On the Design Wall

I have been making a few things to welcome my grandson  who will be born in September. In keeping with the Batman decor of his room, I have made some Batman burp cloths and bibs. Today, I started piecing a small quilt. There is research that shows that newborns see primarily in shades of black, gray, and white. I ordered some Batman quilt charms that are mainly these colors. I plan to add some yellow, and maybe some of that dusty blue color of Batman’s clothes. I might add sashing, and two borders.
The four nine patches are on the design wall, along with four corner bat symbol blocks. I need to think about this a bit more.
I already have two baby quilts that I need to bind. These are a bit more colorful.

Peanuts Quilt

As mentioned in an earlier post, my sister asked if I could make a quilt for her son. He will be 50 soon. He has always been a fan of the Peanut characters. He still decorates his home with seasonal Peanut decorations. My sister had been purchasing Peanut character fabric throughout the years. She gave me a tote bag filled with remnants and half yardage of old fabric. The fabric was in good shape, just old. I purchased a panel that had three different character scenes. I chose one for the center, and just built from there. My sister said she would use the other two parts from the panel to make pillows or pillowcases. I purchased red, orange, yellow, and charcoal fabric to make the center boarders. I also used some white and black thin striped fabric, and some white with red polka-dot fabric from my stash. The character fabric was used in making a keyboard quilt border. For the backing, I cut 12.5 inch squares from the character fabric.
I delivered the quilt to my sister today, and she was very happy. My sister is a master gardener. I thought the garden would be a good setting to take the photos of the quilt.

Fabric Quilt Journal

My year-long project for 2018 was based on a book, 52 Tuesdays, by Sandy Gilreath. I loved the idea of making weekly hexagon blocks to represent memories of special people, places, things, or events. The author was very generous with her idea and encouraged the readers to create their own quilt journal. There were 52 Fridays in 2018, so that is the name of my quilt. I also kept a hard copy journal of the process and the memory of each block. It was a learning process for me. I used this as an opportunity to practice quilting skills and learn new skills. My first block was the very first time I thread sketched a piece. I also dabbled in fabric paint, crayons, and pencils. It was a great way to use scraps. If I were to do it differently, I would not complete each hexagon with backing. Sewing the completed hexagons together did not work out for me. I took it to my friend, Jeana, who decided the best thing to do would be to longarm the quilt. She did a great job. She returned it to me a few months ago, but I have been doing other projects…binding is not my favorite thing to do. I needed to complete this project before I continued working on other projects. I spent the afternoon looking at each block and remembering  2018. The stories represented by each block definitely made me smile today.

Christmas in July

It is a hot and humid 94 degrees, and I was inside making Christmas house blocks for the Village quilt.
I do not know what my friends and I were thinking when we decided to make this quilt. It is cute, but there are so many pieces!
If I am going to ever complete this quilt, I knew I needed to come up with a system. A lot of the house pieces are cut, but I have cut some more in order to add variety. It makes it easier to “build” a house when there are many possible fabric combination. All of the character and chimney pieces were cut before we went on our retreat. I find it easier to pull the fabric needed for each house on one morning.
Then, I chain-sew the house and door portions. This is followed by chain-sewing the roof and chimneys. Finally, the roofs and houses are chain sewn.
I may have made too many Christmas houses for this quilt. When it is time for placing them on the design wall, I will decide if I will use all of the Christmas houses or not. My friend, Marti, suggested I make an Advent Calendar by adding a door that opens. Cute idea, but I am not going there. 😉

My favorite Christmas houses.

57 house blocks
75 more to go

Super Hero Avenue

As I was pulling fabrics to donate, I found a remnant of a super hero fabric that I had used to make pillow cases. They characters were the perfect size for fussy cutting and using in the Village quilt that I am making.

The Greater San Antonio Quilt Guild has a Storybooks and Quilts to Go program. I have the number of the contact person, because I may be interested in participating. The kits have quilt themed story books.
Or, I might just do something on my own. When my granddaughter was in kindergarten, I went to be a guest reader in her class. I read Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. Bear and his friends all sat on a quilt for story time. As part of the after reading activity I planned, each student made a paper block to build a classroom quilt.
I am thinking of making my own story-quilt kit for the Village quilt. I have friends who are still teaching, and it would be fun to write some lesson plans for them to use after I read the story. It would not be a quilt themed story, but I think the children would enjoy sitting on the quilt to hear the story. Then they could spend time looking and talking about the characters who live in each house.There are quite a few books on homes, community, and maps and it would be easy to create lesson plans based on these books.
I will have to finish this quilt before I even think of building a story kit. The idea is still on my Maybe List.

