Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Last UFO Parade for 2015

I often say, "This is how people get to be old and wonder where their lives went."

Well, that is true for this year! Of course, spending a few months in Texas kind of confused my internal time clock.

UFO Challengers have finished 180 projects this year. Looking back at previous years, last year there were 191 finishes, and in 2013 there were 157. That's a lot of UFO finished and released!

I even have a UFO of my own to share this month. It's the 2014 Bonnie Hunter Mystery, "Grand Illusion." I had all the pieces finished, but just got it put together this Thanksgiving weekend. We had so much cold and snow, I didn't leave the house (or the sewing room!) for four days.

If you've made this quilt yourself, you might notice mine is a little different. The directions call for 25 blocks, set 5 X 5. I used only 20 blocks in a 4 X 5 setting, and it fits the double bed in the downstairs bedroom perfectly! I've decided this is a "summer" quilt, so it won't be quilted until spring. I read on another blog that bamboo batting works well for lightweight quilts, so that's what I'll try.

And no, I'm not doing the 2015 mystery! Both my boys will be home for the week between Christmas and New Year's, so I don't want to be caught up in a new project.

In case you don't remember from the November Parade, the December UFO number is:

And now, on with the parade!

I love Debra's finish -- "Minions." Those little guys are so much fun! She bought this as a kit from Cozy Quilts in El Cajon (on my bucket list!) and plans to back it with either orange minkie or fleece.

Deb's second finish for the month is  "Dave's Irish Chain," made for her granddaughter for Christmas. Debra writes:
She just remodeled her bedroom with creams and greys and asked me to make her a quilt with blue, cream, grey, and teal. She will be surprised because I told her I didn't think I could get to it this year - surprise! surprise! even surprised myself. The pattern was from Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting, March/April 2008 issue.

Joy in Tennessee has had a busy month! She has three finishes to share this month.

First is a coffee bean table topper, which was made using a 60 degree ruler. It was started at a guild meeting, and then sat in my sewing room until I finally got it quilted and finished. Now it is perfect on my sofa table!

Next up is a fall table topper from the Winter 2012 Quilts & More. I loved the large hexagons and little bits of embroidery. It went together much faster than I thought it would, and looks great on my side table. 

Finally, I made a replacement pillowcase for my travel king size pillow. (My last one was washed by a helper with new maroon sheets, and the white stars are now pink.)

Your last comment made me laugh, Joy. I had the same discussion with my niece in Texas (about washing reds and whites together.) She didn't believe me -- but after her Mom got home, I overheard her saying "Aunt Marti was right about sorting the laundry!"
Love this finish by Pam in KC. All Kansas Troubles fabrics, the pattern is from Evelyn Sloppy's "40 Quick-Cut Quilts." 

This is quilt #9 of Pam's Crazy Challenge II -- 15 quilts and 25 or 26 pillowcases in 4 ½ months. She writes, 
"The good news, is it's not as bad as it sounds - I've got one quilt ready to bind and 3 more partially quilted. I do have doubts on whether or not I'll get my Christmas quilt and pillowcase(s) done. But there's always next year!"
Check out the details on Pam's blog, Pamela Avara Arts, here.
I always get a chuckle from the names Sandi gives her quilts. This one is "Komatose," and I'll let Sandi tell you about it:
November's UFO was my last UFO to finish for the year.  I stitched with a conviction on my UFOs this year since most of them were Bonnie Hunter designs.  As many of us are aware her projects are awesome, but can be very piece laden making the project take some time to complete.  My UFO list for 2015 had seven of her designs included. November's UFO #3, Komatose is anything but sleepy!  It is a design called Lazy Sunday that was first brought to us through Quiltmaker Magazine March/April 2013 issue as a Mystery Series.  It has since been republished in her book More Adventures with Leaders and Enders.  I used leftover blocks from another project on the border.  The unit is easy to sew, but in and of itself takes a bunch of time to complete.  Having some sewn already was terrific... Komatose is certainly one of my favorites to have stitched this year.  I loved sewing with all the bright happy fabrics.  Who would have expected pink and orange would look so well together.  It has to have been the teal centers that made it work.  Thanks to my Mom who helped me with the bright greens.  

You can read more about it on Sandi's blog, KwiltnKats, here.

Kerry has a gorgeous finish this month. I really admire the Feathered Star block, and this one is unique.

It's called "Batik Feathers" by Donna Lynn Thomas. Read about it on Kerry's Quilting, here.

One last goodie, from Mary J.  She is playing with the gorgeous fabrics of Jane Sassaman. Details and trial blocks on her blog, Zippy Quilts,  here, and here.

