Monday, September 30, 2013

Mercerie Es Finis!

I enjoyed this month's Schnibbles pattern, Mercerie. It went together quickly. I'm going to try and get this one basted and quilted over the next week so I can get it hanging in my master bedroom. The colors will match our decor nicely. 



 

I used two charm packs of Little Black Dress by Basic Grey plus a few stash fabrics to get the color distribution I was looking for. Don't forget to stop by http://www.aquiltinglife.com and http://www.pinkpincushion.blogspot.com tomorrow to check out the rest of the parade.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Playing with Scraps

I've been looking at fall-colored quilts on Pinterest lately and all that inspiration has me wanting to make my own autumn quilt. So I'm playing with my black, brown, orange, gold, and tan scraps.

This is what I've got so far:


I'm turning those strips into little bitty nine-patch blocks:

We'll see how far I get.
 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Adding Embroidery to the Halloween Mini

I spent a few nights over the last week adding some embroidery to my new Halloween mini. 



 The pumpkin became a jack-o-lantern.


I even added a creepy spider and web.



 


Next up is quilting and binding.


 

 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Piecing Mercerie

I took a little break from the Halloween mini quilt to get started piecing the blocks for Mercerie, the new Schnibbles pattern by Carrie Nelson. I'm using two charm packs of Little Black Dress by Basic Grey, plus a few of my stash fabrics to get the color distribution I'm looking for. 

The directions call for twirling the seams at the center of the four patch blocks.

Don't you love that tiny four patch that happens when you open the seams?

I decided to make half of the blocks this week and the other half next week. Here's half of the four-patch units:


 
Once again, the Fit-to-be-quarter ruler by Monique Dillard at Open Gate Quilts proves to be a winner! I used the cutting directions for using that ruler then trimmed my blocks to size. The ruler makes trimming the block so easy! I lined up the diagonal seam with the diagonal on the ruler and also lined up the 2" lines on both sides of the side square. perfection!



 Here's half of the blocks all done:



 

 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pumpkin and Candy Corn

I've been working on a new Halloween mini quilt that I designed. I have a 50 mile commute both ways in order to get to work every day. Now that school is back in session and people aren't on vacation, everybody is back to work and there are a lot of cars on the road. Some days it takes me more than an hour to drive those 50 miles. That gives me plenty of time to think about my sewing projects.  This mini quilt was almost totally planned out during my morning commute last week.

Two of the designs I'm using are a pumpkin and some candy corn. I made the candy corn by sewing a strip set with white, yellow and orange fabrics.


Then I  cut the fabric into triangles to represent the candy corn. I have the Tri-Recs ruler set so that's what I used to make my blocks.




 That little notch on the Recs part of the ruler lets you take a little snip off that one edge that makes the side triangle line up perfectly.

The blocks finished up a perfect 4 1/2".



 For the pumpkin block, I used flippy corners. To make these, I cut the "pumpkin" fabric into a rectangle and added 1 3/8" squares to the corners. I marked a diagonal line from corner to corner then sewed a thread or two just outside that line (on the side I was cutting off). 

For the stem, I sewed a little strip set using the background and stem fabrics.

 

The pumpkin block also finished at 4 1/2".  


Hopefully I'll have the rest of the mini quilt finished to show you next week.


 


 

 


Monday, September 16, 2013

Therapy

When the going gets tough, get some retail therapy! 

For quilters, that usually means a trip to the fabric store. I participated in a little retail therapy this weekend and came home with these fabrics for a little Halloween mini quilt I'll be working on this month.



 


Friday, September 13, 2013

Halloween Cross-stitch

Do you enjoy cross stitch? How about Halloween? How about free Halloween cross stitch patterns? Then head on over to the DMC blog for links to some free patterns.  Happy stitching!      http://dmc-threads.com/halloween-cross-stitch-inspiration/

"Uncle!"

To say or cry uncle = to concede defeat (Webster's College Dictionary, 2010)

Throwing in the towel =  to signal that one is going to quit; to quit. Fig. (From boxing, where this is done by a boxer's trainer to stop the fight.)(McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs., 2002)

Waving the white flag =  to give up; weaken;yield. (Random House Dictionary, 2013)

Are you sensing a theme? I'm admitting defeat.

I fought the log cabin quilt and the quilt won (for now). 

Over the last two weeks I spent many hours marking, basting, and quilting 8 of the 25 four-block log cabin units. Then I sewed some of the blocks together...and my painstakingly quilted diagonal lines would not match up from block to block. (Cue a middle aged lady wringing her hands and sobbing).

I decided to un-quilt all the quilting I've done so far. That's taking me longer than it took to do the quilting! 

This quilt is too important to me to not be just right. My sister is my oldest friend (since birth, of course!).  She's had a tough couple years health-wise and this quilt needs to be special. 

So, after much wailing, I did the only thing I can do right now: I owned up to my limitations. I cannot finish this quilt by her early October birthday given the amount of free time I have between now and then. I know that Anne will love this quilt whether it's a present this October, or for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, or next year on her birthday. So I gave myself permission to put it aside for now, to continue to un-quilt it, to re-baste it, and to hand quilt it; taking as much time as I need to get it just right.

Sometimes you just need to acknowledge that it's time to give up.



 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hanging up the Road to Freedom

One of the projects Mr. Urban and I accomplished last weekend was to finally hang Road to Freedom, my Civil War sampler quilt.



This was a major undertaking. Thank heavens my husband is not as afraid of heights as I am or the quilt would still be in a tote bag on my sewing room floor.

The designated spot for the quilt was on the wall over the open staircase that goes to our finished basement. This is a focal wall that's visible from both the living room and kitchen, and previously was a huge blank, beige space. 

Road to Freedom measures about 60" x 60". So the bottom of the quilt hangs above the half wall railing, my husband had to hang it very nearly at the ceiling. We have 9 foot ceilings; add in the height of the stairs and he was about 15 feet or more above the stairs. 



 

We have a giant extension ladder we used to do this job. The feet are adjustable so they can be on uneven ground and still be level. But...the feet are wider than two steps, so what did we do? We put a cinder block with a board on top on another step to get the right height and width. Did I mention that my husband was the one on the ladder? I was the one worrying and holding on to the ladder (like I would have been able to keep him from falling!). 

Maggie supervised the whole project. 



 
 

 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Hot Rod

Mr. Urban and I each took a day off work so we could get a few projects done around the house. It wasn't all work, though. We are only a short drive from beautiful Lake George, NY and we head up there at least a couple times every summer. One event we never miss is the Adirondack Nationals Hot Rod show. 

He likes the 50's cars best but I love the 60's and 70's cars. This year it seemed like there were a lot of Chevy cars - mostly Novas and Chevelles. I thinks this year's crowd was the biggest I've ever seen.  The local police close off the main drag and the cars go up and down the road, revving their engines and squealing their tires. It's a lot of fun to watch. 

Here are some pics of cars that caught my eye:





How about this Dodge Charger?


Here's one My husband really liked:


The matte finish was really different and those white walled tires - pretty cool.


And how about this Chrysler 300? Looks a bit different than today's version, doesn't it?
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Stash Reorg

I was inspired to reorganize my stash so the fabrics would be more visible and stay neater. I have mostly fat quarters, with a few half yard pieces. I do have some yardage for backings and borders, but that's not getting reorganized this time. 

I'm folding all my fat quarters the same way the Fat Quarter shop does and storing them in a plastic underbed storage bin that I bought at Target. I actually don't have a huge stash. 



 

I do try to stock up on basics - tone on tone prints and neutrals, and I'm always looking for polka dots and stripes, but mostly I buy fabric as I need it.

I've been trying to get more exercise hoping that my arthritis will ease up a bit and to get in a little better shape for the impending double knee replacement (still trying to put it off as long as possible). With that in mind, I only have so much free time, so I got creative this week:


I put a piece of foam core across the handles of our treadmill, then stacked my fabric to be folded on each end. I set the speed relatively slow at only 2.1 mph, and proceeded to fold fat quarters while I walked. I was able to keep going for just about an hour before I ran out if fabric to fold.  It worked so well I plan to do this again! 

I apologize for the blurry picture, but it's hard to take a picture while moving!


 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Done piecing!

I made my goal of finishing piecing the four-block units.


They are all labeled for placement.


I've got about half the batting and backing squares cut and 1/3 of the units are marked and basted. This step is so tedious, but I have my supplies all set up so I can mark and baste while watching tv in the evening.
 
 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Welcome Autumn!

As far as I'm concerned, September 1 means Autumn is here, my favorite time of year! 

Even though my boys are grown, September will always mean back-to-school, also. So my September mini quilt is school related:



 A lunch box for the student and an apple for the teacher! I never gave any of my teachers an apple, did you?

The lunch box is pieced:


The apple was hand appliqu├ęd:


I hand quilted this mini and included my ABC's!


Happy September to you! I hope you are having a great Labor Day weekend!