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,

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Goal for August

This is the quilt that made me want to get a long arm machine.  After I spent an inordinate amount of blood, sweat and tears pushing a queen-sized flannel quilt through the small throat of my domestic machine to quilt it, my next quilting project was this one. And the thought of doing all that maneuvering again just about did me in.

Kaffe Fassett Fun Quilt by Mountain Quiltworks

That was three years ago. Last month I found this quilt top quietly lying in wait for me to find it again and bring it to life! 

So I have declared that this will be my Finish for A Lovely Year of Finishes.  I've replaced the original backing material that I bought for it with fabric that will compliment the quilt better and be quilting-friendly.  I had purchased a plain brown for the backing, but now I like patterned fabric designs much better.

All in all, it's probably a good thing I waited this long to quilt it. I'm excited to have it done!


Linking up to A Lovely Year of Finishes

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