Thursday, December 17, 2009

Parade of Quilts 2009 - Jacob's Ladder

Hey All!

Now that Christmas is over and all the boxes arrived at their intended destinations, I can show some more quilts. This one is a Jacob's ladder. It's about 55x70. Pretty standard pattern in pink, burgundy and green. I sent it out for Deb to quilt and yet again, it looks great. No close-ups on the quilting though, sorry.

This is from a mystery class I took at the International Quilt Festival in Chicago from Charlotte Angotti. For her classes, you show up with a pair of scissors and sew all day. You get to find out what you're making about 3 pm in the afternoon. All the pieces are pre-cut by laser by They are perfectly accurate. Charlotte has excellent fabric choices. They blend beautifully. She doesn't teach the class so much as she stands in front of the group and tells stories. I would also recommend taking a good seam ripper. Sometimes there are lots of fussy pieces and it's easy to get a triangle flipped around and sewn to the wrong side of a square.

I finished this quilt for my SIL for Christmas. She loves pink and rose and burgundy. And teal which this quilt doesn't have, but I hit most of the right ones. Now this is second-hand information, but it's a good story. When SIL#1 opened it, SIL #2 insisted that it must be for her and the box was mislabeled. However, I did label the quilt for its intended recipient. That put an end to the argument, but probably not the coveting. Ah! It's so gratifying when people fight over your quilts.

Moral of the story: Always label your quilts! It will head off fisticuffs between relatives.


Squeeee! Le Jardin Block 1 arrives

Have you seen the latest design from Anne Sutton? This is Le Jardin, her latest block of the month featuing Rouenneries fabrics from Moda. It's just scrumptious. I love the fabrics and I adore the bunnies. Here Baltimore Bunnies pattern is also on the list of quilts to make before I die. I ordered mine from Shabby Fabrics, and I think they still have some spots open if you hurry.

Ok, I'm going to put this in writing. I, hereby, commit to keeping up with this block of the month. I will finish each block before the next one arrives. You all see that. I have witnesses. And I'm gonna get started....just as soon as I wrap the rest of the Christmas presents. sigh.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Carolina Fall from Bonnie Hunter

Hi there. Here's one of my current projects. I've joined in on Bonnie Hunter's Carolina Christmas mystery. ( So far I'm through step 1, so I'm not really setting the world on fire. I've wanted to make a fall quilt for a long time, and I've been collecting fabrics forever. When I started pulling the fabrics together I realized quite how many fall fabrics I had. It was a landslide of orange. I'm doing green and orange and gold as the main colors with off-white as the background. So far it's been fun. I'm taking a little more care than I usually do and making sure everything measures right.

Have you ever bought a piece of fabric and held on to it for a long time, afraid to use it up? I'm sure most quilters have. I realized that if I'm making a quilt for myself and use that special fabric, I still have the fabric. The one thing that does change is that you can't really use it for anything else after that. So, if you're hoarding a piece of fabric, is it because you don't know what to do with it or you're afraid of using it up or worried about limiting the possibilities for that piece? Of course, sometimes you just have to wait for the right circumstance to come along. The fabric I'm going to use for the borders on the fall quilt has been patiently waiting for its day to come. I guess it's a late bloomer.

I did go ahead and get the EZ angle ruler that Bonnie recommended. I don't usually go for the specialty rulers since it seems you usually need a Ph.D. in physics to understand them. In this case, however, Bonnie has put together really great instructions on how to use it...with pictures! I'd go read the pattern just for that info.

Well, anyway. That's one of the 6 or so projects floating around the studio right now. I'll update as I move along.


Parade of Quilts 2009 - Olde Hickory

Yay! UPS finally came through and delivered the box of presents (late). I can talk about those quilts now. This is another quilt in my niece/nephew series. I decided it would be nice if I made all my nieces and nephews quilts when they graduated high school. My SIL has 8 children. Yes, I think she's out of her mind, and yes, I have told her that on more than one occasion. And, yes, I'm a little out of my mind too. If I could go back in time and give my younger self a stern talking to, I would. This is number....[counts on fingers]...five. I'm on the downward slope. Yes! My guidelines were, "dark colors, not girly."

This pattern is Olde Hickory by Cottage Creek Quilts. The first two quilts I made I hand-quilted. They turned out rather nicely. Then reality set in on quilt three. I hated the quilting pattern I chose. It was torture to do, so I ripped it all out (about 25% of the top) and sent it out to be long-armed. Since then, I've been sending my larger quilts to Deb at Special Stitches ( for quilting. Here's a detail shot of this quilt. She chose a variegated thread that just looks fabulous. The borders really sing with this thread. It looks even better in person, trust me.

Parade of Quilts 2009 - Posh

Here's another quilt from this year. This pattern is from Blue Underground and called Post Tot. (Ignore the green and white jewel box quilt) This is the throw size. The turquoise is from Oriental Odyssey by Ro Gregg. It has a lovely spray of metallic gold all over which the gold center squares pick up. The gold and red fabrics are from Kaffe Fasset. I quilted it in somewhat parallel lines that are kinda, sorta about 1" apart. Straight and even isn't my strongest skill. The next time I make this I will choose a different quilting pattern, but it turned out ok.

This quilt was a retirement gift for a co-worker. She had been at our organization for almost 25 years. Originally I started out making her a tablerunner...I'm not sure where the switch happened. After I gave it to her, she said she was hoping she'd get something quilty from me. That's always a nice feeling. She and I didn't always see eye to eye, and I will freely admit there were days I could have cheerfully strangled her, but it was very sad to come in after her last day and realize she wasn't coming back.

This is another brick in the wall of the Year of Suck. The circumstances that led to her leaving are still very much in place which makes going to work not much fun. Sadly, there doesn't appear to be anything I can do to change the situation except leave.

Anybody need a quilter/pattern tester/designer/general help? I'm available.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Parade of Quilts 2009 - Summer in the City

Hey all! Here's another quilt I made this year. I started the blocks about a year ago. I'm good at blocks. Then they sat. Mama Belfry helped me get the top put together and figure out the setting triangles. This is from a very fun line by Moda's Urban Chix called Summer in the City. I started with two packs of charm squares and added off-white. The block is a traditional one called puss in the corners. Here's a detail shot:

I really like the cheery striped binding. I quilted it myself on Mama Belfry's Handi-quilter frame. She uses her Janome with it. The guest room has a twin size bed, but I was using queen-size covers folded in half. That's ok for November, but not in July. I thought the line was really cute and needed a quilt for the guest room. Dear MIL comes and visits during summers, so she spends her "summers in the city."


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Parade of quilts 2009 - Sunshine quilt

You know, there is just nothing better than a cup of coffee that's at the perfect temperature. Weekends are the only time I get to savor my coffee and drink it out of a real cup. Every other day I'm charging out the door with a travel mug. Oh sure, it gets the job done, but it isn't the same.

So, as I am enjoying my lovely coffee in a real mug, I thought I'd start to document some of my finishes from this year. Above you'll see a quilt I finished in February or March for Mama Belfry. It doesn't have a name, but it's sort of the love child of a rail fence block and an hour glass block. I kind of made it up as I went along. I used a jelly roll and layer cake from April Cornell's Sunshine line. It's a throw/scant twin size. I stitched in the ditch along the diagonals.

Now, why I made the quilt. You see, 2009 has been the Year of Suck. No, I'm not going to go into it all, because this isn't a whiny post. This is a quilty post. The Year of Suck started out with Mama Belfry having to have surgery for a very yucky disease. Fortunately I was able to take off work and be there for it and her recovery. I wanted to make a quilt for her so she could have a warm hug whenever she needed it, and I could preserve a few scraps of my sanity doing something while I was 400 miles away. Sis and I chatted and decided while pink was traditional for quilt-making for this situation, that wasn't going to happen. With lots of snorting and eye-rolling, there was unanimous agreement that a pink quilt was unacceptable since almost everything at Mama Belfry's house is blue or green. In fact I think she's allergic to purple even.

Does anyone else out there memorize fabric lines? Maybe it's just me. Ok, so I knew this line would be perfect for her and set out to find it, which led me to eBay. Got the fabric in a timely fashion and got going. One of the prints is a fantastic, adorable blue/green paisley on a white background with a few dabs of yellow. One problem with remembering fabric lines is I'm always surprised when I can't find them...even several years after they were printed. I think fabric should be available for at least 5 years after its release. humph. Anyway, after much searching, (my google-fu is strong!) I located enough yardage to do the background. Finished up the quilt, delivered it to Mama Belfry, she loved it.

Are you ready for the punchline? OK a little background. Mama Belfry makes most of her own tablecloths especially for the porch table which is an odd shape. She usually uses a block with a diagonal seam so she can use half blocks to make the shape right. Then she quilts it to a piece of flannel or fleece so she doesn't have to use a pad underneath. Often she'll add a ruffle around the edge or something. Now these aren't quilts per se as there are usually some exposed seams.

So, I went to deliver the quilt and then we were sitting on the porch eating dinner and I realized the tablecloth used the same paisley fabric in the blocks as the backing on the quilt I made. /headslap. No wonder that fabric reminded me of her. Strange how our brains pick up on small details like that.

Anyhoo, that's my first finish for 2009.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ever feel like you've got batting in the belfry?

Hmmm....So this is a blog, eh? /kicks the walls Doesn't look like much. Oh well, a can of paint can work wonders. Maybe a little trim? Guess I've got my work cut out for me. /rolls up sleeves

If you've wandered by this little corner of the intertubes, welcome to Batting in the Belfry. This is my venue to share my quilts and their stories and anything else I feel like talking about. Just to warn you all, I play World of Warcraft too, so that might sneak in here occasionally. That's where the "/" business comes from, by the way. It's how most commands start, but also all the emotes. For instance, /bonk issues an emote that says, "[your name] bonks [other person] on the head, Doh!" Of course most WoW player/authors use it as I did in the first paragraph. SEE! There you go! You learned something new today! Grammar of the intertubes. heh.

Ok, let's see if I can stick a picture in here too. Might as well go for broke.... And there it is. Woot! Ok, you are looking at a picture of one of the coolest birds ever. It is a Red-Legged Seriema. It stands about 36" tall and is native to Brazil. I got to see one this summer. This is a picture off the web as I didn't get the camera out fast enough and sorry, /cringe, I didn't write down who took the picture. So it isn't mine, but it is a nifty shot. Way to go, whoever you are.

Alrighty, let's see if I can publish this puppy.

edit: Ok, I went back and found the original post. The glorious seriema picture can be found at and was taken by tarciso.