2013 Finish-A-Long, Quarter Four

FAL Q4_2013

This was my declaration of Things To Be Finished, for the 2013 Finish-A-Long, Quarter 4, hosted by Leanne, of She Can Quilt.  I’d put only four things on my list: my signature quilt, the Schnibbles I was working on at the time (in blue and white), the Four-in-Art quilt (represented here by an early idea of a map), and the Santa’s Village quilt.  I’m back, now, for the wrap-up.

Good thing I only had four on the list, because this fall illness hit me hard and I barely had enough energy to keep the papers graded and the laundry done.  My round-up of medications included 4 trips to the doctor, 3 courses of oral steroids (asthma), 2 different asthma inhalers, 2 runs of antibiotics, 1 bag of cough drops with their perky “you can do it!” messages. . . and a partridge in an pear tree.  Oh, and vats and vats of hot chocolate, which can be considered medicinal, right? So I consider the fact that I finished up this batch of quilts nothing short of remarkable.

SilverGold_draped

1. The signature quilt was finished just before the close of 2013, and I’m still working on the labels.  It’s now titled Silver and Gold, or The Toni Jones Quilt, and you can read about it *here.*  As this was nearly nine years in the making, I consider it my most significant finish.

Childhoods Wide Avenues Art Quilt_front

2.  Childhood’s Wide Avenues was my quilt for our Four-in-Art group’s challenge of Urban: Maps.  Our next challenge is due February 1st, and I’ve already done some preliminary sketches and gathered up photos.  But I’ve had to get through Christmas, first.

Pacific Grove Blues

3. Pacific Grove Blues was a part of the Schnibbles Challenge, and it reminded me of a week my husband and I spent in Northern California this fall.  I’m happy to have finished it. (We had a name change from Sand and Sea.)

Santa Claus Quilt_1

4. Jolly Old St. Nicholas has been up in our hallway all through the time of visits from our children, a 60th birthday party, and I consider it a real treasure.  As soon as I finish this post, though, I’m taking it down.  I can see some places I want to add some quilting, but then again, I may put it off until next December. We’ll see.  I wouldn’t have finished this without the help of my bee mates in the Mid-Century Modern Bee, who all contributed the large green-and-white squares, and who were all on time in their contributions.  They are an amazing group of people!

FAL 2014

Leanne, of She Can Quilt, has hosted the 2013 Finish-A-Long and in 2014, Katy of the The Littlest Thistle will be taking over the reigns, if you want to join in.  I haven’t yet decided if I will participate.  Leanne was a blogging friend and I enjoyed the digging out of quilts and finishing them up, and even contributed a couple of tutorials to the efforts.  While some may benefit from the prizes offered for finishing, and they are generous, Mr. Random Generator and I have never been on speaking terms (aka, I never win), so that’s not really a draw for me.

However, I feel like I want to “direct” my own blog and my own quilting, moving in some different directions.  I don’t have a big stash of quilts I need to finish up and get out, and part of the rules (although I’ve noticed a bending of them lately) specifies that they need to be projects that are started and that the quilt needs to be completed (not just a quilt top).  I have a list of quilts I want to work on, but none begun, and I don’t want to rush into that right now.

FinishALong Button

But if you are someone who has a lot of tops, and needs some motivation to get things done, I heartily endorse this!  It’s been invaluable for me this year, as I’ve completed quite a few projects that may have languished in closets or in drawers.  Thanks, Leanne, for all your work!!

A Quiet Week

AMH tote bag

AMH tote bag pocket

After the big TaDa! moment of getting Santa and his blocks and his neighborhood all done, it was a quiet week.  No bee blocks.  No quilting.  No sewing, unless you count the samples that I put together to teach my Pleated Tote Bag class on Tuesday night.  Tonight, I finished the bag that I’d used as a teaching sample (above), putting the pieces together, arriving at completion.

IMG_6050

And because I have a quiet week, and I’ve had a chance to reflect on recent events, and because we are approaching the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s time to count my blessings, quilt-wise.  In the photo above, Cindy, of Live A Colorful Life is seated at my dining room table, sewing on my little featherweight.  This was the second year she has come down for our Good Heart Quilters Potluck Event, and I’m so glad she did.  One of the blessing of modern quilting is the internet, the connections we make through Instagram, through blogs and their comments, through emails, and through bees (Cindy organized the Mid-Century Modern Bee, of which I’m a part).

