Saturday, December 31, 2022

Year-End Recap

Well, this year flew by, didn’t it? It’s time to grab a cup of your favorite warm beverage and pull up a chair. I’ll do all the work as we hit the highlights of the quilting year here at Chez Kizerian. I had hoped to finish one more quilt this week (month/year), but my Bernina is in the shop for her annual “spa treatment”.  I’m excited to share some (studio/machine) changes that are in the works! I won’t say more than that now, but next week I’ll share the whole story. 

In the meantime, I’m using my backup sewing machine, Bob. It’s a Brother. As in “Oh Brother, why isn’t this da** thing feeding evenly?” In the past, I have quilted on it using a serpentine stitch, but Bob was having none of that this week. No sirrree. So, I’ve ended the year having made 57 quilts, and quilting/binding another 24 “community” quilts (explained below) for donation. I’ll take it. 

So for this roundup post, I thought I’d share my Favorite Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilts, Favorite Personal quilts, Favorite Donation quilts and favorite Community Donation quilts. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we?

Favorite Personal Quilts

There wasn’t much to choose from in this category, so there are only two favorites. There would’ve been three if I could have finished the Zipper quilt I was trying to get done this week, but I guess that will now roll into 2023.

First up is Swimmingly. This was finished as part of this year’s Stay At Home Round Robin (SAHRR). Bruce claimed it and uses it regularly. 

The other favorite personal quilt was this Antique Tiles quilt I finished earlier this month. It’s going into my depleted “To Be Gifted” pile, waiting for its assignment. 

Favorite Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) Quilts

The first RSC favorite quilt is this January finish, made from Split Nine Patch blocks. This little quilt used the warm colored blocks made during 2021.

Next up is this bullseye version of the classic Courthouse Steps block. The perfect fabric to tie these colors together was given to me by my RSC friend Julie. It was used for the borders and backing. 

My final favorite donation quilt was Rainbow Elephants. It was one of 5 elephant quilts finished this year. 
Two more will be coming in the first quarter of the new year. At that time, I’ll show all of them in a post. My friend Nann donated the cute elephant print fabric used in the border and backing.

Favorite Donation Quilts

I think this category is honestly just an excuse to show more quilts because every quilt in this entire post, with the exception of the two personal quilts, was donated to Quilts for Kids. 

This sailboat quilt was made from a pattern and some fabric scraps that were donated to our chapter of Quilts for Kids. I added some of my own fabrics and scraps to expand the quilt and complete the border and backing.

This next quilt is simple, but I fell in love with it early on in the creation process. I had been saving blue and green batik scraps for a couple years and finally had enough to take a stab at making a checkerboard quilt in blues and greens. So, I channeled my inner Wanda (who also has been a very generous fabric donor), set to work, and ended up with this quilt. I thoroughly enjoyed the process.

And speaking of Wanda, she also donated the backing fabric that was the inspiration for this strings-and-patchwork quilt. This was another favorite make, largely because the creative process with strings, scraps and a limited color palette was so much fun.

Favorite Community Quilts

What is a Community Quilt? It’s a quilt whose blocks - or the entire top - are made by someone else, which then is gifted to me to quilt, bind and donate. Sometimes the donors provide the backing (although that is NOT necessary). I provide the batting, thread and labor. This year, two quilts were donated to Wrap Ukraine with Quilts , and every other quilt was donated to the Salt Lake Chapter of Quilts for Kids

This first quilt was donated by McGill U.  The pattern is called Ring of Stars and can be found at Connecting Threads HERE.

My other favorite Community Quilt was this beauty donated by Julie K - the same Julie who donated the border fabric for the bullseye courthouse blocks quilt (linked above under Favorite RSC Quilts). 

Honorable Mention:

Another blatant excuse to show more quilts. Remember, I did warn you to get a beverage and pull up a chair. Which I probably didn’t even need to, because who reads blog posts while standing up?

This little number is the cool-colored version of the split nine-patch quilt shown above. It was as enjoyable as the first, and makes me realize I need to add this versatile block to my RSC repertoire for 2023.

I couldn’t leave this elephant quilt out. I actually made two of these in identical colors and fabrics. 

And finally, this quilt helped me whittle down some random width-of-fabric strips and bright solid scraps. I plan to make more of these in the future. So many ideas, never enough time!

As you can tell (by the names and links in this post, which is in no way exhaustive), there were so many wonderful people who contributed fabric, ideas, blocks, tops, patterns and feedback to help me with my quilting efforts this year. I am truly humbled and appreciative of your friendship and generosity. I also want to thank my dear readers for following along, offering comments and support. You’re the reason for being here. Thank you!

