December 2012 - Posts
We all seem to have gotten snow. Certainly that was what I wished for, so that I could just stay indoors and just sew. Of course, staying warm becomes a necessity with the colder weather. I've been bundled in several layers and turning the furnace up a little. My DH likes to keep it at 64 degrees. Saves on fuel costs, especially when no one is home during the day. But, I am on a staycation, so turning it up about 5 degrees has kept me warmer. The hot tub feels good, as well.
I finished the PJ's for my grandchildren. They didn't get finished in time for Christmas, but I kept at them until they were done on Thursday. Yesterday, was another Sister's Sewing day. Each of us worked on different projects. My youngest sister pinned together the baby quilt for our nephew and began the FMQ. You may remember the quilt from our last sewing day. It's the Touch & Feel Baby Quilt we collaborated on for a gift. My sister does beautiful machine quilting. She is the artist in the family and talks about FMQ as though she is drawing pictures on fabric. My older sister worked on a table runner and curtains for her kitchen buffet and windows, to go along with the makeover she and her husband are doing. I started work on a new quilt. I promised my daughter that I would make a quilt during my Christmas staycation, for her to raffle for an MS fundraising event that she is planning. I made several 3-inch hourglass blocks.
These are the flannel pajama pants and single knit jersey tops I made for my grandchildren.
Today, I have been working on more blocks for the raffle quilt. I planned to use up a lot of my strip scraps and collection of charms. I chose a design that has alternating nine-patch and hourglass blocks. The nine-patches provide the contrast from the light colored hour glass blocks, giving a secondary pattern to the design. The biggest challenge is that the blocks are only 3-inches square. I began pairing 5-inch charms in white and light colors. After sewing them into HST, I stitch across the diagonal again, to form the hourglass shape. The final block is trimmed to the 3-inch size, since the charms are larger than necessary to make the finished size block. The trimming should help to keep the quilt more square with so many small blocks in the overall design. The pattern calls for 128 blocks of each design, but I am planning to make the quilt larger.
I finished reading an old novel last night. I pick up a lot of books at flea markets, antique shops, and library sales. I enjoy historical novels and this one was set in Canada during the gay nineties through the turn of the 20th century. I read in bed before going to sleep and generally finish 15-20 pages at a time. I don't read very fast. I've been wanting to finish this book for awhile, since I purchased the latest Elm Creek Quilts book in November. I was able to pre-order the novel through a book shop in Wisconsin, where Jennifer Chiaverini was doing a book signing. Along with the autographed book, I received a commemorative pin. So, tonight I get to begin the story.
I joined the American Quilt Study Group in November. I have a strong interest in quilt history. They are beginning a new quilt study for the 2014 forum and I would really like to participate. After all, that is why I joined. I have been browsing the internet to find information on the quilt genre being studied. I have found a couple of quilts in the The Quilt Index that fit the study guidelines, but have not made any decision about doing the project.
I seem to have so many projects going that I really need to finish as many as possible next year, rather than starting a major new project. Every year, I make plans to finish at least six old projects. In 2012, I did complete one old project; a blotto block exchange from my Mid-Michigan Quilters' Guild that I won back in 2009. The blocks were put together, but I did not get the quilting done. I decided to finish it off, so that I could put it into the St. John's Mint Festival quilt show. That was back in August. Here's a peek at the quilt hanging in the show. The lighting was poor, so the colors in the photo look blurred. You should be able to see the greenish gray blotto fabric that was used in each of the blocks. I used the scraps to make the sashing cornerstones. What an eclectic set of blocks. The block that I made is the first one in the third row. I didn't like the blotto fabric much, so, of course I won the blotto. I really do like all the block designs, especially the sunbonnet sue and the flower pot with the posies in the first row.
My musings have gotten fairly long. I should put them aside and get back to my cutting mat and sewing machine. With all those hourglass blocks and nine-patches, I will be busy making them into next year; literally.