Pho and Flatbread

When she arrived, on Halloween Night, we turned out the lights on the porch and went out for Pho and flatbread from a new restaurant in town.  She was pretty adventurous, even so far as to have the Korean-style flatbread, with kimchi on top.  Later, we came back home and talked and sewed (my husband was out of town, so we had the run of the place).  Cindy’s gift of collecting people and connecting people has greatly blessed my life.

TAble setting

After sewing all day Friday, we set up the tables in my dining room, and hosted the Good Heart Quilters, or about half of them.  It seems it was a very busy weekend, and we were missing a good number of these fine quilters.

Cooked Stuffed Pumpkin

Stuffed Pumpkin_open

This was what I made for my contribution to dinner: stuffed pumpkin (recipe found *here*).

Quilt Night_1a

from l: Carol, Laurel, Janette, Leisa and Tracy

Quilt Night_2a

from l: Simone, Caitlin, Cindy and Lisa

Quilt Night_Laurel

We always start (and usually finish) with Show and Tell.  This is Laurel’s finish–a quilt for her sister.  It’s very tall, so the angle isn’t the best, but as always, Laurel combines piecing with appliqué to create something we all want to sneak off with, into our cars.

Quilt Night_Lisa

Lisa got her borders sewn on tonight–a Hallelujah! moment because she’s been busy getting ready for her daughter’s wedding in about three weeks, and she has sewn her own dress and most of Bridget’s trousseau, amidst working all day.  We were thrilled for her.

Quilt Night_Simone

Simone started coming this spring for the first time, and has her first finish: an apple core quilt done in modern fabrics.  It’s fabulous.

Quilt Night_Simone2

But she didn’t stop there–she used the scraps to create a table runner.  A clever quilter, wouldn’t you say?  Last year, we ate and then just chatted, but this year we ate and then got to work and everyone made progress on their projects.  Next quilt night is at Simone’s, on Saturday, December 7th, a shift from our usual Fridays (the church Christmas supper snagged that Friday!).  In counting my blessings, this quilt group is one of my big quilty blessings.  Sometimes we’ve been only a few ladies gathered at a house for munchies and sewing, sometimes there’s been a lot of us, but after meeting for sixteen years, roughly 8-10 times a year, we’ve all become close friends, and are always ready to welcome in a new quilter (like Simone and Caitlin).

Hello Kitty on Ceiling

I don’t know if you can see this, but when I went to Arizona to spend time with my daughter and her family while her husband was in Tonga doing free dental work, I got to sleep in her daughter Keagan’s room.  I turned out the light, pulled up the covers and was greeted by a giant pink Hello Kitty and the time, all broadcast to the ceiling.  It made me smile, and count my blessings of having grandchildren who like to know what time it is.  Even if it is in the middle of the night.

Santa Backing

While I was there, Barbara took me to a giant fabric/quilt shop store where they had tons and tons of great quilt fabrics: 35th Avenue Sew and Vac, in Phoenix Arizona, where I found a piece of Ann Kelle’s Christmas trees for no good reason.  Ah, but the very good reason became apparent to me after I finished off the Santa top.  This will be the perfect backing (and I got it on sale!).

Friendship Quilt

And lastly, about fifteen years ago I started this Friendship Quilt. At that time I wanted to remember lots of women in my life who had been my mentors, my friends, my sisters and sisters-in-law, my daughter and daughters-in-law.  Some of these women: two of my aunts, and my mother-in-law have passed away already.  It’s time to get it done.  I have put it on my Finish-A-Long list nearly every month, but hadn’t done much about it.  Recently I laid out the squares in what I thought I remembered as my original design.  Holes in the pattern were apparent.  I realized that I had just enough missing blocks that I could gather my granddaughters’ signatures, as well as the my most recent daughter-in-law.  It’s tempting to keep it going, to add those friends who are close to me now, but I decided some time ago that with the exception of adding those related to me, I would leave it as it was: a snapshot in time.  But because I am counting my quilty blessing on this post, from new friends and far-flung internet friends and old friends both near and far, and all those related to me, I must end by counting these sweet blessings in my life:

Signatures

These were the signatures I collected last week, from the three-year-old Dani to the eldest granddaughter Keagan, and all the others in between.

