Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! I had hoped to have some projects to share but Sandy got in the way! We were fine during the storm. We lost electricity for about 8 1/2 hours but that was the worst of it. The wind was pretty awful and many trees were uprooted. We lost power when a telephone pole leaned over on some electrical wires. I was amazed to see electric utility trucks out working even though the storm was in full swing. I've seen the pictures from New York and New Jersey and can't believe the destruction there. We were so fortunate in Massachusetts.

The picture above is a table runner I made a few years ago. It's supposed to be for Halloween but I end up leaving it up through most of November! It has many fall fabrics so I feel it's still sort of in season. I used scraps and put two little pumpkin buttons on either end of the runner.

Here's a close up of my some of the fabrics. I love the the pumpkins and the skeletons! There are some nice autumn fabrics as well.

Hope everyone has a safe and Happy Halloween. There is no trick or treating here tonight. It got postponed to Saturday night due to the hurricane. I've been eating candy all day so my Halloween is good so far!

Looking forward to a quilty weekend. I'll be at A Quilter's Gathering on Friday in Manchester. NH. This is one of the nicest quilt shows in the area. On Saturday, I've signed up for the Mystery Ride sponsored by the quilt guild I belong to. We get on a bus and the destination is unknown! We usually stop at some great quilt shops. This is so much fun. I can't wait to go! I'll tell you all about it next time!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Basic Sweater

I just finished knitting a sweater. I haven't knit a sweater in years! I usually knit socks and shawls but I really wanted just a basic sweater to wear around the house. It just uses the basic stockinette stitch and the garter stitch. There are no pieces to sew together. It's sewn in one large piece. The stitches for each sleeve are placed on stitch holders and knit after the body is complete. I used aran weight yarn so it was a quick knit. It still has to be blocked and all the ends weaved in. (As you can see!)

The pattern calls for 5 buttons and button holes. I didn't think I'd use the buttons. I'm going to buy a nice pin to hold the top part of the sweater together. I really just plan on using this at home. I hate using sweaters that I've bought for work. They're usually too nice to wear just while I'm sitting on the couch watching television.

This is the book I used. It's called Knitbot Essentials. The patterns are all loose sweaters that are relatively easy to knit. The styles are not very fitted. They're just perfect for casual use but still have a nice look.

I really should get to bed. I'm opening up at 7am and since I have the keys, I better be on time!

Good night and have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

First Dresden Plate

Here's my first Dresden Plate block completed! I chose a deep purple with flecks of gold for the centers. The background is an off white tone on tone. The block finishes at 14 1/2 inches square. I cute the background a little larger, 16 x 16 inches. I folded the backing both horizontally and vertically so I could center my dresden plate.

I pinned the plate onto the background but I don't like pins. I feel they distort the backing. Once I pinned it, I taped each blade onto the backing using good old Scotch Tape! I try not to leave the tape on for too long but I have never found a residue left behind. I had the tape on for about two days. You can see the tape in the above picture.

Once the plate was appliqued, I added the center. I also folded the center and lined it up with the background as best as I could. I prepared my center using freezer paper which I removed right before I was done sewing it into place. You can see my tape holding down the circle. I move the tape as I sew along. Once I get towards the end, I just start tossing the tape out. I've always had very smooth applique using this method. The pins just never seemed to work for me. It might sound crazy but it works and that's what I liked!

Once I was done, I ironed the block and cut it down to 14 1/2 inches square. Done! Only eleven more to go!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

FMQ for October

Here is my October Free Motion Quilting Challenge! This month Teri Lucas, expert machine quilter, was our wonderful teacher. I'm friends with her on Facebook and love seeing her work. I've also heard her name when watching Fons & Porter Love of Quilting on PBS. Her name is always linked to some beautiful machine quilting.

This month, she asked us to sew our names onto silk fabric and embellish the area around it with different quilting patterns and motifs. She also asked us to draw the entire piece on paper first.

You can compare my paper vs fabric. I think I used the same patterns but in a completely different order! I sort of quilted whatever I felt like quilting. I knew I had a few patterns to sew but I didn't really care about what came next.

I'll have to say it was a little difficult to use a silky fabric for a change. I felt it harder to really get a grip on it. I was using machine quilting gloves but ended up taking them off and just using my bare hands. I think it was manageable since the piece wasn't too big. I always use gloves when I machine quilt.

