Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pumpkins and such....

Finally!!  I've finished this awesome wool pumpkin table mat!  The pattern is by Primitive Gatherings.  I bought the kit about 5 years ago from a quilt shop in McCall, Idaho, called Huckleberry Patches.


I think the main reason I didn't start it sooner was that I didn't feel confident in working with and stitching on wool.  I never felt I could get my stitches even and looking right....and I didn't want to mess it up!

I've had a little more experience since then...and still, every time I pick up a wool piece to stitch, I still feel unsure about my stitches....

But then once I see it all finished, I don't see those little flaws anymore.  Somehow it all works out and looks pretty good!! 
My goal was to have this done by Halloween...but oh well, at least it's still fall and I can display it for another week or so.  :)


On another note...my bins runneth over!!  I need to tame my "stash."  At about the 1 to 1 1/2 year point in our military assignments, I get antsy.  I know a move is coming soon and the anxiety starts.  I feel like the closets, drawers, cupboards are bursting at the seams!  I need to think seriously about the overwhelming amount of "stuff" I have...in my quilting life and every other part of my life.  I must let go of some things I know I'll never use.

I started with my fabric bins...I have this "bundle" of fabric.  All quilt shop quality...there is MORE than 10 yards of fabric pictured.  Some as small as FQs, most are 1/2 to 2/3 yard pieces, and at least one is one yard.  I'd like to sell it as a bundle for $75 postage paid in the US.  

 Next up is a bundle of Wool Felt...all misc size pieces.  Some has been prewashed, some has not.  I'd like to sell this bundle for $40 postage paid in the US.

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle
Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday Challenge Update

Well, here we are again on Wednesday, and though my top is finished, I was hoping to be even further along on this one.  Life just happens...I'm still glad it's this far along and without the challenge, I wouldn't have gotten this far!


I know I say this every time...but this is definitely in my top three, all time favorite quilts!  I just love it.  I love the scrappy-ness in the four patches that I made as leaders and enders over the last year...my fabric heritage is in these scrappy quilts, you know?!!  I also love the blues...blue has always been my favorite color.  I just love little Chloe posing so perfectly in this picture.

Be sure to check out Jo's Country Junction to see everyone else's Bonnie Challenge Update!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle
Monday, November 17, 2014

The Cruise!

It's hard to even know where to start to tell you about the cruise.  It was incredible!  Way better than I had imagined it would be.  This was my third cruise, but first to the Caribbean...and I'm hooked!

I think you know it was a "quilting cruise," with the tour company Sew Many Places.  While we were "at sea," we had classes with various instructors or even free sew time.  There were four conference rooms set up and there was a Janome representative there with 75 machines ready for our use.  The "Bobbin Boys" were there to assist with any machine issues, even if we needed a new bobbin!

I traveled with my good friend, Irene.  This was taken on the Promenade just after we boarded.  We look excited, don't we??

Leaving Galveston...this is going to be good!

Our first cocktail on deck as we departed!


The sunsets and sunrises were gorgeous...this was actually an incredible "moonrise."


We were on Royal Caribbean's "Navigator of the Seas," and they have an ice skating rink!  The ice dancing show was awesome.  We did see a few of the other shows, but no pics...  :)


Click for a larger view...trying to save from loading a gazillion pics!)
We also had three ports of call...the first was Roatan, Honduras.  We took an excursion to an animal preserve that was really fun.  The first thing I noticed...humidity!!  LOL  It wasn't unbearable though and I survived.  :)  I loved the spider monkies...it took about 15 selfies to get that one good one!  LOL  The iguanas there are like squirrels are to us...they are everywhere!  And they can be huge!!




The next stop was Belize City, Belize.  We had a two hour tour of the Wallace River where we saw manatee, dolphins, crocodiles, all kinds of birds, wild monkeys, and teeny tiny bats.  After the river tour, we traveled by bus to the Altun Ha Mayan ruins.  Our tour guides were very knowledgeable and we had the opportunity to climb to the top of this large ruin.  Very "interesting" culture, to say the least, but an incredible opportunity to see the history that took place there.