I am beyond blessed to know these little women.  They make my heart sing.

Cool quilt square from IG

Happy Thanksgiving week, every one.  Don’t let the cooking interfere too much with the sewing (although, judging from what I see on Instagram (photo above), things are proceeding apace! (Nice quilt block, Leanne!)

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Pacific Grove Blues

Pacific Grove Blues_front

Oh, yes, you’ve seen this before, but only (as the Australians say) as a flimsy, a quilt top.  So I needed to get a few projects done and finished and this was next on the list.  I was originally going to name it Sand and Sea, but changed my mind to keep it fresh.

Pacific Grove Blues_block

This is the block, made in fours and arranged into the quilt.  The original post has more information about the pattern, if you’re interested.

Pacific Grove Blues_back

I call it Pacific Grove Blues, because of the time we spent in Northern California last month walking along the coastal path in that very interesting town.   I don’t have the label for this quilt finished yet, but will, soon.  Of course, I visited the fabric store that was there, Back Porch Fabrics; look for the review of that in an upcoming post.

Carmel Blues

It also hearkens back to an earlier quilt, titled The Blues of Carmel, made from a fat quarter purchased there, and homage to my mother’s blue blue eyes.

We watched these waves every morning, trying to get to the walking just before sunrise.  A peak experience, as my Dad would say.

Pacific Grove Blues

It can now join my growing stack of Schnibbles on top of the guest room armoire.  My husband keeps asking me what I’m going to do with all of these little quilts.  I really have no idea.  Table toppers for holidays (especially the last one, that’s all patriotic)?  Doll quilts for the granddaughters? (But I’ve already made them all doll quilts.)

What would you do with a bunch of little quilts? Any ideas, besides stack them up and enjoy them?  We’ve all heard quoted a million times that factoid from the book by Malcolm Gladwell about how it takes 10,000 hours of practice to get really good at anything.  I figure by cranking these out, I’m keeping those 10,000 hours of practice alive and going.  I don’t really know how much longer I will continue to do these Schnibbles, but I have to say that Carrie Nielson of Miss Rosie’s pattern company always has solid designs and colorations, and I can always keep learning something new about how to piece something, or put a combo together, or be exposed to a new block and its possibilities.  I like keeping my options open.

∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆

FinishALong Button

This is one completed project from Finish-A-Long, hosted by Leanne of She Can Quilt, Quarter 4 of 2014’s goals.

This is quilt number 123, on my 200 quilts list.

Finish-A-Long, Q3 Wrap-Up and Quarter 4 Goals

fal-q3 goals_2013

These were the goals of Quarter Three of the Finish-A-Long, hosted by Leanne of She Can Quilt.

1. Hunter’s Star is finished, and is renamed At the Bandstand, Under A Starry Night — Quilt #47 on my 100 Quilts List.  I had started in 2002, and finished it up this year.

2. Rhonda got her hot mitts, and then I made a second pair for my daughter-in-law Kimberly, who liked them so much.

3. The colorful tote, made in Keiko Goke fabrics, is finished and I’ve been toting it around as a purse, I like it so much.

4. Lollypop Tree is still a quilt top, hanging in my closet.

5. Ditto the Friendship Quilt.

6. The so-called Facets quilt is finished, and has been re-christened as Juxtaposition, quilt #121 on my 200 Quilts List.

7. The Four-in-Art quilt with an owl theme was completed, and is named Congruence, quilt #119 on the 200 Quilts List.

8. The Citrus quilt was quilted together, quilt #118 on the list.

In addition, I completed a quilt for a new grandson: Charlie’s Quilt.

FAL Q4_2013

I’m taking off most of the oldies and adding three new quilts: a Christmas Quilt, a Schnibbles that I never quilted, and the Map-themed project for our Four-in-Art group (that’s the preliminary sketch there in the middle).  I left on the Friendship Quilt just to keep it alive–if I can just get the top together, then I’ll take it to my quilter to finish it up.

Santa Claus Center

(Well, at least the center is done!)

It’s good to set goals.  It’s also good not to turn them into sticks to beat yourself with.

FinishALong Button

Linking up with Leanne’s 2013 Finish-A-Long.  Do you have some things you’d like to finish?

