Sunday, December 21, 2014

UFOs To Finish In 2015

If you are like me you likely have UFO's. I did make lots of progress in 2014. I was on a mission to finish up some UFO blocks. I did finish some tops but did not finish them. They will be on the bucket list to finish in 2015 in no particular order.

Top Left: blue and green quilt that I decided I had to drop everything and make. I really love the colors so need to get this quilted so I can display it nextSpring.

Top Middle: a hand pieced compass that was done several years back. It was designed by Becky and some of us handpiecers on quilting forum made one. I have pulled it out and it is the center of my nesting robin. I do plan to get going on this challenge in earnest after the first of the year.

Top Right: Bears in the cabin was a pile of blocks from some block swaps. I found the pile of blocks last Spring and sewed them into the top and added a double border. It just needs quilting.

Middle Left: Dear Jane swap by Lou on again I pulled out the blocks last Spring and made these into a finsihed top. It just needs quilting. I also made some mug rugs out of some of the blocks and still have enough for another top.........not sure when I will do something with them.

Middle Center: Strings in the Cabin another swap on by Lou. I love this one and I need to figure out a border and quilt this one, hopefully by July and display it.

Middle Right: Swap by Pat of Stars in Fossil Fern and Kona Black on I started putting the blocks together at The Arizona Retreat last Feburary and finished it last summer. Now I just need to quilt it. This will look fantastic on my bed.

Bottom Left: my Christmas table runner. I did not decorate this year anyway so not a big deal that I did not finish it. I found the 4 blocks last Summer and set them in a row and added a border, just needs quilting. Next Christmas for sure!!!

Bottom Center: a group of block exchanged at the Arizona Retreat years ago. I just set them together...........I think I will pick them apart and add sashing and then put them in a lap quilt top for the trailer.

Bottom Right: This one is finished and only needs a hanging sleeve. I will do the reveal after the first of the year.

This is the beginning of my bucket list for 2015. My goal will be one or more finishes each month. I do have a nice stack of tops that were finished several years ago still just waiting for quilting...........I am hoping that 2015 will be the year of "quilting" for me as I can just do quilting and not run out of tops any time soon.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Winter Solstice

Tomorrow is Winter Solstice and the shortest day of the year. As 2014 is slowly drawing to a close I like to think back and list all the things I have done in the past year. I like to make it a written exercise. Then I pull out the list of things I wanted to do from last year and compare. I have never had the lists match. There are things that never got done, or only got started. I am always happy to see things that were not on the list that are really good accomplishments.

I will soon be sitting down and coming up with list of things I have done. There are so many things that were not on the list for 2014 that I can put on there. I did have a productive quilting and sewing year and am hoping that 2015 is going to be even better. I have so many plans of things I want to do that I want to share on my blog.

So what have you done in 2014 and what are you planning for 2015?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

If I Learned Something It Is Not A Waste Of Time

I look at lots of blogs because I just love to see all the eyecandy. One thing that catches my eye over and over is the great photo colleges that I see. How the heck do they do that? Well I was on a mission today so I spent way too much time researching and trying to get it to work. Here are a few of the colleges I made:

Though the process was slow and painful at times I think in the end I have discovered how to make really cool images to post on future blog posts. The top college is my year in travel and the bottom one, what else but quilts I have made this year. If you have ever wondered how to do these just try to google key words, like in my case "how to make a photo college iphoto" Then it is trial and error by following the directions.

Hopefully you will figure out how it works on your set up and will have another way to make your blog posts beautiful.

Friday, December 5, 2014

I Have Clearned My Defensible Space

Nicole's quilt has stalled. I finished the top a couple of months ago and then had to spend time clearing my forest for the insurance company for fire danger. This is the very reason I am making this quilt in that Nicole lost her home, workshop and possessions in a fire. Fire danger is very real here as well. Now that I am finished with my clearing I can can get back to my quilting. I really want to thank all of you who sent blocks to make this quilt possible. I am really happy how all the blocks tie together with the chocolate color sashing and the blue cornerstone blocks. I used cream for the setting triangles and corner blocks. All of the fabrics I used in this quilt came from my stash. There is still quite a bit of work to do before this is done but hopefully I can get it done in time for her to have it for her bed in the near drapes nicely over my queen sized bed.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Chain Saw Mama and Rewards

Where the heck have I disappeared to? Well I have been mega busy and there was a wonderful reward at the end. The insurance company told us we needed a defensible space for our house in case of forest fire. Well we do live in the high desert environment of the Southwest and frankly our house could go up in flames if there were a big fire. So for the last two months I have been busy clearing that defensible space. One hundred feet out from the house in all directions and the crowns of the trees needed to be 100 feet apart. Let me tell you that is a lot of trees. Mr Enchanting bought me a small chain saw that I could handle and I cut down and apart all the smaller stuff. He tackled the big stuff. I have been at this for what seems like forever! No quilting, very little housework, not much of anything. Yes there was a deadline and we made it. So Mr Enchanting's cousin invited us to cruise with them. We have never done a cruise as we are of the hiking and backpacking and camping kind of folks. Let me tell you though I will definitely cruise again.

We took the Carnival Dream out of New Orleans for seven nights and it was AWESOME! They had to cancel the visit to Belize due to rough seas............yes we were rocking and rolling! We did go to Isla Roatan off the coast of Honduras. It was a rough day but after one false start we ended up on the other side of the island and did some awesome snorkeling right off the photo below. I saw more beautiful fish than you can imagine.

The other port of call was Cozumel. Everything was perfect that day, beautiful weather, great snorkeling, great food and sightseeing. Just look at the amazing water in the photo below and yes it really is that color and clear as a bell. Watching a shark swim underneath you 30 feet below was a new one for me but I managed to remain calm.
There were about 5 or 6 mega huge cruise ships in Cozumel that day and lots of people sightseeing.

Our motto on this cruise: "It's five o'clock somewhere"................cheers!

Every night we would come back to our cabin and our bed would be turned down and there was always a new folded towel animal. Those were so cool. I went to a towel folding class on the ship with a ton of kids and a few other large kids like myself. One morning the crew filled up every longer by the pool will animals of every description.

Sunset from the hottub on the Serenity deck (21 and older only)...............Yep I will go cruising again for sure.

Now that my forest has been tamed back  I will just be burning firewood in the fireplace I can get back to what matters.................quilting!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Enchanting Quilts: Blue and Green Top Finished

Enchanting Quilts: Blue and Green Top Finished 

Suze your idea is awesome. I never thought of using that as a background but that would be brilliant. A large sunflower would be beautiful.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Blue and Green Top Finished

My Blue and Green top is finally finished. I am not going to add a border to this one as it is already quite large and I am going to use it as wall art. I really dug into my blue, green, and bluegreens to put this together and I love the way it came out. To me it says Spring! I already have a good idea how I want to quilt this so when I get it loaded on the longarm it will hopefully just flow.

I figured out the background for my compass that is the center of my nesting robin project. This is a handye fabric I did quite some years ago. I really need to pull out my dyeing supplies and do more of this as I really love the way they blend with both solids and commercial fabrics. They also look great with just other handyes. I think the best way to do this is reverse applique. I will needleturn the blue fabric to the circle. With all the seams I think this will work best.

I have pulled an assortment of fabrics that I like. I will try to repeat the colors that are already there and add a few more to round it out into the rainbow of colors. I am also adding grey and black prints. I will repeat the black but sparingly as I do not have a lot of solid left and the point of this nesting robin exercise it to finish up a UFO and also to use stash. The squiggly striped fabric in the top right might be a narrow border to pull all the colors together. I have lots of rounds to work with this group of fabrics and am sure as I get going on this I will be adding more fabrics to the mix. My goal right now is to make this a nice sized wall quilt, most likely a square but as I work I might change my mind on what to do. Leave me a comment with your thoughts.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

I have been tagged by my good friend Misha Her Blog is Here to participate in the AROUND THE WORLD BLOG HOP. Humm sounds like fun, I have seen lots of these posts on my daily hopping around blogville.

1. WHAT AM I WORKING ON? Well I guess you can say I am multitasking. I usually have several things on the top of the plate. Right now I am actively working on a blue and green quilt that just needs these 12 rows sewn together. I have a good idea of how I want to quilt this. I will post again on this one when the top is all sewn together as I just love the colors of the blues and the greens. The afternoon sun was not the best for photography and the wind was really blowing so I did not get the best photo........when I do the reveal of the top I promise better colors and eye candy!
I am also finishing up my Mountain Majesty quilt. I found the pattern on Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville site HERE. You can see that I went with blue and orange for mine instead of random scrappy. I really enjoyed putting this together as it went really fast and I love the color way for the blue and orange. The hardest part was figuring out the quilting. I just need to finish the binding and then I will do a full reveal of this quilt. Hopefully that will not take too long.
Another thing I just started was a Nesting Robin and I showed the center in my last post. Here it is again. This is a really old block that has been ageing in my UFO pile for some time so hopefully I will breathe some new life into it as the center of a really fun quilt.

Here is another top waiting for quilting that I hope to work on in the near future.
2. HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE? Well for starters I often do now work with patterns. In the past I have made many pictorial quilts and used drawings and photographs as inspiration. Even when I do use patterns I always do my own things and only use the patterns as a guide. I like to play with ideas and actually enjoy making everything form traditional patterns to cutting edge original designs that I think up on my own. I do not follow rules. If I want to try something I will see how others have done it and then just do it my way. One other thing is that for me it is really the quilting that I enjoy the most. I do enjoy putting a top together but it is at the quilting stage that I really finish the design. I sometimes make things just for the quilting part that will come after the piecing. I have a longarm quilting business and love to quilt for others (if you have interest please let me know).

3. WHY DO I CREATE WHAT I DO? I have always enjoyed making things. As a small child I began drawing, knitting, needlework and sewing at a very young age. I like to create visual art. Growing up in the 60's my sisters and I sewed most of our own clothes and we saved our scraps always with the thought of someday making a quilt. Being first generation American there were not any quilters in my family. My relatives in Germany and Sweden did beautiful crewlwork and embroidery. One day I was in line at the grocery store (around 1984) and picked up a quilt magazine.............I decided the time had come to make a quilt. I ran into a lady in a fabric store who said she was teaching the ladies at her church to quilt but I could come even though I was not a member. She taught me how to handpiece and handquilt both which I still do. For me quilting is a way to create art on a large scale. I really enjoy working with fiber, colors, shapes and textures. The following quilt is an example of how the quilt really came together for me when I added the quilting. this is just a small part of the finished quilt.

4. HOW DOES MY CREATIVE PROCESS WORK? I find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes it is one moment in time when I see something and get an idea. The idea will grow until I have to give it an outlet...........make it into a quilt. Sometimes it is a pictorial quilt. I often work from many, many drawings, photographs and then my own ideas, sometimes I jsut work from a single photograph. Other times it is more about shape and color. I know it is time to make a quilt when the idea will not go away and I think about it all the time. I have many ideas and many have been made into quilts. Once I begin working on a piece I let it take over. Sometimes my initial vision is quite different from the finished piece. I find that when I follow my muse the pieces just seem to flow. Other times they reach a dead end and a later time these pieces can be picked up again and reworked or completed. I also love to think when I am out in the woods. Today I went to see the fall colors on the mountain. I could see the colors from my house and knew that if I waited very long they would be gone. I love to photograph nature. Here is a view of the yellow aspen................inspiration for today.

Tagging people for this Around The World Blog Hop was a challenge for me. Two people had just been tagged and were doing their posts last week and today. A few more had things going on that was keeping them from their blogs so the timing was not good for them. I did tag Mary Jane at Mary Jane's Meanderings HERE. Mary Jane lives in the Southeast and is very active on the Quilting Forum as am I. She enjoys block swaps, round robins, quilting comfort quilts and making Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilts. Her cats are her devoted quilt inspectors. Look for Mary Jane's post on her site next week.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Nesting Robin aka How To Work On A UFO

I have been on a mission this year to finish up UFOs. I had a great idea of a nesting robin which is like a round robin but the project stays at home and you do all the work yourself in rounds. The first month October is to identify a center for the nesting robin which needs to be an orphan block. I had this in mind but did not have a clue where it was. I was digging thru some stored bins and found a ton of UFOs including this block. This was made years ago with a group on a quilting forum. One of the ladies drafted this block and made it a PDF file and some of us hand pieced it. I do remember it did not take too long and the hardest part was the orange circle which is about 1/2 or less inches wide. Well it floated around the sewing room for awhile and finally got boxed up and stored. I figure it is time to do something with it so it will be the center of my nesting robin. The first thing I am going to do (as I do not want to work in the round) is to applique it to a square. I do not want black to be the main color here so I will be auditioning other colors to applique this to and I want to work from my stash as well, which is part of the challenge. I have until November 1st to get this part done so hopefully I will find the perfect color to go with what is already there. At this point I will add a few more colors to the palate but they need to be added in the next round or two to make it all work together.

