Sunday, August 12, 2018

Much Glitter; Little Sewing

I'm trying to get this post up at a reasonable time, so I'm typing it up ahead of time. If you're reading this on Sunday afternoon I"m back at the Festival shop working on another Christmas tree. It's been a fairly busy week. Our team is now about a third of the way through the needed items at this point.

We're all about to start traveling though, so it's good that we got this great head start. Productivity is about to tank for a month or so. Here's the sneaky peak collage of non descriptive close ups.

In case you're wondering why I'm not sharing the full photos, we don't want our designs copied until after our local Festival of Trees is over. So I'm only sharing glimpses. I plan on sharing some of my favorites once everything's been purchased and delivered.

I've been asked before how long it takes to build one of our trees. Well it depends on the tree and the type of elements we've chosen. As examples, here are some trees from last year:

This whimsical 2.5 foot tree took about 3 hours or so. That includes adding extra lights to the tree (there are rarely enough on pre-lit trees) and wiring all the ornaments in place. This tree didn't use much in the way of floral picks or stems though. Only the top really has them.

My Pinwheel tree (that I made for myself) on the other hand contains quite a bit of floral elements, so that can add another hour or two, if you're creating your own units like I do. (As an aside, both of these 2.5 foot trees were my own design. I wanted to show an example of how one designer can work comfortably with different themes and structure too.)

Building units like this not only means you have to figure out how you want it to look, but you have to wire all the pieces together and wrap them in floral tape.

If you're working alone, this process gets time consuming. And the bigger the tree, the more elements you need. Even in a group with everyone pitching in it takes time.

One of the trees we just finished this year is 4.5 feet tall and took over 5 hours to decorate because we used 5 different floral elements. And there were four of us working together that evening. A similar tree to the one I just described could look like this:

And then the 7.5 foot trees take 5-6 people and take an entire late morning to early evening to build. 

That one wasn't too bad, but it was light on the florals.  I will say that any floral heavy tree design for a 7.5 foot tree has their floral units made well ahead of when we come together to decorate, sometimes with wine and cookies. Otherwise we'd never get home to sleep! It's taken us 8+ hours to do a floral heavy 7.5 tree before. But the results are stunning!

That's all for this week. I hope you enjoyed this look at some of last year's trees. We're not just decorating Christmas trees. We're making works of art (to a variety of tastes) and the proceeds benefit children in our community. We're also having an absolute blast doing it too!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

More of the Same and A Bit of the Old

More and more designs for Festival are being cranked out. These 6 teasers aren't even all that were made in the last week!


I also finished up the fox quilt and Bejeweled, the hexagonal table topper.





AND I went to Miniature club on Thursday! We made tiny clutch purses.

Time for me to head back to sewing... after I find some dinner. Tomorrow's another long day capped off with more Christmas!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

I Didn't Forget!

It's just been a busy week. There've been some pretty flowers to brighten an early Saturday.



Lots of glitter and glitz.





And a bit of quilting too.




I need to go try and catch up on some laundry now that most of the glitter is off me, and then get back to quilting. See you next weekend!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

It's That Time of Year Again

We've started unpacking supplies and designing the trees, wreathes, and home decor items for auction. It's hot, time-consuming, sweaty, and tiring, but it's all to help children and families in need.





We got seven 7.5 foot trees designed and their supplies boxed up today. Starting the 4.5 foot ones tomorrow! See you next weekend!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Birds, Bejeweled, A Bunny, and Various Beans

I finally finished up the binding on the birds Friday evening. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.

The quilting on the Bejeweled topper is almost finished. As of this morning, only 4 more diamond blocks need quilted. However I was apparently really lazy and neglected to get photos. Let's blame sleep deprivation due to sinus cavity rebellion.

Ellie Bean does make it difficult to work when she wants to. Apparently quilting WIPs are the BEST place to have a bath.

No, not Victor. He hates the camera with a grumpy passion. This bunny, that I dug out and started piecing last November during Festival season and forgot to blog about or finish it. I found the border blocks and the green-bordered panel under my sewing table and decided to piece it before I lost important bits. The camera angle is kinda funky, but the top is roughly 37 inches square. 

And what would a summer holiday be without baked beans? (No Ellie Beans were harmed in the baking of these beans, but she was irritated about me not sharing the bacon.)

That's all for this week. I've got laundry taunting me in the other room and quilts to finish. And an Ellie Bean to fight for my sewing chair. See you next weekend!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

For the Birds

I couldn't really quilt anything this past week. The diamond tabletopper requires special needles that work for metallic thread and the fox baby quilt was waiting on me to purchase some new equipment. So I started a new project to keep me busy in the meantime.

I didn't really take many photos as I went, but this is where it's at now. The pattern can be found in Table Please: Part Two from Art to Heart by Nancy Halvorsen.