At the Bandstand, Under a Starry Night

BandstandStarryNight_front

 At the Bandstand, Under a Starry Night, front

I’ve written about this quilt on this blog before, where I referred to it as Hunter’s Star, a description of the block.  But now it is finished, binding and all, and has a new name: At the Bandstand, Under a Starry Night.

SFO Bay Bridge_1

I’ve done a couple of “under the starry night” experiences this past week, and there’s also been some bandstanding, or music.  The photo above is of the San Francisco Bay Bridge, where they have an LED art installation, The Bay Lights, which makes patterns with fish swimming across the bridge, clouds, waves, shooting lines, sparkly doodads and all sorts of patterns.  We drove up to San Francisco to see this, as it’s only here for two years.

SFO City LIghts

And here’s The City’s lights, with the Ferry Building in the foreground.  I had first made this quilt for my youngest son’s college quilt.  He was enamored of music of all kinds, acquiring the nickname of Audioman, so I incorporated music-themed fabric into the Hunter’s Star design, a personal favorite.

BandstandStarryNight_back

 At the Bandstand, Under a Starry Night, back

However, he took one look at it and kind of squinched up his eyes, subtly shook his head and didn’t say much.  I figured it out, and made him a different one (#43 on the 100 Quilts List), which he liked much better.  This one sat around.

BandstandStarryNight_detail2

I pulled it out because I’d put it on my Finish-A-Long list, rummaged through my fabric stash, finding the borders already cut out.  I slipped in the yellow inner border for some variety (funny how your quilting tastes change), found a large piece of IKEA fabric and put a back on it so my quilter could get it quilted for me.

BandstandStarryNight_back detail

Back detail

As you all know, it had been a beyond-stressful week for me not only for my own puny reasons, but troubles within my larger circle of people I love.  And then the landline phone on the house telephone went out.  That’s it, I said.  So I sat down and put on the binding, and Friday morning found me traveling north with my husband to a scientific conference.  I happily stitched as he drove.

BandstandStarryNight_tree1

 quilt on a large cypress tree, outside our hotel room

So we found ourselves here in Monterey and it’s the jazz festival — a Big Deal, with Big Names — jazz in the lounge, on the stereo, musical instruments being seen everywhere.  And I thought of the best kind of music, being played with great affection and intensity under a starry night, perhaps even by a band on a bandstand on a summery night, and so the quilt found its name, and its finish.

BandstandStarryNight_tree

FinishALong Button

This is one of my project on the Finish-A-Long list, and quilt #47 on my 100 Quilts List.  Yes, I went backwards.  (Although now I only list them when they are completed, earlier I slipped in a couple of tops only.)

Finish-A-Long, Quarter 3 Goals

fal-q3 goals_2013

It’s that time again, time to set out some goals for the next quarter.  The rules state that they have to be projects that you need to finish, and since I’ve been laid up with a foot surgery this summer, I’m repeating some of the projects from last go-round, that still need to be finished.

The repeaters are the Hunter’s Star (really, it’s so close. . . yet so far), the Lollypop Tree quilt, and the Friendship Quilt.  The Lollypop Tree will require me to be all the way healthy, so I’m not even sure I should put it on this quarter’s list, but I certainly don’t want it bumping into the next, where holiday fun things take time away from quilting. So here it is.

New to this list is my Four-in-Art quilt for August 1st’s reveal and while I’d like to add on November’s Art Quilt to this one, it’s not started yet.  You know the rules.  I am also making up a little quilt with citrus colored fabrics that Laurel brought to me post-op (to cheer me up), and I’ve had fun making the stars (it’s also a Schnibbles quilt).

I’m also making a quilt with Anne’s Design, from SpringLeaf Studios–the Facets quilt is so intriguing and so fun.  She provides multiple ideas for you to create; this is just one of them.

For the first time, I’m including two handmades on the FAL list, as I see that this is a possibility in the FAL Universe.  I’ve had the pieces cut out forever to make this Pleated Tote out of Keiko Goke fabric.  Time to finish it up.  Likewise Hot Mitts for Rhonda–fabric pinned early in June, but not yet completed.  It’s awaiting quilting and construction.  Time to get that out of the sewing room and off to Rhonda (it was her birthday present–which was last month–!).

And that’s the beauty of Finish-A-Long (FAL): to get things finished and done and out of the sewing room, as Leanne says.  Join up with your goals *here* at She Can Quilt, and get some of your projects finished!

FinishALong Button