Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Year in Quilts - 2012

An Old Tyme Quilt Barn by Cheryl Bartley

As I take stock of the completed quilts I made during 2012, I am quite pleased with my little ol' self.  I completed nine quilts and two quilt tops.  That's pretty darn good for me! 

To make these quilts, I enlisted the help of two special characters - Thor and Big Red.  I started the year off quilting by hand, but made a decision during the year to take the plunge, buying two new machines.  I wanted to speed up the process of quilting, so I could get more quilts done.

Thor, my Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 850, is a wonderful machine that I bought used from a friend. (Thank you, Dolly!) I used Thor for a number of months as I learned how to free-motion quilt.

As my skill level increased, though, I realized that I needed a few more bells and whistles not offered on the Viking, like the thread cutter and automatic tension.  So, I purchased Big Red, a Janome Horizon Memory Craft 7700 QCP (used less than one year by the original owner). He came to me already donned "Big Red".  This puppy can purr!

Here's a review of the nine quilts I finished in 2012.

Scrappy Bear Claw Quilt

This quilt was machine pieced and hand quilted.  This double-size quilt sits on our guest bed upstairs. Here's a picture of the Scrappy Bear Claw back, showing the quilting detail.

Cassie's Nine Patch Quilt

This quilt for my niece, Cassie, is machine pieced and hand quilted.  I used this quilt to teach a beginner's quilting class. The frog print is called Lily Pond, designed by Wendy Slotboom for In The Beginning fabrics.  The majority of the remaining hot pink fabrics are from the Whimsey line by Pillow & Maxfield for Michael Miller fabrics.

 Callie's Butterfly Quilt

Machine pieced and free motion quilted (stippling pattern), Callie's Butterfly Quilt in teal and brown was the first quilt I made with my Viking machine.  Stippling is a continuous squiggly line pattern very popular for machine quilting. Below is a close up view.

Sable's Disappearing Nine Patch Quilt

This version of the Disappearing Nine Patch pattern (and there are several) is very appealing to me.  This one was made using Kate Spain's Fandango line for Moda fabrics. This was machine pieced and free motion quilted on my Viking machine.

The Book of Mormon Sampler Quilt

The Book of Mormon Sampler Quilt was inspired by our study of the Book of Mormon in 2012 at church.  The block patterns came from the book, More Biblical Quilt Blocks by Rosemary Makhan. The center star came from Lisa Cogar's book, Quilted Devotions.  Each block has unique meaning to me and is associated with a scripture passage from The Book of Mormon

This red, gold and brown quilt, which lays across the back of my sofa, was machine pieced and machine quilted, using various techniques.  Below is a close up of the center star quilting design.

Give a Hoot Quilt

This whimsical appliqued quilt I designed was fun to make as a baby quilt for a friend! The lap-sized quilt was machine pieced and machine quilted.  The appliqued letters were attached using a needle-turned technique, while the owls were appliqued by machine.

Joyous Sunrise

The young husband of a friend of mine passed away unexpectedly, and I felt an immediate need to make her a special quilt.  This paper-pieced star design was based on the Montana Star from Carol Doak's book, 50 Fabulous Paper-Pieced Stars.  Although each quilt is special and made with love, Joyous Sunrise is one of my all-time favorite quilts. Below is a close up of the quilting detail.

Skeletons in the Closet

Trevor, my husband's great-nephew, became a senior in high school in 2012.  So, for his birthday, I created this modern design, full of skeletons! I've been collecting skeleton fabric for quite some time, but had no idea what I would use it on until this inspiration hit me.  

As you can see in this close up, I used a black and cream pastoral toile with skeletons, which I adore! And, the picture below shows the fun skull and crossbones quilting design I used.

Wren's Disappearing Nine Patch

Lastly, I wrapped up 2012 with another lap-sized baby quilt using the Disappearing Nine Patch design.  Machine pieced and machine quilted, I used another colorway of the Pillow & Maxfield's Whimsey line.  

