Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Baby Shower Tomorrow

These are great to have on hand for a quick baby shower gift:
Self binding receiving blankets and little ribbon taggie blanket.

2 1/4 yards each, of contrasting flannel will make a matched set of these self binding receiving blankets.  A few months ago, I posted about these fun little blankets.  Here is a tutorial link to Piece n' Quilt if you want to see how they are made.
I visited the local "Mill End Fabrics" and found lots of ribbon pieces in their remnants box. It's also a great way to use up left over minky.  I started with a 14 in. square to make this 12 inches.
I bought an 18 inch remnant of silk for the other side.  So with 60 inch wide silk, I can make 4 of these. 
Here is a good tutorial for a taggie over at I Can Teach My Child.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

After all These Years!

Back in 1972, my sister was in the 7th grade when she won a couple of cute stuffed piggies for selling magazines door to door.  You know, the same class competition magazine sales thingy my grandchildren are doing to raise money for THEIR class?  I keep my subscriptions to my quilting magazines current this way.

But, I digress....

Anyway, my sister won a set of two piggies: one orange and one purple.   I don't remember just how it came about, but I do know that I have been using these little pigs as pincushions for almost 40 years.
Isn't he cute!
My Sis has a college degree in Human Exceptionality, with a minor in History.  Raised here in Idaho, after college she lived in a log house in the wilds of central Idaho and taught school in a small community.

Currently, she is happy as a clam (really? how do you know if a clam is happy?)  She is happy because she moved from Idaho to Eastern Pennsylvania where she is an hour or two from Lancaster, Philadelphia, Boston, New York--really a day's drive from most of New England.

She is the one that gets a season pass to Gettysburg.

After serving in public schools for 15 years, she went back to school and redirected her career to Hospital Information Systems.  She is a great cook, barbecues shrimp and steak for Thanks Giving dinner,  subscribes to archaeological digests, and has a weird sense of humor.

Speaking of weird humor, both of us were devastated when Gary Larson quilt penning cartoons!  That Christmas I got her the 2 volume "The Complete Far Side" which contains the complete works of Larson's entire 15-year career as a cartoonist.  Funny, that Christmas she got me the same present.

She is an interesting person, I love her to pieces, but she doesn't sew.

She is still suffering from wounded pride and pricked fingers from 8th grade Home Ec. sewing class.  As beginners, they were assigned to construct an gathered empire-waisted jumper with a lined bodice.  Are you kidding???

Of course she doesn't sew.

In college she used a stapler to hem her jeans.  Perhaps she still does.

You are wondering where on earth this is all going, but it's important to know a little background to appreciate the story.

You see, even after 40 years, my Sis is still miffed at me for taking her piggies and using them as pincushions.  Every time she comes to visit me she reminds me that they are HER piggies and I stole them from her.

They have been superior because they are solid, sturdy, easy to grab, hold a million pins and are filled with sawdust type innards.
As you can see, this little piggy is in pretty bad shape.
I have done my best to mend his thread bare hide with bright bits of thread in interesting stitchery.
He only has one eye, he's lost most of his flowers, he's a little sway backed, but he is finally going home.

Right now, at this moment, somewhere between Idaho and Pennsylvania is a box of Christmas goodies.  In that box is a tenderly wrapped orange piggy with a note of sympathy.  My Sis is going to get her piggy back for Christmas.  I feel redeemed since I also sent some homemade candy.

Isn't is a great feeling when you know you have finally done the right thing?

Well, um...yeah.  Did I mention 2 piggies?

Wonder if she will miss her purple one?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Just Like a Cloud!

Minky is a staple in most of the baby quilts I do, but it is a real challenge to quilt a pieced minky top with a minky back. I told my client that I had only tried this once before and she might be disappointed with the outcome. There is no way to control all that elasticity. 
Stretch from North, South, East and West! 
These are actually two identical quilts: each about 36 x 46. I put on a single piece for the back and batting.  Then placed the tops side by side and alternately quilted them as I moved down the frame.

Hmm....looks better once you get it unpinned from the design wall.
Simple lines, just enough quilting to hold it all together.
Hobbs 80/20 batting. 
Oh yeah, it's yummy to feel....
So puffy, soft and cloud-like.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Cowboy Christmas!

For those of you that have followed my blog recently, you might remember a few other western baby quilts done in the past month.  In about a week, this baby will be boy number 5 for this family.  This is the 3rd quilt I have quilted for him.  One made by his Mom, and one by each of his grandmothers.  I am not sure they all even know there are so many quilts....but my lips are sealed!

This has a fun little 3D bandanna.
Boots, front and back. 
You can hardly see the quilting from the front, but it shows up well on the minky back. 
Finally, I had a space tall enough to use my horse stencil.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

ABC- 123

This was so fun to quilt!
Lots of the fabrics had letters and numbers, so I randomly hid the letters A,B,C and the numbers 1,2,3 in the quilting.
This was my client's first time to machine applique. She did a great job! 
Each of the large applique flowers have pebbles in the centers. 
ABC print on the back.
I love it! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rhyme Time Quilt

So . . . about 6 weeks ago, I got a text from my brother-in-law in Pennsylvania.  He needed a quilt for his brand new niece and would see this family in upper New York at Christmas.  After texting back and forth, I got an idea of what to make and decided on this cute fabric:

Rhyme Time by Annabelle Rose for Wilmington Fabrics.
Mother Goose is here with her entourage. 
 Strategic cutting gives you a whole horizon of nursery rhymes.

Notice "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" in the diagonal stripe border.
 "The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe" is center stage.
More rhymes printed on the light green. 
Of course, I put Minky on the back. 
Hey, it's an old fashioned "I Spy"quilt with lots of things to discover!

I texed him back today to let him know it is all boxed up along with a couple of boxes of Christmas Candy and will be on it's way tomorrow.
Ho, Ho, Ho!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ultra Suede Quilt

My client made this from 3 yummy shades of ultra suede!
With a loftier batting it is really more like a comforter.
I have use ultra suede for backing, but this was the first time I have quilted ultra suede that has been pieced. It actually worked out very well.
There are also 3 lovely embroidered tapestry blocks.
While I did a simple and open swirl over the quilt, I followed the flowers on these three blocks. 
Wide cotton backing in a mottled rust, looks like old cracked leather. 
What a super gift for her daughter's wedding after Christmas!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Candy

Ok, remember the caramel from this post?

Today, I cut it in strips then cut the strips into about 1 inch squares. Dipped them in Guittard "Signature" Milk Chocolate.  I put a link here just in case you wanted to see what it looks like; but, I have never ordered it online, we have a local specialty store that sells the 10# bricks.  I buy one every fall and dip chocolates 2-3 times through Feb.  I have family all over the US to send candy to but chocolate and warm weather is not a good mix, so, I only make this in the fall and winter.

After breaking up the chocolate, I melt it slowly (15-30 sec. at a time) in the microwave.  Melt and stir, melt and stir.  I am not going into all the details about the techniques of tempering chocolate, but am just going to hit a couple of high spots here. However, if you are interested, here is a very informative link: Tempering Chocolate  I have always worked with my 2 quart glass measuring bowl and a microwave.  Professional electric tempering units start at $500--good ones are twice that much.

Drop the caramel into the melted chocolate.
Turn it over 2-3 times to make sure it's all covered and lift it out of the bowl.
Quickly, turn it over and drop it onto waxed paper.  At this point, it only takes a minute or two to harden and set up.
They will lose the shine when the chocolate hardens.
I broke one open and stuck it on a fork so you can see the consistency of the caramel inside the chocolate . . . and since chocolate melts at about body temperature you can see my thumb print, just from picking this up and breaking it.  No wax or stabilizers added to this chocolate.  It's a little harder to use, but the taste is a world apart from grocery store chocolate "coating."
Boxed up and ready for Christmas delivery!
No assembly line look here, each one has it's own little character.  

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