And the good news is ...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I accepted a job offer this morning!!! 

I was actually offered the job last Friday ... and on Saturday morning these arrived at the front door from the hiring manager ...

I interviewed with 17 different people in the company over a 6 week time period ... not sure if these were a way of saying "we're happy you may join us" or a "we're sorry for the process".  But after 6 months of looking and turning down a couple of offers -- a very frightening thing to do in this economy -- I am thrilled to say that I found a great industry, company and hiring manager!

So while I have no quilting photos today ... rest assured that a lot of quilting got done over the past few days as I weighed the pros and cons ... and I will share a few pics of at least one finished quilt soon ;-).

All the best

It's been a good week

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I have had some good news ... more on that in a few days.

But in the interim, I wanted to make 2 quilts for 2 very special friends ...

Hopefully they will both be finished by the time I get to celebrate with them ...

Hope you have a GREAT week as well!

All the best

Productive weekend afterall

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

In the end ... it was a productive weekend with two quilt tops completed.  This one, is a house-warming present for my cousin who is clearly not afraid of color ;-). 

I evolved as quilter on this attempt ... I struggled with the layout at first.  But what I really struggled with was the color combination.  I had to learn to step above the color choices and still see that I could make a lovely product that my cousin could enjoy ... as these were the colors that she wanted

I'm not sure who makes the prints that I used on the front.  The back is Hope Valley Prarie Rose with a Kaufman Kona "Sweet Pea" and the binding is Hope Valley Cactus Calico.  I normally shy away from the current trend in fabrics, simply because they are too expensive for my budget.  But I had a $20 volume credit at my LQS, so I splurged.

After washing the quilt is 60" x 58" and quilted in a meandering pattern.  Until I get a new machine ... that's my quilting method of choice as I don't have dual feed capabilities. 

I hope that Laura is happy with it ... and I'm now ready to move on to something that's a little more my style ...

All the best

Who got a quilt ???

Monday, March 22, 2010

The running joke around here for the past few months is that the dogs need a quilt too ... so ... for the dog lovers out there, or just to add a little levity to your day ...

Well ... it's not exactly a quilt ... it's more of a pad for them to curl up and lie on.

I couldn't resist when I saw the paw-print fleece on a 50%-off sale at JoAnns.  Turns out it wasn't 50% off -- but didn't know that until it got rung up. Since it was already cut and the cashier agreed the sign was misleading, she let me use my "single-item" 40% off coupon on two separate transactions. I felt it was a fair response.

Anyway ... back to the "dog quilt".  Since this is meant to go "under" not "over" the dogs I wanted to make it padded.  I used a double thickness of batting sandwiched between 2 layers of the paw-print fleece.  Then ... I decided to try practice a pebble stitch on it ... that was interesting.  It's WAY TOO THICK to easily quilt.  Three bobbins of thread and a LOT of shoulder muscles later, I finished the pebble stitching! 

It's 26" square ... the quilting alone caused it to shrink up about 3" in each direction.

I found a cute cotton binding with bones and paw prints.  Mind you, machine binding 2 layers of batting sandwiched between two layers of fleece took a little extra effort as well.

Madigan is posing for this shot, with Emma waiting in the wings.

I have enough to material to make a 2nd one for the other dog ... but this time I will definitely use a less intense quilting ;-).

It was a fun exercise ... but it might be a while before I get around to making the 2nd one ...

All the best

Quilt Binding

Saturday, March 20, 2010

When I started quilting last year, I machine quilted my binding ... I just didn't know any better.  A couple of months into it I read in blogs that people were hand stitching theirs.  I have to be honest, I have never tried hand stitching.  I had good intentions to try it ... but just never seemed to make the time. I've often thought it would be fun refreshing to wind my way out of a quilt with a couple of hours of tactile experience with the quilt.  

I did (fortunately) improve my machine stitching of the binding ...

Here's the front:

And the back:

I recently saw a machine stiched binding tutorial on Red Pepper quilts.  I was thrilled to see that a quilter I admire also machine stitches!  My bindings are slightly different, I don't stitch in the ditch on the front (just not sure that I trust my ability to sew that straight ;-).  I also haven't been able to master the mitered corner ... though that's something I might try again some day ...

How about you ...  how is your binding attached?

All the best

This one's for me !!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A first ... the first time that I've made a quilt for me!  I've made one for "us", and John even got one for his birthday, but I've never made one just for me. 