The last port of call was Cozumel, Mexico.  We took at awesome "jungle buggy" tour through mud and jungle trails.  Afterwards we snorkeled in the ocean...no pictures of that as I had to store away my phone.  But that was a new adventure for me as I've never felt I'm a big fan of the ocean and not knowing what might be swimming underneath me.  :)  It was incredible though and I'm so glad I did it!  The water was sooo warm!



Okay...so now some of the -really- fun stuff.  LOL  There were six quilt instructors on the tour and we had a class with each one...each sharing a different fabric related project.  Some were finished on board...but yes, I came home with UFO's to add to my list.  But it was oh so worth it!!
Of course, the reason I -had- to go on this cruise....Bonnie Hunter!!  Top right pic...Kim Diehl.  She is awesome!!  So friendly and I love her projects combining patchwork and wool.  Middle right is Catherine Redford....her project was hand embroidery.  Bottom right is Dana Lynch...she is amazing longarm quilter and she taught us machine quilting on a domestic machine.  Middle bottom is Carol Moellers...she taught a fusible applique project.  Not pictured is Pam Holland...she taught a machine applique class.


There were 96 quilters, and we were divided in to four groups...so our class size was less than 25.  This was during one of the open sew sessions when they opened the walls between the two conference rooms and probably 50 or so quilters were busy sewing, sewing, sewing!


One of the days at sea was pretty rough and let me tell you...it's an unusual feeling to be swaying side to side when you're sewing.  LOL  The machines were great and quite a few of the girls brought one home at a sweet price as a souvenir! 


This was Catherine's embroidery project...I'll show mine when it's finished.  :)  It's a fun memento of our trip!

This is Kim's wool applique project....


I finished the embroidery part.... :)


And the blocks I finished for my Texas Tumbleweed quilt by Bonnie.  Love!! 

Jim West and the Sew Many Places tour company were great!  We got a few little goodies from Aurifil and fabric from one of the batik fabric companies...(yikes...don't remember!).  We also got to play quilt bingo...there were a few awesome prizes and the grand prize was another cruise!  Alas...I didn't win.  :(

Here we are in Cozumel, next to the Allure of the Seas which DWARFED our Navigator...(I got pretty good at taking selfies!)


And sadly...our last cocktail at the goodbye social.  It was sooo fun.  I met some incredible ladies that I can now share quilty stuff through Instagram and Facebook.  I really enjoyed spending the time with Irene.  She is a military friend from a previous assignment.  We are very similar in our quilting obsession hobbies.  We are longing for the day when we live closer to each other and can quilt together more often!  

Honestly, I don't think we had as much time as usual on a normal cruise to explore the ship and take advantage of the activities on board, as the "at sea" times were spent taking classes.  But that's okay...we did have a few hours here and there lounging on deck with our embroidery and saw a few of the nightime shows.  I'll tell you one thing for sure...this was not a sleeping cruise!  LOL  Late-ish nights and up and at 'em early for class or excursions!  Oh and the food....if you've ever been on a cruise...you know what I'm talking about.  LOL

Part of the charm was spending "casual" time with these quilting rockstars (at least they are to me!) and getting a chance to talk to them.  Most of them would attend the open sew sessions, just to be there to chat.  With each and every one of them, it felt like I was talking to a neighbor...everyone was so friendly and we all shared a common bond...fabric, thread, quilting, etc.  That's what it was all about!

Check out Bonnie and Catherine's blogs for more awesome pics.

If you ever have a chance to take a quilt cruise...you must do it!

Happy Quilting and stay tuned for my finished cruise projects!!
~Michelle

Friday, November 14, 2014

Feline Friday

More pics of Chloe and her antics.  There is never a dull moment in the life of a kitten!  She definitely has an independent spirit...but at the same time, she follows me through the house and never lets me get too far out of her sight.  She would call herself a "helper."  How is it that cats are instinctively drawn to fabric, fabric bins, sewing machines, and all things quilty?  LOL

"Can I sit here, please?"

"Let me make just a little adjustment for you..."

"I just need to sit here a moment and test the quiltiness of this quilt..."

"What do you mean I can't sit here either?"

And then there is this....who can not love a face like that?  It never fails, she tries to "help" when I'm on the computer too!  Finally she just gives up and has to take a rest from all her "duties."

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle

p.s.  I haven't forgotten about posting about the cruise.  Life has just been crazy this week in my life as a military spouse...but it's all good!
Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Challenge Update and more!

Hello!!  I've been gone for a few days and miss last week's update post....but I haven't made too much progress since my last update, so it really didn't matter!  I've only added one more border to my Narragansett Blues top.  I'm soooo happy with how this quilt is turning out!  I'm close to being able to add the last two borders, so hopefully next week I'll have a finished top to show you!

The new kitty knows exactly what to do whenever a quilt top gets laid out on the floor.  How do cats know that?  LOL


I mentioned I was gone for a few days....I went on a quilt cruise to the Caribbean!!  It was amazing...it was everything I could have imagined and even better!

My trip started out the day before the cruise departure.  I flew to Houston and was met up by my friend Irene.  She had booked a hotel for us.  Little did I know, the hotel was across the street from the International Quilt Market and Festival!  I was so excited!!  We only had a few hours, but we wasted no time after checking in to the hotel and we were there!!


 This is the first thing you saw after coming in the doors.  I'd been seeing pictures of this on Instagram for the last couple of weeks, but I never imagined I'd actually see it in person!  Just gorgeous!!  We didn't take a lot of time to look at the quilts.....

because THIS was calling to us!!  Hundreds and hundreds of quilt shops, vendors, publishers, etc.  It was soooo overwhelming!  You definitely need more than a few hours for this place!


 So much is online now...it was fun to see some of that in "real life."  You also see "celebrities" from the quilt world...Alex Anderson, Lori Smith, Edyta Sitar, Jenny Doan...it's ComicCon for quilters!!


 Meeting Eleanor Burns was definitely a highlight.  She is so sweet and talking to her, you felt like you knew her forever.  My first quilt was a Quilt in a Day pattern and I definitely owe much of my quilting passion to women like her that opened up a whole new world for me! 

Finally, the day was over...we had a yummy dinner and went back to our room just in time to see this!  The Festival had a fire-works show and this was the view from our room.  So cool!


I'll be back tomorrow with pictures from the cruise....for now, I'm trying to stay warm!  Quite the difference from the 85 degree weather where I was this time last week!!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Not so Charming Stars....

Sorry for the bad quality pictures...I forgot to take them in the daylight, so these are taken at night with a flash.  Anyway...my Charming Stars quilt is finished!  I'm glad it's done...but this one was not without it's issues!


Doesn't look like anything is wrong in these pictures....


This quilt was meant to be a gift...but look....I washed it and the dark fabrics ran horribly onto the white stars and border...even with Color Catchers!

It doesn't show up as bad as it really is in person...

It's everywhere....

It's the worse along the border...in fact, I think it's the black border fabric that is the culprit...I didn't prewash since I was using precuts....


Ugh, ugh, ugh.  I know there are some things I can try to try and get the color out.  We'll see...I'm feeling a little like I don't want anything to do with this quilt at the moment!!

It does feel VERY snuggle with 100% cotton batting and flannel backing.

 For now, it will have to wait.  I'm off for a very exciting adventure!

Stayed tuned and Happy Quilting!
~Michelle







Saturday, November 01, 2014

Schnibbles Parade--Lil' Harvey!

The project for this month's Schnibbles Parade is a quilt called Harvey...one distinct difference for this quilt from the typical Schibbles quilt...it's BIG.  In Schnibbles terms...it's ginormous!  72" square as a matter of fact.  


As much as I love BIG quilts, I just wasn't feeling this one this time.  The biggest thing holding me back was the amount of fabric I'd have to purchase...that background fabric is 3.5 yards!  I'm really trying to use from my stash whenever possible.  I had almost decided to sit out this month.  :(

Then it hit me...make a mini version!!  Once I read through the pattern, I knew I could do it.  Instead of 4" half square triangles, I made them 1"!  My version is 18" square!

Mini Harvey!  I had a small stash of Civil War reproductions for the neutral parts and found this (kind of) funky brown in my stash.  A brown quilt?  Sure!

I made so many of those darn 1" triangles, I wasn't going to let them go to waste...so I put them all the way around the outside border.  Next was deciding how to quilt it....

Tada!  I love little Harvey!

Don't forget to check out the Schnibbles parade on Sherri's blog and Sinta's blog.  Can't wait to see what's up for next month!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle