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Friday, December 28, 2018

Best of 2018

    Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a year end "Best of 2018"Linky Party, where bloggers share their 5 "best" posts.   I certainly didn't post as often in 2018 as in other years, but still found 5 of my posts that I liked the best.  Mostly they are posts about the few quilts I completed!   2018 seems to have been the year of unfinished projects in many respects!  More to come in 2019!

     1.  My post about my Off the Rails mini quilt.  I had such a wonderful time taking a class with the incomparable Maria Shell, and I am totally sold on her mat cutting method and use of color!
     2.  Joan's Kira Quilt post.  I tried a Gundren GE design pattern, and it turned out beautifully!  I will make this pattern again!  
     3.  My post about the  Magnolia Mystery Quilt that Cheryl put together.  I love how this quilt turned out, and I sent it to a friend who was going through some tough times.  I was happy to share that cheery quilt!
      4.  My post about my Moody Beauty wall hanging.   This was a project that I worked on for a long time, in fits and starts.  I was so pleased with the result (although it doesn't photograph particularly well!)
     5.  My post on finishing the Quiltville mystery quilt top from Bonnie K. Hunter - On Ringo Lake.  I really enjoyed the process of making that quilt (even though the pieces were smaller and more precise than I am used to).  I think it made me a better quilter.   I also enjoyed being part of such a huge, supportive and creative community.  So many quilts made from the same pattern!  This top remains unquilted, but it is next in line!
     I will post a Quilts of 2018 recap early in the new year - I have a few pieces that I will be able to share soon after the new year.  I am also participating in a blog hop in late January, and will have plenty to share about making a quilt from an upcoming book from TeresaDownUnder.  Then I start back to school.  I am feeling a bit more confident in my drawing and painting skills, and maybe I'll even share some of those works!  

Happy New Year! 
Gretchen 

Friday, December 14, 2018

A Kira Quilt for Joan!

     I am so pleased that, despite the rush of end of the semester projects, I was able to finish the quilt I was making for my nearly life-long friend Joan.   Joan taught math for a long time, and likes things neat and orderly.  That is not my normal quilting design style, so when I saw the pattern for Gundrun Erla's "Kira" quilt, I knew I had to get it.   I checked out her color palette to try to get a sense of what colors would work.
     I thought that the 12 fat quarter assortment from Tonga Treats Tuscany line would blend well and complement her colors.
     I used this opportunity to purchase Gundrun Erla's Stripology ruler, which was well worth it.  I did the cutting of the fat quarters and piecing together of the middle at my fall quilt retreat.  While the pieces went together beautifully, the layout was a bit trickier.  Perhaps it was the wine we sipped while sewing! 
     I have circled the blocks that looked OK at first, but thankfully, someone noticed that they were off!  I hadn't sewn them together, and was able to get they layout straight.
     Because I mostly design my own quilts, I don't often purchase patterns, and I guess I didn't actually read through this one before I started because I got the center piece on my wall, and realized I didn't have any fabric for the wide border.  Thank goodness for the internet.  I was able to find a few yards of the now discontinued fabric online for the border!
I got the top done and pinned for quilting in early November.
The addition of Betty and Judy to our household has complicated the quilting process.  They are fascinated with the Tiara - so I needed to get the basement room where I have the Tiara arranged so I could shut the cats out during the quilting.  Since their beds are in that room, I also had to remove the quilt after each quilting session!  It all worked out, and now I have a system in place!   

Yes - I am talking about you two scalawags! 

I ended up quilting with an overall easy going meandering stitch, in tan, which blended well with the off white batik back (also used in many of the lighter blocks).
The back of the quilt fabric
 The quilt crinkled up nicely when washed and dried.
The first attempt at taking pictures of the finished quilt was a bust.  It was too windy, even at the part of our yard that rarely gets wind! 
The next day was calmer and I was able to get a nicer picture on the deck.
A nice warm quilt for a snowy winter!  You can tell it was cold because my trusty quilt holder is wearing gloves!

Take care,
Gretchen

Friday, December 7, 2018

Thank you, Crazy Mom Quilts!

     This blog is a thank you to Amanda Jean Nyberg, who has blogged as Crazy Mom Quilts for over a decade.  She recently posted that she is moving on.  Her blog post has been a constant on my bookmarks bar, and is the reason my little blog exists.
     I have been quilting since taking a class at Joann Fabrics in 1999 (not including a few efforts in the 1980s!).  I joined a guild, worked, quilted, raised kids, quilted, and ran out of steam.  I quit the guild and stopped sewing quilts, but didn't give away by stash! 
     In late 2012 and early 2013, I discovered the world of quilt blogs, and began to regularly follow a few quilters who were making bright, fresh, modern quilts.  Crazy Mom QuiltsCluck Cluck Sew  and Film in the Fridge were my go-to blogs!  I loved them.   Bright, colorful, modern and easy - their quilts were just what I wanted to make.
     I jumped on board with a string quilt and an around the world quilt, which were both the internet craze at the time.  I loved the world wide community of quilters. 
The first blog inspired quilt!  
     Inspired by these bloggers, I decided to start my own blog, initially just to document the quilts I had already made in one place, and then to share new quilting experiences.
    Crazy Mom Quilts hosted a linky party  "Finish it up Friday " which introduced me to many more wonderful quilters and their blogs.  I spent many hours reading these blogs, and getting inspired.  I started designing my own quilts, because so many others did.  I got some quilts published in magazines, because I saw that it could be done.  I have successfully entered on line contests, and happily finished many mystery quilts. 
    When I retired from my full time job in June 2016, my original plan was to concentrate on designing quilts, and marketing the blog.   I have certainly done so, but surprised myself by following an old dream, and enrolling in art school!  So, there are times when the quilt blogging slows done (like now- final projects due!), and times when I work on other creative ventures, like my mixed media collages. 

A few of my mixed media collages
      I have put my collages (perfect for a sewing studio), on sale for the holidays on ETSY, and you can get there from here.  Use the code HOLIDAY20 to get 20% off (shipping is free!)
      I am in awe at how consistently Amanda Jean was able to keep up her blog - it is hard work to make quilts, remember to photograph them, and then to write about them regularly!  I thank her for the many years of enjoyment and inspiration I got, and wish her well.
      I am just about finished with a quilt to be gifted, and will then be able to show it off!  In the meantime, I need to finish my art projects, get cracking on Christmas decorating, and get sewing!

Take care,
Gretchen