Fayetteville Fun

Today I am trying to recover from four days of fun in Fayetteville. My friend, Marti, arranged for us to have a quilting retreat in Fayetteville, Texas. It gave me the opportunity to spend time with Diane, a friend I met through Marti. Diane creates beautiful quilts, and I spent the four days learning so much from her. The clown car was packed to capacity, and we said we would have no room for any new purchases…😉 We found the room!
Our plan was for each of us to make the Village quilt. In preparation for this trip, we pooled our fabric remnants and scraps. We also had cut a lot of the pieces needed for this quilt. Marti had seen a variation of this Village pattern, where the doorway piece had a character fabric. We thought it was so cute, so we gathered all of the fabric characters we had in our stashes. Diane donated so much of her fabric to this project.

Before Marti and I met Diane in Fayetteville, we stopped in Luling. Diane had told us about her friend, Denise, who owns the Holly Dee Quilts Shop. The shop has a great selection of Marcia Derse fabric. There was a quilt made of Derse fabric on display, and I just loved it. Denise was so helpful in providing helpful hints on making this curved log cabin quilt. I added to my Derse stash by buying some more of the Treasure Hunt and Art History fat quarters. At this early stage of our retreat, I already had a new project on my list.
We stayed at Wisteria Bend Cottage, a bed and breakfast in Fayetteville. The owner provided such a personal touch and many amenities that made our stay cozy and comfortable. She even had two ironing boards set up for us. The lighting in the house was perfect for our sewing sessions. It was enjoyable drinking my morning coffee on one of the front porch rocking chairs.

Work Stations

After productive morning sessions, we would head out to eat lunch and explore the beauty of Central Texas. On our first outing, we visited La Grange, Texas. Bistro 108 has a menu that is worth visiting more than once. We visited the Texas Quilt Barn in search of background fabric for the Village quilt that Diane is making for one of our Meemaw friends. Diane is so generous with her time and skills. The Texas Quilt Barn will be a year old this August. It had a nice variety of fabric.

These are the results for my first morning session. Diane showed us fabulous short cuts for piecing, measuring, cutting, and so much more.
On the third day of our retreat, we drove to Giddings, Texas. We have had so much rain, so the landscape is filled with every variation of green you can imagine. We were lucky that the weather was still cool-ish in the morning and in the evening.

Diane had told us about a quilt shop in Giddings that had quality fabric at great prices. We drove over 30 miles, on country roads, in the middle of nowhere, to get to Meme’s. After forty minutes, we arrived at our destination, and I could not  believe the amount of cars that were parked on the lawn surrounding the house/shop. Inside, we found a crowd of women, dropping off quilts to be long armed, and carrying bolts of fabric to be cut or purchased. I was able to find $13 dollar Christmas fabric by Moda at half-off prices. We each walked out with a load of fabric.
Meme’s
This adventure was followed by a trip to Round Top, Texas. This is a 610 acre  town in Fayettville County. The 2010 census reported a population of 90. Round Top hosts an antique show twice a year. After lunch at Garden Co., we visited the artisan shops in this scenic shopping area.
After Round Top, we visited the Spoiled Quilter in the town square in Fayetteville. It had been closed on the first two days of our visit. The shop has a unique way of displaying the fabric, making it easy to view and visualize its use.
When we returned to our cozy house in Fayetteville, we would spend our time walking the town square and neighborhoods. Marti provided us with musical DVD’s to watch and made Cosmopolitans for beverage. We managed to get a bit of sewing, and more cutting done in the evenings.

After four days of sewing, cutting, laughing, and friendship, I could barely get up this morning. I need to relax from my retreat before I get started again.
This is what I was able to get done at our retreat:

35 Blocks…only 100 more to go!😉               Close up

Good News/Bad News

Good News
One of my sons just moved and I wanted to make a special house warming present.They use the fabric coiled rope plates that I had made them last year, so I made them a new set. I used the leftover fabric to make rug mugs. Originally, I had planned to make a basket to store the plates, but I found a nice round table basket at Target.

Bad News
As I was adding the orange binding to one of the fabric plates, my sewing machine started making an awful noise. I followed the trouble shooting suggestions in the manual, but the machine just kept making a sharp noise. I called the dealer and was given more trouble shooting suggestions, but nothing worked. I am hoping that this is not as major as the loud sound leads me to believe. I will not be able to take the machine in for another two weeks. I was planning to take it to a quilt retreat that my friend had planned for us. I guess I will have to take my Viking machine. I pulled out my trusty Viking to finish the fabric mats. The Viking is a good machine, but the Juki runs so much smoother. I have been very satisfied with the Juki, except for the mechanism for winding the bobbin. The spool pin bobs up and down and eventually falls off, especially when the spool of thread is not full. I have taken it back to the dealer to see if I am doing something wrong, and it is just the design of the machine. I was given a smaller insert to use instead of the cap, but it still does not work. I end up having to hold down the shaft, which makes it a start and stop operation.
When I return in two weeks, I hope to get my Juki to the shop and get it running again. I have drawn up some plans and purchased fabric for another quilt.