Filed under: quilt projects, sunbonnet sue, charm square, reading, nine patch, blotto blocks, sisters, MMQG, Jennifer Chiaverini, Elm Creek Quilts, sewing day, Christmas gifts, grandchildren, HST, AQSG, hourglass
My eleven day holiday vacation began today. It began as early as usual, getting up at 6:00 a.m. One's internal clock doesn't change just because you don't have to go into work. I spent part of the day with my DH doing the last of the shopping. We are planning a Mexican Taco/Nachos Bar for Christmas afternoon, with our two daughters and their families. This may become our new tradition. In the past, we had a Christmas morning brunch with a smorgasbord of items. Now that their families are growing, they need Christmas morning to spend at home with the little ones. My DH and I also browsed through a local antique shop, but I decided not to purchase anything, when my DH indicated that he wanted to pick out a Christmas gift for me. He took me to JoAnn's to pick out an OttLite. I came away with the last two 13-watt task lamps on the shelf that were sale priced at $29.95 - 66% off. What a sweet deal! What a great gift!
My granddaughter loves to play with my Nativity set. Last year, I misplaced one of the sheep. When I asked her about it, she went right to the spot where she had hidden it. I began my Nativity set back in 1995, when our family spent Christmas in Frankenmuth, Michigan. We visited the world famous Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland, Since I spent quite a bit on the Nativity set, I decided to find something just for my granddaughter and our other two grandchildren.. The local Christian bookstore had a Fisher Price Little People Nativity set on sale; so I purchased two of them. I cannot wait to see the look on her face when she sees it under the Christmas tree.
In my last post, I practically prayed for snow. Well, we got a little Thursday and Friday. The blowing wind was the worst part of the weather, but it sure made the hot tub feel good. I wouldn't mind if we get a little bit more of the white stuff for Christmas, as long as, our daughters are able to drive to and from Grandpa & Grandma's house safely. Our youngest daughter has already requested logs on the fire to keep her toasty warm, which works better when "it's cold outside". Isn't that a song?
One of my favorite Christmas decorations is this wall-hanging, Christmas Reflections. The bargello design, Underwater Reflections is from the book Bargello Quilts by Marge Edie. I completed the quilt in 1997, a year after taking the class at a quilt shop in Lansing, Michigan. Thinking back, my quilt friends and I drove quite a distance to take quilt classes. The shop was one of only a few in a fifty mile radius of my home. It's amazing the number of quilt shops, now. My quilt is centrally displayed on the wall behind my sofa.
I have a Christmas table topper that needs quilted. As usual, the project was begun in a previous year and left unfinished, when the holiday passed without completing it. The project included matching cloth dinner napkins, which have been used twice. I really need to get it finished, before the napkins fade and no longer match the table topper. Beyond this project, I still need to finish stitching the PJ's I began for my grandchildren. I still have tomorrow and Christmas Eve to finish them. Over the years, I have always been working on sewing projects right up to the big day. This year is no different. And, if they don't get finished, there's always next year.
I've been out of commission since Thanksgiving, it seems. Everyday, there is something clamoring for my time. Whether I've been sewing, working, shopping, or watching my grandchildren, my time has been elsewhere from blogging. Christmas is just a week away. The tree was decorated a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't get any lighs put up outdoors. I baked Christmas cookies and candies over the week-end, with my three-year-old granddaughter helping out. All the shopping is done and I mailed the Christmas cards today. I've even celebrated with two family Christmas gatherings. Yes, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, even without the snow.
The only thing that I haven't done as much as I wanted to do is my sewing. I finished a dress for one of my granddaughters, but didn't have time to make the other granddaughter a dress. Luckily, she was able to wear the dress I made her older sister when she was a baby. I spent one week making several pillowcases as gifts for my great-nieces and nephew, but I haven't gotten back to making anymore gifts. I had planned to make aprons for all my staff at work. I picked up this cute vintage apron at an antique shop a few months ago and wanted to duplicate it. But, alas, I have not had the time. They will be getting homemade English muffin and cinnamon breads from our bakery, instead.
I've had PJs for my grandchildren cut out and ready to sew since before Thanksgiving. I should be able to work on them this week-end and have them completed by Christmas eve. That's the goal, anyway. But, all my quilting projects have been on hold. That should change with an eleven day stretch off from work, beginning this Saturday. Oh, the things I should be able to accomplish. I kinda hope it will snow, so that I can just stay indoors with a blazing fire and inspirational music playing in the background.
Merry Christmas! Enjoy the time with family and friends. And, remember that Jesus in the manager brought the hope of the cross. Be sure to celebrate the reason for the season.