Saturday, December 28, 2013

My Husband's A Keeper

Here we are right between Christmas and New Years, and I am officially On Vacation! Our kids are home for a week-long visit, and so I'm not going to stitch a single stitch while they're here. I plan to thoroughly enjoy their company since I get to see them so rarely these days.

The view from our living room at the cabin

But I do have to share my exciting news with you. My dear, dear husband surprised me so much with my Christmas gift. He gave me a Gift Certificate good for transportation, meals, lodging and registration to all the classes I want at AQS Quiltweek in Phoenix!!!

I am so excited I can hardly stand it. Over the past few months I kept looking at the AQS Quiltweek emails as they arrived  in my Inbox, and mentioned it a time or two about what a great opportunity. Okay, maybe three or four times. At least. But the expense of having to fly down and get a motel kept it off my radar. I had long ago dismissed the idea.  So, much to my surprise, he had listened and then surprised me. What a guy!

I guess by now my family knows I'm a Quilty Nut.  I also received two quilt books and a new Olfa  rotary cutter. And a Go Baby! Spoiled, spoiled, spoiled rotten, I am! (Don't I love it?)

So yesterday I booked my trip for the first week in February. I'll definitely be ready to get out of the cold and soak up some warm Arizona sunshine just about that time.  If any of you are planning to attend this show, be sure to let me know - I'd love to meet you in person!

Right now, we're off to do some snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and enjoy all the whiteness that covers our Idaho mountains right now. But I'll be thinking of Arizona . . . .

The view off our second story deck. We need more snow!

Quilting with a smile,

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What keeps you busy?

I know what has kept me busy the past couple of months - sewing, quilting, quilting, quilting, quilting.  It's been a whirlwind to get everything done in time for Christmas, but I've succeeded, and I'm SO happy now!

Here are just a few photos of the great quilts that I have had the privilege to quilt for people. Very fun!

Here is one with custom quilting throughout.  Each big star block is 24-inches square and has been paper pieced.

Up close and personal with one of the blocks.

I like this view with the quilt tilted sideways.  The customer will put on another border and bind it for the finishing touch!

This is another fun one that I had the pleasure of doing. It's a quilt sample for a kit being put together by my local quilt shop, The Sun Valley Fabric Granary.

It's a butterfly quilt made from Fig Tree & Co.  fabrics.

I quilted oval designs to enhance the wings and diagonal stitching across the bodies of the butterflies. There were 30 butterflies in this quilt, if anyone is counting . . .

This would make the perfect spring-time or summer quilt, a great way to pass away these dreary winter days that are surely ahead of us!

 Here's a real pretty quilt that my friend made from a jelly roll.  I quilted an edge-to-edge pattern on it with large leaves to mimic the leaves in the white background fabric.

And this was a fun one, although the quilting probably doesn't stand out too well. Love this fabric!

Last, but not least, I was able to find a bit of time to make something for myself to help decorate the house for Christmas.  It was a fast, simple little pillow, but the ribbon makes it pop!  It's made from Dear Mr. Claus by Cosmo Cricket for Moda.  If you are lucky enough to find this ribbon, you'll immediately fall in love with it! It comes in several different designs and is just luxurious!

After I made the pillow cover, a friend gave me some Christmas gift tags from a panel that goes with this line, so I'll be adding that to the right of the ribbon.

That's what I've been up to the past two weeks. What has kept you busy?

Here's wishing you the very best Christmas season, happy holidays, and a tremendous New Year!

Remember to quilt with a smile,

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bloggers Quilt Festival Group Quilt Entry

I'm excited that the Bloggers Quilt Festival is here! It's like strolling through a local quilt show from the comfort of your comfy chair!


My entry for the festival is a Group Quilt created with many, many hands from our local quilting guild, The Five Bee Quilters Guild.

Our small group of 40 is just two years old, and we are trying to support local charities through the making and giving of quilts. Oh, and pillowcases, too. The past two years we've sewn more than 400 pillowcases that were given to campers at Camp Rainbow Gold, a summer camp for children of all ages with cancer of all types. They get to use the pillowcase at camp and then have a tangible souvenir of their experience. Huge smiles abound when the kids see what type of pillowcase they've been given!