Stay tuned tomorrow when I will post my official Blog Hop post. I got tagged by my friend Misha.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Quilting Done On Mountain Majesty

 I finally figured out what to do with those orange sections of my Mountain Majesty quilt. This is the back of the quilt as I just took it off the longarm. I still need to pick up little pieces of threads and tie in some ends but the quilting is finished. I kept trying to come up with designs that had straight lines but none of them were right. then it hit me............more curves and some of the same components that I did in the blue sections. So I forged ahead on one of the blocks to see how it looked..........yep just right. I did all the centers the same but treated the remainder of the space with a swirley design. I really like how ti looks. Now I need to find a binding fabric. I am leaning toward blue for this.
 I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart that sent blocks for Nicole's comfort quilt. She is slowly putting her life back together after her house and studio burned. In the coming days I will be figuring out a setting for the blocks and piece the top. I think there is a great assortment of fabrics and color placement that will make for a great quilt.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Florida Trip

I just got home from Florida yesterday afternoon. Going there reminds me how much I dislike the humidity, population density, traffic, heat and flatness. There is some beauty there and being there as a tourist is not too bad, just would not want to be there too long. I did get to visit with my mother and brother who have lived there since 1964........that is a long time to be there.

The first night we drove down to Sanibel Island so that I could do some shell hunting on the beach. The word they have some of the best shells anywhere. I guess it is good that it was not too sunny or I would have looked like a cooked lobster. There were dark clouds to the North as my brother and I strolled the beach looking for shells. I did find some good ones. The the thunder started rumbling so we jogged most of the way back. The dark clouds do make for wonderful photography so it was all good.
Sanibel Island
 After the beach we headed out to the lighthouse on the South of the Island. It was raining but we did get out and see a little of it.
Sanibel Island

 One of the days we went North from Tampa to a place Called Richards Beach which is along a river close to the Gulf of Mexico, we did a little swimming. After that we drove to another beach on the coast and I snapped this photo on the way back. The coastal swamps are very scenic.

I am one of those people that always wants a window seat when I fly and I spend much of the flight looking out of the window watching the landscape below change. There is such a variety of things to see flying from Subtropical Florida to Desert New Mexico. I have no idea where this photo is. My best guess Louisiana or East Texas but I love the fields and shapes below and it might make a good jumping off point for an art quilt.

I did buy some half yard cuts of some blue fabrics to add to my stash. I have been using lots of deep blues lately and need more variety. These were really pretty so they followed me home. Just need to pop them in the washer and dryer so I can add them to the stash.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I Just Love It When The Vision Comes Together

 It is always very rewarding when a vision comes together. I had an idea for the quilting on my Mountain Majesty quilt  and started drawing last night. I just did not seem right. Then I went to Pinterest and again nothing really jelled. Humm I had thought a spiral in the center and that is round so how about I pull out my circle templates and see how that would work...............Yep! The circles seemed to work great and once I got going the ideas started to flow and now I really love they way the blue areas have come together. The plan is to finish all the blue parts and then come back to the orange. I could do the orange the same as the blue but that might be too much of a good thing so I will mull it over while I am working my way thru the blue. In the meantime this is a fun pattern to quilt out. If you are reading this let me know what you think?

I just love my set of circles. I have a whole stack of these from 1 inch up to 12 inches, many in half inch increments.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Next Quilt On Longarm

I finally got myself going on the backing for the Mountain Majesty quilt and did a pieced backing. This is going to be a wall quilt but I wanted something kinda special for the back. I had an one block extra form the top and made two additional blocks so I could have a row across the back. Now to get it loaded onto the longarm and begin the most fun part of the process which is the quilting.

