Monday, March 31, 2014

Rodney's Retirement Quilt - the reveal!

Rodney's retirement quilt is completed and gifted to the honoree! I have to confess that this is the fastest quilt I have ever completed--nothing like a deadline to light a fire under your butt (for me, anyway). It only took me 2 hours to quilt it. I had quilted Swiss Mocha so densely that for this quilt I wanted only a loose meander. Just your basic loops, swirls and stars. It took me longer to stitch down the binding than it did for me to quilt it. 

I couldn't believe the hubster when he said, "You could have gone denser..."!

Quilt basted into the longarm:

Some detail shots - I used Fil-tec Glide in the top and bottom. This is the first time I have used Glide and the longarm and I like it!

 Off the frame and ready to trim:

The binding is some Moda fabric from about 10-11 years ago that's been waiting for a project just like this; I'm so glad I finally had the chance to use it!

I pieced the label into the back:

The front:

Today was Rodney's last day of employment and while he requested that we not have a party, we did gather our staff together in our library for cake and ice cream. Rodney and the quilt--I believe he is happy with it!

Checking out the back and the label
Rodney receiving his certificate of appreciation from the boss:

The label - I love to create labels! And I like to include the fabric contents and care instructions. My labels are typically 8" x 10" as is this one:

We will miss him. He and his wife Sandy have a son, daughter-in-law and beautiful grandson in Florida, and will be headed to visit them soon. He has worked hard and we hope he enjoys this new chapter in his life!

Here's hoping you can enjoy some quilting!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Another staycation and first finish of 2014!

Several months ago when the school year started I decided I would take off the entire week of Spring Break. We had no plans to go anywhere; my #1 goal was to finish Rodney's retirement quilt. On Monday I finished hand stitching the binding, and tacked down the sleeve on Tuesday. I'll show it to you after I give it to him on Monday.

Some paperwork also got organized--a very good thing. I have a plan to keep the paper tiger tamed. The hubster and I are having The Talk soon and it feels good to have the hard part done.

When I'm home I start thinking about all the things I need to do, and things I probably shouldn't do. I made a list of some things that need to be done and then started thinking about how I'd like to rearrange the Bottoms Up! Studio. I have some ideas that we will revisit down the road.

AND Swiss Mocha is finally finished! 

Some detail shots:

I used Mettler 50 wt. cotton thread in color 511 on the top and bottom for the coffee bean quilting, and Aurifil 50 wt. in a cream color in the center of each block. This thing is densely quilted and took much longer to quilt than I intended. The batting is Nature's Touch by Pellon, 100% cotton, and I really like it.

The hubster asked me last night who was getting the quilt. I had honestly thought all along with this one that it would hang around the living room, either on the wall or draped over the sofa. But a comment he made a week or so ago got me thinking otherwise, so I told him, "It's yours!" 

I spent some time this afternoon working on the baby bullseye quilt; our youngest, David, came over with Emma and while David and his dad worked on the car, Emma helped me arrange the blocks--lots of fun! 

It's been a wonderful week--I have some errands to run tomorrow but hope to spend some more time in the studio before heading back to work on Monday. I'll have a progress report for March either Monday evening or Tuesday morning.

Go quilt!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

National Quilting Day... the BEST with FRIENDS! An impromptu gathering of three of my best quilting buds today in the Bottoms Up! Studio was fabulous. Deb, Katrina and LeiLani came over, we gathered in the studio and the hubster prepared a lovely lunch, while Katrina made dessert. Back to the studio after lunch and I was the only one that stitched--I worked on the baby bullseye quilt for the grand nephew coming into the world this summer. 

But we had a great time talking and catching up! Deb is going to be a grandma for the first time, Katrina has a new job, and LeiLani is going on another lovely trip soon. 

We don't get together that often but when we do, it's always good. We talked and laughed so much that I forgot to take any photos!

I've been practicing a quilting design for the retirement quilt and will be ready to quilt it tomorrow. I hope to get the quilting completed this week so I can work on the binding while I'm on vacation the following week.

Have a great week and happy quilting!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Spring is finally in the air...

...and the birds are cautiously optimistic that it may be here to stay. Friday morning their singing was very...tentative. I saw a finch under my porch and that tells me she's here to make a nest.

And yesterday afternoon I saw the ice cream truck pass by (it was 66 degrees here).

