Busy Days

What have I been doing for the last four months?   Well, a lot actually!   Thanks for being patient with me and thank you for always coming back to see what’s new!

I finally had my star quilt quilted by Jamie Wallen in Michigan City, IN.    Didn’t realize I wouldn’t get it back for four months, but I do love how it is quilted!   He did a beautiful job.   And it is now one of my favorites!

Star Quilt 1

You can see the lovely feather quilting done around each star!

Star Quilt 2 closeup

While that was out being quilted, I made 20 more baby blankets with teddy bears for our Quilters’ Plus Holiday Boutique the first weekend in November.   I have them all lined up and waiting to put double ribbons around each teddy bear.   I have made these for many years.   The proceeds of these blankets help support my quilt guild (and I get some money back as well).   It’s a lot of work to make so many, but voila!  C’est fini!

2013 baby blankets

I also made some wool Christmas ornaments to sell at the same Holiday Boutique, but 100% of the proceeds from these ornaments will go to my NeedleArtisans of NW Indiana group and the quilt guild.    The same goes for the cotton kitchen washcloths I made.   I would like to make more items, but my own projects seem to be suffering with all the things I made for the Boutique.   So I will have to call it quits for the boutique items I think.

Wool Ornaments 1

Wool Felt Ornaments 2

Wool Felt Ornaments 3

Cotton Washcloths

And last but not least of my projects, I have my “Over the River and Through the Woods” quilt prepared for quilting.  The three picturesque center panels are all hand embroidered.   I plan to machine quilt this one myself.   I don’t consider myself a good home machine quilter, but it’s too pricey to have one’s quilts quilted professionally.   I like to say “I DID IT MYSELF” anyway.   And some quilts just don’t warrant the weeks and weeks of hand quilting.   Besides, I still have my yellow whole cloth one on my quilt frame.   It’s almost done!

Over the River 1

In between all the sewing, life things happened….a couple of wakes and funerals….a shower and a wedding….a week’s getaway for DH and myself…. several lunches with friends….a trip to the International Quilt Show in Chicago….quite a bit of gardening upkeep….an unexpected reunion with my three siblings (some who live quite far away)…and the usual everyday things.   I very much enjoy my retirement….and love to sit and “veg” occasionally with a good book or my trusty computer seeing what’s new in the needlework and quilting world.

Thanks for visiting my blog again!     Amities, Averyclaire

Advertisements

Update

Warning: This is a LONG post…after three months of absence.

On July 6th we welcomed a brand new baby granddaughter, Maya, into our family. She is precious. Of course that meant “another” trip to Colorado to see our new little bundle of joy. Her parents are thrilled to say the least. It is SO hard to be so far away from them.

In May and June I caught the quilt bug! All I have been doing is working on quilts. First I would spend some therapeutic and meditative time in my garden weeding, then would have my shower and get to it! Last post I showed you the first two blocks of an applique quilt I am working on. Here are photos of the next six making a total of eight completed. Number nine is in process. (There are 16 total, so only halfway there.) It’s an easy applique pattern from Edyta Sytar called Sweet Sixteen.

I am committed to finishing projects this year. So here is a photo of a pinwheel quilt in process. Have the bug to use up old fabrics using half square triangles….hence the pinwheels.

Next I have a photo of my Japanese bento box that is still being hand-quilted by yours truly. I have only about a third of the sashing to quilt….but it seems to take forever. And when one has a million hand projects to work on….which one does one choose? (I even have one of those felt Christmas stockings I am putting together at the request of my DD.)

And last but not least I have made another 25 baby blankets with matching teddy bears. These are for my large quilt group Holiday Boutique which happens every year in November.

So between my garden, three active quilts in process, a Christmas stocking, 25 baby blankets and teddy bears, and a stabbing effort to get the laundry, cooking, and cleaning done….well…it’s a crazy fun world for sure. I did do a tiny bit of cross-stitch and taught my granddaughter, Sophia (age 9), to quilt (she made a small quilt for Maya); she learned to cross stitch; and learned to embroider (made two pillows).

And in the midst of all of this I was ill for five months…..April, May, June, July and August. In April I thought I got food poisoning. Not so. The painful attacks after eating, hanging over the commode, would last for four hours at least three or four times per week. After lots of doctoring, lots of tests, and my own experiments trying to be “fat free”, “lactose free”, “gluten free” nothing worked. Even the specialists at our wonderful Northwestern Hospital in downtown Chicago are mystified. However, I did learn after charting my food for weeks, that I simply cannot tolerate any kind of complex carbohydrates…no rice, no pasta, no breads of any kind, no crackers, no carrots or beets, anything with high carbohydrate content. There seems to be no name for my condition and no cure….but now I finally have no more illness so long as I don’t eat those things. I did lose a LOT of weight during this time (not such a bad thing…a bonus for me). Guess I just have to live and eat differently now. Golly I miss my junk food!!!!

