Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Fair Isle Christmas Quilt

Just in time for Christmas, the Fair Isle Quilt Along is over and my quilt is complete!  As you can see I changed the colors from the original. I am trying to get away from my habit of always using white as my go-to background.

Lee designed the pattern for this quilt based on nordic, "christmas sweater" type designs.  I love the blocky, pixelated looking elements, especially the reindeer.

The whole thing got a basic stipple in white thread. When it came time to quilt this one I decided that done is better than elaborate custom quilting :)

As it worked out, I just inherited 2 winter-themed flannel sheet sets. The flat sheet from one went on the back of this. Blue and white snowflakes-- perfect!

There are in fact 2 shades of white/cream in the poinsettias but the contrast is hard to see.
I bound the quilt in more of the blue solid that was the background. It measures a hefty 72"x77" finished and is already in use, warming toes in front of the fire!

Linking to Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and The Fair Isle QAL at Freshly Pieced.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sweet Sisters

As some of you may (or may not) know, I'm a nurse. Specifically I'm a med-surg/tele nurse.  My unit has the (theoretically) least-sick patients in the hospital, meaning that I typically take care of at least 5 at a time and they come and go quickly.  I estimated once that I take care of over 50 patients a month (and I only work 15 days a month).  All this to say, if a nurse has ever taken care of you and when you run into each other in WalMart she doesn't remember you, there's a good reason.  Generally, if I remember a patient they were either very unpleasant or things didn't go well for them. But not always. Sometimes patients just stick with you. And that's the way it is with Mrs R.

Mrs. R was my patient back in about October of last year.  She was admitted with something fairly minor, particularly considering that she was over 90 years old. She was a charmer, always pleasant and smiling. I remember her being concerned about missing Seniors Game Day at the library, an event she coordinated and ran every week for seniors- mostly younger than herself- who needed some place to socialize.  She was anxious to discharge so she could drive to Dallas to meet her new triplet great (possibly great-great?) grand babies.

Her sister, also in her 90s, came to visit her one of the days I took care of her. They were both retired school teachers, with the tiniest most perfect English teacher handwriting I've ever seen. Had both outlived their husbands. Both still driving and living alone. Something about them just grabbed on to me.  Mrs. R and I exchanged Christmas cards last year.

I saw her again on our unit, sometime in the Spring. She had come down with heart failure-- the common cold of the elderly. Unfortunately it's chronic and progressive.  But she was still maintaining her usual schedule of obligations.

On Thanksgiving day I happened to see her again, admitted to another unit in the hospital, and it was such a sweet reunion.  She told me that she had prayed we would see each other again and there she was, sitting in the hallway as I was leaving at the end of my shift.  She was anxious to make sure I still had her address and I assured her that I'd kept it. This year, I said, maybe you'll even get a present ;)

So naturally I had to make quilts for Mrs. R and her sweet sister.   Smallish so that they can fit on a hospital bed or over a wheelchair. As cruel as it is time marches on, and I can see that Mrs. R is more frail than last year.  I backed them with cozy flannel and pieced in the leftovers from the front.

This was my first time to try rolling the backing over for a binding. I love the look, but it took just as long as binding the conventional way.  For some reason I had thought it would be faster.

These went in the mail today, with a Christmas card, on their way to Mrs. R.  I told her that she gets first pick of the quilts, but I have a suspicion that she'll want her sister to choose first.

It's so wonderful to have patients who remind me of why I went into nursing, even if it is not very often.  I hope these quilts will bring love and warmth and that these sweet ladies have many happy years ahead of them full of grand babies.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Happy Accident

My room looks like a fabric store exploded in here. It's the combined effects of working on a last minute Christmas project and a string quilt at the same time.  I now have 2 of the 5 columns I need for the string quilt finished.  Last night as I was moving them over to make room on the design wall this broken herringbone sort of design emerged.  I added to green sashing strips to see how it looks, what do you think?

Portions of this design wall have been modified to prevent certain individuals from snooping on their Christmas present.  Unfortunately I won't be able to show this one on the blog until after it's gifted :)

Linking up to WIP Wednesday.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Newest String Quilt on the Design Wall

The newest string quilt is on the design wall today.  A mix of girl spring time colors cut into 60 degree triangles.

I think if I actually put all these into one quilt it would be huge, so there may be more than one quilt in potentia here.

And as for the previous string quilt? Well, here's a sneak peak.   It will have its big reveal later ;)

Linking to Judy's Design Wall Monday.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Friday Finish, with Ruffles!

Todays Friday Finish is a special one for a special family.  The Nalles are adopting again!  A few years ago I sent a quilt to their little boy Aaron, so this quilt is for his future sister.

Harper is coming from an eastern European country where it is hard to be an orphan, especially one with any special needs. Sometime this Spring, hopefully, she will know the love of a family for the first time.

This quilt used the same techniques as this one I made before.  A focus fabric to pull colors from and strip piecing, each strip quilted differently.

Also, like the first one, I used ruffles.  Such a fun, textural touch for a girly quilt.

I really enjoy quilting like this, using a variety of patterns in the same quilt. The most time consuming by far was the flower petals design I did on the focal fabric. The rest were all quite quick. I even did one brand new (to me) design, beads on a string.

The quilt has a cozy flannel back with cute novelty designs.

I had to piece the back since it finished at around 46" x 61".

The Sweetgums are just brilliantly yellow right now. They are trying to make up for those little sticker balls they drop all year round with their beautiful colors.

The Nalles are struggling to raise the amount of money it will take to cross the ocean and bring Harper home. Please go read their story and donate if you can! You will helping to change the life of a little girl forever.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Friday Finishes.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Design Wall... Tuesday

For the past couple days I have been quickly assembling a couple of sweet little sixteen patches for a pair of sisters quickly approaching their 100th birthdays!

My stash is sorely lacking in "cute old-lady" fabrics, so I hit up Hancocks Black Friday sale and bought 1/4 yard chunks of two dozen different fabrics. The poor ladies at the cutting counter had a job!

The tops are both done and I have flannel for the backings, now just need to get them basted.  Linking up to Design Wall Monday, if the linky is still open ;)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lined Drawstring Bag Tutorial

Hello and welcome to another Wednesday :) Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the US!  I have a lot of projects going at the moment, most of which are not in very photogenic stages. Today I am going to finish the ZigZag strip for the Fair Isle Quilt Along.  I also have the blue and brown string quilt basted and quilting will begin today. ...As soon as I make up my mind how to quilt it. 

But in the meanwhile, I made a quick, lined drawstring bag last night, and I took pictures so I could share the how-to :)

CUT: outer fabric 7.5" x 16.5", lining 7.5" x 19.5", drawstring (2) 18" long.

These instructions make a bag that finishes at 7" x 9", but you could easily adjust them for a smaller or larger bag. Just remember that the lining should always be 3" longer than the outer fabric.

Use your button hole foot to make button holes on the right side lining fabric on all four corners as shown. Use a 1/4" diameter button in the foot.  The holes should be 0.5" in from the side and just over 0.25" in from the ends.

Don't cut these open yet, it will be easier to wait til later.

Fold both the inner and outer fabrics in half longways and sew the long sides closed with a 1/4" seam. Zig zag or serge the edges to keep fraying in check.

Leave a gap along the lining piece somewhere close to the folded end for turning later.

Turn the outer piece right side out and slide it inside the lining piece so they are right sides together. Pin along the top edge, nesting the seams at the sides.  Sew with a 1/4" seam all the way around the top.

Pull the bag right sides out through the hole left in the lining fabric, then top stitch or ladder stitch that hole closed.

Push the lining down in to the outer fabric of the bag. Because the lining is longer there will be some left at the top.  Make sure the amount of lining fabric showing at the top is even all the way around and that your button holes are completely on the outside, not rolled over the top.

Pin through both layers of the bag near he top of the outer fabric the keep the lining from shifting. Then sew along the seam between the two fabrics, creating a sleeve of the lining fabric at the top.

Now use your seam ripper to open up the button holes, being careful to only go through one layer of fabric.  Then clip a safety pin to one end of one of your drawstrings and thread it though one of the button holes, all the way though the sleeve, not going through the other set of button holes, just passing underneath them, and back out next to where it went in.  Knot or sew the ends together and repeat with the other drawstring on the other side.

And there you have a fully lined and quite professional looking drawstring bag!

Linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.