaw that my sharp eyed quilting friends will spot, but this is a quilt meant for use on a boat, so even a major flaw won’t matter:

It always shows. When you do handwork, it always shows. If you cross stitch, the stitches are too tight, and it sort of buckles. If you knit, the scale is off, and it feels too tight when you finish, relaxed knitters knit some air into their works. When you quilt, it shows on the backside, even if it doesn’t show on the front. If you hand quilt, the stitches are too tiny, too tight, too perfect and you come out with a hard piece rather than one of those lovely soft hand quilted pieces. It shows. Your handwork shows your state of mind.

My problem is that often under pressure, I turn to my handwork! So I can look at pieces and know what I was going through. What makes me laugh is the pieces I work the hardest on, nobody cares. Nobody but me. Things that I design and toss off in a heartbeat – people love! Go figure.

Today I am putting the binding on the two little baby girl quilts. They don’t look so bad now that they are quilted, thanks be to God. I keep telling myself “this is a hobby! This is supposed to be fun!”

Georgina’s Blog

You think you know a person, and then you discover you know nothing! One of the quilters in our Qatar Quilter’s Guild is so productive, I don’t know where she gets all the extra hours in the day to do all the work she does. In addition, her work is meticulous! Her color choices are always right on the money.

Part of the reason I love her work is that while her piecing is perfect, her applique skills are even better!

What I didn’t know was that Georgina also has a blog; it is in Spanish, but I can understand almost everything – she illustrates with lots and lots of photos. WOW. She is an amazing lady. Here is her blog address:

Georgina’s Blog