A look back – 2017 quilting projects

2017 wasn’t a banner year for completing quilt projects. I count only two quilts that were actually completed! That means binding sewn down and patch on the back! One was a charity quilt donated to the Village Learning Center, the day center my Mimi attends. A lovely lady named Clare won it in their silent auction. I always love it when someone is excited to have one of my quilts. Hildy won the charity quilt last year for the Village and reminds me whenever I see her how much she enjoys it.

The other quilt completed was the 2015 Row-by-Row quilt which was a lot of fun. Eight rows make an official row-by-row quilt which is a very LONG quilt. It is the reason I put three rows on the back. That way the quilt fits perfect hung in my quilt room. I worked on the rows whenever there was a little extra time between the month-by-month mailings and finally sent it off for quilting. I actually have all my rows for 2016 still in their little plastic pouches untouched. As for 2017, I also have all my eight rows and actually worked on a few of them. I’ll let you peek at them later.

I believe it was that block-of-the-month Quilter’s Patch quilt through Fat Quarter Shop that ate my lunch this year. But as a result of the monthly project, I also grew and stretched as a quilter. The things you can do by manipulating fabric. Who knew? The top is now complete and pictured above. I did not make the large borders and switched a couple of the flowers around by accident. This quilt will be added to my meager supply of seasonal quilts that I hang around the house. I’ve been wanting a spring quilt in my quilt menagerie for some time. This quilt is it! Please excuse the wrinkle-ness of the quilt top photo. I was running off to take it to the long-arm lady and realized I didn’t have a photo. Whenever it is finished later this year, you will be the first to see it up close and personal! It is going to be awesome!

2018 is going to be fun!

So what is up for 2018? Want a little peek? Working on another baby quilt! Due in May, my lovely daughter-in-law, Kate, and son, Ricky, are having a little bundle of joy. It’s a GIRL. Kate and I collaborated and I think we have a winning baby quilt in the wings.

I am also taking a collage class at Painted Pony in mid-February. Can’t wait. I’ve had this Elephant quilt pattern named “Lulu” for about two years and could probably figure it out myself. But then this class popped up and I thought, let’s do it! My only dilemma … I’m torn whether to make the elephant hot pinks and greens, or use my stash of colorful Kaffe Fassett fabrics and go wild. Any suggestions?

The Snowflake Quilt

This year, while struggling to keep up with those challenging block-of-the-month blocks, I also completed a quilt for The Village Learning Center’s fall gala. It is their big fundraiser for the year. Unfortunately, when Hurricane Harvey hit in September, it didn’t seem like a gala would be a good idea. There are so many people and businesses that were hurt in our area. So instead, they are holding a “non-event.” The silent and live auctions are being held online this week. I have bid my own quilt up twice. It is my hope they make a bunch of money on this “non-event.” Their amazing day center is a wonderful place where over 100 adults with developmental disabilities enjoy activities like bowling, arts and crafts, exercise and so much more. It is such a blessing to so many and a huge part of Mimi’s life!

This is the first time I have been called by the Village with a special request. They wanted a large lap-sized “snowflake” type quilt. They were originally going to combine it with other things in a silent auction package. So when the hurricane messed things up they decided to let the quilt stand on its own. Fortunately, I have always loved Christmas-themed fabric and seen it as my duty to contribute them to my stash each year. Well, somebody has to do it! Darn if I even had some fabric with snowflakes. I did have to go shopping in July for some additional Christmas “snowflake” fabric which was a little daunting.

The pattern is from American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine, issue August, 2009. The blocks are all 5-inch squares using white/cream Christmas 1-1/2″ strips for half of the blocks (the Rail Fence squares) and red Christmas/snowflake fabric for the block with the four triangles. Top Stitch Quilting professionally machine quilted the quilt with a large “snowflake” all-over pattern. The patch on the back was embroidered by Personalize-It in Kingwood (this business flooded during Harvey and I am hoping Tracey and her business will return to us).

Excited about a Christmas party!

Our special needs daughter is so excited about the big Christmas party at her day center today! They are having an ugly Christmas sweater contest and exchanging little gifts at The Village Learning Center. Since it will probably hit 80 degrees today, I opted to hang Mimi’s “ugly” sweater off the back of her wheelchair. No sense in her sweating all day.

Mimi’s little elf is a party animal and decided to come along and watch the fun from her little perch. Oh … to be a fly on the wall!

Village Learning Center’s gala quilt is ready!

This weekend is the big gala for The Village Learning & Achievement Center, the awesome day center Mimi, my sweet special needs daughter, attends. The theme this year is a Texas-themed “Rhinestones and Ropers.”

Every year I donate a quilt to their silent auction. This year I came up with a quilt that has the best of both worlds … cowboy fabric with lots of Texas wildflowers thrown in. I hope it makes a bunch of money!

I used the Disappearing Four Patch pattern out of a magazine from a few years ago that contained 20 projects by Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Co. It is a great quilt for charm packs. For this quilt, I dove into my stash of fat quarters, rotary cut a bunch of five-inch squares and sewed them together. I also purchased a great “lasso” fabric to really make the cowboy and wildflower fabrics pop.