For now it’s good to jot out a fresh blog post. I have silently lurked amongst all of your blogs in the past three months and they are wonderful. Thanks for visiting. Amities, Averyclaire

Barn Quilts, Woolen Shop and More

I spent this past weekend in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with my lovely sister-in-law, Judy, and her friend, Kay.  We began the day with a trip to her local quilt shop, Pine Needles, for a fun quilt group to learn of all the latest things. This shop is quite famous and one of the nicest I have ever visited.  The weather was cold and rainy, but we had a great time anyway.

Then we went to Kalona, Iowa.  I share with you the postcard I picked up at the quilt shop we visited. There is a wonderful Barn Quilt Tour in Washington County to see amazing quilt blocks which are painted on the side of barns.  We saw quit a few of the painted quilt blocks as we drove into Kalona, but with the rain it wasn’t good for photos or a complete tour.  Maybe next year on a sunny day.

We promptly had a luscious lunch at the Tuscan Moon Restaurant. A super place with great food. Then walked across the street to the Willow Creek Quilt Shop (sorry no link), but a lovely quilt shop that just went on forever. Each nook was filled with a new treasure to behold.  It was hard talking myself out of buying everything.  A must see when in Kalona.

We skipped the Kalona Quilt Museum (as I actually had been there before…although it is a “great” place to visit), and left for Williamsburg, Iowa where Judy and Kay had discovered a wonderful wool shop on a previous trip. The Woolen Needle is just a lovely place to find lots of wool patterns and get the most beautiful hand-dyed wool. 

 

 

 There is nothing more wonderful and fun than spending a weekend with good friends.  Ahhhh.

Moving onto another topic….Each year at the beginning of November, my quilt group holds a holiday boutique.  All of our members make handmade things to sell.  Part of the profits go to our quilt group to sustain us during the year in order to have wonderful guest speakers at our meetings.  We also use our profits to buy fabric for charity projects.  For several years now, my contribution is a stack of baby blankets with teddy bears. On September 30th I showed a photo of a huge pile of flannel fabric.  Well here is part of the results my work.  I made about 14 blankets and teddy bears and have flannel for about 6 more (later maybe).  I also made up the “Moses Basket” to use for displaying my blankets.  While my children are all grown and my grandchildren are too old for baby blankets…they are still fun to make.

Progress and Past

Here is one of the blankets I managed to complete this week…Peter Rabbit and a couple of others.  The blankets are about 40 inches square and are double sided.  The flannel is all prewashed and preshrunk.  I have been making these and selling them as gifts for years now.  It is my own design with special embroidered edges.  And each one comes with a cozy stuffed animal. 

I also finished a baby quilt for the grandson of a friend of mine, but I can’t put it on the blog until I get it into the mail. Don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Everyone is always worrying about all the fabric they have in their stash.  I did too.  So I decided to do something about it.  I made an old-fashioned multi-color cat quilt.  It was a Robert Callaham pattern shown in a magazine some years old.  Thinking I would put a big dent in my stash, I even used scraps to create a patchwork backing for the quilt.   And you know what happened…I think my stash is just as big as it was before.  This lovely quilt didn’t even put a dent into my collection of fabric.   I had the opportunity to display my quilt in the public library for nearly six months.  It was fun.

 

 

 A closeup of the cats and “fence.”

 

 

 

Here is the back of the quilt…..all the left over scraps from the front of the quilt.

 

 

 

 

Here is a photo of the library where the quilts were hung.

 

 

 

 

And here is a photo of some quilting friends giving a demonstration of their quilting skills at the public library.

 

  

Quilting makes such good friends and we have such a good time together!  I wouldn’t trade this time with my friends for anything.

Fabulous Flannel

It’s been a busy week, working mostly. But I attended the funeral of a good friend who passed away from melanoma. She was only 58. I wrote a reflection on her illness and impending death on August 17th. And I have been reflecting on her life and passing often lately. Of course this leads to reflection on one’s own life as well.

But I have to get back into the groove and take care of projects. Here is a stack of fabulous flannel which will be turned into cute little blankets with stuffed bears and bunnies. I have been making these and selling them for years.  I’ll post a photo when I am finished. My quilt group has a holiday boutique every year in November and a portion of the profit from the things we sell goes to our quilt group.  It allows us to have wonderful guest speakers each month and to purchase fabrics for charity quilts, cancer hats and wheelchair and walker bags.  So I have LOTS of work to do before the November boutique.  Guess the wedding quilt will be put on hold one more time.

Off to work for the day…I hope I still have energy tonight to start this flannel project!