Done!

As mentioned in an earlier post, the fabric for the Peanut quilt I was making for my sister to give to her son, had sat on my shelf for some time. I just didn’t know where to go with it. My friend Francine, owner of Las Colchas, told me to just “start cutting” and “have fun.” I took her advice, and it turned out to be a fun learning process for me. I designed it as I went along. No plan. Color and measurement drove my piecing.  I decided to make it bright, colorful, and happy. The splash of orange added the missing pizzazz. It started out to be a lap quilt, but it ended up a bit large…60″W x 80″ L. This will be perfect for my nephew, since he is a tall man. I used the licensed fabric to piece the background fabric.
Please excuse the poor photos.

The outer border is the same charcoal-black fabric that was used around the panel. There was just enough of the blue licensed fabric to add a top and bottom strip. It looks like there is a white strip, but it is really white with red polka-dots. I added four more hearts to the corners to complete the strip length needed and to balance out the hearts in the center.
There were about 8 different licensed fabrics that I cut into 12.5″ squares. I interspersed some of the black and white, red, and solid orange fabric with the licensed fabric.
My sister loved it. She is known for making a great strawberry cake, and she has promised to make me one. 😉

After Tai Chi class this morning, my friend, Marti and I went to Ann Pierce Jewelry Designs and Bead Shop. Making jewelry is something on my Things-to-Learn list. Marti has made jewelry before. She has such an artistic eye and it is reflected in the jewelry she creates. Another friend of mine, Nancy, also makes beautiful jewelry. I admire her work, and have been the lucky recipient of some of her creations. Marti and I bought the same type of beads for our next project. She will be making a bracelet, and I will be making a bracelet and a necklace. I am adding some bird stones onto the necklace, and an elephant onto the bracelet.
The bead shop is fantastic. I had a difficult time selecting what I wanted, since I wanted EVERYTHING. The owner of the shop, Ann, is super helpful. She has a table set up in the back of the shop for people to drop by and make jewelry. Marti and I plan to get started in about two weeks.

Peanuts

My nephew will be celebrating a big birthday this year. He is and has always been a fan of Charles Shulz and the Peanuts characters. Even now, he decorates his home with Peanuts seasonal decorations. My sister, Adri, had a bag of licensed Peanut fabric that she had purchased over the years. Some were remnants from projects she made when her son was a child. There were also half yards of many different seasonal Peanuts characters.
My sister is very crafty and can sew really well. She has made many children’s blankets, but she has never pieced a quilt. She told me that she wanted to use this fabric to make a special quilt for her son’s birthday. I volunteered to make it for her, before I knew what I was getting into. 😀
When I saw the fabric, I did not know where to start. There were so many colors, different seasons, and different sizes of fabric. Also, the fabric is old and not quilt shop quality. I let the fabric sit on my table for a few months, before I decided to tackle it.
Originally, I thought I would make a nine patch type of quilt, or a big block quilt. There were a lot of fall and Christmas fabrics, and a few spring fabrics. This made it difficult for me to figure out how to make a balanced quilt.
I ordered a panel with three different possibilities to use as a focus point. The problem with the panel was the rectangular and odd measurement of each piece. I went to the Mesquite Bean and purchased some red, yellow, black, and orange fabric. I had some red-on-white polka-dot fabric in my bin. I looked through quilt magazines for ideas, but nothing jumped out at me. I finally decided to just start cutting, hoping the quilt would begin to take shape. I started on the main panel on Sunday and was able to make a center and ended with the heart corners. Today, I cut some of the licensed fabric to make a keyboard side border. I need to add more length than width. I am at a “What’s next?” point, so I hung it up so I can think about it. I did cut 12.5″ blocks out of the licensed fabric to make the backing.
This is what I have so far:


I have not shared this with my sister, yet.

Dancing Zebra

These past five days have been absolutely the best. Nothing can top spending time with my grandson. We packed our days with lots of fun. One day included a visit to the Thinkery, thanks to my friend, Nancy, and her grandson.
One of the activities I had planned for my grandson was drawing. Drawing was a big component in my my lesson plans when I was an educator. I believe that drawing is one of the best ways to harmonize the brain, eyes, and hands. As part of my professional studies, I once read a book by Mona Brooks, Drawing With Children. In her book, the author encourages the reader to follow the exercises. After reading and working through this book, I incorporated more of the techniques into my teaching. Besides being a way to boost learning, drawing is just plain fun.
One of my grandson’s drawing was a zebra. We had checked out a how-to-draw book at the library. He thought his zebra looked like it was dancing…and I agree. It made me feel like dancing. So, I traced the photo of the zebra as closely as I could. Then I thread sketched it so I could keep a memento of the great time I had with my grandson.