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And there is not much to share. Life has come in like a flood and not much quilting has been accomplished as a result. It all started three days after my last post. DH and I were headed to an early Valentines celebration when we got a call to pick up the kids from the babysitter. My middle one hit a fever suddenly and it lasted for 5 days! Doctor did an exam and pronounced it a viral flu. The others followed suit. Nothing scarier than having the little ones with very high fevers despite meds, cool baths, etc. We had a few days respite, then it was a stomach bug. And the litany could continue. The kids and hubby are all well, while I am working through lingering stuff.

I did roll down the BonBon quilt so it is officially half done. I have been discouraged with the slow pace, but nursing 24/7 for almost four weeks was a big hindrance. Here is a picture of it almost ready to roll down again. Only two rows left so this should be done before Spring is over.

20140414-105040.jpg And after this morning’s quilting session. The top edge is just in sight at the top rail. >

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I am also still plodding along on my February block from the Spring Bouquet. I need to place stems and the finish four flowers and nine leaves.

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Little Miss has seen enough quilting to know what to do with thimbles. She loves all things shiny and it is hard to convince her to give them back. She is still not old enough for her own sewing kit, but someday. Mummy’s next project for her will be some fabric “paper dolls”. I’ve been looking at various pre-printed panels but have not settled on which one I want.

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I’m also home full time now. I have one more day left at my employers convenience to complete training of a replacement. I’m planning for blogging to become a bit more regular, so look for posts on Thursdays. >

The Olympic Games have begin Sochi much to my delight. I enjoy pausing to watch feats of athleticism that I will never achieve. I might win a hand piecing sprint, but so far, it is not a qualifying event. Instead I cheer, educate the children who have never seen some of these sports, and stitch away on my applique.

Here is the Bouquet block waiting for more pieces to be added.

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I also have turned down the Bon Bon quilt and am starting on this side again. This pass is the halfway point so I will enter the downhill portion of the quilt by months end.

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But this weeks virtual gold medal for innovation goes to Jinny Beyer and her team. One of the portions of either piecing or applique that can be so tedious is template making. Jinny posted a tutorial on printing templates to template plastic with an inkjet or laser printer. Brilliant!!!

For some applications, using freezer paper is practical, especially if I am only making one of something. But for blocks that I want to make in multiples, printing directly from EQ, BlockBase, or a pattern is both accurate and time saving. I have not experimented with this technique yet, but want to add it to my repertoire.

We have been spoiled with mild winters over the past few years but this year has been bitterly cold. The extended weather forecast does not look like it will warm up anytime soon. All of us are getting a touch of cabin fever.

But the cold weather is ideal for quilting. I have made more progress on the BonBon quilt and hope to roll it down again next week.

One of my show and tells this week is a completed Spring Bouquet block. This is my version of block one. I am glad to achieve my personal goal of completing this in a month. All the templates are done for block 2, so Ill need to find a few minutes to iron them onto fabric. Since February is a short month, it will require some quick stitching in my part. I’ll get a good start while watching the Super Bowl. My team us not playing, but I enjoy a good game of football, so I’ll stitch as I listen.

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Celtic Solstice is also a flimsy! The child receiving this quilt requested that the borders be turned and I obliged. That little bit of personalization will make this unique. We also went on a shopping expedition to pick up batting and a backing. I am glad that I took my helper as the backing chosen is not at all what I would have picked. It’s a primary yellow solid. Who says the back needs to relate to the front?

20140205-165400.jpg I have no great pictures as my baby insisted on trying it out every place I tried to lay it. Here is one of a few blocks

20140205-165807.jpg. I literally sew with one hand while standing holding the Little Miss on one hip. So I found a few of these while ironing where my seam allowances slipped. I’ve marked the spots with safety pins and will fix them before putting the top into the quilting pile.

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It is also great to have an adult quilting buddy. Mom was kind enough to remind me of my goals for the year so I did not succumb to a BOM. The local shop is running Hampton Ridge for $10/month. I love little blocks and this is a steal!!!! but it does not meet my criteria for the year. The colors are not for me and it does not help work down my UFO pile. So I have to pass. Now that my machine is free, I’ll need to play in my stash to pull a new project, but there is no hurry due to the backlog waiting for the quilting frame. My second child now requesting a quilt, so that is percolating in the back of my mind.

I’m linking up over at Quiltville. This is the last link-up so check out all the variations around the web.

In January some great things happen in blog-land. The new Block of the Months start on many designers websites. Others have spent time compiling link lists so I’m just going to highlight the few that have caught my eye this year.

I love to follow what Barbara Brackman does as she marries history and quilting. This year she is highlighting real stories of escaped slaves in the US prior to and during the civil war. So much discussion has happened in quilt land regarding the use (or lack thereof) of quilts to communicate on the Underground Railroad. Brackman is quick to point out that she is not advocating this theory, but has designed a quilt to reflect real life stories. More can be found here. I have not made one of Brackman’s quilts, but I follow along for her textile lessons.

