29 February, 2012

Hanging Basket Quilt - Still on a Roll

I am over the  moon and inside out!  Two, count 'em, TWO finished quilts in one week!  That is definitely some kind of record for me!

This is my Hanging Basket Quilt.  I had wanted to hang this quilt from the side of our barn to get a great photo in natural light, but it is raining cats and dogs here and I couldn't wait to post my photos. Maybe when the sun comes out.... in June... it's Oregon...

I blogged about this quilt way back in September of 2011.  Scroll down. The blocks measure 10 inches and they were made using the paperless paper piecing method.  I dearly love making blocks this way. Paperless paper piecing allows for exacting precision and blocks just seem to go together better when they are paper pieced.  For the first time ever, I had someone else do the quilting.  It was done on a long-arm machine, aptly named "Gertrude", by Jeanne E., the custom quilter at my local quilt shop, "The Country Lady". http://www.countryladyquiltshop.com/   Jeanne did a stunning job and photos here do not do justice to her quilting prowess.  It was a big decision to hand off my work to someone else to do the quilting, but I felt that I just did not have it in me to hand quilt this thing.

So when Jeanne called to tell me that the quilting was completed, 
I was at The Country Lady in a flash to pick up my quilt.  

I spent all day today working on the piped binding.  See it pictured above, along with a peek at Jeanne's  beautiful free-motion feather quilting from the back side.

Each block is a bit different from the next.  I keep looking at the quilt, saying to myself, "that's my favorite block", then I look at another and pronounce it to be my favorite block.  I could go on and on.  I love them all.  Can't wait to do more of this small and precise paperless paper piecing

I promise to post that future photo taken with our old barn as a backdrop, just as soon as the weather cooperates.

Hung on the side of the barn.

Finally!  With the help of Mr. T., I managed to get this quilt photographed, a task that is not quite as easy as one would expect.  I put a long bamboo pole into the sleeve, then we both climbed big ladders to lay the pole on two very large nails hammered into the barn siding.   It's a big quilt, 94 x 94 inches, so I had  move WAY back and stand on a ladder to snap my photos.  I had thought that I would want to take these quilt photos in the sunshine, but soon found out that the quilt was completely washed out in bright light, so down it came.  We put it up again early the next morning while there was still a bit of cloud cover.  Much better results and a lesson was learned.

I have photographed a few quilts hung on that same bamboo pole, laid on those big nails on the side of our big ol' barn, but this is the very first quilt that has hung PERFECTLY square!  I'm pretty excited about that!

26 February, 2012

On Being Productive


I finished a quilt today.  Notice just how very casually I make that statement.  I'm really just trying to be super-cool, tempering my glee, and not typing too many exclamation points here.  It has been a very long time since I have completed an honest to goodness bed-sized quilt.  So before I burst, here are my exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!  I just could not help myself! The quilt looks rather nice here on the antique iron bed in our teeny guest room, don't you agree?.

There is a very real sense of accomplishment for me in completing such a project, especially since I have felt like somewhat of a fraud as a quilter for some time.  I called myself a quilter, but it had been a long time since I had actually produced a body of work.  But I am happy to say that I am presently on a very real productive roll here, having finished a number of things lately.

This is my Bear Paw Sampler quilt, one started just because I thought I might be actually be able to complete it.  I began it in September of 2010 as the Block-of-the-Month project for my Quilters' Guild.  Each month we received a variation of the Bear Paw pattern. I thought that I could certainly manage to get just one block made per month, even while shouldering my duties as Guild President to 110+ of the most creative and accomplished quilting ladies imaginable.  I actually told myself that I would be such a very sad and hopeless case if I could not complete even a single block per month.

So I puttered away, making my one block each month, each one just a bit different, and then put them together with sashing that I thought looked interesting.  Along the way,  I decided to actually quilt the thing on my Bernina.  I broke it up into units and then put the units together after quilting.  I added the scalloped border to make it fit on it's intended bed.  I'm not completely thrilled with the results since I am always my very own toughest critic, but then I am just beginning to do machine quilting, so it's not really so terribly bad.

The good news is that if you kind of sqiunt at the quilt, it appears to be heavily quilted, which was my goal and intention. And the quilt is comfy, seriously cozy and comfy.  I know this to be a fact because I actually nap-tested it this afternoon.  I was completely bagged after hand stitching all of the binding.  PHEWWW!!!! My fingers are raw and sore!  They only bled on the quilt twice.  Had to dig out the Hydrogen Peroxide to removed the blood stains...

I supposed that I can't expect perfect quilting results as a beginner.  I kind of call this exercise a Life Lesson.  I have almost always had success at most anything that I try.  I am a pretty good hand quilter if I do say so myself... but not so much with this machine quilting stuff.  I know that it will take lots and lots of practice to become as proficient as I would like to be.  But that's OK.  It's the learning process that I enjoy.  I'll get there, eventually... with time and patience.  And sore fingers.

15 February, 2012

Who's on Pinterest?

OK, I just have to say, I am so LOVING Pinterest.  For those of you who have yet not taken the plunge, Pinterest is an online pin board, wherein you "pin" things that you like or love, things that move you, amuse you or just interest you.  Think "collections"..., virtual collections, perfect for those of you who have limited space for real collections. There are tons and tons of interesting recipes and cool ideas.  I love having all of these super ideas for future use stashed/pinned all in one place, kind of like my own personal library of fun stuff to do.  I have files and clippings and ideas floating around in my head, but Pinterest helps me to virtually catalog them all.  Whatever your interests are, Pinterest has even more ideas for you.  I have my fingers crossed that I will have a long enough life to make all of the things that I want to create.  Thank you, Pinterest, for keeping my inspirations and ideas organized.