Tuesday, February 20, 2018

QBTS February Meeting -- the Pillow Challenge!

The front of the room is much too small for all the neonatal quilts that were done this past month.  The really bad weather must have been some motivation!!

 The  next three pictures are also all neonatal quilts and there were a lot more!!

These were pillows 1 and 2 in the Pillow Challenge.  The first is a tooth fairy pillow and adorable.  The second was Becky's yo-yo pillow in beautiful colors.

These are pillows 3 through 6.  The first was a beautifully pieced pillow.  The second was our own Michele's bunny pattern.  The third was a vintage cross-stitch which was restored and turned into a pillow and the fourth was a beautiful scrappy strip pieced pillow.

These are pillow 7 though 10.  Who could not love the kitties in pillow 1.  Pillow 2 was all pieced using Ruth McDowell patterns and techniques and the third one was a bit of a mystery to me but I think it was using a weaving technique.  It was subtle and gorgeous.  The fourth one was a collage of pictures of places around North Carolina all transferred to fabric -- incredible!!

This was my addition which was the result of a happy accident.  This was one of those UFOs I had last summer that I finally quilted but didn't bind.  I happened to look at it and think that it might be just the same size as a pillow I had planned on recovering which was sitting in my sewing room.  It was a perfect match.  The pattern was from a class I took probably ten years ago at least as I didn't have my blog back then!!

 These are the last two but certainly not the least.  Incredible piecing on the black one and nice Valentines pillow for the last one.

And the winners are!!!  I voted for the kitties of course and that was first with the spiral second and the leaves piece coming in third!

 This and the next were Quilts of Valor.

 This baby quilt and the teddy bear were made from fragments of clothing from a recently deceased grandfather to be.  It was especially requested by his daughter who gathered up the pieces.  It was just lovely.

Show and Tell is always my favorite part of the evening -- I love seeing what everyone is making!!  The yellow on this photo is merely a shadow.  Beautiful red and white quilt.

This was a piece by our own Michele May.  She is teaching in Houston again this year!! 
This was all Kaffe Fassett fabrics!!  I love Kaffe's fabrics too and will bring them down with me next year.  This year was the black and white which I have yet to use!! 
The next three were baby quilt and tops that all have to be done in two weeks for awaiting babies in the family!! 

This was a very large quilt and the first large quilt doe by a new quilter!!  Beautiful!!

I believe she said that this was a "row by row" quilt.  It was gorgeous and probably my favorite for the evening! 
 A beautiful blue and white sampler quilt.

This was a tote done for a  niece who was leaving soon for Paris.  My daughter would love this for traveling on planes! 

Two very nice table runners.

This was a seahorse made with cross stitch and then quilted.  A close-up of the cross stitch is below. 

Here are three of the pieces done from the recent class.  Miranda was the most creative in her interpretation but I loved the colors they all used.  

Friday, February 16, 2018

A Little Bit of Dyeing

Two weeks ago we did some dyeing at Dianne's house.  I finally used up the remainder of my 100 yard bolt.  I just did some gradations as I wanted primarily lots of greens as I use a lot of green.  I also use a lot of purple and was trying for some darker purple.  This was a gradation of Intense Blue that I added 2gms of grape dye to each baggie.  There was a yard in each bag and I started out with 10 grams/intense blue dye in the darkest of these.

This was a gradation of navy with 2 gms of Sun Yellow added to each baggie.

This was a gradation of Dark Green with the Sun Yellow.  Looks to me like ProChem's Dark Green is a mixture of Sun Yellow and Navy!!  I may  not have even separated these properly but will have lots and lots of greens.  They are actually a little more limey than these pictures show.

After finishing up the baby quilt for my daughter to give to her friend, I had to return to my other required sewing which was slip covers for our dining room chairs so that they can come out of the bedroom and be kitty-proof!!  This was my test with real fabric but  not the final fabric.  They will be passable but that is all they need to be!!

I am still playing with this spinning piece and found the accompanying pieces which I had forgotten I had.  They are a bit dull but I think putting borders on the little pieces will perk things up a bit.  I just have to decide what to put between the pieces.  I think any pieced block would greatly detract from the mandalas (and that might be a good idea in this case!!) but may go with white or a light color of some kind in this negative space.  It is evolving but first have to finish those pesky slipcovers!!  The good news is that I have plenty of the black pseudo suede in my stash down here and will even have a couple of yards left!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Baby Quilt for a Daughter's Friend

This is the beginning of yet another baby quilt but this one with a specific "baby to be" in mind.  My daughter picked out the main fabrics for the front and back - the beachie fish and crabs and a really cute fabric for the back which also features even more beach creatures -- very apropos  for coming from where we live!  I found this pattern on Pinterest of course but am probably making the blocks bigger than the original.  If I hadn't made them larger, then the focus fabric wouldn't have shown up at all.  As it was, I "fussy cut" all the 6 1/2 inch squares to maximize the images.  The squares were each 3 1/2 inches square.  I did 7 across and 8 down so it would be a decent sized quilt.  Initially I had some other fabrics as well in the focal fabric spots but they just didn't work.  I incorporated one of them in the back putting a 8 inch strip down the middle which then made the fabric wide enough for backing instead of just being a clever design idea!!

The top is done here.  I had to audition several fabrics for the border and decided on the pink as the baby is a girl!  

Here the quilting is done.  I quilted in the ditch every three inches both horizontally and vertically.  I then added the hearts in the white pieces.  I made them pretty uniform by cutting out a piece of interfacing that was a little tacky and outlining the outside of the heart with a Sharpie so you could see the edge against the white.  I then just put one pin to hold it while I free hand quilted around it.  After circling it the first time, I removed the heart and then went around two more times, not trying to be exact.  

