Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pack Your Bags

I'm finally getting around to posting pictures of the quilt I made for my daughter for Christmas. This one was finished in November after I put in a solid day of shop-hopping and I took it to the longarm quilter the very next day. The pattern is Check It Out from Pressed for Time patterns. This is the second time I've used the pattern. It's a fun and easy one. The inspiration came from a bundle of fat quarters I chose because of the Eiffel tower fabric. I later found yardage of that and used it in the border. I think its' a Michael Miller fabric. My daughter took French in high school and got to go to France on a school trip (I haven't been yet. . .) so I thought this would evoke some nice memories for her. As I mentioned in my post about the Boy Scout quilt, I'm trying to learn something new with each project. For this one I learned that it's OK to dive into your stash and include a fabric that wasn't in the fat quarter bundle. I didn't think there was enough contrast in the fat quarters, so I dived into my stash and found a pink with some brown overtones and it was just the thing. The inner border is from a line called "Pack Your Bags" and so is the backing. Again, I learned that not everything has to match exactly. So even though this was an "easy" pattern, I think that making it moved me along on my quilting journey.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Woodlawn Needlework Show

As some of you may know, the Woodlawn Plantation in Alexandria, Virginia is the site of an annual needlework show. A local group, Nellie's Needlers, organizes the show each March. Although I have submitted pieces in each of the last three years, I have only been able to attend once in that time. Now that my daughter conveniently goes to college in DC, I decided that taking her back to school after spring break would be a perfect time to see the show and enjoy a weekend break. So we set off much earlier on a Saturday morning than my daughter would have liked. We had only one small glitch on the trip when someone misread the directions, which was fixed by using the GPS on her iPhone and we arrived safely. (Note to self: Must stop being so cheap and get a smartphone.) My daughter is not a needleworker, so she wasn't impressed by the show. She did enjoy looking at the furniture in the house. I, on the other hand, was enthralled by all the lovely stitching and so happy to see that some members of my sampler guild had won ribbons. There were some lovely over-one pieces done by a male stitcher and I cast my "viewer's choice" ballot for one of those. Two large charts had been finished into books--one of Carriage House Samplings alphabet charts and one of Mary Beale's Days of Advent chart. Not sure that is how I would want to display my work, but it was an interesting finishing idea. There is a whole room for Christmas, one for children's things (including some smocked dresses) and another for needlepoint. All of it made me want to sit down and start stitching right away! We took advantage of the lunch served by Nellie's Needlers and both of us recommend the quiche. I understand that their lemon tart is wonderful, but we decided to save room for dessert later that evening in Old Town Alexandria.
After the Woodlawn show, we went over to the local needlework shop, In Stitches. My daughter waited in the car while I looked at the needlepoint canvases, and then we headed to the hotel. Immediately upon reaching our room, she laid down and took a nap. What is with these kids? I couldn't get any of my three to continue their afternoon naps beyond the age of 2 1/2 and now they are snoozing any chance they get! I finally roused her and we took the hotel's shuttle to Old Town. The shuttle let us off about 10 blocks from the restaurant where we had dinner reservations so we got to stroll down most of the shopping district. Luckily, the weather was gorgeous and it was a very pleasant evening. Good thing we didn't eat dessert at lunch as the white chocolate raspberry bread pudding we shared at dinner was fabulous! I love bread pudding although I never make it at home. My daughter "discovered" the dessert at her cafeteria and now she loves it, too.
On the way back to my daughter's college the next morning, we agreed that Woodlawn should be an annual event for us and that we'll explore a new DC neighborhood each year. We've already decided that Georgetown will be next. I can't wait!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How Cute is This?

Last week, my good friend and I went to the AQS Quilt Show in Lancaster, PA. We're quilt show veterans so we arrived with shopping totes and bag lunches. We had a plan for which floor of the hotel to visit first. We had short lists of items we were looking for and vowed to spend some time actually looking at the quilts on display. There were some lovely Baltimore album quilts that were both hand appliqued and hand quilted. I love to look at them, but don't think that I'll ever attempt one. I recently bought Rosewood Manor's Baltimore Quilt crossstitch chart, though.

My plan was to buy a specific ruler and a bundle of eight fat quarters from one of my favorite vendors. That went out the window when I saw this cute, cute, cute potholder at the Traditions of White Swan booth. I snapped up the pattern (Hot Cakes! by Susie Shore Designs) and one of the kits. This project requires 2 10"x9" and 2 9"x6" pieces of fabric along with some InsulBrite and Warm and Natural batting and less than an hour of sewing. Great way to use up those fabric and batting scraps. I can see these done with various holiday themed fabrics. We have a lot of wedding showers at work and I think one of these potholders would be welcomed along with a muffin tin and cupcake supplies.

And as for the ruler and fat quarters? Didn't buy either of them, nor did we buy the X-block rulers we were considering. But I did manage to find yardage for the borders of a quilt in progress along with some novelty fabrics that I'll incorporate into a quilt for one of the kids eventually. The day didn't go quite as planned, but I would call it a success anyway.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Where Does the Time Go?

I was a little surprised to find that it's been nearly a month since I last updated this blog. I've been busy with a little of this, a little of that--tax forms, paperwork for school--and I've recovered from a cold, but those things really shouldn't have kept me from posting. Anyway, I'm back with pictures of the quilt I made for my middle son who is an Eagle Scout. I've been trying to learn something from each quilt I make and boy, did I learn a lot from this one. First of all, I learned how to "fussy cut" all those badges. Then I struggled a bit with how to piece the horizontal sashing so that I didn't have a vertical seam. I checked in with the experts at my quilt guild and they assured me it was OK to do a bias seam. I learned how to handle directional fabrics in a border. I was pretty proud of my work on this quilt and I loved the fleur-d-lis design the longarm quilter used to quilt it. But this quilt wasn't done with me yet. After it was quilted, bound and put on my son's bed on Christmas morning, I found that one of the blocks had been sewn in upside down. So the final lesson from this quilt was humility.