If you are going to make this quilt, now is the time to invest in a rotating cutting mat. Made my life so much easier! After the four patch is assembled, place your ruler one inch to the right of the seam line and cut. Repeat one inch to the left of the seam line. Then just rotate the mat and repeat. It makes cutting the four patch so much easier. You will wind up with nine blocks of assorted sizes. Next just swap the large squares at the top. Repeat the swap on the bottom. Then take the small center block and rotate one quarter turn. Join the cut pieces into rows and then sew the rows together. Now just repeat this process until you have 42 squares. Trimming the blocks makes it so much easier to sew the quilt into rows. I also used 2-1/2 inch strips for top and bottom borders.

Kim Norton of A Busy Bobbin is my go-to longarm extraordinaire lady. She had a great all-over machine quilting pattern that was cowboy-themed. See if you can pick out the boots and stars machine quilting. I also use Personalize It Kingwood to stitch up my quilt labels. And yes … I know … as the quilt name suggests … two-stepping through the bluebonnets would probably get you arrested if you did that in an actual field of bluebonnets, the state flower of Texas. But you have to admit it fits the quilt!

Quilts … a look back at 2014

Four entire quilts were cranked out in 2014! Pretty good year for me. Two were gifts … one donated to charity and I’m keeping one. Not sure what 2015 will hold!

The first quilt was for our first grandbaby, Jake. I finished it before he was born and named, so it doesn’t have his name on it. I bought the pattern and kit at the International Quilt Festival in 2013. It was so fun to make and with Kim Norton of A Busy Bobbin to quilt it, I loved how it turned out. The pattern also includes a quilt with a flamingo, monkey and, I think, a frog. A future grandbaby?

The next quilt was donated to the Village Learning Center for their annual gala. I like to make something totally different for them every year. It was the first time I’d worked with so much black fabric. Made me a little nervous. It was sold in the silent auction to a very nice lady who was so worried she didn’t get the high bid at the end of the night!

Santa Baby was the most challenging quilt I’ve made to date! I chalk it all up to not reading the directions carefully. A valuable lesson was learned … and still the quilt turned out great. This is the only quilt this year that was custom quilted and I love the feathers quilted by Kim Norton. I dub her the Queen of Quilted Feathers!

The last official quilt completed in 2014 was the contemporary one for my adorable daughter, Katie! We collaborated on design, size, fabric choices and quilt name. It was an awesome experience! She has the perfect spot in their house to hang it.

I started my 2014 Texas Row-By-Row quilt in 2014. During the summer, quilters were able to stop by participating quilt shops all over the United States and pick up a free row pattern, and purchase a fabric kit, designed by their shop. It takes 8 rows to make a quilt. My sister, Gretchen, picked up a row pattern and kit for me in Victoria, and my friend, Sally, picked up one or two from her Texas travels. The finished jar row is called “Harvest Time” and is from BJ’s Quilt Shop in Bay City, Texas. The quilt shop even had all fabric pieces cut so all I had to do was sew. Don’t you just love the bug jar?

I’m putting together the sailboats now. The block is called “Regatta!” from Quilter’s Emporium shop in Stafford. By the way … they have an awesome quilt shop! This row is a little challenging with the bias edges, but I’m making it work! Only six more rows to go!

I am loving the swirly machine quilting on this one!

I love going over to Kim’s house with a completed quilt top! She is the longarm quilting lady and owner of A Busy Bobbin. I gotta tell you that lady performs magic with just a handful of pixie dust and colored thread on every quilt top she touches.

First, we lay the quilt top over Molly Monster, the name she has given to the smaller of her two longarm quilting machines. Then we play with strands of thread to see which will complement the quilt top when the machine quilting is added. Next we flip through a binder full of quilting patterns for just the right one. The swirly pantograph pattern is called Denise’s Swirls.

It has been a few days since I picked up the finished quilt and I’ve almost got the binding sewed on. Once I sew the patch on the back, I’m ready to hand it over. This one is going to charity. Hope it makes a lot of money. I’m calling this quilt “Midnight in Mimi’s Garden.” It is being donated to The Village Learning Center’s gala in November. The theme this year is “Midnight Masquerade.” I think the quilt name fits the occasion!

2013 … a look back

I only managed to complete two quilts in 2013. I have loftier quilting goals for 2014! The first completed 2013 quilt was a Christmas present for one of my husband’s many, many lovely sisters. Dipping into my collection of Christmas fat quarters, I used a disappearing nine-patch pattern (future blog alert) that I learned to make at our church’s prayer quilt ministry. A real stash buster and lots of fun to make! Did I mention that Becky is one of nine sisters in the family? She lives in San Antonio and runs a soup kitchen. I finished the quilt in the nick of time … only one year late!

The other quilt went to a charity gala for The Village Learning Center (www.villagelac.org). I make one every year for them. It’s the least I can do. Among other wonderful things, the Center runs an adult day program that my special needs daughter attends. Mimi’s favorite day of the week is Tuesday when her class goes bowling! Life should be so simple.

Just so you don’t think I was a total slug in 2014, I did manage to make coordinating pillow cases, dust ruffle and a little skirt for under Mimi’s television. It goes nicely with the quilt I made for her wall in 2012 with a collection of Kaffe Fassett fat quarters. The fabric on one side of the pillow cases is blue and the other green. The pillow cases were a booger to make until I learned the “hot dog bun” method of making pillow cases from my friend Angela. Now I just gotta figure out what to do with Mimi’s curtain-less window!