This is a special one, as I mentioned here, it pulls together many scraps from the 39 quilts that I have made since I started quilting in May 2009. 

I quilted it with an overall meandering pattern ... but fairly tight ... I love how the tight quilting works on the white (sateen from JoAnns), particularly when washed and dried on hot.  The quilt REALLY shrunk, it started at 57" x 62" and ended up at 52" x 58".  The binding is also pieced from scraps as is the piecing on the back.

I had some fun photographing this one in the setting sun out at the cabin tonight ... so bear with me as I share ...

Have a great weekend!  Sounds like it's going to be fairly good weather across the US ;-).

All best

Scraps, Scraps and Scraps

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It was time to hit the scrap pile again ;-).  This top's now completed.  I got the inspiration from the stripe piecing that I did on the back of this one. 

I LOVE scrap quilts ... I give away almost all of my quilts to friends and family ... so when I make a scrap quilt, it's a bit of a trip "down memory lane" for me.  It's not just what fabric was in which quilt, but also who I made it for and what we were celebrating ... a new house, a new job, a birth, a passing ...

As much fun as scrap quilts are for me ... the keeping of the scraps needs a little work.  

  I keep my patterned fabrics in plastic bags based on color ... seems green and blue are my most used colors. 
For my solids, I keep them in a bag that came with a FQ set I bought last summer when I first started quilting.

Does anyone have a system that works well for them?  I would sure be interested in hearing about it!

We're off to the cabin this afternoon for a long weekend ... taking the sewing gear, but the weather promises to be nice ... so we shall see.

All the best

Over the Top?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Laurel over at Lively Stitches has honored me with this blog award ;-)

And apparently there are some questions I'm supposed to answer:
  1. Where is your cell phone? window sill (so I can get coverage)
  2. Your hair? curly and short
  3. Your mother?  currently serving on an 18 month grand jury (thank goodness there's someone who wants to do this )
  4. Your father?  getting grumpier as time goes on
  5. Your favorite food?  popcorn
  6. Your dream last night?  I was interviewing ... it's daytime and nighttime these days
  7. Your favorite drink?  red wine ;-)
  8. Your dream goal?  a balanced life
  9. What room are you in? Kitchen
  10. Your hobby? Gardening, quilting, home remodeling
  11. Your fear? short life
  12. Where do you want to be in 6 years?  retired
  13. Where were you last night?  quilting in the mudroom
  14. Something you aren't?  a runner ... but I sure am trying!
  15. Muffins?  Cranberry orange
  16. Wish list item?  a job
  17. Where did you grow up?  all over, I'm an army brat
  18. Last thing you did?  ate dinner
  19. What are you wearing?  Fleece
  20. Your TV?  off
  21. Your Pets?  2 English Setters (Madigan & Emma)
  22. Your life?  special
  23. Your friends?  patient
  24. Your mood?  anxious
  25. Missing someone?  nope
  26. Your car?  9-year-old Lexus
  27. Something you are not wearing?  my glasses
  28. Your favorite store?  Value Village (I kid you not ;-)
  29. Your favorite color?  blue
  30. Last time you laughed?  during dinner
  31. Last time you cried?  this morning
  32. Your best friend?  my husband
  33. One place you go over and over?  the cabin
  34. One person who emails you regularly?  Lisa -- she checks up on my mood as I slug thru this job hunt
  35. Favorite place to eat?  on the deck
OK ... now I'm supposed to pass off to ... I'm with everyone else ... I think all bloggers who are willing to share and open parts of themselves up to share and bring joy to others are deserving ... but I'll go ahead and pass on to a few to keep this thing going ...

All the best

Colorful quilt -- part II

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I was really struggling with this ... and short of starting to rip stuff out ... wasn't quite sure where to go with it.  In the end, I decided to take the white blocks out and line the blocks up ... I felt that it made it look more cohesive and a little less like a jigsaw puzzle. 
I am hoping, as usual, that this one grows on me as I quilt it ... had some more fun in the LQS today picking out binding and backing. 

Emma seems quite interested ... not in the quilt, but the thought that there might be something behind it ;-)
All the best

Colorful quilt

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I don't have a design wall ... so I use the queen size bed in my guest room to lay out my quilts.  Then I stand on a bench and take a photo ... which helps me sort through the layout of the blocks.  This one still needs some work ... too many white centers in top right corner.  I also like to sleep on it for a night and see if it looks different the next day.

