There is a reason why they call them deadlines. By the time you cross the line, you are so tired you feel dead for a few days afterwards. I have had so many quilt to get finished in a short period of time that I don’t know whether I am coming or going. The good news is I only have one more to complete to be done with deadlines for awhile and I have all the way until the first Wednesday in September to get it done. Heavy sigh.
So here is what I have been working on. As you may remember, every year I raffle off a made to order custom quilt with all proceeds going to support my church’s youth group going to winter camp. This year’s winner very generously gave her win to another member of our church who wanted to win in the worst way. The only guidelines she gave me was queen size, black background and pink and white hearts. Here is the design I came up with.
My Quilter’s Support Staff (husband Rich) came up with the idea to have the hearts cascading into some sort of a garden. I had originally envisioned having them melting into a puddle of pink. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. I was blessed to find this garden fabric available in yardage. Usually this type of pattern is only found in panels which would have been a big challenge to make seamless. I was able to put fusible on the back and meticulously cut out the parts that I wanted to leave in. Everything is fused and machine appliqued on which on the garden portion was really difficult with all the tiny details that I wanted spilling over into the black. I embroidered a cross on the largest heart in the upper left corner and named the quilt “Love Came Down”. I don’t know if you can tell, but the black background has sparkly stars all over. I just love the way this one came out and it was hard to let it go to its new home. The lady who got it also loves it. I finished it up near the end of March.
In April, as I posted in my last post ( https://oneblockwonderwoman.wordpress.com/2018/06/22/our-most-excellent-quilting-adventure-2018-version/), my sister-in-law Mary from http://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com was coming to learn some tips on longarm quilting and to quilt her humongous king sized quilt on my new longarm, Greta. So that meant catching up on months of neglected housework to make the house presentable for company. It was worth it. We had a great time.
As soon as Mary left, I had to get ready for the annual Dutch Oven Cookoff, which is a huge fundraiser for our little rural life and local history museum. There are usually over 150 dutch ovens going with cooks coming from as far away as Oregon and Arizona. The organizers also arrange for demonstrations of many old time skills, such as gold panning and blacksmithing. I am in charge of the quilting demonstration. Last year I came up with the idea of having a hands on experience where everyone who made a block got a chance to win the resulting quilt which I would complete. So that involves a lot of prep work, pre-cutting scraps and making half square triangles and such to make it easy for beginners. Mary helped me with a bit of that before she left. Also, my Quilter’s Support Staff made a great sign to guide people to where we were having the demonstration.
The great thing about this year’s event is I had a third helper, whose husband is one of the blacksmiths, who found out about the quilting demonstration through him. She got ahold of the organizers to volunteer her help, and it turns out she is a member of my quilt guild. She doesn’t attend meetings because she lives about 3 hours away, but I had met her at the guild retreats. The other great thing is we had a perfect setup inside a newly built add on to the tiny cabin that has been on the property for years. No more dust clogging up sewing machines, wind blowing quilt squares off the design wall, or tables and chairs sliding down the slope where we were located. Here is a photo of the wonderful setup we had.
The pattern I chose is Confetti Crossings out of The Big Book of Scrappy Quilts. This is what the final quilt was supposed to look like with a solid border added around the edge. I though it looked unfinished and a bit odd….so…..
…I added my own finishing touch to it, which meant I had to do a lot of figuring and…gasp….math! But I love the results.
The winner was another quilter, and she was thrilled with the final quilt. Thank you M’Liz and Delani for your able assistance. You are both a godsend.
The next series of deadlines came at about the same time. First, one of the elders and founding members of our church decided he and his wife needed to move closer to their grandchildren down in San Diego. So the pastor asked me to make a memory quilt for them quite quickly because, even though they had already moved, they were coming back for our annual church BBQ and swim party. Also one of the couples in our church who take in foster children and have been waiting to have a child or two that they could adopt were informed that they would be getting their dream, that a brother and sister were available for adoption. Of course, I had to make quilts to welcome them to their forever home, and only had two weeks to do it in. The boy is about 7 and his sister is 3. Fortunately, I had taken a class and started a quilt utilizing free-form quilting with Sujata Shah. She calls this pattern Peppermint Pinwheels. Since I already had several blocks made, I was able to finish it in time. I call this quilt Dreaming on Daisies.
