Saturday, December 10, 2011

An End, and a Beginning

There are some dramatic changes coming my way over the next couple of months.

The end...
After five years as the owner of Dragonfly Quilt Shop, I will be closing the doors to the shop for the last time on December 17. It was a lifetime dream of mine to own a quilt shop and I am so thankful that the dream came true. The experience is one I will treasure forever, especially the many special people that came into my life.

The beginning...
I will be starting a full-time job in January. Let me just say that the job and the timing are nothing short of miraculous. At a time when so many people are struggling to find work, the perfect job came available at the perfect time.

With that said, I'll be ending this blog and moving to a new one. I hope you'll join me. All new entries will be posted over at Studio Dragonfly.

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Christmas Coasters

This is the first time I've been home the Saturday after Thanksgiving in several years. To celebrate, we invited a few family and friends over to decorate for the holidays. I made chili and fixings and there was the constant hum of college football in the background. It was a great day that certainly put me in even more of a holiday mood. After everything was out, one of the kids noticed that there were no holiday coasters. I took care of that right away.

I had some bright Michael Miller Christmas prints left over from another quilt top. There were lots of strips and some other scraps. I decided to make some funky strip coasters. I cut 5" squares of batting and backing fabric. There were enough different prints so that each of the eight coasters has a different back.

I then took all of the strips and sewed them together into one long piece. I did not measure them at all and didn't worry about whether they were straight or right side up.

I took my ruler to the strip set at any crazy angle I desired and cut 5" squares. I was able to get seven squares from the strip set. I had to piece the scraps to get the last one. It is shown in the upper right.

To sew them together, I put a batting square on the bottom, a backing square right side up, and a pieced strip square right side down. I sewed around three sides and half of the fourth side. I like to leave a fairly big opening to turn the coasters right side out. I get frustrated easily when things are hard to turn.

Once they were all turned right side out, I stitched once around the outside about an eighth of an inch from the edge to close the opening. After that, I experimented with quilting them. I tried quilting on either side of the strip seams and near just some of the strip seams. In the end, I decided that the extra quilting didn't add anything to the coasters and settled on an extra line of stitching around the outside edges, about a quarter inch from the first one.

This was a fast project that adds fun to our holiday decorations. There are just enough scraps left over for me to make a matching potholder!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mom's Cross Stitch

Many years ago, my mom passed along some of her cross stitch pieces to me. She had never framed them and didn't think she would ever invest in finishing them. I pulled them out the other day and decided that now is the time to finish them.

I'm planning a wall hanging that pairs each season with a complementary quilt block.

I enjoy paper piecing and haven't done any in a while so I pulled out a Carol Doak book, 50 Fabulous Paper Pieced Stars.

Each cross-stitch block is about 6" x 10". I'll downsize the stars to be six-inch blocks.

I decided that soft batiks would be a nice complement and make pretty stars.

This may become my mom's Christmas gift.

We'll see how much progress I make in the next week or two.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

BOM Top Finished

I really gain momentum as I get closer to finishing a project. Every step I finish leaves me energized for the next. Here is the finished quilt top for the Block of the Month quilt I've been working on.

One of my concerns was that this quilt was going to be too pink. It is not. The gold in the setting triangles tones down the pink just enough. Next step is to choose a back and send this one off to the quilter.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Carry It All Folio Class

The shop was all a buzz last Saturday as a fun group of gals made a Carry It All Folio with Mary Ann Mauney. I love this project and hope to make one for myself soon.

I wish I had taken a picture with all of them open. You can see from the one open on the table that there are some fun fabric options with the pockets on the inside. It is so easy to personalize these by changing up the pocket sizes and by adding embellishments to the outside. If you look closely, there's a beautiful felted wool bird on the outside of the green one second from the left.

I love a class where the students leave with a finished project. Everyone here left with plans to make more. Fun to make and fun to give!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

BOM Blocks Finished

It's just awesome how a little bit of dedicated sewing time can go such a long way. The last six blocks for next year's block of the month are complete!

My favorite one is the bottom right. Not only do I think it's pretty, but also because it is the last block I made. I had that happy "I can't believe it's the last block" feeling the whole time I was working on it.

I even had time to get the sashing, setting triangles, and borders cut. There are four more blocks to piece that are cornerstones for the border. My goal is to have this hanging in the shop after Thanksgiving. I think I'm going to make it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Another lingering project

A couple of years ago, I came across these fat quarters and knew instantly who should have them.

I especially like the note "Lunch w/ Deb Tues 12:30." I should give that to all of my friends and have lunch dates for life! Okay, back to the project. I mailed the fat quarters to my friend John with a promise to turn them into something wonderful. Several times over the next year or so we talked about what to do with them. Message board? Mouse pad? Laptop case? He was never very excited about any of these. What to do? When all else fails, make a quilt.

I ransacked the stash and found some friends for the fat quarters. Since two fat quarters is all there was for the featured fabric, I went with a disappearing nine-patch. Simple and good for letting a small amount of fabric shine.

Since John's birthday is this week (Happy Birthday, John!), I let him see the work in progress. There are nine blocks and they haven't been sewn together. We decided that it needed a little something more. I'll be adding some black sashing between the blocks and then will figure out something for the borders.

I'm hoping this one will get finished before the end of the year.