Monday, March 16, 2009

Shopping: Part 2

OK. Recently I went to New York City so of course I had to visit The City Quilter. It is a quilting gem in Midtown! Every time I go I find lots of new fabrics, books and other goodies. My love of Japanese quilt books began here.

Here are a few of the items that had to come home with me. I actually bought a few more things but they have been made into gifts for friends and family.

Don't these treats look delicious?

They are made from felt!! The pictures from this book are beautiful-and mouth watering!

These are photo transfers made from old postcards of NYC. Each is about 4" x 6".

The City Quilter has a great selection of NY themed fabrics so I picked up these fat quarters. I want to make a wall hanging using the fabric and the postcards from above.

The ladies at the shop are friendly and helpful. If you go to New York, you must visit!

Another Completed Project....

I have been a machine quilting maniac lately! In less than a month I have completed 4 lap sized quilts, a wall hanging and a table runner. The table runner is below:

I tried to get it in one picture but it was too big so I took a picture of the middle and a picture of the kitty cat border. The center is made from a charm square pack. I cut each 5" square into 4- 2 and 1/2" squares and sewed them together randomly.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shopping: Part 1

I visited Mimi in Courtland for 5 days last month and I had a wonderful time. Mimi and her husband John are very gracious hosts-even when my plane was almost 8 hours late! (I sat in La Guardia all afternoon and evening due to high winds.) They took me to North Carolina for a great dinner and even to Virginia Beach to visit a quilt store and to get ice cream. My favorite meal was "chicken from the gas station"! LOL! Actually, the mini mart at the gas station had a small restaurant that makes the best fried chicken. On the way back to the airport we stopped at a 5 Guys hamburger place. At least I think that was the name. Can you tell that I ate well??

We went out fabric shopping twice and then did a LOT of sewing. Mimi is just learning to quilt but is GREAT at buying fabric! She kept up well with a seasoned shopper (me!). But this time I packed more efficiently than my last trip. I packed my carry-on with the bare essentials so that I could place my purchases in it on the way home:

The bag weighed 20 pounds more on the way home!! And here is some of what I got:

Lots of patterns! I think I bought about half the patterns that Patchalot Patterns had at the shop, including the kit for the Williamsburg Medallion:

I love this color palette; I want to redo my living room around these colors:

These patterns from Bella Fabrics include the chipboard to complete the projects. Love it!

It was Valentine's Day! How could I resist?

Fabrics for my Civil War Love Letters Quilt:

At Quilt with Me we found the mother-lode of Eleanor Burns fabrics and patterns. I am sure I could find them locally, but here they were just calling me!

Mimi found this fruit fabric and fell in love with it. We cut it into squares and we are going to have a mini quilt challenge. I will post these quilts this summer when we get back together again. Update: Mimi informs me that she has since purchased some vegetable fabric and may make a reversible quilt!

I did buy some other goodies but they are for gifts(can't spoil the surprise!) or already put together (my strippy quilt).

And a confession. For Lent I gave up buying fabric and patterns. This little buying spree was my Mardi Gras. I should give up for the rest of the year-I certainly have enough to keep me busy!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Meet Ruthie! (and some quilt musings...)

When I was in New York City, I finally got to go to the American Girl Doll store. We are talking about 5 floors dedicated to these dolls and accessories including a beauty shop, restaurant, hospital and photography studio. I LOVED it! While looking at all the dolls Ruthie asked me to take her home. She is the best friend of Kit Kittredge who represents the 1930's. I was originally going to keep her in period clothes (I even found a doll quilt from this decade-more on that soon) but then I decided to just dress her as I pleased.

My dd Katie got her the glasses she is wearing for Christmas; I made her the outfit. The shirt is from one of my favorite t-shirts that I ruined while cleaning with bleach. I have also made her a Christmas outfit, mittens and a sweater. Now Ruthie is telling me she wants to learn to play the flute. It is just so hard to say no to her....

I know that I promised to write about my "buying" trips but I have really been busy sewing. I am finishing up quilting my friend's first quilt. I hope she likes what I have done. This is my 4th quilt in the past two weeks and I think I may be getting the hang of this machine quilting. Learning to machine quilt has been difficult for me and has evolved over the years. Learning it has also made me a better teacher: it is one of the few things about sewing that "did not come easy for me" (I hope I don't sound like I am bragging because really, I'm not) Here are a few tips I thought I would share with you:

1. Breathe! I know everyone says this but believe it or not you really can find yourself holding your breath!

2. Prepare well, The extra time spent making sure everything is straight, well pinned, and for me, rolled tightly, saves me twice as much time while I am doing the quilting.

3. Change your needle often. I change my needle on every other bobbin change. If I am using paper to follow a pattern I change it even more often. Along with that, I wind 3 or 4 bobbins before I begin.

4. Don't try to sew while adjusting the quilt. I know, another obvious one, but you need to keep your hands on the quilt when the machine is sewing.

5. I try to stop and adjust when I am sewing toward myself. For some reason, when I start up again, it seems easier to maintain a smooth line of sewing.

6. Enjoy the process! It really is mind over matter. When learning, I kept trying to be done fast, fast, fast! Now I accept that while machine quilting IS faster than hand quilting, it is not instantaneous. Actually, I am trying to remember this with all my sewing. I sew because I like it, not because I am racing or competing with some super quilter who pops out quilts faster than JC Penney!

And now because we all need to smile, I leave you with a picture of my grandson. 10 months old! He is just too cute for words:

P.S. Michael, send me some of your lego pictures and I will post them!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's About Time!

Has it really been that long since I have blogged?? Obviously it has.Here are some quick notes on my life since my last post:

My birthday has passed(I got an Ipod-welcome to the 21st century!)
Katie cooked a delicious Thanksgiving dinner.
Joe and Adrienne were home for Christmas.
Dylan is crawling and has a tooth.
Little Michael is preparing for his first communion.
Wedding plans for Adrienne and Joe are in full swing. I am now looking for a dress that does not scream Mother of the Bride but is still appropriate.

And, I am actually finishing some quilts! That is what my first post of 2009 will be about. A couple of weeks ago I visited my good friend in Virginia. (my shopping will get a separate blog ASAP) While there we shopped and sewed. I started this quilt there. It is a strip quilt that I completed in a couple hours. I machine quilted it when I got home:

Here is a closeup on one of the panels:

The next quilt I started when I when to my retreat at Watson. I had hoped to have it finished as a gift for my husband before he got my Discover bill but that didn't happen. But I did finished it this week!

This is one of the squares:

This last quilt is for Lauren's boyfriend's mom. She has been having some health problems so I made her a comfort quilt. It is left over fabric just cut into strips and then machine quilted. I appliqued some hearts on because it looked a little boring. I hope she likes it!

This is the label that I put on the back:

Tomorrow I will tell you about my two latest trips!