Another of my favorite quilt designers has put out an applique BOM on her website. Pearl Pereira of P3 Designs is offering an applique wall quilt titled “Forever Blooming“. I really admire the detail in Pearl’s designs. I’m not in a position to start this quilt, but I am pattern collecting. I have been preparing templates to start “Baltimore Liberty” next month, but more on that in an upcoming post.

The last Block of the Month is from Just Takes 2, the duo of Brenda of Dear Jane and Gail of Sentimental Studios. This, their third collaborative effort, is a replication of a Baltimore Album quilt given as a presentation piece to Benjamin Biggs. At a pace of one block a month, this quilt will span several years. I missed the “Beyond the Cherry Tree” quilt that was released several years ago. At this point, I’m on the fence about jumping in. I love Baltimore applique and have an extensive collection of books and patterns in this style. I have an idea for a non-traditional color scheme and the fabric is even in a online shopping cart. I’m not sure about the long-term commitment on my part. So unless something changes, I’ll pattern collect for a month or two while I work on clearing the decks.

Which brings me to the weekly update. I rolled down the Bon Bon quilt today. Here is a picture of the beginning of the next row. I have the stencil pinned down and ready to mark. I am really pleased with the texture the fan quilting is giving me.

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The first Spring Bouquet block is ready for more pieces to be basted onto it.

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And Celtic Solstice is moving along. I have a bunch of block B completed, but ran short of chevrons, so I’m back to making the missing parts. It should be ready for final assembly next week, life permitting. My piecing on this block is less than stellar, but I am not going to start over with new components. For this, “finished is better than perfect”, chopped off point, easing and all. This quilt is do-able as far as complexity goes. My divided attention is the culprit.

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Out of the Gates

It’s that time of year where we all traditionally pause for self-examination and goal-setting. I’m a little late to the party. I know I fulfilled my goal for last year, which was to follow my whims as I did not have much time for quilting. Might as well make it fun, right? This years goal is a little more structured – family first. So many quilts have left the house for clients, that my projects often hit the back burner. Its time for some self-love, so I’m putting a few items for our home at the top of the list. More specifically, I’d like to finish three quilts this year. The first will be the BonBon quilt that is in the frame right now. I’ll decide on the other two as I go.

I also have started a new quilt. When I was in Paducah, I grabbed up a Spring Bouquet quilt kit at Hancock’s of Paducah. This pattern is a batik spin on an appliqué album by Laundry Basket Quilts. Im doing the traditional needle-turn and here is block one in progress. This will be my personal Block A Month challenge.

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Celtic Solstice is also moving along slowly. I have my stack of unpressed “block A” to show. Next up is Block B. Bonnie Hunter has a link-up going on a Quiltville and I am amazed to see so many finished tops. Then again, our house was hit with the flu, and we had someone sick from Dec 23- Jan 3. This time momma succumbed too, so I slept for almost 24 hours straight while DH took care of the house. One child was run to urgent care on New Year’s Day, so my sewing time was consumed by nursing and disinfecting. There is one last link-up scheduled for Groundhog Day. I’ll probably save a grand reveal until then. Since oldest child will have this quilt, it will most likely be the next into the frame.

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While tending kids, I was able to increase the stack of rosettes for Grandmother’s Flower Garden. This is enough to do another row. I’ve cut the cream pieces and will work on surrounding each flower throughout the month. If I keep focused, this may get put into the frame before year end.

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And my sis surprised me with these today. I had not taken a nice picture of baby M’s quilt because I finished it while in the hospital waiting room. She had her photographer take pictures after doing a sitting with Baby M. Thanks sis. Its a tumbler quilt that I hand quilted with a Celtic Cross. To me, it resembles a stained glass window. There are more details about marking the quilt here and a tutorial for tumbers here.

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Pressing Pause

So many things over the past two weeks have caused us to interrupt our plans and adjust our schedule. Suffice it to say that not much quilting has happened here. I have the first two steps of Celtic Solstice sewn and stopped halfway through the clue three’s pinwheels.

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Truly it is a pressing pause. I need to finish Christmas preparations and I have a pile of patchwork waiting on the ironing board including the strip sets for clue four.

Here is a sample of my first two clues. I still need to finish pressing clue two and do a parts count. I have a feeling that I am short a few, which is not a problem as I can build them as leader/enders next week.

20131217-173536.jpg. More quilters are showing off their progress at Quiltville’s link up.

Christmas festivities lead to more travel time so Little Miss has helped me to pack up my hexies. She is becoming an expert at inspecting my work. I have two more flowers done for row seven bringing the total to four.

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Part of our personal pause is a result of funerals in our circle. And I’m missing my grandmother. So for those who are grieving, I’m right with you. As Christmas is a few days away let me share this encouragement – look to the Light.
Matthew 4:16
the people who sat in darkness
have seen a great light.
And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow,
a light has shined.”

Merry Christmas.

Pumpkin seed fill

I found this brilliant tutorial on marking an all-over pumpkin seed pattern. Carla really nailed it. I am always on the lookout for new fill ideas and this is worth a try.

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