May you all have a wonderful New Year celebration, and good health and happiness in 2023.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Three More Finishes

The year is rapidly drawing to a close, and with these last days comes all the hustle and bustle of holiday parties and gatherings. It’s been a great year, and we are so grateful for our family and friends, old and new, in person and online. 

This week saw a lot of snow and cold here in the Salt Lake Valley. The old (huge) furniture store behind our end of the neighborhood block is being torn down, and it has been fascinating to see the workers out there with their excavators, front-end loaders, trucks and dumpsters as they knock and tear down the buildings, portion by portion. It’s been going on for about four weeks and has moved ever closer to our property line and wall. I expect the final building wall that parallels our backyard wall will come down next week. And probably by next spring the site work and building of the new townhouses will commence. Change is good! I think. . . . 

I have three finishes to share with you today. I really didn’t spend much time in the studio this week. One quilt was already done from the week before, but I had to finish quilting and binding its twin this week before showing you both at the same time. The third one was already basted, so just needed to be quilted and bound. Let’s take a look.

These “twin” quilts were originally one quilt top that was sent to me by Jo from Jo’s Country Junction. It measured 54x72” and as such was too big for Quilts for kids. So I unpicked the center seam line, giving me two quilts that measured 36x54” each.  I added a 4” brown border to the sides of both tops to bring them up to 44x54”. 

One was quilted with a basic stipple and the other with loops. The backing for both was this aqua floral wide-back piece I purchased just for these little quilts. 

The second quilt is pretty much the same. The quilting is mostly just visible in the borders.

With those done and dusted, I decided to quilt the quilt top made of the Antique Tile blocks I made this year for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge

I took photos in my studio and living room in hopes they’d look OK, but then couldn’t decide which I liked better. So I included both! I used up a number of minty-colored 2.5” strips for the binding, an ombre strip, and anything similar I could find. 

This quilt took me a couple afternoon sessions to quilt in vertical serpentine stitch with a walking foot on my domestic Bernina. The backing was a lovely pale green sheet. The quilt finished at 58.5” x 70”.

I’m keeping this one to add to my gifting pile! 

In the next week, I hope to baste, quilt and finish another personal quilt, my second Zip (Zipper) quilt. I’ll also have a quick count and roundup of my Fall Finishing Frenzy quilts as well as some of my favorite makes from the year. 

Last night, Cousin Kim and I attended a surprise birthday party for my friend Ruby. She was truly surprised. It was so great to meet (more of) her family and friends. We had a blast.

This evening we’ll be celebrating Christmas Eve at my son Ryan and daughter-in-law Kim’s house. I have a few little gifts to wrap, and Bruce will be making his “family famous” guacamole dip. We’re really looking forward to it. Christmas Day itself will be spent quietly at home, listening to The Nutcracker on vinyl and talking with far-flung family members on the phone. I’ll make my Hungarian Goulash (a recipe passed down from my father), and there may even be some sewing while James Taylor and Andrea Boccelli serenade! 

Have a wonderful Christmas or Hanukkah or whatever you celebrate. Stay safe and healthy, friends!

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Finishing Frenzy Resumes in Earnest!

We had so much snow this week! YAY! I even got the opportunity to go out myself and enjoy some good old fashioned exercise by shoveling the front walkway and the sidewalks. It felt so good to MOVE that I also brushed off the snow-laden bushes so branches wouldn’t break. One of my neighbors was walking by, and we had a chance to chat and catch up, something that happens all too infrequently here in the winter months. Bruce is recovered from his RSV too, so we’re planning a Barnes & Noble date this afternoon.

My sewing goals this week were to pin baste and quilt as many small kids quilts as possible, and I actually finished five quilts and have three more pin basted. 

Let’s start with the scrappy quilt I gave you a sneak peak of last week. The purpose of this little number was to use up some of my black and white (or white and black, or even just gray) 2.5” strips. I’ve been trying to whittle down my black, brown and gray scraps in keeping with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge’s suggestion to use dark neutrals during the last couple months of the year. To add a little punch to the quilt, I cut some solid brights (also from scraps), in squares of 2.5, 4.5, and 6.5”. 

I think it turned out kinda cute. It’s quilted with a simple stipple and finished at 39.5x46”. The backing used two dark and bright remnants from previous backings.

The following four quilts were not made by me, but were sent to me by Jo Kramer of Jo’s Country Junction to finish. I’m one of the finishers for her Community Quilts program. Once completed, I donate them, with all my other kid quilts, to the Salt Lake chapter of Quilts for Kids.

First up is this Winnie the Pooh panel. The quilters from Cresco, Iowa made this top by adding two borders to the panel. They made all the other tops below, too. 

It’s quilted with loops and swirls and finished at 38x47.5”. The backing was a piece sent to me by Jo. 

The next quilt is yellow elephants (yellophants?) and scraps. It finished at 39.5x43”.

I’m ashamed to admit that I initially left off the Cresco Quilters on these labels. I did go back with a fine-tip marker after these pictures were taken to add them in. I always want to give credit where it’s due. No more pre-filling out labels!

The third quilt of this bunch is a sweet and simple patchwork of birds and florals. 

It finished at 35x37”.  Both this quilt and the last one used an old blue sheet I’ve had around for awhile. I was so happy to move this and so many other remnants out this week!

The final quilt is this little blue bubbly bathtime number, finishing at 39.5x43”. 

So there you have it! For the coming week, we have no outside plans until near the weekend - parties and Christmas and such. So, I hope to finish those three basted quilts (2 donation quilts and one personal) and baste one more personal quilt. That will conclude my Finishing Frenzy for this year. I’ll do a final count of quilts finished in November and December next week.

My Bernina “Bernadette” will go in for her annual spa treatment on December 26. For the final week of the year, I’ll use “Bob” , my Brother backup machine. I’ll be able to use him to quilt my final personal quilt and assemble Frankenbatts from the year’s batting scraps. I can also keep busy cutting and assembling quilt kits for Quilts for Kids.

There is also this project, which I haven’t shown on the blog before; twenty blocks donated to QFK, which were given to me to make into a quilt or two. About a third of the blocks were only partially assembled, so I had to finish them and correct correct mistakes in two others. After I took this picture, I divided the blocks into two groups. I had to make one more look-alike block in similar fabrics from stash so the resulting two quilts will have 12 and 9 blocks respectively. That will be a January project. 

Stay safe and healthy, friends. I hope you’re having a lovely Holiday Season. See you back here next Saturday!

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Switching Roles

On the whole, it’s been a pretty good week. I’m almost better from my RSV. Unfortunately, as hard as we tried to  avoid transmitting germs, Bruce has now come down with it. So far it seems to be a mild case, thank goodness. And he’s got a good nurse (wink). It just means another week of isolation and delay of Christmas shopping. Hmmmm… maybe that’s a blessing in disguise!

My sewing week started off slow, but as the week went on I gained steam. Here’s a quick look.

The Wild Elephants quilt is done! This one is a larger size than the four that preceded it. Instead of twelve elephants and borders, Wild Elephants has 19 in the herd. It finished at 43x54”. I put this together when I was at my sickest, and I had so many stupid problems - all of them my fault of course (who else’s?) I had to replace pieces, rip out and re-sew several seams. But it’s done. And just to clarify, all Quilts for Kids quilts are laundered before distribution, so no long-lived wayward germs will be spread with the quilt!

The fun wild animal backing came from my friend Nann.

Last week I showed this scrappy “Squirrel!” quilt basted. It is now completed.

Squirrel! finished at 39x49”

Next in line for finishing was the third and final quilt made up of Bullseye Courthouse blocks. I made these blocks through the year as one of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge monthly blocks.   

I love the colors in this little number! It was a joy to finish up. It finished at 41.5” x 48.5” and was quilted with a basic meander.  The backing was the last of a cute sea-themed fabric I’d bought for kid quilt backings. 

Here are all three of these bullseye quilts finished this year. 

I’ll close out with a sneak peak at the scrappy black, white and bright quilt top that is up next for quilting. It will be my first finish for next week. It made a barely-noticeable dent in my black/white scraps.

After that, I’ll spend the week basting and quilting another batch of community quilts. If there’s any time left in the week after that, well, I guess I’ll figure it out then. 

Have a lovely week, everyone!
Linking up to Scrappy Saturday.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Short and Sweet

This is going to be an abbreviated post this week because I woke up with laryngitis on Tuesday, which is normally not a big deal. I get it about once a year and often wake up at other times with a dry or scratchy throat if my CPAP runs out of water in the humidifier chamber. So, feeling otherwise fine, I masked up and went to Weight Watchers (lost another half pound over Thanksgiving), isolated myself in a rear corner and went on with my day. 

Funny thing - my friend Preeti called in the afternoon, and when I answered the phone, she said “Hi Bruce! this is Preeti. Is Cathy there?” I laughed and told her it WAS me, just a baritone for the day! Later that evening I started feeling bad, and long story short (after a tele-med visit with my doctor and a couple prescriptions), I was down and out with RSV for three days. One prescription was prednisone, to keep the swelling in my airways down. It was hard to swallow, and things kept coming back up, but at least I could breathe! Yesterday, I talked to my brother Steve on the phone (returning his call), and he did NOT believe it was me because of my voice. Seriously, he thought he’d dialed a wrong number and someone was pranking him. I had to speak to him in Hungarian to finally convince him. We’ll have a good laugh over that one down the road, I imagine.

So all I have to show this week is what I got done on Sunday, Monday and part of Tuesday. 

On Sunday, Cousin Kim (who did not get sick) and I sewed Christmas pillowcases. These are the five that I made. They’re all going to be gifted at Christmas.

I use the “burrito” method - very easy - explained HERE.

On Monday I quilted and bound Guitar Strings. It finished at 44x48”.

There’s no Quilts for Kids label on it yet, because I ran out. I was supposed to go deliver a dozen quilts and pick up labels, but see above (got sick). My friend Sandy said she’d mail some labels to me instead. I’ll catch up with her before the end of the year to get all the quilts delivered.

And on Tuesday I got this squirrelly scrappy brown Franken-Sampler quilt top layered and pin basted. The squirrel graphic was given to me by Sally. The two framed 25-patch blocks above and below the squirrels were from Catherine in NJ (no blog) who provided the other 25-patch blocks in last week’s finish. The rest of the scraps, strings, parts and blocks were from my stash. 

And this is what’s on my design board to work on next. The wild animal print will be the backing (not sashing or borders) for this little Wild Elephant Quilt. More details and hopefully a finish on this next week. I’ve got to get back to my finishing frenzy!!

Stay safe and healthy! The RSV virus is wicked! (Yes, I’ve been fully Covid and flu vaxxed).

Linking up with Scrappy Saturday and the Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Finishing Frenzy Interrupted by Turkey!

Well, apparently I cannot keep up a breakneck finishing pace for more than three weeks without pausing to enjoy some refreshment, LOL. This week’s guest star was Tom Turkey, with supporting cast of cornbread dressing, cranberry relish and pumpkin pie. YUM! But it was all carefully prepared and consumed within my weight loss plan, so it’s all good. The bonus - and truly the best part of the week - was seeing family again after several reclusive weeks. Let the Holiday Season begin!! 

While I didn’t get as much done in the studio as I’d hoped, it was still a pretty good week. Here we go.

My friend Ruby asked me to show her how to free motion quilt. After she watched me quilt a little quilt a couple weeks ago, she was ready to try on her own. So… she quilted this cute patchwork quilt that I assembled from 25-patch blocks sent to me by Catherine in New Jersey (no blog).  I showed all the blocks back in June HERE. You can read the backstory there, too. 

Isn’t it cute? Ruby practiced her stipple and did a great job. Then I bound and labeled it. It finished at 39x49”.  Here’s the pieced backing.

Catherine had sent more 25-patch blocks. The two brown ones are already pieced into a quilt top that I will show next week as a finished quilt. Sorry, I didn’t get any photos before hanging it up in the To-be-Quilted line.  There were several pink blocks as well, and they’ll be used in a quilt the next time we visit our pink scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC).

Speaking of the RSC, my other finish for the week was my Crumb Tumblers quilt. Making crumb-pieced tumblers, alternated with solid-pieced tumblers, was one of my 2022 RSC projects. This month I added a brown row at the top and a gray-to-black row at the bottom to give it proper length.

Again, this was quilted in a stipple, which is my preferred pattern for string, crumbs and wherever there is a lot of small piecing. The finished size is 40x48”.

Both of the quilts are for Quilts for Kids. At this time, I’m totally out of QFK labels, so I’ll be making a trip over to my friend Sandy’s house (our chapter President) to deliver about a dozen finished quilts, five quilt kits and to pick up a couple dozen more labels. 

The next pic is the quilt top I put together of brown strings and scraps. It’s basted and next in line to be quilted.

And these are the remaining bullseye courthouse quilt blocks that were another RSC project for this year. This will be the 3rd and final quilt from these blocks. Right now, they’ve just been arranged on the design wall, waiting to be sewn into a top. 

That’s it for the quilting, but I do have one more share. This week was Cousin Kim’s birthday. As my gift to her, I bought her a cute blue bowl and filled it with chocolate and a gift card to Beans and Brews. Then I used a plastic plant saucer (the kind used under a planter to catch water) to make a lid. It was tied on with twine.

Next came the fun part. I went out to the yard and foraged any potential decorations, such as cypress, rose hips, holly, coneflower heads, berries, colorful leaves, dried hydrangea and even a dried rose. They were then hot glued to the plastic top to make a dried arrangement. No paper wrapping - yay! 

Best of all, she loved it!!

Have a great week. Linking to Scrappy Saturday/Rainbow Scrap Challenge and Oh Scrap!