One of our members designed the quilt, another did some design work for the appliques and did a wonderful job hand appliqueing the focal blocks. Yours truly did the quilting. The block with the fisherman and the mountain in the background is actually Bald Mountain, or Baldy as skiers call it, and has some of the best skiing in the country!

The outdoor theme of the quilt was decided upon to be representative of the area in which we live, and so we've called the quilt, "Colors of Sun Valley". 

There's wildlife (don't feed the bears!)

And more wildlife
On a side note, a mama moose and her twin teenagers decided hanging out in residents' backyards was a pretty good way to go this late summer/fall, especially after a huge forest fire devastated the habitat for big game animals such as these.  It's been fun hearing reports of where this moose family has been spotted. Seems they've been especially fond of fruit trees.

And a mountain experience isn't complete without a  snowy cabin.

This is a king-sized quilt made from batiks and measures 118" square.  There's even enough room to tuck your pillows inside!  The Swoon Blocks are quite large, but I forgot to measure them.

Here's a close-up of some of the custom quilting I did, but unfortunately it doesn't show up too well. We used a variegated thread, which turned  out quite nicely and complemented the colors throughout the quilt.

We tried to count how many hours of labor went into this quilt. But then decided that the hours really didn't matter. It was more a matter of love that drives each of us to quilt. Plus we got to know one another better through the process!

This quilt is being raffled off in December and hopefully we'll not only get enough money to pay for the materials, but to continue to help the kids at Camp Rainbow Gold, and help a struggling single mom care for her family through The Advocates program, or contribute to the hospital auxiliary's fund with philanthropy quilts. Turns out we're a little better sewists and quilters than we are raffle ticket salesmen and we haven't been hitting the pavement as hard as we should.  So if you have any interest in buying a ticket, just let me know. Your chances of winning are probably fairly good!

It's been fun seeing all the great quilt projects this year in the Bloggers Quilt Festival. Be sure to check them all out!

Remember to quilt with a smile,

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Poinsettias, Spiders and a Winner!

Mr. Random Generator has done his thing, and #13 is the lucky winner today!  I'm happy to announce the winner of Quilting A Circle of Nine:  Laurette, who said, "Congratulations my friend. I would love a copy of your book."

Thank you to all who entered.  If you didn't win, I'd certainly recommend getting a copy of this book. The Circle of Nine concept can be applied over and over during your quilting career and is a valuable asset.

And for a little eye candy, here is a photo of a simple Christmas table runner I made up for my Etsy shop.  I found this wonderful fabric and quilted it with a poinsettia design. The back almost looks better than the front!!

And here's the backside.

 And, just to see who is reading through to the end, here is a photo of a little guy (well, he didn't seem so little when he was peering in the window at me) who decided to drop by for a visit this weekend.  My husband thought he was a Black Widow, but couldn't get close enough to tell before the spider met his untimely death.  Regardless, we're getting the house sprayed for spiders next week. 

Quilt with a smile,

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Quilting a Circle of Nine and Giveaway

I am so excited today! Why? Because I just got my copy of "Quilting A Circle of Nine."  Yep, it's hot off the press and ready to be in the hands of sewists and quilters across the country. And....there are two quilts in the book that yours truly quilted!!!

This is the second in a series of quilt books by Janet Houts and Jean Ann Wright, and while I am biased about it, it's a book I'd recommend for everyone's arsenal of quilting books - a great addition for your collection.

And why am I so biased? Because I got the privilege of doing the quilt work on two of Janet's quilts (squeals with delight)!  I did these last spring just before the book's deadline, and so now it's great to see how everything went together in the final version.  These are the quilts I quilted on my Gammill longarm machine:

The theory behind A Circle of Nine quilts is easy, and one you can use over and over in designing your own quilts. This book has 12 wonderful quilts and patterns to choose from, and you can learn the construction methods so you can set your blocks using the ingenious approach of the Circle of Nine quilts. How many quilting books give you the recipe for success in creating your own designs? 

