Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Alaska State Fair 2016

I entered two quilts in the Alaska State Fair this year. I knew I had won ribbons on both when a non-quilting neighbor saw them at the fair last weekend. She didn't remember what ribbons I had won...just that both quilts had a ribbon. I was so happy to see my favorite quilt won its division; Twin size, machine pieced and quilted, professional level.


My second quilt won second place for its category; Full/Queen, machine pieced and quilted, professional level. I would love to know how many quilts were in my division...there are so many divisions. There are lots of great quilters in Alaska so the displays are very nice. It's a sweet, little show.


Bonus...today pumpkin entries were weighed! In case you aren't familiar with our fair...Alaska farmers grow some astonishing vegetables. It's our extensive summer daylight hours that really boosts the growing process.


This was the winning pumpkin being weighed...any guesses? The one sitting right behind it in the picture above was almost 800 pounds. 


This pumpkin weighed 1,469 pounds and broke a state fair record. The bottom of the pumpkin was brushed off and inspected before weighing.

I need to start thinking about next year's entries...

Sunday, August 28, 2016

My Quilt World

The recent string of rainy weeks meant some work has been accomplished. Here's what I have been doing.

I made a set of moose dolls for a friend that visited last week. Sew Adorable! I have a stash of "bodies," just had to make the clothes and finish the faces.


Got my top done in time for last Thursday's Breakfast Club. It is always good to have a deadline.


I did a bit of landscaping. See the pile of rocks in the distant background? I used a furniture dolly to move one rock at time to place on the hillside, next to my metal tubs. The plants are doing great. The real test will be next spring when we see what survives the winter. Still need to fill five steps with cement on the left side of the photo. I don't do cement work! Hubby and my son did the first five and then ran out of cement.


Then it was on to my favorite step in the quilting process...binding. You can see I had a little help from Eli when it came to sewing the binding on at the machine. It is so sweet to have a cat in my studio...hair and all...I missed it so much the past six years.


McKinley was very cooperative about my photo shoot of the finished quilt. 


For my birthday last spring, I bought a nice quilt display kit. I used it for the first time today. Love it. Easy to use all by myself. Made by Craftguard. I highly recommend it.

 "Bali Volcano Stars"
69 x 82
Blocks made using the Missouri Star Company's Disappearing Hour Glass block, as seen on their youtube video. The technique uses 10-inch layer cake squares and a background fabric cut in 10-inch squares. I added the inner border of the background fabric and a piano key border using a companion Bali pop. A 6-inch border so the strips were cut 6 1/2-inches long. 

The quilting gives the illusion of curved corners...only straight seams in this super simple technique.


I decided to try and finish another top in autumn colors. I have pretty much worked out my quilting design...just need to do some marking before it goes on the quilt frame.


The rain stopped and I think it is official...fall has come to our part of Alaska. It is my favorite season. I love the brilliant colors...especially on a sunny, blue sky day. Our leaves are just starting to change colors.


Quilting may not get much attention for awhile...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sew Much to Share

The August Breakfast Club is next week and I realized yesterday that I forgot to share Show and Tell from July. So here is a quick look as what the ladies have accomplished even with the nice summer weather we had in May, June and July.

This is a laser cut kit from an Alaska designer, Dana Michelle. Here is a link to her webstore: Wildfire Designs. She has several great Alaska theme kits. 


A small quilt that will be made into a pillow for a bride. The colors are her wedding colors.


This little wreath is such a popular pattern lately, "Fold'n Stitch Wreath." I love Marie's version because she did a blanket stitch that really makes a great addition to the design.


This is one of those deceptive quilts that you start putting together with your scraps but find you need to buy a little fat quarter or two to get the colors just right! Laura started this with some leftover layer cakes. We all know how that happens. Your trying to just pull from your stash but you find something is missing. The end result is beautiful so she made the right choice.


This beautiful cross stitch piece is being turned into a pillow. Perfect for Barb's cabin.


This is the pattern, Himalayan Pink. I need to add a picture of mine to this post. I think this was our April project. I believe this was a kit that was added to...I should have written some notes.


Obviously I should have gotten this quilter to turn her quilt so we could see it properly...but you get the idea. I think this was another Breakfast Club pattern from a long time ago. I remember it but can't remember the name.


A small project from scraps. 


And a nice big quilt from Thimbleberry fabrics.


A sweet quilt for a baby girl.


My version of Himalayan Pink with a set of batiks from Moda's Holly Taylor. They had been aging just long enough!


And our project for August will be this Moda Bake Shop pattern, "Speedwell Quilt." It is a layer cake pattern, 54 x 72-inches. Looks like a great quickie.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Moving in the Right Direction

I've gotten a fair amount of work done in the past week. August can be a gloomy, dreary month in our part of Alaska. So far...that's what we are getting. I might be one of the few people happy about spending more time inside.

I experimented with making Seminole borders in my setting triangles for my quilt, "Midnight Blooms."


Loving the direction of this quilt. It has been a big challenge for me not to "biggie size," this design.