Here it is all done with lavender binding which I added using the machine method rather than hand sewing it down.  I am getting so I actually prefer that and will always use it for baby quilts.

The art quilt group down here met to do beaded bracelets on Saturday, something I have never done before and I didn't have many beads down here.  What I hadn't realized was that they were going to use a Japanese "loom" (Kumihimo loom) which I also have at home!!  These are two examples of what the bracelets look l like done.

Here is my bracelet which I won't blow up as there are lots of threads showing but it looks pretty good from about a foot away so nobody had better kiss my hand!  I used mostly darkish beads (the only ones I had) and a gold bead every fifth bead (this was how I kept count of how many beads I had threaded!!).  We used these cool needles which were basically just a very thin piece of wire which was a loop.  I used nylon onto which I threaded the beads.  It does look better in person than in this picture.  

Anyway, we started by cutting 4 45 inch pieces of cording, stringing about 80 beads on each using a large bead knotted at the ends to hold the beads on.  Then we tied on a plastic bag full of pennies in the middle of the 4 strings which we pulled through the middle of the loom and then untangled the strings, added the small plastic spools and placed two each next to each other in the N/S/E/W positions on the loom.  You did the weaving by taking the upper right string and placing it next to the lower right hand string.  Then take the lower left hand string and move it next to the upper left hand string.  Then turn once counterclockwise so that the next set of strings is in front of you.  Repeat until the bracelet is the size you want and then knot it off as close to the beads as you can get.  Apply drop of special glue and stuff into the closures and hold tightly for a minute.  Now to just get some findings and maybe try this when I get home!  There are tons of online directions like this - Kumihimo round braid

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Visit to Mattamuskeet, Bodie Island NWR, Pea Island NWR and Pocosin - Lots and Lots of Birds!!

This is the Bodie Island Lighthouse at dawn on the second day of our trip up to northern North Carolina to see our winter visitors!

This is an American Kestrel which is a truly beautiful bird in the falcon family.  He was quite a distance away and the light is always bad at the one end of Mattamuskeet when the sun is brightly shining.  Hopeffully you can see his pretty plumage here.

We also saw a juvenile Bald Eagle, a Cooper's Hawk, a Northern Harrier and a Turkey Vulture at Mattamuskeet.  You can always tell when an eagle is around as all the birds fly up off the marsh!  We didn't see the eagles at the nest like we did in December though.  It was a day for raptors although not a good day for pictures -- we were hoping for more overcast conditions!  

We did see a lot of Northern Pintails when we went on the backside trail at Mattamuskeet.  There were also a couple of Black Ducks in with them (the duck in the foreground).  

 This is the beautiful male Northern Pintail.

 Here is a pair of the Northern Pintails.

I loved this shot from behind that shows this tail and the wing patterns from behind.  There were a LOT of Pintails as you can see and the light was good on the back side of the trail!

We headed over to the Outer Banks that afternoon and went to Bodie Island Lighthouse.  Last year there were 1000's of Redheads -- this year none!!  This was a group of Lesser Yellowlegs that flew by.  

A closeup of one of the Yellowlegs.

I did manage to get a picture of Green-winged Teals despite the rather poor light.  There is a broad green stripe on the head of the male.

At the crack of dawn we headed back to Bodie Island and found quite a few Avocets feeding in the low water.

A close-up of one of the Avocets.

This was a picture of two of the Lesser Yellowlegs who were also feeding in the shallow water.  Loved seeing their reflections in the still water.  I should note that there is a boardwalk that takes you to the observation tower and it was covered with frozen dew.  My dear daughter held onto me the whole way so that I didn't take a tumble on this very slippery walk.  Luckily there was no wind (like the day before when we froze to death) so even though chilly, it was tolerable.

A close-up of one of the Yellowlegs.

Next we headed down to Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and got there just as a nature walk was beginning.  There were ducks of almost every variety there that day.  I found out later that the local  camera club (Cape Fear where I live) was up there for pictures -  no wonder we saw so many expensive lens!!  This picture has a male Redhead in the foreground as well as an American Coot (always plenty of those).  In the background is a female Canvasback.

I must say that in my many visits to this area, I had only seen one female Canvasback and no males before this trip (did see one male down here locally) but this time, there were lots of them at Pea Island.  This male posed for me as I was heading back to the car.

More Canvasbacks.  There were a lot more females than males.  

This is a Wigeonl, another pretty duck.

This is a Ruddy Duck.  We saw some of these at Mattamuskeet as well.  There were also Northern Shovelers, Lesser Scaups and a Pied-billed Grebe in the mix.  Black Ducks were off in the distance and of course a lot of Tundra Swans -- probably more than I had seen there before.  We didn't spot any White Pelicans though.  A couple of days later, a Snowy Owl was also spotted at Oregon Inlet (nearby this refuge).  There is incredible construction going on at the inlet so really impossible to stop although I had wanted to as there is also a Great Horned Owl nest there I wanted to see.  They are building a HUGE new bridge that is about four times as high as the current one.  

We stopped at Pocosin on the way home and were really surprised to see a field filled with 1000's of Tundra Swans.  We had seen other fields filled with white birds on our way to the Outer Banks which I had assumed were Snow Geese.  Now I am wondering....  I didn't realize that Tundra Swans grouped like the Snow Geese.  The water was high at Pongo Lake so we didn't see a lot of the shore birds you sometimes see -- just lots and lots of Tundra Swans.