Janet Houts displaying a Circle of Nine quilt

I became friends with Janet Houts through the formation of our local quilt guild two years ago. Here she is at our LQS - Sun Valley Fabric Granary - for the book signing of her first book, "Circle of Nine."  She and her sister, Jean Ann Wright who is the former editor-in-chief of "Quilt" magazine, have produced three quilting books together and have many other published patterns and designs to their credit.

Check out this fun video to get a better idea of what's inside this book by Landauer Publishing:

Janet's and Jean Ann's other books:

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have something I've done published. For 18 years I was a freelance writer and newspaper correspondent, and I had my byline published regularly. But I was always, always writing about what other people did. Now, my name is a credit in this book, and I am very proud to have contributed in a small, small way to this publication.  I'm so tickled it makes me do The Happy Dance!!!

So to help me celebrate, I am giving away one copy "Quilting A Circle of Nine."  If you'd like to be entered into the drawing, you have three chances to win.

1.  Leave a comment below and let me know if you think there is a Circle of Nine quilt in your future.
2.  Spread the word.  Blog about Quilting A Circle of Nine, Tweet about it, or post a link to this blog on your Facebook. Then leave a link for me to check it out!
3.  An extra entry for old or new followers. Tell me how you follow for a third chance to win!

Easy! Three chances to win.  I'll leave the giveaway open until midnight Mountain time on Oct. 16, so enter today.

And if you make a Circle of Nine quilt, I'd love to see a photo of your quilt top!

Quilt with a smile,

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Snow Babies by Henry Glass

What fun I had the other day when I checked my mailbox and lo, and behold, there was a mysterious package there from Henry Glass Fabrics in New York. What?

Oh, yes. Then I remembered! I had been a lucky winner in one of Henry Glass' Giveaways. What was my prize? Snow Babies.

Not a fat quarter bundle, but a Half Yard Bundle of this new line of flannels.  The prints are adorable and classy at the same time. I love them!

I have no plans on how to use these yet. But what I'm certain of is that I don't want them to sit in my closet until next winter.  I'm thinking I need to get this made up before Christmas 2013.

Any thoughts on what I should make? I think the panels pieces would be perfect to build a lap quilt around.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Gone Quilting - YES!

I've been working non-stop on my Day Job the past few weeks, and have been chomping at the bit to get back into my sewing studio. Well, friends, I'm so happy to report that today is the day!

Yep, I've Gone Quilting!  Thanks to our blogging friend SewCalGal, she put up a variety of these fun fall-themed designs for us to use.  Fall is my time of year, and since we've had snow yesterday and wind and rain and just plain storminess, I'm taking the day off and going to quilt! I have a beautiful hand-appliqued quilt that I am working on for a friend, and I want to get it finished by tomorrow.

What are your sewing plans for this week?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

All Framed Up Quilt Pattern on Craftsy

If you're looking for a sweet and easy quilt to put together, my money's on All Framed Up.

This is a new pattern by designer Melissa Dunworth of Sew BitterSweet Designs.  Her official launch date is today, and you can get a digital download of this amazing quilt for only $5 on Craftsy! Just five bucks and you can be on your way to make a fantastic modern quilt that will delight everyone.

As a pattern tester for Melissa, this is the quilt I came up with:

It's very similar in color scheme as Melissa's, but for a look at how different colors will change a quilt, visit her blog today at All Framed Up Pattern Launch.  And don't wait to buy the pattern - you could have a nice-sized lap quilt all cut out and pieced up in a day! Perfect for gift giving. And with Christmas just around the corner, this would make a lovely, lovely gift!

Thanks, Melissa, for allowing me to be part of your testing group. It was fun!

Quilt with a smile,

Sunday, September 1, 2013

And the lucky winner is . . . .

First of all, I want to say thank you to all who responded to my giveaway of a Moda Nature's Basket charm pack this week.  I asked what you might be celebrating last week, and the answers were truly heart warming. We all have so much to be thankful for!

So, without further ado, here is what Mr. Random Generator came up with #66, which is Tami C who said, "I guess I'd have to say that I'm celebrating my 1st week of being on the Atkin's Diet. My husband and I went on it together 1 week ago and we have both lost 6 pounds. We're both excited about it. :-)"

Thank you for all who took time to enter, and for those of you who are new followers.

Quilt away the day,

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Wildfire Containment Celebration Giveaway

I declare, it's time for a celebration!  And what better way to celebrate than with a giveaway!

If you read my last blog post, Wildfire Postpones Quilting, you'll be glad to know that yesterday all the evacuation notices were lifted for our valley. Such great news! The fire is 70% contained, and many of the fire crews are returning home because they've been on the scene here for two weeks now.

The crews did such a fantastic job - it's a huge coordinated effort that saved four towns from possible destruction. If this had been a hundred years ago, this fire would have consumed our valley. But only one home and less than a dozen out buildings were lost!

So, my friends, I'm partying with the Sunday Funday  Giveaway hosted by Julie at 627 Handworks.

Sunday Funday Giveaway Party

For my giveaway, I'm parting with this great Moda charm pack called Nature's Basket by Blackbird Designs.  If you like blues, you'll love this charm pack!

Entering is easy!
1.  Leave a comment telling me what you are celebrating this week.
2.  For a second entry, leave a comment telling me how you follow Mountain Quiltworks.

The giveaway will remain open until midnight mountain time on Friday Aug. 30. I'll randomly select a winner next weekend! Giveaway is open only to US locations.  Good luck, and thanks for following along.

Remember to quilt with a smile,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wildfire Postpones Quilting

For more than a week now we have been on the edge of our seats in the Wood River Valley of Idaho. Lightning sparked three huge wildfires across the southern mountains of our state. The Beaver Creek Fire, which started out innocently enough several miles west of Hailey, soon grew into a Demon that has taken time, resources, and skill to protect the homes of many in our valley.  It seems surreal to me to watch this video and know that it is my community that was in the face of disaster.

Compiled by Dates Fryberger

We live in the shadow of Bald Mountain, Sun Valley's famous ski resort leased from Forest Service land. While Sun Valley is home to many of the 'rich and famous' variety, it is also home to regular folks like you and me.  Much of the national news coverage has focused in on Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwartzennegger and Tom Hanks as having homes here. And photos show large homes ahead of the fire's advance.  But while those celebrities do live among us, there are 20,000 of us that the 1,200 firefighting personnel have come to protect.

This wildfire has been so erratic, with temps in the 90s for over a week (an oddity to our mountain location), and Red Flag warnings for high winds daily.  While it is the firefighter's job to do what needs to be done, I admire each and every one of them for enduring the raw conditions that they have to face each day. THANK YOU!

The video I embedded is a great accumulation of what has been going on in our backyard since Aug. 9.  My home is outside the Evacuation Zones and as such, we have been able two households of the more than 2,000 homes that had been evacuated.  We've had four dogs and a talking parrot, lots of visitors and phone calls, so times have been lively, for sure!

The fire in now 30% contained, and far from over as it spread further into Idaho's lovely back country. But yesterday some residents were allowed to go back to their homes. To date, only one house has been lost. And when you watch that video, you'll understand what a true testament that is to the firefighters who have converged here from all over the United States. To them I tip my hat and say, "Thank you!"

As for quilting? I had a stack of quilts that I was going to fetch if we had received an evacuation order. A few important papers, medicine, the computers. Just really didn't want to leave those quilts behind!

Stay safe and enjoy each day as it comes,

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What a neat new quilt pattern!

Earlier this summer, my blogging friend Melissa from Sew Bittersweet Designs, put out a call for pattern testers.  She had designed a quilt top pattern for publication and wanted input on how the quilt works up.

Intrigued by the process, I wrote and asked if I could do a lap quilt version of her newest pattern. You can find her sneak peak of the Quilt Without A Name here. Well, maybe it has a name, but I guess at this point it's a yet-to-be-named gem. She only picked four testers, and I was one, so I was tickled!

Here is what I came up with:

The quilt measures 52 inches square and is easy to put together. Oops - there is a stray thread showing in the photo below - go figure. 

Turning the camera gives you a different focal point to look at it.  I love the simply symmetry of her design!

Making this quilt was a joy because Melissa's instruction were easy to follow and right on target. No goof ups with yardage or cuts. 

It came together very quickly, and would make a nice bed-sized quilt as well as this lap quilt.

I also like it because the amount of negative space on this quilt allows a lot of leeway for quilting design.  I quilted it with swirls and leaves on the main body of the quilt, and then in the outer border and inner sashing white border, I quilted with a little flower that mimics the flower patterns in the fabric. The orange-red borders have a simple meander with the variegated thread.

In the dark blue blocks, I outlined quilted the flowers and leaves with a variegated thread that had all the colors of the fabric in it, giving it a great poofy look.  I wish I had done that on the blocks with the light blue, but I had already freehand quilted flowers in there and I didn't want to rip them out. You know the drill:  it takes a minute to put the stitches in and FOREVER to rip them out!

Here is a sneak at the fabric I used on the back of the quilt.  The orangish red stripes and the light blue floral blocks are from the Gallery Fiori Collection for P&B Textiles, the dark blue blocks are Gypsy Vine from Laura Gunn's Garden Wall Collection for Michael Miller, the backing is from Laura Gunn's Poppy Collection for Michael Miller, and I used Kona Snow for the background. So it was a mixture of sweet fabrics that I already had in my stash (gotta love my stash!)

I can't wait for Melissa to have this pattern ready for publication. It would make such a neat wedding gift, a baby quilt, a snugly lap quilt for yourself or a fantastic bed quilt.  Or, in my case, I am going to attach a casing to the back so I can hang it in our living room. After moving into our new home this spring, I still have lots of empty wall space I need to fill up. This will do quite nicely!!!

Quilt with a smile,

I'm linking up to Linky Tuesday and Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Colors of Sun Valley Raffle Quilt

Time for a raffle! I'm sure many quilt guilds across the country make quilts to raffle. Ours is no different, except this year, instead of making a quilt to raffle for our community's Northern Rockies Folk Festival, we made one to help generate funds for our philanthropy projects. Our guild is only two years old so we are truly operating on a shoe-string budget.

Here it is, called The Colors of Sun Valley
Colors of Sun Valley

This is a king-sized bed quilt made with batiks, and hand-appliqued focal blocks.  The swoon blocks are quite large, although I forgot to measure them.  The photo below was taken just after I finished quilting it, to give you an idea of the size. It is about 118" x 118", giving plenty of room to drape over the sides and to cover your pillows!

Of course now it is all bound and quite lovely, if I do say so myself! All the while I was quilting it, I just knew I had to buy a bunch of raffle tickets myself. This is a gem!

Colors of Sun Valley was a joint effort of the Five Bee Quilters Guild (in Idaho, automobile license plates have designations according to which county you reside. We live in Blaine County, which is the fifth county in the state starting with the letter "B", so we are 5B.)

I don't know how many woman-hours it took to come up with the design, enlarge the swoon blocks, cut out all the fabrics, distribute the fabric, make the applique squares, piece the blocks, piece them all together, quilt it, and finally bind it.  As you all know, it's too many hours to count!

Recreation is king in Sun Valley, from skiing in the winter on Bald Mountain to fly fishing the Big Wood River in the summer.
 Local quilter Karen Hand made each of the applique blocks. Outstanding work!

Close-up of free-hand quilting

Winter scene

Our quilt guild supports local charitable organizations such as Camp Rainbow Gold, a summer camp for children with cancer and their families, The Advocates, Higher Ground, St. Luke's Auxiliary and the Northern Rockies Music Festival, among others.  As an example of our projects, for the past two years, we have made more than 200 pillowcases a year for the campers at Camp Rainbow Gold so each child can go home with a souvenir of their time at camp. Making those pillowcases has been a rewarding effort for all involved!

We are a 501 3(c) organization, so donations are tax deductible. Tickets are $5 each, or 5 for $20. If you'd like to get in on the drawing, just let me know and I'll make arrangements to get you tickets. Actually, I don't know why I'm telling you this because I want to win it!!!

Can't forget the wildlife  

Happy Quilting,

Remembering All The Little Things

I have let my blog side away in lieu of posting photos and updates over on Instagram. For me, it takes less time, and is a faster way to doc...