Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Flake Quilt

It seems that I'm on a snowflake theme this year.  I started a quilt that I've been dreaming about making for the last couple of years.  I finally summoned the courage to make it.  It's a feathered star pattern and very intimidating.  The majority of my quilts have been art quilts for walls.  Most of these have been given away to various people.  This one will be for me and my bed.  I know... how weird... a quilt for a bed. 

The reason this pattern is intimidating is because of all the little half square triangles, biased edges and inset seams.  Several years ago I made a practice block and I did such a terrible job I knew that my skills needed some serious improvement before I attempted it.  Over Thanksgiving weekend I decided it was time.  I had recently discovered a secret weapon for accurate piecing and cutting.  Spray Starch.  Yep, that's all it is.  Starch the heck out of the fabric while cutting and piecing.  It did wonders.  The other thing that made these blocks successful is increased patience and discipline.  I didn't rush the piecing and if a seam wasn't perfect, I ripped it out and did it again.  It's amazing how many seams had to be redone.  Each time there was a seam that wasn't perfect I asked myself if I could live with looking at it on my bed.  That usually did it. 

I think I'm going to set the blocks so that I have a lot of white space for quilting.  This is where the blocks are so far.  It's just needing all the white fabric in between all the blocks and a decision on what designs to quilt in the white spaces.  I'm also not sure if there needs to be some additional design elements added.  Maybe some appliqued designs on the corners and center to enhance the quilting design and trapunto?  Not sure.  The quilt hasn't finished speaking to me yet. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Homemade Christmas Ornaments - Crocheted Snowflakes

I had a really difficult time getting into the Christmas spirit this year.  This is the first year that both of my daughters weren't going to be home for Christmas.  My oldest daughter, Melissa, is married to a Marine (Brantly) and they are stationed in San Diego.  Brantly is being deployed in January so they decided to spend Christmas with his family before he ships out.  So that meant no daughter, son-in-law, or granddaughter for Christmas.  My youngest daughter is in Misawa Japan and this is the first year she has not been home for Christmas.  So the Christmas spirit wasn't overflowing my heart this year.

My sweet husband bore the brunt of it.  It's usually the girls that decorate the tree and since they weren't here it was left to me.  Jeff and I went out and bought a Charlie Brown tree and had it up in the living room for about a week before we got around to decorating it.  I spent that week trying to figure out how I'm going to cope with an empty nest around Christmas in the future.  I obviously wasn't into decorating.  When we did finally decorate the tree I was grumbling the whole time about what a stupid tradition it is to cut down a perfectly good tree and haul it into our house and put a bunch of expensive crap on it.  I mean really.... have you ever thought how silly that is?!?!?!  I decided that next year we're doing something different.  I suggested to Jeff that we just have a really big poinsettia.  I don't think he was too thrilled about that one.  So that's when I decided that next years' tree will have home crafted ornaments. 

So the search began.  I want to have little quilt block ornaments, yo-yo garland, and crocheted snowflakes.  I started with the snowflakes.  I found the best site for crocheted snowflakes and started right away.  You can find these patterns at snowcatcher

These are all designed by a very talented lady who has the ability to look at a snowflake picture and turn it into a pattern. 

I have 13 snowflakes blocked, starched, and glittered.  They are so fun to make that now I'm hooked.  She posts a new pattern every Monday.  For the last two weeks I eagerly check her blog on Monday to see what new masterpiece she has come up with.  These beauties look wonderful with batik fabric behind them.  I'm not sure if I want them to hang free on the tree or attach them to fabric first.  I'll have to play with it. and see.

I'm already looking forward to next Christmas.  If you know of some great ornament patterns please share.  I'll continue to post any that I find and make.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Finished Christmas Quilt

The Christmas Quilt finished beautifully!  I'm very pleased with how it turned out and I hung it up as soon as I reasonably could for Christmas.  This quilt is for my daughter, Courtney, who is currently stationed in Misawa Japan.  It was fun to show her the quilt on Skype.  She will get it permanently once she settles down a little and isn't moving around so much. 

The pattern suggested using seed beads for the ornaments on the trees with stars.  I used iron-on swarovski crystals instead.  They come in several different sizes which made it that much easier for the different size trees. 


You can see the crystals on the trees around Santa's house.