Saturday, December 8, 2007

Decorating with Quilts

Kathie asked us to share how we decorate with quilts. We moved into a different house last year. I have a large (largely useless) foyer that I at first considered a waste of space. I finally realized that it *is* the perfect place for a little decorating. It's the first thing one sees when entering our front door.
This past fall I made two little quilts to decorate the space. This picture shows one--a small square quilt I draped over a crock under a little antique table.

The quilt was made from left over squares from a Pineapple Blossom I made from Bonnie's pattern. I used plain squares for between the pinwheels and hand quilted simple diagonal lines through it. It's one of my favorite small decorations. It's all fall hues of purples, oranges, browns, greens. I like to see real people's houses, don't you?
Notice that each triangle is made of two main one and another on the tip.


Friday, December 7, 2007

That Thing She Does

This is before and after for my 1-1/2" strip bins. Just 30 minutes or so of cleaning off my cutting table. I've been doing this for years. This is enough for the rest of my Carolina Crossroads 9-patch blocks and then some, I hope. I've made many quilts from my 1-1/2" strip bin. Using a large variety of fabrics makes them nice and scrappy.

I'm so glad to see Tazzie is joining the mystery quilt. I'll be watching your progress!

Just got home from DH's Christmas party. He works with such a great group of guys. Their wives decided to come to my house the next time the guys have a get together! What in the world will we do?? Eating chocolate and doing a craft are high on the list!

Talk to you all tomorrow...Joan

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Carolina Crossroads...all Rail Fence blocks.

This is a picture from last night of the 100 rail fence blocks for Bonnie's mystery quilt, Carolina Crossroads. I fully intend to keep up with this. Our next assignment is to make 100 9-patch blocks. Already mentally there. My 3rd son is helping me by doing all the pressing for this quilt. He is earning Christmas money. I run a sweat shop here. I might pay him the whopping sum of $2.00 for a LOT of pressing. It saves me so much time.

My quilt's accent color is BLACK. That's the color of the center strip for all my rails. It's been interesting to see some of the other color combinations. I don't think I've seen but one or two that I actually LIKE.

Just a short time ago, you never would have found black in my quilts (or house either for that matter). Now each room (and quilt) has a touch. I had lots of black scraps left over from the Heritage Stars shown below. Each star in that is a different black or combination of blacks. That yields lots of small pieces.

I employed another Bonnie trick to keep track of how many units I have finished...pinning 10 together (how did I manage before Bonnie?). When I forget how many I already have (as I often do...must be another sign of old age), I just count pins. Each one represents 10 blocks, units, whatever.


Snowman Pictures at Last!

The above is the quilt I mentioned earlier this week. I had pieced this a couple years ago. It got lost in the shuffle of moving last April, then I realized I needed to UNquilt it and REquilt it. This is such a cute design. The head and body are log-cabin type favorite. The scarf is a lovely design and looks so realistic. I think it needs a bit more quilting...maybe some snowflakes in the background with white embroidery floss or perle cotton?? How about some wind swirls?? At least it's up for this year. To be improved for next year possibly.

The other malfunction this quilt was that he did not have a nose until yesterday. A snowman w/o a carrot nose is like a day w/o sunshine! Just did not seem right. The one I embroidered on is a bit small, but maybe it was a baby carrot?? LOL!


Carolina Crossroads...Humble Beginnings

Bonnie over at started a new quilt (as often as she breathes)...she said it was going to be a secret, a mystery...a woman asked her if she'd post her directions so others could join in, and as with so many Bonnie things, the rest is history.

These little blocks are actually the reason I started you could see my progress. Voila! Installment #1.



Well, my dreams have been realized.

First, for your calorie-free enjoyment, a cookie from the last baking (was that 2 days ago?). MMM-mmm.
This is just to whet your appetites...quilting and otherwise.

Now that I can download pictures, the sky's the limit.

Stay tuned...errands to do, but lots of blogging when I get back!


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Snowman Fun

This cute quilt top is one my 17-year-old daughter pieced for a customer last Christmas. I think it's very cute, and I have too little wall space in this house!!

I'm making headway on the Carolina Crossroads mystery quilt. My 100 rail fence blocks are pieced. A picture is safe and sound on my camera. Still waiting to be able to download them. My DH assures me help is on the way!