I also finished my last 30 blocks for the new project and will now figure out how to put them together. This was mostly a stash buster project but alas I have added to the scrap bin. Unless I start another bin I will have to start working on that scrap bin. I think it is time to cut things up and sort by size for scrappy projects. I have had my eye on some great leader and ender projects over on Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville Blog.

So this is what 130 six inch blocks look like!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Starting A New Project

I always work well with multiple projects going at the same time. I do not really have any that are in the piecing stage so decided I needed another stash reduction session. I found a beauty over on Exuberant Color Blog in a color combination I really love, blue and green. The quilt pattern Crossroads was designed by Amy Walsh coauthor of the book Colorful Quilts For Fabric Lovers. You can see Wanda's version HERE on Exuberant Color Blog, and you can see Vicki's version HERE on Field Trips In Fiber Blog. Both are beautiful. I just knew when I saw this that I had to make it. It will be a very simple, fast quilt to sew up but it will be all about color. The hardest part I know will be to put all the pieces in the right places but really that is much of the fun to come up with placement of blocks.

I have been cutting into much of my blue and green fabrics the past three days for the 130 squares in a 6 1/2 inch size and 130 strips in a 1 X 6 1/2 inch size. Once I have 100 of each size I will start slashing the squares in inserting the strips. I will not cut the last 30 combinations till I have the rest sewn. This will allow me to audit the results and fill in with colors that will work best with the design I come up with.

I just snapped a few photos of the squares and strips I have cut so far. You can see it is a foggy morning here in New Mexico. The sun should come out this afternoon.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Purple and Green Batik Sampler

I thought I was never going to finish the beauty. It is (as my friend Shelley likes to say) "a whole lot of real estate." I was not sure what to do with that wide triple border but find some inspiration online. I found a great video made by a longarm quilter who had a wonderful demo. I knew I just needed to try it. I did not do the same thing that was in the video,  but I did break up the border into triangles quilted in different ways. I do love how it came out.  It did take A LOT of time just for the border and I enjoyed doing it. I always love to learn how to do new things.

Being a Sampler each block is pieced differently so each block is quilted differently as well. I can now package it up and send it back to my friend in Arizona. Thank you Ellen for letting me quilt for you.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Block Swap Quilting 2004 Arizona Retreat

Today I was in search of two extra blocks for my Mountain Majesty quilt. I was going to use them for the pieced back but I never found them so I guess it will be plan B for the quilt back. In any case trying to make sense of all the stuff that I did find I decided to sew together the pile of blocks from a exchange we did at the 2004 Arizona Retreat. Boy did those bring back some memories of all the new friends I met for the first time that year. I think I will just put a border around this and make it a nice lap quilt for when I am watching TV or something in the cooler months. Each block is signed which makes them really special.

Tomorrow I will piece a back for the Mountain Majesty and get it loaded onto the Longarm so I can quilt it. I did finish up the beautiful sampler I was quilting for my friend and she will be getting it back in a few days.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day Weekend In The Rockies

 I am very heartened with the quilting community. These are the blocks have been coming in for Nicole's comfort quilt. I posted about Nicole HERE She is slowly picking up her life and trying to put pieces back together after her home and studio burned to the ground. Thanks to all of you who have sent, or are still sending these beautiful blocks to make a quilt for Nicole's bed.

4 Wheeling On Red Mountain Colorado
Red Mountain Colorado
 We headed up to Ouray again for Labor Day Weekend. This time with both daughters in tow. We spent one day 4 wheeling over Corkscrew Pass, Hurricane Pass, California Pass, down to Silverton for lunch and then back over all three passes. It was a beautiful day and the scenery was amazing. At the top of the mountains you just feel like you are on top of the world. It was a wonderful way to end Summer and welcome in Fall.
Old Mine Near Silverton Colorado
Placer Mine Colorado

Having Fun 4 Wheeling In Colorado

Now it is time to get back to work. I have to finish the quilt on the longarm for my friend. I had not planned to take two trips in such quick succession but have to say that I did have an awesome time and built some great memories with my family. Going places and seeing things also is great for inspiration for my art. I have been wanting to do at least one aspen quilt and have taken a few photos on this trip and hope to come up with a future design for a quilt.