Tuesday, January 31, 2012

W.i.P. Wednesday

I feel like I've already showed off all my progress since last W.i.P. Wednesday, so thanks for bearing with me as I list my w.i.p.s.

Completed projects
Lined Drawstring Bag made from Jeni's pattern - see here. A fun, quick project! Couldn't be happier with it.

Scrappy Modern Halves quilt for Scrap Attack - What fun to see this one come together! (full pic here)

Ongoing projects
Hometown "Wild Thing" - Blocks all are trimmed and I've started to sew rows together.

Solstice Stars Series - The second star is done! 

For the Love of Solids Swap - Still confirming color selection, but I've drafted a pattern idea. Made one little ole block to test the waters a bit. (5" finished size)

Sparkle QAL - No progress. Kinda got wrapped up in Modern Halves. Worth it.

Upcoming projects  
Scrappy Depression Blocks - I have a plan!
* do.Good Stitches February blocks - We'll be making three baby quilts using Blue Elephant Stitches' Granny Square Quilt Block Tutorial.
* A Christmas quilt to coordinate with my tree skirt
* "On a Whim
* Table runner for my cousin 
* Pattern for Mango 
* A light box
* Quilts for siblings #2 and #3

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday . . .

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

One Year

I'm very fond of the word "journey": suggesting travel or passage from one place to another. We're all on journeys, aren't we? I certainly feel like this past year of blogging has been a sort of journey for me. Began somewhat hesitantly, just wanting to participate more fully in the online quilting community, my journey has brought me to a place of increased proficiency, connection with new friends, and expanded vision. My quilting has gone from being a hobby to a source of calm and keen pleasure, and blogging has helped make that happen.
Kaleidoscope folded
Quilt-alongs, swaps, and bees have all been components; flickr has become a frequent companion; and affirmation has come through comments, "explores", features, and of course, conversations with you. My circle of like-minded quilters has grown from several to hundreds. And the joy I find in creating has grown exponentially.
I've appreciated the forum for sharing my love of the table. Though comparatively a smaller portion of my blog, it is no less important to me, and I'm grateful for those who have joined me around the table.
When it comes right down to it, I have you to thank for this year of growth and creativity. It's you that have spurred me on to projects I never could have imagined before. It's you that have encouraged me to be myself, that my craft has value. And it's you that have affirmed my journey itself. Thank you.

Will you join me in a little celebratory give-away to mark the one year anniversary of A Quilter's Table? It's a pleasure to offer this little bundle to one of you. After mulling over all sorts of fabric choices, I finally chose some fat-quarters of Malka Dubrawsky's new line, A Stitch in Color, which says 'modern' to me and represents stretching and growing. And I can't help but throw in my new favorite tool, a little hera marker - you need one!
Just leave a comment telling a bit about your quilting or crafting adventure. I'll choose a random winner some time Thursday. And again, I truly thank you for sharing the journey.

Tuesday at the Table

I sat down to a different kind of table yesterday....at a church potluck.
Okay, so this was the 'food' table - 24 feet of table - laden with the requisite green salad, quite a selection of jello salads (and Cool Whip!), a big ole crock-pot of Swedish meatballs, and then came . . . the "hot-dishes" (Minnesotan for casserole, according to the Urban Dictionary).

Being somewhat of a food snob, I confess to some skepticism when it comes to casseroles. I like to know what's in things. But I was brave, filled my plate, and sat down to a table of three other women and three little girls. My favorite part of the meal was when another little girl squeezed in her chair to join her friends. Potlucks are definitely all about the socializing, but of course, also about the food. And what you see on most potluck tables is plenty of comfort food.

One of my favorite comfort foods is meatloaf. Of course the real reason to make a meatloaf is the sandwich you'll get the next day. yum. I recall meatloaf being one of the first things I learned to cook. Back then, I followed the recipe on the seasoning packet - pretty much hamburger, seasoning, cubed bread, milk and an egg. These days, I tend to make one of two recipes:

Minis, when I want quick and easy . . .

Source: myblessedlife.net

and what hubby refers to as "bacon meatloaf" when I want real down-home with lots of leftovers.

Either way, this is comfort food for me.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Finishes

Jeni of In Color Order recently shared a drawstring bag pattern that I've been wanting to try, so when my mom mentioned she could use a laundry bag for traveling, it was the perfect chance. (You can purchase the pattern here, though a smaller version is offered as a tutorial here.)
I'd had this purple triangle print in my stash for a while (by Brandon Mably, a designer with Kaffe Fasset), and mom and I both loved it for this project. The bag was easy and fun to make, and I'll definitely be making more in other sizes. I think the 'yoke' detail of Jeni's pattern really adds to it, allowing for fun contrast.

After posting a pic of the Modern Halves completed top yesterday, I was surprised how quickly the quilt came together once I got to my sewing room last night.
I debated about the binding for a while, thinking bright color was certainly in order, but in the end, settled on a dark gray to frame it all. While I love the scrappy look of my version of the original made by Elizabeth of Don't Call Me Betsy, I realized soon after starting that my scrap basket wasn't full of enough long lengths of fabric. So I got as far as I could from my scrap basket for each block, and then went to my stash to finish a few of them up. I especially like how the vertical lines are so pronounced when the colorful halves were re-pieced together. My version will make a nice lap-quilt, finishing up at 54" square.

Linking up with {sew} modern mondaySlash the Stash, Fabric Tuesdayfinish it up Friday, Scrap Attack, and the Festival of Scrappiness at Stitched in Color.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Truly Random

Thought I'd share the creative blocks I received from the 4x5 modern quilt bee, quarter 4.
Nice, huh?? I still can hardly believe that they came not only from around the U.S., but also from Canada, Australia(!), and Morocco(!!). Amazing. So I have 12 modern gray and orange blocks from the first two rounds of the 4x5 {here's my first set}, and will be going one more round, this time as a caretaker. Cool.

A really nice surprise was realizing that two of my pics of Tangerisk made flickr explore! Must say, that's always pretty exciting.
1. "Tangerisk" for Tangerine Tango Challenge, 2. sneak peek, 3. Dead Simple Quilt, 4. Kaleidoscope complete!, 5. Mini-Swoon II, 6. Supernova! 

Have you heard about the Simply Charmed Blog Hop? Melissa from Happy Quilting got a group of quilters together, and beginning February 1, there will be Valentine tutorials each day. See all the details here

I ended up trimming quite alot last night - charm squares for the 4x5 fabric swap . . . 
Sketch White and Black Screen by Timeless Treasures    Nature Elements Candy Pink by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery Fabrics
Sketch White and Black Screen by Timeless Treasures & Nature Elements Candy Pink by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery Fabrics, per my assigned colors of black and pink

. . . some of my Hometown blocks . . . 
and my Modern Halves blocks! Don't get too excited - I just slashed and starting placing them randomly on the design wall . . . (phone pic!) . . . but this is going to be one brightly colored quilt!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

52 lists in 52 weeks//week 34 and a Whirling Star

In addition to this week's list, I got star #2 in the Solstice Stars Series done last night. The Whirling Star is, uh, paper-pieced. Not my speciality, and I pieced it with about 30% of the seams being ripped out and stitched again (operator error!). I'm not super happy with the fabrics I chose to use together, mostly due to the last of contrast in the center "cones". But it looks good with the Ribbon Star from last week, so all's shining bright.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

W.i.P. Wednesday

W.i.P. Wednesday's here again and I've had fun on a variety of projects.

Completed projects
For baby - You can see the baby goodies I made here, if you missed them.

Tangerine Tango - Whew! "Tangerisk" is done and entered in the challenge. See more pics and read about my process here.

Japanese x and + swap blocks - made one last block, and labeled 10 up and sent swapping. So I'm done for this round.

Ongoing projects
Hometown "Wild Thing" - All my blocks are done! Now I need to order some fabric for borders and backing. I think I'm going to go simple and solid. (pattern by Thimble Blossoms

Modern Halves scrap quilt for Scrap Attack - I've finished 18 blocks and that's going to be it for now. Unfortunately, I found it difficult to find enough scraps large enough to make blocks of each color, so I'll make a nice little quilt with what I have. (pattern by Elizabeth Dackson of Don't Call Me Betsy here)

Solstice Stars Series -Star 1 is done; Sparkle QAL - all cut out. Posted about them here.

Upcoming projects  
Scrappy Depression Blocks - I have a plan!
For the Love of Solids Swap - I am stalking my partners mosaic, am mulling over options, and may order a few more solids.
* do.Good Stitches January blocks - cancelled; taking a break in January . . .
* A Christmas quilt to coordinate with my tree skirt
* "On a Whim
* Table runner for my cousin 
* Pattern for Mango 
* A light box
* Quilts for siblings #2 and #3

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday . . .

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday at the Table

Hubby came home from the grocery store the other day with something that wasn't on the list, but the second I saw it, I knew what he had in mind. Long story, short - in our house a bag of frozen mixed berries says, "smoothies."

When son was still living at home, he was a real fan of Jamba Juice, our local chain smoothie shop. The three of us would often go together when we were out and about, and occasionally on the weekends, I'd try whipping up my own versions at home.

For Christmas, I got a nice new blender. Back story - I've kind of had a history of getting a new blender every few years, always on the lookout for the perfect one. Well this new one is by Waring, with a square glass jar, and a simple on/off switch. I've kind of been eyeing this one a while, as I remember it being very close to the one my mom used when I was a kid. (And what I most remember her making with it was milkshakes! We even had milkshake glasses!) I digress . . .anyway new blender + bag o'frozen fruit = smoothies on Saturday.

Basically, when I make smoothies, I also scour the kitchen for random ingredients, so if there's just a little orange juice in the carton, in it goes, or a lone banana, same thing. My basic "recipe":

milk and/or juice
frozen fruit or fresh
a tub of yougurt
a splash of (usually) almond flavoring
I start with liquid on the bottom, then add everything else, stirring, tasting, adding along the way.

When using fresh fruit, I'll toss in half a dozen ice cubes at the end. Another great idea is when you have bananas you don't use, throw them in the freezer - they are a great add to homemade smoothies! Really, any assortment goes. Some are better than others, but they're all healthy, tasty, and a nice treat that's kind of special.
This probably won't be my last blender ever, but it is the one of my dreams.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tangerine Tango

When I was first perusing palettes for my entry in the Tangerine Tango Challenge, I came across this by Design Seeds.

I loved it, but obviously, there are too many colors for the challenge, so I settled on the center three - the red-orange "tangerine" of course, orange, and a yellow-orange. Yellow in any form isn't really my normal choice, but when I saw this color wheel, I felt better.

Somewhat unknowingly, I had chosen color wheel neighbors! That I could live with.

As for a design, I had decided early on that I wanted to try the asterisk block, and just started making asterisks in a variety of sizes and fabrics. I tried to use unique components in each block, like a pieced asterisk, a pieced background, 'arms' in different fabrics, etc. Once I had five blocks, I put them together, and came up with this:
Clearly, the 'blank' spots needed filled in, so fill I did, and soon had this:
For quilting, I decided to start with a big ole asterisk in this block, then echo-quilted between each set of arms.
The fabrics include a variety of tangerines and oranges, a background of KONA Tangerine, and accents of yellow-orange shot cotton. The back consists mostly of a Denyse Schmidt tangerine print, and the binding is 1001 Peeps Jewels in orange by Lizzy House. Though my intent was to enter the mini category, the finished quilt measures 30 1/2" X 35", so I'm entering it in the "quilt" category of the challenge.

I'm not usually one to name my quilts, but for this one I have chosen a name . . . Tangerisk.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Revelation

Last night I puttered in the sewing room a bit, making up one last x and + block (for now). I'll get 10 in the mail to Sarah today for swapping.

And I cut out fabric for the Sparkle QAL.

But mostly, I quilted. First I basted up my Tangerine Tango top. I mulled over quilting patterns, and finally came to a decision. So on to marking. I usually dread this part. Between the choices of a marking pen that doesn't mark well, or blue painter's tape that doesn't stay put, I prefered neither. So I was pretty excited I had a new option to try!

Nicole of Mama Love Quilts had just posted about her use of a hera marker. {rush here}
I kind of remember hearing about this little tool before, but I had no idea how amazing it was. Basically you just make a mark on your quilt with the rounded end of the tool, and voila! The mark is easy to see throughout the quilting process, but not visible when you're done!
It worked like a charm marking up my quilt top, and my quilting was done in no time! 

Do be sure and visit Nicole's blog- she does some amazing work! I'm so glad we got connected!

Linking up with Friday Night Sew-In.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Random Yet Again

It only seems fair to report back on the starching and folding/rolling topics from last week:

Starching: Yes-7, No-6. Those that do it swear by it. I may just have to give it a try . . . in fact I bought a can today.
Folding vs. rolling: Folding-6, Rolling-2, and Flat-1. So I'm with the majority here.
Thanks to all of you who shared in the comments!

In other randomness . . .
Do you know about Bing Translator? Every once in a while I get a comment that isn't already translated. I got one earlier this week, and went straight to www.microsofttranslator.com, copied in the comment, and voila! Instant translation. I had a clue, but I didn't even need to know what language Elena's comment was in.

There were a couple of posts by Rachel over at Stitched in Color this week that I found especially interesting - one on the history of those scrappy x and + blocks some of us are obsessed with, and one on  how to hang a mini quilt. I think I'll be trying her casing method next time around.

I got my first block in the Solstice Stars Series done, and am really glad I decided to dig into my DS stash for these. Very fun.

And speaking of fun - my mom was "snowed in" with us this week, and what a treat it was to have her doing all the pressing as I stitched away on a variety of projects. A long-time encourager, I think she enjoyed being a part of the quilty action. And I can thank her for helping me settle on fabric choices for the Sparkle QAL.
So getting that cut out is one of my goals for Friday Night Sew-In. Later!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

52 lists in 52 weeks//week 33 and The Weather

This week's list is right up my alley! Recipes I need to make . . .

Source: thepioneerwoman.com via Tara on Pinterest

Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter 
Source: foodandwine.com via Ashley on Pinterest

Crisp Flatbreads with Honey, Thyme and Sea Salt 

Lasagne Soup 
Source: afarmgirlsdabbles.com via Nikki on Pinterest

Curried Lentil Soup
Source: eat-drink-smile.com via Debbie on Pinterest
(while working on this post I actually made this one and it's a keeper!)

And since I've had some requests for pics of our Pacific Northwest weather . . .
I know it doesn't look like much, but 'we' aren't used to the ice and cold temps, and with our hilly landscape, things get dangerous fast. The roads are ice rinks, there are power outages, and apparently the Governor has declared a state of emergency. Meanwhile it's snowing {again}.