The November UFO Parade prize goes to Joy in TN -- congratulations, Joy! Please send your postal address, as I have some Christmas candies (quilt candies, that is!) to send to you.

Happy Holidays to all, and I hope you'll join us for the 2016 UFO Challenge!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Blogiversary: Giveaway Winners

Thank you, all, for following 52 Quilts the past four years. And thank you especially to those who took the time to comment on the giveaway!

Without further ado, here are the four winners. I apologize that for some reason, Random.org won't let me copy the little "True Random Number Generator" box. But that's how I determined the winners!

Giveaway #1.

Goes to Sooli, who wrote:

Congratulations on your big 4th blogiversary! I think No. 1 is pretty cute! I follow through Blogger.

Giveaway #2.

Goes to Bec, who wrote:

I just found your website today so I'm sure I'm not eligible for the give-away, but wanted to let you know that I am impressed with the number of quilt tops you are able to finish in a year. I expected to see very simple uninteresting tops, but I was so wrong. You've got some truly beautiful quilts in your stack. :)

Giveaway #3.

Goes to Lalaluu, who wrote:

I am now following you via e-mail (through my Yahoo account - lalaluu @ yahoo . com), and I absolutely adore Kit #3, the Gee's Bend "Housetop" quilt. I'm from Alabama, and these quilts remind me of the ones my grandmother made.

Giveaway #4.

Goes to Lynn, who wrote

Congratulations on your 4th year! I enjoy your blog. It is Monaco for me!

Winners, please email your postal address to me so I can mail your prize -- as soon as the snow stops!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tuesday Tute: Lining Up Sashing

Has this ever happened to you? You have all the blocks for a quilt made, you've attached the sashing -- then you realise the vertical sashing doesn't line up from block to block.


There's a pretty simple fix for this problem. Here's how I lined up the sashing on my recent "Downton Abbey" quilt.

1. Attach the sashing to the vertical sides of the blocks. Remember, only the first block needs sashing on both left and right sides, the remainder of the blocks in the row only need sashing on the right-hand side.

2. Attach the horizontal sashing.

3. Lay out the row of blocks on a flat surface (cutting table, ironing board). Use a clear ruler and line it up across the seam between one vertical sashing and the block, so that it crosses the horizontal sashing.

4. Here's a closer view:

5. Place a pin right where the ruler crosses the horizontal sashing. Continue across the row.

6. Place the next row of blocks (it won't have horizontal sashing) on top of the row with horizontal sashing. Match the pins up with the seams on this row of blocks:

7. Add pins as necessary to secure. I use lots of pins for this step so the blocks don't shift while sewing.

8. See? Lined up perfectly!

This quilt is at Ruth's Stitchery being quilted by Vivian -- I'll post a photo as soon as it is finished!

Have you entered my 4th Blogiversary giveaway? Go to Saturday's post, here, to comment for a chance to win one of four giveaways!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Blogiversary: Four Years of 52 Quilts

It's hard to believe today is the fourth anniversary of the first post on 52 Quilts.

The very first photo I shared was of a lap quilt made for my Mother's 92nd birthday. The pattern is "Butter Charm and Jelly" by Legacy Patterns.

When my Mother died not long after receiving this quilt, my sister took it to a nearby nursing home. She gave the quilt to a lady whom the staff reported "never spoke." When Julia put the quilt on the woman's lap, the recipient stroked the quilt and murmured, "So pretty, so pretty." And that's why we quilt, isn't it?

I often tell the story of how "52 Quilts in 52 Weeks" came to be. In case you've never heard the tale, here is what I wrote on the occasion of the 500th follower giveaway:

I started the "52 Quilts in 52 Weeks" blog two-and-a-half years ago in response to the Younger Son's nagging. 
It was November of 2011, and in July of that year I had mentioned that I had made 36 quilts so far that year. Elder Son said, "You've almost made a quilt a week!" I took up the challenge, and for the rest of that year, and the next, and the next --- I made one quilt (top) per week.
Younger Son insisted I should start a blog, so Thanksgiving week he set up a design on Blogger for me. 
I remember how excited I was when my friend Amy became my very first follower! And Randi of Fresh-Squeezed Fabrics was the first person to comment.
A lot has happened in the past four years -- a lotta quilts under the needle! I didn't make 52 quilts this year, but I did knit 52 Hats for Sailors! Along with teaching the Jelly Roll Party every month, I've taken a job at Ruth's Stitchery cutting fabric and sharing the fun of quilting with our customers.

Time for a Giveaway!

From that first follower (thanks, Amy!) to 850+ on Bloglovin' and nearly 800 on Google, as well as 1300+ on Facebook, it's you, the dedicated followers, who have made Aunt Marti's 52 Quilts a success.