And for the brother’s quilt, I resorted to my go-to, quick to make quilt pattern, Labyrinth by Debbie Maddy of Calico Carriage Designs. I can cut and sew this quilt top in one day. The pattern calls for a star in the center, but I just had to use this adorable square of a cowboy on his horse holding his dog in his lap. I called it Best Friends.
The quilts were waiting on the beds for the children when they got home and were a surprise for the parents-to-be as well (the adoption won’t be final for 6 months.) Fortunately, my friend and fellow quilter Delani, was asked to prepare the beds for the kids, so she was able to smuggle them into the house.
And here is the memory quilt for the elder and his wife that I also was able to finish on time.
The really great thing about all these quilts is nearly every piece came out of my stash or scrap bins. So why are both still overflowing? Maybe it was the local quilt shop that had a going out of business sale, which of course I went to…twice. I picked out a lot of great things, including a couple of nifty panels, which have become a new passion for me. My Quilter’s Support Staff came into the store to use the restroom while I was at the cutting table, and after he took care of business he wandered over. He kept saying things like, “You’re only getting 3 yards of that? You should get more. It’s a great deal. Did you see that panel over there? Isn’t that great? You should buy 2 while you have the chance.” Being the submissive wife I am, of course I had to go along with him. Hahaha! So maybe that does have a bit to do with the overflowing stash.
The last looming deadline that I will post on today was the annual Quilt Guild Challenge. This year’s theme was any quilted item that fit things that Old McDonald would have on his farm and the deadline was the second Monday in August, which was yesterday. I had in mind what I wanted to do, but it kind of grew to more than I ever imagined at first. I finally got started about two weeks ago. I started with the center panel, which I just happened to win at last year’s guild quilt retreat. I also just happened to have the framed scenes on the side and the wood look background fabric. That was going to be it, but then I had an IDEA! Here is the finished quilt.
Why not put a chair next to the window to make it look like you are inside a cabin looking out. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be a great idea to include a lantern, so in the upper right hand corner you can see the lantern that I made on my embroidery machine and stitched directly onto the background. The QSS thought I needed a little something down in the right-hand corner, so if you click on the photo to enlarge it, you will see an embroidered mouse in a mouse hole. Now the chair was another story. I do not have the talent to look at a chair and draw it out in proper perspective, but my Quilter’s Support Staff does. So I brought a similar chair to what I wanted and placed it next to the design wall where I wanted it, then got Rich and said, “Can you draw that out?” Of course, he did. He pulled out a letter sized sheet of paper and sketched it free-hand and then I got him a big sheet of unused newsprint paper and he translated his original drawing to the size you see on the quilt, all freehand. He is simply amazing. I could never do that. Then I turned the big sketch over and traced out a mirror image that I could use to transfer to my fusible. Now, tracing, that I can do! This project was surprisingly a lot of work. When I pieced in the “framed photos”, I worked really hard to get the lines of the wood fabric all lined up so it looked like a real wood wall. Then I spent nearly 7 hours of actual stitching time on Greta, the longarm. The quilting really came out great, but sadly, you can’t even see most of it unless the quilt is laying flat. I traced around most of the larger objects in the “window” and added some texture stitching to the grass, and did a lot of pebbles in the tree tops. I stitched down the lines between the boards on the wall to give it some more dimension. It also meant 6 or 7 thread color changes! So I won second prize at the challenge last night. The competition was hot and heavy. There were a total of 12 terrific entries, and I got beat out by VEGETABLES of all things!!! Seriously, though, that quilter deserved her prize.
Now the last deadline looms. After that one is done, I am going to take a month off of actual sewing and finish up my scrap organization project that I started in January. Making all these quilts made me realize all over again how wonderful it would be to be able to put my hands on exactly the size and color of scrap that I need. Onward!