Saturday, December 29, 2007

I Spy Quilt Top ~ No Text

DD4 I Spy Quilt Top

The picture for this post will appear above...I am editting my post, and it won't allow me to add a picture. Sorry for the inconvenience!


For those of you who have been patiently is my DD4's I Spy quilt top. I have to quilt it, and one of the other girls will sew down the binding. We try to include "boy" and "girl" fabrics for the center so it can be used by all.

The outer border on this one is one of my favorites...a Timeless Treasures black with crayons and squiggles floating around on the background.

Busy day here at the Parker ranchero. My DH asked each of our 8 children (at the breakfast table) what they needed as far as "Daddy time" today. My DD3 asked him to help them clean off and organize our patio. Bless her heart, she has a lot of me in her! They went through our many bicycles, garden tools, yard machines (mowers, trimmers, etc.) and got that area all cleaned up. What a great difference that will make now and in the future!

I plan on going up and cleaning up my bedroom. It's the toxic dump for all the extra stuff we have that doesn't have a home. I need to better organize my decorations. We have many seasonal decorations that tend to float about in my room if they're out of season. I think I should invest in a couple more plastic large bins with lids to have places for all these things. Some are floral arrangements and things that don't pack well. I need to get those together.

How do YOU store your wall quilts when they're not on walls? We have many, many (and I do mean MANY) wall quilts of various sizes. What happens is that I make an every day quilt for a wall space, then I make a Christmas one for that same place (similar size, matching room, and so on). They I make a patriotic one. Hmmm...a fall quilt would look nice, wouldn't it? But where do these quilts live when they are not on a wall? In my bedroom, of course! I don't want to fold the large (over 40") ones because they get near-permanent wrinkles in them. Fortunately, there are only 2 places where I have ones that large.

You can peek at my Web shots album to see some of these. I should photograph those that aren't in there for posterity's sake, too.

Off to attack that messy bedroom (or at least a small portion thereof...need a few minutes to hand quilt, too!)...


Friday, December 28, 2007

Small Luxury, Gigantic Joy

This is a picture of the area beside my computer screen and sewing machine (they share an L-shaped desk). You see one of my luxuries...a Yankee Candle. Yesterday I discovered that there is a Yankee Candle store about 20 minutes from my house! Oh, joy, oh, delight! I splurged and got 2 more. The large 22 ounce size was only $10, so I got 2 of my favorite scents, Christmas Berries and Harvest. I light one of these babies every day for a little while. Makes the sewing room smell soooooo good. This one is vanilla caramel. Mmm-mmm.

This morning DD3 made a batch of cookies for some teens who will be visiting this afternoon. I hand quilted the string quilt while I supervised her efforts. The cookies turned out perfect, and I hand quilted an entire block on my quilt. I'm using white thread and quilting 1/4" inside each piece of fabric in the block. I'm going to freehand a double wavy line in each sashing strip and quilt those in navy blue.

I left out a little detail. Yesterday I hand-basted the whole string quilt with thread. So it is now ready to hand quilt when I have free moments. I do not use a hoop. If a quilt top is fairly small, I usually baste with safety pins. But they get in the way on a large project. I like the way the thread basting is supple but keeps those layers in place.

I love to see hand quilting done by others. Please send me a link to pics you have of completed projects. This quilt practically demands hand quilting because of its age and pattern. Stay tuned!

Tomorrow I may take some pics of a chatelaine I received as a Christmas gift. It will keep all my hand-quilting supplies together. Very clever.

Until then,

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Carolina Crossroads ~ Unit 4 Finished

This little handful is the Carolina Crossroads unit 4. I started on them bright and early yesterday AM. There are 40 blocks. I am very intrigued to know where this quilt is going. Since I'm very short on free time, I'm content to let Bonnie lead the way w/o any guesses on my part.


Yesterday's Work in Pictures...