Here's the EQ7 rendition of my design. Finished size is 63 x 76 inches. I'm actually going to join in on Design Wall Monday over at Judy's Patchwork Times. I can't remember the last time I joined her link up. Always some great projects to see there.


Hot off the quilting frame is this baby. I am a little frustrated with myself for falling back on "pebbling" as a filler. I really need to expand my repertoire. But I just wanted to actually get quilting instead of just stewing on design options. The binding stage is one of my favorite steps so I will probably do some more bonding with the quilt and feel better about it as it relaxes and puffs up now that it is off the frame.


I finished a Jim Shore cross stitch Santa ornament, "Best Friend Santa."


More house projects...though this one won't get finished until next summer. I am having my handyman build a series or raised garden beds on the sunny side of our house. That big window leads to my sewing room. He's only about a third of the way through. Every time I hire my handyman to tackle a project...it means more work for me in the future. How will I ever get my house projects done????


The first three feet against the house will actually be a gravel walkway. Lots of fill will need to go into these boxes...so much work for next spring!

I could be like Eli and just sleep all day and play all night. He got a new cat tower in my sewing room and just loves it! 


The best part is...this top basket is about 5-feet off the ground...just out of reach from Kinley. I put another tower in our bedroom and he slept in our room last night. Kinley on the bed with me and Eli on top of his cat tower. My husband is out of town so I figured it was a good time to see if the cat and dog would actually sleep in the same room and allow me to sleep too. We all slept!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Commencing with Projects

I had a great time at Breakfast Club last Thursday working on July's quilt, "Bloom." My next step on this quilt will be a border...and I really don't know what I am going to do yet. Maybe some time playing with EQ7 will help me figure out a plan of action. I definitely want to incorporate a multitude of colors.


I'm going to link up with What a Hoot and her weekly Monday posts to track BOM progress. I have been at the same stage for the the kit, "Full Bloom," for several months. Fabrics washed, ironed and ready for flower production. I was so thrilled to get this quilt kit over a year ago and it is crazy I haven't gotten started. I would love to get a block done every week.


I finished the last Jim Shore series snowman, "Snowy Owl Snowman."


My kitten Eli is growing like crazy. He's been hiding all over my studio...sleeping on piles of fabric. Some of these spaces are not going to  "fit" him for very long. I gave him some homeopathic drops in his food for digestive issues and switched to a kitten food by Blue Wilderness. No more diarrhea issues. Eating and growing like a teenage boy!!! Thirteen weeks old. We think he is going to be a big boy.


Kinley is loving her new kitty. Occasionally I have to rescue a kitty toy from her. She loves those toy mice too! Kinley needs her "bangs" trimmed...starting to look like a sheepdog.


I didn't get a picture but Kinley has now chased off a large grizzly bear along with a large black bear. So many bears this summer!!! The grizzly was in our yard Saturday evening...the black bear was in the yard about two weeks ago. I have stopped walking by myself...even with a gun I don't feel comfortable. Kinley comes back to me immediately when I use the command word, "here." So glad we sent her to a trainer for a few weeks last winter. We missed her but it is so awesome when she comes to me immediately with one word!!! I haven't gotten her to leave the kitty toys alone yet...somethings are just too tempting.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Kitty in the Sewing Room

Our new kitten, Eli, has been settling into his big Alaskan life pretty well. So far he has spent most of his time in my sewing room...mainly because he has been having a little bit if diarrhea. My sewing room has tile floors that are pretty easy to clean when a kitten's paws might have a some icky stuff on them. It's a great excuse for me to be stuck in my sewing room.


And I have even managed to do a little quilting. I think it has been three months since I touched my midarm. I'm happy to be getting into the groove again.


Everyday, Eli gets a bit more relaxed. A quick snooze on the floor while our dog, Kinley was upstairs. Sometimes I think Kinley is acting like a mom and licks Eli...cleaning him up. Sometimes Kinley relentlessly chases Eli around the house.


Breakfast Club is next Thursday. Not sure if I am going to make it but I like the pattern they are making so I went ahead and started my version. It's a strip pattern.


The pattern is from Kim Brackett's book, "Scrap Basket Beauties." I know I am going to make some changes to the layout and the border...I just can't resist "exploring." The block is cute and super quick to put together. No matching points to worry about!


As you can see...Eli occasionally asserts himself...poor Kinley...all she wants to do is play! 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Talkeetna Train Trip

My husband's parents are visiting us. One of our adventures was to take the train from Anchorage to Talkeetna. It was about a three hour trip...mostly through wooded areas. The train cars have glass domed ceilings and a restaurant in the bottom half. Very nicely appointed train cars. 


Talkeetna is one of my favorite little towns in Alaska. Several colorful moose can be spotted around the town. This looks like a patchwork moose to me.






And some lovely one-of-a-kind shopping...


The artist is Joan Edwards. Titled, "Floating Kaleidoscope Blues."  A batik wall quilt for $750. This town lacks a quilt shop but not much else. It is well known to mountain climbers who wish to catch a plane ride to base camp on Denali (I started to type Mount McKinley...no longer the name!) 

Talkeetna...a big climbing town with a small drinking problem. Just one of the many quaint sayings associated with the town.