Today's sewing activity included cleaning off my cutting table. I am fortunate to have a permanent area for cutting and another for sewing (back to back in the same room). My cutting table is a banquet-sized table that DH built up for me so my back wouldn't suffer while I cut. It's perfect. I cut up all the small pieces piled up here and there from working on customer quilts to feed into my 1-1/2" scrap bin. If I have a big piece (larger than 2" square, LOL), it goes into a pile. coming.

I am nearly finished piecing 3 small table quilts (or wall quilts, depending on how the future owner wants to use them). I am using a Christmas Street Thimbleberries print for the focus. Kaleidoscope type blocks (4 of them) with red sashing in between and a dark green outer border. Pics perhaps tomorrow!
It's so fun to hear from other quilters.

Thanks to Kairle for reaffirming my tentative plan to make my own Baptist Fan stencil. How neat to hear from a good friend I've never even MET!

I'd be interested to know if you hand quilt, and how do you decide if a project is WORTHY to be hand quilted?

I machine and hand quilt. Always have a hand quilting project going. I have two times a week that I know I'm going to be sitting in the car for up to an hour. Violin and piano lessons. I've gotten tons of stuff done in that time. There aren't any stores (or much civilization for that matter) near where the lessons are, so it would be a waste of time to do anything but just STAY. Not really enough time to come home. A blessing in disguise!!

Let me hear about your hand quilt projects. I love to see quilts others have made.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Heritage Stars

Heritage Stars

Hand Quilting Baptist Fans ~ HELP!!

I'm sure someone out there hand quilts. I have a stencil for a baptist fan. I'd like to have a larger one, where there is more space between the rows. It's for a large throw. Has anyone freehand marked large fans?? Any suggestions? Here is the quilt I'd like to do, in black thread, no less. Actually, it's the pic in the next post. This Blogger-land is weirding me out. I don't think I've ever said or written that before. I intended the picture to go with THIS post. Can't this box read my mind?

Any suggestions for a very large stencil or hand marking would be appreciated.

~Joan, who is looking forward to some hand quilting tonight...just to relax (2007 Christmas quilt, here I come!)

Yuletide Wreath Quilt ~ 2007

I'm trying not to get frustrated about my inability to upload new pictures. Hopefully that will be resolved in another day or two. In the meantime, I have plenty of quilty pictures to share with you. I'll stick with recent history.

This is a quilt I made for one of my best customers (she lives in California). She just got it yesterday. Nearly all the quilts I make are scrappy--they are just so fun to study! This is called Yuletide Wreath. The bow is 3-D...the knot is not sewn down on the sides. This is 42" square. I got really adventurous and quilted a large feather in the outer 3 borders. First time!

The aroma of freshly-baked Christmas cookies is filling the house. My oldest daughter (17) is baking several recipes for our annual Christmas cookies plates for neighbors and church family. Seeing as I've been dieting and have lost 15 pounds in the last 6 weeks, I have abstained except for one each of the peanut butter kiss cookies and a Reese's chunk cookie. My resistance is only so strong, you know!

I am noticing that the paragraphs I put into my posts are not showing up and it's one big blog blob. Can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong? (watch--it will work this's like, "Honey, the car is making a funny noise!")

~Joan, in cookie heaven

Monday, December 3, 2007

Being Angelic

This is what I've been working on this afternoon...clothespin angels. I have made one for each of my living children. This year I finally made one for a daughter who was born in 2001 and only lived a few minutes. All of my other children's are red. Her angel is white. I have a sister with 8 children. She reminded me that I "owed" her 4 more ornaments. I also made some for my husband's sister's boys (she has 3). So I've been busy being angelic this afternoon (up in the air harping about something).
Have you joined Bonnie's mystery quilt, Carolina Crossroads? I have!! I have humble beginnings. I only have 8 or 9 blocks made so far. I used up ALL of my 1-1/2" strips on the quilt shown below. I actually cut yardage for strips. I've made many a quilt from that 1-1/2" strip bin. Time to cut up the stragglers and really uglies to get them out of the way. I agree with Bonnie...if it's still ugly, you just haven't cut it small enough. When our computer is able to download new pictures, I will show you my progress. I'm using various blacks for the center and a hodgepodge of scraps for the outer pieces. I'm eager to see how others' quilts are coming along.
I was so flattered to see my blog on Bonnie's daily reading list. It's like I'm partly famous!
Is anyone out there in the Carolinas?

When I read my last blog post, I instantly saw not one, but two mistakes! First, I omitted the name of the quilt pictured in the last blog. It's called Cozy Christmas. I am actually selling my only kit for that on eBay right now.

I am working on a new Christmas quilt that might be finished for this year yet, but probably will be for next. I machine quilted loops in the white areas in the center. I'm currently hand quilting cross hatching in the two end areas around the star and vine applique. I plan to then hand quilt 4 hearts in the red squares on point, with the heart points touching.

Mistake #2 is that I made it sound like I have more than one husband. Small error. One husband is enough, thank you very much. He is the BEST! I said I was "using an old work computer of my husbands". That absent apostrophe will get you every time. In order to be grammatically correct, I should have typed, "I have been using my husband's old work computer". But it did make you stop and think for a minute, right??

The name of my blog, Keeping You in Stitches, reflects my love of sewing as well as my ability to make people laugh. At least that's what I've been told! I just tend to see things humorously. Case in point...

Yesterday AM, my family (except for me and the 3 youngest) had just left for church. A few minutes later, our house phone rings. I answered (w/o looking at the caller ID) and hear, "Hey, Babe, what are you doing?" I had been copying recipes to include with a slow cooker for a wedding shower gift for that evening, and told him so. Then I realized that is WASN'T my husband on the phone! He said, "You're an imposter--what have you done with my wife?" We both just burst out laughing. After glancing at the number of the caller, I said, "Well, I just realized you're NOT my HUSBAND!" We laughed another minute, then he said in parting, "Well, if you're copying recipes, maybe we can work somethng out??..." LOL!


A Whole New World

Wow!! There is a lot to learn about blogging. I plan to keep tweaking the blog until it has everything I want to share. I'd like to add some links to online photo albums, auctions, my favorite blogs, etc. Any suggestions are welcome!

Thanks to those who have already welcomed me. I will probably be sharing a bit every day. Not that I'm a prolific writer, but there is always so much going on.

Son 3 and I stayed home from church last night. He helped me (by pressing) finish 6 nativity quilts. I did the piecing. DD 3 had already fused and cut out all the animals, stars, and manger pieces.

We are enjoying cool weather here in NC. It's a refreshing change from the oppressive heat of this past summer.

Here is a picture of a quilt I pieced last year. I have it quilted, bound, and washed now, but don't have a new picture yet.

I am using an old work computer (old as in a few months, not years) of my husbands, and it runs Vista (whatever that means!). We need to get a license for the Office package. All that to say I won't be able to share any NEW pictures until that happens. But it will be soon!

Last night I also finished a darling snowman quilt that I started years ago. I had to unquilt it ~ ugh~ and requilt it because the batting broke up (it was 100% cotton). Never had that happen before. I wonder if it was old age? I will share a picture of that quilt ASAP.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Day ONE and 3 posts already!

As usual, I have jumped into this blogging thing without instruction or much thought for that matter. I just know I've enjoyed peeking into the lives of others through their blogs. They've given me new ideas, inspiration, concerns, plans, etc. I hope mine does the same for you.

I've been asked if I sell quilts. Yes, yes, yes, I do. I have an account on eBay under the name whistlersmother10. I currently am selling a nativity quilt (23-1/2" x 11-1/4") and a large throw (66" square). Check them out if you're interested...

I have 4 sons and 4 daughters. They have all helped me piece or quilt or whatever from time to time.

Enclosed in this post is the large throw currently on eBay.

I will try not to post too often, but I'm home from church today with a cold/sinus infection/etc.


Second post ~ already??

Well, I'm learning as I go. I just figured out how to attach a picture to a post...I think! If all goes well, there will be part of a nativity quilt below or above, of wherever these things go...

First blog post...what in the world have I gotten myself into?

Well, I imagine I'm getting in over my head as usual. There are so many quilter's blogs that I have enjoyed reading daily for several months now. I have shared some of my quilts with them and have been encouraged to start my own blog. Well, here goes.

I hope you will be inspired by this blog, not only in quilting, but in life in general. This will not be limited only to quilting, but that will most likely be the bulk of it.

I am presently piecing some nativity quilts for friends and customers. Daughter #3 is helping by tracing and cutting out all the appliques. What a time saver for me. I am getting ready to machine quilt 2 that will go to friends for Christmas gifts.