Saturday, November 28, 2009

How Do You Solve A Sewing Problem Like Maria??

Maria came over to sew today and we had the best time. Maria doesn't have a lot of sewing experience, but she can run a sewing machine and isn't intimidated by it. She decided she wanted to make her mother some placemats for Christmas after seeing mine I made from "The New Handmade" by Cassie Barden. She wanted these placemats to be Christmas-y, but also be appropriate to use after Christmas was long gone. We choose a scenic winter print and a snowflake fabric for the front:
And we went with a red for the back: While this is technically a print of a poinsetta, the red and gold fabric can be used year round, and Maria's mother LOVES red. She can just flip the placemats over when winter is gone and use the red side. Maria did a great job and I believe her mother will love them.
Maria's mother is Italian. Really Italian. She is a fascinating woman. She was arrested at the age of 16 on the steps of her church, accused of assisting the French Resistance during WWII. She was guilty of exactly what she was accused of: she translated for the French Resistance since she spoke Italian, French, and German. She convinced the arresting authorities that she really didn't know German, so instead of being summarily shot, she was sent to a concentration labor camp in Germany for three years. She was liberated on Easter Sunday, 1945. She's well into her eighties now, and whenever Maria brings her mother to Mass, the Italian nuns from the nearby convent crowd her wheelchair like she is a rock star, all speaking rapid Italian, all joyful to see her.
Parting Shot: I think Maria liked her quilt!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving; I certainly did. I traveled to Arlington, VA to spend Thanksgiving with my friends with whom I spend every Thanksgiving. Not only are they wonderful people (and one of their kids is my godson), but two of the brothers are professional chefs. And their mother isn't bad either. No, really, I go for the fellowship - but yeah, the food is outstanding.

This year the dessert table was a sumptous as the meal. For dessert we had: chocolate cake, chocolate pie, pumpkin cake, pumpkin pie, pineapple upside down cake, and the best in my estimation: a cheesecake made by chef Thor (yes, his name is Thor, and he is the godfather to my godson). He made this heavenly cheesecake with a chocolate chip cookie crust, and topped it with raspberries. It was so good, I nearly ripped the refrigerator door off this afternoon trying to get to the leftovers.

One of Thor's sisters sews and has an etsy shop. Her name is April Scott and her shop is here. If you have a young daughter or granddaughter, check it out; she makes the cutest dresses ever. And I'm all about the dresses!

Tomorrow I get to see one of my friends and Prayer Sisters, Maria. She's coming over to sew, or learn to sew and I am going to be able to give her this: It only took me nearly three years to get it done! I last wrote about this little quilt here, and I had Susan Caldwell do some custom quilting on it, since Maria has had to wait so long. Here is some of Susan's custom work:

Here's what she did with the border:
I hope Maria likes it; I know she loves the colors, but she hasn't seen it complete.
I also hope everyone gets to sew this weekend! I prefer to spend time with the Bernina than go to any sale . . .

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Double Wedding Ring Quilt Pieced!

This weekend I finally finished piecing the Double Wedding Ring Quilt. And after ten months of working on this diabolical quilt pattern, I feel like it should be . . . bigger. According to John Flynn's instructions this quilt with the 18 inch rings set four across and five down will finish at 54 1/2 inches by 66 3/4 inches. I don't know what quilt he is talking about; the effort I put into this should result in a quilt 120 x 140 inches at least! : ) Here are some close ups:

These aren't the best photos - they were taken last night on my kitchen floor. (You can enlarge them by clicking on them.) But I will say that the quilt came out as envisioned. I wanted the arcs to be black and white, but not too black - I wanted the black squares to stand out from the arc.
I learned a lot on this quilt. Curved piecing for one. I was nearly paralyzed when it came to putting the rings into rows and then sewing the rows together because I knew I wasn't going to be able to do it perfectly. But I finally decided done was better than perfect, and it was time to just do it. It's not perfect, but my confidence has grown just by the fact I was able to get this quilt put together - I feel like I could sew any quilt pattern after this.
I'm glad I got this together before year end. Piecing this quilt was one of my goals for 2009, and I didn't want 2010 to find me still piecing away. I want new goals for 2010!
Now turning my attention to Christmas projects . . . I don't mean to alarm you, but Christmas is about four weeks away!!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

It's My Blog-Aversary!

I realized that I have been blogging for one year today! Here was my very first post. And in honor of this auspicious occasion, I made a cupcake of the pincushion kind. The pattern is from Cindy Talyor Oats that I got at my LQS. Making pincushions seems all the rage lately and Quilting Adventures even had the ground-up-fine walnut shells for the filling which are supposed to be better than sand for your pins, but I don't know why. The pattern was fairly easy to follow except for the parts where they tell you to press the seams. How??? You are dealing with a two inch circumference on this project. At any rate, the pincushion works great.

I want to sincerely thank all of you that read my little blog (hi Mother!). I have enjoyed it very much and I surprised myself by realizing that this is my 61st post in a year. There are several of you that I feel I have gotten to know through your blogs, and even though I'm not a big commenter (sorry about that), please know that I am lurking and enjoying everything you do and write about. I'm excited about so much more in the year to come!