I must admit that I thought this was such fun! I tried a few different things and liked how it came out. I felt as though I got stuck in weird areas once in awhile but I just backtracked over existing stitching and just kept going! I love it!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dresden Plates

I found a tutorial on making Dresden Plates. Bunny Hill Designs has a quilt along that was started this past January that is called the Scrappy Plate Club. I found the directions clear and easy to understand. I thought the plates were so pretty and I loved that I could use scraps to make them! I ran out and bought a ruler called Easy Dresden by Darlene Zimmerman. I couldn't wait to start cutting my scraps.

Here's a view of my ruler and some of my cut "blades". I used scraps leftover from previous projects. You don't need a very large piece. These are 4 inch wedges so they aren't very large at all.

Each wedge gets folded in half lengthwise, right sides together. The wider edge is sewn and back stitched along the folded edge. Stitch length has been decreased to 1.5. After chain piecing, you get this sort of messy looking pile! Time to go to the iron.

I iron each wedge and open up the point. I place the blades in a nice arrangement and head on over to the sewing machine.

Here it is! All put together before it gets ironed. Each plate measures 10 inches across.

That's my take on the Bunny Hill tutorial. If anyone has any tips or hints, I'd love to hear them. I have to make 12 blocks and then work on my center circles. I'm leaning towards a dark purple for the centers but haven't decided for sure yet. I hope April of Little Mama Hen sees this post. I've been admiring her dresden plates for awhile now and feel she inspired me to try my own!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Finish!

My Star Sampler is all done! I finished sewing the binding down last week and almost forgot to post this! I'm so glad I stuck with it. I learned a lot about machine quilting. Each block is quilted a little differently. It's not perfect but it was a great learning experience for me. And the best thing, it's finished!! I'm not sure what I'll be doing with it. My daughter did help me pick out the fabric from my stash. She may want it. I'll let her decide. Today is her 23rd birthday! I already have bought her presents but she can add another if she likes!!

This is just a close up of the center block. This block was the hardest to quilt. It's in the middle of good sized quilt and the shapes are all very different. However, I marked quite a few patterns which really made it easier for me. The quilt finished at approximately 65 inches square.

Time to start thinking about machine quilting the next one!!

Monday, October 8, 2012


I have been decorating the house for fall and Halloween. I have a couple of wall hangings I've made that I put up every year. I thought it would be fun to share with you.

This one was a free paper pieced pattern I found on the internet over 15 years ago. It was one of my first paper pieced projects. My kids were much younger then and loved seeing the image come to life! I still put it up every year and they still enjoy seeing it! I guess I do too! It wouldn't be Halloween without this little ghost decorating my family room. It was made just using scraps but I like the effect!

I made this one just a couple of years ago. I found the directions on a blog but I can't remember who wrote the tutorial. It hangs on the doorknob of my front door. There's just a button on the back and a black ribbon that holds it up. I appliqued the pumpkin from another fabric and it was just the perfect size for this little trick or treater! I embroidered the BOO as well as the handle on the pumpkin. Such fun!

Those are the only hand made decorations I have for Halloween. Does anyone else have decorations they've made? I'd love to see them!

A special welcome to Kristin! Thank you for following my blog! Hope you like it here!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pinning the Twister

This is my Twister quilt getting sandwiched with backing and batting. At this point, I'm just making sure that there are no creases. I'm smoothing down the quilt top and batting to the backing. I have the backing nice and taut with the use of some masking tape.

After about an hour and a half, the three layers have been pinned together. It's all ready to be quilted! I actually have a few ideas about how to quilt it but I need some practice first. I hope my quilting comes out good because I like the look of this quilt! These aren't my usual colors but I do like the effect of the Twister block and I've come to love this fabric. It's the Butterscotch and Roses fabric line from Fig Tree  & Co.

Here's a picture of the backing. It's actually one of the twisters on the front of the quilt. It looks a little pink in this picture but it's sort of a gold caramel color with tan flowers.

I'm going to have a very busy day at work tomorrow. After pinning this quilt together, I tried to relax and watch some television. I need to save my energy for tomorrow!!

Old and New!

I made this quilt about 15 years ago. It's called Starry Night. I signed up for a Block of the Month. I would receive directions as...