A fun combination of needle turn applique and piecing. And it's been kitted up for 3 or 4 years at this point. I did switch out one of the original batiks in favor of the bright yellow one for the top center bird. It's roughly 26 inches square and was designed as a tabletopper, but I've added hanging loops to make it more versatile.

If you poke the photo, you can see some of the quilting details clearer. Usually I make the binding before I quilt a piece, but it's taken me all week to decide how I want the binding to look. All that's left is to make a label, make and attach the binding, and then do the hand finishing. Not bad for a week's work!

Once the binding's attached, I'll get the diamond tabletopper quilted. The necessary needles came in last Tuesday.

Then it will be time to play with my new toys and start the fox quilt. I picked up a set of Westalee rulers yesterday. For anyone unfamiliar with the product, it's basically Spirograph for quilting. I'm looking forward to upping my quilting game on the smaller pieces I decide to do myself at home.

I'll be dropping the sea turtle Dresden top and back off with the long armer on the 14th. She's got several quilts in line that need to be done for the county fair, so she won't get to mine until after.


That's all for now. I'll leave you with some cuteness while I get to making some quilt binding. Tare care and stay cool!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Finished Objects! New WIPS! Old WIPS!

And there are so many!

We'll start off with the UFO's that have been plaguing the back of my brain:

The second flag wall-hanging is bound and ready to go to its home.

The chevron quilts I started the day our friends' twins were born are finally done. That's what happens when you get injured and then life continues to be in the way.


This stack of Easter candy themed half circle napkins is now washed and in the buffet drawer.


And now for the new project that's finished!

This tote bag was made from leftovers of my friend's Downton Abbey quilt. It's my little piece of remembrance from the project. There's a second one in different colors planned and kitted up, so it should happen soon.

And now to works in progress!

I've been commissioned to make a baby quilt. Here's what I have taken pictures of. The back's done too but I'd already pressed the seams and hung it up with the top on a hanger before I remembered that I hadn't photographed it yet.

I love it when binding edges looking like candy but too pretty to eat!

I've also recently found all my pieces for the diamond challenge piece that a friend of mine and I were working on. We started it two years ago and we've both had health and scheduling issues. Then I lost my pieces. Whoops. But I've gotten them together now and have figured out how their layout will look. I opted for a runner, originally, instead of a full quilt. This table topper design suits better though.

Oh and the runner that's under those diamonds is an old project too. I recently got it quilted and just need to finish up the binding.  (This is me being lazy and not taking another photo that I forgot. It was a mystery quilt challenge that I pieced a few years ago.

Time to do a bit of cleaning, a bit of brewing, and more sewing. Catch you next weekend!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Downton Abbey Quilt Completed

And most importantly it's been delivered to my late friend's husband. He loves it. We cried.

It's roughly 84 inches square, which makes it about queen size. It also makes it difficult to get photos unless two people are holding it up with a third to take the picture. Some wonderful ladies in the quilt club I just joined came to my rescue for these. (I've edited out the personal details on the label for privacy.) I will say that the label starts with "In Loving Memory," and includes: her details and the work she did on the quilt, a photo of her, and my details with credit to "repairs, borders, quilting, and binding." Also dates, because dates are important to the history of a quilt.

For anyone who wonders what pattern was used, well it's like this. She started with The Ladies of Downton Abbey by Needle in A Hayes Stack but somewhere, probably during the early stages of chemo, decided that she didn't want the blocks on point. Honestly I have to think hard about blocks on point without the "benefit" of chemotherapy so I can see why she opted to reorient them.

The picture below shows that she altered the pattern again by making the blocks more scrappy than the pattern called for; three different fabrics instead of two. (Photo was take prior to quilting.) Also when my friend pieced the blocks, her seam allowance was a hair on the large side, so the blocks are a tad bit smaller than what the pattern said they'd be. But their size was consistent.... which told me she pieced them before the chemo really got to her.


As for the borders, they're all my creation. The first just echoes the sashing strips, a 2.5 inch, width of fabric cut (2 per side) all around. The cream border was cut at 3.5 inches so it would be a bit larger and more of a place to rest the eyes from the two busy sections.


The piano key outer border was fashioned by sewing strip sets of all the leftover fabrics and then cutting off 4.5 inch sections perpendicular to the seam lines. I did fiddle with the order here and there and sometimes cut individual 4.5" x 2.5" sections to keep the border from having a repetitive pattern. The corners were capped off with 4.5 inch squares of the binding fabric.

I picked the fabric for the binding because it's purple and that was my friend's favorite color. I also used a large swathe of it on the back of the quilt. Incidentally, you can make over 11 yards of double fold bias binding that is cut 3 inches wide from a 36 inch square of fabric.


I really hope she'd love this if she could see it. And I hope someday when her grandchildren are telling their grandchildren about her, they will say, "making a quilt is so much work and not everyone is worthy of such a gift. You can imagine how much your great-great grandma was loved that someone finished this quilt after she went to Heaven." 

Because she was.