Above is a pic of ALL I have left from the 1930's string blocks I inherited at Thanksgiving. I'm so proud that I was able to wait until I studied them to make sure I used as much of them as I could. All that is left from the trimmings is the handful of 3/4-1" wide pieces above. Not even enough to make a block w/o a zillion seams. Below is the layout I decided on. After the blocks were trimmed, some of the knots were cut off, so I wanted to stabilize the blocks ASAP. Here is the result (minus the navy blue borders I'm now cutting and about to attach...

This top is about 55" x 66-1/2". I am adding 9" borders. I am eager to start hand-quilting this. I enjoy looking at each fabric when I hand quilt. These blocks STINK! That is the result of 77 years of storage who-knows-where! Most of the fabrics are small checks and some stripes. Makes me think they are leftovers from making clothing for children, aprons, and that kind of thing.

Below is a close-up of the thread used to sew the strings together. Does anyone know what was used for "string" in those days? It is so thick, and leaves huge holes where it's been pulled out.

Please enlighten me!

I didn't want to buy fabrics to finish it, so I chose a navy blue Thimbleberries Christmas Street print. It was dark enough to contrast with the blocks, and I have a 20-yard bolt of it! I want to use something light for backing. It will be quilted with white thread, and I don't want the thread to show on the back...much. I'm going to quilt inside each "string" to accentuate and strengthen them. I hope it turns out well.

Should be a nice throw size when I am finished. I'm going to quilt with navy thread in the borders with free-hand drawn fans if I can stand it. I am a perfectionist, and suffer because of it.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Does This Look Like Happy Holidays?

This is my youngest daughter. She will be 10 in February. With the busy-ness of our lives (holidays, home schooling 8 children, having a home business, and life in general), I have neglected making time to teach her to machine sew. Well, wait no more!

We make an "I Spy" quilt for all the new babies in our church and close friends. We need to have 5 ready for the next 6 months or so. I let my daughter lay out the squares on our little design wall (I cut them out). With just a little instruction, she already is sewing her rows together. We are using Bonnie's webbing the top method, so there are no misplaced blocks.

The top is 4-1/2" novelty blocks with 4-1/2" yellow tone on tone alternate blocks, forming a checkerboard. The quilts finish about 40" square. We just started doing this about 6 months ago.

This is definitely happy holidays for me! This is the 4th installment for the Carolina Crossroads quilt. I had to make my triangles a tad larger than the original instructions. Fortunately I checked after cutting just 5 squares. I keep reading it over, but I must have missed something.

This is an aerial shot of unit 4 on my ironing board down to the floor. I will be ironing them in a few minutes.

I'm probably one of the few people that woke this AM and checked Bonnie's blog first thing. The family and I were watching "It's a Wonderful Life" last night, but I kept falling asleep in the living room. So I conceded and just went to bed. As a result, I was the first one up this AM. By a long shot.

I checked the blogs I read daily, then did more hand quilting on my Christmas 2007 quilt (which is rapidly approaching completion) until others started stirring. I was so excited to see that unit 4 directions had been posted.

My DH is teaching 3 of my girls how to play bridge. The 4 boys are all engaged in a strategy computer game. So that left DD4 and I to occupy ourselves. We played 3 games of 10,000 (she won 2 out of 3, so she was very happy). Then I decided we had time for her to start some machine sewing. She is doing so well.

I'll post a picture of her progress later today.

DD1 made home made cinnamon rolls for us and 3 neighbor families. GOOD morning! The smell must have calories, they are so aromatic!!

Why am I sewing today instead of merry making? We've had a family staying with us for the last 10 days or so. They flew home yesterday AM. We had so much busy-ness while they were here with visitors, outings, etc., that we are taking a couple days to rest and relax. Relax is spelled s-e-w-i-n-g to me. We are not exchaning presents among our immediate family (and just a few other than that), so that isn't even a factor. Back to relaxing (sewing) for me and DD4.