This one is REALLY busy ... I find it hard, when I wander from "my style" to know whether it really works or not.  It is certainly an interesting combination ... and with none of the white space that I typically like to use ... I find the eye doesn't really have anywhere to rest.

I like the pattern and can't wait to try it with some solids!!! 

Well ... off to bed.  Busy day tomorrow and then some serious house hunting this weekend (and that's a whole different story ;-).

All the best

Turning the corner

I am emerging from my improv block phase ... thanks to my cousin Laura. 

She's another twenty-something cousin who just bought a house and this is her house warming present.  Unlike my other cousin who wanted to stay neutral ... Laura has very definite ideas about where she wants to go with color ... golds, oranges, purples and greens ...

Definitely a growth area for me!  Had a fun hour at the LQS pulling together the 9 pieces that will comprise this quilt.  Then I went home and spent 3 days trying to figure out what design I want to use.  I would definitely recommend doing these two steps in reverse order next time ;-).

But it all is a learning experience and this will be both a new color scheme and a new quilt pattern from me! 

All the best

Birthday quilt

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

OK ... so you're probably tired of this style of quilt ... my last one for a while ... promise. 

If you remember, when I was making this one for my girlfriend, John commented how much he liked it.  So, since today is his birthday ... he got a new quilt!

 The back squares didn't turn out quite as I expected in terms of placement, but they will do and the stripes ... well they are accounting for the fact that I ran out of white!  But they have given me an idea for a whole different quilt ... keep your eyes open for that coming soon!

So here's the birthday boy and his new lap quilt ... amazing how quickly it's getting pulled out when we sit down to watch TV!

As I said ... I'm moving on from this pattern (finally you say?)!  Moving in new directions ;-)

You have to learn sometime

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Earlier this year, I saw a fabulous scarf on the Purl Bee and decided I was going to learn how to knit.  Jen was kind enough to send out a word of caution, "It's hard" ... so I decided to try an easy scarf first. 

I finished this one back in February ... it's 6" x 92" and made from a nubby yarn ... it was an interesting first attempt.  The thick yarn was ideal for hiding mistakes ... but because of the thick yarn, I still have no idea what a proper knitting stitch looks like. 

This is my "cabin scarf" ... e.g. not ready for prime time.  It's been great having around my neck all weekend long as I still work to get over this horrible cough.  I learned a little with this scarf, not enough to tackle the scarf I really want to make, but enough to know that, unlike quilting, I'm going to need some interaction with real people (not just virtual) to perfect my knitting. 

In the interim, there are 3 different colors and textures of yarn I have collected ... maybe this cold is the quiet time I need to try the next project. 

While it's not ready for city wear ... I like the simplicity of it and it is definitely a "must wear" every time I walk out the door at the cabin. 

What have you done with your early ... not for prime-time creations ?

All the best

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder ...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I have spent the past week totally under the weather ... starting to come back, but feel like coughing fits are the beginning to become the norm ... a little minor quilting a long the way ... but not enough to share with any excitement ...

So instead, I thought I would share Hannah's quilt ... that I made last summer ... one of my first. 

Well ... it actually started in 1995 when my sister's daughter, Katie, and my brother's daughter, Kaitlin, were born.  I was living in a cabin in the Gulf Islands in British Columbia (that's another story) with a lot of time on my hands.  For baby presents, I actually attempted to make 2 quilts which were machine pieced and hand quilted.  Given that I had never made a quilt and didn't have any books on how to quilt (there was no internet back then), my memory of what they looked like is probably better than they were. 

Anyway ... fast forward to 2008, when my brother and his family come out from Virginia to Seattle for a visit.  Hannah, Kaitlin's younger sister, pulls out a piece of pink cotton cloth, with a whole bunch of stitching on it, remnants of batting, a little bit of what might be a quilt top.  Turns out Hannah, at age 9, still carries around the quilt (or at least the back ;-), that I made for Kaitlin 13 years earlier.

So early last summer, I made my 4th quilt ...

It was Hannah's 11th birthday present. 
According to her mom, and the emails I got from Hannah, she was over the moon. 
Last night, I was looking at some photos on Kaitlin's Facebook page.  There were a few pics from their family trip to Virginia Beach, which was about a month after Hannah's 11th birthday (and receipt of her new quilt).  And there was a great photo of Hannah, sound asleep on one of the hotel beds, all wrapped up ... in the pink back of a falling-apart, quilt.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder ;-)

All the best ...
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