My crocus have decided they are done and refuse to bloom. The shoots appeared a couple of weeks ago, but they didn't bloom last year either. The hyacinths didn't even bother to try. I planted the crocus and the hyacinths almost 18 years ago (along with 100 tulip bulbs that only bloomed one year; here they are annuals); guess it's time to pull them.
Last time the crocus bloomed in 2011
I am now headed into tunnel vision mode with the retirement quilt. I finished piecing the backing Friday morning, and the thread arrived Thursday. The longarm needs a serious cleaning and oiling which will happen today, then some muslin goes on the frame to play with the new threads (Glide by Fil-Tec). I'm going to a copy shop to print out the center medallion to size and hope to put it in the center of the quilt; the rest of the quilt I will freehand with an allover design of stars, loops and swirls.

I am not ready for Daylight Savings Time. I do not relish losing that hour overnight. I set the alarm for 5:30 this morning. At 5:30 I hit the snooze button and when I opened my eyes again, it was 8:30. It's noon now but it doesn't look like it outside! It'll be a bear getting up on Monday (and even worse getting a 17-year-old teenager to get out of bed). Wish me luck.

You probably won't hear from me again until the retirement quilt is quilted, which I hope is done by the end of next weekend.

Go quilt!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Welcome, March--now where's Spring?

Saturday and Sunday were spent quilting Swiss Mocha! And lucky me, today is an ICE day (as opposed to SNOW day) here in Arkansas and the office is closed, so I have finished the quilting on this thing! Binding won't be completed until the retirement quilt is done, but I hope to complete it this month.
Swiss Mocha is finally quilted
(Sorry about the lack of light--it was 5:00 p.m. when I took the photo and in the winter you can't get enough light in this room.) I'll show some close ups and a better photo when it's done.

I ordered my thread for the retirement quilt on Saturday and it shipped today. I'm guessing it will be here by the weekend because of this weather. I ordered Glide because I've heard great things about it. I'm going to do an allover design (NOT DENSE) and maybe put an eagle in the center. I want to keep this simple. The label is designed and I'll print it tomorrow.

So tomorrow is backing day and I have readied my plan of attack. What a gift the last three days has been! It's almost too much to hope for another day off tomorrow.

The irony of having the time off due to the weather is that I have had to pull out of Girl Gang and couldn't attend our annual retreat--which is this week. The Willikers is out of school due to the weather and he was the main reason why I pulled out and decided not to attend the retreat. Oh, least I'm quilting.

Our friend Holly has been stuck at our house for over a week now--she became ill Friday before last and stayed with us to convalesce. She's much better now, but in the mean time she has been without wheels AND her birthday was Sunday. We all went out to eat Saturday evening and the hubster prepared sausage gravy and biscuits for her Sunday morning. We had a beautiful german chocolate cake for dessert (yes, dessert at breakfast).
Today her brother picked her up to retrieve the car--she has a serious case of cabin fever. I told her to call us if they get stuck somewhere, but she arrived safely a couple of hours later.

Tonight I'll be working on more Trick or Treat blocks--I am really enjoying the back basting technique because I seem to get more done and don't have to wait until I have time to use the starch and Templar.

Stay warm--wrap up in a quilt!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February 2014 Progress Report

Hi, peeps! Had enough winter yet? I'm in the South and this has been one of the coldest winters we've had in a while. More reason to quilt...

Which I did! I changed my method of applique on the Trick or Treat blocks. The previous blocks I had prepped using the starch and Templar method, but I get bored doing that with so many blocks at one time. So this month I decided to try the back basting technique and I have to say I'm enjoying it. It may be a slower process, but I feel I have more control using this method. I completed 7 blocks...
February 2014 Trick or Treat Blocks
The retirement quilt: The flimsy is complete and ready to go on the longarm, but I need to complete the backing. I want to incorporate the label in the backing and need to get that done quickly, because he's gone by March 31.
The retirement quilt - skewed because I'm too lazy to use a tripod. And it's upside down.
Swiss Mocha: There are 6 rows of 5 blocks; I have quilted 3-1/2 rows, the upper border and parts of the side borders. I decided to do a coffee bean pebble and I realized I have gone way too dense on this quilt. I mean really, this is one of those things I'll put in the linen closet and drag out when someone is cold. What was I thinking? And it's taking too long! I need to quilt the retirement quilt.
New project! A baby quilt for a grand nephew with an anticipated delivery date of July 7. It's a bullseye quilt and I'm linking up with Cat Patches and her NewFO members. (All I've done is cut the fabrics.)
Bullseye block backgrounds

Bullseye circles
I've made plans for a couple more quilts but I'll talk about those next month.

In case you haven't figured it out, I am a SLOW quilter. I savor every moment and don't worry about how fast I can get it done unless it's a gift with a deadline.

Oh, what quilting fun I've had this month! I hope to keep the good times rolling through March, starting with quilting on Swiss Mocha this weekend.

Go quilt!