Quilting for Christmas

Quilting for Christmas doesn’t mean things that I made for Christmas, though it may mean that sometime in the future. It means gifts that I received for Christmas.

Julie sent me this great journal. It is a small square journal with a combination of blank handmade paper and graph paper. I already did one page of drawings and decorated the title page.

This was inspired by the pattern on The Child’s Christmas stocking.

Paul sent me the Civil war quilt book and Julie also came through with the Ruth McDowell and Katie Pasquini Masopust design books. I guess I had better start working on my design principles.

I also received The Quilt: A History and Celebration of an American Art Form. One of the things it has are ads of quilts from the 30s, which I really like.

Empty Design Wall

My design wall is empty because I have finished piecing the Eye Spy (hexagon quilt)! Hooray!

I worried about not posting any progress or anything here during the past few days, but I wanted to soldier through the piecing. I knew you would all wait for me ;-), but I do like to write every day and this blog gives me one opportunity to do so.

Eventually I had to take the top part of the piece off the design wall and put it on the floor. I don’t have a design wall that allows me to see a whole twin sixed quilt. Having the bottom of the piece on the floor and the top on the wall just didn’t work for me.

Having it on the floor is inconvenient at the best of times, and was really inconvenient this time, because I had to move a lot of stuff from around the room to get the piece to fit. Still, the inconvenience gave me an incentive to soldier on; I was able to see what fit together where and how to piece it, so it worked out. As you can see from the photo above, it fits a lot better now that it is pieced together.

This is a detail of the finished [bottom left] corner. I added the red diamonds after deciding that I did not want a wonky border. I will cut half of the diamonds off to make the border straight….eventually.

I really had topuzzle through some areas. The [bottom right] corner was one of those. That hole just appeared when I laid the piece down on the floor and I didn’t know whether it would be taken up with piecing or if I needed to add a piece. I ended up adding two of the hexagon units eventually to fill in.

So, now the piece is in the closet with 4 other quilts that need to be quilted. I will send the Cheerful Baskets to TFQ to be quilted by The Quilting Loft as soon as I make the label and back. I had a strong desire to piece tops after finishing the Cheerful Baskets. While The Tarts Come to Tea fluttered in and out of my mind, nothing sprang to mind and demanded my attention after finishing the hexagons. Perhaps finishing will be on the list. Perhaps I need to make those backs and get that sleeve done, etc.

I did have sewing the FOTY blocks into a quilt on my list, but have decided to take that to the CQFA quilt retreat to sew. By that time, I will have, hopefully, finished washing and pressing all the fabric I bought in 2008 and will really have a large block of time to get busy on it.

Gift Bags From Afar for the Luckiest Girl

I got a surprise on Thursday! Kristen and Mrs. Kristen sent me a dotted package filled with fabrics and gift bags. I was so thrilled and it was just the pick-me-up I needed.

I saw this sunflower fabric on Kristen’s blog and asked her to get me some earlier this year. I never saw it and know that she is really busy, but was so pleased to see it come to live with me.

The dots, of course, will come in very handy.

While they were at it, they worked on some gift bags for me. Aren’t they pretty? They have little cuffs on them, which is wonderful and different from mine. I am so pleased to add them to my collection. I am also pleased that the gift bags phenomenon is spreading. Hope you will make some, too!

They put it all in a gift box covered with dots, which made me happy even before I opened the package. Thanks, ladies!

Hexagon Edges

I am also still working on the hexagons. I am in a spot where there is a lot of sewing triangles to hexagons and then pressing. It is the part where it looks like not much progress is being made.

However, I did take some time to figure out the bottom of the quilt. I am at the point where I need to shift everything up.

Since my design wall isn’t big enough to handle a twin sized quilt, I need to shift the top off the design wall, leave a few pieces so I know how to hook the top and bottom together and then slap up the hexagons destined to be on the bottom of the quilt.

So far, it isn’t working. I haven’t gotten the right steps in my head enough to move forward so I am sewing equilateral triangles to hexagons (check!), pressing (half check!) and sewing together four hexagon units to make diamonds.

I am also still thinking about the side borders. My decision was to have an uneven border. That decision is still not settling completely well with me. I am thinking of making a big diamond template and sewing a plain red piece (or use different fabrics) onto the edges.

Candy Cane Nine-patch Quilt

Nine-patch Quilt
Originally uploaded by knitknat

KnitKnat has put together a wonderful quilt in this ninepatch that doesn’t look like a ninepatch. S/he does not call it Candy Cane. In honor of the Season and because it reminds me of the nice blend of pink and red that make up candy canes, I have decided to think of it as a candy cane quilt.