"May your sorrows be patched and your joys quilted."--Unknown

"When life throws you scraps, make a quilt."--Unknown

Quilt until You Wilt, Y'all!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Holiday Hibernation Hangover

"Exhaustion" by Rafi Talby

The holidays just about did me in this year.  Like a large looming elephant, the Christmas tree is still standing in the living room and the indoor decorations are all sitting on the dining room table.  Santas and nutcrackers stare at one another on the table, comparing beards.  Meanwhile, the ornaments are beginning to murmur, demanding the stage lights be plugged back into the wall for an encore.  The unplugged Christmas lights that I strung upstairs for the grandkids are quickly becoming part of the regular d├ęcor, yet offer no illumination to the solution for my malady.  My zip and zing, so vibrant and cheery before and during Christmas, has morphed into lengthy slumber and snores. 

Oh, I’m not the only one – Miss Nanna the Dawg can be found in her dog bed next to the heater at most any hour of the day.

I suppose the reason for my lethargy is the cold, wet weather.  It feels more like a holiday hibernation hangover.  After Gene gets up out of bed to work, I snuggle even deeper under the covers and quilt.  When I finally will myself awake, I make a cup of delicious hot chocolate (our own special mixture) and crawl back into bed, sipping cocoa and reading my email and Facebook on my iPhone.
Let me share with you a few pictures of the delightful causes for my holiday hangover.

Jace, Jake Joey, AJ, Alexis and Gene (Grandpa)
Gene put the grandkids to work as soon as they arrived, having them rake leaves and smash all the aluminum cans we had collected.  They redeemed the cans for approximately $16.00 and then headed to the Big Top Candy Shop on South Congress for a treat.

The Big Top Candy Shop is definitely an experience not to be missed while in Austin.  Each time I enter, I feel as though I’m reverting back into that little girl with wide eyes and cavities, excited about the enormous selection of sweets before me.  There are nostalgic candies, handmade chocolates and novelty items.  Our favorite was the Box of Boogers!  All in all, I think Gene spent about $63.00 on our confectionary purchases.  Those kids sure love their Grandpa!

And, if that wasn’t enough sugar to create a whirling on this side of the planet strong enough to cause a monstrous sandstorm in Dubai, I took them there a second time during their visit! What was I thinking?!!  I know what it was.  I didn’t want my two nieces, Corinne and Cassie to feel left out of the fun.  After all, I’m vying for Best Aunt on The Planet award.
Jace, Corinne, Cassie, Alexis and AJ at Big Top Candy Shop
With visions of all those sugar plums dancing in their heads, I don’t know how the kids fell asleep on Christmas Eve. 
During their stay, we drove down to Wimberley, Texas to meet up with my sister, Cameron, for the Trail of Lights.  It is so much fun and much less crowded than Austin’s Trail of Lights.  Great jumping court jesters, the Princess’ carriage is under attack!
For the Trail of Lights, various Wimberley community groups, churches and local businesses create individual light and interactive displays at the EmilyAnn Theatre and Gardens, and the people there are some of the friendliest Texans you’ll ever meet!

One of the many perks is free hot chocolate with jumbo marshmallows, and $1.00 will buy you all the fixin’s to make your own S’more (roasted marshmallows and Hershey’s chocolate bar mashed between two graham crackers), along with the use of a long skewer over at the fire pit.  Here’s a picture of Aunt Cam showing the kids how to expertly roast a marshmallow over the fire.

The day after Christmas, we journeyed 90 miles to the Double M Ranch, near Fort Hood, to see Granny and Grandad (great-grandparents).  I made enough enchiladas to feed a third world country, while my brother, Craig, and his wife, Cely, made all the delicious side dishes. 
This was the first time my parents had the opportunity to meet Jon, Gene’s son, and his family – Jon’s wife Kazuko and his children, Olivia, Jake and Joey.  That gave Grandad a new audience for all his safari hunting stories.  Here’s a picture of my beautiful granddaughters and nieces at the Ranch.
Olivia, Alexis, Cassie and Corinne
We made wonderful, heaping mounds of memories together this Christmas.  Maybe I’m not really hungover or exhausted. Maybe I’m just missin’ those precious grandchildren of mine!
"Grandchildren are God's way of compensating us for growing old.”—Mary H. Waldrip

“Our grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends - and hardly ever our own grown children.”—Ruth Goode
 Love those Littles, Y’all!!