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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Blue Saturday

I`ve been doing some work with my fabric scraps, focusing on blue this month (not light, light blues or green-blues, or dark/navy blues; just blue blues) with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Eight scrappy log cabins with black/white prints for contrast. Each of the blocks finish at 8.5 inches, so four will finish into a 16x16 inch block.  I have lots more blue so I may do four more of the 8.5’s so I can have three big blue ones. And then I will do a few of these with each color of the month.

Off to work on my Bright Birch Trees quilt for my grandson. That is the name of the pattern, but the quilt will be renamed as it will be in shades of grays, pale blues/greens, ecru, etc. At least the background will. The trees themselves will have a bit more color. I will have to see how it looks as construction begins....

Linking up (hopefully; the new software keeps throwing me for loops) to ScrapHappy Saturday at So Scrappy.

Cathy maroon

Friday, January 23, 2015

Finish-it-Up Friday - and TGIF


TGIF - in this case it has a dual meaning.  Not only Thank God It`s Friday, but also Thank God It’s Finished.

Being retired, my schedule does not include an outside-the-home job. However, I do have a very busy Etsy shop, plus it’s tax season (meaning I had to install new tax software AND update my iMac to the latest operating system, then update myriad other programs....), and endless errands, appointments, and - stitching and sewing. I try to schedule sewing time in every single day. But that does`t always happen.  Sound familiar?

Anyway, this is the quilt for my son Shane that I finished several days ago.  He wanted bold and graphic, fairly masculine colors.   The finished size is about 55x70 inches - a nice lap quilt.


The backing is scrappy.  I used some of the leftover fabrics, a yard of Katarina Roccella Spirodraft from her Indelible line (LOVE it!) and assorted other texty and coordinating bits. Honestly, I like the back as much as the front (if not more).    :-)


Among other projects, I am now working on a quilt for my DGS. Should have a progress report next week.

I’m linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts and her Finish it Up Friday.

Cathy maroon

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WIP Wednesday and Animal Welfare

Today is Wednesday, and I am linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.   I have several things going on at once, which is probably no surprise to any of you stitchy or crafty ladies. We all do it, right? So I won’t apologize for that. However, I only have pictures of one of them at the moment, so I will have to start doing better on that front.

I will have a finish to show you on Friday (never had the time to link up last Friday), so I have been busy.

This will be a mini-quilt, approx 22x27” made from a Marmalade charm pack from Bonnie and Camille. I`m doing a little QAL (quilt-along) with Heather Mulder Peterson, using her pattern Pretty in Pink (mini).


I also have lots of blue scrappy log cabin blocks to show, but that will come on Saturday for So Scrappy Saturday.  And I have finished cutting out the background blocks for my grandson Easton’s quilt, and will begin working on the trees that will go into that. Pictures next week.

Meantime, last Sunday at our family sew-in (or Sewarama, as my DH calls it), which we hold every Sunday in my studio, my cousin Kim and her DGD Trinity, we were all busy cutting and sewing.  Trini is 10 now, and wanted to work on the Koala Mittens and Joey Pouches for  the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Australia.  While their recent posts have said they have enough Koala mittens, Trini wanted to work on the joey pouches and the mittens, so how could we say no?  The made 3 joey pouches and 4 pairs of mittens.  I will be mailing those off to Australia this week.


And speaking of Animal Welfare, I am going to have to start banning the Supervisors (better known as our cats Alfalfa and Darla) from the studio if they don`t shape up.  Alfie seems to feel that part of his responsibilities include removing pins from the design wall. It has gotten so that I can`t use pins except high up where he can`t reach them.  

Alfalfa (Alfie), age 1.5

Both he and his sister Darla (below) enjoy the colorful pin heads, and will remove them from pin cushions if we leave those lying about. I know, I know, it’s dangerous!  Which I have told them. You can see just how concerned they both are. 

Darla, age 1.5  

I know what Alfie is thinking. Revenge. He will call a 4:00 a.m. “staff meeting” as payback.

Cathy maroon

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 Finish Along, Quarter 1 Goals

This year I plan to focus more on my stitching (sewing, quilting and hand embroidery) than I have in past years. I just feel the need to hunker down and create.  Except for family, my other activities will take a back seat. In addition to creating new quilts/clothes, etc as needed for gifts, I am also going to focus on UFOs from previous years.

To help me organize myself and stick to some sort of schedule, I have joined Adrianne of On the Windy Side in her 2015 Finish Along.  I truly believe that declaring goals and being accountable for them online helps us take the steps that eventually lead to reaching those goals. At least it does for me.  :-)

So, these are my goals for Quarter One of 2015:

HST Quilt for Shane

 As you can see, the quilt top is already pieced. Actually, the backing is also pieced (it’s very scrappy) and the quilt is now basted and ready to quilt. I am thinking I will just quilt diagonal lines in some fashion and hopefully start it today or tomorrow. The goal is to have this one finished over the weekend. This quilt is for my son Shane (an adult) who paints with oil paints. The feature fabric is Paint Pallette from Draw Near by J. Wecker Frisch.  Shane  wanted geometric and bold/bright.

Birch Trees for Easton

My grandson Easton will turn 16 at the end of this month. Naturally, he is all about getting his driver’s license and other teenage things. But Easton is also a nature lover and a sweet, loving young man who appreciates family and special things. At Christmastime we sat down together and he was excited to pick out the pattern and colors for a quilt. I had narrowed choices down to about a dozen patterns and a dozen possible colorways, and these are the ones he chose. Very masculine and outdoorsy. And I had already bought the pattern (Bright Birch Trees by Amanda Jean Nyberg), so we were totally on the same page. The Kona Cottons I bought from Canton Village Quilt Works when they had their 25% off sale at year end. The backing will be that wonderful Carolyn Friedlander Etched Trees in charcoal from her Botanics line. I am excited to begin on this quilt as soon as I finish Shane`s.


Bruce’s Banjo Lap Quilt

My DH Bruce has been waiting patiently for me to make him a quilt. When I saw the above banjo fabric (Suzy Ultman, Jazz Between Friends for Robert Kaufmann), I knew it was the one. He loves bright colors and picked the Pow-Wow pattern by Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew, which I thought was a great choice to show off the fabric colors. The backing will be the plain blue and scraps of anything else left over.  :-)  I originally hoped to have this done by Valentine`s Day, but maybe end of February is more realistic. We shall see!

Crazy for Needlepoint

My final project/goal for the first quarter is to finish up this UFO from 2012.  I have two 8” squares left to embellish (bottom right) with crazy quilt embroidery. And actually, both of those remaining two squares are already started. Then I will square up my blocks and sew them together and to the vintage needlepoint flower centerpiece. After that (or maybe before that), I need to figure out how to stabilize that needlepoint piece to give it proper support.  It is relatively heavy for its size. Finally, I’ll back and bind it and add a hanging sleeve. But the interior construction will be key to the stability and overall appearance of the piece.

So there you have it. Three new quilts and one old UFO. I think it is do-able and a good mix of new and old. I would love to hear your thoughts, my friends. And I sure love looking at others’ goals, too. Thank you so much, Adrianne, for being our coordinator this year!

Here’s to a great 2015!!

Hugs,

Cathy maroon

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rearranging Colors. And Priorities.

Yesterday I showed you a picture of a large HST (half-square triangle) quilt I had started for my son.  As he is an artist and graphic designer and has always - since the age of 6 - painted with oils, the fabric with the artist paint colors on it was a no-brainer. However, I wanted to keep the quilt masculine, so we selected charcoal gray and a bold design off which to bounce the colors.

This was yesterday’s picture, and the more I looked at it, the less happy I was.  The paint pieces are chaotic and need to be tamed. I had originally tried the layout using the same color or fabric for each concentric circle (an orange circle, then a multi circle, then blue, etc).  That didn`t look right, and I didn`t have enough of some colors.  Then after taking the picture below, I also noticed that one of the multi pieces is positioned sideways (second row down, just to the left of the orange).


So today I got busy and deconstructed most of it. I decided that solid colors around the central diamond would work.  That bulls-eye effect draws your eye there, and it is the most important area of the quilt. So I added a yellow HST, and the remaining pieces inside that gray circle were given over to the multi-print, all with the correct orientation. Much better.


The rest of the quilt can and will be randomized as far as solids and prints, but as long as that central part is in order, I think it will work.  There are six rows pinned up there and three more that will join them.  I hope to have this sewn up today and/or tomorrow.  It won`t be finished for 2014, but should end up being my first finish for 2015.

Thanks to my readers who have stuck with me through thick and thin this year. My posts have been sporadic, but I think I am getting my groove back. The most important thing for me this fall and winter has been to “clear my plate” of commitments and things that have been taking too much of my time.  I spent November and December hunkered down, stitching, sewing, planning my weeks, then days, just to get every last thing done. And my Etsy shop was hugely busy with special orders.  And I did it. But I do not want to repeat that.

My Etsy Shop
I am going to simplify my Etsy shop. Hand-painted lace is being phased out. I will offer white and golden-dyed lace trims and a few appliques. I have been working as a rep for a lace mill for a few months, and love working with large customers (bridal shops, clothing and lingerie makers) and large orders. More human contact, more lace, more money, fewer tiny details than selling by the piece. 

The fancy fabric packs are being phased out; I will instead concentrate on selling off my drawers of vintage fabric, both fancy and cottons (vintage sheets).  And vintage patterns. I have hundreds and need to list those.


My 2015 Plans

Going forward into 2015, I want to have more fun.  If I plan on a handmade Christmas, I will begin much earlier. My granddaughter London has started school, so there is no babysitting in the near future (although my son Ryan and his wife Kim are pregnant and will welcome Baby Flox in July 2015).  And as for my online CQ activities, I plan to take a back seat. I will not be planning any retreats. The Yahoo Groups forum is dying, and I am tired of trying to resuscitate it. We added CQI to Facebook, but there is already another thriving CQ community there, and I wonder if it is necessary to re-create the wheel?  Besides, running an online group is a giant time suck, and few realize the work and effort it takes if you are organizing activities, challenges, etc.  That’s not what I want to continue to do with my time. So, I will be stepping back into the shadows as far as crazy quilting.  But I do have 2-3 projects that will go on my 2015 calendar to finish.

And then there is the sewing and quilting.  I have joined the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and in between making quilts for family members, I will make blocks here and there that will eventually come together in scrappy quilts.  I want to sew more clothes. Spend more time in the garden. Take more walks.

Times are changing, and so am I. So are my interests. But I will always be Crazy. By Design.

Hugs,
Cathy maroon

Monday, December 29, 2014

Year-end Projects Completed

Did you all have a wonderful Christmas??  Ours was great, and the weather was perfect. It began snowing lightly on Christmas Eve, and we woke up to white ground on Christmas Day.  It continued to snow throughout the day on Christmas, steadily but not heavily enough to disrupt family traveling. With everyone coming to our home, plus a fire in the fireplace, it was such a cozy, wonderful day!

I was able to finish up all my planned Christmas projects. Unfortunately, I did not get any great pictures of the entire cream-on-cream crazy-quilted wedding commission wall hanging I did for a client. I will share some (poor) block pictures I took, however.  I don`t know why they are so dark here. They look much better in my photo editing program.....


(Above) This is the center medallion area, 2 blocks tall. It is outlined in a dyed gimp trim, and the bow used to tie the flowers is from the wedding dress. There are rolled roses, gathered velvet flowers, yo-yo flowers and others. Carved MOP buttons and vintage millinery too. The woman for whom this was made used to be a florist, so we wanted to include a lot of flower motifs in the quilt.


(Above)  There is a lot of lace included from the wedding dress.  In addition to what you see above, there was a marquis-shaped motif that we used a lot, and actually influenced the shape of the center medallion.


(Above)  You can see the marquis motif in the lower left of the above picture, as well as in the one below.  As well, I included lots of vintage laces, doilies and buttons.


None of the blocks are too elaborate, because my client wanted to keep the look elegant and simple, without a cluttered (what we would call encrusted) look.   Below you can see the second bow used in another block. 


Naturally, there had to be the traditional Victorian good luck motif of a spider in a web. As it turns out, that motif also has a special meaning for my client.  See the butterflies in the cluny lace?


This is the picture, poem and other information that was printed on silk and attached to the back of the quilt.

We hope to get more formal and better pictures in the new year.  :-)  The quilted wall hanging finished out at about 44” across and 34” tall.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
This is the Frozen-esque flannel nightie that I finished up for my DGD London for Christmas. It fit her perfectly and she changed into it to hang out in all day!  :-)


Finally, I have begun a new quilt for my son Shane.  He wanted dark, bright, geometric. And since he is a painter/artist/graphic designer, I had to use the paint print fabric.


As you can see, my design wall is waaaaay too small. I am currently working on rearranging my sewing studio so I can double the size of the board.  So if that looks funny (only the first 2 rows are sewn; the rest are pinned), it is because it is curling around the bookcase. Make do.

Finally, I am having a year-end sale in my Etsy shop. 20% off everything (even the Clearance section) with the code BYEBYE2014.  Link to my shop is on the sidebar. I hope you will drop by!

I may have a bit more to share before the New Year rings in officially.  In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying your Holidays!

Cathy maroon

Monday, December 15, 2014

Kahlua and Cream-on-Cream

I thought that title was rather clever, for me. No, I am not drinking Kahlua and cream.  But I will explain.

The cream-on-cream refers to the wedding crazy quilt I am still working on.  Currently (as in yesterday, today and tomorrow) I am basting the quilt and a layer of thin batting to a false muslin back.  Hand quilting, actually, with large stitches.  It doesn’t show on the front, and it is just boring stitching on the back, so there are no pictures. But if that bothers you, raise your hand. . . .  Yeah, that’s what I thought. So, we will move on.

Yesterday my cousins Carrie and Kim (who are my age; I am actually their aunt by marriage)  came over for our regular Sunday “Sewing Day”.  Carrie’s daughter Jenny plus Kim’s granddaughter Trinity also came. I helped Trini finish her sewn Scottie Dog (no picture of hers, in peach and white). But that is all the sewing we did.  Oh, I know. I can show you the scottie I finished for my daughter Megan.  It`s an old vintage patchwork pattern from the Forties....


But getting back to “Sewing Day”.  It was actually Making Kahlua Day.  We made a quadruple batch (to divide up for 4 families).  Jenny shared this picture on her Facebook page and captioned it  “I hope we have enough...”.  One of her friends wrote back, “For what? An army?"

Oh yes, we take our Kahlua very seriously.  
Our Kahlua efforts. .  in any jar we could find !

Now we will need to soak off some of the old bottle labels so we can cover them with printed Kahlua labels.

Well, Bruce is home... so I am going to go upstairs to greet him. Then pour myself a Kahlua and eggnog.  Mmmmmm.... try it!

Cathy maroon
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