Thank you!

Since it's the 4th Blogiversary, I'm giving away four quilt kits from my stash. I hope you find one you like!

Giveaway #1:

is "Arcadia" by Sanae for Moda. The quilt will finish at 66" X 76". 

Giveaway #2:

1930s reproduction fabrics are back in vogue, and here is a darling little jelly roll quilt from Me and My Sister Designs. "Strawberry Lemonade" is packaged in a matching tin, and the quilt finishes at 60" square. 

Giveaway #3:

Direct from Paducah, Kentucky, "Housetop" from the Quilts of Gee's Bend. This kit of hand-dyed fabrics will make a 57" X 65" quilt.
Giveaway #4:

Designed by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery Fabrics, "Monaco" is made of 8" blocks and finishes at 58.5" square.

So how to win?
  1. This giveaway is to celebrate followers of 52 Quilts in 52 weeks, so you must be a follower. Either by Bloglovin' or Google Friend Connect, or via email.
  2. Make a comment on this post to say you're a follower. Tell me which kit you like best!
  3. For another entry, follow @52Quilts on Instagram. Comment to say you're a follower.
  4. For a third entry, "like" 52 Quilts on Facebook. Comment to say you've "liked" 52 Quilts.
  5. International entries welcome!
  6. No-reply comments will be disregarded unless contact information is included.
  7. Giveaway ends at noon MDT (Mountain Daylight Time) next Saturday, November 28, 2015. 

Thank you all, for making Aunt Marti's 52 Quilts so much fun. I appreciate you!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Downton Abbey

Are you a Downton Abbey fan? We viewers in the US are counting the days until January 3, 2016 , when the final season of Downton begins. UK fans -- don't tell me what happens!

I decided I should finish up my two Downton Abbey quilts before the final season begins. Thanks to a major blizzard in Colorado Springs today, I had a full day to sew and sleep. Look how much I got done on Ladies of Downton Abbey:

More than half the blocks for this quilt! Our school district is closed tomorrow, so I should be able to get the quilt top almost finished. Yay for snow days!

Saturday is my 4th Blogiversary -- come back to celebrate with a big giveaway!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Friday, November 6, 2015

TGIFF: Jelly Roll Party

Because I've been in Texas, I've missed a few Jelly Roll Parties at Ruth's Stitchery. I'm excited to see my stripper friends this afternoon!

The latest "Jelly Roll Finish" is "No-Measure Bargello" from Cozy Quilts.

I used a Moda jelly roll, "Lakeside Gatherings" and yardage to make my version. The only modification I made was to make a narrow third border rather than the flange called for in the pattern. I knew a loose flange would annoy my long-armer, as it would require stopping and starting the quilting so as not to stitch down the flange. We must keep our long-armer happy!

CJ quilted a lovely loose paisley design. 

I used the dark anchors yardage for the backing, and inserted a leftover bargello strip to add a little interest:

The methodology for this pattern makes cutting the bargello strips a lot easier. But fair warning: there is a LOT of stitching required for this one!

Today we choose patterns for the 2016 Jelly Roll Party. What's your favorite jelly roll pattern?

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thursdays are for Knitting: Hats for Sailors Send-off

My knitting goal for 2015 was to knit 52 Hats for Sailors.

So what exactly is "Hats for Sailors?"
The Hat for Sailors' mission is to provide deployed Sailors of the US Navy and the Coast Guard with handmade 100% washable wool hats made by loving volunteers from around the world. These beautiful hats are delivered in time for the December holidays, a bit of warm love and thanks to those who unselfishly take time away from their families to serve our Country.

Each year we select one or more ships to receive the hats we've knit that year. In 2014, we knit more than 500 hats! 

Well, I did it!

On Monday, I mailed 55 hats (52 knit by me and 3 by friend CJ) to Sandra to forward to the ship selected to receive hats this year.

I printed a little label on business card stock to attach to each hat. It reads:
Thank you  for your service to our country.
You are remembered and appreciated
by someone in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Here are close-ups of the last few hats I made:

This one is modeled by my friend who just returned from a six-month deployment to Afghanistan. Yes, I knit a hat for her, too!

And just in case you're thinking I've used up all my yarn knitting all those hats -- here is the haul I collected on the "Best Little Yarn Crawl in Texas" last month:

If you're a knitter or crocheter, I hope you'll consider making a hat for a Sailor. Go here for the details. If you're on Ravelry, my user name is AuntMarti. You can read the pattern and yarn info on my project page.

Fair winds and following seas, Sailors!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature