Friday, January 29, 2010

Knit One, Purl What?

Happy Friday!

Now I have to admit I have a checkered past when it comes to knitting. I have knitted many sweaters, a couple of ponchos and some of those crazy self patterning socks. But I recently gave it all up when a sweater I was working on was not working and I bought one at TJMaxx for $15.00. It fit, and it was done and I was so happy.

Mary is the knitting queen! She knits the most complicated and wonderful garments I have ever seen. It's been very difficult at times to trail behind her at quilt shows while she sports the knitted COAT, or the knitted SKIRT.....She wears the crown very humbly, and doesn't even always admit to making some of these items, which is what I'm there for, if I'm with her. I bought a beautiful knitted jumper from North Style and had great fun telling her and others that I made it -HA, no way.

So....About a year ago I saw a quilting friend, Patty, working on a scarf and I was thought, huh? what's going on? It's called knitting illusion.

Now you see it
now you don't

Here is another view reverse of the first

Well, I love puzzles and games and decided I had to try this. The patterns are free on many Internet sites like this one. They are worked with 2 colors and use alternating stitches to create the hidden patterns.

If you have cats, like me, it's very handy to put your yarn balls in zip-locks, like this

I'm about the start the the peace sign and skeleton for the other end and plan to add fringe. Maybe I'll have it done for next winter.

And finally - Here is Stanley. I made him a couple of years ago and January is his month. His name refers to the children's book about "flat" Stanley. The back represents hope for spring.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Women's Lib

Thanks, Karen Griska, for such a nice post featuring my "Whooville" quilt on your blog; The Selvage Blog. You have been such an inspiration for me and my application of selvages in creative quilt making.

Yesterday I received my copy of Liberated Quiltmaking II, by Gwen Marston. Gwen has a great website that you can check out here.

Karen has a really wonderful quilt on page 43.
Tonya, of Lazy Gal Quilting, has a quilt on page 123 featuring her innovative liberated alphabet.

When I lived in Illinois, I had the great pleasure of attending Gwen's retreat 1994-1999. Gwen has informed my quilting in many, many ways. Her influence still speaks to me in the sewing room. She has given me permission to make quilts "my way". She offers this great gift to all you have been fortunate to be her student.

Here is a quilt that I made using Gwen's liberated house technique and Tonya's letters. Thanks to Kathy, Sheila and Mary who sent me blocks! This quilt includes an out-house, a puppy store, bird house and many other surprises.

A block I made for an exchange for St. Patrick's Day. So simple, yet so satisfying.

And this quilt is one of my favorites. I swapped blocks with my dear friend, Mary Pat, shortly after moving to NJ. I just love that it incorporates our individual styles. It was so much fun, I may have to do this again!

So in conclusion, I say up with Women's Lib - liberated quilt making, that is :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bowtie Beauties

Happy Friday!

For Christmas I made matching quilts for my father-in-law and my step mother-in-law. They live in a very nice retirement community in Illinois (my home state). Last year, Mary moved into the memory center, which is nicely located next door to their villa.

I decided to make the quilts matching so they could feel "together" when they are apart. Here are the finished tops.

I organized the scrappy bow ties in diagonal colors. It gave it just enough organization to keep it from being chaotic.

Now, I had the unique opportunity to do a side by side comparison of the shrinkage before and after machine washing and drying. I used Hobbs Heirloom batting. Here it is in several different views.

Nice crinklage -

Okay, so I've just gotten over the complete and devastating shock that I didn't take photos of the backing, which was where all the personality was. My FILs back featured a panel of a John Deer tractor (we've had a family farm for years, and he owns about 3 of them). It also had backyard birds.

Here is my MILs, which you can almost see has a gardening theme, a golf theme and also had the bird fabric. These gals look very tired out from Christmas.

We were not at the farm for Christmas so I missed the big opening. From what I hear they loved them.

Go Jets!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cupcakers Take Two

Two meetings within two weeks? Unheard of!

It was a school holiday, so we took advantage of it and met at my house last Monday.

We played LCR with blues and Susan won - again! It was funny because she forgot her fabric and played with IOUs, which didn't matter since she was the big winner again. This fast, fun dice game is perfect for FQ fun.

We played my new board game, Quiltopoly, which is exactly like Monopoly but with a quilting theme. Very fun and cute.

The game was taking so long, we had to have a little snack.

Mary gave me these crackers at Christmas. They are incredible! They can be purchased at Whole Foods, for a pricey sum, but are worth it. We enjoyed them with cream cheese and hot pepper jelly - yum!

We endeavored to re-start our hat box project. Susan has come up with a unique way to incorporate vintage hankies in her design - oh yea.
You can see in the lower right corner how cute her little scaled down blocks are going to be.

Here are Jill's blocks - beautiful Jill!

I have the same two I did last time, but I pulled together two more to sew together soon.

For lunch I prepared sauerkraut and sausage. Being a good Polish girl one quarter, anyway, I love the lower east side tenement house smell of simmering cabbage wafting through the air. It was good comfort food.

Jill made delicious deep chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. I thank you, my husband thanks you, my children thank you. My thighs do not thank you :)

Thanks, Mary, for the cute cupcake pics! We missed you - again!

I'm so grateful to have quilting friends who can come over and play.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cheddar Cheese and Crackers

Happy Sunday and Go Jets!

Thanks, Lori, for hosting the doll quilt along here is mine:

Here is a close up of the quilting and you an see the prints I used

I decided to use all different shirtings and to make some irregularities in the placement of colors/prints.

I thought this was a nice compliment for the back.

My American Girl doll, Annie, loves the new quilt!

Here is what I've watched so far this month. I, Caudius - my favorite! My great friend Mary B. gifted me my own boxed set. We've watched it together many, many times. It was a January tradition when I lived in Illinois.

I watched North and South for the first time - awesome! I always thought is was an American Civil War story - wrong! It's about the cotton mills in northern England. The dark, brooding leading man is a feast for the eyes. Cranford is also very, very good. I'm still watching Wives and Daughters, but I'm a total sucker for English movies.

Off to cheer on the Jets -

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Big Apple Cupcakers!

Before I start this fun post, let me just acknowledge the disaster in Haiti. I hope all those who have or are suffering will get the help they need. My thoughts are with the families of those lost and missing.

First, here is the progress on my Cheddar Cheese & Crackers from Lori's blog. It's been fun! I can't wait to finish it now.

Last Saturday the Cupcake club met at FIT for a guild meeting hosted by the Empire Quilters. In New York City.

I brought Red Velvet cupcakes for us, would it be a meeting without something sweet to eat?

Jill and Susan looked so cute in their matching purple. I didn't get the memo...

Sharon Schamber was the guest speaker. She has won Best in Show twice at the ASQ show and twice at the Houston Festival.

Here is some of her work that she brought to share with us. I came with a dead battery - thank Susan for sending me these photos!!

How lucky was I? I won a raffle prize. It was karma, I was going to buy my usual 6 for $5.00. The woman selling them accidentally had made a strip with 7, so for an extra buck I bought that one too figuring it was a sign, and it was. I got lots of good stuff and this cute bag.

These were the blocks for block of the month. I didn't make one, but I think they're great.

After the meeting we strolled over to the City Quilter. On the way, Jill took a photo of this beautiful window in the garment district.

At the shop I bought this exclusive NYC subway fabric and a few other things. Love the nome fabric.

After a complicated subway ride, we had a light dinner at La Bonne Soupe. We had the fancy french sandwich, Croque Monsier. It was perfect.

It was a busy, fun filled day - I hope you're finding fun things to do with your quilt friends!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hex and Next

Good Morning!

I finished my Hex Vex quilt on Friday. This was a cupcake project. We used pre-cut paper pieces. The pieces are basted to the paper, then they are whip-stitched together. It was so fun to trade fabrics and arrange them.

I used the large fan stencil that I made a few years ago and did the quilting in big stitch. I used a different color (9 in all) of variegated pearl cotton for each fan. I actually had to make a chart to spread them out evenly. It went along quickly once I loosened up and actually made big stitches.

You can see in the this photo that I started making too small of stitch. Oh well, Raquel. I've included every kind of fabric such as sushi, Elvis, Harry Potter, Christmas, birds,'s a good eye spy quilt.

Here is the backing. I love this fabric. Wouldn't it be pretty as bedroom wallpaper and drapes?

Here is Jill's finished quilt, which took a 2nd place ribbon at the NJ State Show - way to go Jill.

The title of her quilt is "Yes We Can". She used Americana fabrics and created her own with President Obama's image. It is a great quilt.

Last week I mentioned visiting the Bubble Room in Captiva, FL. It's a really fun place with lots of kitchy decorations.

My son found a recipe for their famous cakes. Here is the one I used last Friday: Red Velvet Cake recipe . It calls for 3 layers of cake. Well, I have only 2 pans, so I did a 2 layer cake and made 4 cupcakes.

And is it RED!

The frosting is a combination of butter cream and cream cheese and is topped with pecans - yum!

My friend, Pat, sent me this adorable Mary Englebriet cupcake box. How cute is that?

Lastly, I've joined in the Doll Quilt along from Lori's blog. It's not too late to join in the fun. Click here to get started! Thanks, Lori for the fun inspiration!

Happy Monday!