One of the elements that is so attractive about this quilt is her use of fabrics. In a limited color palette, an artist can end up with a boring mix of fabrics. In this case, KnitKnat has chosen very well and the eye moves around the quilt because of the different sizes and shapes of the motifs.

The crowing glory is the little circle/flowerette centered in the setting stones. All around a quilt I wish I had made.

The Snowballs are Flowering

I am still working on the Flowering Snowballs (Cross Blocks). As you can see, I have taken the Child’s advice and added in some visual resting places for the last 10 blocks.

As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, these are hand pieced. I intend to sew them together by machine. However, in the cutting process, they do not all turn out to have uniform edges. I have been wondering if they would come apart if I trimmed them with a square ruler and then sewed them all together?

The knots I have made to hold the pieces securely would be trimmed off. Would it matter how quickly I sewed after trimming? The machine piecing would definitely hold all of the blocks together. More pondering….

New Star Block from Flickr

New Star Block
Originally uploaded by kirbyloulou

I saw this block about 2 weeks ago and have not been able to get it out of my mind. With the many, many blocks in the DS pool, I wasn’t able to find it again either. I was really glad to come across it today. Love the pointy corners.

Polka Dotted Happiness

Mary-Jeanine kindly allowed me to post her quilt, Polka Dotted Happiness, here at Artquiltmaker. Isn’t that the perfect description of polka dots? I will use this as an incentive to get back to the Pineapple.

Mary-Jeanine is the person that sent me a Christmas bag. I wrote about her bag a few days ago. Mary-Jeanine is also the owner/creator of the Florida Quilt Network website. It is a service she provides to Florida quilters and anyone visiting Florida. She lists all the Florida quilt events, shops and guilds. Quiltmakers can subscribe to her monthly newsletter for free.

Thanks, Mary-Jeanine!

OT: Comics

Birthdays at our house are, hopefully, followed by thank you notes. The Child has an end of November birthday, which means that thank you notes need to get taken care of in a timely manner or else Christmas gifts start arriving with their requisite thank you note requirements.

The Child is a budding cartoonist and this one is based on an experience he had this summer with his grandfather, who is an avid fisherman.

Grandpa (on the left): I got a fish!
The Child (on the right): Me, too!

Grandpa (on the left): I got a bigger one!
The Child (on the right): Me, too!

Note X eye and tongue hanging out.

Remember to Look Up

After Thanksgiving, I took my cousin, who was visiting from Arizona, and a bunch of other kids downtown to look at the recently Christmas lights. In a recently renovated mall, I followed the strings of lights with my eyes up to the ceiling and was rewarded with this view.

This is a floor at the Westin St. Francis.

This is the corner of the mosaic work. I would love to use this as a design for the border of a quilt. I think it would probably have to be machine appliqued.

Here is some carpet at the Grand Hyatt. I like the way the spirals curl around each other as well as the way they are echoed with some additional curves a few inches away. Definitely inspiration for a quilting design.

Reconsidering Craft

The old and boring art vs. craft debate takes on a new view in this To the Best of Our Knowledge episode. As with many topics, looking back into the past and reconsidering past attitudes provides insight into the future.

clipped from www.wpr.org
To the Best of Our Knowledge


America’s gone craft crazy. Everyone’s knitting, or keeping
scrapbooks; throwing pots or wood-working. And naturally, there are new
chains of stores that carry all the supplies these crafters need, or think
they do. In this hour, To the Best of Our Knowledge considers what
we mean by the word craft.” Does it mean a hand-made object that’s
almost art? Or could it be anything that’s thoughtfully done to the very
best of the doer’s ability? Reconsidering crafts, next time, on To the
Best of Our Knowledge.

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Friendship Block

Last week I mentioned that Camilla, of CamillaKnits, called for blocks for a family who had recently lost their father and husband in a tragic accident. I thought that it wouldn’t be very difficult to whip out something and send it off.

My block is above. I wanted to make it cheerful and I think it does come across as cheerful. Camilla’s rules were 12×12″ finished blocks. Mine isn’t 12×12″, so it will probably end up on the back, but that is no problem for me. I am finding that it is almost impossible for me to follow new directions lately, though I did try.

I have to say I would have done well to just get out Around the Block and make a normal block. This one took me about 2 hours rather than the few minutes I thought it would. I don’t regret the time, because it gave me the opportunity to think about the changes to the lives of family involved. I was also able to contemplate the projects in which I used these cheerful fabrics.

I hope Camilla can use my block and that the family takes some comfort from the quilt.