Roaring into March

ChristmasTreeLogoSM

First off the bat, the winners of the giveaway, using the Husband Random Name Generator were:

Janice, who wrote: “WOW! I just began following your blog and missed the start up of this QAL. After seeing your beautiful work, I am inspired to dive in and QAL too. I love the embroidery details. . . [and the] layering [of] the stitches. I’d choose the magazine. Thanks for the great give away. I can’t wait to see your finished tree.”  I’ll send you the magazine.

Camille, who said: “Thank you again for your excellent post. I’m almost done with the tree appliqué. Still have the freezer papers to cut out. This project is so out of my typical arena so I’m thrilled to be pushing myself. Thanks. I’d love to add the fabric medallions to my stash since I have the magazine.”

Good luck on the Oh Christmas Tree project to these two and to all of you (and me).  I tried out making birds last night and they went so fast, as there’s far less stitching work on them.  Can’t wait until next month to tell you about this.

Quilt Night Mar2016_1

In my regular, non-digital life, I attended our monthly gathering of the Good Heart Quilters, a group of friends who have been quilting together off-and-on (with new members coming in, and old members leaving) for the better part of twenty years.  Charlotte, a newer member showed off what I think is only her third quilt top EVER, a Monopoly board.  All the fabrics are Monopoly fabrics.  Terrific!

Laurel brought two new rosettes for the New Millefiore Hexagon and re-arranged them to make more sense.  She has an exquisite sense of color.  Caitlin, whose house it was at, had a nice spread of snacks, including freshly baked brownies, and she worked on Christmas stockings.  Lisa and I did hand work–Lisa sewed together hexies and I worked on Step 3 of the Oh Christmas Tree QAL, which I already mentioned.  We had a lively and interesting conversation, running from mid-century modern furniture to QuiltCon to Donald Trump.Quilt Night Mar2016_2 Quilt Night Mar2016_3 OhChristmasTree_flowers2_1

I wanted to show everyone my newest flowers.  There they are above, all prepped up, with fabric appliqued on three of them.  And below, you can see my progress.OhChristmasTree_flowers2

I sewed the backstitch around the orange fabric not only so you’ll think I’m so clever, but also to cover up some wonky appliqué.  Okay, that’s the real reason.  Then I just got going on it, and kept adding stitching. OhChristmasTree_flowers3

On this one, I borrowed one of Wendy’s ideas for the center, then did “closed blanket stitch” for the green-on-red ring and then just a zig-zag backstitch with small French knots (3 wraps of the needle using size #12 pearl cotton) at each juncture.  It’s really a layering sort of task.  I add this stitch, and ask. . . now what?  It also helped that the program I was watching, “Sagrada,” a documentary on La Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona, Spain was still going on.  We’re headed there this year and I can hardly wait to see all of Gaudi’s surface decoration and bring home more ideas of what to put on these circles.March MCM bee blocks

Lastly, I finished up two sets of bee blocks, the first for Linda of the Mid-Century Moderns.  She asked for tiny churn dashes; these are measure 4″ finished.  We were also supposed to make some unusual section but still keep the church dash recognizable.  I wasn’t too inventive, switching around colors and turning corner blocks. March SpellingBeeblocks2_2

Mary of the Spelling Bee (#spellingbeequilt), an IG bee, asked for sewing words, then asked for us to add one more word.  I wonder if that “i” is too long; I included extra fabric in case she wants to shorten it up.

Chocolate

Lastly, I thought you’d be happy to have some solid research behind our quilter’s habit of eating chocolate, from an article published March 4, 2016, in the Washington Post.  Definitely need to keep up our visual-spatial memory and organization in order to keep sewing our quilts together!

chocolate-heart

Spelling Bee Begins • January 2016

Making Words_4

Sometime ago, I hatched an idea of making letters and words and ideas up in cloth.  Not a new idea, but just one that emerged from the morass to capture my attention, I’d say.  Getting a few friends to join me in this endeavor was the easy part.  I set up a blog, Quilt Abecedary, where I experimented with making letters free-form, teaching myself as I went, failing and succeeding, jumping off my comfortable quilty cliff.  That done, I wondered what to choose for a theme.

woman cooking_2

My first thought, and the one that lingered the longest was to do a series of words around the theme of “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Elizabeth” — verbs like bake, roast, chop, sauté and so forth.  I have a recipe blog, Elizabeth Cooks, so thought to add that blog address to the mix.  But somehow it just didn’t seem satisfying, as I couldn’t just settle into it.

Saying w:o names

I made my parents an embroidered sampler some years ago with a lovely saying celebrating their marriage:

When the one man loves the one woman and the one woman loves the one man,
the very angels leave heaven and come and sit in the house and sing for joy
The interesting thing about deadlines is that they force you to a decision, whether or not it’s the “perfect” one. And this idea–of making a Valentine’s quilt — resonated with me.  For better or for worse, my marriage is the key to my happy life, and I wanted to celebrate that idea with a Valentine’s quilt.
Spelling Bee Fabrics
I chose a range of reds to dark pinks in all shades, with minimal patterning, with creamy whites to light pinks to serve as the background.  I’ll mark our progress as we move through this one-year commitment (the bee will disband at the end of the year).  My beemates will choose their words and I’ll make the rest.  We’ll pop up now and again on Instagram at #spellingbeequilt.  We have no blog or Flickr site as it is only a year-long project. If this idea piques your interest, drop me an email with a photo and I’ll share your words on here, too.
Happy New Year
Since tonight is New Year’s Eve, I thought it was a good way to celebrate the New Year by trying something I hadn’t tried before.  I was quite struck by something my nephew’s wife posted today on Instagram.  She wrote that she’d seen babies born, a friend’s wedding, job losses, and sadly, buried a brother; she summed it up by saying “So much great that I want to remember forever and so much heartache I hope I never know again.  Goodbye 2015, you have made your mark.  And now on to 2016, I have so much to tell you.”
She echoed my feelings exactly.  I’ve learned a lot this year, working through my Lost Summer of surgery, continuing health problems and had to come to grips that every time I look in the mirror I think of more of my grandmother than I do those pictures of me as a young woman. But I’ve had the sweetness of my husband’s company during this time, good friends who rallied round, lovely readers of this blog (many of who have become good friends) and lots of new quilting opportunities to enjoy.  So, to echo Casey’s words: Goodbye 2015, you have made your mark.  And now on to 2016, a clean slate, full of hope and plans and big challenges.
Happy New Year, everyone!